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Crossover Steering Issues

Discussion in 'OffRoad Design' started by morphed86k10, Oct 8, 2001.

  1. morphed86k10

    morphed86k10 1/2 ton status

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    I've read lots about the crossover steering conversions everyone is doing, and they do seem to make sense. I've been in situations in snow coming over sharp rises where the front axle would drop away, the tires would turn despite a lack of steering wheel movement, and I'd go sliding off the trail. Took me a few times to realize to steer the opposite way like a madman and then correct when the weight fell back on to the axle.

    Anyway, on to my question. The factory steering setup pushes and pulls the axle (through the steering arm) front to back, which I believe is the strongest plane for a leaf spring suspension. Cross over steering pushes and pulls laterally, not as strong for these suspensions (I would imagine, especially at full droop). I know Ford Super Duty's have leaf spring fronts, and they use a link (I think it's called a Panhard) to laterally locate the axle under the truck, because of their essentially crossover steering system. Has anyone experienced any unwanted side effects from a lack of a panhard, or would it just cause the suspension to bind?

    Stephen, I put this post here because I believe you have more experience with different steering systems than just about anyone. Do I raise a valid point or am I just paranoid?
     
  2. K10ANDYKHAMNIC

    K10ANDYKHAMNIC 1/2 ton status

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    i know im not Stephen but i have crossover and i dont really notice and ill effects , u lose a tad bit of steering cuz the springs will flex side to side a tad but my truck tracks just fine on the freeway and wheels like a wonder :)

    WHATS WRONG WITH A 305 ?
    81 K10 GOODYEAR 35" MTRS
    TH350 NP 208
    O R D's axles
    NO BREAKAGE :)
     
  3. shaggyk5

    shaggyk5 1/2 ton status

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    just a guess here, but i think that any axle movement you would have would really be pretty negligable. i cant really see a leaf spring flexing THAT much side to side, unless you have very tall springs.

    --matt
    <font color=blue>86, 350 crate, 33's.</font color=blue>
    <font color=red>Lop Sop Doi Off-Roader</font color=red>
     
  4. michaelm

    michaelm 1/2 ton status

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    if the vehicle is rolling there is very little force required to turn the wheels.
    just as with wide tires and stock steering you can jack the suspension up and down with the vehicle at rest the same will happen with crossover. you chose the one crossover truck amongst many that runs a panhard from the factory.
    how much do you think your leaf springs will allow the axle to go sideways? the bushing deflection is all that you will get as the steel springs arent going to bend laterally.
     
  5. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    You raise a really valid question here. There is some movement side to side when you steer a crossed-over truck, there's just too much force for the bushings to control the lateral movement without it moving around a little. But, experience says that it works pretty well, and it really doesn't move that much if you let the truck roll just a little bit while you steer.
    You'll also see quite a bit of fore and aft movement of the axle with the GM steering setup due to the fact that the left side main eye bushing is all that opposes the steering force. It tends to flex the frame horn and the main eye mounting brackets also
    I went through a lot of this a couple of years ago before I went with the crossover system. First i tried every steering correction combination known and none of them worked on the trail. Some worked better than others on the street. Then I thought I'd build a solid bar to keep the main eye bushing from flexing so it would have better steering response. So I ran a solid bar from the frame to the axle in the same plane as the stock type draglink. It helped in street driving but still sucked off road.
    Sooo.... I went to crossover. I had made up my mind at that point to have the best steering I could get so I ran a panhard bar with my first crossover setup and it worked really well. The length and angle of the panhard bar and draglink didn't work out perfect due to packaging problems, but it was pretty good. minimal bump and roll steer, and what it had was the same all the time and therefore easy to adjust to, and it had great response, basically, no slack.
    Biggest problem is that leaf springs do not really like to be pushed side to side and that's exactly the way a panhard bar is going to try to move the axle. I was constantly tuning the track bar to the axle location, had to build a sliding bushing setup for the front of the spring to get it to slide side to side a little and not bind up, and it was kind of hard on all the bushings. It's also the only time I had problems cracking the frame around the box and had some problems around the panhard mounting bracket. The frame strength problems could probably be solved by beefing up the frame a bunch, but no matter what, leaves don't like moving sideways.
    The first D60 I put in I left the panhard off and really didn't like the amount of bumpsteer it had with the long travel custom springs, that's the major factor in the decision to link and coil the front suspension. Now it steers consistantly perfect with no extra bind and stress.
    So, my advice at this point is to run a simple crossover system and live with the little bit of compliance and bumpsteer you get. That's kind of the way it is with leaf springs, there are a lot of compromises, but overall it works pretty good.

