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Old 05-09-2019, 02:13 PM   #1
BillCNC
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Question Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

Hello All,

I rebuilt my steering box a little bit ago and want to further tune out the extra play in the wheel. I'm removing the steering column again because the upper column bushing is rotating, throwing my spark and gas rods out of adjustments once set. I have a 31 and it doesn't require the 2 lil set screws that came with the bushing. Instead mine uses a locater pin system. I'm removing it to see if the pin sheared off.

Anyhow, my question is:

Are the steering box adjustment done with the column off or on the steering shaft?

I guess when I rebuilt the box, I thought I had it dialed in without the column mounted. It took several attempts, but I guess it's still a not right, about 2.5" movement.

Regards
Bill
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:28 PM   #2
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillCNC View Post
Hello All,

I rebuilt my steering box a little bit ago and want to further tune out the extra play in the wheel. I'm removing the steering column again because the upper column bushing is rotating, throwing my spark and gas rods out of adjustments once set. I have a 31 and it doesn't require the 2 lil set screws that came with the bushing. Instead mine uses a locater pin system. I'm removing it to see if the pin sheared off.

Anyhow, my question is:

Are the steering box adjustment done with the column off or on the steering shaft?

I guess when I rebuilt the box, I thought I had it dialed in without the column mounted. It took several attempts, but I guess it's still a not right, about 2.5" movement.

Regards
Bill

Bill, you can do it either way as long as the shaft is not binding in the upper bushing. You may find yourself needing to work on the tip of the sector if the worm cannot make it travel far enough without binding.
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

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Originally Posted by BRENT in 10-uh-C View Post
You may find yourself needing to work on the tip of the sector if the worm cannot make it travel far enough without binding.
Thanks Brent, ...

Would that be the teeth need work, or the tooth end of the sector shaft might need facing off on a lathe shortening the shaft length allowing for further adjustment?

Regards
Bill
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:00 PM   #4
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

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Thanks Brent, ...

Would that be the teeth need work, or the tooth end of the sector shaft might need facing off on a lathe shortening the shaft length allowing for further adjustment?

Regards
Bill

Tell me what you are thinking when you say facing off the end?? I'm not sure I follow you on how this would help, but maybe ??
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Old 05-09-2019, 06:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

Off the many 2 tooth boxes rebuilt, I find usually the sector teeth have worn divots and were supposedly case hardened. Some say to file them so the teeth ride flat on the worm but ends don't bottom out on the worm. It can be impossible to get to almost zero play with equal lash at both extremes unless the steering gear with the shaft is removed from the car to adjust the eccentric per the Service Bulletins. I've had some success just changing out the sector with a better one and checking mating to worm but have never filed the teeth. On a newly rebuilt, you may get by with just the 3 adjustments with gear in car. 2.5" should be able to be reduced to 1/2" or less play at the wheel with a good set of gears and column out of the car following the procedures which may take several tries.
Also, suggest using 250 wt. or thicker gear oil or corn head grease, not 140 wt. oil.
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Old 05-09-2019, 08:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

Thanks guy's.

Well, I think my new shaft is bent.

I removed the steering column from the box/shaft.
Removed the sector shaft and housing.
Readjusted the the upper race.
Set the Box on the bench and propped up the shaft in a pillow like a cradle.

When rotating the shaft, the box wobbles around when turning the shaft, BUT, ... when I sight the shaft or roll it on the table, it appears it's possibly straight I just don't have any real way of checking for sure. If anything it might be bent where the worm and shaft meet.

Regards
Bill
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Old 05-09-2019, 08:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

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Originally Posted by duke36 View Post
Off the many 2 tooth boxes rebuilt, I find usually the sector teeth have worn divots and were supposedly case hardened. Some say to file them so the teeth ride flat on the worm but ends don't bottom out on the worm. It can be impossible to get to almost zero play with equal lash at both extremes unless the steering gear with the shaft is removed from the car to adjust the eccentric per the Service Bulletins. I've had some success just changing out the sector with a better one and checking mating to worm but have never filed the teeth. On a newly rebuilt, you may get by with just the 3 adjustments with gear in car. 2.5" should be able to be reduced to 1/2" or less play at the wheel with a good set of gears and column out of the car following the procedures which may take several tries.
Also, suggest using 250 wt. or thicker gear oil or corn head grease, not 140 wt. oil.
I started with a bare steering box and column, all parts to repopulate them along with 600 w oil was purchased from Brattons.

