My "new" 1913 runabout landed here late Tuesday night. I put her to bed in the shop in town, and drove her out to the home place (9 miles) the following afternoon. It's great to be driving a Model T again !!
I felt the steering was a wee bit "loose" (not bad) and figured to look over the usual suspects. What I found is that kingpins, tie rod, drag link, pitman arm are all in top shape - there's a wee bit of play in the planetary gearing at the top of the column, but what seems to account for most of the "wallery" feel is that the column itself flexes.
?? I thought I recalled seeing pictures of '13 and '14 open cars with a brace running from the top of the left body rail to help stabilize the column ? Looking at Lang's catalog, I see they offer a cast aluminum part ('09-'15) that looks like what I'm imagining. The car is a very fine older restoration, I'd think it odd if this brace was a factory item, and it was overlooked.'
The column brace was after market accessory.
The installation of one of those aftermarket braces would be easier and cheaper than replacing a delaminated wood firewall.
It's very common to find that the riveting between the gear housing and the column is loose - and sometimes the sheet metal in the column is cracked, too. When properly repaired, I think it'll feel secure to drive even without any brace to the firewall. On a '13 you'll also have a two piece gear housing that is riveted together - check all those rivets carefully too = look from below while forcing the steering wheel in both directions.
If you can tighten the king pins any try that. The faces of the bushings can wear a little and it is easy to do. I was going to ask if it has two wishbones. That may not be the problem but is a good idea to have.
Part of my "excuse" for getting a T again is the support, and immediate response a guy can get on this forum. Thanks, fellows - as usual, a great shortcut that will save me a lot of fiddling and wondering.
I began this morning to fix a drip from the water outlet on the head, and generally to inspect the running gear to see what's "loose" or needing attention. Rich, the kingpins responded to being cinched up about another 1/2 turn. Royce, while not delaminated, the flange nuts/washers are crushed quite a ways into the dash - I'm thinking I could make an ell-shape plate to put behind those nuts and spread the stress a bit, I'm going to order the accessory brace. Roger, I'd heard a few years back about a "wreck" that happened when the gear case rivets sheared, leaving the car with no steering - so that's the first thing I looked at when she got off the "bus". There may be a wee bit of play at the quadrant - (which is quite worn in the throttle position) I see Lang's has oversize rivets, do you reckon it would be worth it to replace the quadrant with oversize rivets ? I thank you all VERY MUCH for your help and responses !