Has anyone put 5to1 steering in a 15? I am thinking about doing it. The service bulls say that the part 3512c (St. gear tubing assy) is the only part that will work with both. I have changed these on mid 20 cars and not had trouble, but not on a teens cars. Input please. Thanks, Dan.
My '15 was switched over to 5:1 steering gears. The gentleman who did the work for me had forty years of experience with Model T's and found that the aftermarket parts wouldn't fit. The advertising says that the changeover involves little more than switching out the steering shaft, the three little planetary gears and the sun gear, so had the parts fit correctly, it would have been a fairly simple job. Completing the job involved switching out the 1915 gear case with a 1926 unit. To make that look right, the nickel plating had to be removed from the '26 gear case and the solid brass beneath, polished. I'm told the whole conversion process was a bear of a job.
On the other hand, the 5:1 steering handles just great and feels stable, even at 40+ mph.
Now, the Model T parts suppliers with whom I've done business have always stood behind their products, so if it were me, I'd order the parts and if a perfect fit didn't happen right off the bat, I'd either ask for an exchange or a refund. I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask in advance about the supplier's return policy.
Here are some threads on the subject of converting to 5:1 steering:
I converted the 1915 Speedster to 5:1 by using gears and shaft from an old 26-7 steering column, just as advertised. It was easy and my daughter thinks it is much improved and easier to drive.
The better way is to use the later gear case housing and nickel strip it to shiny brass.
All gear housings after 1921 feature that long pinion post in the steering post, and the groove in the bottom of the gear case housing. That is the improvement to keep the steering wheel from going over center......like the under axle wishbone, the later gear case is a safer bet.
That is the way for me with the '09 runabout clone, used the later 5:1 housing, new steering post and new gear set to improve on the early steering.
5:1 helps, but not all that much. You still have a planetary in there that uses the driver's thumbs for a steering damper.
Back in '01 I adapted a "modren" 1937 Ford box to the ol' brass picup, and couldn't be happier. I guessed that 10:1 be good, and it is.
Pester Les Schubert about completing his Ross steering box that was era aftermarket for the T.
I bought an ugly outside but beautiful inside 5:1 column at Chickasha two years ago for $23. If you have some time and are going to Chickasha, some careful shopping could save you some cash.
Dan -- I put a new 5:1 steering shaft and planetary gears into a NOS '15 gear box and had to lap everything in using Timesaver and mucho elbow grease. If you use a somewhat worn gearbox, it should be easy.
On the 5::1 there is ‘something’ that once there is not a 192x housing, things get a little tight sometimes too tight. Have a worn housing and they magically happen to mesh by pure luck. Like John Regan points out, for brass which should wear before the gears, they often just don't wear enough!
I started to dig into it on one of those Don Quixote quests that I’m prone to do, and it just went in the chasing the windmill direction once again.
The issue I deduced comes from an old shop practice in gear shaping. The original parts don’t and won’t match the print! We think of pin measuring, using tight mic’s, etc. as the process behind gears. Modernist thinking! In the days of shapers, the gear shaping cell used jigs and master gears! Forget what the drawing said.
Common practice was to have a center distance jig made up, and then make one of the gears as close to the print as possible. Mount this gear on the jig, and then shape/shave the other gear to a point where the design backlash was achieved on the checking jig. The reality was, ‘What dimension, we don’t need one!” as the master gears (first set) were now used to set the stops on the shaper depth dimension. Goal achieved, parts mesh, proper backlash too. Buy a genuine Ford part…will fit…try to do an aftermarket that used a Fellows formula or a Van Keuren’s formula? Well…just may have a problem and not our problem said Ford…you went to aftermarket gears!
Ford added to the enigma when someone had the bright idea to mix gear systems in the steering gears. Gears designed for 14-1/2 degree pressure angle are supposed to run against a 14-1/2 degree pressure angle gear…gears designed for a 20 degree pressure angle are supposed to run against a 20 degree pressure angle gear. Ford decided to mix systems when they went to the 5::1. The gear shaper guy probably yelled ‘idiots’ for hours…and then said, ‘watch this, I’ll make it ‘fit’.
Lots of guys here call me idiot for saying what I do…but I also know for a fact that is EXACTLY how gear shaping departments saw their work and obligation to the company…goal achieved. Even today, with all of the Measurement Over wires QC, have an old drawing without a MOW number and an odd tooth count helical gear? When there are one off or small lots many shaping departments still follow such practice. They just find the jig if it is an old part, find the mating gear in finished goods, ask for design backlash from engineering and say ‘You want high end or low?’ and do their magic to achieve exactly what the engineer said.
I have tried to talk to the vendors, get them to make up a few sets at either 5/10th or .001 under on Pitch Diameter and mark them pre-192x use only. But they talk to their supplier and talk to a modern day gearing guru, and decide to label me the village idiot…they are building to the print! What more can I say?
So, when you want to go 5::1 on a pre 192x, you either change the ring housing to a 192x style, or you lap the crap out of them, or you may sometimes get lucky! In case the actual maker/‘provider’ of these gears is a reader or lurker…HELLO?
At one point I tried just about every combo to put 5 to 1 into an early gear case (1916) and it simply would not fit. There was no way to lap it in since I could NOT get the gears to go into the case at all. I did what others did and took a complete 1926 setup and removed the gear case and stripped it and polished it up as solid brass and then used all the gears and shaft from that 1926 steering column and inserted it into the end of the 1916 steering column casing and rivited it together and all was right with the world. The gear case is in fact a 1926 but it looks stock in all outward appearance on the 1916. The new aftermarket 5 to 1 gears would not fit into the real 1916 gear case and that gear case was not worn out. There was no way to force it to fit together since that would have split the gear case. I agree with George above and if you start out with a totally worn out early gear case then perhaps you can get the 5 to 1 gears to fit inside enough to then lap it all together with some timesaver but I don't see how that could have been done with the aftermarket gears and case I had. Your mileage may vary.
Wouldn't you have better luck with used gears? Seems like they would give you your best shot.
As to Ford gearsets, they were made by the millions and either they were uniformly precise (though not theoretically perfect) or sufficient clearance was provided to accommodate manufacturing error. I don't believe wide tolerances in gear manufacturing could be permissible in the production rates and quantities that Ford was producing.
After reading all the above, I am glad that I have always been comfortable with 4to1 steering. Never had to change one.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Next question, does anyone know how to tell if a gear case is 26/27. I have some that are out of the tube that I can use if I can find out what year they are. Thanks, Dan
My tool and die maker made a jig that you can take off what ever you need from the gear case teeth, normally .000-50 to .002-00.
The New parts are OK, its the gear case's that are off.
But you have to take the gear case out of the column or he can't get it in the mill, that way you can keep your two piece gear case.
I think I got about 400.00 in the Jig.
He can also put in a new gear case bushing for the steering shaft.
Hay Dan, see if it's got 21 inch tires on it!
It does and wires too!!!!!
How about a pic of the tool in action? Thanks, Dan
P.S. NO A parts in the picture
When I put them into that NOS early case, I was able to get only one planetary gear in place at first, along with the steering wheel stub and its gear. I lapped that setup using time-saver for quite a while, until it loosened up. Then I added a second planetary gear and did the same thing, then the third. It was a time-consuming process, but I did eventually get there. BTW, there is NO play in the steering!
Dan, my tool and die maker down the road is the one that uses it, and right now we don't have any gear boxs to work on. I know what the general process is, but I have never seen it in action either. I just drop the stuff off and leave, or they just U.P.S. it to him.
Here Go Dan.
does anyone know how to tell if a gear case is 26/27.
The 26-27, or really late '24-'27, the ones with the large knurl top cover can be identified by the longer stop groove in the bottom of the case. The longer groove for the 5:1 gears, the shorter groove is for the 4:1 gears.
The 5:1 gears came along in late '24 in anticipation of the larger 'balloon' 21" dia. tires that are hard to steer with the earlier 4:1 made for clincher tire diameter.
5:1 gear case on the left (note the groove length)