1911 steering column

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

Topic author
Art Ebeling
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:43 am
First Name: Art
Last Name: Ebeling
Location: Hillsboro IL
MTFCA Number: 50718

1911 steering column

Post by Art Ebeling » Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:59 am

Can the reproduction 5.1 steering shaft and gears be used in my 1911 steering column? Thanks, Art


Adam
Posts: 497
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:57 am
First Name: Adam
Last Name: Doleshal
Location: Wisconsin
MTFCA Number: 23809
MTFCI Number: 1
Board Member Since: 2000

Re: 1011 steering column

Post by Adam » Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:18 am

Yes and no. The fit of the gears in a pre ‘15 is usually disappointing. At the straight ahead position where there is normally the most wear, you can usually get the gears to go in and the fit sometimes seems okay. As you turn it a little left and right, the gears bind. Sometimes they bind quite badly. You
Can usually “wear in” the original gear case to a proper fit with coarse timesaver lapping compound. It might take a lot of lapping and reapplication to get a good free fit. (Maybe a couple hours work). Make sure to clean out every bit of lapping compound when you are finished.


Russ T Fender
Posts: 123
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:39 pm
First Name: Val
Last Name: Soupios
Location: Jupiter Florida

Re: 1911 steering column

Post by Russ T Fender » Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:41 am

I was able to work in the gears with time saver on my '14 column. It was time consuming but I wound up with a nice tight, smooth running set of gears. It was well worth the effort.


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2011
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: 1911 steering column

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:09 am

The question wasn't asked, but I'll answer it. The steering shaft can be built up and machined back at wear points using spray weld, and then new 4:1 steering pinion and gears fitted. This way the feel of the car is retained. Personally, driving an early T with 5:1 steering simply feels wrong to me and if something feels wrong in a T, then the joy of driving goes way down. FWIW.
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!

User avatar

Walter Higgins
Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:18 pm
First Name: Walter
Last Name: Higgins
Location: Realville, PA
MTFCA Number: 396
MTFCA Life Member: YES
MTFCI Number: 153

Re: 1911 steering column

Post by Walter Higgins » Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:16 am

Art, would you mind going back and posting a conclusion on "Pitman arm fit" and "Timer felt installation"? It would be nice to know the end result of these things.


Original Smith
Posts: 1124
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: 1911 steering column

Post by Original Smith » Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:35 am

I have a stock '25 T that has original 5-1 gears. I have several other T's that have the original 4-1 setup. I honestly don't see why changing to the 5-1 ratio is worth it.


modeltbarn
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:59 pm
First Name: Gary
Last Name: London
Location: Camarillo

Re: 1911 steering column

Post by modeltbarn » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:53 pm

An '11 column is shorter, so you can't just buy the 5:1 kit because the shaft will be too long.


Pete Ratledge
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:31 pm
First Name: Peter
Last Name: Ratledge
Location: Delaware
MTFCA Number: 6356
MTFCI Number: 3534

Re: 1911 steering column

Post by Pete Ratledge » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:58 am

Art, I put the (5:1 ratio ) Steering Shaft and the pinion gear kit in my 1911 touring. It was a lot of work. The Steering Shaft was around 2" longer.I had to take it to a machinist and he made it fit. ( He made it to stock size ) He also did a little work on the steering quadrant to get the pinion gear kit to fit. The finished result was GREAT !! I can't believe how much better the car handles. I purchased the kit from BirdHaven Vintage Auto Supply. ( 515-674-3949 )
Good luck,
Pete


Adam
Posts: 497
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:57 am
First Name: Adam
Last Name: Doleshal
Location: Wisconsin
MTFCA Number: 23809
MTFCI Number: 1
Board Member Since: 2000

Re: 1911 steering column

Post by Adam » Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:33 am

Original Smith wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:35 am
I have a stock '25 T that has original 5-1 gears. I have several other T's that have the original 4-1 setup. I honestly don't see why changing to the 5-1 ratio is worth it.

