During the past couple of months, I have managed to complete the upgrade to a ’37 Ford steering box,( in which I installed all new components), in our ’12 Touring. I also increased the length of the pitman arm to 8 inches, by using two original ’37 arms and having them professionally welded by the same certified welder that did my Nash-Metro backing plates to the T spindles. With the Model A tie rod shortened to suit for a nice drag link, the lot goes together nicely. Whereas I had noted with 5:1 gears in the original Model T steering box just beneath the steering wheel, I was turning about 1-1/3 turns lock to lock, with the ‘37 box and original ratio worm and roller and the 8” pitman arm I now have a nice 2-1/3 turns lock to lock. I’ll have to wait until spring before any road testing, but I am confident these efforts were worth the trouble. At RDRicks suggestion, I also tied the box to the engine block with a muffler clamp and short arm -to a 1” x 1” x 5” block of Cold Rolled Steel that I fixed to the block using two of the original pan bolts, with JB-Weld epoxy on the side against the pan. I attached the short arm with a 3/8`` NFT machine bolt using rubber bushings to relieve any stress that may be induced into the block. I certainly don`t want to see a cracked block!
In the photos you can also see how I managed to continue the spark rod mechanism down to meet the commutator rod by transferring over the top of the `37 box. Although the `` swivel mechanism`` touches my stock hood when I fully advance the spark, it creates no problem. You will also notice I was able to keep the box on the same straight line as the original. (Actually I am ¼`` to the right, on a ¼`` CRS mounting plate.) We used a new 4130 steel main shaft in the steering box and the same for a new `straight`` steering shaft. You can see the simple coupler properly pinned to the box main shaft, with high grade tapered pins and set screws on the upper end against the D shape machined on the longer shaft. This project was indeed an interesting challenge for an old fellow! Hope the photos come thru properly! Regards, Tom Forsythe
Very well done! I like it.
Great job....I also like it. How's the out side oil line working out? I'm been running a 1/2" outside oil line similar to your set up for 15 yrs. with no magnets or slingers. No shims or bearing adjustments to date.
Why did you select a Ford 37 steering box for this modification? Does the Ford 37 steering box have some advantage over other year steering box's?
It has side to side swing like the Model T and mounts somewhat like the T.
There are a few of these on Ebay. It says they fit the 37 ford...Will it therefore fit the T??? A bit pricy.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/VEGA-Steering-Gear-Box-Pitman-Arm-Straight-Axle-hot-rat- rod-1965-1991-/151386769750?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&fits=Year%3A19 37%7CMake%3AFord&hash=item233f5ac956&vxp=mtr
Yes, there was a posting earlier this month or late last about hooking up the spark and throttle rods when using one. You would need to change the position of the pitman arm from what is shown in the ad photo.
Why?? If that is a repro '12, I guess it doesn't matter.
Looks like the car also has front brakes.
This type of steering upgrade is a necessity if you add front brakes.
Then I guess it isn't a T anymore. Ruin an original car (or repro?).
I have a 1937 Ford steering box in my garage someplace, maybe ill put it in the classifieds soon.
Look at the pictures. It already has a starter on it!! So obviously NOT a real '12 T!!
Wasn't Les Schubert reproducing the Ross steering boxes?
(Message edited by Ed in California on January 30, 2015)
It's funny how a few easily-reversible bolted-on safety and convenience modifications make a car "not real" or "ruined" to some...
"YOU are enjoying MY hobby wrong!"
Bill, It is not a good idea to weld any thing in the steering. Does not matter how good the welder is. The street rod guys have dealt with this problem for years. Making a new shaft is more money but much safer. Scott
Right on, Derek!
"The modifications on MY car make it safer, more reliable and improve it’s appearance. The modifications on YOUR car are unnecessary, troublesome, gaudy and ruin the whole character of the Model T!"
Well at least it's not a two lever 1909.
I have never driven a Model T with a 37 gear box, but having had experience with the early V8's, I cannot visualize or think it would be an improvement. The standard T steering is much easier and more responsive than the later Fords. The T feels better than the A or the early V8's. Maybe because of the lighter weight of the T, it might feel different in a T.
Morning all:I'll try to answer as best I can:
This is an excellent original Canadian 1912 Touring,not a reproduction, in its original Midnight Blue, with the optional fore-doors on each side. When I initialy restored it in '98-'02,every aspect was respected to keep it authenic.We are the caretakers of these rare machines that will one day be handed on to another enthusiast to continue the care, for the pleasure of future generations.
We enjoy driving our Model T everywhere,for living in the city of Montréal, we have no place for a trailer.As we face the pressures of modern traffic during every outing,I have continually strived over the past decade to upgrade the safety,reliability and performance of our machine.
(Ours is the only local Model T with seat belts,an item I have been employing since 1956!)
