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Discuss crossover steering: Close to OEM height daily driver

forest

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After 45 years my steering box is done - the adjustment has bottomed out and steering is getting loose.

This is a daily driver K5 that regularly gets used once a week. In the past, there was some offroad but recently not even a fire road -- I don't plan to do much more but the performance capacity is nice to have (similar idea behind why I still have a locker). I have a shackle lift in the front and 3" blocks in the back without the overload springs (remnants of a larger lift).

I have a week this summer in my father-in-law's driveway and maybe a grand for maintenance/upgrades/repairs. For me, time and risk of something spiraling into a larger scope is more important than cost. In the same week, I plan to rebuild the NP203 t-case and SM465 (did it before on '72 and NP205 but don't remember anything other than it was easier than it seemed it would be).

Options:
  • Keep OEM design and replace the steering box (quick with minimal risk).
  • Change to cross-over steering kit (maybe quick, seems like it could be a rabbit hole)
I checked some other threads:
  • video of why you want crossover steering

In the best case - I'd like to drive a moderately lifted K5 with crossover steering -- sort of a test drive. I have had my front axle at full drop without sway bar and with nothing hanging it up (brake lines, vent tube, shocks). I see where crossover steering is a better design. If I had 28" tires and zero lift, I'd still want that articulation ability - maybe even more so.

Key question:
  • Is there a side-by-side shootout type article to show the difference between OEM and crossover (maybe before/after on same trail section)? I searched online but did not find anything. Has anyone made the change and can relate their experience.
  • How long does it take to install a kit crossover (option of new crossmember for clearance).
 
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6872xtc

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I don't see that you will be able to use, or need crossover. If you haven't found situations where you cussed at your steering, I believe you should be fine.

I will highly recommend that you get a rebuilt box from a reputable company.
Think Redhead , Raven in Denver, Benchworks in Phoenix. Lots of guys have had issues with parts store reman units.
 

forest

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If you haven't found situations where you cussed at your steering.

Have found.
  • In the past, on those rare occasions during articulation with driver side tire full dropped -- resulted in minimal steering
  • Everyday, with bump steer during hard braking and on speed bumps
There was some comments in a few of the older posts that only lifted trucks need articulation. As a joke, I have driven a Ford mustang up a deeply washed fireroad -- a posi, articulation, and removing swaybars means quite a bit. Years ago a friend with a 70s Subaru wagon showed me this as he easily traversed what our other buddy in a poorly lifted Ford ranger was having trouble with (think more stickers than usable parts).

The only thing I can compare this to is my locker. I live with the locker's quirks everyday for those rare occasions where I'd need more than just 4 wheel drive and for those few rainy days where I'd accidentally pull a one legged burnout on a service grate or something slick. I'd never get rid of my locker even though 99.9% of the time it just goes click click click around corners in parking lots.
 
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Blue85

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Hasn't it all been discussed in the threads you linked? Are you already used to driving without a sway bar? Are you willing to go with a custom engine crossmember and perhaps some non-standard linkage to make it work?

Before spending the time and money, you might look more into what you have. Are you sure everything is centered up and adjusted right? Stock springs have almost no stuff, so the only issue is droop, and there's not much of that with stock length shocks. If drooping the DS tire keeps you from steering right, you might have room to lengthen the draglink or something.
 

forest

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Hasn't it all been discussed in the threads you linked?
It has but they don't get to the center of the discussion. The offroad use cases are obvious that the crossover steering is needed. I am looking at the good to have use case.
  • The sway bar is removed (my '72 didn't have one either - it was the first thing to go)
  • The shocks are longer
  • The brake lines and vent hoses are lengthened; a bracket relocates the e-brake cable
  • The steering linkage is well maintained - until the steering box adjustment bottomed out I could let go of the steering wheel and it would track straight on the highway for quite a while
  • The factory reverse springs are there with lengthened brackets -- the setup actually works well for my purposes; it has quite a bit of travel
  • The new crossmember is not a deal breaker
Bump steer would be removed and I read in some of the comments that the overall steering performance is improved with crossover. For those rare cases where the driver tire is in full drop - it would be nice to have steering. To drive overr uneven ground without the steering doing its own thing would be nice. The OEM design is clearly value engineered.
 
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skunked

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Bump steer would be removed and I read in some of the comments that the overall steering performance is improved with crossover.

Bump steer will not be removed with crossover.

It's up to you whether the trade off is worth it.
 

forest

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Bump steer will not be removed with crossover.
Why isn't bump steer removed? The longer crossover is less affectd by bumps and brake dive. I thought that was the primary highway benefit that pushed Ford to use crossover?
 

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https://ck5.com/forums/threads/crossover-and-bumpsteer.324522/


One thing to check with a factory type steering system is that the swaybar isn't messing with you. If you're running steering correction pieces (like a drop pitman arm) you need disconnects for the swaybar to let it pivot freely and not bind up the axle, or rather not force the axle to move in an arc different from the steering linkage. My burb with 3" TCIs and a drop pitman was amazingly nice to drive, one of the best non-linked steering systems we've had. It had disconnects for sure.

With crossover, you do have bumpsteer. Period. You may not feel it due to a bunch of other factors but it's there. If the axle moves up the steering arm gets closer to the pitman arm and something has to move, either the steering wheel whips a bit or the tires turn. The way a panhard bar makes this disappear is not that it prevents the axle from moving side to side, it's that it FORCES the axle to move side to side in the same arc as the draglink. Just like a panhard/draglink system does on a linked up front suspension. The problem is that leaves only like to move side to side a little and the panhard can force them to move a lot so it's generally hard on bushings and even on frame mounts. But they do drive nice. I did the leaves with panhard for a while on my way to coilovers.

Ways to minimize bumpsteer with leaves? Make the draglink as flat as possible or make the suspension move less. It's pretty hard to tune much on the draglink angle and nobody wants the suspension to have less travel so it's a bit of a dead end. But in general it's not that bad and the fact that it actually steers offroad is typically worth it. With a tall truck (8" lift +) we consider crossover a must even on the street. With a short truck and mostly street driving we often work with the factory system. Incidently this is also part of the reason we don't get super excited about building extreme long travel leaf spring front suspensions. If you're going to go fast enough to use the travel you're going to fight the steering.
 

forest

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Good link. I see some diagrams are needed. I will reread those posts. Every other post is has bump steer and has not bump steer. Then there is a post that explains a conceptual that there must be bump steer but I think that concept is true for push-pull as well. That is where I think a diagram is needed.

When I say bump steer on the street I mean hard braking steer (same mechanics as bump steer in play and was an oem issue). In the thread I saw someone that had bumps steer on a bridge approach slab - I don't have that.
 

Blue85

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FWIW, my experience is that crossover is more neutral in cornering and braking. For things like road seams the push-pull has less movement of the steering wheel.

Please do make some diagrams and include the effective length of both types steering arm (center of ball-joint/king-pin to center of DLE hole) and pitman arm. We've had theories about which setup has more mechanical advantage, but I've never seen numbers. I've heard that crossover gives a smaller turning radius and also that it has greater mechanical advantage, but those two things are opposites.
 

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I have more-bump steer with crossover steering, lots more! I have to tell anyone driving it for the first time to NOT pay attention to the steering wheel direction but the truck's direction! My father called it "nerve-racking". My Blazer is now a daily driver. I would prefer not to have super soft Deaver springs and crossover steering. But it's great offroad! Maybe the soft springs exaggerate the bump-steer.
 

6872xtc

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Soft springs definitely make things more vague. The axle can move side to side.
 

forest

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Soft springs definitely make things more vague. The axle can move side to side.
Hearing things like this makes me glad I asked this question. I have OEM springs now, but, given a good paycheck or two I plan to change springs.

Does this side to side movement of the axle mean crossover is not prefered for highway? The only reason to use crossover us if you drive off-road enough to justify the highway problems?
 

Blue85

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This is why ORD uses short-body DLEs. The bend in the draglink can be moved closer to the pitman arm, to clear the crossmember. That's what I have here with the "high clearance" pitman arm and almost 5" of lift (I also had the world's coolest bumpstops).

PICT0871.jpg


2" is generally considered the lowest you can go with crossover, but with a thin leaf pack, high clearance arm, short body drag link and aftermarket crossmember, maybe it could work. I just don't think I've ever heard of anybody doing it. Have you talked to ORD? Have you priced everything out? Not sure how much bang for the buck you'll get and that may be why you don't see it on stockers or if it just doesn't fit. If you have to lower the bump stops to protect the drag link it's probably a net loss in off-road capability.
 

forest

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That's what I have here with the "high clearance" pitman arm and almost 5" of lift; 2" is generally considered the lowest you can go with crossover, but with a thin leaf pack, high clearance arm, short body drag link and aftermarket crossmember, maybe it could work.

I tried getting the same angle as your photo -- you can see the spring pack is thin.

20170610_105732.jpg

20170610_105833.jpg

20170610_110829.jpg
 
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Stephen

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We usually recommend crossover to solve steering problems and like others have mentioned, you'll know them when you have them. You do mention a couple of problems and one might be fixable with the factory system. You could look at running a 1"-ish block under your factory steering arm to level the draglink just that little bit. As it sits, when your spring goes up it brings the axle forward. As the draglink goes up the end will go back a little before it goes forward and you might be feeling that little bit of lag. Also, running the swaybar really helps with roll steer since the GM system is not very good with roll steer/articulation. At stock height I feel like your steering characteristics are just going to be different, not necessarily better.
 

forest

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Check this and tell me if it is correct.

This is what I understand described as the movement of push-pull and crossover steering; I will add to this with scale and some real numbers as I get time (months)

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1DcqCdEg8YFoHPDZOE28w5dI9fI1CQhXZOAWZMXg5WsQ/edit?usp=sharing

CK5 cross-over versus push-pull.png

Edit: I found the ORD crossover article on CK5 -- not sure how I missed it before. I will update the graphic to better reflect what is in the article https://ck5.com/forums/resources/ord-cross-over-steering-kit.61/

I hear everyone saying you will know if you have a steering problem. But, I'd just go down the road to the ORV park -- get twisted up and find the problem. I don't think that will do much for the discussion. The ORD article above has a photo of just that.
 
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forest

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If Ford's have crossover steering OEM then do they have problems from day one?
 
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forest

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You do mention a couple of problems
I agree I need a higher steering arm to correct the geometry if I keep the push-pull setup.

Putting the sway bar back on is iffy at best. The time you want to be able to drive off-road is often not when you have the option to crawl under and pull the sway bar real quick. It drives fine without it -- if I was towing it might be good to have but I don't tow anything.
 
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