My 1927 had this cobbled together dashboard with braised on tabs. It looks like they took a 22-25 dash and made it fit. I'm kind of impressed how tight they made it fit.
A friend who is a talented woodworker has offered to make a hardwood replacement, which could look really nice. I know it's not authentic but that ship sailed long before this T arrived in my garage. My question: Does the dashboard rail on the 26/27 (Roadster) serve an important structural purpose? It seems to offer a little support to the steering column, which the wood can do too. Anything else I should know before crafting a replacement? This is a pretty heavy chunk of steel so I want to think a little before I toss it. Thanks!
Forgot the picture:
Forget it, and get the correct one. They are quite easy to find, and hopefully will not have any pits.
If it makes you happy, go for it. I donít think the switch panel is grounded to the dash but if you ever install a dash light you may need to run a ground wire depending on how itís set up.
Arthur, you are right it is not a 26-27 dash. There is a structural component to the dash as it supports the top 60 percent of the steering column which would otherwise only be supported at the firewall. Without a dash to provide support the steering column will bend and flex under load and will degrade steering performance. You will also most likely crack the firewall at the steering flange mounting. Many 26-27 firewalls crack there under normal use. Look for a correct steel replacement and do the job right.
Arthur, check with these guys for the correct dash. https://vintagecarsandparts.com/ Also there is a member of the forum that parts out Ts. I don't remember his name but if you look around you may find him.
Just did a little digging and I think I found the members profile. http://www.mtfca.com/cgi-bin/discus/board-profile.cgi?action=view_profile&profil e=mike_peterson-users You can contact him directly.
My Ď26 had a big hole in that panel. Maybe for a speedometer.
I made a nice wood panel and installed it.
It just did not look right for a model T so I repaired the original metal dash and now the car looks much better.
My PM was for a Tudor dash. Search EBAY and saw this one for $120 plus shipping. Looks great
If the rest of the body is equally pitted, let your friend make you a whole new wooden body, speedster, depot hack, etc.
If you don't want to use a replacement open car instrument panel, and use wood, be sure to inset the opening for the oval '26-'27 switch plate.
There is little room between the thinner steel panel and the switch, with risk of switch terminals hitting the cowl gas tank.
A thick wood panel could cause some grief. And shaping the wood to go to the curved upper cowl rail and its series of screw fasteners across the top edge would be too much of fitting and wood working for me
Maybe get the correct metal dash and affix a wood veneer?
If you're building a show car, find a correct one.
If you're not, keep it. I like it. The hobby is saturated with "correct" cars and doesn't have nearly enough T's with sturdy old farm fixes.
IMO, the dash panel on the Improved open car does give proper strength to the steering column.
Replacing that cobbled up cute old panel thing is best.
The correct panel will sandwich behind the curved lip of the cowl, has a wide flange under that panel for support, has steering column plate that fastens to the underside and the front of the panel too for best strength to the column.
Then the firewall support plates add more. Making the Improved Car steering column the most wiggle free of any T.
Steering column plate, 4 machine screws, 2 under, 2 on face. Note how close the gas tank is to the panel.
Square plate and support plates on firewall
Thanks for the good advice, guys. I built a plywood template and determined a hardwood dash would be much more trouble than it was worth. I'll be replacing with the proper steel dash, and focusing the woodworking efforts on my new pickup bed.