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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Brand new, Concept One steering box in my 55 chev. I am using the stock control arms and all other stock 55 parts. I have been told that I have a problem with the caster adjustment. I have no knowledge of the steeing system on these old cars
The problem is staight line driving especially on couyntry roads. I have been told that one of the fixes is to remove the top control arms and replace the cross shafts with aftermarket cross shafts that allow for the amount of caster to fix my problem. Does anyone know if this is true? Also is there another fix besides doing this? Need to know can't drive the car the way it is.

Lastly, is there a way of removing the top control arms and keeping the coil springs in place without loosing them?

Gary
 

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Can you be more specific, does it pull or wander. Do you have any alignment readings maybe the caster readings?
 

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Yes, an alignment shop will usually give you a printout of the adjustments. True, you usually need offset shafts or tubular upper control arms to get enough caster for power steering. You can change the upper arms without removing the springs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
55 front end wander

Can you be more specific, does it pull or wander. Do you have any alignment readings maybe the caster readings?
Well the guy that I had helping me who is very sharp but difficult to get to come and help, while on a test drive showed me that the steering wheel had a litle play left to right while driving. He then took the car over a rise and when the car went up and over the crest of the hill when it came down,....it wandered left then right, then setled down

He smiled and told me it was a caster problem (straight line driving) and I have been waiting three weeks for him to get back to me, so I thought I would try to find out from you guys what I might do.

I have been told that I could replace both cross shafts in the top control arms to fix the problem by buying offset cross shafts

Is there any other fix for this? Oh I went back to the alignment shop and tried to get some paperwork to no avail.
I almost forgot to thank you for your time for e-mailing me.
Any ideas would be appreciated
Maybe I'll bite the bullet and call this guy again tionight. He is unbelievably sharp, its just getting him to my shop that is the problem. He does not respond to money

Kind regards Garys Gearbox

Gary Howard
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
top control arms

Yes, an alignment shop will usually give you a printout of the adjustments. True, you usually need offset shafts or tubular upper control arms to get enough caster for power steering. You can change the upper arms without removing the springs.
How does one go about removing the top control arms? Do you jack up the car and allow the front wheels to hang and then remove the top control arms

Or do you have to compress the spring before removing the control arm?
I do not want to get killed, LOL

Gary
 

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Gary, the offset upper shafts will get you up to 2 degrees positive caster. New upper control arms from Heidts, CPP, Williams, etc, will get you up to 5-6 degrees positive. Seems like somewhere around 5 positive is optimal for radial tires and power steering.

Sure would be nice to know how much caster you have now, and if there's any way to adjust for more without going out of spec on camber.

You don't have to remove the spring, but you should use a chain or a factory-style spring compressor to make sure the spring doesn't go flying when you remove the spindle from the upper ball joint.
 

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I HAD THE VERY SAME PROBLEM WITH MY '55 WITH POWER STEERING. THE THING IS, YOU CANNOT GET MUCH MORE THAN 1 DEGREE OF POSITIVE CASTER IN THESE CARS USING THE ORIGINAL UPPER CONTROL ARMS AND CROSS SHAFTS. I PURCHASED NEW TUBULAR UPPER CONTROL ARMS THAT HAD 5 DEGREES OF CASTER DESIGNED INTO THEM AND ONCE THEY WERE INSTALLED PROBLEM SOLVED. I BELIEVE MINE IS SET AT 4 DEGREES OF POSITIVE CASTER. DRIVES STRAIGHT DOWN THE ROAD NOW. YOU DO NOT NEED TO REMOVE THE FRONT SPRINGS TO INSTALL THE UPPER ARMS. ALSO, YOU DO NOT NEED TO REPLACE THE LOWER ARMS. THE JOB IS ACTUALLY PRETTY EASY. GOOD LUCK. :gba:
 

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Trifive Automotive Electrical Wiring Expert
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How does one go about removing the top control arms? Do you jack up the car and allow the front wheels to hang and then remove the top control arms

Or do you have to compress the spring before removing the control arm?
I do not want to get killed, LOL

Gary
You have to jack/support the car by the lower control arm. Do NOT allow the front wheels to hang. See "Upper Control Arm Spherical Joint". It may be easier to take the ball joint off the upper control arm rather than take it off the spindle ( steering knuckle), unless it is still rivited on. If it's still rivited, it probably needs replaceing, since that's an original ball joint. :) ..... http://chevy.oldcarmanualproject.com/shop/1955/55csm0310.html ....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you

