I am brand new to the model t vehicle. I purchased a 1926 ford Truck (yes I know it was not originally a truck). I noticed that two things happen when I drive it. When I take a turn in the road the steering some times takes a bit to turn the T. I have also noticed that the steering wheel when going straight does not always center the same. meaning if the X steering wheel some times looks like a T and some times looks like an X in my hands. Does this sound norman? Just curious. Thanks in advance for any info
Kirk -- It sounds like there is a lot of wear in your steering system. There are lots of places where parts get worn, all the way from your steering wheel to the wheels. All of those wear points need to be addressed. New parts are available from the T parts vendors. You can find links to them on the MTFCA home page under "Parts Suppliers."
BTW, the MTFCA has several good books for sale which deal with the rebuilding of different areas of Model T's. Here is a link to those:
The one on "Front Axle and Standard Rear Axle" has much information which will help you in re-doing your steering. You'll probably want to get several of those books to help you through the process of getting your car roadworthy.
And welcome to the affliction, addiction, whatever you want to call it! And be prepared, they multiply like rabbits!!
Hi Kirk. Sounds like your T has worn bushings and etc. in the front axle assembly.
A quick way to determine whats worn and where the slack is to jack up the front end so both wheels are off the ground.
Turn your steering wheel and or simply move the front wheels back and forth from the front of the car.
You will able to see pretty easy where the slack is.
As Mike suggested, sloppy steering is usually an accumulation of little slops at various places. Wear in the gear box, bracket bushings, tie rod ends, etc. Here a slop, there a slop, everywhere a slop slop. You may have to correct several things to affect the total, but it ain't brain surgery. Just check all connecting/moving points for looseness and you'll see what needs to be addressed.
I'm gonna have to say that if it sometimes looks like an X and sometimes like a T, then there may be more than just worn bushings. I have to wonder if there is a sheared key in the pitman arm.
Sorry about the delay on replying to this question. I got super busy at work and have not been able to play around with the T to check what the problem is. I know when I purchased it the seller told me he just went threw all the steering components. I will Jack up the front and see if I can figure out what is gong on. Thank you for the suggestions and I hope it is a simple problem to fix. And again Thanks for the help
Most roads are crowned. The right side of the road is lower than the center. That would mean that you need to hold the steering wheel just a little left of straight ahead or the car will pull to the right. If you are running on a flat surface the wheel would be turned a little to the right of where it is on a crowned road. Since each road is a little different from another road, it would be normal for the steering wheel to be turned slightly different when driving on another road.
If you have a lot of free play, that is the steering wheel can be turned a few inches at the rim before it begins to turn the wheels, you have a problem.
Best simple test would be to drive on a flat surface such as a vacant parking lot and let go of the steering wheel. The car should track in a straight line. If it pulls to one side, you would have an alignment problem. Best to do this test in both directions over the same area to be sure the road is flat.
I know of a T which had an undersize woodruff key at the pittman arm. This caused exactly the symptom you described. The nut was tight enough that if the front wheels were off the ground everything seemed to work normally, but with the wheels on the ground there was enough resistance that the shaft would turn in the pittman arm until the small key hit the other side of the slot. This also caused the steering wheel to return to center at a different angle from right or left turns. That small key made for a lot of play at the steering wheel. Installing the correct key fixed that issue. I imagine that a wallowed out keyway could also cause the same problems.
Best regards. BE
Okay, So today I jacked the front of the T up and wiggled the tires to my horror I found a couple of things wrong. First thing I noticed is both wheel bearings seem loose. The second thing I found was the knuckle on the passenger side was loose. I was able to get the knuckle tight and replace the cotter pin. But then I pulled the tire off and the dust cover off and found that the grease in the wheel bearings was like rat poop. Hard and crusty. I figured out how to pull the modern bearing off but cannot figure out how to get the wheel hub off now. I am going to replace the bearings even though they seem fine I just don't have anything to clean them well enough with to reuse. But I want to pull the hub off and clean it really well before I put it back together. Can someone please let me know how to pull the front hubs off please. Tomorrow I will pull the pitman arm off and make sure the Key is in and correct. I am now concerned about the previous owner and his maintenance practices. Anyhow Thank you for any help you can give me. Oh I also found that the end of the steering box if you call it that wiggles a bit. Is that norman? it makes a clunking sound when you move the wheels back and fourth.
Okay, I figured it out on my own. I just tapped it with a dead blow and it came right off. Now to order new bearings race and seals. Thank you everyone for being so helpful. I guess that just leaves the question of the steering box. should it wiggle on the end?
Kirk - No, it shouldn't wiggle on the end. What that means is that the bushing in the lower end of the steering box needs to be replaced. The vendors have them. When you remove the steering box, be sure to examine the steering column shaft where it goes through the steering box & you'll probably find that it's worn also. Replacing the bushing won't cure the problem - you probably have to either build up the worn area on the steering column shaft or get a new one. New 5 to 1 ratio steering column shafts are available too, but not cheap. You're on the right track. Anywhere there's movement caused by wear in any of the parts from the steering wheel to the front wheels will contribute to play in the steering.
Kirk, you said you had a loose spindle (knuckle). Tightening it up may just be a stop gap. The spindle may have worn bushings and also need to be replaced. But I will say that to do the bushing, you need two special tools to fit the new bushings. There is a long reamer that reams both bushings at once for the spindle bolts, and the is a face cutter to trim down the ends of the bushings so they fit in the axle. You may find someone locally to borrow the tools from as I did. They are expensive to purchase ($160-200 for both).
I went through my entire axle and steering from the drag link to wheels last year. I was surprised to see how much all the little gaps and clearances added up. Another thing you should look at is the front spring perches. Make sure they are in correctly to provide proper caster. I don't mean to open up a can of worms, but once you start finding all the little stuff, you really get into the whole thing. I think in the end I had about $300 or so in parts, as I had to replace just about everything that had a bushing in it and a bolt riding on it--and I had to buy new spring perches too.
I don't think I would order new races unless they are pitted. they can be difficult to replace too. As far as the actual roller bearings go, soak them in a small can of gas or kerosene--outside. agitate the can a little now and again, and keep wiping them off too. A stiff bristle brush helps to push the old grease out the rollers too.
Sometimes for the ball caps, if they are a little loose on the balls, you can sand the caps a little to tighten them up. If they are well worn and the caps are already tight, you might need to find better parts.
Kirk -- I'm not clear on what part you mean by "steering box." The part up next to the steering wheel is the steering gear box, and the part down near the pitman arm is the steering bracket.
Keith took it to mean that you were talking about the steering bracket, but your description of a "wiggle" could also apply to the gear box near the steering wheel. It is attached to the column by two rivets, and those can become worn or the holes they fit through can become enlarged. That will allow the gear box to wiggle. If that's the case with yours, you can get oversized rivets from Lang's to replace them. You may need to run a drill bit through the holes to get them sized properly for the larger rivets.
Another thing I have encountered in the past year or so is that there was a run of defective repro pitman arms. The keyways on them were made about 10 thou too wide. Ten thou doesn't sound like a lot, but when extended out over the length of the pitman arm it translates into a lot of slop in the system.
Any "wiggle" in any of the parts in the steering system is a bad thing.
ah Then it is the steering bracket that wiggles on the end. Not the steering box. One of the races is bad for sure it just spins in the hub. I have so much to learn.
If you have a race spinning in the hub, then the hub is likely worn. Depending how bad that may or may not be an easy fix.
The correct way is to replace the hub--sometimes not so easy as it could disturb the spokes of an otherwise tight wheel. You could alternatively get some shim stock and some Loctite sleeve retainer to try and take up the slack and hold it in place