T started steering hard. When driving it pulls a little left, then a little right, then tracks straight. Where should I look first?
Thanks in advance
Tire inflation,then the Wishbone make sure the ball in the oil pan is tight then check everything else
Make sure the kingpins and everything else up front is well oiled. I had similar issues and was amazed at what a few drops of oil will do.
Jack up the front end where both wheels are evenly off the ground.
you could use two jack stands or something similar.
When its jacked up turn the steering wheel slowly left and right. You should be able to tell where the slack, loose joints, and general 'looseness' is by doing this.
It also could be in the steering gear box or at the pitman arm at the end of the steering shaft.
Look at things pretty close and you should soon find your problems.
Be sure the king pins are well lubricated and that the spindles move freely.
Thanks guys, I'll put it on some jack stands tonight. It really takes a lot of muscle to turn the wheel. If it turns easier without weight what might that be?
All cars without a servo takes muscle to turn while standing still, but with the car moving the effort should be much less - just like when the axle is on stands.
If its gotten hard to turn and after checking to see if there is nothing binding up anywhere because of something bent or sprung it might need some lubrication as others have recommended.
If it hasn't been oiled in a long while use some WD40 to begin with then use some oil. You might be amazed.
You may have to remove the steering wheel to check the steering gear box for binding or worn out gears or a dry gear box.
Got it up on jack stands. Still hard to steer. I'll post some pic tomorrow
Bummer. If it was me, the first thing I'd do is leave the front end up on jack stands and disconnect the drag link from the pitman arm to see if the binding is in the steering column, or downstream, i.e. the tie rod ends or spindles.
Good luck, and keep us posted on how it goes.
Lots to check first did it get hard or was it always hard to steer
Check the gear case grease and not binding
Make sure the wheels is to turn when the nut is tight to check this is free take the drag link off
While apart check the wheels do they turn freely
This check play in kingpins and balls
Make sure ball at wishbone is tight and front spring is in place
If everything is free turning the check toe in adjustment and camber
Oh make sure there grease in the lower bracket
With the early cars, the radius rod is above the axle. It is easy to bend it if you hit a hard bump or a curb. After checking for all loose parts, also check the castor. The top of the axle should be behind the bottom of the axle. If it is forward of the bottom, you will have a hard time keeping the car moving straight. Also tow out will cause a similar problem.
Castor is called "pitch". Using a square measure the distance between the square and the upper spindle bushing and the distance between the square and lower spindle bushing. The upper should be farther toward the back of the car by not less than 1/4 inch nor greater than 5/16 inch. Both sides should be the same.
Tow in, called "gather" should be between 3/16 and 1/4 inch.
Here are several pictures. I don't think they show much. You guys may see something.
A few more
All the pictures show me is that the car has an under-axle wishbone. Lots of 15's do, including mine, and it should have nothing to do with difficulty or ease of steering. My suggestion would be to do the checks the guys have recommended above, starting with Mark's. As you can see from the variety of suggestions, the problem could be in any one (or more) of several places. If the problem happens to be in the first thing you check, it wouldn't hurt to look at all the other possible problem spots anyway. For example, if the problem is in the linkage, it still wouldn't hurt to be sure the gear case is well lubricated.
Looks like the front bearings could stand a look at. The grease seal on right front isn't seated. Check top to bottom movement on those hubs.
Good eye, Jack. If that seal causes a drag on the wheel, it would pull to one side. That might be the cause, especially if it was running fine and then suddenly started to act up. Could be a very simple fix. However, the bearing could be worn out or out of adjustment which could cause a binding on the seal which would pull it out, so be sure to check the bearings,replace, grease and adjust them as needed, as well as replacing the seals.
Just a hunch, but I suspect John may be like me. Bought a running car and has been enjoying it, unaware of the mechanical horrors within. But my first awakening came while the car was still on the trailer. Gas dripping from the carburetor led me to a bowl with holes rusted through it. After that it was worn out front end bushings, spindle pins, disintegrated Babbitt thrust washers, etc., etc. All these adventures have taught me that when you get a T it's a good idea to assume that everything may be worn out. After ninety to a hundred or more years, all assemblies should be considered guilty until proven innocent.
Here's a picture from the Ford manual explaining hoe to check caster. It id easiest to check at the kingpins.
Hey Steve. I didn't buy the car, it's been in the family since new. I'm just the current caretaker. I released the ball joint at the bottom of the pitman arm and the wheels move freely from side to side and the steering wheel turns freely. The ball joint however is dry and rusty. Is a little grease in order?
Here is the other. Sorry the picture is not too good
Looking at your pictures, you have a bunch of mis - matched front end parts from various year Model T's. This can cause evil handling and several dangerous issues, including the ability of the steering to over travel at extreme left or right going "over center" and then resulting in backward steering control movement.
The spindle arms are appropriate for 1915. The wishbone and perches are 1920 or later. This will result in the tie rod rubbing on the wishbone, particularly if it is not perfectly straight. Ford added a curve upwards to the 1920 - later spindle arms to give clearance. When they did this they shortened the steering drag link to compensate and prevent over - center steering.
You need to decide which era steering components that you wan to end up with (I vote for 1915), then do the research to determine which ones constitute a safe set of parts. Then you need to replace bushings, grease everything, and adjust toe in properly. In short, the front end of your car is currently unsafe and needs to be rebuilt properly.
Click here for some clues:
Glad you found the source of the binding so quickly!
On my car, the occasional coolant drippings from the radiator overflow tube would blow back onto the pitman arm ball and drag link socket, causing it to rust like yours. I cut a small rubber tube and shoved it under the radiator overflow tube to re-route the drippings more towards the center of the car, see this earlier post:
Preventative Maintenance. The reason for the post "Starting a Ford."
It would be a good idea to check the front end closely for any other issues. As Royce stated it might be a good time for a going over of the front end.
Rebushing the king pins. spring perches, spindle arms and ect. will really help plus good lubrication.
T's are pretty tough but after nearly 100 years things do wear out.
Removing the front end assembly and setting it up on the bench for an inspection may be an eye opener.
Thanks for the responses. I'll grease the joint up and get it back together and see if that helps. I'll try to find a local T guy to take a peek in person about the overall state of the front end...Thanks guys
John, check the ball on the pitman arm. An old trick for tightening up a loose connection there was to file the cap as it became worn. That worked, but every time the cap was filed, that changed the ID of the cap compared the ID of the end of the drag link. As the two different ID's wear on the ball, it becomes egg shaped. If it gets bad enough, it can cause binding of the connection. My '25 coupe (pretty much original) was like that and I had to replace the cap and repair the ball. Filing the caps on front end linkage is fine, BUT, both surfaces should be filed at the same time to keep the ID more or less even. JMHO. Dave
What is the diameter of the ball at the end of the wishbone at the trans. I have a little up and down movement. Any thoughts on the Apco unit? Be nice guys. I get my feelings hurt very easily. Bob Tennessee.
It's tough to see in the pictures but Royce was correct the tie rod and wishbone are/were rubbing. Must have been for decades. So next question do I replace the wishbone, tie rod, or both. Looking at my trusty Snyders catalog they don't carry either.
I have to say that there must be some mismatched front end parts or something is at least worn to the point of causing some misalignment.
If the car were mine I would remove the front axle assembly, get the correct parts and would replace all the front end bushings as needed.
Rebuilding a T front axle and replacing the pitman arm on the steering shaft is not real expensive or hard to do. Its one of the less demanding part of a T most people can do in their garage.
Royce, I agree that it should go back to 1915 style. How do you go from below axle to above axle wishbones? and I've checked a couple of suppliers, not much for parts listed
You have the proper spindle arms. You will need the correct spring perches and the wish bone. You also need to measure the drag link to see if it is the right one. Advertise in the classifieds for what you need, you will get good results.
I totally agree with Steve - I tell people that my tudor was 90% original and 90% worn out when I bought it.
I would recommend checking rear wheel spokes for loseness. A couple of years ago, I was on tour and had trouble keeping the car in between the center line and the fog line. I checked front end steering linkage and wheel alignment . . .No problem. A fellow Model T friend following me could see the left rear wood spoked wheel moving in and out of alignment when referenced with the rear fender. Turned out that my wheel spokes were so old and worn that they were causing the steering problem. It's a wonder the wheel didn't break and cause an accident.
Checked a couple of the supplier's and their spring perches are all the same (1919-1927) anyone know of someone that supplies them for a 1915?
Here are some possible sources.
Bobs Antique Auto Parts. 888-666-3581
Model T Haven. Talk to Mark. Also check out their website. They literally have piles and piles of parts. modelthaven.com
Thanks John. I'll check it out