It was WONDERFUL how smooth and strong and quiet the new engine/transmission ran when I went out for a short break-in run. I intended to drive about half an hour, but it lasted just a few minutes because I forgot to cotter a perch nut. The nut came off, the steering went sideways, and I hit the ditch.
My neighbor brought out his tractor with a loader and we dragged the car home and put it on jack stands. The way the thing was sitting cockeyed I was afraid the frame and body were bent.
The main damage was to a fender, a wheel, and the drag link.
I was able to lift the spring high enough to get the perch back in the axle.
Tomorrow in daylight I'll raise the wishbone, put a nut on it, put another wheel on the car, and move it into the shop for closer inspection.
With the perch back in the axle, the car seems pretty level. Maybe it isn't as bad as I thought.
The humiliating part of this is that I made the same mistake on the runabout and failed to learn the lesson. In that instance there was no damage. I wasn't so lucky this time.
Sorry Steve..... glad no one was hurt...
Ouch! Very sorry to see that.
I'm so glad you're ok!
Sorry to hear it Steve....maybe the old girl will be ok.
The fender can be straightened out....could've been much worse.
I'm so glad you made it out of that safely. Your perch came loose. Ken Meeks' shock broke. The axle did the same on both! Your guardian angel worked hard today, Steve.
Steve, glad you're ok, the car can be fixed.
It takes a good man to admit his mistake, especially when it's the same mistake a second time.
This is a good lesson for all of us. Make sure that there are cotter pins everywhere they should be, and periodically check to make sure everything is ok.
The worst Critic we have is Ourself.
Glad you are ambulatory - things could have ended much worse.
yep, sorry to see this Steve. Glad you came out of it ok.
No real damage done as long as you are OK!
I think you'll be ok Steve. Glad you are not too terribly injured 'kept your pride.
Steve I got to worrying about my work before I retired. Since I had gotten to the point where I couldn't always remember if I installed cotter keys etc, I started an unbreakable decision to go back over each operation under a car with a flashlight and check THEN before I put up any tools. It has worked well for me. Very glad you weren't hurt!
Sorry, Did you obtain any injury other than pride?
Steve ,Just noticed. Is that a little (?) crumple on the cowl on passenger side or a strange reflection ??
Oh, man that hurts! So glad that you are okay. The damage to the car can be fixed. You, would be irreplaceable!
Sorry to see that happened Steve but I sure am glad you're okay.
I think tomorrow I'm going to check my car over for missing cotter pins.
Thank God you're OK.
Too many things to say.
A wake up call for me too.
Agree Wayne, there is only one Steve and so pleased it’s only his pride and T that are damaged.
You absolutely hate it when it’s 100% your own doing just like the time my T rolled off the car trailer :-(
Another (unwanted) project and cost for Steve.
Alan in a Western Australia
I have an over/under wishbone and I can't get the nut on far enough to insert a key. I'm using Locktite. It would be nice if we had a perch with a longer bolt.
Glad you are OK Steve,
Glad you weren't hurt, Steve.-That could have gone way worse.
Glad you weren't hurt! Hope the damage is minimal.
Hal, when we build a car with over/under wishbones I mill the axle bosses so the perch is long enough to use the correct nut and cotter pin.
Steve, I'm glad you are not hurt. That could have been ugly. Your feelings will get better and the car can be repaired.
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?
Steve, I've forgotten those bloody cotter pins myself before, one on my head light and one on my radiator. But nothing like what happened to you. On the radiator I lost the nut and thimble, on the head light I lost the nut, but the assembly just wobbled so much the light turned slightly...ever since those two incidents I've never left one of those rascals off again...figuring if they are on there, it's for a very good reason, so I always replace them...always. ;)
Hal, I simply drilled a hole thru the nut so I could install a cotter pin. I could have machined the nut thinner I guess.
Yopu might say Lucky Day... Good thing you drive slow. Glad you live to tell. Be careful next time.
RDR (RIP) Wants to know if those were Oak spokes?
Glad you are ok, I can't believe the perch came out that easy. The ones I've dealt with took 20
+ tons of pressure to remove.
Thank you for showing us this. I'm glad no one was hurt. I had been driving with a partially stripped perch nut until just before thanksgiving. By myself I wasn't worried but was scared to put family and friends in it over the holiday. I'm so glad I had Langs send me some quick before the riders got here.
Again thank you for showing us this. It all looks repairable but sucks that it has to be done.
Steve, First off, glad you are still with us. I hope you weren't hurt to badly other than your pride. It takes alot to admit wrong, you did it in a big way. Thank You for the reminder of these important safety items.
