I wanted to unscrew the steering gear cover on my 13 for a quick look at the gears but the head of the cover screw broke off...
What's the next best way of evaluating steering gear condition? Currently, the drag link is disconnected from the pitman arm if that helps in any testing.
I think you may want to drill out that bolt to be able to replace the old, possibly caked grease inside.
When testing, let someone steer fore and aft with the steering wheel, while you check all the links in the steering when everything is together. If nothing can be seen, but the steering wheel still can be turned more than an inch at the rim without any movement at the pitman arm, then hold the wheel still while turning the steering wheel forcefully, looking at the connections between the steering column and the gear housing - columns are often cracked and loose there, resulting in sloppy steering. The column may also have loosened from the firewall. The bushing in the lower bracket at the frame might be worn. With all that checked good and the steering still is loose between the pitman arm and the steering wheel, then it's probably the gears or their pins that is worn.
Constantine...howdy..long time no see! Met you at Joe Bells if you recall! Anyway, funny you had the cover screw break off your steering gear box. Same thing happened to me over a year ago when I wanted to open it up and inspect and lube, so far I haven't bothered to mess with it, but this year I feel the need to.
You should be able to test all the rod ends easily with the pitman arm disconnected just by getting down on the ground and grabbing things and "moving them". But, odds are if the pitman arm isn't worn, the key/keyway of the arm will be! I ended up replacing mine last fall anyway.
Guess we'll have to start a "13 broken steering gear cover screw club"! Wonder how many others have had the same thing happen.
I recently rebuilt(restored) a front end for my new '16 chassis project. Basically everything is new and to factory specs., plus I installed a 5:1 gear set.
What I have discovered is that the front end/steering can be set up so that there is no play in the system. (relative motion between parts)
What movement can be detected is the standard Model T "springiness". The steering column will twist a bit, the frame will deflect a bit, the drag link will deflect a bit, and the spring shackles will rock back and forth a bit, all with virtually no drag. I don't know if this helps answer your questions, but I was impressed with the results!
Hi Guys, thanks for your replies.
I'll check to see how much play there is between the pitman arm and steering wheel. If all okay I'll not worry about drilling out the cover screw for now...I'm guessing that will not be easy to do without making a mess of the brass gear cover. It hasn't been too many years since the steering gears were put together so I'm not too concerned about caked grease.
The rest of the steering is okay for now. Pitman arm ball is in good shape and has a APCO. The non-replaceable steering rod ball is pitted and not perfectly round; I'll add an APCO to that also.