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37 President spring loaded reach rod question

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My 37 President has had some occasional shaking in the steering in the 60 mph range.  I just had the car inspected and all steering components are good. However, the inspector noted that when moving the steering wheel there is about 1/8 inch of play in the spring loaded reach rod.  This occurs with light movement of the steering wheel.

I have looked at the service manual which does not give any helpful information.  It is not very clear if there is any adjustment to the inner


Is the play normal?   Is there a way to adjust the inner spring?

The service manual also mentions "broken ball seat springs".  What are these?


I also am going to have the front tires rebalanced as that might be the cause of the problem.


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At each end of the "reach rod" or drag link is a ballstud, spherical with a stud coming out one end.  You can access by disconnecting the rod at both ends, removing the nut from the STUD end of each ballstud, then remove cotter pin at each end cap, and unscrew the end cap with a very thick screwdriver blade. Unscrew slowly, because otherwise parts may fly out!  On one end, possibly both, there will be a spring which holds the ballstud against its socket--and which will try to hurl parts across your garage floor if you unscrew the end cap impatiently.


You will undoubtedly find a filthy mess inside.  Clean it out.  Examine each ballstud carefully for wear.  I'll bet you find one end of each ball significantly worn, and a lesser amount of wear 180 degrees out from the major wear point.  These are the surfaces that have been taking all the wear all these years.


The spring(s) may have broken or lost tension. If the latter, try stretching them a bit.


To re-use the original ballstuds, mark the stud portion with tape and a Sharpie to show the UNworn portions, 90 degrees out from the wear point.  After greasing the ball, insert the ballstud into the reach rod / drag link, add the cup (if present) and the spring, and just start the threads on the end cap.  Then turn the stud end from the outside to orient the (hidden) ball so that UNworn portions are now carrying the load.  Maintain the position of the stud while you are reattaching the reach rod / drag link.  Then tighten the end caps and use a new cotter pin.


This is a cheap and easy fix.

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I was confused because my car has no ball seats.  There are three tie rod ends and one spring loaded tie rod end.  I searched the Chassis Parts manual and could not find a drawing for the 37 President which was like my setup.  All of the drawings have the ball seats.  I could not even find part numbers as everything listed for 3C models was for right hand cars.

Grimy, Thank you for the information.  Looks like I will have to take that spring loaded tie rod end apart to see what is going on as I assume there should be no play with out a lot of force being applied.

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I'm very familiar with the tie rod end you are asking about and I believe they might have only been used on the 36-37 planar cars.

Loosen the tie rod clamp and turn out the 1 3\8 nut, you will then find two heavy, die type, springs. I have on occasion found these

springs to be broken. I have extra springs if needed. Jerry Kurtz

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Don't bother trying to stretch a shortened spring. It will never be any good - it has already yielded and lost strength and will just shorten again as soon as you load it. It is like a spring washer: once flattened, they are useless so toss them and install new.


A spring maker might be able to return its springyness somewhat but you are better with a new spring.

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Are you sure that is the repair kit?  I don't understand where the small springs and the two curved metal pieces would go. 

I think I'll just contact Jerry as he said the parts might be for 36-37 planar cars only.

Thank you as well as all others who have responded.


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This kit is for the US6 but some of the parts may fit.

The small springs hold the sheet metal cover on.

These tierods and internal parts were pretty well the same for years.

This kit would not be for the spring loaded tierod end but for the ball stud end

Robert Kapteyn

Edited by rbk (see edit history)
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