D44 SUA steering - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
Jeep-Short Wheelbase All discussion of short wheelbase Jeeps: CJ, TJ, YJ and JK

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-15-2002, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
Moderator
 
Jim_Lou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Belleville, Illinois
Posts: 11,504
Thanks: 15
Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
         
D44 SUA steering

This was done with a TIG welder and a Bridgeport, but it could be done with a buzz box, grinder, file and drill press if you were patient.

The special part is making the holes for the tie rod. I had a tool grinding shop modify a 4-flute end mill to the 1.5" per foot taper, 1/2" small end that I reamed the hole with. It only cost $45. I drilled the hole first and then fed the end mill in slowly, and check for fit when I got close.

The tie rod hole is 1.75" aft of the stock tie rod holes. I milled back with a 1" diameter end mill to 2.25" center-to-center from the original hole. With the TIG welder I filled in on the back side of the arm where it spreads out in a "Y" because it looked like it might get thin there. In retrospect that might have been overkill. One mistake was to weld first and machine second. The surrounding metal cooled the weld quickly and it got hard. Ruined the end mill.

It's not on the street yet, but it looks like it will all work. The arms on the D44 knuckles are lower than on the D30, but the linkage mounts on top instead of from the bottom, so the linkage is at the same elevation. The only problem I forsee is that the tie rod bumps into the bigger D44 differential cover at full lock, but I don't know whether I have actually lost any steering lock; the tires ran into fender well when the tie rod was still an inch from the housing on the D30.

I might have been born at night, but it wasn't LAST night.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 9-688098-DSCN0266a.JPG (43.0 KB, 1 views)
Jim_Lou is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-15-2002, 08:28 AM
jeepfiend
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: D44 SUA steering

For others doing this mod, and I don't know if Jim did it or not, but a little preheat on the knuckle will prevent some of the cooling problems, and prevent possible lamilar tearing. Even with maleable cast, uneven cooling can really tear things apart. Looks great, wouldn't it be nice if all of us had easy access to machine tools. I hope my brother gets his tool grinder done soon, so we can start making some specialized cutters for things like tapers and splines.

Cage Up, Wheels Down
Jeepfiend
All my Jeeps are in pieces! Except for one!!
post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-15-2002, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
Moderator
 
Jim_Lou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Belleville, Illinois
Posts: 11,504
Thanks: 15
Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
         
Re: D44 SUA steering

No, I didn't preheat, but maybe should have. Doing it with the TIG was a slow process. I probably was welding 15 to 20 minutes on each arm, so I figured the whole piece would be plenty warm, and it was. When I finished it was glowing a dull red two inches from the weld. Yet the only hard place I ran into was immediately next to the last area I welded. I stuck it into a sandbox to cool, so I really don't know why it went hard. If I did it over though, I would preheat just on general principals.

And I think it could be done with simple tools if one had a good degree of patience. I understand that for about $80 one can get a tapered reamer from race shop, and maybe even do the job without a drill press. It sure is nice to have access to the good stuff, though.

I might have been born at night, but it wasn't LAST night.
Jim_Lou is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-19-2002, 10:38 AM
Bill4x4
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: D44 SUA steering

Jim check out your private mail

post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-19-2002, 11:57 AM
Keyboard Implanted
 
dave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Vancouver, Washingon
Posts: 2,346
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
 
Re: D44 SUA steering

Jim,
Thanks for sharing your solution to SUA D44 steering linkage. I'm in the process of a D44 SUA conversion myself. I had not considered modifying the knuckle. Now you have me thinking.

My D44 SUA started out as a 76 Cherokee Wide Track with flat top knuckles. I had been considering using a steering solution that involved using aftermarket parts bolted to the flat top of the knuckle.

Decisions / Decisions
dave

dave is offline  
post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-19-2002, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
Moderator
 
Jim_Lou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Belleville, Illinois
Posts: 11,504
Thanks: 15
Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
         
Re: D44 SUA steering

Dave, I just sent a long private post to Bill4X4 with an update. Unfortunately I don't know how to recover it to copy it to you. Maybe Bill will kindly post it onto this thread.

He had some specific questions I answered, but probably the most important advice was to get the axel into the Jeep, hang the knuckles onto it, and see what there is room to do.

