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1937 120 Caster
#1
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TxGoat
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I suspected that my car had too little caster based on its road behavior. Today, I cut a large plain washer in half and loosened the radius rod rod nuts enough to allow inserting a washer half on the bottom of each radius rod attachment to the lower control arm that the spring rests on. While this is not a satisfactory method, it did allow me to add caster and then road test the car. The improvement in handling was immediately evident. The car tracks much better with almost no wander on uneven pavement surfaces, and the ride is a little better, with a generally solider, more stable feel. The car goes around curves on gravel roads with much better stability and traction and less noise from the tires, and it's more stable and linear on paved curves and corners. Steering effort is about the same. I need to locate some proper caster shims to do a permanent job. The washers opened a gap at the lower side on the radius rod to control arm joint of about 3/32". The car had no caster shims at all.

Posted on: 2/20 20:43
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Re: 1937 120 Caster
#2
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su8overdrive
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A big, softbound book by a lifetime Packard wrench in the Pacific NW region whose name escapes me, "Packard Tips," for drivers of all models 1935-56 included the attached. Pardon muddled opening paragraph:

Attach file:


pdf Scan0002.pdf Size: 531.99 KB; Hits: 128

Posted on: 2/22 21:27
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Re: 1937 120 Caster
#3
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BDeB
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The "Packard Tips" articles appeared in the Pacific NW newsletter for many years and was written br Gary Russell of Delta, BC. They were consolidated in the book and re-published.
He also ran very well organized annual club tours for many years.

Posted on: 2/22 21:49
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Re: 1937 120 Caster
#4
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TxGoat
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Thanks for that info. I think modern roads tend to have lower crown than many older, narrower roads did, so less caster "split" might give better results today than in times past. I have as good, dial-type tire gauge, and I find that my '37 120 does best on dirt and pavement with 24 to 26 PSI cold in the 7.00 X 16 bias ply tires, which is consistent with the info above. 28 PSI is fine on good pavement, but a little harsh on poor surfaces. 22 PSI is just too low, based on my experience. With the jury-rigged caster shims I now have in place my car is handling pretty good. It needs the right kingpin/bushings replaced and the steering box needs the sector shaft to worm roller tightened a little. I have no accurate way to measure caster & camber. I can get close on camber and I many try a little more caster. If that gives good results, I plan to replace the right kingpin assy and snug up the steering box, then copy the alignment specs and see if I can find a shop that can do a proper alignment check. Some modern alignment equipment won't clear the fenders.

Posted on: 2/22 22:41
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Re: 1937 120 Caster
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su8overdrive
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That's the name. Gary Russell. Much insight. Thanks, BDeB.

Posted on: 2/22 23:05
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Re: 1937 120 Caster
#6
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humanpotatohybrid
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Worth noting those are bias-ply pressures. Usually radials are run more around 30 PSI though I have run mine around 25 with no obvious driving issues.

Posted on: 2/23 5:45
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: 1937 120 Caster
#7
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Bob J
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Thanks so much su8overdrive! The article PDF you posted describes exactly how my car is set and I wondered why it was so 'out'. I am going to leave it alone for now and see what happens after some driving. I did run her down some potholes and over railway crossings and had no issue but the weather turned so I have put only 100 miles on the odometer. (Still fun to see those numbers roll after being stuck in place for decades!)
You really cannot get this kind of information anywhere but here. What a great group.
Thanks!
Bob J.

Posted on: 2/23 10:57
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Re: 1937 120 Caster
#8
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TxGoat
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I added 2 more half-washers, thinner than the last ones, to give yet more caster. That gave some additional improvement in handling with no discernible issues. I'm guessing I'm at 3 degrees.

Posted on: 2/23 15:54
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