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Offline slowride

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4 hour project
« on: May 02, 2014, 07:03:45 PM »
Owning older cars means we have to often chase problems. When my rack was worn beyond repair, I replaced it and the difference was astounding. What that ALSO did was make the NEXT weak link more obvious. In my case, it was the slop in the rag joint and the splines to the rack. Rather than beat that dead horse, I decided to replace the rag joint with a steering u-joint. I searched the forums and didn't find anything definitive (other than one person that used a weld-on joint... wasn't going there), so I determined a 9/16"-26 X 3/4" DD joint would work with minimal fabrication.
Removing the steering column is WAY too easy. 2 connectors, 4 nuts holding the column to the dash, and 1 pinch bolt on the rack shaft. When it was out I merely unbolted the lower shaft, cut off the "T" and ground the end to snugly fit the "DD" end of the u-joint. Ground a slot for the pinch bolt (keeps it from sliding apart should it come loose), and re-assembled. If I had a mill here it would have been quicker, but with basic tools it was 4 hours from beginning to end.
The nice thing is the steering is INSANELY tighter with NO slop. There is no increase in transmitted road noise that I can detect, just far more accurate steering.
If you have 4 hours to spare and would like to tighten up the steering a bit, consider eliminating the rag joint for 4 hours work and a $90 investment.



Offline DreamBean

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Re: 4 hour project
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2014, 09:27:38 PM »
Great Info Slowride!!! Looks nice.
Go Ford, Go Fast Or Go Home!

Offline Rob3865

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Re: 4 hour project
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2014, 10:20:47 PM »
Nice work.

Offline Reeves1

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Re: 4 hour project
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2014, 01:45:35 AM »
What year car ?

My 72 steering points towards the frame rail.
That is why I'm going to try/use two u-joints & some 3/4" bar.

Offline slowride

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Re: 4 hour project
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2014, 08:50:39 AM »
What year car ?

My 72 steering points towards the frame rail.
That is why I'm going to try/use two u-joints & some 3/4" bar.
This was done on my '74 wagon. There are a couple things that made this easier than you'd think. The lower shaft connects to the upper with a DD style connection which provides 3/8" of length adjustment. The top of the lower shaft also has a u-joint, so no angle was acute making steering smooth throughout rotation. I'm not familiar with earlier models, so can't say if what I did applies to them.

Offline Reeves1

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Re: 4 hour project
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2014, 08:56:11 AM »
I have the lower one needed.
I have the 3/4" smooth x 3/4" smooth on the way.
I have the heat treated 3/4" solid rod.

I'll post my results when I do this.

Offline skeeter88

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Re: 4 hour project
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2014, 10:02:43 AM »
thanks for the post's guys. looking forward to Reeves results. would like this on the 71.

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: 4 hour project
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2014, 11:18:19 PM »
I like the way that turned out. I just have a fear of steering u-joints myself. I've read of failures & even a Car Craft editor had one break at 65 mph on the highway & lost the steering. I wish there was a backup to a broken joint so you weren't screwed & praying to not wreck.
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Offline Srt

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Re: 4 hour project
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2014, 02:58:18 AM »
I like the way that turned out. I just have a fear of steering u-joints myself. I've read of failures & even a Car Craft editor had one break at 65 mph on the highway & lost the steering. I wish there was a backup to a broken joint so you weren't screwed & praying to not wreck.


hence the introduction of the 'rag' joint.
the only substitute for cubic inches is BOOST!!!

Offline slowride

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Re: 4 hour project
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2014, 07:14:28 PM »

hence the introduction of the 'rag' joint.
Until you realize on the later models there's a FACTORY u-joint above the rag joint!

Offline Rob3865

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Re: 4 hour project
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2014, 07:38:37 PM »
Do you have a brand and part # for the U joint?

Offline slowride

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Re: 4 hour project
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2014, 07:56:31 PM »
Unisteer 8050230. After more than a week driving it like this, gotta say I'm REALLY happy with the results.

Offline Srt

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Re: 4 hour project
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2014, 03:21:06 AM »
Until you realize on the later models there's a FACTORY u-joint above the rag joint!
it's a safety issue. one fails the other allows you to keep on truckin' (so to speak) keeps you from doing a faceplant into oncoming traffic.
the only substitute for cubic inches is BOOST!!!

Offline amc49

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Re: 4 hour project
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2014, 04:31:11 AM »
The upper u-joint parts trap in such a way as to retain the connection even if the joint fails. I've rebuilt that shaft back in the past with a new rag joint rather than pay the $150 for entire shaft they wanted at the time.

I rebuilt a manual rack too, even the gear interchange. Once the gear-to-gear gets loose time to shuck it for new, or so they say. Instead, I yanked the pinion, flipped shaft 180 and re-indexed the pinion gear in half out. That way half the wear is pretty much gone. They wear mostly at the steering centered gear-to-gear position from repeat hits to wheels shocking the rack assembly. The half repaired worn rack then can try to seize slightly at its' wear pattern which does not then match the pinion, it shows only at very low effort slight correction to stay in the lane you are in. More force instantly frees it but the lockup for a fractional second is very disconcerting. Take the rack and adjust it sideways one way or the other after looking at the outer tie rods to determine if one has more distance to give up, you can then re-adjust ties one in more than normal and one out slightly more than normal to make them not even but still engaged enough so that there is plenty of meat holding the lesser amount one on. All that places the 'notchy' rack wear spot more to one side rather than close to center and then the lockup spot is out to where you will always be using bigger force to move it at that time like turning into a parking space. The tight spot has essentially disappeared and rack is nice and tight like one much younger in age. I drove the M II I had like that for years after doing it.