There are many different accessory shocks that can be used safely on a Model T Ford with no serious issues. I have used many of them over the years. However, there are some oddball designs that are inherently dangerous, because they have design flaws that can lead to fatal accidents if they suddenly break while driving. Ken Meek was killed in such an accident involving an off-brand shock failure. in any case, there is a set of front shocks of the dangerous variety being sold on eBay. Here is the final write-up on the Meek accident. Do not use this type of front shock. Safety tip of the day.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Early-accessory-front-axle-mounted-shock-perches-for-a-M odel-T-Ford-/131038378612?pt=Vintage_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item1e827e fa74&vxp=mtr
How do KW shocks rate in this regard?
The problem is the riveted pivot area on this design. Most other shocks do not use a riveted pivot attached to the perch and are designed of heavy steel with no pivot rivet to break as in this design.
It would appear the the shocks on Ken Meek's car may have been two left or two right hand shocks because on one side the caster could be increased by 5° and on the the other side it could be decreased by 5°. The shock apparently did not break till after the correct caster was lost and the wheel went to the fully locked position.
Maybe a lower wishbone brace would have held the caster in position and the wheels would not have snapped to the full lock position.
"...The shock apparently did not break till after the correct caster was lost..."
That is one theory. My own theory, after seeing the car and photos of the damage, is that the shock broke first. In other words, my belief is that the broken shock mount was the initiating event that caused Ken's terrible accident.
While the riveted construction may be a problem, it was not Ken's problem. His shock broke off below the wishbone mounting hole. Basically, the stem broke off the shock absorber. There has been at least one photo of a similar shock that had been welded back together after the same kind of break. If I not mistaken, I believe Mark Cameron bought that welded shock and destroyed it, possibly preventing another sad story.
It would be my suggestion that someone buy these shocks and destroy them as well.
Have you contacted the seller to make him aware of the potential for danger in these shocks?
Assuming the seller will not remove them from bidding, I will be happy to reimburse anyone who buys and destroys these, $50 for their efforts. Anybody else want to chip in?
Anybody offer to do the bidding?
I'll throw in $20 if they are sent to a metallurgist like Jersey George for analysis.
Did anybody get a good look at Ken's perch to see if there was a pre-existing crack?
If these shocks are that dangerous then I don't mind bidding on them. I will show photos of them cut up in small chunks. Let me know if this is ok with everyone.
I have always wondered if those perch parts were forged, like Henry Ford's or cast, which may have been a weaker material.
I have never seen a T with those shocks installed, so they are rare anyway.
Henry Ford was not fond of most accessories. He may have had good reasons.
To my eye, there were no pre-existing cracks, just a bright sparkly, crystalline looking surface.
My money will cover the opening bid so begin if you like. Not sure if Ralph is on-board exactly or not. I guess if you send a chunk to Jersey George he may be in?
Ok, Im high bidder, But then there is still six days to go. I dont know who Jersey George is but I will use a power hacksaw so it dose not interfere with the metal composition and send everything to him for review. I will need his contact information and if he is willing to do it.
Why not donate them to the Model T Museum. They could display them to show accessory items and perhaps include a note that they did not perform very well and caused accidents. You would still be getting them off the market with out destroying a piece of history and they would be a warning to others who see them in the museum in the future.
George in Cherry Hill, NJ is very knowledgeable in metallurgy in general and researches Model T metallurgy in his spare time: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/262299.html?1337345803
He does some consulting work in China - his home page: http://www.millscorr.com/
I think a metallurgical analysis is important, and yes, my offer stands only if the pair is sent to George intact. I'll also pay the postage to Cherry Hill.
The crystalline break sounds to me like a victim of vibration, but George will know for sure. could the perch have been loose fitting?
Not sure that the vibration needed to cause this would exist in the front end of a Model T.
Looked more like brittle fatigue.
I don't like destroying history either but I for one would rest easier knowing that it would be impossible for these to ever be used again. Let's see if we can get them first.
