Steering Stabilizers

Discuss all things Model T related.
Forum rules
If you need help logging in, or have question about how something works, use the Support forum located here Support Forum
Complete set of Forum Rules Forum Rules
User avatar

Topic author
ArthurB
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:22 pm
First Name: Arthur
Last Name: Babitz
Location: Hood River, Oregon
Board Member Since: 2018

Steering Stabilizers

Post by ArthurB » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:02 pm

I know this is a touchy subject, but I am new to T's and need to understand. I have a 1927 Roadster. I've entirely rebuilt the front end, so steering is "to spec" with fresh bushings, kingpins, spindles etc. Steering seems tight, though I've never driven another Model T. One thing I've learned driving it is that it's easy for a rut or pothole to grab the wheel. I know that's a basic result of the steering mechanism design.

Some people with lots of T experience have recommended a hydraulic steering dampener for safety. Now I understand the argument that you shouldn't use a dampener to cover for a loose front end, and you shouldn't use it to let you drive too fast, but that's not me. I'm not the guy who ignores things until parts fall off. My thinking is that in the years it will take me to catch up to you guys with driving experience a steering dampener can add a margin of safety.

Is my thinking on this sound? If so, which device have you had good experience with?

Thanks in advance, and I hope I don't stir up too much with this post.


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2222
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:35 pm

The damper will keep the steering from sudden jarring. Think about a flexible system of levers that ultimately end at a very stiff, damped union.

The damper is attached to a very unyielding point; the axle. It is also attached to a very flexible lever; the tie rod. Every time the tie rod moves against the damper, because of the angle the damper assumes toward the tie rod, the tie rod is forced to flex as the damper resists it's movement.

Now the practical application: Recently a gentleman drove a T from coast to coast. During his journey, the tie rod cracked at the damper's attachment point. It was discovered by a good samaratin who was in the process of performing other vital work to put the car on the road after an unrelated breakdown. The tie rod was welded. Several days later, the driver broke down near me, with a burned out rod, and I repaired his car, as well. I found the damper attached adjacent to the weld on the tie-rod and was so alarmed at it's effect against it, I strongly urged him to remove it to save the tie rod from breaking again. I did not prevail with that suggestion and the damper remained on the car, as the driver felt better advice he had received, was to keep it in place and that it would carry the day. Several days later the tie rod did indeed break, in half, adjacent to the weld, right at the attachment point, and if not for the fact that he was slowing down entering a town, his trip would have ended permanently. The tie rod was replaced and the damper went where I felt it belonged several days prior. His stated opinion was the car felt as good or better than any time prior when the damper was in place. All of this is captured in photos, emails, and ultimately, the book he wrote about his adventure.

FWIW.
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!

User avatar

Henry K. Lee
Posts: 2201
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:09 am
First Name: Henry
Last Name: Lee
Location: South Pittsburg, TN
MTFCA Life Member: YES

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Henry K. Lee » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:48 pm

Arthur,

Everyone has their own opinion for sure. You are correct in your thinking and this is a subject which does ruffle feathers. Shock absorbers such as Hasslers do a good job too in smoothing out the primitive front end. I am one that is not against a steering stabilizer as long as your front end is tight and free in motion. Some issues which arise making a T not handle well as it should are; the front shackles are too tight, king pins too tight, springs do not slide on each other, wishbone ball has a little to much motion. Things to check first, then add a stabilizer if this gives you peace of mind and assists you in the driving experience and pleasure. Steering ratios in the upper box makes a difference to from 4 to 1 and to 5 to 1. Hope this helps.

All the Best,

Hank in Tin-A-See

User avatar

JP_noonan
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:44 am
First Name: John
Last Name: Noonan
Location: Norton,Ma.

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by JP_noonan » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:32 pm

Ruffled feathers aside, how does one broken tie-rod that may or may not have had the damper installed correctly institute the fearmongering of an installation for all the others with no problems? We all followed the journey that was lionized here by some, fact or fiction?
Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2222
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:48 pm

John

Attached to axle at one end, and the tie rod at the other. Not installed wrong. Tie rod cracked once and then broken once cleanly in two while being driven. Simple facts stated honestly. No hysterics, no statement that it will happen again to anyone in the future, no fear mongering. Simply put out there with "For What it's Worth". If it's not worth anything to you, so be it. There was no charge in the first place. ;)
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!