Does your ‘25 have 21” balloon tires? If you drove all day with 4:1 steering gears and 21” tires you sure would notice the difference! 21” tires with 4:1 steering gears steer pretty hard!

I remember seeing some information somewhere that from the introduction of 21” balloon tires, cars with balloon tires received 5:1 steering and cars with clincher tires received the 4:1 steering. I wonder if that was just in the beginning, or all the way thru the end of production?

User avatar

KWTownsend
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:51 pm
First Name: Keith
Last Name: Townsend
Location: Gresham, Orygun
MTFCA Number: 14778
MTFCA Life Member: YES
MTFCI Number: 16305
Board Member Since: 1999

Re: 1911 steering column

Post by KWTownsend » Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:50 pm

I'm with Larry on this one.
My 1911 and 1915 both have original 4:1 steering gear.
My 1919 has 21" wheels and I have 5:1 gears in it.
It was a lot of work to convert and I really don't feel any difference.

I did put in a set of oversized 5:1 gears in the 1919 and it helped to take up excessive play in the gears. Of course that was after tightening EVERYTHING else first.

YMMV

: ^ )


Scott Rosenthal
Posts: 111
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:29 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Rosenthal
Location: Cincinnati OH

Re: 1911 steering column

Post by Scott Rosenthal » Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:04 am

Hello Art:
I retrofitted 2 1912's and a 1909 with the 5:1 gear setup because knowledgeable others here have advised that this retrofit prevents the steering wheel from being jerked out of your hands in the event of hitting an obstacle. Never had this happen to me, but heard this can be a very dangerous event at speed.

That said, in each case, I purchased a complete used 26/27 steering column assembly off Ebay for less than 75 bucks, and robbed the used steering shaft, gears and center pinion. These load effortlessly into the brass steering case, whereas the new repro gears are a very tight fit (if they fit at all). If the lower steering shaft is either long length or the bushing area is damaged, you or your weld shop can easily shorten or lengthen this by cutting, then installing an all-tread stud to center everything back up, then weld and grind off excess.

All said, costs less than 100 bucks, and functions perfectly.

Regards,
Scott


Topic author
Art Ebeling
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:43 am
First Name: Art
Last Name: Ebeling
Location: Hillsboro IL
MTFCA Number: 50718

Re: 1911 steering column

Post by Art Ebeling » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:06 am

Thank you all for the responses. Scott, I may try your 26/27 idea. Art


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2011
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: 1911 steering column

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:17 am

I'm always intrigued by the "jerked out of the hands" comment. The steering is damped 4:1. A motorcycle is direct. This is not a motorcyclist's greatest worry, by far.

Regarding going to 5:1 and expecting great improvement. Unless you upgrade to the enormous later steering wheel, too, you will not gain much in the change over other than having vaguer steering characteristics on the line of having a slightly worn steering linkage.

The change is a permanent one, as it usually requires lapping in the gears to fit the case. Once done, you can never go back to stock standard with that particular gearbox. As you can guess, I see little upside and lots of downside, and would not personally do it. I hate seeing irreversable modifications on rarer early cars.
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


Scott Rosenthal
Posts: 111
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:29 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Rosenthal
Location: Cincinnati OH

Re: 1911 steering column

Post by Scott Rosenthal » Sun Nov 24, 2019 7:51 am

Scott: I fully agree with your assessment when using modern reproduction triple gears. The used parts method I outlined does not result in any alterations to the early gearbox, where there are no issues that prevent a full return to the original 4:1 setup, if so desired. As to the performance benefits, I don't drive these cars enough to notice a significant difference, and that may be partially due to my original diameter steering wheel. As described, this alteration took me approx. 2 hours....one hour to shorten the later shaft by 3 1/2" I think...and another hour to change out the parts. I retained the original shaft, gears, and pinion, in the event that I or some later owner prefers them returned.
Regards,
Scott

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic