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10/26/11 2:19am - Original Message: 'Interesting Conversation w/ retired GM engineer'
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.

Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 830
I was browsing around the internet last week and I came across some postings and a website from Jim Shea, retired GM engineer from the Saginaw (steering) division.  It turns out he actually worked on the design of some of the power steering and steering linkage components for our cars!  I had some questions about one of the papers he had written -- it included an email address so I wrote to him but I was not really expecting a response.  Lo and behold I had an email from him less than 12 hours later!  I went to work the next day and bragged to some of the car guys that I corresponded with an actual GM engineer.   (I'm an engineer, too, but not in the auto industry).  Anyway, here's a link to his site:


And here's my original question:

Jim,

I just discovered you tonight along with the wealth of information you have posted on the web about C3s and GM steering systems.  I am also an engineer and find the historical GM engineering info you have written about very fascinating.  I have a 76 Corvette; I study my AIM for it quite frequently with interest!  Thank you for sharing so much of your knowledge and GM experience with us. 

I am currently rebuilding the front suspension on my car so it is very timely that I discovered some of the articles you have posted.  The one I am writing to you about is this one:

http://jimshea.corvettefaq.com/?p=1021

I am curious about this statement:

By convention, when the tie rod assemblies are assembled to the relay rod, the inner tie rod ends should have the RH threads, outer tie rod ends should have LH threads.

When I was buying parts, I came to a different conclusion about this.  Refer to Zips standard rebuild kit 

http://www.zip-corvette.com/ProductDetails/Kits/KitDetails.aspx?KitItemID={50929ff5-6313-433c-9c46-36f65d4fb2f1}&gid={6f0fa18b-c6ce-45f4-b5c3-e9058249e0a0}&GroupName=Front+Suspension+Rebuild+Kit&pname=63-82+Front+Suspension+Standard+Rebuild+Kit+(Rubber)&Referer=&Alias=&ptct=SGR-SR&CTitle=&

With this kit, Zip intends that only the outer ends will be replaced, yet they provide one LH end and RH end.  Is this incorrect?  With this kit put together as intended, one adjuster tube would have the LH threads outboard, with the other having them inboard, not both outboard as you state they should be.  I studied the AIM sheet you refer to very closely before putting everything together and I could not determine a correct orientation.  Im assuming your statement comes from your GM experience rather than what can be gleaned from the AIM?  Are there any consequences for having the setup installed as I do with one LH thread out and the other in? 

And here's his answer:

Dave,

Thank you for your question as to RH and LH threads on the tie rod ends. 

The linkage assembly came into the assembly plant with the tie rod ends already screwed into the adjuster tubes.

So the St.Louis and/or Bowling Green assembly plants were not involved with orienting the RH or LH threads.  As you know the C2/C3 tie rod ends are identical except for the thread.  So the AIM does not address RH or LH threads because it was covered in the linkage assembly blueprint as supplied by a vendor.   

From a functional standpoint it really makes no difference what threads are inboard or what threads are outboard.  However, it is common knowledge that if you are centering your steering wheel, you can rotate your driver side and passenger side adjuster tubes THE SAME DIRECTION to change the steering wheel centering without changing your toe setting.  From Figure 1 in my paper you can see that you must have both outboard tie rod ends with the same direction thread in order for this to be true.  This would also mean that the adjuster tubes on both sides would have the groove on the outboard end (from the Bair's ad).

At the car assembly plant the workers performing the toe set operation needed the linkage parts to be consistent in order for them to perform their jobs.  They had to rely on the fact that turning the adjuster tubes a certain direction would change the front wheel toe by + or by - inches.  It would drive them crazy if different jobs each required them to turn the adjuster tubes only certain directions.

I might ask, if your front end parts were original, did the adjuster tubes have the grooves grooves outboard that indicated LH threads?

==============================

I corresponded with him a few times more, answering his question that yes, my adjuster sleeves have the groove he is referring to and indeed one has the groove out and the other one is in.  He wrote back to me that there are no serious consequences with it set up this way -- just the fact that the tubes will have to be turned in opposite directions to adjust toe-in.  I will probably want to mention this fact to the alignment shop when I bring it in next spring.  (hopefully).  Sorry for the long post!  




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1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
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10/26/11 5:33am - Reply: 'Re: Interesting Conversation w/ retired GM enginee'
rraider1
Former Member
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Woodland, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1977 T-Top,350,Auto Black Ruby Pearl,Steeroids R&P conversion

Joined: 10/14/2003
Posts: 1152
I used is info early on their is a lot of good info on his site , nice that he was able to set you straight Tongue

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Bob R
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10/26/11 8:12am - Reply: 'Re: Interesting Conversation w/ retired GM enginee'
Adams' Apple Lifetime Member
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Duncanville, TX - USA

Vette(s):
#1-1974 L-48 4spd Cp Med Red Metallic/Black deluxe int w/AC/tilt/tele./p/w-p/b/ Am-Fm/map light National/Regional/Chapter NCRS "Top Flight" #2-1985 Bright Red/Carmine Cp.L-98/auto Member: NCRS, NCRS Texas, Corvette Legends of Texas

Joined: 11/8/2003
Posts: 19449
Excellent!! Clap
I think a lot of older, retired GM Engineers are more than happy to share their knowledge/info with us these days. Look at Gordon(Killebrew), John Heinricy, etc...including the Godfather, Zora. Most of them know how facinated, and devoted we are to the cars they helped bring to life, and they appreciate it. Try getting that kind of info from a KIA engineer! LOL

I've always heard that the groove in the tie rod tube should be toward the tire end....never knew exactly WHY, tho. Definitely makes sense. By now, however, most of our cars have had Gomer & Goober working on them at some point, so who knows if the way ours is now was the way it was from the factory?
Thanks for sharing that info! Thumbs Up


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Joel Adams
C3VR Lifetime Member #56    
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10/26/11 10:14am - Reply: 'Re: Interesting Conversation w/ retired GM enginee'
fp_vetter72 Lifetime Member
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COPPERAS COVE, TX - USA

Vette(s):
1972 corvette stingray convertible 2007 coupe

Joined: 7/6/2002
Posts: 412
Good link and info thanks for sharing with us.Thumbs Up I'd like to find the engineer that designed the radiator shroudAngry Just saying!!!

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10/27/11 2:35am - Reply: 'Re: Interesting Conversation w/ retired GM enginee'
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.

Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 830
I'm trying to figure out if I'm Gomer or Goober!  My car is going to have one of the tubes oriented incorrectly, but I think it's going to be OK.

Fp_Vetter: feel your pain on the shroud issue.  I'll see if I can find that engineer on the web, too, so we can have some words with him.Wink


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1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
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