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Old 08-10-2018, 04:52 PM   #1
Mad Mac
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Default Horn tube stuck in shaft

When reconditioning my 7 tooth column, I was very pleased to find a steering shaft in very good condition, until I noticed that the inside of the shaft was totally blocked with rusted horn/lighting tube. Easy, I thought - just blow it out with compressed air. No! that didn't work, so I tried to drill it out with a drill bit welded to a long rod. That didn't work either and I was very lucky to retrieve the rod after it got totally stuck twice. Anyone got any ideas? Its too good a shaft to give up on.
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Old 08-11-2018, 12:22 AM   #2
john charlton
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

If you have a rough idea where the obstruction is heat the area with a propane torch then quench with very cold water and repeat . This could free it off worth a try . Not cherry red but black smokey .

John in sunny cool morning Suffolk County England.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:17 AM   #3
rocket1
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

I would stand the shaft upright and fill with penetrant,possibly acetone and auto tranny fluid,let it sit for sometime and it might loosen the rust so it can be pushed out.
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

Quote:
Originally Posted by john charlton View Post
If you have a rough idea where the obstruction is heat the area with a propane torch then quench with very cold water and repeat . This could free it off worth a try . Not cherry red but black smokey.
Thanks John,
So it won't harm the shaft to apply heat locally?

And a related question: The shaft is scored and worn at the upper bushing, so will it harm the shaft to build it up with weld at that point, then turn it down back to correct diameter on a lathe?
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

that is thinwall and will be very tricky
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Old 08-12-2018, 04:32 AM   #6
john charlton
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

You wont harm the shaft but spread the heat uniformly around the shaft .If you can guess how long a piece is stuck,poke a rod in from each end to guage , heat that area.The shaft is about 1/4" thick or maybe slightly less so a MIG/TIG repair should work.

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Old 08-12-2018, 11:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

waay less than 1/4"
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Old 08-12-2018, 03:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

The poster has the shaft in his hand so can see just how thick it is , he can take it to a skilled welder and get good advice.Just checked out a 7 tooth shaft and looks to be around 1/8" .My mistake I checked a 2 tooth. I think it can be repaired nonetheless.

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Old 08-14-2018, 10:23 AM   #9
Tim Ayers
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

I have a '32 with the same issue. I was thinking of making up a rod with screw threads on one end to use to, hopefully, pull it out.
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Old 08-14-2018, 11:12 AM   #10
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

You can use a rifle cleaning brush for a .22 to run down the shaft with some solvent on it to clean it out. This is what I used to get some real gunk out. Will ruin the bore brush. but will clean it out good. Just take your time and do not force all the way down at one time, just a little at a time. You may go through several brushes before getting real clean. Good luck
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Old 08-14-2018, 03:00 PM   #11
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

We take in a lot of steering box cores as exchange on the F100 steering systems we sell. Many have broken horn rods in them. We mount the shaft in a vise and then drill them out with a straight sharp long drill bit. We work from both sides and use a cutting oil. Since the old horn rods (and new ones) are made of aluminum, this process is easy. You have to extract the drill bit multiple times to remove the shavings. Never had one that we could not do.
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Old 08-14-2018, 03:52 PM   #12
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

Just to clarify, the blockage is not some kind of "gunk" that can be easily removed, it is the old horn tube that has rusted solid inside the shaft. Drilling it out with a drill-bit welded to a long rod was getting small, one-inch-long bits of the horn tube out, but at great risk of getting the drill-rod stuck. And if the rod gets stuck that will definitely be the end of it. BTW the horn tube cannot have been made of aluminium because there is a lot of rust inside it and the few pieces I got out appear to be some kind of thin-walled steel tube.

I think a better option is for me to use another steering shaft I have, which has no obstruction inside. However that shaft has quite bad scoring above the worm. I have heard conflicting opinions as to how important such scoring is and how to remedy it. I would value opinions on that from you helpful guys.
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Old 08-14-2018, 05:05 PM   #13
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

The originals are thin wall steel the repos are aluminium ( English spelling !!!) . Have you tried heating the shaft yet ? I have not tried it on a steering column but it has worked for me in similar situations ," nothing ventured nothing gained".another English saying, give it a whirl .

John in late night should be tucked up with my Teddy Bear Suffolk County England .
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Old 08-14-2018, 06:36 PM   #14
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Post Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

Quote:
Originally Posted by john charlton View Post
Have you tried heating the shaft yet ?
Thanks John,
An engineer friend cautioned against heating the shaft in case that caused it to bend. Yeah, we spell aluminium correctly here too. And we spell too right as well.
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Old 08-14-2018, 11:17 PM   #15
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

Id plug the end and fill it up with the best penetrating oil you can and leave it in the hot sun upright for days, week, month. Bet it would push right out after that.
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Old 08-15-2018, 01:03 AM   #16
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

The engineer is correct but that is heating it way more than I would do . When you heat the shaft rotate it, you will see if it starts to bend ,even heating is the key. As an experiment I heated a section of an original thin wall steel light rod (broken piece) but no bend . I think you would have get close to dull red before that would happen.Dowse with very cold water .

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Old 08-15-2018, 12:16 PM   #17
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

I'd never heat the tube, and never cram something down in there. I'm with Randy Gross on this one. Buy a long bit and drill it out. Randy should know, he's probably done more than anybody on Ford Barn.
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Old 08-15-2018, 04:43 PM   #18
Mad Mac
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

I think I will put this blocked shaft in the "too hard" basket (I may get back to it later when I have more time). In the meantime I will use the other shaft which is not blocked, but quite badly scored above the worm. I need to know how much of a problem that scoring is and what I should do about it.

I tried to post a picture of the scoring but for some reason I cannot upload it. Strange, as I have posted many pics here before without difficulty.
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Old 08-15-2018, 05:01 PM   #19
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

On my 7 tooth shaft is was scored and worn badly. Knowing how difficult it is to get most of the play from a 7 tooth box I opted for a new shaft with worm installed. When installed in new bushings it turned smooth and straight. The column was my biggest problem in that the shaft would have had pressure at the top eventually wearing the bushing and shaft away from the sector gear. I heat shrunk the column and got the shaft to center perfect in the upper bushing near the steering wheel. You really need experience and care when heat shrinking or you could end up with a mess. The biggest problem with 7 tooth boxes are they leak bad as built when new and bushings and shafts fail. There are modern ways of eliminating those problems with seals, orings, and sealants.

Last edited by denniskliesen; 08-17-2018 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 08-16-2018, 09:30 AM   #20
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Default Re: Horn tube stuck in shaft

Quote:
the inside of the shaft was totally blocked with rusted horn/lighting tube.
If you drill out the blockage in the tube, remember that rust is very hard stuff so you should use a cobalt or titanium drill bit.
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Last edited by katy; 08-16-2018 at 09:31 AM. Reason: Addition
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