Frank S and C-Bag,
I learned a lot from building with the Gilbert Erector sets back in the 1950's and early 60's. I would have several projects in progress on my bedroom floor. I enjoyed making cantilevered bridges and cranes and all gear driven either by a hand crank or motors. Wonderful ways to first image something and then build it with the erector sets. My mom refused to vacuum my room because she didn't want to vacuum up the nuts and bolts. I guess a few of these parts chewed up the vacuum rotary head so my room was off limits.
Thanks for the memories, Paul
During this move I have been forced to go mobile again. So I rigged my old 93 F350 crew cab to become a temporary welding rig
I have never liked pickup beds and have been looking for a good excuse to trash the one on my F350.
My wife tells me that I should get me another mechanics bed because I always carry so many tool boxes and other stuff there is no room for hauling anything in the bed, but I think that I would rather build me a flat bed with boxes built into the skirts of hte sides then make a slide on unit with welding equipment and other top boxes on it. That way I can slide it off onto a rolling chassis for use around the farm and still have a truck that I can use to pull a goose-neck trailer with
The question of modular bodies has always been one of my ongoing thought problems. Pickup beds are like you say a compromise. The bed is really too cosmetic and not functional enough with lots of wasted space. I never actually owned one, but I liked the fold down sides of the old VW PU with the tons of storage under the deck.
A flat bed with fold down sides and a couple of side boxes under sides would be mighty handy and functional but they have wasted space and the inconvenience of raising the bed to clear the rear wheels. Personally a regular pickup nowadays have such a long wheel base you need a country mile to turn the things around, so it cuts down on agility and makes them a pain for maneuvering a trailer. Even a gooseneck.
My dad drove a bobtail for most his sales job for 40yrs. But the last 5 yrs when they had to finally retire the Dodge they gave him a small gas Chevy tractor/5th wheel setup. He was skeptical, but ended up loving it because he could turn around like a car in a street because of the short wheel base on the tractor and could get in and out of anywhere to make his deliveries. And when the tractor needed service he didn't have to transfer his load like the bobtail. The deck of the 5th wheel was really low too so the whole thing worked much better ergonomically. Being vertically challenged, my other peeve is how high decks are too and how things always go shwangle when trying to get in and out of beds. I have an old utility trailer my father in law made for hauling his camper and it has drop axels on it with shortened leaf springs. Built like a tank and handy as a shirt pocket.
I think my old 1993 Ford F350 crewcab diesel has about the worst turn radius of any vehicle I've ever owned. One thing I have done to Fords in the past was to cut 1.75" off the steering stops then stretched the pitman arm by 0.750" that cut the turn radius by 4 ft need to do this to this one
Geez, how could that NOT have a bad turning radius? The front and rear bumpers are in different zip codes! But for some reason it seems there has been a discision to make turning radius bigger. To slow down the turning ratio? I wonder if astroracer could shed some light as he was a front end engineer for I believe GM. My biggest beef with my '15 Nissan Frontier is the slow steering. My '96 4x4 I could hug the curb and just be able to clear the other curb and pull a U'y. This new on isn't even a 4x4 and no way.
Is this some kind of safety issue? I have notice since about 2000 almost every wreck I see is a rollover. I never used to see that. Maybe every once in a blue moon on the freeway. But I'm seeing them in town, just saw one the other day. The speed limit was 35 I think. Come to think of it, they are all SUV. Don't even get me started on them.....
C-bag' my Ford which my wife named the Beast only has a 169" WB. My 81 that I built mostly from ground up had a 176" wb Like I said I had extended the Pittman arm length and shortened the stops with the big heavy cat V8 I went with 15/16" diameter rod for the coil springs with 1.75 more coils instead of the factory 7.8" diameter rod this worked out very well with the additional 800 lbs of the 10.4 liter engine plus the added weight of the 10 sp road ranger and the spicer 2 sp over the original 7.3 and automatic it had in it.
Your comment about the rollovers of SUV's can be summed up with 3 words impatient inexperienced drivers, almost all late model SUV's and particularly the taller ones have a bad over-steer problem. This can be attributed largely to the all tooooooo young automotive engineers with little to no racing background. Especially no dirt track, they try to design as near to "0" camber as possible for ease of handling at very low speeds. like getting into and out of parking spaces. If you will notice many of the SUV's that are involved in roll-overs have rack & pinion power steering this system is both good and very bad at the same time. the good is the entire system can be designed lighter and occupy much less space.. The bad is most of the road feel is eliminated when making a turn at speed there is zero change in the counteractive torque felt in the steering wheel another extremely bad thing was the invention of antilock braking systems. Suddenly after that junk became mandatory on all vehicles drivers no longer learned respect for following and stopping distances. ABS systems should actually take one more leap and become smart systems with higher and lower functionality in certain traffic, weather and road conditions.
I remember once when riding with a good friend of mine in his brand new at the time 89 BMW 735I the road was covered with several inches of snow with a layer of solid ice under that. we were rolling along about 70 MPH when he suddenly said you just have to see how well this new ABS works, then he folded his arms in his lap and stomped down as hard as he could on the brakes the car did make a safe very controlled stop in a most reasonable distance for the road conditions.
I told him that soon there would be a new set of young drivers to come along who would take the ABS for granted and not learn how to make a controlled stop in adverse road conditions then there would be more accidents causing more damage to the vehicles than ever before because the internal crumple zones would be so well designed that the whole rest of the vehicle would become little more than an energy absorbing buffer to protect the occupants at all cost.
To this day I still say that ALL learning drivers both young and not so young should never be allowed to get their permit until they have both driven a vehicle manufactured before 1950 and ride in the cab of a fully loaded Semi tractor and trailer with a 150,000 lb piece of over-sized equipment on the trailer for 10 hours in city freeway traffic, then they must pass a test of 200 random questions about their experiences in both vehicles before taking their road test.
OK! my tirade is complete.
I stand corrected on the wb, but I think your wife aptly named it. I've only driven one F350 that was one my boss's CPA had. We called him the Long Ranger because he would pull a 27' Airstream to Utah.....for the weekend. Something like 12hrs each direction, for "fun". It WAS a beast.
Interesting info on SUV steering geometry and ABS. I read early on how airbags too have made people have a false sense of security.
I started out in all pre '67 VW's and I knew the only real safety feature was between my ears. And my dad being a truck driver, it was all about being smooth. Use the clutch smooth, steering smooth braking smooth and head always on the swivel. Like when I rode my motorcycles, expect you are invisible to the other driver. I joked he wouldn't have cared if I ran into a tree as long as I did it smooth.
Getting a kid a SUV is just as silly and deadly as people used to buy their daughters VW bugs for their first car. I always wondered if they were trying to get rid of the kid? But somehow a SUV is perceived to be a truck but my PU is no way as top heavy as a SUV. I'm not sure but the WB looks shorter too, but I could be wrong.
One thing that becomes extremely critical when designing a steering system is a formula known as the Akerman Principal
However to carry this one step further would be to add in dissimilar camber angles when turning very difficult to do on McPherson strut suspensions but the old 4 link double "A" frame styles both the caster and camber could be designed to change as a vehicle negotiated a turn increasing the negative camber the tighter the wheel was turned also the body roll would change the camber between the inside and outside steer tires For this reason you may note that race cars and extreme off road competition enthusiast make use of a lot of adjustable Hiem joints, long 4 link suspensions and adjustable steering arm angles. My tool box with its 4 link system can actually be associated with a steering system although in the vertical plane
When I stretch a Semi from say 250" WB to say 300+" there are several things that I do over and above just hacking the frame in 2 and adding a section I have a special method that I developed 40 years ago for that as well and some day if I ever stretch another one I will share it there are at least 5 of my friends who stretch trucks regularly who use my method,
To insure the steer tires do not scrub I change the Pittman arms the drag links the steering arms on the spindle knuckles and in many cases change the angled shims that are between the axle beam and the springs The kingpin inclination angle to the spindle can also become critical more especially on rock climbing extreme 4 x 4's
Last edited by Frank S; 10-17-2016 at 12:01 AM.
Thanks for the link. When I went to school for brake and alignment of course Akerman was mentioned. But the whole thing was not gone into as this was from the perspective of a repairman, not to redesign. It didn't take me long in the field to see there was a lot of what I'd call design flaws but I could do nothing about it. We were there to get the car back on the road for the least amount of cash possible. I learned more about actual steering geometry design when I was contemplating building a tadpole trike/bicycle from scratch.
And then when everybody started going to computer alignment racks you were reduced to a drone doing what a computer told you to adjust. And not one of the computer racks I used were trustworthy. All junk IMHO. Out of all the racks I used my favorite was an old(probably 50's or 60's) Bishman Porta-line portable rack. It was so simple and accurate I started getting the mech's and sales staff's cars at the GM and Benz shops doing their personal cars because they hated their 'puter racks. Wish I could of talked the dufus boss out of that rack when I left. But you needed a lift and I don't have one. But it was a very simple cool system. No lights, no power, done with prisms. Never found another around anywhere.
C-bag when I was stationed in Furth Germany we had a small track at Montieth Barracks VWs were the only things ran.
3 of us went together one winter and built our car in my motor-pool Rather as it turns out I think I did most of the build like the near perfectly match parting the little 1200CC to the point that it had the output of a 1500 duel carb, constructing the roll bar out of very lightweight chrome-molly tubing cutting nearly 120 lbs out of the safety cage alone. Every bit of the body was sanded by Fred and Dave to the point of being less than half the thickness of a stock Vdub. They ground and stripped away every ounce of superfluous metal
The VWs had a unique front suspension in that addition to having cross mounted torsion bars the control arms trailed vertically inline with the front to rear of the body the whole assembly is held on to the center frame by 4 bolts. I skewed the front end with the Right tire 1 1/2 inches in front of the left then twisted the control arms on the right to give it nearly 15° negative camber and the left side to have 10° positive camber then bent the spindles, down for the right and up for the left a few degrees . with the right torsion rod tightened to raise that side and the left loosened to lower the left. Doing this changed the castor to more positive on the right and slightly negative on the left The rules allowed for running 3 different sized tires but the steer tires had to be the same size.
When the season started in the Spring with Dave as the driver our car, his qualifying lap broke the all time track record in any class by 3 seconds. I don't think anyone in the association had ever actually sat down and calculated the effects of staging or re-cambering the front end like I had. It was my belief that if the front tires were properly adjusted and tweaked to fit the turns while maintaining minimal straight line rolling resistance that even though not powered they would actually help to pull the vehicle leaving the rear tires to just push By setting the car up to have as much inward lean as possible the poorly banked turns were not nearly as hazardous.
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