I was thinking of the perch stem being loose in the axle, Jerry. Probably a long shot. Regardless, I think it's important to know the nature of the defect.
Personally, I would like for them to be preserved and displayed as a piece of automotive history. They very definitely need to be labeled as dangerous and that they should never be put on a car (ever).
These type of shock absorber should not be kept on any model T with any chance of ever being driven (maybe one to be kept inside a glass case?).
There are several serious problems with them. Not the least of which is the metallurgy. It would be interesting to find out what it is. However, it would answer for this one set only. These type were manufactured by several different companies over several years, and the metallurgy will be different for a lot of them.
The set in question for sale is unusual the way that piece is riveted together (many sets are made a little better than that).
One of the biggest problems with this type of shock absorber (regardless of the manufacturer) is what it does to the stability of a model T front end. The early style model T front end is only marginally stable to begin with. The tapered leaf spring is less rigid than the later springs, and the high wishbone doesn't hold the axle nearly as stable as the below axle type. Adding a below-the-axle brace will help a lot. Even the light angle-iron type originally offered during the brass era will help a lot, although it still will not be as stable as the '20s T front end.
The stability relies on both the wishbone and the attachment to the front spring by way of the shackles. THE BIG problem with this type of shock absorber is that a roughly two inch solid one-piece perch (plus inch and a half shackle) is replaced by a several inch tall thing with a spring and rod hanging down (and that same shackle). There is nothing there holding the axle in any direction other than simple up and down. The spring does not shoulder any shock or twist in any direction under a couple inches. The wishbone normally takes some of the forces that hit the front end.
I once saw a fellow drive a model T without any cap on the wishbone at all. The wishbone just sort of wobbled and bounced around. The car drove okay under 25mph for a short distance. The spring held it all.
Normally, the spring and the wishbone together, and from slightly different angles, split the forces the front end takes. With this type of shock absorber, the wishbone has to do it all except for holding the frame up. There is just too much give and slop in those shocks.
They may have been alright back in the day at speeds under mostly 20mph. But today, even at 35, the added instability can contribute to disaster.
My nickel's worth.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
If you are going to drive a piece of history you should drive it like it was driven in it's day.
Driving a T in good condition up to an occasional 45 MPH on smooth roads, 35 MPH on decent roads and allowing plenty of room in front of you to stop, not overloading the car and keeping good tires on it you will have no need for shocks, water pumps, alternators or even outside brakes.
Yes, I agree, it is safer and more fun to have certain things like the Ruckstell, or Warford, and certainly outside brakes.
If you double the engine's power and intend to use that power you will need steering, brake and suspension changes.
Now you are asking for trouble.
KEEP IT STOCK! Just add a stop light and mirrors.
If that doesn't do it for you... buy a Corvette.
I guess I would be o.k. with anything that permanently keeps those shocks off the road, be it destruction or well labeled in a display at some museum.
If anyone wants to chip in on the purchase with the provision that they be preserved, (which is essentially donating to the museum), then maybe we can make this happen.
Im game for what ever you all want me to do with them if I do end up with them. I do personally like the museum idea as long as its noted that they will never be used. Day 2 and Im still high bidder.
Wherever they go, I would like to know that they will never be put onto a car. If that means destruction. So what. I could donate a few dollars to put them into a museum, as long as they were tagged and labeled for what they are and why they are dangerous to use. They could help others that way by educating viewers that may have a set at home.
It would be best if we can work this out so we don't have a couple different plans bidding against each other and running the price up. The current bid is nearly $65 including shipping. I have seen sets of these go for about $200 in recent years.
It should be pointed out again, this set, due to the way they are riveted together, is particularly dangerous. If this set is put onto a car and driven an average model T amount, it is a virtual certainty that it will be involved in an accident (hopefully a minor one).
I would like to see them publicly displayed. I could even recommend cutting them in some way to make them unusable, but not destroy their value as a display item. One (or both) could, for instance, be displayed on the ends of a front axle. The pins that fit into the axle could be cut off near the top of the axle with a bolt and nut dummied onto the bottom of the axle. It would not be visible that the pin was cut, and the shock would be shown as it would appear under a car.
Just a few more thoughts from me. For whatever they're worth.
To whom do I send $10?
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
The ten spot would go to me but only if I win the bid. So far I'm still the high bidder but that could change. If I win the bid I will be sending them to the Model T museum for display.
I don't see the riveted part as being dangerous, if the metallurgy and assembly quality is sufficient for the job. The real problem is as you (Wayne) said in your earlier post. The shock design removes the ability of the spring to contribute rigidity to the axle installation. This causes rotten handling characteristics.
Good job Will, hopefully more will join us.
I think the big safety tip of the day here is to keep clincher tires properly inflated. Ken's accessory spring perch did not just snap clean off without some other event causing it undue stress. The loss of the tire is what started the sequence of events resulting in the crash. It would have been dangerous even in a stock T. I agree with everyone here that a part as crucial as the front spring perch should be the best you can use, and I think that means genuine Ford parts. I have lots the same kind of accessory spring parts and will not sell them. They are for scrap or display only. Please keep your tires inflated to proper PSI.
I agree with Erik. The broken shock was caused by the accident and not the cause of the accident. The blown tire and then the over the axle wishbone and resulting full lock steering likely led to the broken shock.
I wonder if there is any documentation that clearly shows that this type of shock actually caused an accident??
It has been awhile since I read the final report. I accept that in this case (the Meeks), the shock broke more as a result of the accident, than breakage being the cause of the accident. My experience with Ts, my own and many people I know, is that clincher tires do occasionally come off while driving at speed. I have lost tires and not known it right away. I have seen others lose tires and not be aware their tire came off. I have talked with dozens of people that have lost tires. It is rare that a model T becomes very difficult to handle when a clincher tire comes off.
My belief is, that the reduced stability comes into play under any stressful situation, including the loss of a front tire. Had their car had stock perches, it would have handled a bit better. It may not have gone over-center and the car may not have flipped. There were several contributing factors to their accident. I am sure the instability added by the shock absorbers contributed. We may never know just how much.
We will never know for certain what may have been, if only? I just know that that design contributes an instability that is just too dangerous to risk.
As Erik B says, keep your tires properly inflated. That is one of the most important ways to not suffer a tire failure on clincher rims. Also make sure your rim edges are not sharp (and could cut the bead). And use good inner-tubes if you can find any that fit (good luck with that).
If you do suffer a blowout or tire coming off the rim, like with ANY car, hold on to the wheel tight and steer as steady as you can. Go very easy with any braking. Slow down and pull into a safe parking area to fix your tire.
On a mountain road many years ago, modern car, I had a blowout right after a place to pull out. I drove on the blown tire nearly a half mile before the next turnout. It was a pretty good walk back to get my hubcap. It is worth the risk to destroy a replaceable tire to be in a safer spot to make repairs.
Most rims will survive being driven on for a very short distance. I did have to repair one once. It came out fine with some scratches in the plating (of course I couldn't have had to run on one of the easy to touch up painted ones).
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Destroying these shocks is the same flawed philosophy people use when turning in their guns to be destroyed thinking that it will make the streets safer.
I hope someone buys it that will appreciate the history and add it to their collection.
As Wayne noted, your most vunerable parts are the tires and tubes. The main culprit being tubes.
Over the last 10 years the only cause of flat tires I have had has been tubes.
I. That if the rubber valve stems are left installed you risk loosing all the air real quick if the seal around the metal valve stem fails, and there is not much to stop it. When on the Pincer Creek Tour in 2011 I posted with the help of Chris Brancaccio a photo of one which I had fail whilst on my trip across the USA. It was only fused around the end of the valve stem at the top about 1mm wide. This allowed the air to penetrate up the side of the valve and with 60 psi behind it failure is just waiting to take place. You could loose all the air in a couple of revolutions of the wheel.
2: The other problem is the quality of the tube. Often they are smaller in section than they should be or are also thin. Blow them up to fit the tire and they are stretched to tissue thinness. too weak to take a sudden blow from a bump or rut. Trouble is you can't tell how much rubber thickness is there until "she Blows" which they do just like a bomb with 60psi inside.
I don't think a sharp edge on a rim cuts the bead whilst driving, though a good rim obviously is preferable. If it is sharp some metal is missing, that means the edge is now away from the inner edge of the bead on the tire. The pressure of the tube is forcing the bead into the rim bead. and that offers the support for the tire. The tire is fixed so its hard for any cutting action to take place.
If the bead is so worn away that it is not holding the tire bead enough, the tire can peel off. The only time I have seen a cut bead is when the tire goes flat and the rim chews the tire bead between it and the road in the process of stopping the car.
Safety tip of the day: Slow down and drive your T at Model T speeds. I find it very hard to believe Ken was driving 30 MPH unless he was trapped behind a Yugo with a fouled spark plug.
Except, Royce, a steering hardover resulting in a rollover happened on a '14 Touring approaching a roundabout at less than 30 mph in the Detroit area. There was no flat, and the hickory spokes and other steering and suspension parts were undamaged.
"The broken shock was caused by the accident and not the cause of the accident"
You don't KNOW that for fact so don't present it as one. To be fair, I don't KNOW for a fact that the shock did break first. As I stated, it's my theory that it did.
Here's what I DO know for a fact.
1. That is the exact same design of shock that Ken used.
2. I have never seen or heard of a broken genuine Model T spring perch under any circumstance.
The '14 that rolled near Detroit did not do so while "approaching" the roundabout. It rolled while in the roundabout when its left front tire got too close to a beveled curb, (as opposed to a square, 90 degree curb). The left wheel rolled up the bevel angle of the curve, thereby creating a pull to the left, causing a sharp oversteer and subsequent rollover.
Very nice, if we are able to buy those shocks you can install them on your car.
Good point, I agree. Although I believe the the shock was not what started the chain of events it may have had some impact on the final result.
I'm sorry for my sarcasm to you above. When I read the rest of your post, "I hope someone buys it that will appreciate the history and add it to their collection." I realized what you were really trying to say.
Yes, I hope so too. As I later stated, I'm fine with any use of these shocks that prevents them from ever being used on a car.
Yes, I can agree with that.
By whatever means Ken's shock failed, no matter when the failure actually occurred, it did so far too easily, based on the comparative performance of genuine Ford parts, or even high quality aftermarket, in other known wrecks.
These are they actual shocks on Ken's T.
The sheared off shank on the two-piece shock can be seen. The other shock had obvious wear or stress to the yoke rivet area, that part is sorta of Y'd open now.
These are an odd design with the two-piece construction, riveted. The high moment arm of this design, as the shock spring is high up, and the perch is much taller than stock Ford, sure might be the cause of failure. Just too much leverage when the front wheel went to lock when hitting the shoulder of the road.
Just can't know the actual cause, but the high position, and dubious construction or material in this old shock may be culprit, no other accessory T shocks are built this way.
Lets assume that I end up with this set of shocks, If I donate them to the Model T Ford Museum what guarantee do I have that the museum will not in the future sell them to someone for there own use?
On one hand I would like nothing better than getting these off the streets and to a museum for public display with a small warning on how dangerous they to warm a T owner not to use them if they ever run across a set on there own but I would rather cut them up in one inch chunks before they could be possibly be used to kill another potential victim.
There is a antique boat museum where my summer home is and once a year they have a big auction to make room for other donated antique marine items.
If anybody has the Model T Ford Museums phone number I would like to call them and find out what there policies are when it comes to donated items.
Dan, do you have, or could you take, a closeup picture of the fracture surface where the shank sheared off? I would like to examine it for signs of fatigue, thanks.
Those are the only pictures I have of the shocks.
They were on display at a presentation of the summary investigation on that accident. Rather doubt any material analysis was done on those parts.
No hard feelings, Jerry.
I see I have been out bid, How far do you guys want me to go this? Just under 14 hrs to go at 0713Hrs today
It is never good to bid before a few seconds before it ends. It just eggs other bidders on that want to show their hand be before it's time. Just come up with the maximum you will pay, bid at the end and let the chips fall where they may.
There are companies like eSnipe that will bid for you for a small fee. Winning bidders are more likely to have placed a single bid late in the auction, rather than placing multiple incremental bids as the auction progresses.
I use a site called auctionsniper.com to put my bids in automatically at the last few seconds before the auction ends. You enter the item number, your maximum bid amount, and how many seconds before auction end you want to have your bid placed. Works great and is cheap!
How about emailing the high bidder and explaining how those shocks could get him killed?
How do you propose we contact the high bidder? Ebay does not show the bidder's name or link to them any more.
You could use the "ask the seller a question" function to at least let the seller know that they are selling something considered dangerous.
Mark, I emailed the seller a polite note some time back asking the seller to at least inform the buyer of the potential for harm if this part is installed on a car. If the seller does not inform the buyer, and the buyer is injured after the seller has been politely notified, then the seller assumes I believe legal liability for damages. I just do not want someone else to be hurt - or killed
I admire folk's willingness to bid and buy dangerous Model T accessories to keep them from being installed on a car, I just hope the practice doesn't end up encouraging bad behavior from unscrupulous sellers (buy this part or I'll sell it to some idiot who will kill himself with it).
I took it up a bit more and became high bidder again, I cant afford to go much higher.
Don't waste your time or show your interest. The only time being the high bidder that counts is Nov 10, 2013 18:03:10 PST
I agree with Jim T. And we certainly do not need two people bidding it up against each other for the same purpose.
So I guess Will C is our designated buyer now???????
I will donate $10 to keep it off a car provided we can do this in an organised way. Just over two hours to go, however.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
If you will PM me with your address I'm in for $10 as well.
If you want to make sure other bidders know about the potential danger of this type shock, you can go down toward the bottom of the listing to where it says, "Ask seller a question". Then write something like, "Are you aware that this exact component has been implicated in a fatal Model T accident?" The seller will need to respond to you in some way, or at least accept that the disclosure has been made on his listing page. He's definitely on the liability hook then.
I contacted him and told him about the potential danger with this shock and his reply was "Don't believe everything you hear"
If you enter your comment on the "Ask seller a question" it will be on the selling page for everyone to see. Then at least it's a buyer beware situation. And the seller becomes liable if he is proven to know in advance that he is selling something that may be dangerous.
But if you just send him a private message, there is no record of your warning and he can dust you off without consequence to him.
When you "Ask seller a question" on eBay the seller has an option to post the question or leave it private. In this case the seller has elected to not have the questions posted for public view.
I sent him the question from your post above, but, it's not there. I guess he opted not to have it shown!
If you win, send me a PM with your address--I'm in for 10.
I am waiting to hear who bought them? Do I need to send someone $10?
I didnt win. Sorry guys.
I just checked my email and had a response from the seller--"Thanks for your concern." Interesting that he didn't see fit to put comment where the bidding public could see it. I hope someone bought hem for display and not to "improve" their T.
Apparently, "Ask the seller a question" questions and responses don't always appear on E-Bay.
Its up to the seller to decide what questions and answers he wants to put on the auction. He probably thought all the talk about the shocks would hurt his sale ...
How will his conscience be if he sees on the news that the buyer was killed in a Model T accident that was caused by his purchase? Maybe he has no conscience!