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1963 Dodge ball joints.


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So everything about this 1963 is new to me and I am going through the loose steering problems. Have the car up and yep, lots of play (twist by hand) in the ball joints.  From what I can find it seems this model has screw in ball joints.  Tough job?  Do they go in just like it sounds?  And where would be a good place to get these?  And the sockets?

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You must mean uppers. Yeah, get the right socket if you can. I don't know where to get it, but it sure is easier if you have it.

 

FWIW Moog makes (or used to) "problem solver" upper control arm bushings that are offset, intended for bent cars. Instead, you can put one in correctly and the other in backwards, and it increases the range of the caster adjustment (tip the upper control arm back). That along with about 3-4 degrees of caster, some radial tires, a bit less toe-in, and adjusting both sides the same, will make it feel a little more like a modern driver expects. Oh, and make sure the steering box is adjusted correctly.

 

IIRC the lower ball joints are held down in the socket by torsion bar tension, and have some up and down play even when new (check the manual). Do your lower control arm bushings. Yeah, I know its a horrible job, but just do it. You can't tell whether they are bad or not without disassembly. Pack the torsion bar sockets with Mopar Multi-Mileage Lube (04897841AA). Accept no substitutes.

 

I like the one-finger power steering, because you can just palm it when you want more steering fast, and also when parking. People who have been driving some other make often have issues with it. If you decide you absolutely cant stand it, a steering box rebuild is in order, using the reaction springs from a late 80s Diplomat/GranFury police car.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Is this the one your talking about?  This car is very straight.  Never hit. So guessing I would install both normally? https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=203227&cc=1330175&jsn=504

 

I have finger tip power steering in my 65 Fury and have no issues with it.  What is going on with this 63 Dodge is slop in the wheel.  Like 2 inches free play side to side before the wheels begin to turn which I need to really address if I want to drive this above 45 mph. It can be an experience on a road with quite a bit of camber.  Looking in the manual I see an adjustment to tighten it up. Or is this free play an age issue and worn out gears? Never been into a steering box before. Never been into a steering box before.

 

I will have to find myself a tutorial on doing the control arms. Last torsion bars I screwed with were on M1 A1 Tanks.

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Oh that ball joint looks fine, but that or any other quality ball joint will do.

 

I was talking about upper control arm bushings. Those (special offset "problem solver") are not technically necessary, but if you use them, and install one backwards, it allows you to set more caster than was originally used. More caster gives a little more positive steering return, and a little better high speed stability. If you aren't going to do that, then get the stock-type bushings (assuming you are replacing them).

 

The steering box has adjustments. Ordinarily they don't need overhaul. I haven't adjusted one in years, and don't remember what the exact procedure is, but it is in the shop manual.

 

It is normal to feel a whole bunch of slop when the engine is off, but with the engine running you should see movement at the wheels almost instantly when turning the steering wheel (yeah, you can't feel anything).

 

The lower control arm bushings are rubber. On a more conventional suspension you would just jack on whatever it took to take the load off of the bushings, and them pry around and see if they move. On Mopar torsion bar suspension there is really no way to get the load off of those bushings, so you can't tell if they are shot until you have the suspension apart. It is 2019, so I am assuming the worst (they were usually shot in the 80s when the cars were only 20-ish years old).

 

This car should drive exactly like your 65 Fury.

 

 

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Thanks you !  What I think I am going to do to start on this problem is replace both tie rod ends (I had to scrape 55 years of grime off just to find the grease fitting) and the drag link, and idler arm bushing then look into adjusting the steering box. They were pretty dry and not every grease fitting would accept grease. No doubt they are wallowed out.  I can hand turn these back and forth real easy and they just feel worn out by what I am reading about them.  Something scary I saw on this car right off the bat was the castle nut on the pitman arm to center link was about 3 turns from falling off.  No cotter pin. I also noticed no bushing in there or much of anything else. Just the castle nut.  Is there a bushing where the pitman mounts to the center link?  All I see left on mine is the threaded post. This will give me more time  to look into understanding how to do the control arms and ball joints.  Dropping the center link will also allow me to address the crushed oil pan it looks like someone attempted to jack from in the past !  

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Well I can tell you that most likely isn't happening.  The castle nut was ready to fall off when I found it. I used a small C clamp to pull everything back together and then ran up the castle nut to "tight", installing a cotter pin. But I still see a gap of about 3/16 between the two when tight. Can you remove and replace the pitman bearing ?

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