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Steering Column Rebuild - question re bushings

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  • Steering Column Rebuild - question re bushings

    Hi folks,

    Happy Thanksgiving! I hope all had a great holiday.

    I've started a rebuild of the 7-tooth steering column on my 1929 and the rebuild kit came with two sector shaft bushings that look different from the ones that were in the sector shaft housing. I checked on each parts suppliers' websites and that seems to be intentional. The biggest difference I can see is that the inner old bushing has a hole for what would appear to be grease. My understanding is that the housing is supposed to contain oil, so I'm not sure if the lack of a hole is to prevent using that fitting for grease. Below at top is a picture of one of the new bushings (they're identical) as well as the pair of the old ones at the bottom. I suppose I could install the new bushing and then drill a hole through the fitting hole, but wanted to check with you all first.

    Thanks as always for your insights!


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  • #2
    I would drill the hole before installing it.
    That way there is no way the drill bit could damage the grease fitting threads, plus no chance of metal bits being left inside.


    • #3
      Thanks Tom! Probably a dumb question, but you think I need the hole, right?


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pklarkin View Post
        Thanks Tom! Probably a dumb question, but you think I need the hole, right?
        A few pumps of grease on the sector shaft will help stop the gear oil from leaking past it.


        • #5
          Ultimately you will need the oring at the outer end of the sector shaft the vendors sell or something close to fit on the sector shaft. Grease will help hold the oil in but eventually it will leak past the grease. The oring from the vendors, I found them too fat to work and used a thinner oring that I had and is a John Deere part. I also made a backing plate for it to go between the frame and the steering housing that helps to hold the oring in place, the hole in the frame is too big to be effective holding the oring.


          • #6
            I have had 2 machined for a shaft seal as that is what the customers wanted. No leaks from those. Rod
            "Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good." Thomas Sowell


            • #7
              I've also used that O-ring and washer from Bratton's and it works fine. Smear a bit of grease on the O-ring.


              • #8
                Pat, how'd your steering column turn out ? I was going to do a 2 tooth change on my 28 AA, but now am looking at the options of keeping the 7 tooth. I've seen articles on machining and using roller bearings (from Bob Barnes, Stratford, Connecticut. Bob has described all these Modifications in the September / October 2002 issue of 'The Restorer' (Club magazine of the MAFCA )

                Does anyone have opinions on this modification or are stock bushing adequate for ease of steering ?
                You do not have permission to view this gallery.
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                Model A's and of course the famous AA's


                • DaWizard
                  DaWizard commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Pat, the only question I would have is "how can a bushing be as good as a roller bearing?"

                • Dennis
                  Dennis commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The roller bearing will wear in a limited area. You don't have as much contact surface with a roller as you will with a bushings. Have you seen a sector shaft with a lot of miles on it that had roller bearings?

                • pAAt
                  pAAt commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Dennis, no I have not seen a sector with roller bearings and a lot of miles. I love pictures

              • #9
                Either way you go with a 7 tooth, you still have a 7 tooth that you spend a lot of money on that steers hard with the original steering arm. Ask me how I know. Better I would say if you change to a 2 tooth to buy a Randy Gross F100 unless original means more to you.


                • #10
                  I have a sector shaft that I used with roller bearings.Very few miles,It has dozens of grooves worn into it by the hard bearing rollers.I don't know about now,but the sector shaft bushings we used to get through the vendors were too loose.The last one I did I just bought some bushings by size from the bearing place,squashed them in,and reamed to fit the sector with an adjustable reamer.I didn't know the needle bearing conversion was available for the 7 tooth.Is it any tighter than the one for the 2 tooth?Those aren't tight on a new sector shaft.


                  • #11
                    Will the hardening affect the Sector teeth? