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Author Topic: track rod length  (Read 892 times)

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05omegav6

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track rod length
« on: 06 January 2011, 02:02:11 »

does anyone know the default length of the track rods?

I'm about to finally sort out my front suspension. I'll be replacing the lower arms with non delphi ('coz they're shite)ones, the shocks with gm ones, and also the track rods and drop links.

I suspect that the track rods on the car are the wrong length following several attempts to get the car to drive straight.

What I intend to do is:

1. Centre the steering so that the central tie rod is precisely where it needs to be.
2. Fit the new track rods ready adjusted to approximately the correct length.
3. Connect track rods to hubs.

I accept that this is NOT the final solution, but it would be nice to drive the car to its Mot, and then to WIM, without destroying another pair of tyres.

Thanks in advance,
Al.
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2woody

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #1 on: 06 January 2011, 08:23:26 »

that's EXACTLY the way I'd do it.
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feeutfo

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #2 on: 06 January 2011, 09:06:14 »

Yes, but in addition once the works done, drive the car a couple of feet and park it with steering wheel straight(hopefully the pitman arm will be straight ahead also)then get down and look along the side of the car to line up the toe setting with the rear wheels. Think rifle site, and aim theline of the edges of the front wheels with the leading edge of the rear, then just reach in to thetrack rod and adjust as necessary, which will be dead easy with new track rods.

Drive the car a couple of feet after each adjustment parking with the steering straight each time and re check. Repeat as necessary both sides.

Measuring the track rod to get it the same as the old one is all you can do on the car if you have the correct parts. Thing is that method can give fairly enormous error once checked. The correct toe is 0.10 minutes toe in, plus or minus 0.05. Unless adjusted on the floor after the work there's a good chance you'll see errors of up to 5.0 degrees by measuring rod length which can make the car undriveable and muller the tyres with an effect on the handling for the rest of the tyres life.

Try the rifle site thing. Take your time with it and repeat the process a couple of times until happy. You'll be surprised how accurate you can get it with patience.
« Last Edit: 06 January 2011, 09:09:10 by chrisgixer »
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Kevin Wood

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #3 on: 06 January 2011, 09:48:55 »

I find you can get a non-tyre-chewing toe setting by strapping two lengths of wood, metal, etc to the wheel rims, extending forward a couple of feet and measure in 2 places, adjusting equally on each side until they are parallel.

Kevin
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05omegav6

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #4 on: 06 January 2011, 20:29:47 »

Cheers for the replies. :y

Quote
hopefully the pitman arm will be straight ahead also

My wheel never was straight, (about 5 past 12 iirc). Which may explain some of the control issues that I was having. The tracking was set with the wheel dead straight, thus confusing the steering box. Not helped by sponge delphi wishbones. >:(

Am I right in thinking that the pitman arm position is more critical than the actual wheel position?
If so will it be parallel to the chassis leg when in the correct place?

Thanks again,
Al.
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feeutfo

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #5 on: 07 January 2011, 10:04:32 »

Delphi wishbones are a rather disgrace, somebody said there was a recall on them from Delphi a while back, not sure if that's true though. Although I have Delphi track rods as do several others on here without issue Afaik.

I wouldn't worry too much about the set up of the steering assembly at this stage personally. More a case of getting it to wim without destroying the tires and let them do the rest.

 The Pitman arm should be fine unless the steering wheel has been moved to compensate poor tracking set up, bit yes the pitman arm, and hence steering idler, should point in the direction travel of the wheels, so if the wheels are straight ahead so should the p.arm be, it's important for the steering box damper.

Steering wheel deflection mentioned can easily be accounted for by worn tyres, even once set correctly.
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Kevin Wood

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #6 on: 07 January 2011, 10:22:50 »

Quote
Am I right in thinking that the pitman arm position is more critical than the actual wheel position?

Yes, it is, because the steering box is damped around the "straight ahead" position to stop the car wandering.

If a cowboy has centred the steering wheel by removing it and replacing it straight, instead of clamping it in the straight ahead position and setting the toe, this relationship will have been disturbed.

In addition, if the arm is offset at the straight ahead position it will change the geometry. 

Quote
If so will it be parallel to the chassis leg when in the correct place?

Pass, but if you want to check properly, there is apparently a marking that should line up where the steering column enters the steering box. Need to do a bit of dismantling to find it, though.

