Front axle adjustments

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2005: Front axle adjustments
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Alexander on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 03:14 pm:

Just finished rebuilding the front axle for my '25 roadster and wonder about setting up the correct toe-in for the wheels (caster, camber etc etc)I have copies of Vintage Ford going back to 2003 or perhaps there is data soimewhere on this MTFCA site. Can someone head me in the right direction ? Thanks, Bill


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 03:17 pm:

You should have from 3/16" to 1/4" toe in.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Zahorik on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 04:38 pm:

The caster and camber requires that the axle be bent with some heavy equipment. As long as you have some in the right direction you should be OK. The acid test is the car drivablity.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 05:57 pm:

Bill,

A caution item: if your front axle was built up from parts (or you completely took it apart including removing the perches, spindles, and spindle arms, it is possible for someone to install the wrong spindle on one or both sides. It fits fine (they probably need to reposition the removable spindle arm). That can set you up for problems as the front wheel now tends to tighten rather than loosen the front wheel bearing. Be sure that when the car is moving forward that the front wheel bearing on BOTH sides are tending to be loosened and not tightened.

While the axle doesn’t care which direction it is installed the spindles need to be put on the correct sides and the spring perches need to be installed so the front axle has a positive castor as shown below:



We will check back later to see if more needs to be added.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC 29154.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David_Cockey on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 07:08 pm:

Camber is adjusted by bending the axle with a sufficently large press or other equipment.

Caster is adjusted (assuming the perches are properly installed) with a jumbo size wrench made specifically for the purpose. The end open end of the wrench is slipped over the axle and then the end of the handle is pushed down or pulled up to bend parts until the caster is as desired. I suspect the ends of the wishbone are what bends. Large movement of the handle is needed for a comparatively small change in caster. Original caster adjusting wrenches sometimes come up for sale or a servicable new wrench is available from various vendors. It's flame cut from a piece of steel plate. Lang's carries it as part number 2691AW, $69.85.

Toe-in is set by adjusting the length of the tie-rod.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Pawelek on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 07:25 pm:

T Axle Wrench


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 08:46 pm:

Bill,

A couple of more items to hopefully help:







The scans above are from “The Ford Owner” by Murray Fahnestock and is available as a reprint from the vendors. Great book especially for the pre-starter cars. The page with the 146, 147, 148 is from “The Model T Ford Service” originally published by Ford and excellent for the starter equipped cars. It is available as a reprint from the vendors and is also available on a CD. It is also available as one of several books and reference items on Bruce McCalley’s “Model T Ford Comprehensive Encyclopedia” CD see: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/mccalley.htm .

Ted Aschman in his Tinkerin Tips in the “Vintage Ford”also shared:

Before making any measurement, the wheel bearings must be properly adjusted and the wheels must be true. [I.e. if the wheel is warped the measurements will be off]. And Ted shared the following simple guide: Use a plumb bob and a regular size wooden pencil.





Oh and one other caution -- the front axle parts look very similar for the different years. In some cases they interchange and work fine. In some cases they interchange but do not work fine. So if you started with a good axle & wish bone setup -- you should be good to go. If you built it up from parts -- as long as you have compatible parts you are good to go. For what changed when see Bruce's on-line encyclopedia at: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/F-H.htm#fr1

Respectfully submitted,

Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC 29154.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth H. Todd on Thursday, November 22, 2007 - 12:15 pm:

Bill, what size tires/wheels on your '25?
The reason I ask is that the 30X3" wheels have the spindle set at 3 degrees off perpendicular from the spindle bolt (aka kingpin), and the 440-450X21" wheels are set at 2 degrees. This is what the camber should be.
Theoretically, the spindle bolt holes and the spring perch holes in the axle should all be parralel and vertical, as shown in Hap's posting above. If they are, the correct camber is established by having the correct spindles on the axle.
There was a thread a while back w/pics of the various spindles.
Most information talks about the 3 degree camber angle and there is very little on the 2 degree angle used on the "improved car" and also on "baloon" (440-450X21) tires.
It can be found in the book "Service Bulletin Essentials" on page 377.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker on Friday, November 23, 2007 - 12:06 am:

Kenneth,

Thanks for posting the other reference. I often forget about the “Improved Fords” and how certain things were changed (or in some cases not changed). I looked up that section in the “Service Bulletin Essentials” page 377, which is reprinted from the Jan 1926 Ford Service Bulletin. If I am reading it correctly (and I’ve misread my fair share of things) the change only applies to the “Improved Fords” and not the previous models. The paragraph between the two diagrams says “It is understood, of course, that these instructions apply only to the improved car and balloon, as well as high pressure tires, should be aligned in the same manner.”

So you are correct that the spindles determine the camber (i.e. the bottom of the tires are closer together than the top of the tires). But in this case it is only the 1926-27 “Improved Fords” that have the smaller 1 15/16 inch camber, while the earlier cars continued to have the 3 inch camber. And the type of tire did not matter – it was only the year model 1926-27 and the new spindle that changed the camber. (I wonder about the English dropped frame cars?)

Below is the picture from that Jan 1926 service bulletin:



Below are the words from the “Model T Ford Service” for the EARLIER cars (does anyone know if the one piece spindles had the same or different camber?)



What does that really mean? Well if we have a properly aligned axle and spindles then the pre 1926 cars will have 3 inches of camber and the 1926-27 cars have 1 15/16 inches. But what if the axle is bent a little and the camber is off? Then bending the axle to restore the proper camber should work. Or better yet – taking the axle off and making sure it is properly aligned. All the holes in the axles are parallel to one another (see the diagram earlier in the postings).

Note we have a lot of good information in this thread for front axle alignment etc. if anyone has something else to add – please do so. Then we can refer folks to here for the information.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith on Friday, November 23, 2007 - 12:47 am:

Trent sent a NOS front axle to Steve Coniff a couple of years ago, just to have it checked. It was bent from the factory! Of course who knows what may have happened to it in all the years it was setting around.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth H. Todd on Friday, November 23, 2007 - 11:36 am:

Hap, I believe that some time after they started w/the 21" wheels they changed to 2 degree camber, for the cars w/21" wheels, not just the "improved cars"

It depends of course on how you interpet the meaning of the words in the sentence: “It is understood, of course, that these instructions apply only to the improved car and balloon, as well as high pressure tires, should be aligned in the same manner.”

On the "improved cars" they raised the spindle on the spindle body to lower the car.

I know for a fact that the earlier spindles can be had w/either the 2 degree and 3 degree angle.

Case in point; I have a '27 two door, it has earlier spindles on it, it always pulled to the right, the front axle was visually obviously bent, it was removed and straightened, it still pulled to the right.
Upon further checking it was found that the right wheel had 3 degrees camber and the left had 2 degrees.
I visited a friend that has a huge stock of T parts and went through his stock of spindles and found an earlier 2 degree spindle which he swapped me for the 3 degree one.
There was more than just the one in the pile, but I was looking for a good one.
Installed the replacement spindle on the RH side and now the car steers like it should, no more pulling to the right.

HTH, Ken


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Alexander on Friday, November 23, 2007 - 12:59 pm:

Wow ! Sounds as if the worm can has been opened. From the disassembly of my '25 I feel that the parts involved are original. Of course, many years ago substitutions could have been made. The car came to the two previous owners and then to me with the 21", split rims and the accompnying wheels. Car came out of a barn 10-12 years ago with 1931 plates on it and lotsa dirt. Due to the above, I think the spindles are probably the ones provided with the car. I will be checking the angle but the difference between 2 and 3 degrees will be hard to measure.Thanks for your words of wisdom. Bill


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth H. Todd on Saturday, November 24, 2007 - 08:24 pm:

Bill, please let us know what you find out.
TIA, Ken


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Alexander on Saturday, November 24, 2007 - 08:44 pm:

According to Hap's " pencil test " with the plumb line, my spindles must be within tolerences. Due to the lack of a good, flat surface in my garage where the T chassis is, I can't use a large square to the degree I'd like.But I am satisfied that the axle is in good condition. I will be checking the toe-in or gather tomorrow if I can get some heat in the garage. Actually, heaters are not the issue as I have 2 kero wick units. Its the STRONG NW wind that sucks the warmth right out. I'm nicely insulated inside too. Working cold is not my idea of fun.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth H. Todd on Sunday, November 25, 2007 - 12:16 pm:

The "pencil test" will give you check of the caster.
For a rough test of the camber, on a level surface, measure the difference between the outside top of the wheel and the outside bottom.
With 3 degree camber the measurement will be aprox 3 inches, with 2 degree camber the measurement will be aprox 2 inches.
Both sides of the car should have the same measurement.
If you don't have a level surface, you could place a heavy plank across under the front wheels and shim it up to make it level. I've done that before.

HTH, Ken


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker on Sunday, November 25, 2007 - 09:20 pm:

Kenneth,

In the couple of Ford books I have, I see references to the Castor in degrees (i.e. 5 1/2 degrees) but they refer to the Camber as the difference in the distance between the wheel fellows near the top and bottom as 3 inches [see para 153 from the Ford Service book posted above] for the pre 1926 cars and 1 15/16 inches (real close to 2 inches) for the improved cars . Can you point me to your references that share 3 degrees and 2 degrees for Camber so I can update my notes?

I have not had time yet (hey they kids were home for Thanksgiving and there was all that turkey to eat and the tree to put up etc.) but I want to check the parts list on the spindles. If the pre-1926 spindles were changed enough to make the car pull if you had one of one kind and one of the other kind I would suspect the part numbers would have a different suffix and that there would be a note that one was for one series of years and the other was for a different series of years. They do that for many parts such as the flywheels and magnets. And they even say – we no longer carry the old style a, b, c … so when you order use the new x, y, z and when you do you will need to also order the new parts next to it so they all fit together. There is always more to learn about the cars. My theory (guess or hunch) is that you did see spindles that were different but that they were bent. My rationale for that is from para 152 in the post above where they state, “ The camber is not adjustable as it is provided for in the forging of the spindle. The only possibility of the camber being changed would be due to a bent axle or spindle, or badly worn spindle body bushings.” That indicates to me that at that time that was written, there was only one correct camber and that was measured at 3 inches (not degrees). Now they may have changed something after that was written and for sure they did change with the 1926-27 “Improved Ford.” Or the data could be wrong – Ford documents were printed by people and we all can make mistakes – so that is possible also. I believe if Ford had manufactured the spindles differently Ford would have noted the change at a minimum on the change cards. And I think they would probably have changed the suffix on the part number (if you needed to keep both types of spindles on the same car). If anyone else has additional information on that – please let us know. If I find anything one way or the other or not at all I also post back. Often I am surprised at how much there is still to learn about our cars and how they changed over the years. And we are just talking about the USA production. The UK had a dropped chassis frame that had yet a different spindle.

Thanks to all for sharing.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a touring car and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 10:06 pm:

In answering another question, I just scanned the May 1927 Service Bulletin article on checking the front axle alignment. I thought it would be good to add that to the other information and keep it all in one location for future use.





Respectfully submitted,

Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 08:31 am:

Another Question relocated here: How long and wide is the axle?

Answer:

The standard 56 inch tread axle was 52 1/2 according to the article in the Nov – Dec 1990 Vintage Ford page 29 taken from Machine Forging printed in 1921 and submitted by Elmer Art. Note – the width of the axle varies depending on where it is measured. But on either side of the spring perch on top of the axle mine was approximately 1 1/2 inches (not precise – just eye-ball and tape measure) and it tapers down as it goes towards the outside or inside of the axle. The 60 inch tread axle should be 4 inches wider.

Trivia info: How long was the bar stock that Ford used to make the front axle in 1921? Vanadium steel bar 1 3/8 diameter x 67 3/4 inches shown on the left. The other pictures show the bar as it goes through the various stampings.



Respectfully submitted,

Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC


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