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Quick Ratio Steering Arms


geojerry
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My Quick Ratio Steering Arms arrived today from Stud Intl ( $115 pair).

A sticker says " Made In China "

Should I be concerned ????

We plan to work on the bad steering on my 78 Avanti II next month. The Steering column is

Chrysler and the Steering Box looks like a 67 Dodge Truck unit. The WORM gear is shot. Might as well put the new steering arms on in addition.

In anyone has any "lessons learned" on this repair, let me know.

Thanks, Jerry.

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My Quick Ratio Steering Arms arrived today from Stud Intl ( $115 pair).

A sticker says " Made In China "

Should I be concerned ????

We plan to work on the bad steering on my 78 Avanti II next month. The Steering column is

Chrysler and the Steering Box looks like a 67 Dodge Truck unit. The WORM gear is shot. Might as well put the new steering arms on in addition.

In anyone has any "lessons learned" on this repair, let me know.

Thanks, Jerry.

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I would like to know how that turns out. When I purchased my '82, it already had quick-ratio steering arms. Although it does steer quicker, it does not seem to steer as sharp as other cars I have owned, and U-turns are wide. I have nothing to compare it to, as I have never driven an Avanti II with regular steering arms. There may be something wrong with my front end, so I would appreciate knowing whether you notice any difference in turning radius before and after the transplant. Thanks-

Ray

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I think we all need to remember Avanti's are built on a 1953 era chassis design. I have the quick steering arms on my '70 and while they do quicken the steering some, the effect on turning radius is negligible. Back when I owned my '63 I always considered it to be a fine handling car. I sold it some years back and after purchasing the '70 I have now, I was amazed to find the handling leaves something to be desired...and this was after a complete rebuild of the car, including the suspension. What has changed is the vast improvements in automotive technology since I owned my '63 (at the time, my other cars were pretty much similar vintage).

You're comparing new car technology and suspension designs with fifty year old technology. No matter how good the suspension is on a Stude framed Avanti, it simply doesn't stack up to modern cars. In the space I make a complete turn with my SUV, I have to stop, back up and go forward again in my '70. The steering circle is just too wide compared to modern cars. The 109" wheelbase and the front overhang has something to do with that as well compared to newer cars.

Now...my '02 Avanti based on the Trans Am platform...that's a different animal altogether when it comes to handling. That car is glued to the road and turns like it's on rails.

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The bad steering/handling I am concerned with is the 1/4 turn free play in the Steering wheel and

the drifting of the vehicle out-of lane. I need to keep both hands on the wheel and concentrate with no distractions. The 1/4 freeplay is scary when driving close to the curb lane or in heavy traffic. Hopefully, it's a worn out Worm gear causimg this. I'm not too concerned about the turn radius.

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The bad steering/handling I am concerned with is the 1/4 turn free play in the Steering wheel and

the drifting of the vehicle out-of lane. I need to keep both hands on the wheel and concentrate with no distractions. The 1/4 freeplay is scary when driving close to the curb lane or in heavy traffic. Hopefully, it's a worn out Worm gear causimg this. I'm not too concerned about the turn radius.

Speaking as a proud owner of an 83 Avanti, your problem will not be solved by going to shorter arms. My opinion is that you either have wear in the box or a bad ball joint or two. Mine is a little light in the steering for my taste but that's due to power steering. If your's was mine, I put it up in the air, find the problem and fix it before it becomes a real problem.

JMHO

Bob

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The bad steering/handling I am concerned with is the 1/4 turn free play in the Steering wheel and

the drifting of the vehicle out-of lane.

It should be relatively easy for you or a shop to determine where any major looseness is... it should be easy enough for one person to hold parts of the steering system from beneath the car while someone rotates the steering wheel off it's center... by starting either farthest away from the steering column or just past the rag joint and then working one's way along the linkage parts to the other extreme.

Front end alignment can play a part in drifting out of lane, also.

But, it's never going to feel as positive as modern rack & pinion steering.

As for the turning radius, quick steering might get you from lock/stop to lock/stop (or center position to lock/stop) with fewer turns of the wheel, but the wheel stops still determine your tightest turning radius... so don't expect a quick steering arm to let you make tighter turns.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Latest update.

The steering box was pulled from the car and sent out to a "specialist". He took one look and said he did not want to take the shaft apart on fear he could not locate parts, if needed. So, I called Dan at NOSTALGIC in Michigan and he said to box the unit up with the pitman arm still connected to the control valve, overnight it to him and he will give a look. He knows what will be needed after a 15 minute look.

To be Continued.....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update:

Dan at Nostalgic said my mailed package just showed up this morning. Will work on it Sunday ( amazing that anyone is that dedicated to our Avanti cause ). Says the quick ratio steering arms will have no effect on correcting the wandering. May make things worse. Not sure why. Since I already paid for them, might as well install anyway with a rebuilt box or a new one ( if he has it in stock). If pitman arm and control valve bad, he will rebuild. Went over to shop to check on Avanti. It's sitting inside all alone and waiting. Decided now may be a good time to work on converting those terrible Camaro seats and all-white interior to better seats and all Black interior with a GRANT wooden Steering wheel. The white vinyl is just faded. May decide to dye with Black color instaed of a total replace. Is this a good idea? It's a lot cheaper to do it this way.

Till then, I'm using the 63 GT Hawk for all shows.

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Monday Update:

Dan called from Nostalgic. The Steering Box is ok, no issues. The problem is the Control Valve near the Pitman arm. A part is cracked and an extra sleeve was incorrectly installed. He will rebuild and send everything back to my performance shop Wednesday. Per Dan's advice, I will NOT install the quick ratio steering arms. Will return to SI, unopened in their orig shipping box for credit to my acct.

Also, will not dye the white interior to Black. Too much can go wrong using dye throughout the interior and sun roof area. The Grant steering should arrive end week for install this weekend.

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He claims that they will not resolve my "wandering" problems and could make matters worse. But, his wife's 78 Avanti II has them installed. I an now very confused. Most owners who had them installed, show no issues. Since I now went 30 days from my orig purchase date, SI will charge me a 20 % restocking fee, if I return. I still may change my mind and have the shop install anyway since everything is apart in the steering area.

What do you think Bruce ?

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I agree the quick steering arms won't do anything with the wander in the car's tracking. What they will do is slightly reduce the lock-to-lock time in the steering...from 3.5 turns of the steering wheel to maybe 3 turns. It won't reduce the turning circle of the car as had already been noted, the lock points limit the turning circle. You just get to those points a bit quicker.

As far as Dan's belief the quick steering arms may make the wandering problem worse, I have to defer to his expertise and experience. I would guess that the quick steering arms will make the car's steering dart back and forth more quickly as a result of the wander and you'll be constantly making corrections and even overcorrections...just a guess on my part.

If you're having your complete steering system rebuilt to eliminate the wander, I see no reason not to go ahead and install the quick steering arms. If you're not rebuilding the entire steering system, again I would have to defer to Dan's reasoning. If he has the arms on his wife's car, you can bet the steering is in top notch condition to start with.

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Monday Update:

The rebuilt control valve/pitman arm reappeared this past weekend from Nostalgic. No changes were made to the Steering Box as Dan said it was fine. The re-install is just about finished and tomorrow is D-Day for a test drive. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Dan says a Great improvement in the Steering will be felt with the wandering eliminated. Here's hoping....

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Back on the road again. No more "wandering" in the steering.

Front end alignment next and then done.

Next project - new black vinyl interior and new front seats.

Install new front springs to lower Avanti about 2 in.

I hate the current Rake on the 78.

Anybody know what size springs I should get to replace the current factory set

and where to order from ?

Thanks, Jerry

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The rake on the Studebaker Avanti and the lack of it on the Avanti II is a body orientation thing...not a frame or suspension thing. It's more correctly a matter of adding or removing spacers and insulators between the body and frame at the appropriate places to achieve the rake you want. It's easier to remove the coil spring spacers from the front, which some prefer to do. If that doesn't achieve the rake you want, you have have a spring shop shave or remove a coil from the springs. Avanti's through 1985 all use the same coil springs...R3 and R4's excepted. I don't know the difference in them...stiffness or spring rates maybe.

Over time the front coil springs on Avanti's have shown a tendency to compress with age. I wouldn't go with anything less than a stock spring rate. A spring shop can probably make you a set of coil springs to achieve what you want if you don't want a set shaved down. You can buy stock springs from any of the supporting Studebaker vendors or have a set made by Eaton Springs through their website. It's possible Eaton is the supplier for our vendors but I really don't know if that's the case.

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Good info Bruce, thanks.

I may decide to pull the springs and not pay a shop to remove a coil but buy 2 new ones with one less coil. Is it just a matter of counting the no. of existing coils and purchasing a new set with the one less size ? Also, how bad a job is it to remove a set of springs and re-install a new set? I assume I should replace any old bushings, if any.

I know the geometry of the front steering will be effected, but a new alignment will help. I do not race or heavy corner my Avanti. Just go to the local car shows on the weekend. Top highway speed is 65 about 10-20 miles per weekend. No long trips. I would rather trailer the Avanti if I go out of Fla. on the back of my 21 ft. Motorhome ( about 8 miles/gallon doing this - VERY EXPENSIVE gas trips).

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I don't know how you would specify a shortened coil as Studebaker vendors probably sell the stock spring and either don't have the equipment to shorten them or won't for liability reasons. A spring shop might as they can probably make you a spring to order. Maybe you should call Mike Myer at Myer's Studebaker...he's a racer and maybe he knows just what to do. The worst he can do is say no. It could be just eliminating the spacer at the bottom of each spring will give you the rake you want with no modification to the springs. I don't know if that's even proper to do from a safety standpoint. Maybe so...it could be it was cheaper for Studebaker to add the spacer than specify another length coil spring to inventory from the vendor when the Avanti was first designed. Maybe someone who has done just that can add their experience doing that.

Replacing springs is not a job for the amateur...you really need a lift and the appropriate equipment. The actual procedure isn't difficult but it's real easy to make a mistake and get hurt without the right tools.

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The performance shop that does all my work will lower the car. He's uneasy about removing spacers. Prefers to order a set of new springs to do that from Jegs or Summit or other vendor and just replace using existing spacers.

Is it just a matter of counting the number of existing coils and then measure 2in reduction - probably 1 coil?

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