Kevin
« Last Edit: 07 January 2011, 10:24:13 by Kevin_Wood »
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05omegav6

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #7 on: 07 January 2011, 21:57:47 »

Righty ho. Cheers for that.

AFIK the steering wheel has never been off. It has been at 5 past 12 ever since I acquired the car from Thames Valley.  :-/

Quote
Yes, it is, because the steering box is damped around the "straight ahead" position to stop the car wandering.

I thought this might be the case. There are probably several reasons why the car was behaving the way that is was. I'm hoping that by ensuring that the steering box is centred, I will be able to put everything back in more or less the right place. :)

When the tracking was done they did this with the wheel straight, despite my insisting that the natural position was 12:05. >:( I'm sure that this mis set the steering box as the vagueness changed with vehicle speed making the car totally unpredictable, rather than just a bit woolly, I can only hope that the thousand miles or so that I did whilst trying to get to the bottom of the problem hasn't knackered the steering box. :-/

Still once the wishbones arrive from Germany we'll soon find out... :y
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feeutfo

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #8 on: 08 January 2011, 00:46:51 »

Swap the front wheels to the opposit side, if the steering is not straight after set up btw. Or fit new tyres. Steering box will be fine.
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05omegav6

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #9 on: 09 January 2011, 19:53:08 »

Ok ta. Will report back... :y
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JasonH

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #10 on: 09 January 2011, 20:10:41 »

Quote
Swap the front wheels to the opposit side, if the steering is not straight after set up btw. Or fit new tyres. Steering box will be fine.

You can't do that if you've got a directional tread pattern....

Regarding getting the tracking roughly right I have two points to add:
1) I tried measuring the old ones extremely carefully then setting the replacements to be exactly the same lengths. The tracking was miles out  >:(
2) What does work very well for me is a piece of string tied round the back of the back wheel. You can pull it taught and use it like a horizontal plumb line to get the front wheel parallel with the back wheel. If the back wheel toe is correct I find I can get the front toe very close indeed (aiming for almost parallel with a smidgen of toe in).
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05omegav6

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #11 on: 09 January 2011, 21:10:59 »

Quote
You can't do that if you've got a directional tread pattern...

What tread pattern? The fronts have just enough tread to be recognised as tyres.

Earlier thread (about july?) would perhaps explain my reluctance to use current track rod settings. Basically I don't trust them.
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Kevin Wood

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #12 on: 09 January 2011, 21:29:59 »

Quote
When the tracking was done they did this with the wheel straight, despite my insisting that the natural position was 12:05. >:( I'm sure that this mis set the steering box....

Hang on... If the relationship between the steering wheel and the steering box has not been changed, then they were correct to adjust in the centre position, as the steering box will have been in the centre of the damping "zone".

If the car doesn't then drive straight in that position, something else is wrong - either camber difference left-right, the toe was not adjusted correctly (maybe there's a little slack in the steering and the toe moved during adjustment) or some other factor such as tyre problems caused the issue.

Either way, adjusting with the steering box not central will make matters worse.

If you  suspect the steering box not to be central the only solution is to get to the marking where it joins the steering column and check. Then get the geometry properly set with the wheel central; then get some new tyres on.

In fact, I might be inclined to try new tyres first if you're currently on slicks. ;) Some tyres make an Omega drive horribly when they are getting low on tread.

Kevin
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markfree

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #13 on: 09 January 2011, 21:32:50 »

Jasonh is right - you can't swap tyres diagonally as most tyres are designed to rotate one way - there will be an arrow on the tyre showing direction of rotation - if there isn't one then I guess it's ok to swap diagonally.
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05omegav6

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Re: track rod length
« Reply #14 on: 09 January 2011, 22:03:02 »

Quote
Hang on... If the relationship between the steering wheel and the steering box has not been changed

I've never had the steering wheel or box off, nothing in history to suggest either. :-/
Will rummage for the guide on steering box alignment marks to make certain that it is centred regardless of wheel position.

Car had also eaten wishbone bushes in about 3 weeks/3kmiles. Current tyres lasted less than 1k. >:(
I suspect more was going on than just wishbone bushes, hence replacing everything that connects the front wheels to the car.

Haven't decided yet whether to replace the tyres on their own or invest in a new set of Elite wheels. May just do tyres for now. :-/
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