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Proper cross-over steering modifications.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by BadDog, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    My K5 came to me with cross-over steering. However, the a Superlift drop pitman was used (not sure if it was the one from the article or not) and it was WAY too low. I'm guessing the excessive drop was to clear the stock cross member without a bent drag link. However, as you can see by the before pic below, when going straight, the spring would hit the DLE before hitting the massive 4" bumps. Note that the bumps are black and don't show up well, so I added a line to show the bottom of the bump. It's not real clear, but the DLE is about 1/8" closer to the spring than the bump to the spring plate. So, at one point, I had to add a 2" spacer to the bump to keep from damaging the DLE, but that left me only 2" of up travel. Not good.

    So, I cut out the stock cross member, built another myself, and replaced the pitman arm with one from an 80s 1/2 ton Ford Van like many of us were talking about quite some time back. Cheap and readily available in junk yards, plus they fit PERFECTLY with the DLE nut barely clearing the frame. Problem is, Ford used an anemic little DLE with a pin the size of your pinky, so you have to use a 1.5" per foot reamer to open them up a bit. Luckily, these things are BEEF and have plenty of material to open up.

    xover1.jpg

    xover2.jpg

    xover3.jpg

    xover4.jpg

    xover5.jpg
     
  2. Muddytazz

    Muddytazz 1 ton status

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    Nice work :thumb:
     
  3. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Thanks. BTW, less drop on the pitman means a LOT less stress on the steering box and frame...
     
  4. pvfjr

    pvfjr 1/2 ton status

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    Nice job. I'll be doing crossover soon, so this kind of stuff is pretty interesting. I'm trying to cut as many costs as possible, so anything I can do myself instead buying some kit is great. I was wondering though, what exact DLE are you using? Does this ford pitman arm still require the use of a 2WD steering box? Why the ford pitman arm anyway? How does would it differ from a stock chevy 2WD one? My engine crossmember is cracked, I guess that's just another good reason to do what you did. I like the design too, looks like it might be simple enough for me to do on my own. What size tubing did you use, 3" maybe? Also, where does one acquire said reamer? Is 1.5" per foot all I need to know? How much would I be taking out, or would it be obvious?
     
  5. sweetk30

    sweetk30 professional hooker Premium Member

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    yes 2x4 box needed. stock chevy arm is the joint in the arm and bolts to a cross shaft.
     
  6. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Stock Chevy DLE.

    Still uses the same 2WD sector shaft (you don't need the whole box, just a sector shaft that matches the ratio of your box).

    The Ford pitman is used because it provides the tightest fit to the frame, so the most spring clearance, and it is very beefy. IIRC, there is a FSJ pitman that works fairly well too, but it's a skinny thing. I've seen no other pitman that works so well.

    Tubing is 2" x 0.188 square.

    I got mine off ebay. 1.5" per foot, they say right on them that they match the GM taper. Look for the HSS version. Just match the depth/size to the GM arm and the DLE you have.
     
  7. pvfjr

    pvfjr 1/2 ton status

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    Could I ream it out to the Chevy TRE end? If all the D60 crossover arms use TRE's, it seems like it would be nice to have TRE's at all ends. What's the difference between the tapers? Sorry to hijack your post, but you're really getting me inspired here.
     
  8. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    The tapers are the same, but I don't like using TREs on the drag link due to limits in miss-alignment. DLEs have VERY little misalignment built into them, and the DLE starts out at an angle, and that angle changes with steering range and articulation. Lots of folks seem to get by with it, but I use DLEs just the same...

    That said, the taper is the same, but the diameters (major and minor) are smaller IIRC...
     
  9. big83chevy4x4

    big83chevy4x4 3/4 ton status

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    would a chevy TRE fit into the stock hole in the ford van arm?
    if it does im going tomorrow to get me a pitman arm and a sector shaft.
     
  10. pvfjr

    pvfjr 1/2 ton status

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    Well I looked for a reamer, to no avail. They all looked like they were intended for use with some milling machine, and didn't even look like they had a taper to them. :confused:

    So a TRE hole is the same taper as a DLE hole, but is bigger? So would it be possible to put a TRE in the pitman arm, or would I have to put a DLE on one end of the draglink and a TRE on the other end?
     
  11. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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  12. big83chevy4x4

    big83chevy4x4 3/4 ton status

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    well i have a few TREs laying around. ill go get a ford pitman arm tomorrow and try it. if i have to buy/borrow a reamer, then thats what i have to do.
     
  13. afroman006

    afroman006 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for the tip my drag link end rubs the top of the spring on my 56" front swap. I have an ORD kit with the superlift arm.
     
  14. Stomper

    Stomper ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ GMOTM Winner

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    Just an fyi, that is not the Superlift #1104 drop pitman arm....I'm not saying it's not a Superlift arm either....It very well could be.... This picture shows an 1104 arm.[​IMG]

    Nice work on the junkyard find and fix :D
     
  15. sweetk30

    sweetk30 professional hooker Premium Member

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    thats not a gm axle ether.:eek1:
     
  16. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Hmm, well, looks like the Superlift arm is just as bad. Seems like he said it was "a" Superlift? But it's been a while, could be wrong. Thanks for the correction... :D

    Oh, BTW, Waxer gets the credit for the "junkyard find". I got the lead from him some 3 years ago IIRC.
     
  17. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    evil, eh?
     
  18. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    FWIW, here is the setup for reaming out the Ford arm. The over large drop down is pictured beside it for reference. All I did was mic the large hole in the original arm, mic the reamer where the diameter matched and marc with a felt tip, then work slowly down to the diameter I needed.

    NOTE: Reamers should be run much slower than a drill press will run, so you have to take it easy and use lots of oil unless you have access to a machine that turn something like 60 rpms...

    ream.jpg
     
  19. Stomper

    Stomper ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ GMOTM Winner

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    Yep, it's a good one[​IMG]
     
  20. cok5

    cok5 Registered Member

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    What year vans do those arms come from? I want to do the ORD cross over system but not fond of the big drop pitman arms. Will this work with the TRE's that ORD supplies in there cross over system??
     

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