User avatar

A Whiteman
Posts: 179
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:36 pm
First Name: Adrian
Last Name: Whiteman
Location: South Island, New Zealand

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by A Whiteman » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:50 am

You probably have checked this, but make sure the caster on the axle is correct. It should 'lean back'. If the axle is straight up and down - no caster - then dodgey steering will occur.


Humblej
Posts: 409
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:23 pm
First Name: Jeff
Last Name: Humble
Location: Charlevoix, Mi
Board Member Since: 2006

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Humblej » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:08 am

Arthur, a steering stabilizer is not needed. The 25-27 steering was improved over the earlier years, it is the best steering system of all the model T's and does not need extras and upgrades if properly maintained.


John Codman
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:27 am
First Name: John
Last Name: Codman
Location: Naples, FL 34120

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by John Codman » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:19 am

A '27 should have the 5:1 steering. If everything else in the front end is within spec, you shouldn't need to do anything. My '27 had a very sloppy steering system when I bought it, and you aimed it rather then steered it. After going completely through the steering it drives beautifully. For the record, I'm not opposed to period accessories, but I think you will find that dampers are not really necessary.


Joss
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:46 am
First Name: Joss
Last Name: Sanderson
Location: Tucson AZ

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Joss » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:51 am

This one is easy. I had a few issues on my 12 and installed a stabilizer. Made it better but the problem was still there. Rebuilt the front end - starting with a STRAIGHTENED AXLE - and no more issues. Went through a pile of axles labeled good and found all of them needed adjustment. Not even one was correct. If the front end is all correct there is no need for a damper.

User avatar

Topic author
ArthurB
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:22 pm
First Name: Arthur
Last Name: Babitz
Location: Hood River, Oregon
Board Member Since: 2018

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by ArthurB » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:10 pm

Thanks for all the advice. I wasn't aware of the 5:1 "improved" steering. I'll have to check that I have the right gears in place. I know it's a 1926-27 steering column but never thought to verify the gearing. I think I have everything else properly adjusted and to spec, but it's probably a good idea for me to get someone else to try driving my car to verify. I went through the checklists for some of the tours but they use terms like "no excessive play" which seem subjective. But at least they got me to check all the cotter pins! I had similar trouble adjusting the transmission bands. Everyone assumes you know what a good one should feel like, but I don't! Learning a step at a time. Thanks again.


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2222
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Scott_Conger » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:44 pm

Arthur

I've followed your progress and enjoyed sharing your success vicariously. As an engineer, not sure your discipline, but figured you might like the following gyroscope videos.It seems to me that some folks believe that hitting a bump will risk flopping the wheels one way or another, tearing your steering wheel out of your hands, and the faster you're going, the riskier it is (just the opposite is true). I am not certain, and this is purely speculation, but suspect that a well known accident in the past, where the driver went off pavement with one wheel at speed and had a major accident when attempting to steer back on the pavement, is the genesis of the belief of the safety or desireability of a damper (the dynamics of that accident are of course entirely different than hitting a pothole) . It's true you feel shocks through the mechanism despite being gear-reduced through the steering box, but the faster you're going, the less chance the wheels out front will diverge from the intended direction. This is why a model T "death wobble" is most likely and most pronounced in worn out components, at very slow speeds...gyroscopic effect of wheels will not damp out flexing of the suspension and steering linkage. I am not trying to beat a dead horse, and if a reader disagreed with me before this post, I do not expect to change minds, but perhaps we can all have a little fun with these, no matter how old a kid you are...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeXIV-wMVUk

first minute of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6gEphTp2G4
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


Original Smith
Posts: 1196
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:43 am
First Name: Larry
Last Name: Smith
Location: Lomita, California
MTFCA Number: 121
MTFCA Life Member: YES
MTFCI Number: 16310

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Original Smith » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:09 am

If you have a sound steering system, and the bushings in the front axle, springs and everywhere else have been replaced there is no need for such a device. Another thing to do is to file the caps on the drag link so you get a nice fit. Do it on both ends, and put in plenty of grease. The excess will squish out.

User avatar

Mark Gregush
Posts: 1689
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:57 pm
First Name: Mark
Last Name: Gregush
Location: Portland Or
Board Member Since: 1999

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Mark Gregush » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:37 am

Two things, make sure the toe in is correct, the wheels should point to a point in front of the car and would be about 1/8-1/4". The other thing, you said it was tight. If you pull the king pin and nut up too tight it can bind on the bushings making it hard to steer and can lock. You might try backing both the nut and king pin off a bit.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :roll:

1921 Huckster
1925 Cut down pickup


R.V.Anderson
Posts: 223
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:01 pm
First Name: R.V.
Last Name: Anderson
Location: Kennedy, NY

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by R.V.Anderson » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:53 pm

Good advice here. I would add one more thing: drive the car within its designed parameters. I fully understand that today's conditions, with such things as distracted or aggressive drivers, present situations unknown in Henry's day, so we have to do the best we can. This usually means avoiding modern traffic whenever possible. Lots of folks disagree, but I have always felt that if you really need to drive 50 mph, get a Model A. :)


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2222
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:56 pm

Lots of folks disagree, but I have always felt that if you really need to drive 50 mph, get a Model A
Amen
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


d stroud
Posts: 729
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:45 am
First Name: David
Last Name: Stroud
Location: Mound City, MO. 64470
Board Member Since: 2011

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by d stroud » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:41 am

Original Smith wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:09 am
If you have a sound steering system, and the bushings in the front axle, springs and everywhere else have been replaced there is no need for such a device. Another thing to do is to file the caps on the drag link so you get a nice fit. Do it on both ends, and put in plenty of grease. The excess will squish out.
I've posted this before on the old forum. Filing the caps alone is NOT a good idea. When we got our '25 mostly original coupe about ten years ago, I started checking out the front end. The pitman arm to drag link had a bit of slack, so I took it apart. The cap had been filed so many times that the ID of it was way smaller than the ID of the socket, nobody thinks about that as long as it seems to tighten up. That caused the pitman ball to become VERY worn with a groove in it. Think about it, each time the cap is filed, it reduces the ID. If you want to file anything, first take it apart. The socket may need filing more than the cap. I repaired the ball by brazing it up and dressing it down(not hard to do at all) and found a good cap. JMHO Dave
1925 mostly original coupe.


Dan Hatch
Posts: 668
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:31 pm
First Name: Dan
Last Name: Hatch
Location: Alabama
MTFCA Number: 49974

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Dan Hatch » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:06 pm

Did you check and fix the threads in the bottom "yoke" of the front axle? How about the hole in the top "yoke" of axle? Sounds like a job for "Stevens Front Axle Tool". Dan

User avatar

Ruxstel24
Posts: 1756
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:25 am
First Name: Dave
Last Name: Hanlon
Location: NE Ohio
MTFCA Number: 50191
Board Member Since: 2018

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Ruxstel24 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:10 pm

From my knowledge of straight axles, mostly 4X4s. Steering dampers are used to control "death wobble". Most are equipped with one from the factory, without it or if the fluid leaks out...shaky shaky. Even on a new one !! Hence the nickname shimmy shock. The don't do much as far as helping to keep on the road.

Above was mentioned about the spindle bushing bolt being too tight. That can definitely cause oversteer and jumping around/following road imperfections.

I vote no shimmy shock. :)


Victor Borg
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:02 am
First Name: Victor
Last Name: Borg
Location: Tuscon AZ
MTFCA Number: 35213

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Victor Borg » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:54 pm

I put one of those hydraulic steering stabelizors (how the hell do you spell that??) on my wife's 27 touring because ruts and bumps on our crappy roads here in tucson gave her the willies and she was convinced that something was dreadfully wrong with Daisy's front end.I checked everything out and all seemed to be OK,but the rut following swerving didn't stop until i put the thing on the car.all is well now.I think it is a very worthwhile investment in driving ease as long as one doesn/t try to use it as a coverup for something amiss in the front end as pointed out by earlier posts.just my 2 cents worth.

User avatar

Oldav8tor
Posts: 514
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:39 am
First Name: Tim
Last Name: Juhl
Location: Thumb of Michigan
MTFCA Number: 50297
MTFCI Number: 24810

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Oldav8tor » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:42 pm

I put one on my 1952 Willys M38A1 Jeep - it put and end to the death wobble..... It's rather disconcerting to be going down the road at 40 mph and suddenly have the front end try to shake itself apart. The only solution is to hit the brakes and hope the guy behind you is paying attention. If I have such troubles with my T (after I finish going thru the front end) I won't hesitate to install one.
1917 Touring
1946 Aeronca Champ
1952 Willys M38a1 Jeep
1953 Ford Jubilee Tractor


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2222
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:12 pm

Tim

this may come across as mean-spirited , and if so, I apologise in advance, but do not mean any disrespect when I say this: if your T shakes and needs a damper, at any speed, after repair, you have missed something in the rebuild of the axle and steering system. Nothing about your posts leads me to believe that you will do an inadequate job, so believe you'll be saving that $$.

That said, a great % or rebuilt front ends still have worn out king-pin holes and threads. There is a good reason why Dan Hatch often pops into these discussions with the advice that the owner needs to purchase or borrow a Stevens Axle Repair tool. Similarly, tie-rod ends often have worn upper-holes and threads. If tie-rod bolts can move side/side at ALL, they need holes welded up and reamed and theads renewed. Unless these areas are analysed and remediated as necessary, the job is incomplete.
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!

User avatar

Oldav8tor
Posts: 514
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:39 am
First Name: Tim
Last Name: Juhl
Location: Thumb of Michigan
MTFCA Number: 50297
MTFCI Number: 24810

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Oldav8tor » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:53 pm

Scott,
You don't do anyone any favors by pussy-footing around when safety items are concerned. I certainly take no offense. I've paid close attention to all discussions on this topic and have numerous notes on what to check, common problems and proper repairs. I'll be taking a close look at everything and correcting anything that needs it. I'm also not shy in asking for other opinions.

I chose not to drive my car after I bought it until I've had a chance to go thru everything. The engine and transmission are rebuilt, the rear axle and driveshaft has been rebuilt and as soon as my broken leg will allow me, I'll be tearing into the front end. For me, I believe it is important to understand the workings of my vehicle so I can make smart maintenance decisions. I also believe in fixing it right the first time....

I have a guy with a steven's tool lined up in the event some front end work needs to be done that is beyond my ability to do properly. My hope is to find and correct all problems and not need a stabilizer. If I do all that and people with a long history of restoring Model T's look at my front end and see no explanation for an occasional death wobble, I will consider the stabilizer.

When I did my Jeep I worked with a guy who is expert in such things and in the end, could not totally eliminate the problem. Did we miss something? Maybe.... however, the addition of the stabilizer four years ago (a common accessory for early Jeeps) completely eliminated such problems and introduced a greater level of safety. I certainly agree they are no replacement for proper repairs, wheel balancing, etc., but I know they work.

Every tricycle gear airplane I've ever flown has had a shimmy dampner.... when they don't work and a nosewheel starts to wobble at 80 mph it really gets your attention. A Jeep at 40 mph (or less) is a similar experience. I don't want to experience a death wobble in my Model T.....
1917 Touring
1946 Aeronca Champ
1952 Willys M38a1 Jeep
1953 Ford Jubilee Tractor


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2222
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:14 pm

Tim

you've got the right attitude about these things. Good for you. Like I mentioned, an overlooked point is the tie-rod ends and kingpin mounting points. There is no handy-dandy tool for the tie rod ends. I've bushed them and I've welded them and reamed them. I think I prefer the weld fix. A 1x Helicoil with a couple of coils nipped of is a good fix for the threaded bottom of the tie rod yoke. On kingpins, if the top hole has more than a few thou clearance or is at all oval, the Stevens bush is great. If the threads on the bottom of the axle are badly worn (there is sideways movement even if the threads "catch" OK), they need to be renewed. If the axle is off the car, I like to put on the mill and line up with the top bush and install a helicoil as that removes the least material. If you do this with the axle in the car, the Stevens threaded bush is fine...it just removes a little more material.

As an aside, due to the nature of wide and heavy tires on modern cars, and the fact that balancing them involves plane-separation on dynamic balancing, a stabilizer is mandatory even with a perfect front end. With a T, plane-separation is all but non-existent with respect to unbalance and whether a wheel can go into oscillation due to unbalance. "Death Wobble" is all but impossible in a T when at speed. It is a low speed problem. When I toured my Dad's T in So. Dakota years ago to break in a new engine, I couldn't make it through a parking lot at idle speed with out violent wobble if I hit any bump. That same car would not wobble at all once over 10MPH. The front end proved to be terribly worn out...in fact the worst I've ever seen, and yet was perfectly stable on the road...just the nature of the beast.

You're going to have a really nice performing car when you're done, and there won't be an inch of it that you don't have intimate knowledge of. Kudos.
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


HaroldRJr
Posts: 169
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:13 am
First Name: Harold
Last Name: Schwendeman
Location: Sumner, WA

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by HaroldRJr » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:42 pm

Interesting reading here for sure! I certainly don't feel qualified to comment on whether or not the installation of a steering stabilizer is a good idea or not, but I will make a comment of another type:

Several years ago, there was a lengthy discussion on the old forum about what I'm now hearing called "the death wobble", and what to do about it. One thing I particularly remember from that discussion was a comment by a forum member that was greatly respected for his Model T "expertise" and automotive knowledge in general. I'm sorry, but for the life of me, I can't remember for sure, who that was! I only remember that it was somebody I respected as very knowledgable, or I would not have considered the comment as worth remembering. I don't remember his exact words but I do remember that what he said was that on occasion, even a brand new Model T Ford will experience a very severe front end wobble, especially at very low speed, when just the right (or wrong) combination of road conditions, speed, and who knows what else happen to exist. In other words, his opinion was that it was "just the nature of the beast" and an example of just something to be aware of with early vehicles and early engineering principles and early crude design. And accordingly, the Model T slow speed death wobble is just something that we must accept as "the nature of the beast". In other words, besides making sure the front end is in as good a condition as possible, it's just a problem we have to live with, such as the danger of losing control of the vehicle when backing up too fast. For what it's worth,.....harold


HaroldRJr
Posts: 169
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:13 am
First Name: Harold
Last Name: Schwendeman
Location: Sumner, WA

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by HaroldRJr » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:46 pm

Sorry Scott, but I guess all I just did was to add a bit to what you just said,.....harold

User avatar

Bob McDaniel
Posts: 230
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:44 pm
First Name: Bob
Last Name: McDaniel
Location: Logansport In.
MTFCA Number: 28428
Board Member Since: 2007

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Bob McDaniel » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:03 am

Mark Gregush wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:37 am
make sure the toe in is correct, the wheels should point to a point in front of the car and would be about 1/8-1/4".
I have seen the toe in set as much as 1 1/4" on cars that should be 1/4" and you could drive them but not very well. Others I have seen set real close but still off and they drove OK most of the time but when you hit that sweet spot every thing just feels right. If your car doesn't feel right then my vote is after you check everything else, give it a little adjustment of maybe a turn or two and then do a test drive. If it is worse then turn it back and then go a turn or two the other way. My 1926 feels good at any speed but when I first got it the front end was worn out and had the "death wobble" and I had never driven a T before. Now it takes bad roads better than my pickup which is 75 years newer. That's how I set mine and the 31 Model A my wife bought and we drive it everywhere. I hit a bump at speed and it goes where its pointed with no issues now but before it would pull left or right when it hit the same bump. Took me a few tries to find the right spot on that one but now I can let go of the wheel and it just keeps going. (don't try this in a T)

Another thing I notice is if the toe in is not perfect, the car will be harder to back up. They don't do real good in reverse anyway but if something is not right they are a real bear to control in reverse even at the slowest speed possible.
Give an old car guy a barn and he won't throw anything away.

User avatar

ROBERTHOOPS
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:47 am
First Name: Robert
Last Name: Hoops
Location: Burton,Texas
MTFCA Number: 15877
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by ROBERTHOOPS » Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:25 am

In the late 1980’s/early 1990’s, I was frequently experiencing the death wobble in my 1927 Touring. With the assistance and advice of man who was much more experienced than I was, I rebuilt everything in the front end. The car handled better but the death wobble continued. One day I noticed that the rear tires were nearly slick but there was plenty of tread on the front ones. I swapped them and the problem disappeared, and I have never had this problem since. All four of the tires have been replaced over the years, probably two or three times. (Note that this car has wire wheels.)


John Codman
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:27 am
First Name: John
Last Name: Codman
Location: Naples, FL 34120

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by John Codman » Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:11 am

Arthur - You may already know this, but the two nuts and studs that support the wishbone must be safety wired - not cotter pinned. Cotter pins will hold the nuts to the studs, but will not stop the studs from unscrewing themselves.

