'66 FJ40 drag link question

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As stated in the thread title, this is a [January] 1966 40 series. I'm a NOOB, so bear that in mind. Steering was not entirely on my radar, but it is now. I have discovered something kind of dangerous and will replace all the involved parts but I want to get to the bottom of why it is the way it is. It just started Friday when I removed a shim on the front leaf stack to try to better sync the front pinion angle with transmission angle, same as I had done on the rear. What I didn't know at that moment, but understand now, is that mod changed the castor angle and the truck steers like crap. OK, I get that and it is easily remedied. Moving on... It got me looking around under there more closely.

What I discovered is that the drag link [tube] is maxed out on both sets of threads where it connects to the pitman arm and the center arm. So much so that where the clamp bears down, there are no threads past the clamp and the tube is deformed (on both ends!!). #Not-good. I got flagged for some "steering linkage" stuff when I had the initial inspection done when I bought the truck, but didn't get that explained at the time. My bad. That may be why it was flagged, or just part of it. In any event, time to replace.

My question is this: since things in the steering system aren't necessarily stretching that much (tie rod ends, tie rod, relay rod, drag link), why is this happening? I found in the records the PO gave me that the steering box was replaced in '08 with a rebuilt one. Is it possible that for one reason or another the pitman arm was put on the wrong spline (rotationally towards the rear of the truck / counterclockwise) so it increased the distance between the pitman arm and the center arm, which then made the drag link effectively too short? Can I take off the big nut on the pitman arm, pull the arm off and rotate it clockwise to shorten that distance? Will that limit steering travel? Or in the process of sourcing a new steering rod and relay rod, I also source a longer drag link to better cover the threads and leave the Pitman alone?

This seems like curing a symptom and not the problem but may work just fine. It is an obvious no no, safety wise, so why did someone leave it like that? It's not like you have options of how long of a drag link you want. FWIW, the steering and relay rod with their associated rod ends do not display so many threads and appear to be in a normal operating range (threads up to and further into the tube from where the slot ends). Since the castor angle is off now and it is decidedly more difficult to steer the truck, I am guessing it puts more strain on the components, so I'd like to solve this mess and put new parts in there and drive it as little as possible- err on the safe side.

As far as I can tell, most of the parts in there appear to be OE or what was available as OE replacement in 2008. Nothing marked by a sticker saying they were made by others. The PO had a metric sh*t ton of work done in 2008, so I imagine what I am looking at was done then. I just bought the truck two years ago, and it is my first FJ.

Thanks y'all.
 
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If this is an all original vehicle there is no way your adjustments would be maxed out unless the alignment is set for toe out instead of toe in. Toe out would explain the poor steering. What is your toe in set at?
 
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just to be clear you are talking about the rod that runs parrallel to the frame?
IIRCC when the wheels are straight, the pitman arm should be vertical
does the steering wheel make the same amount of revolutions from center to left and to right?
 
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Truck was aligned a year ago or so when I did new tires. They said at the time that was the best they could do as the tie rod ends had some play. I get that. drove and steered quite well though, albeit a little wiggle in the steering wheel. It I looked at that receipt this morning and no measurement was associated with it, so I don't know what the toe in was set to. I have read on Mud that 3mm's is a good DIY place to start, so I'll measure her up and see what I find. I'll also put my digital angle finder on it to see how off the castor is as well.

I agree with you Byron, if the truck was all stock and followed OE protocol then the drag link should not be showing that many threads on both ends. I think my hunch about not properly clocking the pitman arm on the steering box is the main culprit on this, but the question is why would someone do that the drag link was too short at that point.

It's speculation why it is the way it is. I just have to figure out how to proceed.
 
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just to be clear you are talking about the rod that runs parrallel to the frame?
IIRCC when the wheels are straight, the pitman arm should be vertical
does the steering wheel make the same amount of revolutions from center to left and to right?
3-puppies, you are correct: I am talking about the rod that runs parallel to the frame (drag link if I have read it right). With wheels straight forward, the pitman arm is currently at 4:30-5 o'clock looking directly at it, so definitely clocked behind where it should be by a good 1.5-2". I'll check the left/right revolution thing tomorrow when I look at the other stuff.
 

pjohnson

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Pics are always helpful.
Reset the pitman arm to vertical and adjust the tie rod end to fit. Your steering wheel may be off after this, but that's corrected by removing and resetting the steering wheel.
All of these things could have been mistakes by the shop that installed the rebuilt box.
 
