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Step 6: Steering

I had to redesign my steering a bit, because the oversized air filter I installed interfered with the original steering linkage on one side.

I used a track rod to tie the steering arms together behind the front axle. I really wanted to install a steering box and drag link, but it's just not very cost-efficient. Instead, I used the original geared steering hub. In this design, the steering wheel turns a geared shaft, which turns a hub with two tie rod ends on it. It had independent drag links for each side, and they were really loose so the wheels didn't track together very well. Independent drag links can also cause unintended steering problems if the front axle articulates. Installing a quality track rod definitely helped to keep the tires parallel and more easily adjustable for toe in/out.

The downside of using the old steering arms for the track rod is that it left me no place to attach the new drag link. I pulled off the spindle and welded on a new steering arm made from some scrap 3/16" stainless that was laying around the shop. It took a bit of trial and error and grinding to find a shape that wouldn't interfere with the axle or tire at full turn / full articulation.

The new drag link was going to be made from some square stainless tubing I had, but I noticed the old drag link threads looked really similar to the threads on one of the tie rod arms I had gotten from my mower-racing friend. Sure enough, it was a perfect fit, so my new drag link was as simple as threading an old drag link onto an old tie rod!

You may notice in the photos that all the bolts/nuts on the steering look upside down. One of the tricks of industry is to install important bolts upside down so you can more easily monitor them - If a nut loosens or falls off completely, you won't notice it if the bolt is still in place; but if the bolt loosens, you will notice the exposed nut threads immediately.

I didn't like the near-vertical steering shaft. So I welded in some bracing (leftover from the old gas tank mount), and cut up a C-clamp to make an adjustable angled steering shaft. The articulating joint is a 3/8" universal socket joint that I welded into the steering shaft. There's a little bit of slop from the C-clamp's pad, but it's not noticeable when you're driving it.