In a nutshell, the knuckle work only took a couple of hours once I had it figured out. It's working very well now, and I actually got a little more steering lock because the hubs have increased the track a little, so the wheels turn farther before the tires hit the fenderwell.

If you have any questions I will be glad to answer them for you. Did you see my earlier post "axel shortening tips," or something like that?



I might have been born at night, but it wasn't LAST night.
Jim_Lou is offline  
post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-19-2002, 02:18 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 769
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
 
Re: D44 SUA steering

Looks like a good alternative to drilling and installing steering arms.
Lots of work though.
Trailhed.com
Jeeplvr is offline  
post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-19-2002, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
Moderator
 
Jim_Lou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Belleville, Illinois
Posts: 11,504
Thanks: 15
Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
         
Re: D44 SUA steering

In this case, high-steer wasn't an option because the suspension is at standard ride height, and the top of the knuckles is pretty close to even with the bottom of the frame. And like I said, only a couple of hours work once I figured it out.

Now that it's all finished, there's one thing I might have done differently. I could have made a round flat spot on the top of the arm with a 1" center-cut end mill, instead of flattening the whole arm. Then I could drill the hole and taper it, and turn the arm over and make another flat spot on the bottom for the nut. That way it certainly would not have been necessary to weld up the Y in back for strength.

I might have been born at night, but it wasn't LAST night.
Jim_Lou is offline  
post #9 of (permalink) Old 02-21-2002, 10:42 PM
Bill4x4
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: D44 SUA steering

Well, here's what I have learned recently. My knuckle mod works very well. I actually got a little more steering lock than I had before. That's because the longer hubs have increased the track by a couple of inches, so the tires can turn a little more before they hit the fenderwells. (The eye-to-eye length is the same as the stock narrow-track CJ.)

I wasn't happy with that though, because it required lengthening the tie rod by a little more than an inch, and I didn't like the ends hanging that far out of the rod. Also the CJ uses a 7/8" tie rod that is on the wimpy side.

My solution is to use the 1.25" Dodge tie rod, which required shortening it by roughly a foot. The fatter rod then banged into the diff cover reducing the steering angle. To make up for that I put a .430" offset in the area where it interferes with the cover. That will give me even more steering lock than with the CJ tie rod. The only drawback I see is that I now have to adjust the tie rod length in full-turn increments, which will require some fiddling to get the toe-in set properly. The welds are cooling in the shop now. I'll let you know how that works.

An interesting feature of the Dodge tie rod is that it uses a 12-pitch RH thread on one end, and an 18-pitch RH thread on the other end, so twisting the rod changes its length by the difference between the 12- and 18-pitch threads. If necessary I can pop one side out of the arm, screw it in or out one turn, put it back in the arm, and fine-tune the toe that way.

Now, about doing it the way I did instead of using the Waggie setup. The Cherokee I took the axel from was missing both calipers, one rotor was trashed, and of course, had 6-bolt hubs. I thought about doing it all Jeep, and redrilling the hubs and rotors for 5-bolt. When I considered all of the work, the core charge for two calipers, and that in the future I would have to redrill the rotor every time I replaced it, I went back to the yard and paid $75 for the whole front axel off of the Ramcharger.

Dodge uses a smaller tie rod end than the Cherokee, so I would have had to ream the arms to use the Cherokee tie rod. Then, looking at the linkage, I realized that on the CJ the drag link would be pretty short (with accompanying angle changes as the axel works up and down)to connect to the Cherokee tie rod. And I would also have to ream the pitman arm to accept the Cherokee drag link.

All that considered I decided to make it look like stock, which wasn't too difficult because I have the equipment available. After it was figured out, the knuckle mod only took a couple of hours.

Assuming that the clearance offset in the tie rod works OK, the only change I might make is to pick up another Dodge tie rod and use it for the drag link, for the extra beef and because the stock one is extended a little more than I like. If there is a problem with the offset it will be in getting the toe set correctly. In that case I will probably go to an adjusting-sleeve on the driver side end.

Now, to your project, I cut the cherokee about 7" on the long end and 3" on the short end, so the steering on yours might be different. About that bend in the tie rod, it's probably to clear the pitman arm, not the diff. The '79 Cherokee tie rod has a bend in it on the driver side, but the it's a passenger-side drop. The tie rod is pretty far in front of the diff.

