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Old 09-15-2016, 01:33 PM   #1
GasWorksGarage
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Default 1929 Model A steering box play

I have a 29 model A the steering wheel binds up and I have to get out and kick the front wheel to get it unstuck.
I put it on the lift and everything seems good except play in the box it's self. Is there an adjustment I can do?
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Old 09-15-2016, 01:53 PM   #2
C26Pinelake
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

unbelievable that there is a car on the road so unsafe that you have to get out and kick the wheel. Get it to a mechanic or someone mechanically inclined to resolve the problem before someone gets seriously injured or killed. Wayne
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Old 09-15-2016, 01:53 PM   #3
larrys40
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

Yes, there are up to 4 adjustments that can be checked and made. The ford Service bulletins cover the adjustments very well and is your best guide. They have to be done in sequence to ensure you have the proper adjustments. done.

I would also suggest if you have play to check and make sure the steering arm at the sector shaft on the steering box is tight on the shaft. Many times there is play there and it can be tightened.

To adjust your box in the car I find it best to take the steering arm off ( bolt needs to com fully out to get the arm off the shaft) and use a pair of flat jaw vise grips attached from the bottom so you can get the feel of the play of the box and not have any other steering drag .

If you don't already have one get a copy of the service bulletin reprints in yellow.
Larry Shepard
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Old 09-15-2016, 02:03 PM   #4
Marshall V. Daut
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

If the OP has a 1929 Model A, chances are less than 50-50 that he has the two-tooth steering box, whose adjustment "larrys40" spelled out. Odds are, judging by the symptoms, that the OP has a seven-tooth system, which for all intents and purposes is not adjustable for wear. Only two adjustments are possible and they never take care of slop or wear in the steering system. That's why Ford began changing over to the superior two-tooth design in mid-1929, depending upon the assembly plant's obsoleted seven-tooths on hand.
So, first things first: which steering box do you have? A two-tooth with all kinds of bolts and nuts on the outside, or a seven-tooth that is relatively smooth on the exterior?
Marshall

Last edited by Marshall V. Daut; 09-15-2016 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 09-15-2016, 04:58 PM   #5
larrys40
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

Well Marshall I answered in a hurry and forgot to note it could have been a 7 tooth
But my advise of adjustment still holds true to using the service bulletins.
If gasworks can determine the type 7 or 2 he can go from there.
If he needs a rebuilt there are guys like you and me that do that or exchange from various vendors

Larry Shepard
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Old 09-15-2016, 05:47 PM   #6
GasWorksGarage
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

Thanks guys it is a 7 tooth
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Old 09-15-2016, 05:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

does anyone know how to search for my other posts about no spark at cap?

thanks in advance
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Old 09-15-2016, 05:59 PM   #8
Marshall V. Daut
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

The reason I was trying to determine which unit the OP has is because there is a good chance that one tooth or more on the sector gear has chipped or is broken. That will definitely lock up the gears in the extreme if the broken tooth is suspended in chassis grease (a no-no!) or the correct heavy lube and binds the steering action.
A local car dealer friend asked me to fix the seven-tooth steering in a 1929 Model A he had taken in on trade. I kid you not - the steering had almost 3/4 of a full revolution slop, not 3/4 of an inch, 3/4 of a full turn! But - he said it also locked while going around corners on the way to my house. He had to occasionally stop after a hard turn and physically return the front wheels to the straight ahead position. Upon disassembly, I discovered that three of the seven teeth on the sector gear had broken off or had chipped, the remnants locking the gears at the extreme. The solution was obvious = a new sector and worm gears, plus one SERIOUS cleaning out of chipped teeth and metal slivers from the steering box.
I am wondering if the OP might not have something similar going on in his unit? This would almost be impossible in a two-tooth design. Had the OP said his was a two-tooth unit and there was locking up on the extreme turns, I would be puzzled. I would then suggest something is wrong outside of the steering unit. But since he has a seven-tooth, I would be willing to bet there is a problem with broken/chipped teeth inside the steering box.
"larrys40" explanation of how to adjust a two-tooth is good information to post often. It benefits others, who do have the two-tooth system. It underscores the radical improvement from the seven-tooth to the two-tooth in terms of adjusting for wear. In this case at least, Ford DID have a better idea. Good information!
Marshall
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

is there a video on how to properly adjust a 2 tooth steering gear box ?
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

Is there a video that can properly show exactly just how to adjust the steering gear box
on a two tooth 1929 model A ford in the step by step procedure ?
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:02 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

On the 7 tooth, you can only adjust the end play of the steering shaft. This is done by adding or removing shims in the lower bushing. This is the part with the 4 bolts in it that holds the Bail for the electrical connection. The other adjustment is the end play on the sector shaft. This is on the side of the steering box. Tighten it up to remove the side play. If that doesn't help then you need a matched set sector shaft and worm gear. The better the two mesh together the less lash you will have in the steering wheel. I just rebuilt my 7 tooth and I have about 2" of movement in the wheel. Better than the 1/2 turn I had when I started. Only way to make it better is to get a tighter messing set of gears. JP

Last edited by Tinbasher; 09-13-2019 at 04:03 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:02 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

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Old 09-13-2019, 04:14 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

This is probably a good place to plug Randy Gross's F-150 steering box replacement service...
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:29 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexiskai View Post
This is probably a good place to plug Randy Gross's F-150 steering box replacement service...


