How-To Set Up The Steering
Australian Street Rodding|December 2020
Fitting steering column and linkages to the Model A Bucket

The previous tech article on the disc brake adaption for the Model A bucket re-creation project also detailed the work involved in fitting steering arms that would clear the Gary Page dropped I-beam axle. Essentially I used forged steering arms that are designed to fit down under the lower boss on the stub axles, the only way I could successfully achieve clearance between steering arm and dropped axle end as the steering is turned through its full arc of operation. Even then I had to have the tapers for the tie rod ends reversed to position the tie-rod above the steering arms rather than below, in order to clear the hairpin radius rods. That also meant a change to the height of the front spring perch, but as described in that previous article it all works now.

Having solved those clearance mysteries, it is time to move on with the rest of the steering system for the Model A bucket. The forged steering arms that I used are only available in left-hand drive versions so the extra tie-rod end hole was on the wrong side for our RHD requirements. The extra hole was cut off the right side steering arm and I used a double-eye tie-rod end on the left side to gain the required outer mounting position for a cross-steer drag link. That means a slightly shorter drag link tube that will compensate for the longer double-eye tie-rod end.

Before turning my attention to the rest of the steering system I made up a Panhard bar to go between the axle and the tie-rod to prevent “jacking” between the cross-steering system and the chassis. This is always necessary when using cross-steering on a beam axle front end or unstable handling characteristics will be encountered. Such a Panhard bar should be as long as possible, as close to parallel with the drag-link as possible, and always anchored to the chassis on the same side as the steering box and to the axle/ suspension on the opposite side to the steering box.

The hairpin radius rod batwings are made to suit left-hand drive vehicles, so even though they incorporate a mounting point for a Panhard bar, it is on the wrong side batwing for our RHD vehicles. That means an aftermarket bracket that bolts to the inside of the left side batwing were required and I was able to obtain one of these from Gary Wright at Early Hot Rod Parts. The chassis end mount I made myself from sections of RHS cut to shape and drilled to allow the chassis end of the panhard bar to pivot inside it.

The panhard bar itself I made from a length of stainless steel tube (so I could polish it) and a pair of right and left hand threaded Heim's joints. The stainless steel bar came from Midway Metals as an off-cut and only required cutting to length, drilling out slightly to the tapping size for 1/2 inch 20 shaft thread, and purchasing a couple of locking nuts for each end. The heim joints were sourced from Statewide Linear Bearings in Dandenong South, Victoria and are of the highest aircraft quality you can get – as used on race cars. Don’t use anything less on a vital component like a panhard bar.

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