March 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm #232567
I did my spring try out a few weeks back and things went pretty well. I didn’t mention that the steering seemed to have a lot of “play” in it, maybe because I didn’t want to think about the possible causes and costs for repair. Today when I was working on it I had the hood open and moved the steering wheel back and forth. I should tell you that the Ford kit has two U Joints, a Pillow Block and a final, “Disc” joint to connect the Steering Column to the shaft going into the Rack/Pinion housing. That, what appears to be a 1/4″ plastic “disc” is shattered. There is about 3/4″ to 1″ of play right to left before any motion is transferred to the steering. Before I start my search, is this a FORD part or something provided by FiberFab? Is there a better aftermarket product? Any help/advice will obviously be appreciated.
RichMarch 28, 2009 at 6:32 pm #238502GeoffreyParticipant
I had the same exact problem about 3 years ago. There is a very easy fix. I found a replacement disk at NAPA auto parts for about $3.00. This one was made out of rubber (It looked like the same black rubber material a radiator hose is made of, just several layers and sewn together). To reinstall it it’s much easier if you remove the body panel on the driver’s side engine compartment. I hope this helps, I remember before I found that part it was frustrating trying to find a solution for my steering problem. I was so glad to accidently stumble upon it on a shelf at NAPA one day. After a 5 min install I was good to go again!
Good luck Rich!
PS I’m finally shipping my car in about 3 weeks!!!March 28, 2009 at 7:21 pm #238503
I had just replaced my rag joint on my steering. I found one on ebay that fits both the Pinto and Mustang II. I then found the same part at Advanced Auto. It is about a quarter inch thick. Mine is like a casting of some heavy rubbery plastic. I didn’t see any fibers in it like busted up one I took off. I could not flex it by hand, but the steering sure does. It’s amazing now. The steering now just glides, no play, no noise. Geoff is right, you best take off the side body panel, then it does only take 5 minutes. It’s a bear to try with the panel on the car.
I did find that the enclosed bolts with the rag joint did not work because the heads of the bolts were too thick for the angle of my steering shaft. I just reused the old ones and applied some lock tight.March 28, 2009 at 7:35 pm #238504
Thanks! My search also led to the “Rag” joint solution. Taking the side panel off is going to be a real pain because the “builder” has jb welded components to it (like the solenoid) but it may be worth the effort. Anyway, I think the steering is basically very solid and free of play, so I am expecting a big improvement. I have to say that I really appreciate having a team of experienced people to work with on these issues. I hope I can help you guys out as well.
RichMarch 28, 2009 at 7:49 pm #238505
My apologies for the oversight. That cool TD is shipping from NY to AZ in three weeks! That is AWESOME. Just remember to keep it out of the Phoenix sun. It might melt
RichMarch 29, 2009 at 12:15 pm #238506Mark HendricksonParticipant
You’ve already fixed the rag joint, but there are also many different universals available from Borgeson. I sues then on all the steering columns I build. The not only allow for clearance probalmes, but eliminate the “spongey” steering feel of a rag joint.
By the way, Pinto, Mustang II and Mercury Bobcat are all the same basic car that shared all the same drivetrain and suspension components. There is no difference in 99.9% of there mechanical parts. That front end was used on Asphalt Modified Stock Cars before aftermarket parts with the same basic geometry were made available. They are still used today on lots of streetrods. My 1940 Ford Sedan has that front end with Tubular control arms and coil over shocks/springs.
Always made we wonder why people cursed the Pinto, but not the other two and they were the same car! The real POS back then was GM’s Vega and it’s variants.March 29, 2009 at 2:17 pm #238507GeoffreyParticipant
Believe it or not, that is a real concern(melting). It frequently gets to over 110 here and sometimes 120 degrees.
But either way I’m so freeking excited! I’ll probably spend a whole week just detailing it after collecting dust in my dad’s garage for 4 years. I’ll be sure to post lots of pics as I go.
Good luck on your steering! Did you find the part?
