Last weekend while taking the 26 Fordor out the back door of the garage (you have to make a 90 degree turn to the left to get in the back yard).The car wanted to go right,when you turned left.I know that there is a pin under the part that holds the 3 gears.To inspect this pin,do you have to pull the steering shaft out of the column ? Can this be done with the steering column still in the car,or do I have to remove it ? Any other suggestions ?
I sold this car to a friend & I told him,that the car doesn't leave my garage until this problem is fixed.
This friend had visited the Henry Ford Museum last year,& had ridden in a Model T.He was trying to make up his mind,buy a Model A or Model T.This ride in the T made up his mind.
Remove the lower pitman arm and un-screw the cover over the three gears. The steering shaft should pull completely out if you have a roadster or touring.
One gear pin in the shaft should protrude and ride in the grove under the gears in the housing.
Also, make sure the drag link is the correct length. If the drag link is too short or too long, you may be able to over center in one direction even with the longer pin in place.
Disclaimer – I’ve never rebuilt one of the later steering columns so I am sharing from what I have read and seen and not on after rebuilding 5 columns this is what I have learned.
If you have the steering shaft that has the circle/disk at the top of the steering shaft as shown below, I don’t think you will be able to see the stop pin or the slot that the stop pin rides in. I believe that is a replacement shaft. Thank you Paul O’Neil’s for posting that photo on the rebuild of your steering column at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/355461.html?1367510671 . Note Paul was changing from the 4 to 1 ratio in his 1923 to the 5 to 1 ratio. He combined parts from several columns along with the kit to switch to 5 to 1. (Note his stop pin extends lower than it should -- he discusses that in the thread.)
But if your car has the style like the photo of the Dan Treace’s rebuild has a three sided top on the steering shaft to hold each of the three gears, I think you will be able to see the condition of the slot. But if your car has the style like the photo of the Dan Treace’s rebuild has a three sided top on the steering shaft to hold each of the three gears, I think you will be able to see the condition of the slot. And you may be able to see the condition of the pin by using a very small mirror (such as a dentist mirror) and perhaps removing the planet gears. Thank you Dan for posting that.
To check - remove the steering wheel and remove the cap from the top of the steering gear housing. And if your remove the small planet gears you can possibly use a small mirror to see the pin that should fit in the grove and keep the steering wheel from going past center.
Note if the cap on the steering gear case is not screwed down properly it may allow the steering shaft to move up enough that a worn stop pin might not properly engage the slot. Or the stop pin may have moved up some. Or the slot may have worn some as shown below in the photo posted by Dwight Smith at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/118802/178734.html?1293727614 Thank you Dwight.
And thank you Dan Treace for the photo below that is on that same thread. The steering gear housing on the left is the 1926-27 5 to 1 and the steering gear housing on the right is the earlier 4 to 1 . (Note there is some debate about when the full knurling on the side of the cover started – but that is another thread for a later time.)
Note there are other items that can contribute to over center steering. There is an excellent posting by Royce Peterson at: Over center steering – shouldn’t happen on the later Ts (Ford added a stop inside the steering gear housing. The change was approved Oct 28, 1921 and would have taken a little while to be put into regular production. Ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/S-T.htm#sgc )– If the steering gear is original to the car – that can also be used to establish it was before or after that change. Note there would have also been a period of overlap when both designed were used as the old stock was used up. If someone replaced the steering gear housing or rebuilt it without the lock pin – or installed the wrong length drag link etc. [see Royce Peterson’s excellent article on the many different lengths of drag lengths at: as: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/300409.html ]. Also see: the over center steering discussion at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/86345.html Finally – from memory (but I skimmed it today) the article in the “Vintage Ford” on the steering gear cases mentioned the slot was designed to minimize the over center steering but that it could still happen. Sorry – I looked for the article again, but so far I haven’t located it. I know it is on the computer somewhere. If I find it again, I will post that paragraph.
I’m sure if you replace the worn parts, any wrong parts and if you are lucky -- perhaps just ensure the stop pin is properly installed, that should hopefully correct the issue.
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Also recommend you see the excellent article in the Feb 2009 Foothills Model T Ford Club Newsletter at: http://www.foothillsmodeltfordclub.com/newsletters/Foothills%20Newsletter%202009 %2002.pdf it starts on page 8 discussing over center steering.
And I found the reference in the Jan –Feb 1995 “Vintage Ford page 32 that states, “By having the rotation of the steering shaft reduced [by the limit slot and stop pin], the ball arm was less likely to go over center. “ Which agrees with what Les shared above.
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Les & Hap.
Yours in vintage motoring,
DO NOT DRIVE THE CAR WITH STEERING GOING OVER CENTER__DO NOT DRIVE IT
I had a 27 T express delivery that went over center. It rolled over on top of me last year, totaled the T, trapped me under it with gas pouring down on top of me and I was injured..My back still hurts and I have a permanent asphalt tzttoo on the side of my face..Not a good scene. It was a hard left turn that went over center
It was caused by a combination of factors including a loose steering arm, and issue in the steering column. My advice is to get two knowledgeable T men to look at it, don't rely on good advice from the forum. Consider it, but still get two separate T guys to look it all over. I am lucky to be alive!
I have been writing a safety article for the National Magazine. Based upon miles traveled, and the safety and number of good folks killed driving their 100 year old + - T driving is more dangerous than driving a NASCAR race car! Seems like every year a club member is getting killed! I was lucky and driving slowly. Less than 20 mph!