PDA

View Full Version : Newer style center link and pitman arm?



Bitchin'57
02-08-2016, 11:38 AM
I'm not crazy about my '57's OEM Rube Goldberg setup of little springs and whatnot that connect to the pitman arm. I would like to change it out to a more modern center link that uses a Morse taper balljoint stud to connect to the pitman arm. Is there a Chevy OEM center link and pitman arm out there that will fit and work correctly? I have a CPP 500 PS box, if that matters.

Rick_L
02-08-2016, 01:26 PM
I've never heard of a complaint about the stock manual steering pitman arm connection.

If you insist though, you can use a stock power steering center link and pitman arm, and modify it to remove the unneeded features for the power steering control valve and assist cylinder. The parts to do it are available from most 55-57 parts dealers.

You should convert to a power steering idler arm also, so that the idler arm length matches the pitman arm length. This will assure you that each wheel retains the original geometry when the wheels are turned.

chevynut
02-08-2016, 01:57 PM
IMO it's unlikely that you'll find an OEM non-tri5 drag link that has the tie rod holes and idler arm in the correct location. I also don't see how changing a spring and socket configuration to a valve accomplishes anything. What's wrong with the stock setup? It seems to work well.

markm
02-08-2016, 02:16 PM
I really don't remember the stock setup as being problematic, have to agree with Rick and Cnut on this one. Is this the same car with the Chevelle/ Camaro spindles.

Bitchin'57
02-08-2016, 02:19 PM
IMO it's unlikely that you'll find an OEM non-tri5 drag link that has the tie rod holes and idler arm in the correct location. I also don't see how changing a spring and socket configuration to a valve accomplishes anything. What's wrong with the stock setup? It seems to work well.
It just seems to me that it is more complicated than it needs to be. I'm a simple man, I like simple solutions.

Bitchin'57
02-08-2016, 02:20 PM
I really don't remember the stock setup as being problematic, have to agree with Rick and Cnut on this one. Is this the same car with the Chevelle/ Camaro spindles.
Yes, it is the same car. I'm doing a full rotisserie resto-mod on it.

chevynut
02-08-2016, 04:07 PM
It just seems to me that it is more complicated than it needs to be. I'm a simple man, I like simple solutions.

Cut off the pitman ball, cut off the drag link and weld a new internally threaded end onto it, and use a heim. That's simple :). I did something like that on a gasser frame we built.

Rick_L
02-08-2016, 05:26 PM
Simplest solution is to keep what's there, you can buy the small parts new and make it factory fresh if needed.

If you don't like the springs, replace them with solid spacers. That's the next simplest solution. The joint will then act the same as what you're dreaming about.

I like the design because you can work on it and fix it if needed. If you had a center link from a 60s/70s car, you can't work on it, you need to buy a $150-200 remanufactured replacement, just because of that ball joint with the tapered pin.

There's only two reasons there's a problem with either type.
1. Never been greased.
2. Collision damage.

Bitchin'57
02-09-2016, 01:38 PM
Simplest solution is to keep what's there, you can buy the small parts new and make it factory fresh if needed.

If you don't like the springs, replace them with solid spacers. That's the next simplest solution. The joint will then act the same as what you're dreaming about.

I like the design because you can work on it and fix it if needed. If you had a center link from a 60s/70s car, you can't work on it, you need to buy a $150-200 remanufactured replacement, just because of that ball joint with the tapered pin.

There's only two reasons there's a problem with either type.
1. Never been greased.
2. Collision damage.
What is the purpose of the springs?

Rick_L
02-09-2016, 02:47 PM
I'm guessing it's to lessen the shock of hitting a pothole or the like on the steering box. Also that shock could be transmitted through the box to the steering wheel, though there's a lot of reverse leverage working against that.

The springs also preload the joint without sideplay in a very simple manner, and the preload adjustment is very forgiving and easy.

Two things come to mind:
1. The recirculating ball steering box was an all new design in 55, as was the steering linkage.
2. Roads were a lot worse in the mid 50s than now.

markm
02-09-2016, 02:51 PM
I really think this is a pretty good design. About all I remember doing to center link was cleaning it and checking for wear.

enigma57
08-22-2016, 05:09 AM
On one of my '55s back in the early '70s, I modified the drag link and idler arm setup so it was easier to steer and to take the slop out. But now of days you can buy kits to replace the idler arm bushings with bearings. If these kits are as good as the old Moog replacement idler arms that were factory built with bearings then they would be a worthwhile upgrade.

Where the pitman arm connected, I just disassembled it and then cleaned it out with kerosene whilst I had the drag link off the car and after it was dry, reassembled the joint with new grease. I did add a hardened flat washer to each side, between spring end and cups that fit on either side of ball on pitman arm to increase spring pressure and tighten the joint a bit though. Worked just fine.

As Rick mentioned earlier, I believe the pitman arm connection has spring loaded cups to dampen road shock from being transferred to steering box, steering column and steering wheel. These cars in their original configuration were built without rag joints to prevent transfer of shock.

Happy Motoring,

Harry