Regards
Bill
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Old 05-10-2019, 07:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

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Originally Posted by BillCNC View Post
Thanks guy's.

Well, I think my new shaft is bent.

I removed the steering column from the box/shaft.
Removed the sector shaft and housing.
Readjusted the the upper race.
Set the Box on the bench and propped up the shaft in a pillow like a cradle.

When rotating the shaft, the box wobbles around when turning the shaft, BUT, ... when I sight the shaft or roll it on the table, it appears it's possibly straight I just don't have any real way of checking for sure. If anything it might be bent where the worm and shaft meet.

Regards
Bill

The check would be to remove the upper clamp and column, and simply have the shaft sticking out of the housing. Then turn the shaft. If the top describes a circle - then it is bent.

The issue may be the shaft. You certainly want to check to be sure the upper and lower bearing races are relatively tight - but able to turn the shaft.

Or the issue may be the "pressing" of the worm onto the shaft. It is an interference fit and a press may have been used to seat the worm. This some do by just putting the shaft into a tall press and giving it the squeeze. This alone may bend the shaft (known in engineer speak as "Euler column failure") or the upset metal formed during pressing may have caused the worm center line to seat out of alignment relative to the shaft center line.

If you can find a bend in the steering shaft THAT could be corrected. If you find the worm offset, that one would be a little more difficult to correct and at this point you're probably into new parts.

If you go the new parts route, buy your shaft and worm "separate" and do the light bulb/freezer assembly method rather than pressing - more assurance of getting a concentric assembly.

Others have noted quality issues with vendor assembled worm to shaft assemblies.

Joe K
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Old 05-10-2019, 08:21 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

Thanks Joe,

Yes this was a shaft/worm assembly already pressed on. I didn't want to do it myself, I wanted to be sure it was done right. So much for that. Yes, the shaft end does small circles, about 1" or so.

I guess I might have a bigger problem than the bent shaft. I looked at Brattons web site and it say's no returns after 60 day's. This was bought in late January and wasn't found out until now. As much money as I spent their on this and in the past, ... I hope there are no issues in the return.

I'll call them here in a little bit in an hour or so.

Regards
Bill
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

If you can restrain the worm sufficiently at bottom and top (similar to how it is held between the two cone bearings) you may be able to bend the steering shaft a small bit directly above the worm.

I'm thinking a restraint that bears against the bearing race surfaces. Then use a 1" pipe on the steering shaft itself to put bending moment on the shaft where it exits the worm - or at least in the first half-foot above it.

You may be able to do this by putting a piece of drill rod INSIDE the portion of the shaft covered by the worm. Four or five inches. And then use the pipe externally as I mention. If the drill rod extends a foot or two BELOW the worm and the pipe extends ABOVE the worm, you may be able to put this between sawhorses, sense where the bend is (it will want to fall by gravity with the bend down) and then hold up and push down.

That inside rod wants to be something quite strong - like drill rod. And only catch the worm portion.

Another solution might be to hold the shaft in a lathe (hole through the headstock type lathe) and then "recut" the bearing race surfaces on the worm which then will be "true" to the shaft. You may need to put a shim under the lower bearing race to bring it up and "re-center" the worm and get full travel in both directions.

The lower bearing race in the housing is hardened. The upper is not. And given the worm is machined from solid stock, it may not be hardened much either. And if it is and can't be cut in a lathe with a single point tool perhaps the raceways can be ground concentric with a tool post grinder?

Now thinking out loud.

Brattons may accept the return, so check with them first. I am probably not the first who have observed quality issues in the worm/shaft assembly - and most vendors do not want to be accused of quality issues. Quality is their strong sell point. And difficulties with press fit and maintaining centerlines SHOULD have been checked by their supplier.

You may be a start of higher quality parts - and do the hobby a favor.

