Steering, I should have asked!

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2013: Steering, I should have asked!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel D. Chicoine, MD, Pierre, SD on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 11:25 am:

Since I have a spare 256 column that seemed in good repair, and my 23 touring has the 4:1 ratio and is a little loose, I thought I'd make a "quick" swap of columns to make driving easier on the Kanab tour. the car is otherwise ready to go and I thought this would be quick. I ordered new bushings for the 26, and the 23, lower bracket and they came in the mail.

I started by rebuilding and rebushing the 26 column. that was fairly easy after I pressed out the bushing. the new one went in well and with little removal of a burr on the end of the shaft, got the bracket on. I even had ordered a new timer arm and put it on. First mistake. then I put on the steering arm. Second mistake!

On removal of the 23 column, I found I needed to remove the steering arm to get the column through the hole in the firewall. It came off fairly well but then I lost a nut on the horn button as I took it apart and it sprang pieces all over. disconnected the wiring for the horn without a problem. Pulled the column and had to remove the steering arm from the new column, also the timer arm, in order to remove the lower bracket.

I put it through the firewall and found that the lower brackets holes weren't the same from 23 to 1926 as the brackets were different. Now it's drill new holes (elongate) in the bracket and the frame but was able to use one of the holes. The horizontal hole for the bolt that goes through the block is also an inch forward. D@%N that frame is hard to drill!

Needed to put a throttle arm on the shaft as the 26 had a vaporizer. No problem, had an arm and put it on. Unfortunately, it was a timer arm and was too short. The throttle rod is an inch too short and doesn't have the throw to reach full throttle.

Unbolted the lower bracket again, pulled it off, and stole the throttle arm off the other column. I don't have the little pins so used a cotter key. Hope it works but it is softer and has a little play. The throttle rod is still half an inch too short! Maybe I can scavenge the one off the 26, otherwise it's a trip downtown to get a rod, heat the ends and bend it correctly, drill it, etc. Then about an hour getting the timing set correctly.

I've had to clean the grease off my hands countless times to go to the hospital for admits and rounds in the process. Thank God for Dawn soap and laundry detergent along with a good stiff brush. Put on the steering arm and hook up the steering. Boy, this steering has no play!! I've still got to tighten and put cotter pins in the whole system and maybe have another hour's work. We leave Friday night and I'm "on call" tonight and work the late Thursday clinic. Only have tonight and Wednesday evening to finish up, get packed, loaded up, and ready for Kanab. My little "hour or so" job has taken most of Sunday afternoon, Monday night, and still isn't completely finished. I wish I'd asked how easy it was to make this change before I started a week away from a national tour!
Noel


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By William L Vanderburg on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 01:38 pm:

I'm getting ready to change steering shafts in mine from 4:1 to 5:1. My understanding is all you need to do is remove the shaft and gears from the column, and replace with the other shaft and gears.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By William A. Reep III on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 01:54 pm:

That's pretty much what I did for my '24. Used a '26/'27 shaft and new gears the only difference I have found is the spacing of pins at top of shaft when comparing them on the bench. It seems though the gears , including the sun, had to enter box as an assembly to fit. works very well steers like a dream, for a T of course.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 01:56 pm:

Noel,

If I understand correctly, you replaced the 1923 lower bracket with a 1926 style? If so, that was a mistake. The '26 bracket brings the column shaft 5/8" closer to the frame than the earlier style. The trouble is, the column, as it mounts to the firewall, does not also move 5/8". It stays just where it was meant to be in 1923. The fact that "this steering has no play" is because it's bound up by the 5/8" mismatch from top to bottom.

There is a potentially bigger problem however. In 1926, the drag link was made longer so that it could "reach" the newly relocated steering arm. Now that the lower end of your column is sprung over by 5/8" but you have not, (assumption), installed the "correct" drag link, you run the risk of your steering "over centering" on left hand turns.

Although you've gone to great lengths to install the 26 bracket, I would suggest you remove it and put the 1923 one back on. Sorry...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel D. Chicoine, MD, Pierre, SD on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 02:22 pm:

Thanks, Jerry. I pulled out the entire column from the firewall and put the entire 26-7 column in.
This time I'll ask. Can't I just take the 26 bracket off the end of the column and install the original 23 bracket? I didn't mean that the steering having "no play" was a bad thing. It feels nice and tight now. Any movement of the wheel moves the tires, whereas with the original there was enough wear that my steering wheel could move nearly 3 inches before motion of the tires. Since it tracked well, it didn't really bother it much with driving and we've been driving it that way for a long time. I've tried and have been unable to remove the worn bushing from the 23 bracket. If I replace it on the car, it will be with a worn bushing as I'm out of time to fiddle with it before the trip. the 5/8 difference may be why my steering rod is "too short" now as the column is closer to the frame.
Noel


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 07:17 pm:

Noel,

Yes, you can just swap the bracket back again. Do a little test to be sure you can't over center the steering on left turns. If you can, then just be very aware of it as you drive. If it happens, and you're not expecting it, it can lead to a real panic.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel D. Chicoine, MD, Pierre, SD on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 11:47 pm:

Thanks for the heads up, Jerry. It goes almost to center, but not over. It's close enough to make me wonder if I hit a big bump on a hard left turn, however. I took it for a test drive and it is different than the old....feels more stable at 30-35 in town, less shake, no play. I'll be careful about those left turns until I get back from Kanab and can re-bush the correct bracket and replace it. I had to use the throttle rod from my 26 to get the carb to idle.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Stroud on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 05:28 am:

Yep Doc, you should have asked first! I changed over to 5to1 gears in my '25 coupe a couple of years ago. All I did was remove the original column (witch needed some TLC anyway), and replaced the 4to1 steering shaft and gears with a 5to1 set that I took out of a '26-'27 column that I got at a swap meet. It only took a couple of hours or so, including some repairs on the '25 column. Dave


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 07:33 am:

Noel,

Like everyone else says - take the main shaft, the 3 planet gears, and the steering wheel shaft out of the 26 column. Then install all those parts in the '25 column. Done!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 10:59 am:

There are some winding mountain roads on the Kanab tour. Be sure the steering column is in good working condition before taking this tour. If it should go over center on a turn, you could +++++. The bracket should be the original one for your year car. They are on a different angle where they attach to the frame. Also measure the length from firewall to bracket. It should be the same as your original column for everything to work right.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel D. Chicoine, MD, Pierre, SD on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 01:59 pm:

I may try to change back to the original bracket if I can get the bushing out. The bushing is badly worn with over 1/16" space around the shaft. It doesn't look like it can be pushed out from the top as that part of the bracket is cast. Anything I can get in from the top doesn't get enough grab on the bushing to push it out. Maybe I can drill it out with a large drill.
Up on Jack stands, with the 26 bracket, the steering stops on a far left turn before going over center. The Pitman arm is almost straight with the drag link at that point, however. The rest of the linkage is tight with no play. My old steering had about 2.5 inches of rotation from left to right before effectively moving the pitman arm. This one is right there!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 04:49 pm:

Noel,

Can you thread what's left of the bushing with a pipe tap, then insert a pipe plug? It would give you something to push against when pressing the bushing out from the top.

If a standard pipe thread doesn't jive with the bushing diameter then perhaps another thread size?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By george house on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 07:09 pm:

Noel; are you the reason why surgeons have to ask the patient which limb they're to whittle on - before anesthesia??? . . . ;o)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel D. Chicoine, MD, Pierre, SD on Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 09:31 am:

Thanks, George!!! :-) Sometimes my mechanical background is just enough to get me in trouble!
I took the bracket to a machine shop after meeting the owner at lunch yesterday. They split the bushing and were able to drive it out. Lang's parts book says 2 are required per car, but there was only one bushing in there. What looks like a bushing on the top is actually cast into the bracket. I pressed a new bushing in and will bring it with me. Maybe I'll have a little time to swap it there after the first day. It slides on the 23 shaft, hopefully it slides on the 26 shaft.


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