’32 Update: Steering Linkage (article 15, archived)

I was hoping to use only two u-joints for this car, but after mocking it up and finding that the shaft is too close to the header, it’ll have to be three. I played around (see the next few pictures) with extending the input shaft on the Mullins box, but all that did was increase the angle on the lower u-joint. We’re using all aluminum joints and shafts from Borgeson. These are amazingly light! I forecast a 2hp gain over steel systems. Just joking.

Now I had to decide where I wanted the shaft to sit in relation to the frame. Since it’s going to be an open hood car, I decided to tuck the steering in behind the header a bit. I think it will be less noticeable than bringing it right over to the frame rail from the column. We’ll see… you decide.

Measuring for the Support Bearing

Since I’m using three joints, a support bearing (or Rod End) is a necessity. Measure from the rail to the center of the shaft where you want the bearing. I’m going to put it right beside the center u-joint, to hide the splines I was left with on the lower shaft. If you’re forced to use a three joint system, buy the joints you’ll need, then use a broom handle or some 3/4″ dowel to mock up the shaft lengths. Or, you can use a double ‘D’ shaft which you buy in either 18″ or 36″ lengths, and cut it to fit. The splined shafts come in 2″ increments from 4″ to longer than you’ll ever need.

Making the Rod End Support


I didn’t want any threads showing on the rod end when it was installed, so I had to do some measuring. I needed to know how long the mounting tube I was going to make should be in order to cover all the threads and keep the steering shaft where I wanted it. So, I measured from the frame to the near side of the shaft, and added 3/8″ to get a dimension to the center. Then I measured from the center of the rod end bearing to the end of the threads so I knew if I had to trim any of the  threads off. Conveniently, I didn’t. Next, I measured from the nut to where I knew the frame was  based on my first measurement. Make sure you measure to the far side of any angle. We now carry a 1″ OD tube with 3/4-16 threads for this purpose: #219600

The rod end couldn’t come straight off the frame because the angle was too much for the bearing. So I just ground a corner off the tube, and it will be welded to the frame.

Oh yeah, I got the rad shell and the grille insert installed. The front end will be down about 1-1/2″ or 2″, so don’t you worry about a thing.


  1. Edward Passerini says:

    Pretty neat there CW.Have you seen Borgenson 18″ steering collum? I was thinking of using that on mine.That way,I can hide the vibration damper-aka rag joint,and possiblt elimnate on joint.I not at the steering mock up stage yet though.

    Paisano-The Flyin Wop
    Ps-I’ve a lot of stuff off of ya.Your prices and quality are good.

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