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steering gear center link


deac

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I am a little freaked out about my Buick after yesterdays freak occurrence! I was moving it out of the parking space and I heard a clunk clunk. The steering wheel was easier to turn after those clunks. So I drove it forward 3 feet and backward 3 feet and it seemed ok. Then I wanted park in the spot and the engine revved and the clutch was ok but the car would not move and I lost all steering! Turns out the center link in the steering gear sheered/broke and the front tires were aimed in 2 different directions. If this would have occurred while driving at street or highway speeds I would be in the hospital or dead right now. So now I have to track down a center link and fix it. I may sell the car due to bad memories!

 

I called Dave for the part and there was no answer so if anyone has a center link for a 40 Buick Super coupe for sale let me know.

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I don't have a Buick parts book so I am trying to find out if the steering center link for my 40 Super is the same part used in the 39.  This the rolled metal link between both tie rods and the pitman arm attaches to it. This link comes out of a 39 Century. Any help would be appreciated!!

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23 minutes ago, West Peterson said:

If it's anything like the Packard's center steering link, there's also the possibility that the structure that holds it is a hot rusted mess.

Well I have to buy this link used because I can't find a new one.  When I get it, it will be taken apart, cleaned, sand blasted, painted and reassembled  and lubed! But first I have find the correct part!

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17 hours ago, deac said:

Well I have to buy this link used because I can't find a new one.  When I get it, it will be taken apart, cleaned, sand blasted, painted and reassembled  and lubed! But first I have find the correct part!

 

I understand that. I was referring to the chassis structure in which it is held in place is sometimes rusted out.

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I ended up having the broken piece welded and sleeved. The ball fitting was in good shape and cleaned up well. Used metal etch primer and finished with a satin black. Just have to install it and have it aligned!

 

Chris

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Edited by deac (see edit history)
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About the lever arm shocks.... The left rear shock was only half full and the right rear was empty. I used 15W shock/fork oil and filled them. Before I filled them I disconnected the arm and exercised the arm as I added the oil and that made a difference in the level as I was filling them.  The arms on both sides had good and equal resistance once the reservoir was filled. I checked for drips on the ground and felt around on the shock assembly for any moisture; none felt on either side.  Moreover I checked the shock reservoir for moisture the next day and both of them were still dry.  When I started this repair neither of the shocks showed signs of leakage. Do these shock weep oil out of the lower arm seal over time? Is this normal for lever arm shocks?  Can anyone add to this?

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On 5/31/2023 at 7:40 PM, deac said:

Moreover I checked the shock reservoir for moisture the next day and both of them were still dry.  When I started this repair neither of the shocks showed signs of leakage. Do these shock weep oil out of the lower arm seal over time?

       Drive it and check them again.  A leaking seal is often an early indication of a bad bearing or bushing.  Seals are flexible enough to make a static seal but will leak if and when a shaft is bouncing about in worn bearings.

     Obviously the oil leaked out.  Who knows how long it's been since they were filled?  

     I've owned four cars with knee action shocks.  None of them seemed to have any fluid in them when I bought them.  All of them "came back to life" after adding oil.  Some needed more frequent refills than others.

     

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I have another related issue with the tie rods. I ordered right and left tie rod ends from Bob's. They came as set and one of them has right hand threads and the other had left hands. However the steering shaft in my Super only has left hand threads. What is correct here. Bob's says 41 modes used left hand threads, not 40's. And observations, options or experiences.

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Well I used this repair as an excuse to clean up the front end! After reassembling the repaired steering linkage and installing new tie rod ends, I replaced all of the old and worn out zirk fittings and then lubed the front suspension.  Some of the lube points were dry. But overall all of the suspension parts, including the king pins, were in decent shape . I checked and the right brake wheel cylinder and it was leaking and the left one was moist so I had to replace them.  But first I disassembled the left & right brakes and removed the backing plate due to bad surface rust. Into the parts cleaner everything went (except for the shoes and drums of course, to get cleaned. I then took the backing plates to the sand blaster to remove any stubborn dirt grime and the remains of the old black finish. I primed and painted the backing plates and installed them.  I installed the backing plates using new aluminized grade 8 bolts and stover nuts to prevent corrosion and for added safety. Installed the new wheel cylinders, put the brakes together, repacked the bearings and put on new grease seals.  Whew a lot of work. But it's a safety thing so I always will put in the time, effort and use quality parts so I can drive with confidence!  The rear brakes are ok at this time and the wheel cylinders are dry. I still have to bleed and adjust the brakes then it's off to the alignment shop.

