Now that the motor is more or less back in the 1923 Runabout it is time to attend to other matters. The firewall is loose but for the steering column and both are serviceable but somewhat scruffy. It is time to freshen them up.
I understand the pittman arm and the lower spark lever have to come off to get the column out of the firewall and maybe it is time to take it all to bits and clean, repair as needed and give it all a fresh coat of Henry Ford black out of a spray bomb.
How much trouble is it to get the column apart? Any suggestions to ease this job?
Here are a few pictures showing the situation as it is right now:
As you can see it could be used as is, but why not take a bit more time and make it better?
Vintage Paul, escalating the project once again . . .
Paul, I took the steering column (actually the shaft) out of my '20 Roadster this past spring, not a hard task at all.
You're half way there, but in my case all I was going to do was to change the pinion gears up under the wheel, I didn't have the firewall off, nor the column houseing either. Once I took the pitman arm off the end,removed the steering wheel and open up the gearbox, the next and hardest thing was to get those fittings off the column that operate the spark rod and the throttle rod. Not real bad, just used a lot of penetrating oil and patience (something I really lack!), just kept tapping away and sliding the shaft up and out of everything. That way you can continue disassembling everything, check and replace the little gears under the wheel, maybe even upgrade to the 5:1 ratio if it already isn't. Frankly, about only a weekend job. Not as bad as it sounds. Good luck. You're engine looks great!
Thanks Tim, it seems to take me about five times as long to do anything as I think it will. Somehow there is always a snag, a missing part or mysterious assembly, something that holds up the job. I'm hoping to smarten up this project in advance.
When removing the spark and throttle rod small levers from the rods to disassemble the column BE SURE to get them back in the correct position.
You have to repin them to the columns and its real easy to put them in the WRONG POSITION when repining them and bradding them on!
Been there and done that!
Paul, rebuilding the steering column is not a big deal. Once the lower bracket and the timing and throttle lever are removed, remove the 2 gear case rivets and pull the gear case out. Next wiggle off the quadrant to expose the column. All 3 steering columns I have taken apart were cracked around the rivet holes, which is a very common problem. Carefully inspect the column and repair any cracks. Also, the bushing in the lower bracket is usually worn and will probably need to be replaced. Make sure that the pinion gear pins are not badly worn and that they are a tight fit in the steering shaft. If they are worn or loose replace them. Finally if the pinions are badly worn replace them. Be very careful when reassembling because it is easy to put something together wrong.
Just follow all the steps in Ford Service, Chapter XXV, and you will be fine. Most times the gears are good, if not then replace.
A good cleaning and new grease will help, unless the steering column is well worn, and you have noticed lots of play (3" or more) when you turn the wheel.
There's an instructional DVD available which covers this very subject:
• 6-4 Restoration of the Model T Steering Column: Details changes from 1909-27, types of steering wheels, how to disassemble and restore the column, gear ratios, make a Torpedo column. Special section on era accessories available for Model T steering. Run Time: 1hr. 17min. 20 sec.
The MTFCA sells it at this web address:
Thanks Bob, I just ordered this video. Our local club has these videos for loan but the next meeting is a month off. Let's hope this one come quickly as I want to move this project right along!
Dave at Chaffin just sent me a box of parts for the column including the elusive STAINLESS STEEL spark & throttle rods. I say elusive because Macs has listed these in their catalog for a long time but never seem to have them in stock. I've called other suppliers but nobody has them. Chaffin has them in stock now.
As I understand it, Ford nickel plated the top of these rods. I found when restoring my 1926 Hudson Coupé that polished stainless is a pretty good substitute for the nickel and was delighted to find these levers were available for the Model T.
With the motor all but installed and the new bits that just arrived I'm starting to get excited about this long delayed project!
That's good news on the new ss rods.
Couple of years ago got a set, and was unhappy, as the knob end was crudely formed and the bends didn't match,...finally tracked down a pair that was better...
Check out how your new ones look. If the new ones from Chaffins are rounded like the Ford ends, as per the rusted one shown, I'll order a set.
I just took a quick look at the rods and they DO look more like the originals that the SS example you have. I cant say anything else about them as far as fit yet, but will shoot some pics Friday A.M. and make a separate topic about them.