Steering Research

A collection of the data I collected

Intro.  I thieved pictures, ideas, text and part numbers mercilessly for this page.  Mostly from the great crowd at POR forum.  If you see one of yours, please contact me so I can give proper credit, or let me know if you want it removed.

Definitions:

Hy Steer - a steering linkage setup where both the draglink and tie rod are located above the springs.

Crossover steering - a steering system where the drag link and tie rod attach independently to the passenger side knuckle

Inverted T - a steering system where the tie rod attaches knuckle-to-knuckle, and the drag link attaches to the tie rod, usually near the right hand side.

Inverted Y - a steering system where the draglink attaches to the passenger knuckle, and the tie rod mounts from the draglink to the drivers knuckle.

This is a combination crossover and Hy Steer setup.
This is a Hy Steer Inverted T

Photo Ron Hollatz

This is an Inverted Y (and a horrible one at that!)
This is a crossover, but not Hy Steer setup.

Where do you find the Dana44 flat top knuckles?

73-77 Chevy / GM 1/2 ton 4X4 with Dana44 passenger knuckles are flat tops. 
73-87 Chevy / GM 1/2 ton 4X4 with Dana44driver's knuckle are flat tops. 
74-77 Full Size Jeep (FSJ) (including Waggoneer, J series trucks, and narrowtrack Cherokee SJ) Driver and Passenger side.
69-77 early Ford Bronco Dana44 knuckles are different from the Gm and Jeep, but are machinable flat.
Mid 70's Dodge's with Dana44 front axle (don't know details)
The advantage to the GM driver's side knuckle is that it's already drilled and tapped.
Some of these knuckles are flat and some have a peak in the center that is machinable.
NOTE - as with all things truck, Jeep, and 4X4 - the years have to be taken with a grain of salt.  
I have heard of 77's that are flat top, and 76's that are not - the pictures provided below will help you check.

OK - so which Dana44 front axles DON'T have flat top knuckles?

78 and later FSJ 
78 and later GM passenger side
78 and later Ford F150 / Bronco
Scout II Dana 44

How do I tell the difference by looking?

Flat top knuckle on the left.

Non flat top knuckle on the right

Non flat top knuckle on the left

Flat top knuckle on the right.

Flat top knuckle on the left.

Non flat top knuckle on the right

This is an early Bronco D44 flat top knuckle
Non flat top knuckle, upper right.

 

Flat top knuckle with steering arm attached, lower left.

 

What parts do I need to run a flat top knuckle Dana44 with a 5x5.5" bolt pattern?

Essentially you run the Chevy or FSJ knuckle out, but you use a '76-'92 Ford F-150 Hub, rotor, and Inner Wheel bearing seal. (Except the '87-early '88 model Fords with the weird flange mount hub).  The manual lockout is the same part for both.
Timken Bearing Numbers
 
76 Chevy / 85 F-150 inner wheel bearing:

Set 37

76 Chevy / 85 F-150 outer wheel bearing:

Set 45

76 Chevy / 85 F-150 Front Axle Spindle Outer oil seal

722109

 76 Chevy / 85 F-150 Front Axle Spindle Inner oil seal

722108

 76 Chevy / 85 F-150 Spindle bearing 

B2110

 Inner wheel bearing seal (fits in back of hub)

Chevy 24898

Ford 24917

F150 hub and rotor part #s

BRAKE DISCS/ROTORS

GUARDIAN

52-60441

[Rotor] Frt.; 4WD

 

 

WAGNER

BD60441

[Rotor] Frt.; 4WD

 

 

HUB, SPLINED DRIVE

GUARDIAN

52-61706

[Rotor Hub] Frt.; 4WD; Use for Rotor {BD60441}

 

 

WAGNER

BD61706

[Rotor Hub] Frt.; 4WD; Use for Rotor {BD60441}

 

 

 
Warn premium locking hub applications that work

Part # 20990

Chevrolet/GMC 

Blazer, Jimmy, Suburban '69-91

1/2 Ton Pickup '69-87

3/4 Ton Pickup '77-87

DODGE

1/2 Ton Pickup & Ramcharger '69-74

1/2, 3/4 Ton Pickup & Ramcharger '80-93

FORD

Bronco '66-96

1/2 Ton Pickup '59-96

3/4 Ton Pickup '59-75

3/4 Ton Pickup, Light Duty '77.5-97

JEEP

Full Size Wagoneer, Cherokee, J-10 Pickup, Commander '74-91

J-20 Pickup '77-87 

 

 

Great, so I've got the knuckles what next?

The heart of a Hy Steer system is the steering arms,  these are the custom pieces that are attached to the top of the flat top knuckles, and to which the steering linkage (drag link and tie rod) are attached.

They are available from many sources (see links at the bottom of the page), or can be custom made if you have the tools and skill.

When making or buying, things to consider are:

  1. Mounting design (Chevy style cone washers, lug nuts, bolts and locating dowels etc.) - see next section for important discussion on this.
  2. Whether they are flat or "step up" to clear the springs
  3. Type of linkage mounting - TRE or Rod End, and whether the arms are drilled or tapered for you choice
  4. Intended linkage design - True crossover will require 2 linkage mounting holes in passenger side arm, 1 in drivers.  Hy Steer Inverted T will require only 1 hole in each steering arm.
  5. Placement of the draglink attachment hole (if crossover) - you want this to be a distance from the center of the balljoint (point of rotation of the knuckle) equal to the distance from the center of the steering box shaft to the center of the TRE hole in the pitman arm.  In other words - balljoint to draglink hole on steering arm = the horizontal "throw" of the pitman arm  This dimension will affect steering radius and Ackerman angle
  6. Placement of the TRE holes.  With crossover design, proper location is important to avoid binding between the tie rod and drag link.
  7. Whether the arms "angle in" to allow clearance between the steering joints and tire / wheel.
  8. Whether or not you need or want an angle machined in the face of the arms so that the static angle of the steering joints is minimized
Here are some pics of some arms to give you an idea of what's available:
Arms from Extreme Gear Offroad
Avalanche's new arms
Avalanche arm mounted
Basic undrilled arms
Arms and mounting hardware from Tri County Gear
Super trick step-up billet arms from OTT Industries
Super trick step-up billet arms from OTT Industries
Super trick step-up billet arms from OTT Industries
A homemade arm attached with tapered lug nuts by Steve Meyers
Basic Arms from BR Fabworks (Bob Roggy) 

1-530-626-9451

Nice "step in" arms from www.shakerbuilt.com with good clearance from the tire built in. Also pictured is the available 1" spacer for clearing leaf springs.
Cool "step-up" arms from BR Fabworks

 

Alright - but what's all the fuss about how you attach the arms to the knuckle - why can't I just bolt them on?

I'll let the text below explain, comments from knowledgeable folks (well, for the most part - some of the comments are mine ! :-)
It's actually pretty critical to have the two mating faces truly flat. This way the clamping force of the bolts or studs is maximized- it's the "friction" between the arm and the face milled into the knuckle that does most of the work. 

If you simply rely on the bolts themselves, you're just begging for a failure. 

Same goes for drilling and tapping the holes square to the milled face- if the bolts are crooked, they try to force the arm one way or the other. Or, if the hole in the arm is a pretty close fit to the bolt/stud, the angle of the bolt to the face will keep the arm from clamping correctly, and we're right back where we started from. 

Or worse, you crank down on the bolt 'til the faces DO meet, then the bolt is preloaded crooked, and more likely to break. 

Being a "competent part time machinist" myself, I very strongly suggest letting a skilled professional do the work. Even for a trailered-to-the-trail, slow rock-rig, the steering is an extremely critical item. 

- Comments by DOC, a machinist from POR forum

The steering arm obviously experiences continued cyclical loads that place the mounting devices (bolts or studs) in shear load. ( I realize the strength of the joint is primarily achieved by the friction between the mating surfaces - none-the-less the fasteners still experience these loads - as evidenced by them loosening) SAE bolts are not designed to be loaded in shear, not to mention are not manufactured to close enough specs to allow a tight enough fit so that play will not develop and they will not begin to oval out the hole. Not to mention, drilling holes is not the proper way to achieve an exact dimension hole - it should be rough drilled and then reamed to final size. So if bolts are used, holes should be reamed, and proper shear bolts (like AN - can't quote a number off the top of my head) should be used. This is expensive and rare and more difficult, so GM came up with the ingenious solution of using a stud with a split cone washer, so that as the nut tightens, the cone cinches down and provides the required zero clearance fit while still allowing use of SAE grade/spec hardware. 

You can use bolts, but you have to use the right kind, or do something else to compensate (like using interference fit locating dowels).

Here are the stock studs in a GM knuckle
This shows the studs, cone washers, and locking nuts.

And here are the studs and cone washers part numbers. GM calls the cone washers "adapters".

Stud
3965137

Adapter (cone washer)
3965138

Each of these were about $3.50 a piece. So it cost me under $24 for the studs and washers per side. And GM does not sell the nuts (or at least my local dealer said they were not available). It is a 9/16-18 that's needed.

TriCounty Gear also sells the hardware separately. $20 for the 3 9/16-NF studs, 3 conical "washers" and the 3 9/16 aircraft "stover" nuts

Knuckle being machined flat
Knuckle machined flat and drilled.

 

OK - you've got the knuckles and the arms all sorted out - time to build / buy the linkage.

Since you've come this far, it only makes sense to me to do a "true" Hy Steer setup and mount the draglink and the tie rod above the springs.

You basically have 2 choices

1) A crossover design, where draglink and tie rod are independent.  The advantage being that toe and steering wheel center are easily adjusted independently without having to disconnect anything, and that there is no chance of the draglink "rolling" the tie rod before steering the wheels.  the disadvantage being the crowded linkage mounting on the passenger side steering arm, and the possibility for bind between tie rod and draglink.

2) An inverted T setup, where draglink mounts to tie rod.  The advantage being simpler mounting on passenger side steering arm, and potentially less bind.  The disadvantage being the draglink has to be detached from the tie rod in order to adjust toe.

In either case, exactly how you lay out the linkage will depend on things like spring height, location of steering box, type of steering arm used etc.

You can read bout my crossover steering and the parts I used HERE and HERE
A very popular Inverted T setup is to use '85 Chevy Blazer steering joints and custom tubes.

The part numbers required are:

Tie Rod:
ES2233L for pass side (reamed hole for TRE) NAPA PN 269-2554
ES2234R for driver side 

Drag Link:
ES2027L for pitman arm (high angle)
ES2234R for pass side (mounts to TRE ES2233L) 

The ES2027L and ES2026R are stock 85 Blazer drag link ends. 

The ES2233L and ES2234R are stock 85 Blazer tre's. the ES2233L is the tie rod end (not on the drag link) that has the steering stabilizer hole that is re-tapered to the GM spec (1.5"/ft, but Drag link end has same taper, but larger hole). 

And all of these are 7/8-18" on the threaded ends

GM P/N's for the jam nuts (discontinued)

14024806
14024805 

Below are some pics of this setup from Steve Meyers excellent page.

His article is linked below.

ES2027L at Pitman arm
ES2233L mounted to steering arm, with stock steering stabilizer hole re-tapered so that ES2234R on end of draglink will fit to it.
ES2234R of tie rod attached to drivers side steering arm.
Top pic is ES2233 which has a stock hole for steering stabilizer.  This hole has to be drilled and re-tapered from the other side for the TRE on the draglink.

Bottom pic is of an ES2010

H8Mondays from POR has a unique and trick setup.  he made his tie rod from solid chromoly stock, and had an area on the rod machined flat, drilled, and tapered to accept the end of his draglink.

 

I really like this setup for the clearance and no bind it gives between draglink and tie rod.

Very cool!

Some more TRE part numbers and pics for your info.

 

Hy Steer links

Companies
bullet OTT Industries - HIGHLY Reccommended!
bullet Parts Mike
bullet Avalanche Engineering
bullet Extreme Gear Offroad
bullet All Pro Offroad
bullet Foothill Offroad
bullet Jeep Extremes
bullet OTT Industries
bullet Performance Unlimited
bullet Rockstomper
bullet Tri County Gear
Articles
bullet John Nutter
bullet Ron Hollatz
bullet Chris Waterman
bullet Steve Meyers
bullet Coby Hughy

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