Air-O-Matic steering caution !!!

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MikeON

Member
133
3
18
Location
Lucinda PA
I put Air-o-matic steering on my deuce about 3 years ago.
Yesterday, while turning right onto a side road, it would barely turn right and I had to go way into the opposite berm of the side road to make the turn. Fortunately, there was no oncoming traffic.
In the driveway, I saw that the front wheels would only steer just a little right of center. The picture shows what happened. The tie rod bracket slipped to the left and upward. It would hit the spring, and the air cylinder was probably also bottoming out internally, limiting the travel in a right turn. Some of the bolts were loose. I am 100% certain that the bolts were tightened to the correct torque when installed.
Apparently, my tie rod had an extra thick coating of CARC, which broke loose from the steel and allowed the bracket to slip. The correct location for the bracket is the bare spot on the tie rod pointed to by the arrow. It should also be just slightly above horizonal according to the installation instruction, not way high as shown.
Everything is back in position and it steers fine again. I suggest that anyone installing this kit to strip the CARC off the tie rod. I'm also planning to recheck the torque on the bolts regularly.
 

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319

Lieutenant
Steel Soldiers Supporter
3,339
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38
Location
Oakland County, Michigan
I am not familiar with these, but this doesn't look correct.
Looking at your photo it appears you are using screws that are too long, hex nuts as spacers and no lock washers or locking nuts. This, along with the paint, may have contributed to your problem. I'd replace those fasteners with the correct length screws, sae washers, and locking nuts, all in grade 8 and torqued to specification, if there is one.
 

MikeON

Member
133
3
18
Location
Lucinda PA
319:
Those are the fasteners that came with the kit. The thicker nuts are the main nuts, and the thinner ones are lock nuts. They were torqued to 32 and 17 foot pounds respectively per the instructions.
When I torqued them, I kept re-torquing them in sequence until the wrench wouldn't move before it clicked. This is because when you would torque one, the other ones would loosen a little as the clamp pulled together.
 

Nonotagain

New member
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Location
Parkville, MD
If it were mine, I'd machine another set of bracket to install in front and behind the steering arm bracket. That way you would have to have a couple of parts fail before you would be out of action.

I don't like welding on steering components unless you can anneal and re-heat treat after processing.
 
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Ord22

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Location
Stockbridge, Ga
mikeOn,

i never seen that type of steering setup for the deuces. where did you get the kit from? wish they had something like that when i was in the army. is it air actuated or hydraulic?
 
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319

Lieutenant
Steel Soldiers Supporter
3,339
8
38
Location
Oakland County, Michigan
319:
Those are the fasteners that came with the kit. The thicker nuts are the main nuts, and the thinner ones are lock nuts. They were torqued to 32 and 17 foot pounds respectively per the instructions.
When I torqued them, I kept re-torquing them in sequence until the wrench wouldn't move before it clicked. This is because when you would torque one, the other ones would loosen a little as the clamp pulled together.
That is odd. I guess the paint takes all of the heat.
 

MikeON

Member
133
3
18
Location
Lucinda PA
Ord22:
I got the kit from M35products.com. I see their price has gone up a lot. There are also some listed in the Classifieds for a lower price.
The kit is air actuated.
Mike
 

mikeroot2

New member
279
1
0
Location
Argentine/Michigan
Same hardware my kit came with but I added lock washers. Thanks for the post, it's a good reminder of what can happen when we take stuff for granted. Nothing beats a good pre/post trip inspection. Glad it was an easy fix and no one was hurt.
 
Last edited:

OldGoat

New member
158
1
0
Location
Kentucky
If it were mine, I'd machine another set of bracket to install in front and behind the steering arm bracket. That way you would have to have a couple of parts fail before you would be out of action.

I don't like welding on steering components unless you can anneal and re-heat treat after processing.
Plumbing stores (and even Home Depot) sell clamps that are used to hold pipes for gas lines and water lines (I am talking about clamps for your house) in place from sliding or moving. For example I have used them to keep a gas line from falling through a larger hole that was drilled in concrete. Anyways, you could easily use these clamps as a back up.
 

jasonjc

Active member
5,197
24
38
Location
Gravette Ar.
My M109 had that kit installed from the army. It has always steered better to one side than the other. I will have to check the clamp. Does anyone have the install instruction on PDF they can post??
 

archmark

Member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
242
4
18
Location
Woodway, TX
mikeOn,

i never seen that type of steering setup for the deuces. where did you get the kit from? wish they had something like that when i was in the army. is it air actuated or hydraulic?
It's Air Assisted. I got this current thread started when I inquired about anything I should be aware of during installation of a new kit that came with my Deuce when I bought it many years ago. Sounds like from earlier comments that they were available from a source some time ago but that the supply has dried up...
 

archmark

Member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
242
4
18
Location
Woodway, TX
I put Air-o-matic steering on my deuce about 3 years ago.
Yesterday, while turning right onto a side road, it would barely turn right and I had to go way into the opposite berm of the side road to make the turn. Fortunately, there was no oncoming traffic.
In the driveway, I saw that the front wheels would only steer just a little right of center. The picture shows what happened. The tie rod bracket slipped to the left and upward. It would hit the spring, and the air cylinder was probably also bottoming out internally, limiting the travel in a right turn. Some of the bolts were loose. I am 100% certain that the bolts were tightened to the correct torque when installed.
Apparently, my tie rod had an extra thick coating of CARC, which broke loose from the steel and allowed the bracket to slip. The correct location for the bracket is the bare spot on the tie rod pointed to by the arrow. It should also be just slightly above horizonal according to the installation instruction, not way high as shown.
Everything is back in position and it steers fine again. I suggest that anyone installing this kit to strip the CARC off the tie rod. I'm also planning to recheck the torque on the bolts regularly.
DA-YAM, that paint IS thick!!!
 
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