front end 06.jpg

front end 07.jpg

front end 11.jpg

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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I’m in the middle of a brake rebuild on my 1941 Estate Wagon. I have two questions and one observation. Question 1: what is the purpose of the tape?  Question 2: did you make your own fabric dust protectors and if so, what material?  Bobs sells them made of leather. Observation: when I removed the backing plates, the  4 mounting bolts were erroneously installed with the bolts going inward and the nuts on the backside. They came out ok but were impossible to put back in I finally realized that the bolts should be facing out with the nuts in the front, meaning you see the nuts as you face the whole brake setup. With the correction, everything went together easily. The lesson is that following what was done before is generally wise but sometimes someone before has done it wrong. 

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The tape on the brake shoes is to protect the brake surface from your greasy hands and any other crap!

 

I used aluminized grade 8 bolts with the Stover nuts. Those grade 8 bolts have a aluminum coating to prevent corrosion. The Stover nuts act the same as castle-ated lock nuts but are stronger. One end of the threads are round and the other end of the nut looks like a rounded triangle. The nuts ain't coming off nor are the bolts breaking or corroding!

 

I have learned that work done by the previous owner(s) is usually not what was done originally. I have seen quite a few "work arounds" that I was scared to think if I didn't uncover them bad things would happen!

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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  • 6 months later...

After driving the car around I was hearing a pop type noise when going over speed bumps and in and out of driveways.  I friend who was helping with the center link repair by rebuilding and regreasing the inner springs and cups of the link/rod, made an adjustment and I was there to see where the adjustment was made. It alleviated the popping but didn't quite get rid of it.  I drove it on a 40 mile tour last Sunday and it popped 4 times!  This is a pop/bang and not a thud, and it happens spontaneously at low speeds.

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Have you check the toe-in/out?  It almost sounds to me as if the spring preload in the center link socket might still be too loose (i.e., too much lash).  The tires load the socket while rolling through the toe-in.  Suspension rebound after hitting a bump might suddenly unload the socket and allow the spring to expand quickly with the 'snap' occurring when the lash is suddenly taken-up.  I don't remember offhand, however, the shop manual may have the adjustment procedure.  Was the spring replaced when the joint was rebuilt?

 

This is an example from Bob's for the '40/'41 cars.  Do your cups and springs look similar?

 

image.png.f001cad6a55d9102e07ffdb9afb69f3e.png

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1 hour ago, EmTee said:

Have you check the toe-in/out?  It almost sounds to me as if the spring preload in the center link socket might still be too loose (i.e., too much lash).  The tires load the socket while rolling through the toe-in.  Suspension rebound after hitting a bump might suddenly unload the socket and allow the spring to expand quickly with the 'snap' occurring when the lash is suddenly taken-up.  I don't remember offhand, however, the shop manual may have the adjustment procedure.  Was the spring replaced when the joint was rebuilt?

 

This is an example from Bob's for the '40/'41 cars.  Do your cups and springs look similar?

 

image.png.f001cad6a55d9102e07ffdb9afb69f3e.png

We did set the toe! The springs and cups were in good shape so we cleaned them up and re-installed them.  They are very similar to the ones pictured here.  If you scroll up you'll see them!  Your assessment is along the the lines of what I was thinking.  Everyone on Sunday was throwing out possibilities of what the sound was from but nobody came up with anything close to the steering link pre-load.  Because I knew the repairs that were previously done and the small adjustment done afterwards and that same noise persisted I an sure it's the pre-load.  I'll check the for the adjustment procedure in the repair manual. 

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The hard thing to assess will be the condition of the springs.  If adjusting the preload per the book doesn't eliminate the problem, I'd probably try to source new springs and then readjust the preload.  If the last adjustment improved the situation, then I'd say you're on the right track.  ;)

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1 hour ago, EmTee said:

The hard thing to assess will be the condition of the springs.  If adjusting the preload per the book doesn't eliminate the problem, I'd probably try to source new springs and then readjust the preload.  If the last adjustment improved the situation, then I'd say you're on the right track.  ;)

Here is the description in the Buick shop manual. In the lower right of the page it describes the adjustment procedure.  But I think I am going to have to get the car on the rack and check a few the things.  After thinking about it, I need to look for one of the tie rods that's possibly binding and check the adjustment on the preload!

 

rod 

steering gear.jpg

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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10 hours ago, deac said:

After thinking about it, I need to look for one of the tie rods that's possibly binding...

I agree, do check the tie rods.  One thing to look for is to make sure the tie rod ends are securely clamped to the center link with no slip.

 

image.png.da1cfc56e1b8528a6fba1e65066ebbeb.png

 

Also make sure there is sufficient engagement of the tie rod end into the link.  Ideally, the thread engagement should be similar at each tie rod with the wheels straight ahead and the steering wheel centered.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I did check the preload (refer to the 'F nut' in the diagram in my previous post) and I found the nut improperly adjusted at approximately 2 turns out so i carefully set it at 3 1/2 turns.  As I left the shop for a test drive I immediately noticed the steering wheel had more play in it and the steering felt lighter. I gave it the real test and went over 3 successive speed bumps and on every one of those bumps I heard the pop/bang noise.  Back in the shop I adjusted the pre-load from 3 1/2 turns to 3 turns.  I didn't go for another drive as I am thinking the noise will still be there.  While under the car I tried to see if there was any sort of play in the tie rod links and they were tight; no play what so ever!

 

What I am thinking is the pop noise is only prevalent when the suspension is going up or down.  On straight and flat roads the car steers normal and no pop's heard.  So I thought it in must be tie rods because they are going to affected most by the ups and downs of the suspension!

 

I could buy the hardware for the preload assembly but I am not sure that's problem.  So what to do??

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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I think 3 to 3-1/2 turns might be too much if it isn't all worn out. I don't know how fine those threads are, but it sounds like way too much. In my opinion, Buick is doing CYA here in the manual.

 

That spring-loadedness is not a desirable thing, it is there to keep you from breaking it. You would want the car up in the air so the steering turns super easy, and the adjustment in a perfect world would be zero slop. The closer you can get to that, the better. On used parts, all the wear is at the center, so don't check it there. Check it everywhere else. Get it as tight as you can get it with NO tight spots or draggy spots. It must not drag anywhere in it's travel.

 

Don't think of this as preloading a spring. Think of it as removing all the slop. The spring loaded socket is there because there are tolerances in manufacturing, and the ball might not be perfectly spherical. After some wear, it definitely wont be perfectly spherical anymore. Some slop at the center is almost unavoidable. If Buick just said remove all the slop, then someone would tighten it up without giving it any thought. They would probably do it at center, the worst possible case, and kill somebody when the no-longer-spherical ball tightens up while turning and non-compressible metal breaks the joint apart. It needs to be checked through the entire travel and not drag anywhere. Anything beyond that is just loose steering.

 

There is one case where these joints are allowed slop. On Fords, Studebakers, and some old Chevy trucks, a joint like this is used to trigger the power steering control valve. If you take all the slop out, the power steering won't work.

On those cars as soon as there is any movement, the power steering kicks in and you so don't really ever feel the slop. I have never seen a power steering setup like that on a Buick, and I don't believe they ever offered it.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, deac said:

...on every one of those bumps I heard the pop/bang noise.

At this point I would probably back-off the adjustment a bit as Bloo suggests.  Next, I would set the car on the ground with a pry bar under one front tire.  Using a block of wood as a fulcrum, i would have someone pry up under the tire repeatedly while listening for any metal-on-metal noise and watching for any movement in the wheel, king pin and linkage joints.  Have you looked at the front shocks and their attachment at the frame and steering knuckle?  Could the bang be a loose Pitman arm or something inside the steering box?

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7 hours ago, Bloo said:

I think 3 to 3-1/2 turns might be too much if it isn't all worn out. I don't know how fine those threads are, but it sounds like way too much. In my opinion, Buick is doing CYA here in the manual.

 

That spring-loadedness is not a desirable thing, it is there to keep you from breaking it. You would want the car up in the air so the steering turns super easy, and the adjustment in a perfect world would be zero slop. The closer you can get to that, the better. On used parts, all the wear is at the center, so don't check it there. Check it everywhere else. Get it as tight as you can get it with NO tight spots or draggy spots. It must not drag anywhere in it's travel.

 

Don't think of this as preloading a spring. Think of it as removing all the slop. The spring loaded socket is there because there are tolerances in manufacturing, and the ball might not be perfectly spherical. After some wear, it definitely wont be perfectly spherical anymore. Some slop at the center is almost unavoidable. If Buick just said remove all the slop, then someone would tighten it up without giving it any thought. They would probably do it at center, the worst possible case, and kill somebody when the no-longer-spherical ball tightens up while turning and non-compressible metal breaks the joint apart. It needs to be checked through the entire travel and not drag anywhere. Anything beyond that is just loose steering.

 

There is one case where these joints are allowed slop. On Fords, Studebakers, and some old Chevy trucks, a joint like this is used to trigger the power steering control valve. If you take all the slop out, the power steering won't work.

On those cars as soon as there is any movement, the power steering kicks in and you so don't really ever feel the slop. I have never seen a power steering setup like that on a Buick, and I don't believe they ever offered it.

 

 

2 hours ago, EmTee said:

At this point I would probably back-off the adjustment a bit as Bloo suggests.  Next, I would set the car on the ground with a pry bar under one front tire.  Using a block of wood as a fulcrum, i would have someone pry up under the tire repeatedly while listening for any metal-on-metal noise and watching for any movement in the wheel, king pin and linkage joints.  Have you looked at the front shocks and their attachment at the frame and steering knuckle?  Could the bang be a loose Pitman arm or something inside the steering box?

Let me get something straight....

 

The pre-load is adjusted with this nut located at the end of the center link.  I am under the assumption that if you turn that nut in as far as it will go you are compressing the pre-load springs and the steering wheel will have the least amount of play or slop.  If you start backing out the nut then you are releasing the pre-load spring(s) and you will get increasingly slop/play.  I believe this is the case with my car.  So right now the nut is 3 turns out and those pre-load springs are hardly compressed. 

 

The car steers great on the road and at 3 turns out there is no drag when turning the wheel.  The slop is only noticeable when the tires are pointed straight.  I am pretty sure the steering box has never been rebuilt so there's is wear on those internal gears..  Though I haven't driven the car at this setting I can assume there is slop in the wheel and the pop noise will be heard over speed bumps.  So I am starting to think there's 2 repairs and then a recheck.  One is to turn the nut in so it compresses the springs and takes the slop out from the steering wheel until the pop/bang is eliminated.  Second, I think I should replace those preload springs and that will probably lessen the how far I adjust the pre-load nut!

 

So far I have adjusted the pre-load nut 2 times with the front end of jack stands so that there would not be any tension on the front suspension and the steering wheel would turn freely. I will try the prybar/fulcrum idea today and see if that uncovers any additional issues.  I attribute this issue to the steering linkage breaking apart (described above) because this has not been an issue before that happened.  Additionally the tie rod ends were replaced in the initial repair

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I will try not to be long winded here. I have determined that there is constant noise when turn the steering right and left. The noise is a clunk when the is sitting and me under the car and someone else is turning the wheel. It's coming from movement where the pitman arm an center link connect. I have a suspicion that a spring or more have collapsed or are just worn out. Bob's sells a center link rebuild kit but it's for 1941 thru 53 cars. Anyone know where I can buy rebuild kit for a 1940?

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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I didn't mean looser than this 3 turn spec, I meant tighter. Yes there are rebuild kits, and yes the parts inside the joint can be worn out, and yes they should be replaced if they are broken or otherwise damaged. That should be obvious by looking at the old parts once you remove and clean them, and anyway they are a red herring at this point. The important thing is the ball. It's the most important wear part, and is permanently attached to a piece that is not normally replaced. On Chevrolets, replacing the ball means destructively removing it, pressing out the remains, and welding a new one in place. Replacements with a nut are also available, if you can trust it. I've heard they aren't a problem but might be a little shy about doing it that way. I don't know what options are offered for Buicks.

 

You might notice modern tie rods run with no slop, and they drag. Slop is bad. One important difference is that the pressure is from the bottom, not the sides. They are tight. When they wear out, they get loose, rattly loose, and there's nothing you can do about it.

 

Most driving is done straight ahead, or close to it, and those cups wear on themselves and on the ball, mostly while straight ahead. If the car is poorly maintained (most of them when they were in daily service), or got some crap in there from the road (all of them because there isn't much to keep it out), the ball gets ground up on the sides. At this point the ball is not round. If you measured it with a micrometer, or just your eyes if it is bad enough, it will be smaller when measured side to side than measured front to back. Driving straight, that spring takes up the wear and prevents rattles if the slop isn't too bad. The spring is more or less an anti-rattle device.

 

If you adjust it too tight at the center on a worn out ball, the larger part of the ball will push out on the cups when you go off center, and the clearance will go below zero and break things. That is the basic problem. Best adjustment is almost zero clearance, or maybe .0005 or .001 or something at the tightest point in the steering, wherever that is. Ball wear can be uneven, and manufacturing may have not got it perfect in the first place. The tightest spot could be about anywhere. You just have to try it, and get as tight as you can with no tight spots. Obviously you cant have tires on the ground. Maybe you can disconnect an end and move the rod in all directions by hand. If, after doing this the straight ahead position is unacceptably loose, the ball needs to be replaced, period.

 

Those little springs are nothing compared to steering forces. They really don't do anything except prevent rattles. The ball sockets have shelves or stops that they bottom out against when you turn. The springs don't even enter into it.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, Bloo said:

I didn't mean looser than this 3 turn spec, I meant tighter. Yes there are rebuild kits, and yes the parts inside the joint can be worn out, and yes they should be replaced if they are broken or otherwise damaged. That should be obvious by looking at the old parts once you remove and clean them, and anyway they are a red herring at this point. The important thing is the ball. It's the most important wear part, and is permanently attached to a piece that is not normally replaced. On Chevrolets, replacing the ball means destructively removing it, pressing out the remains, and welding a new one in place. Replacements with a nut are also available, if you can trust it. I've heard they aren't a problem but might be a little shy about doing it that way. I don't know what options are offered for Buicks.

 

You might notice modern tie rods run with no slop, and they drag. Slop is bad. One important difference is that the pressure is from the bottom, not the sides. They are tight. When they wear out, they get loose, rattly loose, and there's nothing you can do about it.

 

Most driving is done straight ahead, or close to it, and those cups wear on themselves and on the ball, mostly while straight ahead. If the car is poorly maintained (most of them whehear the non they were in daily service), or got some crap in there from the road (all of them because there isn't much to keep it out), the ball gets ground up on the sides. At this point the ball is not round. If you measured it with a micrometer, or just your eyes if it is bad enough, it will be smaller when measured side to side than measured front to back. Driving straight, that spring takes up the wear and prevents rattles if the slop isn't too bad. The spring is more or less an anti-rattle device.

 

If you adjust it too tight at the center on a worn out ball, the larger part of the ball will push out on the cups when you go off center, and the clearance will go below zero and break things. That is the basic problem. Best adjustment is almost zero clearance, or maybe .0005 or .001 or something at the tightest point in the steering, wherever that is. Ball wear can be uneven, and manufacturing may have not got it perfect in the first place. The tightest spot could be about anywhere. You just have to try it, and get as tight as you can with no tight spots. Obviously you cant have tires on the ground. Maybe you can disconnect an end and move the rod in all directions by hand. If, after doing this the straight ahead position is unacceptably loose, the ball needs to be replaced, period.

 

Those little springs are nothing compared to steering forces. They really don't do anything except prevent rattles. The ball sockets have shelves or stops that they bottom out against when you turn. The springs don't even enter into it.

 

 

In regards to the ball, when it was disassembled the ball cleaned up well; there were no pits or scuffs and looked good.  We didn't put a micrometer on it and that ball is used right now.  At that same time there was grease on all of those parts and was no foreign particles or grittiness suspended in it.  I doubt it's the ball on the pitman arm. I only hear the pop noise when driving over speed bumps or a pronounced change in road elevation like drainage dips and driveways.  Therefore  I wonder if the clunk noise I hear when the car stationery is the same pop noise I hear going over bumps at 10 to 15 mph.  I guess I am over thinking it and won't know until I pull it apart.  

 

The center link rebuilt kit for a 40 Buick is not listed in their catalogue so if you can point me in the direction of someone who has, it would save me a lot of time.

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I don't know about a pop noise. Are you sure it even comes from this part? Is there a way to take that part loose so you can swing it in all directions to check? Adjust a little tighter and check again? Repeat? When it starts to drag, it should drag everywhere equally. I'll bet it doesn't.

 

If you are running it as loose as i think you might be, it's gonna make noise when the sockets bottom out. That, along with sloppy steering is just part of the deal, but only when adjusted too loose because the ball is worn out. When the ball isn't worn out, it shouldn't have enough play in it to make noise. The gap between the back side of those ball sockets and whatever they bump into should be basically zero if the ball is perfectly round. How could there be enough movement to make any noise?

 

Most of my experience with joints like this is decades old. I don't remember where I was getting parts, but probably NAPA or another store here "All Foreign", that is no longer extant. There was a parts man in there who could find ANYTHING, if there was just one more left in a dusty box in a warehouse somewhere, and it didn't need to be foreign. Sometimes joints like those did need internal parts. The sockets the balls ran in were sometimes plastic and they could be all torn up or broken. I've seen broken springs too. Recently I serviced a joint like that on my Pontiac, and the internal parts were all fine once cleaned up. Much to my surprise the ball was OK too. If it had been bad like I expected it to be, my plan was to check with The Filling Station, who sell a replacement ball for Chevrolet, and hope it was the same size. I don't know if it is. If it turned out to be different than Chevrolet, I would have had a real problem.

 

Since it's a Buick I guess I would call Bobs even if they don't have those parts listed. Maybe they know something.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Bob's shows this in their online catalog:  https://bobsautomobilia.com/shop/suspension-steering/1941-52-drag-link-repair-kit-dlk-412l/

 

image.png.60d2a8b70760f593679f6ec2503f5559.png

The price is kinda crazy ($202.50) so you should give them a call before ordering.  Maybe they can give you some measurements of the bits so that you can determine whether or not they might work for you.  As Bloo said, they may have other suggestions or recommendations.

 

The other (best?) alternative would be Rare Parts (https://www.rareparts.com/RP25864A-25864-CENTER-LINK-MUST-HAVE-CORE-TO-REMAN-?quantity=1&custcol_rp_part_location=FRONT%20LOWER&custcol_rp_part_application=2003590&custcol_rp_vehicle=1940-Buick-Special-40).

 

They're in Stockton, CA; I don't know how far that is from you, but maybe worth a ride to discuss with someone in-person.  They may even be willing to sell you the pieces if you want to do it yourself.

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7 hours ago, Bloo said:

I don't know about a pop noise. Are you sure it even comes from this part? Is there a way to take that part loose so you can swing it in all directions to check? Adjust a little tighter and check again? Repeat? When it starts to drag, it should drag everywhere equally. I'll bet it doesn't.

 

If you are running it as loose as i think you might be, it's gonna make noise when the sockets bottom out. That, along with sloppy steering is just part of the deal, but only when adjusted too loose because the ball is worn out. When the ball isn't worn out, it shouldn't have enough play in it to make noise. The gap between the back side of those ball sockets and whatever they bump into should be basically zero if the ball is perfectly round. How could there be enough movement to make any noise?

 

Most of my experience with joints like this is decades old. I don't remember where I was getting parts, but probably NAPA or another store here "All Foreign", that is no longer extant. There was a parts man in there who could find ANYTHING, if there was just one more left in a dusty box in a warehouse somewhere, and it didn't need to be foreign. Sometimes joints like those did need internal parts. The sockets the balls ran in were sometimes plastic and they could be all torn up or broken. I've seen broken springs too. Recently I serviced a joint like that on my Pontiac, and the internal parts were all fine once cleaned up. Much to my surprise the ball was OK too. If it had been bad like I expected it to be, my plan was to check with The Filling Station, who sell a replacement ball for Chevrolet, and hope it was the same size. I don't know if it is. If it turned out to be different than Chevrolet, I would have had a real problem.

 

Since it's a Buick I guess I would call Bobs even if they don't have those parts listed. Maybe they know something.

 

 

42 minutes ago, EmTee said:

Bob's shows this in their online catalog:  https://bobsautomobilia.com/shop/suspension-steering/1941-52-drag-link-repair-kit-dlk-412l/

 

image.png.60d2a8b70760f593679f6ec2503f5559.png

The price is kinda crazy ($202.50) so you should give them a call before ordering.  Maybe they can give you some measurements of the bits so that you can determine whether or not they might work for you.  As Bloo said, they may have other suggestions or recommendations.