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sorry for the orientation on these. Still working on why these get rotated. Tried rotating them in my photos, but still no luck. Left photo is pitman orientation with wheels straight- 4:30-5 o'clock. 2nd from left shows the drag link rod distortion as there are no threads past the clamp. 3rd from left shows amount of threads showing at center arm rod end. last photo on right shoes same distortion of the drag link rod where it hits the center arm. Again, no threads after the clamp.

Will try the centering method this morning to see if steering is more limited right vs left. Pitman puller in the queue from Summit.

Looks pretty sketchy to me. I'll be tracking down these parts tomorrow after the holiday.

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middlecalf

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Looks like if those threaded joints were threaded in a bit the pitman arm would end up more toward vertical without effecting the center arm position, maybe? And is that horn on the underside of the fender? If so, can’t imagine how it would survive there 😂.
 
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Believe you have a converted front axle to disc brakes using part from a 76-78 Land Cruiser. When a shop tells you they can't adjust rods to take out play has me confused. Using tie rod ends, center arm or steering box causing play. Not sure it's been mentioned where the drag link attaches to the Pittman arm can be worn. They is the "penny" trick to help with that. Adjusting the arm does nothing to help this.
 
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I can't believe a shop sent that away from there business, there isn't enough thread left in the tubes
 
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Looks like if those threaded joints were threaded in a bit the pitman arm would end up more toward vertical without effecting the center arm position, maybe? And is that horn on the underside of the fender? If so, can’t imagine how it would survive there 😂.
I agree middlecalf. I checked the steering left to right and they are not the same, so I have ordered a pitman arm remover and will sort that out. Just ordered new linkage and tie rod ends and hopefully all good.

LOL on the horn. Yeah, it doesn't work- imagine that. Keep forgetting to fix that.
 
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Believe you have a converted front axle to disc brakes using part from a 76-78 Land Cruiser. When a shop tells you they can't adjust rods to take out play has me confused. Using tie rod ends, center arm or steering box causing play. Not sure it's been mentioned where the drag link attaches to the Pittman arm can be worn. They is the "penny" trick to help with that. Adjusting the arm does nothing to help this.
I had to look up the penny trick. Nice!! I will address this when I pull the pitman arm. Will be way easier while it's not on the truck.

Yes, mine is a '66, converted to disc F/R.

As for the alignment thing, it is weird. I chalked it up to worn tie rod ends that had a little wiggle in them. It got put on my radar then to replace them, but this drag link safety issue moved it right to the top of the list. Should only be a few weeks until I get all the parts in and I'll get her fixed up.

Thanks for all the help and support. This forum really is amazing.
 

65swb45

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Shackle reversal.🤔

Oversized tires🤔

Oversized shocks🤔

Clearance between shock and drag link🤔
 
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Shackle reversal.🤔

Oversized tires🤔

Oversized shocks🤔

Clearance between shock and drag link🤔
"Dance with the one that brung ya", they say. It is my first FJ of any kind and it's been a STEEP learning curve to say the least. I have been trying to go through the truck and address things as needed, keeping to the Toyota DNA when the situation allows. For example, I built a new front bumper for it that matches OE bends and profile, though not as wide, with some modernity added for my ease of use. The truck does have a shackle reversal, which I didn't even know existed when I bought the truck. Oversized shocks: check. Clearance between the shock and drag link: minimal but no rubbing. I run a 255/75/17 on a Toyota TRD wheel that maintains the same stance over the wheel bearings as the OE 15" split rim, though with aftermarket disc brakes I'm sure that statement is not entirely accurate. The tires are 1/2" taller and 3/4"-ish wider than a 235/85/16, which a lot of folks feel is the perfect size tire for the 40. Oversize? Technically yes. They sit within the wheel wells though which was important to me. I bought it with a V8 and an H55f 5 speed, so she's a bastard child to be sure. I have no interest in owning or maintaining a totally OEM FJ. It is most certainly a noble goal that is outside of my time, budget, and purpose. I know you drive your stock trucks to their limits Mark, as do others, which is both admirable and speaks volumes for Toyota. My girl is daily driver and squarely in the resto-mod category, and I'm good with that.
 

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