2nd Generation

SOLID BEAM AXLE, RACK AND PINION STEERING

This is the second truck I've fitted with the Rack and Pinion steering.  A customers 1958 Transtar 1/2 ton pickup with a 429 Cobra Jet Ford engine that steered really hard and had a lopsided turning radius.  It would turn in a 20-foot circle going to the left but needed 60 feet when turned to the right.  Let's fix it.

The power rack is a custom built unit from Maval Engineering in Twinsburg Ohio.  They started with a Thunderbird Rack and replaced the inner tierods with modified pieces that would allow a direct fit to the original LH an RH threaded Studebaker outer tierod ends.  The length of the inner tierods was adjusted to be the correct width for this truck.  This rack was a front mount unit.  EG it mounts forward of the axle.  The pump was a model 2 GM unit with pressure adjusted to match the needs of the rack.

To use it I had to fabricate the rack mount frame, a new steering shaft and mount the power steering pump, hoses and cooler, as well as redesigned front shock mounts.  I was able to retain the original steering column.

Let's look at some pictures with some brief explanations in text:


The subject truck:


The right and left spindles are swapped to cause the steering arms to point forward instead of aft.


 

A rack mount was fabricated from steel plate to mount the Rack to the forward side of the axle.


 

Looking at the rack mount bracket from the LH and RH sides


 

The position of the rack forced relocation of the lower shock mounts.  New ones were fabricated from angle iron as shown below.


 

The rack looked like this when installed


 

The steering column was modified with nylon bushings and cut off to correct length to fit as shown here.


 

In the engine bay the shaft runs as shown here.  These photos were taken while the wooden dowel used for mock-up was still in place.


 


 

In the final installation the shaft consisted of a vibration absorbing u-joint of both the upper and lower end and a telescoping segment in the shaft.  This combination seemed to "soften" the road feel considerably, mostly eliminating the harshness experienced in the first effort at this installation. 

Although the customer is pleased with the overall result and the truck steers and drives well on the road there is room for improvement.  Stand by for the next iteration of improvements.   Ackerman is off slightly resulting in minor scuffing of one front tire when the wheels are turned sharply either direction.  This will be fixed in the next iteration of this project.

 

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