I HAD THE VERY SAME PROBLEM WITH MY '55 WITH POWER STEERING. THE THING IS, YOU CANNOT GET MUCH MORE THAN 1 DEGREE OF POSITIVE CASTER IN THESE CARS USING THE ORIGINAL UPPER CONTROL ARMS AND CROSS SHAFTS. I PURCHASED NEW TUBULAR UPPER CONTROL ARMS THAT HAD 5 DEGREES OF CASTER DESIGNED INTO THEM AND ONCE THEY WERE INSTALLED PROBLEM SOLVED. I BELIEVE MINE IS SET AT 4 DEGREES OF POSITIVE CASTER. DRIVES STRAIGHT DOWN THE ROAD NOW. YOU DO NOT NEED TO REMOVE THE FRONT SPRINGS TO INSTALL THE UPPER ARMS. ALSO, YOU DO NOT NEED TO REPLACE THE LOWER ARMS. THE JOB IS ACTUALLY PRETTY EASY. GOOD LUCK. :gba:
So did you compress the spring? Or can you leave it hang, or is there another trick? May I ask you which company did you choose to purchase the tube control arms from
gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Color of your car

Gary, the offset upper shafts will get you up to 2 degrees positive caster. New upper control arms from Heidts, CPP, Williams, etc, will get you up to 5-6 degrees positive. Seems like somewhere around 5 positive is optimal for radial tires and power steering.

Sure would be nice to know how much caster you have now, and if there's any way to adjust for more without going out of spec on camber.

You don't have to remove the spring, but you should use a chain or a factory-style spring compressor to make sure the spring doesn't go flying when you remove the spindle from the upper ball joint.
I just noticed that my car is painted similar to yours. My car is painted 2011 Cadillac pearized red and pearlized cream. The cost of the paint was out of this world. Regards Gary
 

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So did you compress the spring? Or can you leave it hang, or is there another trick? May I ask you which company did you choose to purchase the tube control arms from
gary
I DID NOT COMPRESS THE SPRING. I ACTUALLY DID THE JOB ON MY HOIST AND IT WAS DONE MORE OR LESS AT EYE LEVEL WITH THE FRONT WHEELS REMOVED AND THE CAR'S WEIGHT ON THE LOWER CONTROL ARMS. I DID REMOVE THE FACTORY INSTALLED RUBBER BUMPER AS THE NEW TUBULAR ARMS CAME EQUIPPED WITH A URATHANE TYPE BUMPER INSTALLED.
THE ARMS I PURCHASED CAME FROM PERFORMANCE ON LINE, performanceonline.com AND TOTAL COST DELIVERED TO ME WAS $289.29 LAST OCTOBER. I'M PRETTY SURE THEY ARE A CHINA BUILT PRODUCT BUT THE QUALITY IS SURPRISINGLY GOOD. THE WELDS ARE NICELY DONE ALSO. I WAS A LITTLE NERVOUS ABOUT THE BALL JOINTS BUT SO FAR, NO PROBLEM. AS I STATED IN THE PREVIOUS POST, INSTALLATION OF THESE ARMS CORRECTED MY PROBLEM OF CONSTANTLY HAVING TO "DRIVE" THE CAR. GOES STRAIGHT DOWN THE ROAD NOW WITH 4 DEGREES OF POSITIVE CASTER. :gba:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
thANKS TO ALL

So did you compress the spring? Or can you leave it hang, or is there another trick? May I ask you which company did you choose to purchase the tube control arms from
gary
I FINALLY HEARD FROM THE GUY THAT ORIGINALLY HELPED ME AND HE IS COMING THIS THURSDAY TO HELP ME FIX THIS PROBLEM

QUICK STORY ABOUT THIS GUY. HE HEADED UP A COLLEGE LEVEL AUTO MECHANICS SCHOOL FOR 28 YEARS. SOMEHOW CHEVROLET FOUND ABOUT HIM AND HOW SHARP HE IS SO THEY MADE AN AGREEMENT WITH HIM TO FIX THEIR LEMON CARS THAT THE DEALERSHIPS COULD NOT FIX. SO I ASKED HIM ABOUT THE TOUGHEST LEMON CAR HE WORKED ON.
HE TOLD ME THAT CHEVROLET SENT HIM A NEW CAMARO WITH A 6 SPEED MANUAL TRANS AND THE CAR WAS SURGING IN 6TH GEAR. THE PAPERWORK THAT CAME WITH THE CAR SAID THAT IT WAS AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
HE ISLOLATED THE CABLE OF WIRES THAT HAD TO DO WITH THE TRANSMISSION, THEN PUT THE CAR ON A LIFT WITH A DRIVER IN IT.
HE THEN GOT AN (AM) RADIO AND FASHIONED A WIRE FROM THE ANTENEA AND TURNED ON THE RADIO AND WITH A DRIVER IN THE CAR AND THE CAR RUNNING IN 5TH GEAR (NOT 6TH) HE PASSED THE ANTENEA WIRE OVER THE CABLE AND LISTENED TO THE RADIO PRODUCE A STEADY HUMMMMMMM.
NEXT HE HAD THE DRIVER PUT THE CAR IN 6TH GEAR AND RUN THE CAR WHILE HE PASSED THE ANTENEA WIRE OVER THE CABLE. THE SOUND FROM THE ANTENEA WIRE OVER THE CABLE AND THROUGH THE RADIO PRODUCED A STEADY HUMMMMMMM........UNTIL HE REACHED A CERTAIN SPOT AND THE SOUND CHANGED TO POP POP POP POP .
HE OPENED THE CABLE AT THAT SPOT AND DISCOVERED THE PROBLEM.
PRETTY SHARP GUY
gARY
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
tHANK YOU

I DID NOT COMPRESS THE SPRING. I ACTUALLY DID THE JOB ON MY HOIST AND IT WAS DONE MORE OR LESS AT EYE LEVEL WITH THE FRONT WHEELS REMOVED AND THE CAR'S WEIGHT ON THE LOWER CONTROL ARMS. I DID REMOVE THE FACTORY INSTALLED RUBBER BUMPER AS THE NEW TUBULAR ARMS CAME EQUIPPED WITH A URATHANE TYPE BUMPER INSTALLED.
THE ARMS I PURCHASED CAME FROM PERFORMANCE ON LINE, performanceonline.com AND TOTAL COST DELIVERED TO ME WAS $289.29 LAST OCTOBER. I'M PRETTY SURE THEY ARE A CHINA BUILT PRODUCT BUT THE QUALITY IS SURPRISINGLY GOOD. THE WELDS ARE NICELY DONE ALSO. I WAS A LITTLE NERVOUS ABOUT THE BALL JOINTS BUT SO FAR, NO PROBLEM. AS I STATED IN THE PREVIOUS POST, INSTALLATION OF THESE ARMS CORRECTED MY PROBLEM OF CONSTANTLY HAVING TO "DRIVE" THE CAR. GOES STRAIGHT DOWN THE ROAD NOW WITH 4 DEGREES OF POSITIVE CASTER. :gba:
GREAT STORY AND TANK YOU VERY MUCH gARY
 

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UUUMMMMMM Not to be disrespectful to anyone however You quoted
while on a test drive showed me that the steering wheel had a little play left to right while driving. He then took the car over a rise and when the car went up and over the crest of the hill when it came down,....it wandered left then right, then settled down
I would be more concerned with the free play before i started replacing bits to fix an issue that may not exist.
You may find worn joints, bushes, excess play in steer box (should hav minimal play) worn coupling etc which in turn will give the same symptoms you describe. It could also possibly cause brake pull.
My question is this:- What is the condition of all the front end components ?
Just thinkin outside the square.
 

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Without having the car set up on an alignment rack you have no idea if you have a caster problem or not. These cars have a tendency for the front frame suspension beam to sag with age...a good alignment shop can fix this...not a big deal...it use to be done all the time. The other thing is, your control arm bushing are probably either bad or taken a set....either way I'm betting that they are old. The offset shafts with bushings will set you back about $100 a side...they claim 2 degrees of caster but most see more like 1 degree. I rebuilt my whole front suspension when I added my P/S system and told the alignment guy to give me as much positive caster as he could, set the chamber to 0 and toe 1/8....I usually set my hot rods up this way and have never had any issues....they run straight, handle good and no tire wear.
 

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Sorry...I was thinking upper and lower shafts....yes, just the upper shafts are $100 so $50 a side. The uppers are the only ones that have additional caster offset. But, if you are doing control arm bushings/shafts then it just makes sense to do uppers and lowers.
 
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