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nickg112

1931 Desoto drag link and tie rod ends

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I have not been able to find the correct tie rod ends for my 1931 Desoto and am now looking for someone to rebuild my existing ones. Does anyone have a source to buy or rebuild? In the process, I noticed that the drag link seems worn. With the tie rod removed, I noticed some play in the wheels, steering and drag link. I am not sure how much play there should be. It does state in my service manual that drag links can be adjusted. On both ends of the drag link there is a large slot for a large flat blade screw driver. The manual says to turn these in all the way and then back them off one and one half turns. I cannot turn these screws. Has anyone ever adjusted these? Are there any tricks to loosening this? Seems like the largest screw driver is not really a good fit.

Please see attached photos.post-79353-143142243421_thumb.jpg

Also note on the last photo, the nut that attaches the drag link. I tried loosening that nut and it turns on the stud about a quarter of a turn and then is absolutely frozen and will not turn. I thought that I could remove the drag link and then work on the adjustment outside the vehicle. That is a failure also because I cannot remove the nut.

I have also attached a photo of my tie rod ends, just in case anyone knows where I can get these or have them rebuilt.

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Thank you

Nick

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Your drag link adjustment sounds similar to the one on my '33 Plymouth. I have a hand impact tool purchased from Sears in the 1970s that has a large flat blade screwdriver tool. I used that with a 1/2 socket driver to turn my adjusting plug.

But. . . The tube on my drag link was worn around where the sector arm from the steering box attached and no adjustment was going to cure that. Turns out that Rare Parts in Stockton manufactures new ones for my car. And they will for yours to: If they don't have the part (or tooling to make it) they can use your original to setup the tooling and make one. It then gets added to their catalog and the next person needed a '31 DeSoto drag link can order it "off the shelf".

They are also the place I'd check for your tie rod ends for the same reason.

They aren't cheap but, I thought it was worth it for safe steering on my car.

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Question: How wide is the slotted end of your tool? Is it wider than a normal wide blade screwdiver? Is it possible to attach a photo?

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Question: How wide is the slotted end of your tool? Is it wider than a normal wide blade screwdiver? Is it possible to attach a photo?

The blade is bigger than any normal screwdriver I have. Have to wait until I get home tonight to get a photo (with ruler along side).

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These old rusted parts usually need heat to get them loose.

Heat the part that you want to expand. (the nut)

The hammer driven impact is indeed a useful tool.

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These old rusted parts usually need heat to get them loose.

Heat the part that you want to expand. (the nut)

The hammer driven impact is indeed a useful tool.

I have a 31 SA. Drag link plug looks like mine. I "made" a screwdriver to fit the slot then GENTLY started heating while turning the plug IN. As soon as it moved in I tried turning it out-- presto, out it came. I had previously sprayed it with WD-40 and let it sit overnight but that did not free the plug. One other piece of info: there is a guy who makes shock links that would probably fit your car. He advertises in the Desoto club newsletter. If you need these (I did) let me know and I'll try to find his telephone number.....................Bill

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Question: How wide is the slotted end of your tool? Is it wider than a normal wide blade screwdiver? Is it possible to attach a photo?

If you can follow SA Bill's suggestion and make a blade the correct size it would probably be best. I happened to have this tool so I made do with what I had. Picked it up at Sears when I needed to get some stubborn screws out and did not have the money or knowledge for an air compressor or torch. Been in my tool kit for about 40 years now and has been useful from time to time.

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I wanted to let everyone know that I found the exact tool needed in a used tool sore. It is similar to the one pictured above except the blade is .150 thick and it is one inch wide. It fit the slots on the tie rod ends and the drag link perfctly. I was able to get everything apart very easily. I did not even need heat.

Now that everything is apart, I soaked everything in mineral spirits. All of the internal parts look good. I see some wear but very little. Now that the screw move freely, I think that the drag link and tie rod ends should adjust and work great. I am not 100% positive but I am thinking that is why ther is an adjustment to begin with. My parts were just frozen and filled with dirt.

Has anyone been able to adjust these? Any pointers?

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I have attached a photo of the tool that I used. Also, I am showing the tie rod ends. I can tighten these up now that they are clean and free of grease and dirt. I am not sure exactly how to adjust. They can now be tightened so that they are stiff so the ball and shank do not move. Obviously they need a little movement. Has anyone ever adjusted these before?post-79353-143142253585_thumb.jpg

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I have attached a photo of the tool that I used. Also, I am showing the tie rod ends. I can tighten these up now that they are clean and free of grease and dirt. I am not sure exactly how to adjust. They can now be tightened so that they are stiff so the ball and shank do not move. Obviously they need a little movement. Has anyone ever adjusted these before?

Interesting construction. If my car came so equipped, they were replaced before I bought it.

Looks like the concept is the same as for the ball connection to the drag link on my car though. If I recall correctly, I found a manual that said to tighten them to the point the spring was totally compressed then back off. The trick was how much to back off, which I don't remember.

On the drag link end you put a cotter pin through some holes and it lies in the slot on the plug to keep it from turning. Looks like you have the same deal, at least I see a hole on the body in about the right area and the slots on your plug is wide enough to allow a cotter pin to sit in there. So you'd need to back up at least that much. But I think somewhere around 1/2 turn was what it was on my drag link.

I'll make a note to go through my reference material to see if I can come up with the instructions I followed.

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I own a 1931 CK which had some of the same problems Then and Now was able to supply me with new cups and springs for the drag link and also the ball opposite the pitman arm I built up the ball on the pitman arm and machined it round. Regarding the shock links I did advertise and do make them. They are exactly as original ie: same width, thickness and pin size and can be made to the length you require. If you email your phone no. me at mattix@chorus.net I can call you with particulars.

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FWIW, the '28 to '33 Plymouth master parts list shows your style tie rod ends being used in '28, '29, and early '30. Late '30 and up uses a pressed/swaged disc holding the spring making the tie rod non-serviceable.

I am attaching the adjustment information for the '33 PD Plymouth drag link which shares a similar design with a threaded plug pushing a spring against a cup that, in turn, presses against the ball. I don't know if this is much help. But it does seem that everything should be cleaned and oiled on assembly. I would guess that you should tighten until the spring is fully compressed then back off to the first place where you can get a cotter pin through.

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