am ready to install steering and would like to know how these parts were originally finished.
Mostly they were left unpainted by Ford.
If you don't like a rusty engine compartment you may want to paint them with some clear coat paint (or black paint as I do with most of the parts)
Here is one prior discussion: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/411944/445536.html?1400216996
Thank you very much, Roger.
I was certain that this was covered in the past, but I can't make the search function work lately.
I always thought those parts were un-painted too, but when I was looking at the Rip Van Winkle last week, the steering shaft sure looked like it was painted to me. Didn't think of looking at the spark and throttle rods.
If it's anything like the randomness of the T's assembly in general then it's entirely likely that some were painted and some were not. Probably without a whole lot of rhyme or reason.
It's likely the practice changed over the years and at what assembly plant the car was built.
What year T are you building, Scott?
"The spark and throttle rods were also changed to zinc plated at the handles, and black painted below, and remained this way until July 26, 1926"
"The Assembly and Change letters from the home plant to the branches has been a rich source of information on how Model T’s were built in the ‘20’s. In several of these letters the home plant advised the branches not to paint the lower part of the steering column that was beneath the hood. The idea being that if the parts were painted, customers would not be able to see the quality steel that was used in the construction of these columns.
There is a letter from the San Francisco branch to the home office dated 5/22/26. It says: “In recent assembly change letters we were again advised that the lower part of the steering column, part T-5042 was not to be painted, so as to allow the public to see the quality of the material which was embodied in the steering post.
“In checking over cars in the territory, we find that cars that have been out any length of time become very rusty and very dirty, and the quality of material does not show.
“Due to this, do you not think it is advisable to white shellac or apply the white coat of Pyroxylin on the lower part of the steering column so as to keep this material in A1 condition at all times and also assuring the public just what is assembled in the steering post.”"
the quote you printed from the 1926 letter was something I had recalled reading somewhere. Thank you for bringing it to the fore.
BTW. I am building a 1923 low cowl/steel firewall roadster. I have posted progress pix on the wood off and on for a few years. The sheet metal is finally done and installed and the whole thing is rolling and (almost) steering now. FUN!