Staying between the lines (lane keeping)

bizshop

Sharpest Tool
Dec 1, 2011
217
Port Angeles, WA
Willys Model
Willys Year:
The freeways up here in the NW are often rutted by trucks. Being a slower vehicle the truck (right) lane is normally where I should be. However I think because of the narrow wheelbase I find myself fighting to keep my 63 Wagon centered in lane. The wheels try to ride up the center hump or slide down into a rut, causing a sudden and even slightly violent shift in lane position. Feels like I'm about to either swerve into the next lane or onto the shoulder. The rumble bars are also uncomfortably close to the fog line.

Any suggestions or tricks? Am I alone? The steering otherwise is fine, no wobble or sloppiness. Would 1 or 2 inch wheel spacers in front help?
 

duke94

Well Oiled
Sep 17, 2014
1,366
Ann Arbor, MI
First Name
Gary
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1957
Do you have radial tires? I put wheel spacers on the front of my 57' with radials and haven't noticed a problem. However, I never drove it with the old tires and no spacers so don't have a good A to B comparison.
 

Pete

Founder/Owner
Staff member
Administrator
Sep 17, 2009
6,726
Hailey, Idaho
First Name
Pete
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1960
I had the same issue with my '50 Plymouth. No matter what I did I couldn't get it to be any better, the alignment shop tried over and over to fix it. I had bias ply tires on it. I got rid of the bias ply tires for radials, and it was like a new car. Drove easily, straight as an arrow.

My '60 wagon has radial MT tires on it, and it doesn't dart like that even at highway speeds. My steering box is a bit loose, but a minor correction here and there keeps it in the lane.

Pete
 

lbpa18

Precision Fit
Nov 9, 2013
682
Alaska & Utah
First Name
Lew
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1959
Very common issue in Alaska too, from studs. I straddle the "rut". Im almost always in the right lane anyway and if slightly offset to the right Im not in anyone elses way. No matter what you drive, if youre driving in these ruts the tires wear as if they arent aligned and wear out much faster. Being out of the rut the road is flatter and I dont have any trouble tracking.
 

Ken_Parkman

Sharpest Tool
Oct 28, 2013
339
Ontario
First Name
Ken
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1962
Absolutely could not keep my 79 Cherokee in the slow lane on the highway where the ruts were. Was a nightmare on long drives. It would try to "climb" the side of the rut and you would have a lot of wheel in it to try to stay straight, then you would get it down to the bottom of the rut, but with so much wheel it would shoot the other way. Got rid of the bias Tracker AT's and put a good quality radial on it - unbelievable difference. It became a pleasure to drive.
 

dahreno

Well Oiled
Mar 21, 2012
1,830
Reno
First Name
Dave
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1961
I don't understand why wheel spacers would help, any one care to expand on that one ? We don't know what kind of tire he is running but I can see most here agree with Radials as do I. You wouldn't believe my steering, it hydro assisted on a one ton Dana 60 axle with 38 x 17 x 14.50 " tires. It steers so straight and is just a pleasure to drive. You can be stopped and still be able to turn the tires on asphalt or concrete with ease.
 

duke94

Well Oiled
Sep 17, 2014
1,366
Ann Arbor, MI
First Name
Gary
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1957
I just used the spacers in the front to bring the tires out further and more or less be the same track width as the rears.
 

Mark W.

Sharpest Tool
Dec 6, 2014
448
Silverton Oregon
First Name
Mark
Willys Model
  1. CJ
Willys Year:
  1. 1948
Trucks do not rut roads that is caused by studded tires. I drive truck and work for a paving co.
 

bizshop

Sharpest Tool
Dec 1, 2011
217
Port Angeles, WA
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Valleys then

Trucks do not rut roads that is caused by studded tires. I drive truck and work for a paving co.
Rut may be a bit extreme. What there definitely is is a couple of lower areas in the truck lane where the truck wheels normally run and a hill in the middle.

Tires - I'm running 225/75R15 radials.
 

duke94

Well Oiled
Sep 17, 2014
1,366
Ann Arbor, MI
First Name
Gary
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1957
Trucks do not rut roads that is caused by studded tires. I drive truck and work for a paving co.

Here in Michigan, studs aren't allowed but some of the roads have the 2 ruts. The heavy trucks take their toll on the blacktop ones and put ruts in them in a couple years. Concrete seems to do much better.
 
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