Swapping spindles for rack & pinion

Suspension, Steering and Chassis

  1. Okibonoe

    Okibonoe Well-Known Member

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    I would like some feedback from people who have actually done it. So much on forums these days are echoes of someone's brother's, cousin's, buddy's, florist who used to drive Pro Stock back in the day lol.

    Those who have done it, how was it? How did it drive? How did it steer at slow and fast speeds? Car setup? Pics? Any other info would be appreciated.

    Pics for clicks

    20200830_103559.jpg
     
  2. tinman2

    tinman2 73 Dart 340 Sport FABO Gold Member

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    If you're thinking swapping side to side for a front mounted rack and pinion, don't do it. Look up "Ackerman steering" for an explanation.
    There are quite a few things involved in design a steering / suspension system. You will need to do lots of research before you do it yourself.
    Back in the 70s, I had several Pro Stock drag racing friends. Some would just put things together without really understanding everything involved. Some ended up crashing... one because of doing exactly this.
    Talk to Hemi Denny for advice on this subject.
    If it's done properly, it will not be cheap.
     
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    • Demonracer

      Demonracer 71 Demon 00 Ram 16 Chrysler 300S 05 Caravan FABO Gold Member

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      Trying to adapt rack & pinion to an A body is an effort in futility, do you research & buy an aftermarket kit to do the installation properly. There are a few kits out there & some of the members here have them on their cars. You need to post what you are going to use the vehicle for, (street, street/strip, race only, autocross) & query the members here for recommendations.
       
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      • Okibonoe

        Okibonoe Well-Known Member

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        This is for a drag race setup, suspension travel limited. I recently went for a ride in a car that did this. Car runs 8.80's in the quarter. The builder builds 4 second RVW cars and Pro Mods. Swapped early spindles, pinto rack mounted correctly with some mods to the width of the rack, and you didn't feel anything funny unless you were in full lock steering. A drag car putting around in the pits isn't gonna be parallel parking. Guy said he'd having his same chassis dude do the same thing on his second car. Lol I'm also aware many people find it hard to say "I messed up", that's why I'm searching for actual people who have done this.

        I'm very, very knowledgeable on how steering systems work.

        Actual experiences, please. And modern, if possible. Alot has changed since the Direct Connection catalogs...
         
      • Kendog 170

        Kendog 170 Let the boy go !

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        :popcorn:
         
      • Okibonoe

        Okibonoe Well-Known Member

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        Lol again, I don't wanna make this a poop show. I just want truths. I'll give you an example: I'm putting a turbocharged 4 banger in my drag duster. I knew I needed a torsion bar solution as my motor was 140lbs lighter than a 340 with aluminum heads. Everyone said that torsion bars could be cut down, the metal was made out of unobtanium, etc. Take a guess who has some .770 torsion bars.

        There is soooooo much good stuff on here. There is also some hand me down legends of stuff that hasn't been tried in 30, 40, 50 years. "If it didn't work in 1982, it wouldn't work now". Just look at the progress that has occurred with the Fox platform. A change in perspective can go a long, long way. Let's progress!
         
      • Kendog 170

        Kendog 170 Let the boy go !

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        I alway's thought someone would put a Mustang front suspension in a Dart .
         
      • Okibonoe

        Okibonoe Well-Known Member

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        That's what basically the AJE kit is. QC is yuk, but the concept and overall design works great for drags. That loooooong strut gives you amazing travel.
         
      • Phreakish

        Phreakish Well-Known Member

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        Ackerman is over-rated. It's mostly important for tire wear and is part of the 'voodoo' used to make roadcourse cars turn and keep the front planted but isn't going to make hardly any difference for drag race use. Having perfect ackerman is important on a wagon or anything which needs to have low rolling resistance. Cars are a different matter, and there's all kinds of different ackerman theory, including anti-ackerman!

        That said, I wouldn't flip spindles without 'fixing' it. A creative person could probably make some tapered washers/spacers to change the steering arm angle with respect to the spindle axis. It's probably also possible to just flip the balljoint over and use some spacers and some selective grinding to regain clearance and have a neutral or slightly positive ackerman result.

        Careful rack location (tie rod angle) can also help fine-tune the final result.

        In any event, creative fabrication should overcome any of the potential 'issues' associated with a spindle flip.
         
      • Okibonoe

        Okibonoe Well-Known Member

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        I literally had to scroll back up to see if my chassis guy posted that. He broke it down just like that. Especially the tie rod and rack location goodies.

        Sounds like you have some actual experience?
         
      • 67Dart273

        67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        You don't need "us with experience" to tell you it won't work. The fact is that if it was that easy WE ALL WOULD BE DOING IT

        MustangII stuff is likely your best bet
         
      • Phreakish

        Phreakish Well-Known Member

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        Ish. I'm a mechanical designer/engineer and deal with geometry a lot. Understanding the engineering, manufacturing, and production side of things means I often better comprehend the 'whys' and 'hows' of OEM design. That said, I've only dabbled with chassis stuff a bit myself, but have seen and known folks who do some strange stuff that works great depending on the application. Too many people make too much fuss over small stuff. If you're building a road racer, then ackerman will probably mean something, but it's not the boogeyman that magazines make it out to be.

