Friday, September 03, 2010

Coupe front end

Just finished some major front end surgery on the coupe with the help of my friend Paul: new kingpins and steering box components primarily (bearings, bushings, Pitman shaft), but also had a new ball made for the Pitman arm that was out of round about 1/4". Also cleaned everything up and lubed all components well.

What a big difference it all made. The steering is now quite tight - for a 75 yr old car - and no more "happy wheels" when you hit a bad bump. I have to take it to a spring shop to replace a loose RF shackle on Tuesday. Just couldn't get the old bushings pressed out of the frame.

The key seems to be proper adjustment of the steering box as per the shop manual. Not easy to do, but essential to getting play out of the system. The trickiest part is getting the steering wheel centered and positioned correctly with the top spoke pointing up. TIP: Don't put the horn wire/button back on until you are sure it is positioned correctly! And expect it to take several tries.

Did the king pins by replacing them first on a spare axle I had as bench work. When I put it all back together, I learned of another difference between early and late production cars: The original spindle shafts are 1/2" longer than the replacement! The difference is made up in the size of the nut holding the drums on. Fortunately I had the smaller nuts as well. Never have read or heard about that difference, so you heard it here first.

One of these cars is going to the Pontiac club's Flathead Reunion next week in Vermont. Which one will depend on the weather forecast for Wed-Sun. If we are in for any hurricane style rain, it will be the coupe; other wise the cabriolet. I have no faith in the ability to stay dry in the cabrio in heavy rain!


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