Second, I am sorry for the damage done to such a beautiful car, and while it doesn't help much, it can be fixed. I think I would take some measurements on the frame just to verify it's straightness before proceeding with fixing.
Again, glad you were not hurt--or at least much.
Hal - The driveshaft pinion nut is perfect for use with an over under wishbone. It is half as tall as the normal perch nut.
As long as the physical injuries are limited to bumps and bruises we can be very thankful! The PRIDE injury might take longer to heal than fixing the bent and broken parts,but thanks for sharing. I will be posting pictures in the next week or so when I get time of all the cotter pins missing from my 25, including cotter pins where they should not be used
Damnit Steve. You're getting rather famous! This make two crashes now in Model T's. So glad that you didn't get hurt. Please keep posting and keep us abreast of the repair process.
Glad you are OK, Steve. We all buy and pay for our experiences !!!!!
Glad you didn't get hurt.
I would consider another perch as those things are normally hard to get out and if it came out on a short run like that,either the hole in the axle is wore or the perch is worn.Threads on the perch may be weak to.
At least it is a left front fender.Strange I have 5 extra lefts and NO extra rights.
It happens to all of us, I just put a 37 v8 back to running, picked a generator off the shelf to put on it. Started driving it to get gas and 1/2 mile later the fan went into the radiator, I had forgot to check the fan pulley nut for tightness...............
Glad you're OK but if it happened as you said it did after only a few minutes I don't see it un-screwing. Maybe it just tore out because of worn threads? Please check your parts carefully.
It's amazing how fast a nut can loosen and back completely off. Glad you weren't injured.
Over-reaction Monday from the "Simple Solutions for Complicated Problems Committee":
"Take all those old cars off the road! They're dangerous! Just look at what happened with this Kansas Model T! One of those old cars might hit me while I'm driving my car and texting!"
'Glad you or someone else on the road weren't injured, Steve! The first time this happened to you was a warning. This time, the Antique Car Gods decided to teach you a lesson that would stick. Hopefully no major damage to the frame or front end has occurred. Give me your address and I'll send you a BIG BAG of cotter pins, since they seem to be in short supply down there in Kansas.
Marshall, up here in Iowa
Steve, put me on the "I'm sorry it happened, but glad you're OK." list. On Saturday, the day before yesterday, I discovered two cotter pins missing on my '21 Touring. Later today , I plan to go over, and under, the whole car and check for any other loose nuts or bolts and missing cotter pins. Again, I hate it happened and if we weren't half the country apart I would be honored to help you fix it.
Yikes Steve. So sorry that happened .. but happy you are ok. Good thing it didn't happen in traffic. Do you need a front wheel. I might have one in the garage you can have for postage paid.
I don't mean to hijack this thread but, this makes me think of something I have wondered about, I've probably used more cotter pins in the year that we've had our T, than ever before. Just before getting the T , I bought an assortment of cotter pins, containing 500, I believe. I always use the biggest one that will fit the hole, and use a fresh, new one when I take one out. My question is... Are there differences in the quality of cotter pins we might buy. I know the ones I have are not aluminum because I have dropped one and picked it up with a magnet, but it seems like the ones I have bend, or spread, easily. I think I will do some testing by putting some pins in bolts and nuts then forcing the nut to turn and see how much pressure it takes to shear the pin.
Echoing the same sentiments as others, Steve but being the "dauntless geezer" you are, some wonderful pictures of the carnage. I don't think I would have been as dauntless.
Wow, that's really something! In fact, I don't think I've ever heard of a perch coming out before. Glad there were no injuries and it provides a good lesson for all of us. The damage is repairable...pride, maybe not so easily. As mentioned, we're our own worst critics so go easy on yourself!
I think all cotter pins are a bit on the soft side....they have to be. A harder pin might snap, where a soft one simply bends.
I learned the hard way years ago when using a grade 8 bolt in a repeated, high stress location. I thought I had done the right thing until that 3/4" bolt snapped cleanly...crystallized. A grade 5 (or even a 2, hardware store quality) would have taken the stress easily.
Glad you are ok and still with us.
Thankful for your courage to share this issue with us so we can learn the lesson.
Appreciative you continue to contribute to the members of our hobby.
Please remember they are still putting erasers on pencils because we suffer from the human condition.
Don't continue to beat yourself up. You have saved many of us from a similar fate.
Glad to hear only your ego was hurt, other than the car of course. Nuthin' that can't be feexed. Now you have that winter project you were looking for!
Steve.think of it this way. It happened to someone who knows what he is doing and CAN FIX IT. Sorry it happened and so glad you were not hurt. Thanks for sharing your lessons learned.
You are not stupid.
You were the victim of a cerebral malfunction.
These are brought on as a result of MCF events. (Momentary Cerebral Flatulence).
This is a common (albeit random) medical condition among us Model T folks.
It happens to me all of the time.
I am glad you are Ok.
Let me know if you need anything.
(Longtime MCF sufferer)
Thanks to all for the commiseration. Fortunately I was going slow, although obviously not slow enough. All the physical damage was to the car. My only injury was mental anguish.
The irony here is that I have thousands of cotter pins. Unfortunately they don't do much good sitting in a drawer.
George, I see what you mean about the apparent cowl crumple in the picture...
... but it's OK. As far as I can see so far the only body damage is that fender and a running board support bent upward a little.
Gene, I think I would be able to tell Ralph the spokes are not oak. They're a finer grain. I assume hickory. It's tough, but not indestructible.
Today I'll bolt up the wishbone, put on another wheel, and move the car into the shop where I can undertake repairs.
This adds something to the list of things that I pray for daily. The safety and well being of everyone on this forum.
Glad your Guardian Angel saved your bacon Steve. The car can be fixed but there is only one "Dauntless Geezer"
showing fearlessness and determination.
synonyms: fearless, determined, resolute, indomitable, intrepid, doughty, plucky, spirited, mettlesome; undaunted, undismayed, unflinching, unshrinking, bold, audacious, valiant, brave, courageous, daring;
informalgutsy, gutty, spunky, feisty, skookum
"only the most dauntless were selected for this dangerous expedition"
I share your anguish Steve. That is an unusual thing to happen. Most perches will not come out after years of driving. This is a project you weren't anticipating, but it's good you are ok. Do you have another wheel to put on?
Steve, Glad you are OK. Cars can be fixed, but an old guy from Kansas not so much. You must have changed out that perch. Normally it takes a torch, sledge hammer, hydraulic press, and a couple hours of hard work to get one of them out if rusted in place.
Add me to the long list of folks that are glad you are OK.
Cars can be fixed, people not so easily.
And how was it that you got the only spring perch in existence that came lose that way? Cotter pins not withstanding. Most of them are so welded in place from rust and time they NEVER come loose...Have several in the shop that way.
Now get back on that horse.
I have been upset a couple of times when I accidentally put a new scratch on our T. I would freak out completely if I did something like this. I have riden with Steve many miles, by way of video before our T was driveable and since, when I couldn't drive ours. My wife asked the other day "How many times have you watched that?" I don't know.
Steve, glad you are OK.
Tommy thanks for your prayers and I pray for safety every time I enter the shop. Saturday, working on the sub-frame with gloves, protective ear and eyewear, I was happily cutting steel with a cutoff wheel when I noticed a warm right leg. I looked down and saw that my pants were on fire and also realized that I had forgotten to pray. I put the fire out first.
There is no better teacher than are last mistake. Glad you didn't get hurt Steve.
Steve, don’t overlook the possibility of maybe having to check/or straighten the pan depending on what the wishbone did; if it dug into the ground or if the pan hit the ground.
It's good you're okay Steve. The damage doesn't look all that bad and it looks like you avoided the attention of the constable.
Everything is repairable except for a few spokes. Your guardian angel was doing his job.
A close look at the perch in that second picture above will show that it's clean. No rust. This was a fresh assembly. But the perch being out of the axle was the result of this mishap, not the cause.
I found in this previous adventure that all it takes to lock your steering into a sharp turn and put you in the ditch is for the nut to come off and let the wishbone drop. That's all that happened here. The perch remained in place. I wired up the wishbone and drove a mile or so to Gary Paulsen's place. Gary donated a nut, and that was the cure.
Wow! That sux but fortunately you were not injured.
That could have been a lot worse. We all need to inspect our cars for cotter pins and safety wires. It is remarkable how much damage can be done by the lack of that small pin!
Glad you were not hurt. That looks like a beautiful car.
Just want to add my happiness to that of everyone else's, that you're O.K. and still alive to vent your frustration. That could have been a "career ender".
On a technical note, hard to believe the nut could have gone from tight/snug, to completely gone, in a "few minutes". Is it possible that the nut had poor threads, (i.e. almost stripped)?
Uh, Steve . . . are you saying you make a habit of this ?!?
I'm so very glad you're OK ! Ts are tough, you'll have her straightened out and on the road again in no time ! Look to the bright side, motor was running sweet, right ?
