04 May 2014

Project Donkey Dick

With 8 months of road time on the old 40,
the most glaring problem so far was the steering ratio.
In the beginning,
it was a bit of a surprise to need to spin the wheel 
2 times to make a simple turn.
With so many modifications untested,
(remember the axle split?)
it felt best to rack up the miles 
and just deal with it before making any major changes.
I had been searching for a longer pitman arm for months,
and the Big 3 swap gave up only this GM version.
I chose to trust my fabbing skills rather than a Chinese Speedway arm.
Measurements were taken using my precision instrumentation techniques.
The key here is matching the distance the spindle arm moves,
with the distance the pitman arm moves...
...and figure the extra length needed...
...using tools from possibly the civil war.
Somehow all this coincided with one of the hotter days on record,
of course with Santa Ana winds.
A rough V was cut,
and a deep chamfer ground away.
The most important thing here 
was to not accidentally reverse the conical tie rod hole direction.
No issues,
but next time I'll punch a mark instead of using sharpie.
I missed taking a picture of the welding table setup.
Imagine a bunch of tarps and a 5-gallon bucket.
For what it's worth,
the tig welding requires 200% concentration.
I was lucky Pandora had a good tune selection.
The end result produced the notorious donkey dick.
There was no way to match the slender Ford arm,
to the chunky GM arm,
without over-grinding a basically unseen part.
The part passed the hammer test,
and slipped on like it was custom built.
There are always butterflies testing a new part,
especially a serious piece in the steering mechanism.
The first 20 or so miles were around town,
where the arm would get the most strain,
around corners and 3-point turns.
So much better.
Harder to steer but no more wide radii.
The weekend we survived a 50 mile freeway trip.
Smooth as silk.
While there may be some concerns,
the pitman arm on Chief had the same treatment...
...and so did the eyes on the spindle arms.
11 years so far!

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