Crossover Steering - Drag Link to Opposite Knuckle
This is a common steering setup in solid front axles.
The drag link to knuckle type crossover steering is also one of
the most ideal aftermarket designs. With the drag link to knuckle
type crossover steering, the drag link drops from the base of the pitman arm
directly to the passenger side knuckle, either on top of the
knuckle or below the knuckle's steering arm. This setup
minimizes radial drag link and tie rod play due to ball joint movement.
The tie rod connects the passenger side knuckle to the driver side
knuckle. With this type of steering setup, keeping the tie
rod as close to parallel to the axle will minimize bump steer.
Crossover Steering - Drag Link to opposite end
of Tie Rod
Drag link to tie rod crossover steering is one of the most
common factory steering systems. With a Drag link to tie rod
crossover steering setup, the drag link connects the pitman arm and to
a passenger side location directly on the tie rod. As the drag
link controls steering by moving the tie rod, the tie rod serves
to steer and maintain a parallel distance between the knuckles.
This design comes with some inherent play even if all the parts
are new and in good shape. To prevent binding , tie rod ends
are sphere-shaped allowing rotation in all directions. As
steering forces are applied the tie rod is inherently allowed to
twist a few degrees forward or rearward. This twisting
action allows forces that would have been applied as steering
force to give a little and not steer the vehicle or allow the
vehicle to wander a little.
The V-Link Steering configuration is another common factory
steering system. The V-Link Steering configuration is made
up with a V style or V shaped design where the driver side tie rod
is connected directly to the drag link the connects the pitman arm
to the passenger side knuckle. The drag link also serves as
the passenger side tie rod. Effectively forming a "V-Link"
between the two steering knuckles. The biggest disadvantage
of the V-Link steering configuration is that the distance between
knuckle steering arms changes as the suspension cycles into
compression. The net effect is that the tires will either
toe in or toe out during suspension travel. As suspension
compresses up into the vehicle, the tires will toe out. As
suspension droops away from the vehicle, the tires toe in towards
each other. The effects of toe in, toe out with a V-Link
type suspension usually as minimal with stock suspension systems
but become more exaggerated with modifications, lifts and
increased angles applied to the drag link and tie rod.
Re-circulating Ball and Tie Rod
Common for Independent Front Suspension (IFS)
With steering box equipped Independent Front Suspension (IFS)
systems where the wheels and steering knuckles move independent of
each other, the re-circulating ball and tie rod configuration is
commonly used. The re-circulating ball and tie rod
configuration uses a tie rod type connecting rod called a centerlink
in between the pitman arm on the steering box and a rotating idler
arm on the opposite side of the vehicle. Two independent
tie rods, one per side, connect the steering knuckles to the centerlink. As the centerlink is moved by the pitman arm,
the centerlink moves each tie rod, which move the steering
knuckles. This design is optimal for independent front
suspensions due to strength over rack and pinion type designs.
One draw back to this type of design is the increased number of
joints that wear over time. With more joints linking the
steering box to the knuckles, a small amount of wear can be
exaggerated into steering play. This type of design is also
more difficult to lift while maintaining proper steering geometry.
Common for Independent Front Suspension (IFS)
Rack-and-Pinion Steering systems are the more modern and
advanced form of independent front suspension steering systems and
are becoming more common in IFS 4x4's over (Saginaw) steering box
configurations. The rack-and-pinion steering configuration setup
pinion gear at the end of the steering shaft that mates with a
geared rack (or track). As the pinion gear is rotated by
steering wheel, steering shaft movement, the rack is moved side to
side. The rack in turn moves the two tie rods that connect
the rack ends to each steering knuckle. Advantages of Rack-and-Pinion
steering systems is precision of movement. Disadvantages of
the Rack-and-Pinion steering system is a lack of power and
durability sometimes needed offroad.
Similar to the drag link to knuckle type crossover steering,
the purpose of the double crossover steering system typically is
to get around obstructions to the steering components, gain lift
while maintaining steering geometry or to remove feedback to the
steering wheel or relieve stress to the steering box.
The double crossover steering system uses a tie rod and a bellcrank
as the first from the steering box. This first link between
the pitman arm and bellcrank serves to redirect angles or relieve
stress or feedback. From the bellcrank, a drag link connect
down to the driver side knuckle or sometimes to the main knuckle
to knuckle tie rod, similar to the drag link to tie rod crossover
type steering system. This in effect allows the drag link to
drop to the drive side rather than the passenger side of most drag
link / tie rod systems.