Its a happy day that your OK... Never thought about a perch coming out as, like others, I've had to heat and beat those out many times. Looks Identical to the damage done to my '14 Touring when I lost it off the back of my trailer at 60..I was lucky. In a hurry to get to DMV before they closed 35 miles away I through a chain on the front and a HD comealong on the back. Hit a big hole in the road, chinese cable broke on the comealong, car rolled off the back,did a circle and landed in the ditch on its side in soft grass.. only damage was same as yours.. I was so stressed about it almost didnt go back and get it...knew better ,stupid. Don't trust a comealong....
Yes. Add me to the list of Forum Friends who are glad you weren't injured Steve. But I'm annually amazed at the T s on organized tours that aren't roadworthy. It's usually the result of carelessness but I like the MCF mentioned above..
So,so glad your OK...!
As others have said “It could have been a lot worse”...
Don’t beat yourself up too much....My Dad would have asked me ..”Did you learn sumpthin’ There Slim”??? By you posting we all learned something....
Steve I’m so glad that you’re OK.
On the speedster with the higher wishbone, the nut came loose and my Son in Law, who was driving, lost all steering control. Like you we both survived but my ego sure took a hit. Your episode should act as a warning to my work on the 09, I haven’t put any cotter pins in, as most things need to be “adjusted”. The lesson, I guess is that we should take the extra day to go thru the car prior to that first drive.
Take care Steve, we all enjoy having you around.
So sorry to hear this Steve, but glad you were not hurt. When I get home from work today I'm going to check my '24 for cotter pins. I think they are there, but I'm going to check again to be sure.
perhaps I should dig thru the forum about 3 hours and several books before asking this question but dang the torpedeers I will ask anyhow
Is there a chart or list of every thing that should be cotter pined on a T?
It would help all of us in some way.
This aint Steve's first rodeo in a T although it probably felt like 1 when he was headed for the ditch. IF he can screw up,any of us can,with worse results.
-Mack- (and many of us...)
"I NEVER make a mistake!... Thought I did once, but I was wrong."
Good to know you're OK, Steve!
Mack, this list is the closest thing I know of. It lists chassis fasteners only, and tells which items are drilled. But I haven't gone through it in detail to be sure it lists all of them.
Bolts_nuts_threaded_items.pdf (127.8 k)
It takes a GOOD MAN to admit a mistake like that so that others may learn.
Wow! Glad you are ok. I will check my cotter pins again. This is what is so great about the forum. Other people sharing their good and bad experiences helps out everyone else.
Does anyone have a resource which lists all locations of cotter pins? I've found that the previous owner of my car in many cases replaced bolts that should have had pins with off the shelf bolts from home depot! I think I have found all of the problems but....
Steve glad Your OK.
Question, If Your car had wire wheels on it would the outcome of the accident been any different, better, or worse ?. As a new T owner with wire wheels, I am curious. and I would also like to see a cotter pin location chart / map So I can check mine.
A few people have remarked amazement that the nut could have vibrated off in such a short distance/time, and therefore should be checked for looseness of thread cut. Certainly, checking for that is a good idea. I highly recommend checking it.
However, vibration is a fascinating force. Vibration often (usually?) has an "orbital" component to it. For the life of me, I cannot remember what car it was I was working on (may have been a piece of construction equipment). We had done a bunch of work on this thing, and had started it for the first time since repairs. A lot of pieces were barely attached, hanging loose, nuts and bolts sitting loose. The engine was running, we were checking things, and I looked over at a nice new bolt firmly stuck in place with a nice new nut loosely threaded into place. As I looked at it, the nut began climbing up the bolt, got about halfway up, then spun its way back down again. A few seconds later, it started spinning its way back to the top (about an inch of climbing) and fell off the top end of the bolt which remained wedged into the metal panels.
So yeah, without a cotter pin, and not rusted or galled into place? A nut could vibrate down and off in as little as maybe fifty feet. Or, maybe even just sitting in the driveway.
But, check the threads, and the perch, for anything that could likely lead to a failure.
The sad fact is, that failures can and will happen, despite our best efforts. But we should always try to achieve that level of perfection, unattainable as it may actually be.
Thank you Steve J, for sharing this. We all need a reminder from time to time.
To those asking for a list of cotter pin locations, it's pretty simple. If it's got a castle nut, it needs a cotter pin. Also, if it has a hole through the end of the bolt, it needs a castle nut aaaand, a cotter pin.
