It's been a while since I've installed a wishbone, and I can't remember how much to tighten the ballcap stud nuts against the springs. The service manual says to run down the nuts together, and I would assume it's until the springs are holding the cap against the pan fixture. Any clarification greatly appreciated. Joe
You should do what the service manual says. Grease the ball then run the nuts down until the springs are compressed fully. Grease it every 1000 miles. Safety wire.
Thanks, Royce. I just couldn't remember if you wanted the springs fully compressed, and I couldn't find that statement in the manual. Makes sense, though. Okay, heading back out to the shop . . . Joe
Actually compression the springs fully doesn't make sense - in that cases you could just as well have used washers. Tightening the springs down fully, then loosening the nuts a completely of turns but not as much as it would be possible to pull the ball out by compression the springs, then the springs may add to the flexibility when driving in rough terrain?
A couple of turns.. (autocorrect..)
Why have the springs there if you compress them completely? I always run the nut down to the point where the ball cannot pop out which leaves some room for the spring to compress and absorb any shock transmitted from the front end.
I have to agree Roger and Val. It seems however that some of the earliest T were not spring loaded. May have dreamed that one.
Ford replaced the ball cap bolts with studs springs and nuts pretty early on. As has been stated, springs allow for some movement of the ball whereas bolts don't. Perhaps because we are driving on good roads, its not necessary to allow flex in the ball cap area. Maybe that is why some cinch the springs until fully compressed, I don't know. I always leave room for flex, but I've never experienced a problem driving my 12 with the bolts holding the ball cap, either.
There should be no movement of the ball in the cup when properly adjusted. The springs provide small safety factor when the ball / cups wear out due to owners neglecting to lubricate them.
The springs came about 1914 I think. Prior to that there was no way to compensate for wear.
I always tighten them enough to compress the springs. I figure the springs are there to keep everything snug as wear occurs. I don't think you can tighten the nuts enough to keep the wishbone from moving. But I suppose it wouldn't hurt to loosen the nuts a turn or so, to minimize wear at the beginning.
Another thing to consider is that these days, most T's have worn wishbone balls. They are no longer as tall as they are wide, unless you replace the ball or build it up. So if you're using a worn ball, you'd need a bit of "give" in the springs to allow for the ball to get a bit taller as it turns sideways. A turn or two should account for that.
Is there an echo in here? My post is 4 minutes after Royce's, but we were composing at the same time.
Interesting. Two theories why Ford changed to ball caps. One, to allow flex, two, to compensate for wear. I tend to side with the group that says its to allow flex, but readily admit the springs do compensate somewhat for wear. Is there some insight on this in Ford literature? I read the paragraph in the Service Manual on p. 32 and it says to run down the two radius ball cap studs nuts and wire the nuts together, but it is silent as to whether the springs should be compressed fully or not.
The ball is the only thing keeping the front end geometry in place. It isn't supposed to move forward, backwards, up or down. It should rotate.
Anyone know what depth the pan socket and ball cap should be?
The ball is 1-1/4" diameter, if that helps. I bought some steel balls that size and routinely replace ones which are very worn. That way, I can grease it, compress the springs and never worry about it again.
The Ford manual doesn't mention how far to run down the nuts before you safety wire them, but it makes perfect sense as mentioned above to leave some compression in those springs before safety wiring, otherwise why would Ford have added them? And BTW, Royce is correct in that they added the springs in late 1913. If you have ever tried to compress one of those springs, they are quite stiff, and one more point, they are the same two springs that are used on the radiator studs on the later model cars.
Do we have a verdict here? The manual is vague about how much to tighten the nuts, and there doesn't seem to be a clear consensus on whether the nuts should be tightened all the way, completely compressing the springs, or to within a turn or two of tight to leave some flex in the mechanism. I'm inclined to tighten them down to ensure correct geometry. But, I appreciate everyone's input. Joe
on the early caps you could file them off just like a rod cap!!charley
Another thought. If you have factory studs in your pan, why not tighten the castle nuts until you can get the wire through the hole? Then see how much compression is left in the spring.
Larry, that's what I did. I figured the castellations on the nuts were there for a reason, so I made sure the studs were bottomed out in the pan, then installed the springs and tightened the nuts until the safety wire fit through the stud holes and the nut castellations. Since the stud holes were big enough to fit the safety wire through twice, I went ahead and wired them twice. When I was done, I noticed that the springs were well compressed, but not coil bound. Seems to be holding up well so far.
Larry and Mark, I agree and that's how I do it. If the nuts won't reach the safety wire, they might back off on their own anyway. Another thing, anytime you compress springs to the max for the long term, you risk that they will fail or weaken over time. My radiator stud springs were all broken when I got my car.
The problem I see here is that some folks are confused about basic shop practices without fully understanding the theory.
Most cars from the 30's and 40's used this same concept for steering drag links where a spring loaded cup is tightened against the ball on the pitman arm. The process is to tighten the cap till the spring is fully collapsed then backed off slightly till there is no binding. This way as the ball wears (out of round) rattling and looseness is kept to a minimum. As I have always understand it, the same theory applies to the spring loaded wishbone ball cap on the Model T.
My advice...Listen to Royce for he knows of what he speaks.
This kind of operation (greasing the wishbone ball-cap) makes me a little bit nervous, because if the know-nothing newbie screws it up, consequences could be serious. As there's now a fairly lengthy thread about how this should be done, it's more than just a simple matter of take-it-apart-and-screw-it-back-together.
I'm also going to guess that because the widely-available lubrication chart doesn't specify greasing the ball-cap, many—if not most—owners, like myself, have never touched the darned thing.
So, I'm going to propose a harmless, though not as satisfactory, newbie technique that might help, but if not, at least it won't hurt anything. I'd be very interested to know what you guys think of the following:
Jack the left, front wheel up as high as possible, slide in a jack-stand, get under and squirt some motor oil on the exposed side of the ball. Jack the left wheel back down.
Repeat on right side.
Drive the car.
The following week, jack the left wheel up as high as possible, slide in a jack-stand, wipe away any excess motor oil from the exposed side of the ball, pack in some grease with a brush. Jack the wheel back down.
Repeat on the other side.
It should be tight enough to not move forward backward sideways or up and down. Tighten each side evenly until the cap is up against the ball but loose enough for the ball to rotate easily in the greased socket. The springs are there to compensate for wear which makes the ball slightly out of round and to hold the cap in place as the ball and socket wear. If it is left loose enough to rotate freely and the socket is kept greased, the wear will be minimum. If it is too loose, it could come out of the socket, and if too tight will cause rapid wear.