Joe K
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Last edited by Joe K; 05-10-2019 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:52 AM   #11
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

Update:

I just got off the phone with Bratton's and talked with a gentleman named Joe. There is no issue about returning it and apologized for the issue in which I told him, thank you.

He said they were out of stock on the 2 tooth shaft/worm for the 31 and assured me that they would order some and I should get it in about 2 week's.

I guess I could start to think about my front crankshaft seal about now, ...

Regards
Bill
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Old 05-10-2019, 03:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

Yep mine is bent due to the pressing of the worm gear so the box leaks a bit. Still functions but I will start having to build one up for a swap out. I have a spare shaft that need the threads cut out and the replacement piece threaded and welded on.


Mike
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Old 05-10-2019, 11:49 PM   #13
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

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I have a spare shaft that need the threads cut out and the replacement piece threaded and welded on.
FWIW, it's illegal in some jurisdictions to do that. It's a safety thing.
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Old 05-11-2019, 07:06 AM   #14
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

In this jurisdiction, if it looks like a car then its a car. And you can't drive a horse & wagon without a car registration. And even your horse & wagon has to pass the emissions test. Ka-ching. Ka-ching. Ka-ching. (I don't think the probe goes up the equine posterior - rather the fee is paid and the test is considered done and passing.)

Now sensibility would dictate that one would want to weld on anything steering related in full confidence of the result. Welds can be stronger than the parent metal - if the welder knows what he is doing.

I dare say here, if your weld repair to the steering column is covered by the light switch/escutcheon, then nobody knows the wiser and a permit is issued.

I am reminded the last time my Model A was actually inspected here in Cow Hampshire

The front guy looks at the Model A and asks "Can that thing go up on a lift?"

I replied in the affirmative.

Front guy then delegates the job to one of the "junior" mechanics. Junior mechanic is unsure how to actually inspect mechanical brakes. "How do I inspect this?" he says to his boss.

"Just put it up on the lift and look for anything loose. If you find it let me know. Meanwhile take an appreciation of how automobiles USED to be built" What started as a shake-down by the state turned into an education lesson for an up and coming mechanic.

There was no problem with the inspection - of course.

Joe K

Ka-ching.
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Old 08-25-2019, 05:56 AM   #15
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

not to hijack this thread, but here goes. i have a '29 roadster w/a 2 tooth box. i understand the steering shaft comes in two lengths. which one do i need?
thanks
Dick
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:20 AM   #16
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

how does the "light bulb/freezer" technique work that one of our members mentioned?
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:31 AM   #17
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

Best reply is to buy both, and use what parts you have to determine which you need - and then return the one you don't use.

Somewhere on the "net" are measurements which show the different housings and the different lengths of shaft required.

The parts vendors are acquainted enough with their stock and market to possibly guide you on which one to buy. It may be as simple as telling them the markings on the side of your two tooth box ("Gemmer" v "F" v a Ford part number) and this gives them enough clue. I can't tell you which one is which without doing some research but the research has been done and is out there.

While you're at it, question the parts supplier about "concentricity" of the worm to the centerline of the shaft. A lot of shafts/worm assemblies are being pressed on without the worm being checked afterwards. The action of pressing on necessarily involves some "interference fit" - and this interference CAN be a source of non-concentricity for those who press quickly and then don't check afterwards. Best check is done in the box with the two bearings - as I write above. Knowing of the possible issue, a responsible parts source will make this check BEFORE sending the part out at their postage.

Good luck,
Joe K
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:23 AM   #18
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

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how does the "light bulb/freezer" technique work that one of our members mentioned?
Theoretically it should work, as long as the fitting together is done fast enough.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:25 AM   #19
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Default Re: Rebuilt Steering Box Adjustment Question

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how does the "light bulb/freezer" technique work that one of our members mentioned?
Chill the shaft in the freezer to shrink it. Heat the gear on an incandescent light bulb to expand it. Not so much force required to press it on. I did this with the front wheel bearing races recently, put the races in the freezer and put the hub in the oven (Mrs. not home.) at 170 and the races went in nice and easy.
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