Barry Wolk Posted March 16, 2015 Share Posted March 16, 2015 My friend, who some call Scotty Ruxton, asked me to help him with a project. The 1939 Steyr is an Austrian-made low-cost people's car reminiscent of the VW beetle, with a different drivetrain arrangement.The car was in the process of assembly after a beautiful paint job, but the restorer was unable to finish. Scotty has gathered all the parts that were at the restoration facility and is preparing to send them to me to put it back together.Before the car arrives I wanted to familiarize myself with it so I had the owner copy everything he has on the subject. I expected the technology to be quite foreign, but only found the language of the manual to be only partially itelligble, but I do better with pictures than with words. I'm sure I'll need some help with translating, but it's just nuts and bolts.My first glance through the service manual delighted me to find that I'm familiar with all of the technology. The flat-4 is remenicient of our Porsche, but at the opposite end. The far opposite end. It uses a conventional transmission that couples to the differential with a conventional drive shaft. The independent rear suspension is very Corvette-like with it's transverse spring.The front suspension is nealy identical, in concept, to the rear-suspension on our '33 Continental Flyer. It uses quarter-elyptical leaf springs to both spring the axle and locate it without trailing arms. The set-up offered much-reduced sprung weight. The front suspension on this car does the same thing.The steering is most fascinating. It uses rack and pinion to move a lever that moves the front wheels. It's like a tiller drive with a steering wheel. Lots of joints to get loose.The brakes are cable-operated. I'm familiar with this braking system as our '33 Continental has a similar set-up. This one, however, looks a lot easier to adjust as it uses an equalizer cable for the front and rear brakes. The cable is much like a standard parking brake cable.So, as I learn about the Steyr, you will, too.Very basic transportation, but very clever packaging. I don't think this would be a great winter car though, as all the weight is way out front and virtually none on the drive axle.Horizontally opposed 4-cylinder water-cool engine.Note the steering column turning a rack and pinion that moves a tiller attached to a pivot. When the tiller moved the business end moves the tie rod right and left.Note that the front kingpins are located by the ends of the leaf springs. There's virtually no sprung weight as the springs are the suspension arms.I can see why cable or mechanical linkage brakes can be problematic driven in a salty environment, but for use on a classic car they are really just as safe as the emergency brake on your car. On a modern car they are just parking brakes, but on an old car they were true "Emergency" brakes. Now they just act on a small set of drum brakes to keep your car from moving. In the early days the emergency brakes acted on the set of two full-sized drums. The forces are identical between mechanical and hydraulic brakes, the difference being how the force is delivered. On hydraulic brakes the force is amplified by the mechanical advantage of hydraulics, but leverage is just as effective a force for the application of brakes. The Zephyr offered vacuum-assisted power cable brakes in the mid '30s.If you look closely you'll see twin V-shaped cables. At the "V" is a pulley that allows the cable to slide, equalizing the force on each brake shoe. These cables pulleys are pulled towards the center of the car by another tiller mechanism. All of the wheels have simple, but effective, turnbuckles for fine adjustment. If kept in adjustment, with all pivot points lubricated, there is no reason a cable system can't work as well as a hydraulic system.Interesting independent rear suspension.I could use some translation help on some of these.Here, too. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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