advantages of hy-steer when SOAing

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Feb 20, 2003
Upstate NY
I've read some posts that recommend converting to a hy-steer setup when doing an SOA conversion on a 40. What exacly is hy-steer, and what are the advantages? Is it worth the extra money to have it done at the time of SOA?
during the SOA, you have two options for steering: 1) is a double arm for the passenger side, keeping the tie rod below the springs and the drag link above, or 2) doing a histeer conversion and moving both above the springs

Hi-Advantage: much less chance of bending the tie rod since it's so high, much easier future mounting of a hydro assist system, keeps a stablilizer out of the way, normally you need to make other steering link/rod adjustments with the SOA so may as well only spend the $$ once, the arms are cast/forgec/machined parts and not welded

Hi-Disadvantages: cost is higher, depending on how "cheaply" you pull off the double arm.

Low-Advantage: cost, able to reuse some stock parts

Low-Disadvantage: welded steering systems are illegal in most places, welds do fail and steering is not a place to have problems, tie rod likely to be bent, nearly impossible to install hydro assist, usually means you kept your existing rods which are not strong

I ran a welded double arm for a few years with no problems, but it was always a concern. With the histeer, the worries are gone.
Jackson and Woody,

I posted a hy-steer question early this week and got lots of good info...thanks Woody...anyway, this brought up another question. Woody, you said you used a welded passenger side arm for a few years...any reason your couldn't have the drivers side welded with a 'pie plate shaped' piece of steel and a second arm on top and have a legit hy-steer? I've seen the welded double arm set up for the passenger side on one of the SOA articles in the tech site, and just wondered if you couldn't do the same to the drivers side and have a good set up (assuming you get a good welder to do the work ;) Input appreciated as I'm taking mine in next week to SOA the front, Thanks,

I think if you welded an arm on top of both sides, you would *have* to shorten your tie rod (or have a custom length made). The reason the double arm works is the tie rod stays down low where the tie rod ends are near the inside of the backside of the rim where they can usually clear the rims and tires. The hi-steer moves the tie rod up so the ends are near the side wall of the tire--and *will* make contact if you try stock backspacing. You would need less rim backspacing or wheel spacers. (And don't forget about the akerman angle... :D )

Anyway, if you're gonna try and make legit hi-steer out of stock arms, I would say send them to W at Over the Hill 4x4 and have them heat treated and bent upwards. I just finished my SOA two weeks ago and the arms are functioning perfectly so far. Though I still ended up having issues with the tie rod being too long (cranked the sucker all the way on and still had WAY too much toe-out--ended up needing 3/4 inch cut off each side) so we chopped it down and also after we chopped it down, the tie rod ends still ended up contacting the sidewalls of my tires. My wheels are 3.75 B.S., so a 1/4 inch spacer worked fine but 3.5 or less backspace wheels will work as well. (Just FYI here: I ended up getting some 1.5 inch aluminum bolt-on wheel spacers for width and extra clearance--the tie rod ends were just too close for my comfort--which was about 1/8 inch). Anwyay, I guess you could say I need more time to make an official decision on how I feel about the steering arms, and I think that also. But, I would be more scared of welded arms than heat treated/bent ones... Just my two cents.
As long as the welding is done properly at the correct temperatures, with proper preheat and post heat treatment, the part could be better than the forged factory part.

As theferg said, don't forget the ackerman principle. To maintain the proper steering geometry there isn't much room at the rim, sidewall, tie-rod end area. You end up with tires rubbing. The easy cure is, as theferg stated, move the tire outboard. This brings in a different problem. Scrub. That means the tire will travel for and aft when steering. To most of us this is acceptable. Aside from the swearing when you clip that unexpected rock while not paying attention, no biggy.
The alternate solution is to put the tie-rod behind the axle. Now the tie-rod is nowhere near the tire or the rocks trying to bend it. It's also nowhere near the right length. Easily fixed. This does put the rod in a good place for a steering damper or rock ram to be mounted in a safe and mechanically sound location. It also allows for deeper backspacing and less scrub. This is what I've done to my 74 40 and it works great.
Don't forget, when these trucks were built, 33's were big tires.

If you stuck with 33's, I think you'd be safe. You won't. You'll hit 35's, then 36's, then 38's, then 42's....or, as a buddy of mine was pissed about as we chatted last night, he already has his 2 month old 35's for sale, wanting 38's. So you go straight to 38's and that added stress is hard on stock components.

Yes, it would work.

Also, check on the PBB Cruiser section....there was a recent thread in there about bending the stock arms, and that they held up well. I'm not a fan personally, but you can make yer own call on it.
If yer gonna heat and bend them up, why not also bend them in? Wouldn't that get the TRE off the tire?
[quote author=Dinkleberry link=board=1;threadid=5371;start=msg43452#msg43452 date=1064160063]
If yer gonna heat and bend them up, why not also bend them in? Wouldn't that get the TRE off the tire?
[/quote]Yes, but the arm also ends up nowhere near the proper ackerman angle. In other words the front tires will scrub so bad that it will not handle properly and the turning radius will suffer drastically.
Great Input Guys,

I am pretty confident that the guy doing the welding can pull off a solid double arm on both sides, so I'm leaning that way as I'd like to have everything up and out of the way. Hadn't thought about the ackerman deal (don't really get that to be honest ???), and hadn't considered the tie rod hitting the inside of the tire either :eek:. Yeah, I'm about to trade in my 35x12.50's for some 37 or 38's, so I guess I'll just see how it all turns out and then adjust as needed. I like the wheel spacer idea, if needed, as I wouldn't mind going a bit wider and therefore a little more stable on tippy hills, yes? Spacer arne't cheap thought, are they...? and who sells the buggards? Geeze, this is like philosophy in college, answer one question and that brings up three more :p...anyway, the discussion is hugely helpful and I'd love to treat you guys to another college favorite for all your help :beer:...I'm in Alamosa CO...great mountains, great wheeling (Como Lake Road!!) so give a holler when you come west!

78 FJ-40 "Rudy"

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