As some of you may have read, I started a thread awhile back about some speedster questions concerning Mark Chaffin's RAJO Kit:
I would like to post some answers and progress made in this regard here in this post. I am no where near finished with the project yet and probably won't be for 2-3 years, but I just wanted to show you what I have come up with so far. It might be useful to others, and I would like any further suggestions and comments from all of you.
First of all, one of the main problems I encountered was accommodating the RAJO with the firewall. One thing suggested (and what I actually did) was to move the firewall back 2 inches. Then only a small cut in the firewall is necessary to fit the RAJO head (the valve cover no longer hits the firewall at all):
There is a trick to moving the firewall back 2 inches (site Tom Rootlieb for telling me this). You simply move the firewall bracket back so that the back mounting hole becomes the front mounting hole. You then simply drill a new hole for the back bolt. This moves the firewall exactly 2 inches to the rear. Here is picture of the resulting placement of the bracket:
Then you need a 2-inch longer hood! But the good news is that you can get one...A 1910 Torpedo Roadster hood from will fit nicely.
I will now do another post of what I did with the steering and throttle hook-ups.
Any comments on this stuff appreciated!
Ok. Here is what I have come up with regarding the steering and throttle linkage so far. As all of you know, when you change something, the "Domino Effect" sets in. That is, about 100 other things are effected by the change you made. This is true about steering and throttle if you move the firewall back 2 inches. (In addition I have installed a Vega steering box from Speedway Motors.)
Here is a picture of the progress on this problem so far:
I made the steering/throttle bracket out of Masonite and J-B Weld. I then had good machinist/welder friend make it happen out of cold roll steel stock. The steering shaft bearing is from Speedway Motors. (No, the steering shaft will not be wood!) That is a model for a machinist to make one from. It has to be double D on one end and have the Model T steering wheel fitting welded on the top.
Here is close-up of the Vega steering box hook-up:
The box is mounted to the frame by a modified Speedway BOLT-ON bracket. The problem is that the Model T bracket sold by Speedway is a WELD-ON bracket, and since I do not weld, that was a problem. What I did was to buy the Speedway BOLT-ON bracket for a '34-'40 Ford frame. I then took the bracket to my welder friend who modified it so that it would fit in the Model T frame so that I could bolt it on. Problem solved!
I am currently in the throws of hooking-up the throttle linkage from the steering shaft through the block up to a Stan Howe Stromberg OX-2 carburetor under Mark Chaffin's manifold on the other side. It is not going well, but nothing in this business ever does!
I will post some more about the problems there later.
Please anyone post comments or suggestions if you have them. Any input appreciated!
Thanks & Regards,
Jon, thank you for posting your progress. I look forward to seeing your steps as you go,
The forces from the steering arm to the box will try to bend the frame and T frames are more flexible than the later frames Vega steering boxes usually are mounted to. A solid steering shaft to the firewall would have made it more rigid, but with some kind of bracket from the box to the engine block you'll probably be fine.
See this unknown accessory box I've found:
No solid shaft to the firewall, so they added a small bracket to one of the pan mounting bolts to hold it rigidly while steering.
(Message edited by Roger K on February 25, 2015)
I have heard of the frame problem, and I will fix that problem when I get to it. Thanks for the tip.
By the way, here are some pictures of the throttle linkage problem. Stan Howe sent me a Stromberg OX-2 body on loan so that I can hook-up the throttle in the right position using the OX-2. The OX-2 would not bolt-up to Mark Chaffin's manifold directly, but a little work with a dremmel elongating the holes in the manifold fixed that problem.
Here is the OX-2 body bolted in position:
Here is the other side showing the steering hook-up (the wooden steering shaft model has now been replaced with a cold rolled steel shaft):
I will have drill a hole in the RAJO valve chamber cover and use a bell-crank at the bottom on the carburetor side.
Thanks to Stan Howe for sending the OX-2 body on loan to make the hook-up come out right.