GeoffMarch 30, 2009 at 9:08 am #238508
I doubt that even the Phoenix temps would cause any melting, but I bet it would really cause problems with the gel coat finish if you left it in the hot sun too long.
Re: the Rag Joint, I bought a kit at Advanced Auto. I’ll install it as soon as the weather breaks. It looks like the original was some kind of semi hard transparent Plastic that just hardened and disintegrated over time. The two sections are no longer connected at all, so if you can imagine, I have at least 1/2″ of free play in either direction before the metal “flanges” engage. Not good.
Mark’s email gave me some alternatives that would eliminate the “spongey” feel of the standard Rag Joint, but I’ll settle for a little “spongey” vs. the “disconnected” feel of the current condition.
RichMarch 30, 2009 at 11:02 am #238509
I’m with Mark. I don’t know why everyone seemed to slam the Pinto, maybe because of the rear end fuel explosion problem that Ralph Nader jumped on. I did have a Vega back in the old days. That car would go from 0-60 in 5.3 days. Most underpowered thing I have ever driven, it was scarey to drive. You couldn’t pass anything, including little old ladies pushing shopping carts in the grocery parkng lot. Went back to a 69 Mustang after that GM mistake.
Do the other joints in the steering system require maintenance such as grease? This is an important area that I have been overlooking until I had to replace the rag-joint. Right now my steering is smooth and perfect, but I may be missing some maintenance issues.March 30, 2009 at 1:19 pm #238510Mark HendricksonParticipant
That Pinto explosion would have happened to any car. It was just filled with gas and the attendant left the cap off. The Pinto was stopped on a metal grate bridge when it was rear ended by a drunk driver in a pick-up truck. The filler neck on those cars was located samck in the middle of the “TV Panel”, as was the Gen 1 Mustangs and a whole bunch of other cars for that matter. The Pinto was crucified for unwarranted reasons as a result of that firey wreck.
GM’s Vega, on the other hand, was an experiment with sleeve-less aluminum engine blocks. Needless to say, GM, as most American Auto Companies, test their vehicles on an unsuspecting buying public an repair as required until the model dies off, usually after it’s a really good car (i.e. Pontiac Fiero). The government went after GM for the Vega oil burning problem. The fix was to wire in a kill switch that operated off the oil pressure light sender. A bandaid on a bullet hole fix for sure.
The tie rod ends and ball joints (upper/lower) are the only greaseable parts on the Pinto/M-II front end. The rubber bushings can be soaped to eliminate squeaks, but I suspect 99% of these car have “A” arm and lower control arm bushings that are toast.
If you think your Vega was slow, you obviously never drove a Chevette!March 30, 2009 at 3:56 pm #238511
Mine has what is called a “pillow block” that is mounted to the frame. The Steering Column passes through it and it does have a grease fitting. The other u-joints do not. I WD-40’d the heck out of my U-joints because they were stiff and “squeaky” from lack of use (sitting in a garage on blocks since 2001!) Quieted them right down.
I don’t recall too much negative stuff about the Pinto other than it was basic and cheap. I guess the gas tank explosion slipped by me. I recall that the unsafe at any speed Nader stuff was primarily focused on the Corvair. I’ve seen more recent studies that said one of the most dangerous cars was the original 64/65/66 Mustang, because of the gas tank location.
On the other hand, I am very familiar with the reputation of Chevettes and Vegas. Fortunately I never got to experience either directly.
RichApril 2, 2009 at 2:50 pm #238512
New Rag Joint is installed. Unfortunately the car is still not registered so I didn’t get to do the proper test run, but it is very smooth and there is no play in the wheel at all. Nice!
I also did it without taking off the hood side panel. A little bit of work, but all in all not bad. Turns out that the flange that connects the rag joint to the rack/pinion was also loose. Now I should be good to go!
Thanks for all the help and advice!
RichApril 3, 2009 at 12:46 am #238513
Awesome. I know after replacing it, you feel a lot better knowing it is good to go. Hope your knuckles are okay, mine always seem to take a beating.
Good luck on a good solid road test ahead.
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