I was told when i purchased my first Model T (a survivor '24 Touring), I'd be in for a few surprises and I'd get a good education.
I'm still working on the front end and I'm still finding one problem after another.
I've replaced the worn tie rod with a good one.
Now I need a better wishbone, as mine has a ball that's well worn.
Here's the latest:
The little screw that goes into the steering gear box is snapped off.
Do I try to drill it out?
Also, sometime in the past, someone tried to make a repair to loose rivets by welding or brazing over them??? (see photo)
Please understand that i am considering all of this part of the fun of owning a T, it's just that I am not a good mechanic and need advice.
You'll need a replacement column to restore, that one is too much ruined now from welding up.
Don't despair, likely that column was split to begin with, loose and the previous owned took the easy way to weld it up. Since it looks like the welded or brazed the steering gear cluster case to the column too, that is also ruined.
Find a better used column and restore it. Pretty easy to do. Spend the money and get the replacement case and cover re-nickeled too, and that will made the replacement like a new Ford factory one.
As far as the front end is concerned the best way to check out all the issues is to jack up the front axle. I used 2 jack stands to hold it up.
Even without a steering wheel you can slowly turn it back and forth by moving a wheel.
Watch all the tie rod ends, and everything that moves.
This is the quickest way to do it and you will be surprised what you will find!
After all the bushings have been replaced you will be amazed how much slack you use to have.
Also make sure that the nut that secures the pitman arm to the bottom of the steering shaft is TIGHT. It can work loose even after the initial tightening and cotter pinning. If it is loose, the steering shaft can turn a bit before the pitman arm moves, introducing slop in the steering. I have tightened mine twice since I bought Betsy back in 2013.
Check to make sure that the lower steering shaft bearing support is firmly bolted to the frame and that the wood block is in place and in good shape. Wear in the lower bearings and shaft can be another source of slop.
After addressing all of the sources of small amounts of slop in the system, you should be able to get the free play at the rim of the steering wheel down to less than one inch.
It looks like your column has the proper gear case cover for a '24 with the partial height knurling. Later covers have knurling on the entire height of the outer cover. Is the bottom flange on your column (the part that bolts to the firewall) round or square?
If you decide to try extracing the remains of the cover locking screw, be sure to center-punch it in the center and use the correct size drill bit for whatever extractor you try. I have heard that using a left handed drill bit sometimes will cause the remains of the screw to come out without having to use an extractor.
Be careful! Since the screw is small, the drill bit for the extractor will also be small and can easily break off inside the remains of the screw.
If you decide to search for another column, you can check with Dave Huson or Bob Bergstadt, or just put a wanted ad in the Classifieds.
I wish I knew more about Model Ts before I purchased mine.
I will have a lot more $ into my driver quality car than if I purchased a finished car.
I guess I'm paying for the adventure and the lesson in patience.
What should a replacement Column cost (ball park)??$$$
Thank you for the great responses.
I appreciate the help and advice!
The secret of happiness with hobby cars:
Never total up the bills!
If it were me, I would try to get one from another forum member via a wanted ad in the classifieds first. I have a spare column, but it is for a 1925 (it has a square bottom flange).
A quick check on Ebay showed some used columns around $150.00 (plus shipping).
Here's what mine looks like.
Is there any chance that the brazing or welding could be cleaned off?
If so, can the rivets be changed?
Also, will replacing the two rivets tighten up the quadrant to the column?
As mentioned above, get another column. They can be had for around $75 or less. It appears yours is welded to the support bracket, so you are going to have to replace that too. I know it sounds like a mess, but it really isn't.
using a dremel tool, you might be able to cut the weld to the support bracket. Someone was working overtime to make that steering column RIGID. Yes, columns are out there and rebuildable ones can sometimes be found cheaply (I've gotten them under $25 in the past!). Granted, they'll need complete restoration though--but you'll be miles ahead looking at all the "goober work" on that column.
If you do decide to rebuild the one you have, you will have to drill out the screw. Start with a very small drill and carefully center it. Re tap 4-40 and get a 4-40 screw from a hardware store or from McMaster Carr. The original was a smaller #3 screw.
The welding to the dash bracket is unfortunate too as Larry posted. If the engine needed to be pulled the rivers to the dash will have to be removed. The whole column is pulled up into the dash to gain engine removal access.
Might check out if even the lower steering bracket is welded to the frame! Who ever did that welding was solving the T steering wiggle for sure. The T steering will flex some as that is the nature of the Ford, the frame flexes to go where other cars canít!
If you are going to drive it like that at least do the front end check then remove the remains of the cover screw and grease the cluster gears as that is the best overhaul you can do without cutting that column free.
Here's a photo of the flange.
Yep, your bottom flange is round, matches what I have in my '24.