        The thing is: there are racks which can be mounted behind the K and retain the stock steering arms. The hard part is actually fabbing mounts for the rack and then getting the steering shaft to it. There was an aussie outfit (pentastar parts) that now looks defunct that sold some brackets which are welded to the K member. The next challenge is getting a decent run radius because the steering arms aren't made for R&P and most racks have limited tie rod travel. Lots of the weld-in or bolt-in stuff tends to increase the A body's tight turn radius by quite a bit (but then, so does disc brakes).

        I once looked into what it would take to use a K-car rack (possibly from an L body) mounted on weld-on tabs on the K member and it looked promising but I never went any farther.
         
      • Phreakish

        Phreakish Well-Known Member

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        Here's the Pentastar parts rack and pinion install. Used an off-the-shelf rack for a commadore something. I actually reached out to them in 2016 and bought a set of the brackets which are sitting in my barn. One of these days I might look for a rack that will work with it (I'll need a LHD version, of course)..

        DSCF1398.jpg
        DSCF1399.jpg
        DSCF1400.jpg

        Here's a FB listing for a place that was selling a modified Kmember in Aus:

        nc_oc=AQlD0tcmlGCcj4typlBvD9A4PkJNfJyjGEzCrpJ53qskpCShx84kOTrU4Smj6ni_2Jc&_nc_ht=scontent-sea1-1.jpg
         
        Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
      • Okibonoe

        Okibonoe Well-Known Member

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        Good feedback guys, thanks. I have a custom tubular K member that will allow you to put the mounts where they need to be.
         
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        • Phreakish

          Phreakish Well-Known Member

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          If you want to try something a little different. Look into center-steer RP assemblies, like from an early 90's Cavalier or Dodge intrepid. I think the Cavalier is rear-steer and the Intrepid is front-steer. Allows longer tie rods or custom inner tie rod locations which may help with bump steer and other geometry considerations.
           
        • Okibonoe

          Okibonoe Well-Known Member

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          67Dart273, I don't recall asking if it was easy. If folks don't want to put the effort into making it work, no skin off my nose.
          I've seen it done, and it worked. I want weight off the front end, better steering, and oil pan room. Vroom vroom!

          I know what it took to get .770 torsion bars. Ain't nothing worth anything easy.
           
        • abdywgn

          abdywgn dismantler

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          What was needed to get a .770" torsion bar?
           
        • Okibonoe

          Okibonoe Well-Known Member

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          Contact your local sway bar manufacturer. They do that everyday. They have the tools to cut them down and polish them to remove all risers...
           
        • abdywgn

          abdywgn dismantler

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          Are these the original bars or new aftermarket ones? Thanks for the answer!

          Love that paint on the door! Are you going to continue the pattern on the rest of the car?
           
        • Okibonoe

          Okibonoe Well-Known Member

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          Original bars cut down. Thanks on the paint. Lol since patina is that "in", the car is gonna look like different panels were from different race cars. Passenger door, fender, and hood will be a completely different color scheme. Dusters are straight outta the 70's and 80's.... But the car will be a turbocharged 4 banger with EFI and about 50psi lol

          20200830_103804.jpg

          Screenshot_20200908-173549_Photos.jpg
           
          Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
          • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
          • 67Dart273

            67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            In that case I'd like to see you post the where, the when, the how etc

            But that is not what you said, really. You asked about swapping spindles, which "is" the "easy"
             
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            • Okibonoe

              Okibonoe Well-Known Member

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              Ok, I'll make sure to quantify any additional modifications in the future with an approximation of the skill level I foresee within the project. Silly me for using such lazy grammar.

              And my car goes in chassis jail this week. It will be fun!

              Those with the good, useful feedback, THANKS!
               
            • pishta

              pishta I know I'm right....

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              I though about the same Aussie set up myself. Just mount up a rear steer rack out of a Cloud car or something (keep it Mopar?) and get it high enough to clear speed bumps and then make some brackets. I think the steering was gonna be really slow and the turn radius was likely going to be 3 lanes. The Steering shaft would have to use 2 U joints and it would almost go down through the floor....But for straight line steering, it may work just fine.
               
            • Okibonoe

              Okibonoe Well-Known Member

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              I will keep you posted. Based on what I've read here, I would have thought that it would turn your car into a twisted wreckage of undrivable metal. Nope! I'm excited.
               
            • Jim Lusk

              Jim Lusk Well-Known Member

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              It's not the spindles you need to swap to run a front mounted rack. The steering arms are on the lower ball joint. You swap the spindles if you want your disc brake calipers front or rear of the spindle.
               
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