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Old 08-09-2005, 10:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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having to lock the steering while while flat towing?

both the 40s ive owned i had to lock the steering wheel with tiedowns otherwise the wheel would just crank around a corner while flat towing and wouldnt return to center, one was non ps one has saginaw both are spring under and at moab this year some of the guys thought i was an idiot for doing this since they didnt have to lock there wheels. is there something wrong with my front end? anyone else have to do this to there cruisers? any other info that would help? thanks
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My dad had the same problem years ago, since then I've allways used a bungee on the sterring wheel. It allows it to move some but keeps it from going all the way to lock and not return.
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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As far as I know that means there is something wrong with the front end. Mine was because the caster was off. I tried to flat tow it and the damn thing would flop full lock even when I barely turned. I had problems even when everything was brand new--everything tires, bearings, shims, gaskets, you name it it was brand new. I had the caster and whatever else done with an alignment and it made a world of difference. I gave up trying to flat tow anyway as that's just scary $hit!
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I use to have the same problem when flat towing my old 40.

I know I had a horrible caster angle and I think that might have been the cause.
How much caster do you have?
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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my first non ps was stock caster with 2inch ranco leafs, the one i have now im not sure if its stock caster it has 4 inch skyjackers
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Old 08-09-2005, 11:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It's not worn or bad parts, it's the caster, FJ-40s have almost no caster stock, it makes the steering easier. that means the steering axis is just about vertical.
the more caster you add, the stronger the "return to center" will be.
But the bugee cord works pretty well for those stock configurations.
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Old 08-10-2005, 06:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd always heard not to flat tow any FJ with the old bellcrank steering. Could damage the steering box. Doesn't have anything to do with what you're experiencing since it seems you've not suffered damage doing it. Luke
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Old 08-10-2005, 06:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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the issue is caster...experienced this about 10 years back, added 2.5* shims to the front axle to tip the pumpkin down, and the issue disappeared.

Stock FJ40 caster is +1*...draw a line thru the trunion/knuckle bearings and the line will angle back over the vehicle...the bottom of the line will end up at/near the front contact edge of the tires. Lifted springs and especially longer front shackles will mess with this caster setting, frequently changing it to 0 or to a negative number....making flat-towing impossible.

Running larger tires also increases the length of the tire contact patch, and can make even the stock +1* caster ineffective...."ideally" that line should touch the pavement at or slightly ahead of the tire contact patch...."ideal" caster changes every time your tire size changes (due to the longer/shorter contact patch). Pressure also effects this contact point, flat-tow with the front tires at maximum sidewall pressure to make this contact patch as short as possible.

2.5 shims worked for me, between the spring/perch, installed to tip the pumpkin down a bit. Possible you'll need 4* shims tho, depending on tire size, pressure, shackles, springs, etc....

fortunately, shims are pretty cheap...no u-bolt changes are required (unless yers bugger up during removal)....check the vendor corner here for some nice steel shims (avoid alum, they tend to "pound" over time and flatten out, then fall out....)
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Old 08-10-2005, 07:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Matt, no one said you were an idiot... we just said we would not do that. Also you have to keep in mind that flat towing is kind of like an art, You have to learn how...
for instance.. never from a dead stop turn the steering wheel to lock and begin moving. because the tow vehicle's axis is at the rear axle...which means when you turn left the rear of the vehicle is moving to the right... therefore the vehicle that is being towed must first turn right BEFORE it can begin turning left. Most of the time
problems like the wheels locking in the turn can be avoided by simply rolling into the turn. Anyway when you tie the sterring wheel all stress has to go somewhere,either
loading up the steering linkage or dragging the tires around the turn.... neither is good for the vehicle. Caster is BIG factor to the problem, however I have seen it happen to stock cruisers as well. I will shut up now.....
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Old 08-10-2005, 11:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveWest5150
Caster is BIG factor to the problem, however I have seen it happen to stock cruisers as well. I will shut up now.....
Read above and you might find caster is the problem from the factory as far as flat towing goes, larger tires and lifts exagerate the problem, but stock cruisers are doomed to this problem from the start without some caster adjustment.
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Old 08-10-2005, 11:09 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Caster has been the problem with every cruiser flat towing problem I have personally seen and experienced myself.
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Old 08-10-2005, 12:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveWest5150
Matt, no one said you were an idiot... we just said we would not do that. Also you have to keep in mind that flat towing is kind of like an art, You have to learn how...
for instance.. never from a dead stop turn the steering wheel to lock and begin moving. because the tow vehicle's axis is at the rear axle...which means when you turn left the rear of the vehicle is moving to the right... therefore the vehicle that is being towed must first turn right BEFORE it can begin turning left. Most of the time
problems like the wheels locking in the turn can be avoided by simply rolling into the turn. Anyway when you tie the sterring wheel all stress has to go somewhere,either
loading up the steering linkage or dragging the tires around the turn.... neither is good for the vehicle. Caster is BIG factor to the problem, however I have seen it happen to stock cruisers as well. I will shut up now.....
well both evan and his dad said its the only way they have ever been able to tow a cruiser so i must not suck that bad at the art of towing
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Old 08-10-2005, 02:40 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Matt,
I didnt say you sucked at the art..... I simply said I would not do that. I have flat towed my cruiser all over the place and have had very few problems, yea once in a while (like going in and out of driveways)I have had the steering lock. I just think with lifted springs and shackles, that dragging it around the corners is not the best solution.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons you broke your spring hanger at moab.
Shims WILL help, I never said that they wouldnt, just seems like looking for the ok to tie you steering wheel... and that is NOT the answer.
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Old 08-10-2005, 03:13 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveWest5150
Matt,
I didnt say you sucked at the art..... I simply said I would not do that. I have flat towed my cruiser all over the place and have had very few problems, yea once in a while (like going in and out of driveways)I have had the steering lock. I just think with lifted springs and shackles, that dragging it around the corners is not the best solution.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons you broke your spring hanger at moab.
Shims WILL help, I never said that they wouldnt, just seems like looking for the ok to tie you steering wheel... and that is NOT the answer.
i think my spring hanger broke because i fell off a ledge, im not looking for someone to say its ok for me to tie my wheel off i was looking for the reason i had to and when i spring over or s/r my front end or what ever i end up doing i will fix my caster at that point
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Old 08-11-2005, 07:32 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Ive had to tie mine the couple of times i drug it home but my tow bar is really really short .... does this have anything to do with it or is just plain caster

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Old 08-11-2005, 07:25 PM   #16 (permalink)
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With proper caster, your Cruiser will follow your towing vehicle like man's best friend! However, if you ever forget to unlock the front hubs, it'll tow like the tires are on sideways.
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Old 08-11-2005, 09:25 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vortec_Cruiser
With proper caster, your Cruiser will follow your towing vehicle like man's best friend! However, if you ever forget to unlock the front hubs, it'll tow like the tires are on sideways.
Ah, the voice of experience!
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