HELP! Completely stumped on a front suspension probmel
I have a 66 that I did a frame-off restoration on, and I replaced every part on the front end of the car and upgraded to 4WD disc brakes. I had to upgrade to 15" wheels, and opted for the 15x7 Rally One wheels with 235/60's that I somehow convinced myself would fit. So aside from the fact that they rub on all 4 corners of the car, the front suspension and steering have a problem I didn't expect to encounter.
The steering doesn't return to center at all. It's been aligned carefully, but to no avail. It has a new steering box and pump (and every other part) but no joy. It's like in the old days when you had worn out ball joints and a steering box that was loose and had the lash cranked down too tight. I can go around a sharp corner and let go of the wheel and it won't move a bit.
Any ideas? Anyone encounter this? Are the 235/60's too wide for the amount of caster we can extract from the original A Arms?
One other clue comes to mind. When stopped, if I rev up the engine a bit the wheel turns to the right. Never seen that before. I think both the pump and the box are Cardone parts...
Also, any tips for keeping the trim rings on those aftermarket Rally One wheels? I have lost 2 already.
Last edited by Cletus; 12-09-2012 at 09:58 PM.
Reason: additional info
We're running 245/60r15's (a scant wider than yours) on our '66 Lemans convertible with original power drum brakes and RallyII 15/7 rims, and they juuust fit with no rubbing whatsoever.And they return quite swell after cornering. Also running original A frames. You probably need offset rims if you're running disks. I suspect that may be your problem. How much of an offset, i'm not quite sure of that, other members on this forum would definitely know the answer to that one. We had a new frame and springs installed 6 years ago (just got it back last year- long story, another post for the future)-when we got the car back, the positive camber was pegged out max. After pulling it apart, I found the the guy who installed the springs didn't make sure that they were seated in the upper housings properly, making any negative camber nearly impossible.There is a small inspection hole-tough to see, but can be done.(can also look at the front of car on a level surface and see if the front tires are standing nearly straight up and down. I would check that, first off). I aligned ours myself with a tape measure and by eye-take your hands off the wheel and it goes down the road straight as an arrow! I actually saw the problem you described about the wheel turning when you rev the engine about 30 years ago with my '56 New Yorker-turned out to be a sticking diverting or spool valve within the power steering box-(forgot exactly what I did to fix it, but remember it was a relitively easy fix). Possibly that steering box is defective? Recheck those rim offsets first, before you condemn the box, though. Hope you get those problems worked out soon! G.
Thanks for the tips. I called Ames Performance to find out if anyone else had experienced problems like this, and they said that they hadn't heard complaints about the 15x7 Rally 1 wheels they sell as being the culprit for rubbing or this strange centering issue. I had my springs out (of course) so there's a chance I horked up the install. I will investigate and report back. The tires rub on the right side of the front, and both rears are rubbing a bit on the outside. I will find out what the offset is of those wheels and report back so others don't follow in my footsteps. The car handles surprisingly well for such a dinosaur.
I have the same wheels on my 66 and no issues (see pics). If I am remembering correctly, the fronts are 225/70/15 and rear is 245/60/15, but I need to double check... The fronts would rub a little when cornering, but went away once I installed a heavier front sway bar. I think my buddy (runs alignment rack at GM dealership) did the alignment to factory specs, or close to it.
Regarding trim rings... The friction tangs on the rings will leave a mark on the wheel where they make contact. Clean that area well with some brake clean, and gob a little silicone at the point where the tangs sit once installed. Now when you put the rings on, the silicone will help provide a little extra holding power once it dries. Another good option is the black silicone maker from "The Right Stuff", which comes in the small pressurized can. This stuff has better holding power than silicone. There may be better ideas out there, but I have not lost a ring yet.
ooh. Forgot one thing- when I got those big tires on, I did have a little rubbing on both sides at first when making sharp corners....the inner fender well was bent slightly on the right side, on the very bottom edge, making contact with the tread. Bent it back, then adjusted BOTH inner fender well to cowl retaining brackets. You'll have to remove tires, make sure car is securely stabilized (jack stands) and loosen bracket bolts (from under wheel well) and the other inner fender bolts(ones in the middle of fender well, not on the fender lip), and put your foot on the inner fender well and push up and in,(the inner fender WILL move)then tighten bolts. For me, it was INSTANT gratification!!!! NEVER any noise after that!!!!! Also, there is tons of room on the rear tire to fender clearances! G. P.S.- LOVE THOSE REDLINES!!!!!
Last edited by gjones; 12-10-2012 at 11:49 PM.
What spindles did you use when you converted to disc brakes? Wheel width won't generally affect wheel return for on-center steering. Lack of caster will. Depending on your now modified front end geometry, you need to dial more positive caster in to get your wheels to return to center. Picture a motorcycle: a chopper has a ton of positive caster, a trials bike not so much. Caster adds stability and self-centering steering to the equation. Since yours is modified, and has big radial tires, I would try to get at least a degree or three positive caster out of it. As a side note, the "wrong" spindles can totally screw up the caster adjustment and also the ackerman principle (tracking in turns) that the car was engineered with originally.
Thanks for the tips. I will re-examine the clearance issues and try "influencing" the fender wells. I tore into it tonight and observed that the collective links are pretty tight. I got the disk brake/spindle kit from "the right stuff" but it was advertised as "direct replacement" meaning no change to geometry... I noticed that the center link to idler arm connection is wrong...one or the other isn't right. the stud is either too small or the hole is too big in the link...never a dull moment. I still need to validate the backspacing on the wheels. I am going to replace the power steeting pump as a precautionary measure (it's new, but they are cheap and I would like to remove it from the equation). I think the springs may be a bit saggy (one of the few original parts remaining)....could those contribute? I will get to the bottom of this and report.
I love the idea of the silicone on the Rally 1 rings. By the way, I contacted the manufacturer of those (I bought them from Ames) but the Mfr says those rings aren't designed for that wheel. When I lost one, I bought one from them direct and they sent a deeper dish. Looked ugly, but stays on...
Like geeteeohguy said- re-check those spindles make and sure they're the correct ones. Also, like I said previously- make sure the springs are properly positioned in their housings on top.(And turned into the notches correctly- I about ripped my hair out over that one!).You'll never get it to align if those are not in their upper housings correctly. G. I might be wrong, but I don't think the pump would cause the problem you described.
Last edited by gjones; 12-11-2012 at 11:10 PM.
Reason: power steering pump
I bought the spindles and all the front end parts from "All The Right Stuff Detailing" and I am not sure how to verify if they are correct. They assured me that the gear they sent would fit, but I have discovered that these folks don't really know GTO's. They sent the wrong center link and never could get me the right one, and also screwed up the control arm bushing order as well. Today, I discovered that the idler arm they gave me actually was incorrect as well. So, given their lousy performance so far, I am suspicous of the spindles. The idler arm was very stiff, and oversized, but I am not sure it would have offered that much resistance to keep the front from centering. I am not sure I can find that original paperwork on those spindles. I changed out the steering box (for the new one I had in originally) and I will test it out over the next couple days to see if there is any change.
Any suggestion on how I might validate those spindles?
Also, all 4 wheels are rubbing with the Ames 15x7 and the BFG 235/60's. The alingment shop claims they tried to put as much caster in as possible. I read up on this prior to the second alignment attempt, but these things don't have that much adjustment?
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