 

The other (best?) alternative would be Rare Parts (https://www.rareparts.com/RP25864A-25864-CENTER-LINK-MUST-HAVE-CORE-TO-REMAN-?quantity=1&custcol_rp_part_location=FRONT%20LOWER&custcol_rp_part_application=2003590&custcol_rp_vehicle=1940-Buick-Special-40).

 

They're in Stockton, CA; I don't know how far that is from you, but maybe worth a ride to discuss with someone in-person.  They may even be willing to sell you the pieces if you want to do it yourself.

First I will tackle the preload adjustment -

 After the link was repaired ALL of the parts were cleaned and ALL of the grease was clean out of the link.  Both right and left tie rods were placed.  After inspection the internals were greased, put together and the link was installed in the car.  We were able to get the tow adjust pretty darn close to spec.  Then I test drove the car and heard the noise when going most speed bumps.  Once back at the shop adjusted the preload tighter and I went for the 2nd road test and it popped like once out 3 speed bumps.  I didn't go further with it for reasons I don't remember.  For 2 or 3 months I did other work on the car and drove basically on flat roads and the car drove impressively well; no pop noise! 2 weeks ago I drove over some speed bumps and heard to pop again. So it is only in the last 2 weeks that the preload adjust has been loosened up as I been on a quest to eliminate this issue thinking it could get worse.

 

As for locating the parts; In my preliminary internet search I have not had much luck.  However I do plan to call Bob's, Cars, Rare Parts, BOP parts and FCRC machine parts.  Out of those 4 places I think I just might find a source.

 

Once our hoist comes available my car goes up and then I will be able to assess and hopefully repair the steering issue.

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/14/2024 at 5:24 AM, EmTee said:

At this point I would probably back-off the adjustment a bit as Bloo suggests.  Next, I would set the car on the ground with a pry bar under one front tire.  Using a block of wood as a fulcrum, i would have someone pry up under the tire repeatedly while listening for any metal-on-metal noise and watching for any movement in the wheel, king pin and linkage joints.  Have you looked at the front shocks and their attachment at the frame and steering knuckle?  Could the bang be a loose Pitman arm or something inside the steering box?

 

Well I bought those steering link internal parts from Doug Seybold.  I found the springs were too long.  So the only way I could make it work is to install one of the old spring and one of the new springs.  Besides that it went together without any other issue.  I will speak to Doug about the spring length! I test drove the car.  I test drove the car and the bang noise is still there.  It's heard when going over speed bumps.  I re-read the recommendations in this thread from Emtee and Bloo and they are next diagnose procedures on my my list!  

 

I thought this noise was a result of the broken steering link.  Now I am not so sure this is an related issue.  With the tie rods replaced, the right steering link fixed and internal hardware renewed and adjusted I wonder is it's actually related or if it's a coincidental failure!

 

On 1/14/2024 at 11:01 PM, Bloo said:

I don't know about a pop noise. Are you sure it even comes from this part? Is there a way to take that part loose so you can swing it in all directions to check? Adjust a little tighter and check again? Repeat? When it starts to drag, it should drag everywhere equally. I'll bet it doesn't.

 

If you are running it as loose as i think you might be, it's gonna make noise when the sockets bottom out. That, along with sloppy steering is just part of the deal, but only when adjusted too loose because the ball is worn out. When the ball isn't worn out, it shouldn't have enough play in it to make noise. The gap between the back side of those ball sockets and whatever they bump into should be basically zero if the ball is perfectly round. How could there be enough movement to make any noise?

 

Most of my experience with joints like this is decades old. I don't remember where I was getting parts, but probably NAPA or another store here "All Foreign", that is no longer extant. There was a parts man in there who could find ANYTHING, if there was just one more left in a dusty box in a warehouse somewhere, and it didn't need to be foreign. Sometimes joints like those did need internal parts. The sockets the balls ran in were sometimes plastic and they could be all torn up or broken. I've seen broken springs too. Recently I serviced a joint like that on my Pontiac, and the internal parts were all fine once cleaned up. Much to my surprise the ball was OK too. If it had been bad like I expected it to be, my plan was to check with The Filling Station, who sell a replacement ball for Chevrolet, and hope it was the same size. I don't know if it is. If it turned out to be different than Chevrolet, I would have had a real problem.

 

Since it's a Buick I guess I would call Bobs even if they don't have those parts listed. Maybe they know something.

 

 

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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