Since buying my first T(26 Coupe) in Dec. 2016, as the seller I got it from advertised, "it needed some TLC", well...to me it needed some major TLC!!! Anyway...now it has T wire wheels instead of Model A wire wheels, the correct 26-27 spindles with now T hubs all around. I could go on and on, but let me get to the question before you stop reading. Mine is a late 26 Coupe that should have a 30 and 7/8" drag link. Well the one on the car was 30 and 5/16", which is 9/16" too short. I found and bought the correct length drag link from a member on this site, but it was bent and the ends were wallowed out a bit. I got it pretty straight, but bending it to get it straight seemed a little too easy, making me think it would bend again in use? That is the first question. Secondly, I bought the adjusting APCO accessory spring loaded ball caps for each end of the drag link. I replaced the ball through the tie rod yolk, but the pitman arm had very little wear, so I did not replace it. To "adjust" the APCO caps, I screwed in the screw just enough to get the cotter pin through. Just by doing that, it took up all the slop in both ends of the drag link. Thinking that wasn't screwed in enough though, I turned the screw on each end one full revolution and then put the cotter pin in. So...how do you know if you have the APCO caps screwed in and tight enough without being too tight? My guess is that too tight it could possibly bind and wear at an accelerated rate?
Just FYI, I bought a 1930 Tudor Sedan when I was 12, had the motor rebuilt, but never did any further restoration to the car and sold it about 20 years later since with work I just had no time for it. I probably have owned close to 100 cars over the years, a lot of muscle cars during the earlier years, a lot of sports cars, and have always done a lot of buying/selling. In mid 2016 though, I went to an estate sale where there was a barn find T that hadn't been moved an inch for about 70 years. There was a hanging plastic sign on the steering wheel that said "Do Not Disturb!". At that point, I didn't get that car, but knew I wanted to get a T and I have NEVER owned a car with more than two doors, so when I found this 26 Coupe, it "called out" to me for me to rescue it before it was turned into a hot rod, so I got it. The rest is history as they say, but with this story, I was attempting to say I have worked on a lot of cars, but still feel I don't know a whole lot, so that is why I came to the "experts" here for my two questions. Hope y'all can help me? Much Thanks in advance!!! Walt Wise
Okay...someone PLEASE respond! I am needing guidance here! Thanks !!! Walt
Walt, I believe the APCO units are used to take up wear as it occurs, so that there is no need to keep a constant eye on things for any developing looseness. As such, it will reduce rattles in the system. Screwing the ends in until there is reasonable contact and pinning them in that position, is the way to go. Excess tension on the little contact pads will cause premature wear. They can be taken up at a later date as things wear a little.
Others may differ.
Allan from down under.
I screw them in until the spring is fully collapsed, then back off about a turn. If you leave the spring tension too light it can cause a "spongy" rod end that may lead to shimmy issues.
And, put a big gob of grease in the cups as well.
And don't put a stack of nuts in there to replace the spring. That's what I found in mine but I fixed that.
I can beat that, Mark. I found a wad of steel wool in mine.
Thanks for the replies, Mr. Bennett, Mr. VanOoteghem, and Mr. Nunn! I still don't know whether to screw the adjustment in more or not. I thought you wouldn't want it screwed in too tight so you could still have thread adjustment as it "breaks in" and wears a bit. I did put a healthy coating of grease on the balls and in the cups. I also got in a good position under the car to shake the drag link back/forth and also try to pull it out of the sockets. It didn't budge at all, so do y'all think I am good for right now? Also, no one said anything about me straightening out the drag link so easy and wondering if it is weak to even possibly bend in use? Thanks in advance !!! Walt Wise
Walt, I recently straightened my 1927 Roadster drag link. I was also surprised at how easy it was to bend, so I expected the "fixed" drag link would need a replacement soon. I couldn't find one of the right length so I used the rebent one. But after swapping in correct spindles, arms, spring perches, a straightened axle, and nice bushings the steering is great and handling nice and tight. I've been driving for over a month with no problems.
It sounds like you've gone through a similar rebuild on your front end. I assume you've verified alignment? Since the drag link is easily swapped you can at least assemble and test.
I wonder how many drag links out there haven't been bent at least once?
Thanks for that response! I have gone through the entire front end, either replacing with new, or finding the best parts I can afford. I had to replace the tie rod since mine was bent and the non-removable end had worn out threads, so I did the best alignment that I could - my T wire rims I bought have a little more wobble than I would like, but I did put the best two out of five on the front. I still hope to find another drag link with better ends and one that is already straight - that I can afford! I know old cars are money pits, but I am retired and don't ever want to have to work again for anyone unless it is for fun!
Would love some more opinions!
It should be as tight as possible WITHOUT ever jamming. As the ball will wear where it touches - mostly in the straight ahead situation, if you just tighten it there, it may jam when turned towards full lock and put bending stresses in the rod etc.
Either check that it will flex easily with the other end disconnected, or just back it off about half to one turn from tight.
Walt, on this forum there have been posted ways to true T wire wheels, without even demounting the tyres. If you are concerned about yours, they can be improved to run more truly.
Allan from down under.
I have the adjustable ends on my '27. The springs are really stiff. I would (and did) tighten them until I had spring contact, then until the cotter pin slot lined up. As was said earlier, excessive pressure is just going to cause premature wear. I also would make annual greasing a habit.
Last ball joints i took apart had rawhide in them
Atleast they well lubed
Funny one for rawhide liners in rod and main journals in my second T motor i ever dismanteled years ago
Thanks to all that replied! Would love some more thoughts/opinions. Last time asking... Thanks again !!! Walt