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Using The Shorter Pitman Arm

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  • Using The Shorter Pitman Arm

    Several weeks ago I mentioned that I'd buy a shorter pitman arm with my next parts order. I want to try it just to get my thoughts about how much easier it might steer, but it also gives the added benefit of putting less pressure on the gas tank bracket while turning the steering wheel.

    A few weeks ago my short pitman arm came from Bert's, and it's a quality forged piece of craftsmanship that Henry Ford himself would be proud of.

    Pitman Arm Short.JPG

  • #2
    How'd it work Tom?

    Comment


    • #3
      If you like the way it looks,wait until you drive with it.After driving an A with the stock setup,you are going to have to get used to the new one.That might soak up 30 seconds or a minute of your life.I have never once seen an instance of the steering radius reduced,but I've heard stories of that.I don't think I ever turn the wheels around to full warp on an A anyway.When I do the tires want to chitter along and slide in the dirt before they start to roll.

      Comment


      • #4
        How much shorter is it?
        2 1930 Tudors

        Henry Ford said
        "It's all nuts and bolts"


        Mitch's Auto Service ctr

        Comment


        • tbirdtbird
          tbirdtbird commented
          Editing a comment
          I believe 1.5"

      • #5
        The upper steering bracket takes a lot of stress,its amazing how much the frame flexes without it.

        Comment


        • #6
          Tom, how was the shipping ? I received my windshield from Berts and it was nicely crated. P.S.-- 3" of snow here and still snowing !!

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by Fixitphil View Post
            How'd it work Tom?
            I won't get it painted and installed until the weather warms up. We are still having global winter in Minnesota.
            Still snowing and 20* below average for the next 10 days.
            The shipping was actual cost and fast from Bert's. If you like to pay actual shipping cost and need parts in a hurry, Bert's is tops.

            Comment


            • #8
              I installed the same shorter arm a couple of years ago. Its great and makes steering easier. Lately I've been driving with a thumb/wrist splint on my left hand, but driving the A is no problem (as long as it's rolling).

              Comment


              • #9
                I have that same pitman on my truck. So far I dont see a down side. It may have reduced my turning radius, not sure. More pleasurable to drive.

                Comment


                • CarlG
                  CarlG commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Did you ever get it painted?

                • Curly
                  Curly commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I didn't. I clear coated it for rust prevention. I have to assume they were painted from the factory.

              • #10
                Curly,turn your wheels around to full lock,and look to see if your spindles hit the stops.If they do,your turning radius could not have changed.I went through the front end of a roadster about 10 years ago for a woman,she was having a bit of a hard time steering it.It was nice when I finished it,but that short arm was the icing on the cake.She was in her mid-60's,and said she could palm the steering wheel while parallel parking after I put the arm on.

                Comment


                • Curly
                  Curly commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks, I will try that.

              • #11
                Originally posted by Mitch View Post
                How much shorter is it?
                I don't have the standard arm handy, but my shorter arm measures 5 3/8" center to center. I think what Dave said, about 1 1/2" sounds right.

                Comment


                • Mitch
                  Mitch commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks to you both.

              • #12
                I shortened mine about 15 years ago. Since I am a welder, and welded on nuclear submarines, I felt confitent in welding my own. It made a big difference in steering ease. I shortened it 1.5 inches, with a Z shape cut to maximise strength.
                Bill
                http://www.brauchauto.com/

                Comment


                • #13
                  Originally posted by 2manycars View Post
                  I shortened mine about 15 years ago. Since I am a welder, and welded on nuclear submarines, I felt confitent in welding my own. It made a big difference in steering ease. I shortened it 1.5 inches, with a Z shape cut to maximise strength.
                  I thought about that also, because I can do a good weld, but for $39 I wouldn't mess around doing it.

                  Comment


                  • 2manycars
                    2manycars commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I did mine before they were available new.

                • #14
                  Why didn't Ford make them shorter to start with? One would think that a test of some kind would have been done, maybe Henry dictated the length?

                  Comment


                  • 2manycars
                    2manycars commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Evolution. The model A steering was much better than the T, and was advertised as "non reversing" steering gear, since the model T just had planitary gears up at the steering wheel, and the front wheels hitting a ditch could jank the steering wheel out of your hand. An improvement for sure.

                • #15
                  I made mine for the same reason Bill did.They weren't around,or,if they were,I didn't know about them.I won't make one for a customer,but not for safety reasons.I can pretty much kill an hour and a half making one,and I can get a store bought one for $40.The roads were different back in the A days,and the shorter arm will telegraph the yanking from the ruts to your arms.Not something you notice on todays roads.Even the rough dirt roads I drive on are nicer than the dirt roads back then.

                  Comment


                  • #16
                    Just don't use a shorter arm with easy steer, you will have half a turn to make minor corrections in steering. Elvira came to me that way and was almost undrivable.
                    Last edited by Corley; 04-04-2018, 12:04 PM.
                    CB the Wonderful

                    Comment


                    • CarlG
                      CarlG commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Most probably the problem is with the POS EzSteer box, not the short Pitman arm.

                    • Corley
                      Corley commented
                      Editing a comment
                      The ezsteer may be a pos, that's not the point. The point is that each of these changes gains easier steering by having to move the steering wheel further for the same tire movement, and with them both, it takes a great deal of steering wheel movement to move the tires very much. I went back to the longer original arm, and now the ezsteer is ok by itself. Probably the original box with shorter arm would also be just fine. Both on the same car, not so good.
                      Last edited by Corley; 04-04-2018, 12:13 PM.

                  • #17
                    Originally posted by Sunnybrook Farm View Post
                    Why didn't Ford make them shorter to start with? One would think that a test of some kind would have been done, maybe Henry dictated the length?
                    I think Ford implemented shorter arms only a few years later. Like was said, it was an evolutionary thing.

                    Comment


                    • #18
                      Originally posted by Sunnybrook Farm View Post
                      Why didn't Ford make them shorter to start with? One would think that a test of some kind would have been done, maybe Henry dictated the length?
                      That's a good question, because I always thought the Model T and A had much quicker steering than they should have.

                      Keith, the shorter arm should telegraph less road shock back to the steering wheel.
                      I can only see good coming from the shorter arm, and don't see a problem using it with Easy- Steer, although I never saw the need for a different steering box, even with my 1928 7 tooth..

                      Comment


                      • #19
                        On T's ford used a 3-1 stteering until 1926 and then went to 4-1 and that was quite an improvement My1927 fordor drives much nicer than my 1919.

                        Comment


                        • #20
                          Winter is back in NW Illinois, streets salted pretty heavily, going to be bitterly cold next 7-10 days and snowing again Sunday.I haven't had Model A out yet might have to wait until May the way it's going. Need that good heavy rain before I venture out.

                          Saw a buddy out with his mint condition '70 El Camino Monday. I asked him 'Are you nuts or what??" Roads white with salt from the 1/10th inch we got Sunday nite. He said 'It's OK the roads are dry'. No way as far as I am concerned.... need that heavy rain first to clean the roads. Salt dust is bad stuff.
                          Last edited by Jeff/Illinois; 04-04-2018, 11:50 PM.

                          Comment


                          • Mitch
                            Mitch commented
                            Editing a comment
                            You got that right. It may take 2-3 good rains from all the oversalting and piles left at intersections.

                        • #21
                          Agree, dry only doesn't cut it, maybe he flunked science

                          Comment


                          • #22
                            Originally posted by tbirdtbird View Post
                            Agree, dry only doesn't cut it, maybe he flunked science
                            I agree, and my 1999 Olds is proof of that. I always wait for 2 good rains to wash off the road salt before I take my good cars out.

                            Comment


                            • #23
                              Somebody must have made them back in the day because I have this one that I got in the 60's. It was on a AA and you could tell
                              it had been on the truck for a long time. It looks like 2" shorter than stock.

                              Comment


                              • #24
                                I have had one on my '29 pickup since the 80's. Actually think we made it, cut 1 1/2" out of the middle, would have had it welded by a professional. It makes the '29 steering box work better. Takes a double wide road to do a U-turn however.
                                +++++++++++++++++++
                                Jon.

                                "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -Ben Franklin

                                Comment


                                • #25
                                  There are welders, and then there are WELDERS. No way I'd trust somebody who modified the original, unless he had Bill's skill level.

                                  The newly made one from Bratton's looks first-class I bet it is a dandy. Tom when you get it installed give us your opinion.

                                  Comment


                                  • Mitch
                                    Mitch commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    It sucks when you turn the wheel and the car goes straight.

                                  • Jeff/Illinois
                                    Jeff/Illinois commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    My brother told a cop a similar story years ago...,,, didn't get any sympathy he still got a DUI and a hefty fine!!

                                  • BNCHIEF
                                    BNCHIEF commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    I can tell you how much fun it isn't in a sprint car when the drag link breaks on a sprint car going into a turn at 110 .

                                  • Jwmckenzie
                                    Jwmckenzie commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Agree, I would buy one newly made today.

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