By Chris Ritter
Ah, sweet victory. I love the taste, smell and rush of a being a champion. And a champion is exactly what I felt like when I finished installing the front suspension on my '37 Buick. The rush quickly faded as I looked over my car and realized there are literally hundreds of other things I need to complete before the car is finished so, with little delay, I decided to attach the steering arms on my car.
The steering system on my car is rather simple. The steering wheel shaft ends in the steering gear assembly and connects to a pitman arm which is connected to something called an intermediate steering arm. This intermediate arm mounts to the front of the frame but can swivel side to side. On each side of the intermediate arms, shock links are mounted that extend out to the wheel itself. I'm making it sound like a lot of monkey motion (and it sort of is) and explaining it in a boring way (which I am) but the picture should help out quite a bit.
An illustration of the '37 Buick Special steering linkage.
Reinstalling this steering linkage and making sure it won't fall apart while driving is extremely important. If part of the linkage became disconnected you would be steering one wheel while the other acted on its own. Imagine driving at speed with one wheel pointing right and the other pointing left. Thankfully the safety systems built into the linkage are rather idiot proof. Both the intermediate arm and pitman arm have balls on their ends and a connecting link has a threaded gap. Inside this gap there are cups which are compressed with a threaded cap. After the cap is screwed in far enough a cotter pin is installed making sure it can't back out. Simple. Safe. Effective. The shock links are secured with castellated nuts & cotter pins so, again, it is virtually impossible for a disconnection to occur.
After having had my linkage components hot tanked nearly a year ago, I painted them and ordered new dust seals. After realizing I purchased the wrong seals I tracked down the correct seals and began piecing things back together after a 10 day delay. Thanks to diagrams and disassembly pictures the linkage easily went back together. The front end is now complete and ready for wheel backing plates, brakes and wheels!
Steering linkages installed.
Another look at the steering assembly.
While I was waiting for the proper steering dust seals to arrive I turned my attention to my transmission. I can't reattach the rear end until this critical piece is in place so finally, after years of delay, it was time to tackle this beast.