    Making the world better, one truck at a time.
    SW-ORD
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.offroaddesign.com>www.offroaddesign.com</a>
     
  6. Ryeguy

    Ryeguy 1/2 ton status

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    77chev, don't underestimate the forces that the steering imposes on the parts on your truck. They are quite substantial.

    Stephan, another possible solution would be to make a "slider" panhard rod. One that you can lock into position for the street, and then unpin it for the trails. It locks in place with a simple bolt and lock nut. The logic is you want the strong steering response for the street, but want the lack of binding during articulation on the trails. Someone markets this type of rod for YJ's, nothing really new about it. Some guys 'round here are strongly considering it 'cause they're tired of the vague steering they are getting from the sprung-over, non-panhard, non-swaybar YJ's. Obviously, you don't need it (or want it) having gone coil, but it may be a suitable solution for other folks on the list.

    Stephan, thanks for the help on the phone a week or two ago. I'm now looking at a massive drop pitman, gonna try to install it tonight. It looks like it'll be enough to deal with my crossover steering issues. If you want exact measurements on the amount of drop, lemme know.

    --Rob
     
  7. michaelm

    michaelm 1/2 ton status

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    i am on my way to pick up my crossover arms right now.
    having put up with the short draglink for 10 years i am sure this will do nothing but improve the steering. i am running tires that are a full 4" narrower each. i think it is you under estimating the forces if you recommend a 'sliding' track bar. no way would i entrust my axle alignment to a simple clamp on the tubing.

    pretty sure those things arent DOT legal
     
  8. Ryeguy

    Ryeguy 1/2 ton status

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    &gt; if the vehicle is rolling there is very little force required to turn the wheels

    This is what I'm referring to. Loads put on the steering are far higher than "very little force".

    Now, the purpose of the "sliding" track bar is only to assist in axle location, to take some of the load off the bushings in the leaf springs to prove a more positive steering response. It doesn't replace anything, you still have the leaf springs, it only assists. You're not entrusting it with anything, other than to help out those bushings when it comes to steering around town. If the clamp slips (or pin breaks, depending on the implementation), nothing has gone wrong, you're just back to regular steering. And for that, it is sufficient.

    Agreed, cross-over steering will improve handling for these leaf-sprung vehicles.

    DOT? Likely not, but I have a hunch that neither are the high-steer arms. Street legal? Around here, yes, if done right.

    --Rob
     
  9. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    The guy that pioneered the slip loc YJ bar is actually a friend, his shop is just (25 miles) down the road. I've been kicking that idea around, but I like having the good steering response on the trail too. I'm probably too picky.

    Making the world better, one truck at a time.
    SW-ORD
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.offroaddesign.com>www.offroaddesign.com</a>
     
  10. RUSS84K5

    RUSS84K5 1/2 ton status

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    Hi,
    I think the reason F350's get away with a track bar on leafs is that the bar is parallel with the axle. So when any up/down move occurs you have less side to side movement. it could be pretty chellenging to fit it into a 4-6 inch lifted K-truck though.
     
  11. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    The F350's do have a really flat angle, which I wasn't able to get while still retaining the wheel travel I like. An F350 also has very little wheel travel comparatively, and uses an "A" style shackle that helps it move sideways a little better.

    Making the world better, one truck at a time.
    SW-ORD
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.offroaddesign.com>www.offroaddesign.com</a>
     

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