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R37, IFS gear box install

Discussion in 'Offroad Projects' started by r37ribution, March 7, 2007.


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    1. r37ribution

      r37ribution Active Member

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      Ypsi/MI Y town! whoot whooot!!!
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      1996 "Sport" XLT 4.0L OHV
      So I will be doing my 5.0 swap soon and want to take care of this other problem which has been plaguing my 35s and I for some time now...rack 'n pinion

      I really like the way Toyota did their IFS and am considering trying to mimic this. What I like is that it keeps all the steering components up out of the way while adding the strength of a gearbox.

      [​IMG]

      I have done some searching and cannot find anyone who may have done this before. If you have or know someone who has, pics would greatly be appreciated.

      I have also heard that Nissan may have this same type of setup but thats going to require more searching. :rolleyes:
       
      Last edited: March 7, 2007
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    3. r37ribution

      r37ribution Active Member

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      Here is another pretty cool pic of how the 'Yota steering works...
      [​IMG]
       
    4. '97 V8

      '97 V8 Well-Known Member

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      Why don't you just do a solid axle swap and rid yourself of all the issues you are having. I think it would be possible with some creativity.
       
    5. IZwack

      IZwack Moderator Emeritus

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      That is also how Chevy did the previous generation Blazer (before the Trail-Blazer) -- I'm sure Chevy did the same in other models too.
      Its a steering gear box with an idler-arm setup.
       
    6. Mud Bug 94

      Mud Bug 94 Well-Known Member

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      pathfinders had this too i beleive
       
    7. r37ribution

      r37ribution Active Member

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      Well, in the rare event that I were to make the switch to SAS I would need this gear box installed anyways. I won't be converting anytime soon though, I like the idea of an inferior front suspension. :D

      Long term plan is to eventually go with an LT kit in the front, the RCD just gets me there in the mean time cheaper. That and the fact that I wanted the suspension benefits of coils over torsion bars, especially since mine were shot. A byproduct of this was settling all the questions about whether the RCD kit worked or not; which gave me quite a bit of satisfaction since I wanted to know myself and there is now an additional alternative to 2nd gen lifts. You know, the whole benefiting the community thing.

      Neways, here is some additional reading on how 'yotas steering works with the IFS gearbox both in a SAS as well as stock - http://128.83.80.200/taco/toysteer.html :edit: this link is a good reference but just a lil quirky so if it doesn't work the 1st time just try it again later.

      So if Nissan Pathfinders, Toyota 4Runners and Chevy Blazers all had this IFS gearbox setup. Which would be the strongest? I hear a lot of the SAS guys going with Toyota gearbox and Chevy tie rod ends but the TREs are usualy from a 3/4 ton truck right? I thought the Blazer was a 1/2 ton so that doesn't get my anywhere. I could piece this together I just wonder which gearbox would be most robust.
       
      Last edited: March 7, 2007
    8. dkchrist

      dkchrist Well-Known Member

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      97 and 98 f150 used a similar setup
       
    9. r37ribution

      r37ribution Active Member

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      Nice, thats what I'm talkin about. I'll check in to that.
       
    10. IZwack

      IZwack Moderator Emeritus

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      I'm using the IFS toyota box :D so I'm biased :D But seriously, you can pretty much use almost any steering gearbox out there as long as it fits - even the first generation Explorer gear box.

      My box:
      [​IMG]
       
    11. james t

      james t moderation Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      All Chevy 4x4 trucks 88-up for sure are this way. Steering box, relay rod, idler arm, tie rods. :)
       
    12. nissanboy

      nissanboy Well-Known Member

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      That setup works but has weaknesses that are much worse than wearing our the inner TRE on a rack and pinion.

      Having run a nissan for a few years that has that steering setup the "relay rod" or "center link" has to be imobilized so it can only twist on one plane. The problem there comes from the tie rods pushin up and down on the center link. It will either twist the center link or wear out bushings on the idler arm and pitman arm.

      Now you get into problems with moving the weakest link around. Fixes for the steering system have dealt with double shear mounts for the center link where the weak link becomes the sector shaft in teh steerin box and the idler and pitman arms themselves.

      Or... you can mount the tie rods to the idler and pitman arms and mount the center link to the arms as well but that leave the tie rods struggling not to bend from being at an angle instead of paralell to the ground.

      This steering system can be fairly strong but with beating on it and larger tires you will still wind up wearing out and break parts. IMO you will be putting a lot of time and money toward something that will have the same problems, just in different places.
       
    13. IZwack

      IZwack Moderator Emeritus

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      But with this setup, it is a lot easier to replace an idler arm or a steering box rather than a rack&pinion unit.

      But you do bring up a good point nissanboy, when the idle arm wears out its bushing, the drive home on the highway can be dangerous.

      One thing that must be pointed out tho is that the steering links must be the right length and angles or else the system will experience bump steer as the tie-rod links, the lower and upper A-arms travel at different arcs during suspension cycle.
       
    14. r37ribution

      r37ribution Active Member

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      I wonder how accurate this statement is:
      I found it here: http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=115891&page=2
      I can't believe an F350 used the same gearbox as a Ranger though...

      As long as I break parts which don't require me to pull off my LCA drop down bracket to get to the rack bolts I'll be happy!

      The fact that if you punch in '"relay rod" steering' on Google the top search result is a Toyota recall: http://www.4x4wire.com/forums/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=828456&Main=828456
      :edit: then again there is a lotta stuff about steering recalls on F150s as well...
       
      Last edited: March 17, 2007

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    15. r37ribution

      r37ribution Active Member

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      Ok I am having a lot of trouble finding anything on a 1997 F150 IFS front. Does anyone have any reading on it? I think I might just take a trip to the yard and have a look...
       
    16. dkchrist

      dkchrist Well-Known Member

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      Check f150s up to about 2003 because the suspension was the same until they swapped to coilovers in 04 on the newest body style which uses a rack and pinion like 2nd gen ex's
       
    17. dkchrist

      dkchrist Well-Known Member

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      look for a copy of the service manual in the forums it should have a description of the front suspension
       
    18. nissanboy

      nissanboy Well-Known Member

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      you can probably do this fairly cheap if you use nissan parts.... find any nissan from 87-03 and take teh idler arm mount and the steering box then use this kit to build a bullet proof steering system.

      http://www.purenissan.com/d21_steering.htm

      enjoy
       
    19. hatched91

      hatched91 Active Member

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      i have done the 5.0 swap and i used a toyota box. I ordered a custom pitman arm from sky-manufacturing and had it reamed for the chevy draglink TRE which is .040 bigger than the rest of the chevy TRE's. I also had a high pressure custom steering line made to go from the power steering pump to the toyota gear box. They braised on a fitting to the toyota hard line then ran a steel braided line to the pump. I used a combination of the 2nd gen shaft and a aerostar shaft.
       
    20. r37ribution

      r37ribution Active Member

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      Do you have any pics? Have you had any problems with the relay rod? I saw a few recalls on this part of the Yota steering setup.

      I called around and found an F150 in a yard, I work 7-'til I'm done' and am having trouble getting over to check it out. I took a look at the setup on a early 90s Chevy Sierra and a Jimmy. The Sierra's Pitman and Idle arms looked pretty beefy. My cousin kept telling me to stick with the F150 idea, he doesn't like the idea of mixing Ford and Chevy parts for some reason.
       
    21. SkanlaxJMO

      SkanlaxJMO Well-Known Member

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      Just be wary with the bushing in the idler arm it can wear quickley, a buddy of mine has a pathfinder with a 4" and a calmini idler arm that wore out in 2 months...twice.
       
    22. r37ribution

      r37ribution Active Member

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      Thanks for the info. nissanboy's recommendation for the steering upgrade is making the nissan setup sound better and better. I want to install whatever steering setup has the most aftermarket support. I think I'll do some searching around for the F150 equivilant of the upgrade nissanboy posted.
       
    23. r37ribution

      r37ribution Active Member

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      Well I finally found a yard with 3 cropped off front frames layin around. They have two complete F150 and one LD F250 steering setups. I guess the steering on the 150 and Light Duty 250 uses the same part numbers.

      I need to take some measurements of my X and go back to see just how feasible a 150/250 setup actually is. I must say it looks BEEFY. They yard wanted $400 for all parts related to steering and said they would cut the frame mounts off for me, maybe I can use them.

      I found another cool upgrade for the yotas setting on Zhanx's D44 build page:
      http://www.trail-gear.com/images/highsteerkit-600.jpg
       
    24. r37ribution

      r37ribution Active Member

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      So I FINALLY bought my steering setup.

      I picked up the entire steering linkage off a '96 F150 IFS for $150 (one of the years Ford offered both the boxy style with a solid front and the rounded body with IFS). The yard was nice enough to cut off the sections of the frame the idler arm and gear were bolted to.

      The width is a little too long and the lower engine cradle will need to be notched/reinforced to provide room for full lock-to-lock of the gear and idler arm. The linkage from the steering dampener to the gear is the same on the X and the F150 so that will be easy. It also looks like the dampener has plenty of room to extend so the gear not being in the exact same location as the rack shouldn't be a problem.

      So I'm gonna lay the linkage down next to the old rack and measure difference in length there is between the two and figure out how I'm gonna make it fit. I'll try to post some pics in the next couple of days.
       
    25. r37ribution

      r37ribution Active Member

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      Ha, couple of days he says...

      I haven't been doing nothing all this time though. I got the engine out, LCAs dropped, RCD drop down bracket off and rack pulled.

      Anyways here are the measurements, all of which were taken from the center of the tie rod bolt hole or the center of the joint:
      Explorer's stock rack & pinion - 26"
      My Explorer's alligned tie rod to tie rod length measured from the center of the bolt hole on tie rod (steering knuckle side) to the center of the joint on the rack - 12.75"
      '96 F150 relay rod - 27"
      '96 F150 tie rod to tie rod, assuming the parts truck was alligned correctly - 16.5"

      So I will need to come up with a different tie rod setup but the relay rod is only an inch longer than the stock rack. So if I make up tie rods for each side where the tie rod can be adjusted around 12.25" I should be in buisness, right? lol throw me a bone here...

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]
       
      Last edited: July 31, 2008
    26. V8BoatBuilder

      V8BoatBuilder Transplanted Bostonian

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      This is cool!
       

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