D44 Leaf Spring Steering Question - Ford Bronco Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-04-2016, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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D44 Leaf Spring Steering Question

Hi all. I'm putting a D44 from a supercab into my 96 F150. I left the spring spacing at the narrower width. I figured there'd be issues when it came to steering, and luckily, I found a drop pitman arm in the junkyard for a very reasonable cost. I thought I'd seen people use the newer (94 era) F350 drag link. I happened to have a center link/tie rod from a coil sprung 79 D44. I assumed that I could use that, plus the F350 drag link, and with the drop pitman arm, get clearance around the spring, without having to go high steer. I bought the F350 parts new. Most installations I see show the longer, bent rod (drag link) attached near the tire, and the tie rod end at the pitman arm. The angle of the hole in the 79 center link points forward/up. When I install it like that, the bend in the drag link does not point toward the pitman arm, but more like right toward the axle. Question is, if I replace the 79 bronco center link with an F350 one, will the hole in it correct the angle of the drag link to make it point up toward the pitman arm? Is the drag link hole pointed more downward?

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2016, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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[img=http://s19.postimg.org/3zn24vpwv/IMG_5545.jpg]

here's what I'm dealing with. I had to install the whole assembly 'backwards' with the TRE and sleeve down near the tire and not at the pitman arm where it's supposed to be. Looking online, it seems that the F350 center link/tie rod's hole is pointing more forward and not up like my 79 one is.
I'm wondering if I used the F350 tie rod, if I could install the drag link correctly, and possibly not need the drop pitman arm. It looks like I might run into issues with the pitman hitting the driver's side spring. Haven't tried turning it yet. Not until I get the shocks and brakes all hooked up.

by the way, these are the stock 79 supercab leaves. I didn't want a really high lift. This whole 'excercise' is really practice, working out the bugs on the rusty red truck before I try it for real on the bronco. All the brackets are bolted on.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-20-2016, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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After getting the truck down on its own weight, the drop pitman arm was hitting the driver's side leaf at about 1/2 left turn.

So, I reinstalled the original pitman arm. It 'sort of' clears above the leaf spring now, but I'm worried that if the suspension compresses when I'm turned to the left, it will make contact and bend/break.

I have plenty of clearance between the drag link and passenger leaf with the link installed backwards, so I'm wondering if there were a 'straight' or slightly raised pitman arm available. Do any fords with the same steering box have a straight pitman arm? My stock has about an inch of drop.

I've considered doing the 'TRE flip' to my stock pitman arm, by taper drilling the tie rod end, installing the sleeve, and installing it upside down, to get about an inch of lift at the pitman arm so it clears the driver's spring. My worry there is that it will be too thin. Anyone ever heard or seen this done?

And by installing it upside down, I mean drilling the pitman arm, like you would the steering knuckle in the TRE flip, and then installing the pitman arm upside down, so that the drag link is now installed thru the top of the pitman arm, which is now the bottom. Make sense?

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-20-2016, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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I left things pretty much alone for now. Just replaced the wheel bearings since they sounded a little rough. Axle that went in was 'condition unknown'. It still had some rough sounding spots with the new bearings, but I figured it was the rusty rotors that just needed a some 'wearing in'. So I took it for a short drive near my house... sound didn't go away. I decided to put it in 4-lo and goof off behind the house. When I got the front wheel up on a log, I got out to take a look and noticed that the tie rod ends are rubbing the wheels. This setup is a 79 supercab dana44, with a 79 bronco center link, stock 96 f150 steel wheels. I assume if I could find some 1/4" wheel spacers, the rubbing would go away.
However, I must have hit something when I was doing all that goofing off, because when I got back to the house, I noticed I had some massive toe-in. I only eyeballed the alignment when I installed the center link originally. I jacked up the driver's side to adjust the collar and noticed that it looked like the center link was rubbing the diff cover. Took a closer look and noticed the whole center link was bent in about 2 inches. Guess I'll go ahead and get the matching F350 center link to go with the drag link I have in there now.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-20-2016, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a picture of the truck up on the log. This is a test from a different website, as supermotors doesn't seem to want to load any of my pictures.

http://s19.postimg.org/s1kqcngmr/IMG_5649.jpg
[img=http://s19.postimg.org/ohysmudwv/IMG_5649.jpg]

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 09:35 AM
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What I'd do is go with a cross over steering. With crossover steering the drag link will be above the the leaf spring. You'll have to get a high steer arm for the passenger side knuckle then have the knuckle milled and drilled.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badass1tonf100 View Post
What I'd do is go with a cross over steering. With crossover steering the drag link will be above the the leaf spring. You'll have to get a high steer arm for the passenger side knuckle then have the knuckle milled and drilled.
I'm trying to avoid that unless I absolutely have to. If it weren't for the center link getting bent yesterday, I'd probably have it 'close' for my occasional/winter pickup that its on. I'm trying to keep it to as little lift as possible also. My crossmember that I made for my front spring mounts is as low as I could get it while keeping the narrower leaf spacing (and avoiding any more lift in the back).

As I've mentioned before, this whole exercise is what i'm calling 'practice' for when I do it for real later to the bronco. Hopefully I can get all the bugs worked out on this one, that I don't need to be driving daily to work, so that when the time comes, I can swap it over fairly quickly.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2016, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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My new F350 center link arrived the other day. Got it installed, and was able to flip the drag link around so the adjuster sleeve is near the pitman arm, as it should be. Also, with the new parts, my TREs don't scrape the inner rim of the wheels. Did a tape measure alignment this morning, then straightened out the steering wheel. Took it for a ride to the junkyard and made $20 for my old TTB parts (too rusty to be useful to anyone). Maybe now I should do a small build thread. Too bad every picture I try uploading to supermotors gets the 'SM file not found' treatment.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a brief update since I just posted a small build thread.

I ended up getting a 4x2 ranger pitman arm off ebay since it had no drop and would clear the springs. It doesn't hit now that I can tell, but I think the arm is shorter than the old one, so I have to turn the wheel more and the turning radius seems larger.

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