Jim D, Actually, wire wheels might have made it worse. Difficult to know for sure. Once the perch and axle separated, the axle swung back, and the wheel wedged between the fender, chassis, and the road. At that point, the wood wheel shattered, and the car dropped to the ground, doing additional damage. If the wheel had not shattered, it could have continued twisting its way under the chassis and likely flipped the car over. The unknown factor here is, "what is the collapsing point" pressure-wise for the wire wheel? Other possibilities include king pin breaking (I SAW that happen once!), spindle breaking, any other thing that could release the axle and wheel from being anchored on the other side.
In this instance, the wood wheel breaking was a good thing. The car would most likely have flipped over otherwise. And flipping the car over would have been much worse for car and occupants alike.
As a life-long proponent of wood wheels on antique automobiles, I feel this is another good opportunity to point out, that wood wheels often break because of an impact or collision. Wood wheels rarely ever break and cause an accident. I just wish Steve J had not suffered this "self humiliation" to provide this opportunity to comment.
Continue to be well, Steve J!
For those wanting a list of cotter pins, see Jerry's post at 4:24 PM and mine at 1:15 PM.
Now that I've had the hell scared into me, I know the first thing I'll be doing in the Spring. Checking those cotter pins. Sorry for your situation Steve, but Thank God it wasn't worse.
Steve, so glad to know you're ok after the scare.
I had a perch nut fall off many years ago (worn out threads) and while making a turn the axle jumped under the car and we did a major turnabout on the left front wheel. Fortunately there was no other traffic around and some light gravel on the road made it easier for the other wheels to slide on so the car didn't topple over or break the wheels. I was fortunate - just pulled the axle back out from under the car, located a little orange flag marking some underground pipes or lines, "borrowed" part of the wire holding the little flag and that was enough to hold the wishbone up off the ground and around the perch. The drive home was slow and steady.
Those of you wanting a list of what to check, the MTFCA safety checklist that must be handed in before a tour is a great place to start. It can be found on the MTFCA website for free.
Dittos to what everyone else has said concerning your well being, Steve.
When Hal Schedler said, "I have an over/under wishbone and I can't get the nut on far enough to insert a key. I'm using Locktite. It would be nice if we had a perch with a longer bolt.", alarm bells went off in my head. I hot footed it out to the shop to see what was holding my front perches on since I also had an over/under wishbone. Here's what I found:
I looks like the person who assembled my front axle was able to get just one half of a cotter pin through the hole in the LH perch, so he pushed half of a pin through the hole and bent it over. Note that the nut has a hole drilled through the side. Probably didn't line up with the hole in the perch, so he abandoned that idea.
On the RH there is a cotter through a hole drilled through the nut. The only way I can see that this method could succeed would be to drill through the assembled nut and perch. Good luck getting the holes to line up again if you ever take it apart.
This latest off-road adventure as related by Steve reminds me of a quotation from NASA X-15 test pilot (and later, astronaut) Bill Dana. Bill was well known for his colorful remarks:
"I've gotten a million dollar education by working at this job; all jammed up my a$$ a nickel at a time."
Glad your OK Steve. It could have been a lot worse. Accidents like this make you wonder what happened to those long ago folks riding in T's and going through the windshield.
Steve. I checked my cotter pins today and found one missing on the right spindle bolt nut. If it was not for your post, I would not have checked it and found a potential problem. I thought I had checked all the cotter pins before.
Here's one more "Glad your OK" from one of the many who appreciate your contributions. I hope you share the repair process on the forum. We get lots of information on rust and wear repairs, but rarely much on Model T collision repair. Best wishes.
I have a question.In the photo that Dick Fischer posted of the nut that does have a cotter pin thru it, I notice rust at the top of the nut.
When I was tested for my CDL's part of what we inspect a truck for is loose lug nuts. IF there was rust visible around the lug nut,it was possible the nut was loose and needed attention. So even if it has a cotter pin in it,that nut has been moving back and forth and could,eventually wear the cotter pin out could it not?
Also,I agree with Marc Roberts, a photo essay of the fender repair would help alot of newbies and perhaps oldies would learn a new trick or 2.
I found the Mtfca inspection sheet. that 2 inches or less of play in the top gear box has me worried as I think mine has a little play in that part.
Good point, Mack. Thank you, I'll check it out. My biggest fear is that if I remove the pin and monkey with the nut I may not be able to insert a new pin.