User avatar

Oldav8tor
Posts: 514
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:39 am
First Name: Tim
Last Name: Juhl
Location: Thumb of Michigan
MTFCA Number: 50297
MTFCI Number: 24810

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Oldav8tor » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:34 am

This is a great conversation. Time to add a few wrinkles :-)

My '17 has the wishbone that attaches above the axle. It was interesting to learn while doing some research that the "above" configuration lent to an "out of control" accident that threw Henry Ford from his car into a ditch only a few miles from where I live. The solution to the problem was to change the wishbone attachment to the bottom of the axle. MY solution was to add a second wishbone so now I have one both above and below the axle. Will this have any effect on the likelihood of a "Death Wobble"? No clue.

I also purchased some tire balancing beads so hopefully "out of balance" wheels won't add to the problem. Will the beads reduce the chance of a "Death Wobble"? Again, no clue.

I'm anxious to take a close look at the front end and will do what it takes to remove any slop. One thing I learned working on aircraft is that it doesn't take much...a few thousandths can make all the difference between wobble and no wobble.
1917 Touring
1946 Aeronca Champ
1952 Willys M38a1 Jeep
1953 Ford Jubilee Tractor


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2222
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Scott_Conger » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:00 pm

.a few thousandths can make all the difference between wobble and no wobble
and that is it, in a nutshell

that fact is lost on an awful lot of folks who claim their front end is "rebuilt", when in fact I would deem them to be needing at least another day's worth of work.
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!

User avatar

Topic author
ArthurB
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:22 pm
First Name: Arthur
Last Name: Babitz
Location: Hood River, Oregon
Board Member Since: 2018

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by ArthurB » Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:56 pm

Thanks for all the replies. I feel much better knowing all the time I spent last summer replacing everything that was worn in the front end was worth it. But you guys forgot one element of front end handling which I discovered driving on a very hot dry day. I knew all the bushings were fresh and everything was lubed and properly tightened and all the angles were correct and steering wheel play was minimal, yet at 30 mph or so it felt a little "squishy." I pulled into a parking lot, and discovered the front wheel spokes were all loose. I learned my front end rebuild was not done until I rebuilt the front wheels. I also learned, based on how the wheels are built, that cornering at high speed with a wood-wheel Model T isn't very smart no matter how good your spokes are. Fresh spokes and tight bolts may make a reasonably stable wheel, but it's not designed to corner at 60mph.


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2222
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:04 pm

Arthur

good news/bad news: with new hickory spokes in a steel fello wheel, you'll likely tip over before they break (unless you curb it on a wet or icy road). What, that doesn't build confidence? :lol:
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!

User avatar

Topic author
ArthurB
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:22 pm
First Name: Arthur
Last Name: Babitz
Location: Hood River, Oregon
Board Member Since: 2018

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by ArthurB » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:15 pm

Where are "Mythbusters" when you need them? I'm not nearly as confident in the sheer strength of a hickory spoke as you are, Scott! I'll buy a spare or two when I redo my rear wheels this summer and see if I can rig up a test.


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2222
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:23 pm

Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


BasketCase24
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:57 pm
First Name: Jake
Last Name: Kluch
Location: Illinois
MTFCI Number: 19122
Contact:

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by BasketCase24 » Sun May 19, 2019 3:24 pm

I’m just finishing rebuilding the front end on the Basket Case, and I’ve learned a ton here and elsewhere on the forum. A couple questions remain.

First, is there a minimum gauge wire used to safety wire the nuts on the wishbone? I’m going on the International tour and don’t want to have any inspection issues.

Second, I saw some derogatory comments on an old forum about attaching to the axle for towing. I winch my T on and off the enclosed trailer due to narrow dimensions, and have connected winch to axle. If this is harmful, where SHOULD I connect the winch? I don’t want to “un-do” the work we’ve done...


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2222
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Steering Stabilizers

Post by Scott_Conger » Sun May 19, 2019 5:13 pm

I loop a recovery strap around/behind the frame above the springs or simply around the spring as close to the frame as I can get. The T is too light to damage the strap and you are pulling from a very firm point. You are correct to never tow from the axle, unless possibly from the spring perch, but why be so far off center and stress other things?
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic