How do I go about adjusting the steering on my 1924 Model T it has a lot of play in the steering wheel. Thanks
Play in the wheel usually means wear in the various parts of the system. Here's what you can do:
1. You can shim the steering connector ("drag link") balls at each end to eliminate play. You can buy shims or make them from a penny or other coin.
2. You can replace the bushings on the steering arms at each end of the tie rod. This requires reaming the bushings after installation. Of course the arm has to be off the car to do this efficiently:
3. You can replace the bushing on the steering bracket. Of course this is a lot of work, removing the column and the bracket, and requires a special reamer after the bushing is installed.
4. You can replace the gears in the steering planetary box. You can replace the bushing in the box. You can replace the steering box cover. Or replace the box itself, which is a lot of work. Be sure you get the appropriate gears and shaft for either 4:1 or 5:1 steering, the parts do not interchange but either set of parts can be used in any year Model T.
I would start with the easy stuff, then see what needs attention. A real overhaul of all these parts can take a couple days work if you have all the necessary tools for the job already.
Several things to check.
I would jack up the front axle and check for slack in the tie rods, drag link, spindle bolts and etc.
I would start from there first and then move up to the steering gear box.
You will be surprised how much slop and slack you will find if the front axle assembly hasnt been gone through in many years.
Royce and John have covered the subject nicely. You may find that the easy jobs are enough. Just dealing with the front end stuff made driving my touring a lot less exciting and a lot more fun.
You might want to check this out too:
I the past, I've had to take about 3/32" off each end of the draglink to tighten up the fit at the steering arm and tie rod. This will leave a gap in the adjoining caps for future adjustments for wear.
The next trouble area is the steering bracket at the frame as mentioned above. This is a tough one as the shaft is usually worn enough that, without replacing it, you will not be able to fit the bushing correctly. There is a possibility of having the shaft ground down to create a new bearing surface, but the cost will probably exceed that of a new shaft.
A really common place to get play is at the quadrant, the rivets loosen up and cause a lot of slack. You can have everything else tight and still have a problem. KGB
I would start with the drag link, and tie rod as Royce suggested. I always file the caps to fit the pitman arm and the tierod ball, and use wheel bearing grease or graphite grease. If that doesn't fix things, then look into the other items mentioned above.
The steering arm (or spindle arm) bushings mentioned in step 2 of Royce's post are available in both steel and brass. Is one type recommended over the other?
Is the remover/installer tool absolutely necessary to avoid damaging the bushings?
No. To remove bushings while the spring is still on the vehicle, you can use a foot of 1/2" all thread, a 3" piece of 1" pipe to receive the old bushing, a 3" piece of 3/8" pipe to press it out, and nuts & washers on both ends. You'll have to ream the 3/8" pipe with a 1/2" bit for the all thread to fit through it.
To press in the new bushing just remove the pipes.
I certainly have to agree with Keith..my '20 still has a bit of play in the steering after taking care of all the "other stuff" as the planetary box that sits in the quadrant moves "back and forth" a bit due to apparently sloppy rivets. The rivets don't move or anything, but it looks as though maybe they could be pressed tighter? It's not severe, but noticeable. I put some thin shim-stock in it, and it helped, but not enough.
That said, is there an "easy" (oh yeah, lazy here!) to remove and replace the rivets with the steering column in the car? I really hate to take the whole thing out again.
Tim, I used some 1/4" carriage bolts on my 24, I ground the heads down to about the same profile as the rivets and put nuts and lock washers at the bottom. I think I did have to ream the holes a bit bigger. Works good, no one notices, and I can retighten at any time needed. KGB
Royce, check out the commutator lever arm that you posted the photo of. I believe your car should have the bent lever, so the swivel will lay flat into it. Trivia I know, but that is what I like!
I flipped it over and put the cotter pin in it since that photo was taken Larry. I don't have a better picture of it right now.