My advice would be to not fret the steering until you have the axel in place. Then you can hang the knuckles on and see what's going to work. If you have a dropped pitman, you must have some lift installed. It might be that you can do a high-steer and a flat pitman. I considered doing a high-steer tie rod, but couldn't because the top of the knuckles are too close to the bottom of the frame.

If you have more questions send them directly to me at [email protected]. It's easier than going through the bbs.

Good luck.

Jim


Well, here's what I have learned recently. My knuckle mod works very well. I actually got a little more steering lock than I had before. That's because the longer hubs have increased the track by a couple of inches, so the tires can turn a little more before they hit the fenderwells. (The eye-to-eye length is the same as the stock narrow-track CJ.)

I wasn't happy with that though, because it required lengthening the tie rod by a little more than an inch, and I didn't like the ends hanging that far out of the rod. Also the CJ uses a 7/8" tie rod that is on the wimpy side.

My solution is to use the 1.25" Dodge tie rod, which required shortening it by roughly a foot. The fatter rod then banged into the diff cover reducing the steering angle. To make up for that I put a .430" offset in the area where it interferes with the cover. That will give me even more steering lock than with the CJ tie rod. The only drawback I see is that I now have to adjust the tie rod length in full-turn increments, which will require some fiddling to get the toe-in set properly. The welds are cooling in the shop now. I'll let you know how that works.

An interesting feature of the Dodge tie rod is that it uses a 12-pitch RH thread on one end, and an 18-pitch RH thread on the other end, so twisting the rod changes its length by the difference between the 12- and 18-pitch threads. If necessary I can pop one side out of the arm, screw it in or out one turn, put it back in the arm, and fine-tune the toe that way.

Now, about doing it the way I did instead of using the Waggie setup. The Cherokee I took the axel from was missing both calipers, one rotor was trashed, and of course, had 6-bolt hubs. I thought about doing it all Jeep, and redrilling the hubs and rotors for 5-bolt. When I considered all of the work, the core charge for two calipers, and that in the future I would have to redrill the rotor every time I replaced it, I went back to the yard and paid $75 for the whole front axel off of the Ramcharger.

Dodge uses a smaller tie rod end than the Cherokee, so I would have had to ream the arms to use the Cherokee tie rod. Then, looking at the linkage, I realized that on the CJ the drag link would be pretty short (with accompanying angle changes as the axel works up and down)to connect to the Cherokee tie rod. And I would also have to ream the pitman arm to accept the Cherokee drag link.

All that considered I decided to make it look like stock, which wasn't too difficult because I have the equipment available. After it was figured out, the knuckle mod only took a couple of hours.

Assuming that the clearance offset in the tie rod works OK, the only change I might make is to pick up another Dodge tie rod and use it for the drag link, for the extra beef and because the stock one is extended a little more than I like. If there is a problem with the offset it will be in getting the toe set correctly. In that case I will probably go to an adjusting-sleeve on the driver side end.

Now, to your project, I cut the cherokee about 7" on the long end and 3" on the short end, so the steering on yours might be different. About that bend in the tie rod, it's probably to clear the pitman arm, not the diff. The '79 Cherokee tie rod has a bend in it on the driver side, but the it's a passenger-side drop. The tie rod is pretty far in front of the diff.

My advice would be to not fret the steering until you have the axel in place. Then you can hang the knuckles on and see what's going to work. If you have a dropped pitman, you must have some lift installed. It might be that you can do a high-steer and a flat pitman. I considered doing a high-steer tie rod, but couldn't because the top of the knuckles are too close to the bottom of the frame.

If you have more questions send them directly to me at [email protected]. It's easier than going through the bbs.

Good luck.

Jim




post #10 of (permalink) Old 02-26-2002, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
Moderator
 
Jim_Lou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Belleville, Illinois
Posts: 11,504
Thanks: 15
Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
         
Re: D44 SUA steering

Here's a picture of the Dodge tie rod with the .430 offset. The whole thing is working perfectly, and I have a good deal more steering lock than before. The limiting factor is again the tires hitting on the leaf spring or fenderwell. Setting the toe-in was a snap. I did bump the rod end out of it's socket to adjust it, but got it exactly right on the third try.

I might have been born at night, but it wasn't LAST night.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 9-700124-DSCN0356a.JPG (53.2 KB, 2 views)
Jim_Lou is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome