Hi Everyone. I am planning to put a Speedway Vega worm gear steering box in a '14 speedster. It seems to be the steering of choice for that application. (Yes, I know that Les Schubert is making a Ross box, but I would like to get going sooner, so I am planning to use the Vega box from Speedway Motors.)
There have been some posts on here about this, but the devil is in the details. For example, the Vega box has a Vega pitman arm as an option, but that pitman arm has a tapered hole in the end to accept a tapered shaft on the draglink. The standard draglink on the '14 has a ball socket on both ends. So what to do about the drag link/ tie rod linkage?
Speedway can supply drag links with different kind of ends (tapered stud, bolt hole or straight hole), but the '14 T has a ball socket on each end and these are not available from speedway in any sort of way that would hook to the T linkage. What is the best way to change the linkage with the least amount of work/cost?
I know some of you speedster guys have done this, so I am looking for the best solution.
Thanks for any suggestions.
I would prefer a vintage steering box, something a speedster building kid could find in a scrapped car behind the local garage in 1928 - I guess there are a bunch to choose from at Hershey right now?
But if you insist on going modern maybe a Model T tie rod yoke ball can be modified to fit the Vega pitman arm?
You can buy the tie rod yoke ball as a spare part from the vendors, both the tapered and the straight shaft version. https://www.modeltford.com/item/2721A.aspx
Thanks, Roger. I think you are right about making the adaptation at the Vega pitman arm. That requires the least amount of changes to the Model T!
I would say "in a box under the seat" ...... but all smart @#& remarks aside, I agree to modify the vega pitman arm with one of the repro tie rod balls. I would also make a bolt on bracket for the vega box. You will also need a splined universal joint at the vega box and have a splined or double D end welded to the shortened T steering shaft if using a T column. You should be able to find a steering shaft with a damaged bottom end to cut up. Instead of cutting a good one. Most styles of the hot rod pitman arm are straight. The stock vega arm is bent. It may be you need a bend in your project.
Ralph Ricks used a '37 Ford steering box. I believe the '37-48 are all the same. They were a "cross steer" set up which suits a T well. The '37-48 drag link might work.
He used a U-joint in the steering column shaft. Ralph might be able to send you pictures or he does not live very far from you, so you might be able to look at it in person and copy his design and brackets.
Consider the model A tie rod ends for the drag link. They are available new for a reasonable price and look "old timey". If you use a pair of them and make the drag link with a rh-lh thread ends it is even easily adjustable to get the steering box nicely centred when the wheels are straight ahead. It is desirable to have the steering box centred at straight ahead as the adjustment is typically only tight (no play) in the centred position. Anywhere off centre there is usually some play between the gears (at least on every steering box I have ever looked at).
I had a '72 Vega........apparently the steering boxes were the only parts that were any good....... LOL........they're used in Model A's too.......LOTS of 'em.
If you want a vintage steering unit try Antique Auto Ranch in Spokane Washington. They have an incredible collection of 20's-30's and 40's parts. They are an excellent source of parts for those eras.
'37 through '48 Ford steering boxes do all have the same steering ratio, but earlier ones work better for a T because they are of a faster ratio (less turns lock-to-lock) so you do not have to lengthen the pitman arm.
Many '35 and '36 Fords have been converted to '37 and later ratios for easier steering, I have done it myself. There are probably a few '35 and '36 steering boxes in collections just waiting to be used on Ts. I have one myself that I intend to put on my T to give it about a 10:1 ratio.
I believe the '37 is 18:1 (from poor memory) while the '35 is 10 to 1 and '36 is 12 or 15 to 1.
Craig, the Vega also had good leg room for the tall driver, but that's about it.
Actually I doubt if the steering boxes were that good, they were just small and easy to adapt to other cars.