Geez, why not just instruct him on how to adjust a two-tooth steering box instead of going with something un-original?


Yes, there is a DVD that is offered by the Diablo Model A Club. It covers the complete rebuild but as I recall it also instructs on how to adjust.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:11 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

If you want to rebuild the 7 tooth box you have by all means go right ahead. But you could also find a decent used 2 tooth box and column for a ‘29 and rebuild that. I’ve heard 2 tooth boxes steer just as well as the F150 boxes when restored properly. If you go that route you’ll have a car that steers well and can be kept in adjustment for years to come
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:52 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

One thing that concerns me is that the gas and spark levers are shorter . The early two tooth housings with the longer 1929 levers are pretty scarce compared to the more common and plentiful 30-31 style with different quadrant and levers . All of my 29s have came to me with seven tooth steering . I would rather rebuild the seven tooth steering than use the 30-31 style steering in my 29s . Good reproduction parts are now available . Snyders offers a new steering sector that is made to Ford specs . Either Brattons or Snyders offer new steering shafts with the worm gear installed . all of the bearings except the very early 28 bearings are available . The seven tooth steering can be rebuilt as good as new . When in good condition the seven tooth steering doesn't need many adjustments . Maybe a couple of adjustments may help your steering . Here is how I adjust my seven tooth steering . I put the axle on stands so that the tires clear the floor . Get in the drivers seat , grasp the steering wheel on each side and push forward and pull backwards to feel the slack to help determine about how many shims will need to be removed . I remove the light switch from the bottom of the steering column without disturbing the wiring harness. I use a yard stick over the horn button and through the steering wheel to hold the button firmly down to aid in removing the light switch spider . push up on the spider and remove the C clip . The spider will now slide off the light switch rod . Remove the four seven sixteenth bolts and remove the lower steering bushing. there will be a stack of shims between the lower bushing assembly and the main housing. Removing shims reduces end play . It will be trial and error to find the optimum adjustment . You want to remove the play without getting it too tight . If this adjustment is too tight it will bind at certain places as the steering wheel is turned from end to end . If the slightest hard spot or bind is felt it will require another shim or two to be added back to the shim pack . with trial and error this adjustment can be made perfectly .Replace gaskets and other parts and move on to the sector end play adjustment on the engine side of the steering housing . There is a slotted screw with a lock nut Hold the slotted screw and back off on the lock nut enough to give room for adjustment . The sector adjustment is sensitive and the least bit too tight will cause hard steering and binding . Again trial and error turning the steering wheel from end to end while feeling for tightness or binds . The least bit of tightness will require backing off a bit on the slotted screw . When satisfactory adjustment is made , hold the slotted screw firmly in position and tighten the lock nut . Most of the time I find the pitman arm that connects to the sector will have a very small amount of movement between the sector shaft and the pitman arm . It will take some help to detect this movement . I like to check this with the tires on the floor . I have the help move the steering back and forth while I watch for the slightest movement between the sector shaft and the square hole that it passes through on the pitman arm . Usually when using a long 1/2 inch drive pull handle and a good six point socket will enable a person to get the leverage to tighten the pitman arm bolt and nut . Its not likely that you will be able to break or strip the bolt so go ahead and rare back on it enough to really tighten and remove all slack . Believe me , the least fraction of play between the sector and pitman arm will cause inches of slack at the steering wheel . If you take the time to carfully make these adjustments , you may be surprised at the improvement . every little bit counts . There are many other things that can effect steering besides the steering column assy .
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Old 09-14-2019, 07:13 AM   #17
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

Great description of the procedure, that's worth bookmarking. The only caveat I would add is that when I recently rebuilt my 7-tooth, the new shaft had a couple spots that were wider than spec and we had to turn it down on a lathe. I suspected this happened because there are multiple lengths of shaft that you can order, and they get those lengths by welding two shaft sections together, so the wide spots were around the weld.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:04 PM   #18
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

Thanks Alexiskai for the kind words .
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:12 PM   #19
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanheacox View Post
If you want to rebuild the 7 tooth box you have by all means go right ahead. But you could also find a decent used 2 tooth box and column for a Ď29 and rebuild that. Iíve heard 2 tooth boxes steer just as well as the F150 boxes when restored properly. If you go that route youíll have a car that steers well and can be kept in adjustment for years to come
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexiskai View Post
Great description of the procedure, that's worth bookmarking. The only caveat I would add is that when I recently rebuilt my 7-tooth, the new shaft had a couple spots that were wider than spec and we had to turn it down on a lathe. I suspected this happened because there are multiple lengths of shaft that you can order, and they get those lengths by welding two shaft sections together, so the wide spots were around the weld.

Why do you guys keep discussing a 7 tooth?


The original poster from 3 years ago was discussing 7 tooth steering but SportCoupeMan who resurected this post 3 years later plainly asked about a 1929 Two-tooth gear box and how to adjust it.
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Old 09-14-2019, 04:34 PM   #20
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Default Re: 1929 Model A steering box play

Sorry....didnít mean to comment...
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