Harry Shank's Steering Headlight

by Larry Shank

Mom, Dad, a Jeep and a Teardrop on CJ3B.info is Larry Shank's story of his late parents' customized Jeep and Kenskill Teardrop trailer. One of the details that people have loved about the Jeep is the extra driving light mounted on the front bumper, which turns as the Jeep's steering is turned. Here are the details. -- Derek Redmond

Front bumperDad was a Lockheed engineer who loved a challenge, and his solution for a steering headlight does not use control arms. I have seen systems designed with them on vintage cars of the 1930's (Pierce Arrows or Duesenburgs) and they are very elaborate.

1953 CJ-3B and Kenskill TeardropDad's steering headlight design was really quite simple, and it was one of many modifications and accessories installed on his 1953 CJ-3B.

The system uses a cable with pulleys and 2 springs to pivot the light in a bracket attached to the bumper.

One spring is a coil wrapped around the headlight mounting shaft to "spring load" it in one direction. The other spring is at the end of the cable to keep the cable tight and to allow the cable to stretch.

The other end of the cable is attached to the steering bell crank, near where the tie rods are connected, just behind the winch chain drive.

It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is, and it's hard to get photos that clearly show the design. That cable extends through a series of pulleys to the steering light.

The cable then wraps around a dual pulley on the headlight mounting pivoting shaft. The other end terminates under the center of the front bumper with a spring so the cable can lengthen/shorten.

So when you steer left, the driving light is pulled by the cable against spring tension, and when you steer right, the cable is slackened and the driving light is spring loaded back by the shaft-mounted spring and the spring tension on the cable.

Thanks to Larry for the story and photos. -- Derek Redmond

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Last updated 16 March 2016 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond