[TR] Reconnecting ball joint and vertical link

Randall TR3driver at ca.rr.com
Mon Jan 5 06:08:46 MST 2015

> With everything else still attached, the hole on the top of the vertical link is a good 1-2 inches forward of the pin on the ball

That is huge; it should be much closer than that.  Even 1/4" is cause for concern, as it will cause the trunnion to bind and make
steering difficult.

> I'm not sure what kind of movement I should and should not be 
> seeing on the VL. With the VL and ball joint disconnected, 
> the hub moves out and slightly forward, in one smooth motion. 

That sounds normal, if the steering lever is still connected to the tie rod.  The steering forces the VL to turn, which moves the
hub forward.

> The previous owner was 
> pretty savvy, but just in case, how do I tell if I have the 
> right trunnion and if it's on the right way?

If you look carefully, you should be able to see that the round vertical part of the trunnion assembly (the brass bit where the
vertical link screws in) is tilted slightly (3 degrees, which isn't much) and not perpendicular to the pin through the lower A-arms.
Check out Fig 25 on page 4.115 in the workshop manual.
It may help to hold a small ruler up so you can see the axis of the pin better.  If you can't see it with the VL in the way, you may
have to remove it.  The vertical part should tilt so the top is closer to the rear of the car.

Another possibility I suppose is that the upper A-arms are installed wrong.  The arm with the larger offset has to go on the front.

But since it was presumably working before, I think it much more likely that you have accident damage.  Pages 4.114 through 4.116 of
the workshop manual give some dimensions to check, but you'll probably have to disassemble the suspension to make the measurements.

Don't forget to inspect the points where the suspension mounts to the frame, especially the lower pivots.  When my TR3A got wrecked
in 2005, I actually drove it home and only later discovered as I was stripping the carcass that the front pivot on the RH side was
ripped loose from the frame.  The one I bought in 1975 had the same problem, and it took several months (and multiple visits to
alignment shops) to figure that one out.  Rather dangerous, as the car would pull violently to the left when you got on the brakes
hard.  I foolishly tried to drive it that way, until someone pulled out in front of me and I could not keep the car from jumping the
curb into the oncoming lane.  (Fortunately no one was coming the other way and I was able to drive off the curb.)

-- Randall  

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