Hey Steve, This may be a record as to the amount of "hits" a thread has received in one day ... have fun and "BE SAFE" "
I checked my car this afternoon and found three important cotter pins missing. The pinch bolt nut on the RH tie rod end and both the spindle arm nuts. They will be installed tomorrow. Also, of less concern to me, the oil pan nuts have no cotter keys. I might install them and I might not.
While folks are checking, also check to make sure that the wishbone ball cap studs and the bottom two bolts of the driveshaft U-joint ball retainer are safety wired. Cotter pins won't work in those locations.
90 replies so far. Oops. 91.
Just a measure of how much we care about "our" Steve J!
Yup. Count me in with all the others who are thankful you're OK, Steve.
Glad you are OK. Scary ride for sure!
The wishbone is all that holds the axle from sideways. Strong fasteners needed there!
This old listing of the 95 cotter pins used on the T is handy too.
Some of us are way behind on our reading. I'm glad you are OK! I'm sure you will have the car all sorted out again soon.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Steve boy been close to that myself grim sure glad your ok and hopefuly just tin work.
Mine was actual perch break
Steve - So glad you are ok. I will be carefully checking my over-under and all of the other items on the list.
We are all waiting for the announcement that you found the nut...
Glad to hear you are ok Steve. I have always wondered how these fenders get so beat up. Bent,cracked,twisted. Now we know. Maybe replace the fender and hang that one on the wall with a photo of the car. Thanks for reminding us all to think saftey. I just bought a T that has no cotter pins in the axle nuts. Axle nuts were loose enough I turned them two turns with my fingers. Most everything on it is loose. # 97 I think. Be carefull Steve! Looking forward to seeing you at OCF next year.
Drive safe and often
Steve, very glad you're OK.
Dick, that doesn't look good, the hole in the under-axle wishbone is way too big, that's going to work and eventually break the perch.
Steve, like the others certainly glad your here to share your story. Would also like to learn from this. Understanding you just replaced the engine. Did you remove the wishbone as part of the project? It doesn't need to come out, it just needs to be held out of the socket in the oil pan. Assuming you know that but figured I would ask.
I didn't remove the wishbone, but loosened the nuts to lower it.
Today's status report:
After putting on a temporary wheel I used a pry bar to twist the axle forward enough to get the wishbone on the perch.
The steering connecting rod will need attention, the axle may be bent, and the perch is toast. While I had the wheels off the ground I found that this car is due for new spindle bushings.
The perch threads are too boogered up to take a nut, so I chained up the wishbone while I drove the car into the shop.
Now I need to take a day off to work on firewood and plant a tree.
Steve a thought. Make sure to pull that Pitman arm and give that steering shaft a good hard look where the Woodruff key sits in the shaft. On modern vehicle steering boxes the splined steering shaft will twist in effect''preloading'' the steering in one direction. The T shaft being single keyed may not be damaged, but if the Pitman arm is bent at all it will turn further in one direction than the other.
Like everyone else, I am glad you are ok Steve. I am also glad so many are taking this as a warning to look your car over carefully. Please look over all of your cars, if you have more than one. If both of Steve’s cars were not assembled correctly, it could happen to anyone, right? Additionally, if you are not competent enough or comfortable enough, please have someone else look it over. We had an informal safety inspection at our last Field Day. It was very well-received, and something was noticed and corrected on a couple of the cars.
Thank goodness no one was hurt in Steve’s accident. I hate to imagine if this had happened in town, rather than in the country. Steve and his car could just as well have ended up on a crowded sidewalk rather than in a ditch. Even if no one were hurt, it would be very bad publicity for our hobby. All Model T’s are 90+ years old; they have enough shortcomings without any of us adding to them. We, as a group, need to do all we can to make them safe. I certainly wouldn’t want something like this to happen right in front or right behind my family and I on a tour. Be safe out there.
Glad you are OK Steve. We all do dumb things - I trashed the right front fender pretty well when I was backing my '27 into the barn. The top was up, and I was paying so much attention to the back of the car that I forgot about the front. The fender can be fixed.
Add me to the list, I'm glad your ok. and I think I will check my nuts, just to make sure.
Steve, Glad you are Ok! Could have been a lot worse. Just went over the front end on my ’26 runabout.
I like your dated Herbrand front axle. As far as cotter pins go, I have a habit of inserting them as soon as I get the slots to line up.
Steve I also am glad that you were ok. You are extremely lucky that you escaped not only once from this issue happening, but twice. I hope that there is not a third time.
I have been touring for many years and have seen accidents along the way, but this could have been avoided.
I dread to think if he had hit another car that was oncoming or a child. We would be having a completely different conversation.
I always take time to inspect my car prior to touring. If I have performed work on it and get that "itch" to take it for a test drive, I take a moment or a break then check it over. I have overlooked things and was glad I practiced this self imposed rule.
Again I am glad Steve is OK, but I am glad no one else got hurt.
As scary and frustrating as your recent incident might have been, looking back on a relative basis it wasn't too bad.
The driver of a 1902 Benz reportedly lost control while traveling down a steep grade on this year's VCC London to Brighton Run. Three passengers were tossed out when the car flipped and suffered only relatively minor injuries. The driver suffered significant injuries and was air lifted from the scene. He passed away in the hospital two days later.
I hope you get your car back together again soon without too much trouble and are back on the road to many miles of happy motoring.
I still have not heard anything significant about the cause of that London to Brighton accident. It is a sad reality, that despite our best efforts, this sort of thing can and will happen occasionally. I checked the the Bonhams site for updates just a couple days ago, and did a google search last week.
Everybody does need to try to be safe, for themselves as well as for others. I know Steve J does this. And, sometimes, even the best of us do slip up (I know I have). Fortunately, this occasion, the damages were minor.
Be well Steve! And, again, thanks for the reminder.
Steve, Glad you were not seriously injured and have begun the repair process. Thank you for sharing your experience with the Forum. Your experience prompted me to conduct a safety inspection on my car and found pitman arm nut loose and missing cotter pin. Just wanted you to know how your experience is helping others.
It's amazing, Our club has worked on many club member Model T's over the years. All of them have had at least a few cotter pins and/or safety wire missing. Some much worse. Seems we are all a little impatient at times and tend to forget those items. Thanks for the pictures, maybe they will help the rest of us to remember that a little extra work can save so much.
I was part of the safety inspection team on an MTFCI International tour some years back, (when they used to do pre-tour safety inspections). A fellow drove up to me in his T for inspection. I promptly reached over, plucked off his steering wheel, and handed it to him. To say the least, he was kinda shocked. He had no lock screw in the steering box cap. It had unscrewed to the point of just laying in place, waiting to be plucked off, or at the very worst, popping off while going down the road. Let's be careful folks!!
With regard to the above story. The Number 1 item found during those inspections: Loose rear wheels. Some with no cotter pins at all and nuts backed off several turns. Check those axle nuts periodically!!!!
Sure does happen to the best of us.
My T is parked next to this one with wire wheel adapters, so I hung around to look it over as others were talking. I was just observing the wheel adapters and ..........
See what I noticed that the owner hadn't yet?
I pointed that out and the owner and buddy immediately got to work and fixed that broken part right away. Rare occurrence but a reminder to me to carefully check over my T's prior to touring.
Wow Dan! He sure was fortunate to have you checking his car out.
Wow ... have never seen that before. Don't even know how it could happen.
Regarding Steve's mishap. What does one do if the holes in the castle nut don't line up with the holes in the perch? Add a washer .... or file the nut?
Yes, either one of your methods will work. Or, if you think the threads can take it, pull the nut just enough tighter so that the holes do line up.
The nut on later models is not flat on the bottom; it's tapered. Would you put a spacer shim between the wishbone and the axle? Or get a longer wrench?
I used a single 1/32" stainless steel washer on one side of my wishbone, under the tapered nut. The act of tightening the nut pressed the washer into a perfect cone shape and I was able to get the cotter pin holes aligned with a good, strong torque on the nut.
Regarding the incident that Dan T showed above? That should be looked at often, unless you know with certainty what is in there. Back in the '60s or '70s, a bunch of reproduction king pins were made that had been overly hardened. I don't think they were made for very long because several people in our local group alone managed to snap the heads off the new king pins when installing them. It soon became clear that there had been a bad batch made. Some of the parts vendors exchanged recently sold king pins no questions asked. A lot of them were sent back, and destroyed we were told. But there was no easy way to tell if one had gotten the bad ones or not.
If they didn't break? Most people that had put new pins in their cars just checked theirs occasionally, maybe. Speculation at the time was that there had to be a lot of brittle pins out in the model T world, just waiting to pop their top. They likely are still out there.
I mentioned in one of my other comments above, that "(I SAW that happen once!)", in regards to a king pin breaking. It was said to be a fairly new set of kingpins in that car, and was speculated at the time to have been one of those overly hardened ones. The time frame would have been right for it. The circumstances of it breaking should not have resulted in a break quite like how it was unless the pin was brittle.