The '12 block was fitted with a counterbalanced crankshaft, 280 High lift cam,Watts clutch, Kevlar bands, the 1/2" outside oilline which functions well from the splash of the still in place original Ford magnets and magneto, in spite of the fact that we are running with True-Fire ignition, electric starter,and a small 65A alternator.Back in 2002 I installed hydraulic brakes with a vacuum booster on the rear-(from '89 Volks Jetta that have the same diameter drums.)The transmission brake band,although still in place, is slacked -off as we rely on the hydraulics.) Last year, I added Nash -Metro brakes to the front end. Thus the upgrade to a proper steering box on the bottom end of the column.I would like to mention here that every change or upgrade I have incorporated can be quite easily brought back to the original Ford components, all of which I retain, for the benefit of the eventual buyer - one day, who may prefer true authenticity.In the meantime, this summer we intend to add to our present 23,000 miles clocked on the speedometer, since our initial restoration.
To Les:I am presently installing the same high volume outside oil line on another '27 bock for a buddy- I highly recommend it!
I did a lot of research, looking at other steering boxes and taking counsel from our fellow members on the Forum.I wanted to stay with a Ford product if possible.The '37 box allowed me to retain the steering column in a straight line almost exactly as original.The steering Wheel itself is but about 1/2" to the left of its original location, but at precisely the same height above the seat.The space for the box is quite tight indeed. It is mounted on a 1/4" plate, flush against the side rail.I have just adequate space to pass my outside oïl line and the coolant pipe from the side of the block which at the moment rest tightly against the upper corner of the cover on the steering box.I intend to remove the pipe and squeeze it in my vise to reduce its width by 1/16" so that it will no longer touch the cover. (All the internal components of the steering box, easily available, were replaced with new from Mac's for less than $200.00)The Model A tie rod, shortened as a drag link, to fit this installation still looks antique, while being much more robust than the original Model T item.
To Mark: You can see clearly in the photos how I run the modified original spark rod over the steering box with a new bottom link to the commutator rod. It works quite well. The throttle has remained original, but with the shortened shaft being supported in a 5/8" thick steel block.
To John: I understand your concerns, but as I noted above, should the eventual future buyer prefer the authentic restoration with all its limitations, I can personally remove all my modifications with a few week's work.I have done nothing that cannot be easily brought back to the original.In the meantime my wife and I enjoy our Model T during each touring season, driving to the club events that may be 100-200 miles from home.Often rather than returning home on the Sunday evening, we will stay at a Bed & Breakfast and take a leasurely drive back on the Monday morning- one of the pleasures of our retirement years.
Have a great day all and enjoy your Ford T's!
Well said Tom, As I have stated many times on this forum, " the only pure Model T is your Model T " Enjoy your hobby. Harv
The one thing I would like to improve on my T is the 1 1/4 turns steering, I think it is actually dangerous because if you hit a kerb or pothole the wheel can be torn from your hands. The mechanical advantage is against you. I have read somewhere that the German authorities deemed it dangerous back in the day.
So, as long as you have the parts for the next owner to set back to original, good luck to you and enjoy your motoring.
Yes, it can always be *restored* to original and no permanent damage has been done. I continue to wonder why the original T has to be *improved* upon...to make it something other than a T? And to go through all that work...for what?
Hello William Its good to see a Canadian 12T there are not many of them left here. Looks great. Colin from Winnipeg.
John, re-read Tom's second paragraph. He has no place for a trailer. Not everybody wants a trailer queen. Sounds like your T belongs in a museum. A museum is next thing to a mausoleum.
Tom, smart move on the seatbelts. As you know, you can eject a passenger with a sudden stop at 10 mph.
To John McGinnis:
As I had stated, we drive regularly in modern traffic to get to the starting point of our club tours.I want adequate power to let me keep up above the minimum autoroute speed of 60 kph even on long grades, and have the ability to safely stop the machine nearly as well as our modern cars.Indeed the greatest joy is to ramble along on old secondary roads at 30 to 35 mph,as we do on a group tour but to get there we need to go 45 to 50 mph which our T can do all day long.For the '37 steering box mount I have even used the three holes in the frame that held the bottom end of the T steering column!I only added two addition holes through the top surface of the side rail,through which pass two grade 10.9 Allen head cap screws ,that are hidden from view by the original wooden hood shelf.
Yes indeed all can easily be returned to original-(even weld up these two extra holes if you wish),by or for a new owner. I too appreciate authenticity.Part of the reason I'm running drum brakes rather than the more popular disc brakes of today. At least the drum brakes are period correct.I repeat the greatest satisfaction is driving our model T not trailering it to some destination.Last fall I did take exception however when my buddy rented a 24 foot trailer into which we loaded our two Model T's.
Consequently we enjoyed a wonderful weekend at the Old Car Festival in Dearborn running my acetylene headlights during the gas light parade with many others, until late in the evening was a particular pleasure.
Hope to see many of you there again this year.
Lousy brakes are one of the very few things I DON'T ENJOY about the Model T hobby... I love the cars, but certain hills and chance of unforeseen situations make me a bit nervous and uneasy when driving on certain roads and when I encounter traffic. Fixing that will make the T hobby more enjoyable to me.
Now if we could just get people to stop whining about others enjoying the hobby differently than their narrow perception of what it should be, the hobby would be perfect.
The Model T Ford Modification Club of America.
Vince, you write that like it's something new:
"--and They Sell 'Em."
MTFCI does judging while MTFCA doesn't. To drive these cars on modern roads with modern traffic some modifications are recommended for safety (tail lights and wheel brakes) The worse traffic in your area, the more modifications may be wanted - the safe alternative is a trailer queen that only will be driven on tours in remote areas..
I would say that all Model T's that are driven today are modified to some degree compared to when they left the factory.
It's up to the owner to decide where to draw the line.
Great looking and driving T there, Tom
Myself,I drive our model T like it is a model T and i have no need to remake our 14 into something it is not!When i get feeling modern i simply get in Grandmaw's org 29 town sedan and i have it covered! I enjoy driving our T's and the A but i have no need of one to preach from!Bud.
This is an example of too far concerning upgrades...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ford-Model-T-Depot-Hack-1915-model-t-depot-hack-station- wagon-taxi-parade-hot-rod-vintage-classic-/201275181280?forcerrptr=true&hash=ite m2edcef88e0&item=201275181280&pt=US_Cars_Trucks
I can't imagine why anyone would feel the need to modernize a century old car like that. I drive my car all over Toronto in totally stock condition with no problems at all.
I don't see anything wrong with making changes, if it is trophies you want build a trailer queen. If you want a driver make it a driver. If I drive our T every week end all summer I only put on 500 to 600 miles a year, no real changes made except for some extra horns.
i hope norcal jay doesn't see that picture ralph put up, he'll be to busy mounting stuff to post any more old photos!
Yes I am nearing completion on a run of 10 Ross cam and lever steering boxes made for the T. Externally these are exact copies of the original accessory units. All internal parts and the pitman arms are finished. It has not been without it's "hick-ups", but they are all solved now. Actually I am making 11 new ones, but the 11th is a RH drive version destined for my '13, on which I am also installing a set of the McNerney original front wheel brakes that I am reproducing. I am also restoring the original one I am copying, so I will end up with a total of 12.
The Ross box is 2 turns lock to lock and interestingly enough has a "variable ratio" worm gear. This gives a lower steering rate of turn when you are driving straight, but increases the rate of turn as you approach lock. This was the original Ross feature and retained it. Mostly I am just using modern bearings and seals as improvements to it.
Les, do you have a brace that goes with it? The frame side rail is too flexible to be a good anchor.
No I don't. Ross didn't use one. Obviously I will find out one way or the other when I get to the testing phase if I need it
I'm sure somebody posted a pic of a brace that clamps under the spring mounting. Can't find it now. Found these:
The Sprague brand had a brace to the spring mount like you write, Ralph:
I have an unidentified accessory steering box for Model T, it came with a brace to one of the pan bolts:
I have another accessory steering, a Swedish made "Stridar" 1925 model. It doesn't have any bracing:
The difference between my unknown steering box with brace and the Stridar unit is the one piece steering shaft going straight to the steering wheel on the Stridar box while the unidentified box had some type of coupling or u-joint connecting it to the steering shaft.
Without any u-joint the firewall will add some bracing to the box just like it does to the original T steering. With an u-joint bracing is essential. I will add bracing to my Stridar box when I eventually try it out, can't be a bad thing and may give less bending strain on the input bearing in the box.
Last winter I was unable to find a suitable pitman arm with 8” centers. Consequently I used two original ’37 arms which I cut to the proper lengths and had professionally welded. One of my previous photos clearly showed this item. Although I was assured by the experts of the integrity of the weld joining the two original parts to produce the desired length, I was ill at ease worrying that a weld ``may break under a severe stress`` leading to a disaster.
For added peace of mind, I finally decided to produce another arm which required no welding. I procured a ¾`` x 3`` x 12`` bar of 4140 high grade steel into which I bored the smaller tapered hole to fit the 1``drag link ball stud - (`32-`34 Ford).
From another original `37 pitman arm I made a shoulder bushing containing the special spline needed to match the sector shaft. (This can be seen in the photo.)The bushing was then press-fitted into the large end of the arm and secured with a hardened tapered pin. Final machining produced the desired shape. All fits well in place and functions with suitable clearance when turning lock to lock. A 50 mile run yesterday assured me of the desired results. Regards to all. Tom
To each his own! There is nothing wrong with the original, and a hell of a lot easier too.
Thank you for the update Mr Forsythe, despite criticism.
The picture at the start of this thread makes me wonder when it was taken?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Just a suggestion for someone doing a similar conversion. A good and cost effective and VERY safe way of making a custom pitman arm is as follows ;
1. The taper spline stumps many people. The solution I used making the Ross boxes was to have these cut using a CNC controlled EDM. You can then have one piece construction, and you should have a perfect fit.
2 further I made the "ball" as a integral part. Machined it in one piece and then bent it hot and then had it case hardened. The spline was cut as the last operation
Hello Kenneth: The photo you refer to was obviously taken in Greenfield Village, at the Old Car Festival on the morning of September 7th during last year's activities. We were indeed in "Seventh Heaven" all that weekend! Hope to make it again this year, the Good Lord willing!
Ford steering gears are the same 37-48 except for the col. length. Same ratio and same mounting.