I'm replacing a bent and worn out throttle rod. I have another spark control rod that is better then the one that is installed as well. I have the column apart except at the point where the rods are clamped into the brass housing at the top of the column. I'm very much afraid of breaking the brass housing when I bend the tabs that hold the rods. Has anyone here done this repair? Any help such as specific prayers, incantations, heat(?), mystic spells, or anything else that will work will be greatly appreciated.
I used a small screwdriver to
GENTLY pry open the brass tabs JUST ENOUGH to pull out the rods from the tabs.
The tabs were bent around the rods once before and sometimes a small piece will flake off when reshaping it around the rod. If a tab breaks off there is usually enough left to hold the rod in place to hold it. It doesn't take much to keep the rod in place.
Anneal the brass first.
Thanks guys - I definitely will do that - is a Bernz-O-Matic propane torch hot enough?
Yup. Heat clean brass until it shows color, quench.
I doubt that I can get it hot enough to show color with the propane torch. For fire insurance purposes I cannot have Oxy-Acetylene torches in my garage. Is there some kind of single-tank torch that will work? What should I quench the brass in?
"Show Color" is not red hot, it's more like a "straw" color, the Benz-O-Matic should do it. Then immediately quench, Brass works the opposite of steel (quenching steel helps harden it).
My bad John. Scour the tabs so they are bright. As you heat them, they'll turn blue or purple without a lot of heat. This indicates they have reached annealing temp. Sometimes a brass alloy will look reddish. This is no where near incandescent heat like iron in a blacksmith's forge. Oxyacetylene is hot enough to melt those tabs, for heaven's sake, don't do that !!!
Bronze alloys heated to incandescent dull red become brittle as glass by the way.
Oh, David, by the way, you won't see "straw color" heat on brass - that's a phase when heating steel - straw, brown, blue, purple, then comes incandescence- dull red, red, red-orange, orange, yellow, then white heat. Slump, then molten somewhere between orange and white hot depending on the steel or iron alloy.
Ah, good catch Rich, my bad! I wasn't aware of the brittleness caused by incandescent dull red, but I have experienced it! So that's what went wrong!
Thanks for the replies guys. I was a little concerned about quenching, I didn't know that Brass works opposite steel. How much time will I have to work the brass after quenching? I really don't want to F*** this up. I'm totally new to working with brass.
As long as you wish, John. Once annealed, the brass is indefinitely "relaxed" until hardened by re-working, bending or hammering. Brass pieces can be annealed again and again in the process of forming a part, but should be worked stone-cold.
Once quenched, the brass stays soft until worked (bent, hammered, etc.) and it can harden without much working. You should be good to open the "fingers" and close them once. Next time you need to take things apart, re-heat & quench. It doesn't really matter the length of time between opening, having the rods plated, and closing--but if you're worried, before re-installing, heat & quench again--but be careful, without the rods in place, the thin brass will heat up quickly--the rods act a bit like a heat sink.
Not trying to hijack the thread, but if the tabs are broken off is there a fix?
David Dewey, what do you mean by 'having the brass plated'?
Jed, spark & throttle rods plated, although if your year is correct, the case will need plating too. . .
How are we supposed to know what you want, when you don't mention the year of your car! DUH!
David Schwab, if tabs are too far gone I suppose some material could be spliced on by careful silver soldering. Often there's some loss when the unit is disassembled and reassembled but there's really no place for the spark and throttle rods to go once assembled in the column. Perhaps some shims could be added.
If you're having the gear case re-plated be sure to have the plater mask off the tabs. Plating makes the thin tabs stiff and brittle.
I think I'm going to throw in the towel here. I did get a set of new rods, but using a practice (bad) steering gear box, and being as careful as I could be, I still snapped one of the four tabs that I heated and bent. I did the best that I possibly could, and still failed. I have one good box left - I'll just use the crappy rods that are attached to it. Bummer.
If the tabs break you can always solder a piece of copper or brass in place. Dose not take a lot of heat, just keep the flux and heat away form the rod.
Bob has a good suggestion - cowboy up John, "Ain't no quit !!" Don't you have any Model T buddies close enough to come around and help you ruin parts ? (I don't either) ! ; - )
I have annealed cartridge cases for reloading many times over the years. "Working" brass back and forth when reloading several times hardens it until it finally cracks. Annealing (softening) it extends its life amazingly. Never heat the base of a cartridge case, by the way....just the neck and shoulder area. I actually hold the cases by the base while applying a propane torch to the shoulder/neck area. When my fingers get warm I just let it fall into a pan of water. This is just about the time the brass turns to a brown color...never red!
Clean the brass first so you can note any color change. Heat with a torch....propane should work fine.......while watching the metal for a color change. You're looking for a brownish-black shade and it will occur suddenly. Quickly dunk in cool water and the job is done.