Our century old cars should be inspected routinely for any developing problems, so that said problems can be dealt with before they become a serious risk. Any sort of looseness in the front axle assembly should be addressed quickly. And a loose kingpin head is no exception. But I wouldn't go crazy with a paranoia that all my kingpins were out to get me. That is not my point, and I doubt it is Dan T's point either. I think his is that things do show up, and could be missed. So again as I said, check for these things routinely.
We want you to drive and enjoy your model Ts, as safely as is reasonably possible.
Going way off topic here and I do apologize but Dan Treace would you know the color of the other car next to the broken king pin car? I'm pretty sure my T was repainted that color and could use some touch up. My original thought was that the last owner just mixed something up . I know it's not proper and it should be black.
Thanks in advance
John, the car in the photo is a 1926 or 1927. Here are the colors:
Holy cow! Glad you're not hurt. As I always say, cars are replaceable, but people are not. Even so, it looks like the old girl took it pretty well. Repairing/replacing a fender and a wheel isn't all that big of a deal compared to what could have happened. How in the world could we have replaced the one-and-only Steve Jelf?
I believe that a lot of us forget that Ts are a lot tougher than they look.
This definitely causes me to be concerned. On my T, one of the perches has stripped threads. The nut is on finger tight and cotter pinned. I always assumed that the perch is pressed into the axle so well that it's unlikely to be an issue. Clearly it can come out! That little cotter pin may have been a silent saviour all along! I'll be ordering a new perch soon.
If nothing else, at least you can add a new page to your Dauntless Geezer site. "The unfathomable importance of cotter pins!"
I bet that people have had similar experiences because they installed cotter keys where cotter pins were called for
Stupid question, from a NOVICE. What is the difference between a Cotter key and a Cotter Pin. many of the nuts on My T have the deep slotted nuts for folding back the two ends of the cotter key / pin ? seems like some of mine may be wrong size not a lot of head sticking through the bolt hole.
Cameron, the problem wasn't caused by the perch coming out of the axle. That was a result of the wreck caused by the real problem, which was the wishbone dropping off the perch.
As for the cotter key/pin question, I recently did a search and wasn't able to find a definitive answer. They may actually be different things, but the two terms are generally used as synonyms. If you Google cotter keys you'll get these:
Well, this is my contribution to the confusion of terms separated by a common language ;-)
"Cotter pin may refer to:
In U.S. usage:
Split pin, a metal fastener with two tines that are bent during installation used to fasten metal together, like with a staple or rivet
Hairpin cotter pin, more commonly known as an "R-clip"
Bowtie cotter pin, a vibration-proof type of R-clip that is shaped like a bowtie
Circle cotter, a ring-shaped cotter pin
In British usage:
Cotter (pin), in mechanical engineering a pin or wedge passing through a hole to fix parts tightly together
This usage difference is often a cause of confusion when companies of both countries work together.
The original design for the cotter pin was designed by Dr. Rudolf Cotter in 1834. The original design employed a bolt with a hole drilled through and shank of metal placed within the hole.
Steve, Glad your okay and the damage was not worse. My safety supervisor always said check, double check, triple check, quadruple check your work before putting back in service. Agree with others posting above about doing a pre-flight inspection before going for a ride.
Thank you for explaining. What I keep forgetting is that on my '24, someone in the past welded the wishbone to the axle. It won't come off if the perch nut falls off. But that makes perfect sense. If you drop one arm of your wishbone, you're in trouble!
I don't think that the welded wishbone is a particularly bad idea, but it does mean that any axle work has a very high PITA factor.
Maybe a cotter pin is used on a castellated nut and a cotter key is used on a slotted hex nut.
... and there is a big difference in quality of cotter pins. Those assortment boxes at Harbor Freight are the worst ... the steel is as soft as copper. Buy NOS ones like Steve posted above. Much harder steel.
.......glad the only thing bruised is your mind.
You COULD have remained silent about this and nobody would know but you pointed out, in a most graphic way, the importance of checking, rechecking and checking again.
This surely demonstrates the reason why there are so many cottered nuts on these cars.......they are surely there for a reason!
I am glad you were not injured. I had a similar thing happen this past spring when I took our assistant superintendent, who is a car guy, out for a spin in my tudor. On the front left spindle, I have a lock nut to hold on the bicycle speedometer bracket as there isn't enough room to put a cotter pin on. I noticed that the speedometer quit working when we were on the return trip. This had happened before when one of the wires that I soldered came loose. We returned to the parking lot and the nut had backed off, but not come off. I made sure it was good and tight after that and check it quite frequently.
If you make your sensor bracket out of a flat washer and a piece of pipe you can still use a cotter pin.