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Old 05-18-2013, 06:46 PM   #1
gwhite
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Default Steering shaft to upper worm race orientation

Just checking things over as I prepare to disassemble my mid-1930 Gemmer 2-tooth box. I pulled the mast off the steering shaft & upper race and noted that the steering shaft was quite 'wobbly'. A few good cranks down on the end play adjustment (top of the box, just above the oil fill) tightens the race against the worm satisfactorily, but the steering shaft is not centered in the upper worm race - the shaft is angled down (closer to horizontal) than the bearing race (see photo).

I'm assuming my upper race and worm are not concentric - no biggie, the worm is pretty heavily grooved and races are fairly cheap. Question is, when the box is rebuilt & within factory specs, is the steering shaft centered in the hole in the upper bearing race?

Thanks for all responses.
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steering shaft to upper worm race orientation

What you surmise about concentricity is correct. In this case it's looking like gravity and time have colluded to wear the lower half of the bearings/races/rollers to give you the variation you see.

Or perhaps not fully tightened?

Hard thing to do well while it is still in the car (which I see.)

As you get into this more this you'll find that some of the 2 tooth boxes are the "early" pattern bearings/rollers/worm. The change over is described in the SERVICE BULLETINS which you are encouraged to own. The early version 2 tooth boxes are not rebuildable. All three parts must be replaced with "Later" pattern bearings/rollers/worm.

I would guess about 1/3rd of the 2 tooth boxes extant are the early version. You can still use the worm housing, the steering wheel shaft, the sector housing. But the lower cone, the rollers/cages both upper and lower, and the upper cone/collar have to be set aside and replaced with new for a full renewal. Which may not be necessary.

In this case above, you might try taking things apart CAREFULLY (you may find rollers falling out of the assembly and all over the bench top or floor and you don't want to lose these) and "re-order" the pieces after inventory/cleaning.

I have two early version two tooth boxes that are (ahem) challenged slightly in missing a roller or two. Rollers are sometimes found "split" and in pieces or the roller retaining cage broken/rusted. You can put the upper race/collar in a lathe and carefully turn the collar and clean up the roller cone surface. The lower cone/rollers are likely fine (having been in the oil/grease most of their life) and you may be able to swap some rollers/cage parts between lower and upper.

Still, rebuilding the steering re-using older parts has to be done with some degree of trepidation. You count on a lot for your steering and having a steering wheel hang up in mid-maneuver can be car if not life threatening.

But taking it apart develops confidence as well as knowledge about the parts. I would encourage you to this end. Even a good cleaning out without replacement can benefit both parts and peace of mind.

Good luck with this,
Joe K
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steering shaft to upper worm race orientation

Thanks Joe! I know I'm in way over my head - am going to find someone that can help me with the rebuild, it's simply not worth my life or the lives of those sharing the road with me to get the hang of the learning curve. I took the box & sector off to check the internals but put it back on until I had done more reading & study. I'm hoping disassembly will help me get familiar with the various adjustments and inner-workings.

'Twas just curious if the shaft is supposed to be dead center in the race or if it was designed to tilt down a hair. Sounds like it should be dead center.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steering shaft to upper worm race orientation

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwhite View Post
'Twas just curious if the shaft is supposed to be dead center in the race or if it was designed to tilt down a hair. Sounds like it should be dead center.
Try turning it. Does the shaft describe an "orb" around the inside of the bearing? If so all it means is that the shaft is not concentric with the worm. This may be perfectly fine for use (although you may find the steering column will wobble a bit or bind a small amount in the upper trunnion.)

If the shaft stays off to one edge then you've got bearing issues. Maybe only tightness, maybe bearings, maybe worm.

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Old 05-18-2013, 08:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steering shaft to upper worm race orientation

Don't tighten that upper race too much. You could crack it. These boxes aren't complicated but you do have to do everything right. The FSB takes you through it all step-by-step. If you have the earlier type Joe describes you need to replace the worm along with the bearings.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steering shaft to upper worm race orientation

Joe, it pretty much stays in the same place, leaning down toward the bottom - the bearings feel pretty rough while turning the shaft - not smooth at all. I'll pull the shaft out tomorrow afternoon & report back.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steering shaft to upper worm race orientation

Am I correct in my assumption that the early boxes use cylindrical rollers while the later boxes use tapered? I thought I had remembered reading that the upper race is different too - smaller ID on the bearing end.

Edit: found it here;

http://www.abarnyard.com/workshop/steering.htm
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steering shaft to upper worm race orientation

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwhite View Post
Am I correct in my assumption that the early boxes use cylindrical rollers while the later boxes use tapered? I thought I had remembered reading that the upper race is different too - smaller ID on the bearing end.

Edit: found it here;

http://www.abarnyard.com/workshop/steering.htm
The differences in the two are in the degree of the taper and the number of rollers. These changes require matching worm gears and races. The early style are not being reproduced, so you have to go with the later style, which are.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steering shaft to upper worm race orientation

Thanks guys! Y'all are the best!!
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