Anyone have experience changing out a steering column quadrant on a 1926 Model T, if so what's the procedure. Thanks!
Aside from the two rivets, I believe they are also spot welded in place. I've never replaced one myself but I would suppose you'd have to grind away the old quadrant near the spot welds to get it off. Being careful all the while not to damage the column housing. I would braze the new one on, then of course, replace the two rivets.
All that being said, how bad is the old one? They're all worn to some extent and that's expected. However, some are worn nearly through...
The teeth are worn and the throttle vibrates down making it difficult to drive at times.
There are accessory clamps to buy from the vendors you can mount on the engine side that holds the levers in position:
Roger has the quick fix accessory, it does a lot to remedy a worn out steering column, as that clamp replaces the action of weak springs on the spark and throttle levers, worn groove on the levers too, and of course, worn teeth on the quadrant.
But first try some easy-fix repairs:
1. Re-sharpen the teeth on the quadrant, using a three-corner file, you can re-work the teeth for more grip.
2. Using a Crescent wrench on the quadrant, pull up slightly on the levers (that compresses the lever rod springs on the firewall a bit) and twist up to bring more tension to the quadrant and lever. If the lever doesn't have too big a worn groove, then these 2 steps usually solve the worn out parts issues.
Then, if all fails, take the whole column out and do a complete re-build, re-placing worn parts with better. That quadrant comes out last, in the disassembly of the column, and the steering case and lever rods have to be removed first.
Re-file the teeth on the quadrant to get more grab.
Slightly bend the quadrant up to bring more tension to the teeth and the lever.
Worn out lever rod (in foreground) causes no grab on the teeth, and more times not, the easy fix repairs won't hold, as the lever rod is no longer round narrow surface to hold to the narrow teeth on the quadrant.
From what I've seen, Ford didn't use a standard hole pattern for those rivets, meaning that if you get another quadrant, the holes may not line up with the old ones. It's a difficult time consuming job to do it correctly. I was lucky enough to have a NOS one to put on mine, and that made it even more difficult. As far as the spark and throttle rods, weld up the worn area, and file them down, and then replate them. The rivets are an odd ball diameter too, and you should get the right diameter, and head size. Many restorers don't pay attention to that.
I experienced the same thing as Larry did with 3 steering columns that I worked on. The holes weren't all alike when trying to reinstall the rivets when using replacement parts.
It makes me wonder how Ford did it at the factory.
I would think they were mounted in some type of jig to stabilize them before drilling. But doing it free handed? Don't know about that either.
There are no spot welds at the quadrant that I am aware of, just the rivets. If yours is spot welded someone may have done that at a later date.
Dan and everybody is giving great advice!!!
I really like Dan's photos.
I have rebuilt many T columns over the years. When it is an early column you have no choice!
BUT... 26-7 Columns are easy to find. So just change out the whole column.
Now if you are really restoring one with a re-chromed (nickeled) gear case then you will have to adhere to all of the information given above by the guys. ALL of it. I have only seen one 27 column that had spot welds!! So I guess Ford was starting to build the Model A AR column when those were being made (my guess). As the A's were all spot welded. So, how authentic do you need to be? I have found SOME of the gear cases close in the location of the rivet holes. If you are changing out the case. I first grind off the rivet heads with a 4" grinder carefully. Ctr punch and drill about 1/8" dp. Then remove the case. Then using a pin punch I drive out the old rivet shafts. Upon reassembly I just redrill the rivet holes as carefully as I can after reassembeling them, Hoping to not break a bit. I don't remember breaking any bits (?). On the early columns I use brass brazing, bare, rod and form a head on the rivet using a vice, prior to inserting it into the assy. They are at an angle and are not like a purchased rivet which is made square to the shaft. So after they are assembled I peen them over to flush them up. I use a rivet setting tool. Then using two setting tools I head the other end. The later T's use steel rivets and you can buy those. You still have to head them the same way. Push the rivet through the whole assy and then mark the rivet stock with a 3 cornered file (Triangular) about 2 times the thickness of the shaft of the rivet past the assy. The rule for a round headed rivet is 1-1/2 the dia of the rivet. But the small dia of the quadrant rivet I go twice as they will expand a little too in the hole.
Hope this helps.
Joe in Mo.