I'm thinking about changing the original steering column shaft and gears on my 1914 T to the later style 5:1 gear ratio. The suppliers sell a complete kit and claim it increases steering leverage and makes driving less dangerous. What do they mean by "less dangerous"? The kit isn't cheap, so before I consider making the switch I thought I'd find out how many of you fellow T owner's have made the switch to the 5:1 gear ratio.
Ford had to change to 5:1 when the 21" balloon tires were introduced in 1925 to make it easier to steer with wider tires when parking. 5:1 makes it easier to avoid overcorretions in higher speeds too. You can likely find a complete 1925-27 steering column in useable condition at some swap meet cheaper than the kit?
I was wondering about that. So if I found a later style, used steering column shaft with the gears/pinion I could just drop that into my shaft housing? Makes sense to me and I agree, I could probably find a used one a whole lot cheaper than the new kits!
The earlier gear box will not have the stop groove in the bottom of the case like the later ones. It should work with all the pins that the gears ride on being the same length in your earlier case.
Yes, it should fit if your housing is a bit worn. If it binds you can use some yellow Timesaver lapping compound to make the new gears fit. (Lang's sells it in small quantities)
Format about the longer pin - it should be possible to grind flush with the others.
Swapping in 5-1 steering components to replace the steering gear components in a 1914 steering column is not recommended. It is not well known, but in later in Model T steering columns the pressure angle of the teeth in the gears and gear case was changed. 5-1 gears have different pressure degree angles than the 1914 gears and gear case. This has the potential to create a real safety issue.
Bill, I wouldn't change anything. There is nothing wrong with the 4 to 1 gears and the 5 to 1 gears will sometimes not fit in the earlier gear cases.
Tanks for your input, Trent
Do you know when the pressure angle was changed?
Off the top of my head I do not remember, and Bruce never recorded the date in the Encyclopedias. I do not have access to my copies of the Ford Engineering records right now, so I will have to get back to you later on the exact date. But the pressure angle change did occur after 1914 but before the introduction of the 5-1 steering.
My '14 has 5:1 gears in its steering column, original ones from a 1927 column. Neither column had any appreciable wear before the swap. Been there many years and tens of thousands of miles. Mesh of the gears appears to be quite satisfactory.
Can you elaborate Trent on why this might be a safety issue? Many folks have done this over the years and I have yet to hear of a problem. Perhaps the problem is theoretical only?
As they say, in theory reality and theory are the same.
By the way, in my opinion the swap to 5:1 gears does little, and is not worth anything you might pay to do it. My car was modified when my Dad built it. He liked it that way, I don't see any real advantage.
Thanks for all the great advice guys! Sounds like there's really no need to make the switch, so I'll save my money for some other repair item.
. . . and when we wedge a Model A crankshaft into a T engine we deprive the Model A guys of an integral engine part. Think about our 'New and Improved' brethern and sistern when we put a '26-'27 steering guts into a brass T. Heck, I found a NOS pre-generator crank and cam gear set for my '14 runabout. Then I became disappointed when I couldn't hear it.
I'd advise against it, Bill. Drive it like you stole it.
I would advise against it too. The only way I would consider 5-1 is to do it like Royce said with original parts. I've heard the conversion kits give trouble.
I have two '13s with factory steering, and have no problems with either.