Any comments appreciated!
Thanks & Regards,
In regard to the the Vega type steering box:
Maybe it's just me, but considering the combination of the Model T's very flexible frame, and the also flexible three-point engine mounting of the engine in that frame, it doesn't seem to me like supporting one side of the Vega steering box to the frame, and the other side of the steering box to the engine might not be very good engineering practice. (???)
Roger K, - Actually, I guess what I just said is pretty much in line with what you were saying Roger,.....harold
I use a similar steering box on my speedster. When testing during the install there was some frame flex so I added a brace to the side of the engine pan. That resolved the flex issue, at least when I turn the steering and watch the frame when parked. The steering is nice and snug with no noticeable bump or other "mystery" steering going on.
I really like the confidence of accurate worm gear steering at a good ratio - 2 1/2 turns lock to lock. My original 4 to 1 steering with a small steering wheel and 21" tires had me nervous on irregular surfaces.
Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions.
Could I bolt a long piece of angle-iron to the frame? Or maybe weld one in place?
If the torque was front to back a long angle iron might help but what you will need is support so the frame doesn't twist sideways. I would clamp or use use existing holes to bolt any brace or bracket until you can check the effectiveness.
I would prefer to bolt on any brace rather than weld it.
I wouldn't worry about it too much right now. Wait until everything is in place for your steering and see how much flex you actually get under steering load. Watching the frame twist will in itself probably suggest a solution.
Maybe the frame should be boxed in that area or have gussets welded into the channel. You'll know more when it's all assembled.
The frame WILL twist. I solved the problem by making a short link with flexible ends, I used aircraft ball type heim joints, (sp?) and installed it between the box bracket and one of the oil pan bolts. You will need something similar.
Great information and it all looks good.
Have you come up with a solution for the dual ignition for the BB head. A mid '80's Datsun pickup distributor has been suggested but it is not very available. I am pursuing other options as well. Just wondering if you have a solution?
I am not familiar with the Vega brand of accessory steering box. Can someone tell me what type it is and when they became available? is there a chance I could find a RHD one in Australia?
Allan from down under.
The modern ones are rebuilt originals or reproductions of the steering boxes that used to come on Chevrolet Vegas:
The junkyard sources have pretty much dried up, hence the emergence of reproductions.
I'm finally hard at finishing my "Ross steering box" project. Integral to that is one RHD for my '13. I'll post pictures when it's done
I was talking to Jon, but he couldn't wait (and I can't fault him for that)
The "Vega" Box in the pictures above is actually made by Flaming River (although I bought it from Speedway Motors), and there is nothing "Vega" about it. It is a new modern version of the Vega box intended for street rods:
As I explained above, the bracket to mount that steering box in a Model T frame is a WELD ON bracket. What I did was to get the BOLT-ON Vega box bracket for a '34-'40 Ford frame, and then modified the bolt-on bracket so that it would fit inside the Model T frame.
I went onto a Alfa Romeo site and I think I found some good ideas for the dual ignition. I need to explore the availability of the parts mentioned. And no, they are not Alfa parts. Several people suggested exploring Alfa and it seems to have merit.
Yea, my solution is to not run a dual ignition..! I have a Texas T (VW) distributor that I am planning to use for now. Having said that, I am interested in a dual ignition, so stay tuned. It would be fun to try one of those. How much extra poop would I get out of that? I guess you have to get the timing of alternate plugs in each cylinder offset by the right amount? At least that's what the dragster guys tell me.
My research indicates that for the BB Rajo, firing both plugs at the same time is the way to go, just like on airplane engines. And this makes sense to me as the plug locations are very similar to a airplane engine. As a pilot I have observed that when you do your "run-up" and test your mags, you get a similar RPM drop with either mag off. Now your average airplane engine is relatively large bore and the plugs are located on either side (just like the BB). Engines meant to run a single plug tend to have the plug more centrally located. Anyway I will share what I learn.