If you don't already have a copy of the Ford service manual, you really should get one, it is extremely helpful. The MTFCA booklets are also very helpful.
What you have to spend on a replacement column depends on how long you can wait to find it. If you want it right now you'll pay more than if you wait until you find it at a swap meet or auction. You may find one for $25 or less at Hershey, but then you have to figure in the cost of going there, and there's no guarantee it will be there.
6-32 x 9/32" long round head slotted screw
One thing's sure, Gene. The former owner who did the welding wasn't a "purist".
This is just me, but I would address the screw first and see what if itís fully functional then. You say someone Ďtriedí to fix loose rivets with welding, were they successful?
Iíd be inclined to make it safe but not pretty for now, then drive the thing while keeping an eye out for a deal on a new steering column. Or not replacing the column at all.
Do I see the the steering column with round flange that I need for my 1924 touring in this parts lot?
Gene, I'm going through the same sort of "discovery" you're enjoying. Think of how much more we'll know when we're done than if we bought perfect cars?
You mention radius rod ball wear. I had good success welding additional material to the worn ball and grinding it to a pretty good smooth sphere. Took my neighbor a few minutes to add weld to the flattened side, then maybe an hour until I was satisfied with the shape of the ball. Also gave me a chance to straighten it out and repaint it nicely.
I'm a little late to the party here, but I want to follow up on Mark Strange's post above. Any slop in the pitman arm keyway will result in flighty steering. It is scary to be driving along when your car suddenly veers to one side or the other for no apparent reason.
The pitman arms now being made have oversized keyways. I encountered this a year or more ago and discussed it with the folks at Lang's. I wanted to order a new one just a few days ago, so I had Steve check his stock. They all had oversized keyways. I called two other vendors and they measured the keyways on theirs, and they were oversized. There is only one entity making them, so all the vendors get them from the same place (Snyder's).
I have 4 used pitman arms in stock which have good tight keyways, and I have ordered some 1" dia. steel balls to replace the worn balls on them. Even though I am equipped to weld and can "sort-of" weld myself, I always take important projects such as this to a professional welder whom I trust.
Mike: Can you use a step key to take up the oversize?
I replaced the steering shaft and gears with the 5:1 retrofit kit. Better steering ratio, and helped tighten things up. The APCO aftermarket tighteners also are a good investment if the linkage balls are a bit worn.
Tim -- I guess you could, but I don't have any and don't know where to get them. That probably would be a good way out for someone using a new repop pitman arm with the wide keyway.
Most of the stepped key stock I have been around is square not the round type like used in the steering shaft and even then takes some file work to fit. Maybe a key that was a little thicker then file to fit the slot in the shaft?
Measure your column from the center of the angled firewall flange to the top of the quadrant. Anyone in the education system today, needs a break. I will send you a serviceable tube and upper steering box case, top, quadrant, and even fit a new machine screw for you. All you do is pay the shipping. Read up on the disassembly procedures in the black book, you can't go wrong. The trill is in the accomplishment. email@example.com
And by the way Gene, You just became a damn good mechanic for asking others for help.
Mike, you don't need to weld up and re-finish a worn ball. I set my calipers to 1/2" and grind two flats on either side of the ball. Then grind two more so you have a square. Then take off the 4 points and file to 1/2" round. This round section is still larger than the neck on the arm so you have not compromised the strength of the item.
I then chuck a new tie rod end ball from the vendors in the lathe. It needs to be the one with the straight shank. This is drilled to take a 1/2" tap and I tap the thread while the ball is still in the lathe.
It is a simple job then to cut the threaded ball off the shank and thread it onto the pitman arm. One good dob of weld on the end will hold it in place. I have used this method on a number of early arms, as they are quite different from the repros.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
What confuses me is why people think you needed to replace the column. You didn't.
Hey Kep, im just curious how would you repair that column. Doug
I am with Kep, why does it need to come out anyway unless you need to replace the throttle and spark rods.
Read the original post, that is why everyone is saying to replace the column
What I thought was a welded dash bracket turned out to be a dried out rubber cushion (Lang's part 3500RC)
This is a "public thank you" for your incredible generosity.
Sending me a steering column for the cost of shipping is above and beyond the call.
I hope I can pass your kindness forward.
This is a great group.
God Bless all MTFCA members.
Thank You. Giving back to a person in need is what we are suppose to do. This is a hobby first, not who has the best, fastest, or rarest car. Helping others with their projects, whether they are new or old to the hobby is FIRST priority. The young generation can learn in giving to others to keep these ole girls going. It's just the right thing to do.
My 20 years of military service was an experience in leadership, "Lead By Example". I Did, and my men/women cried like children when I retired. That's my greatest military achievement.
All the Best to All,
We know what you'll be doing this weekend ????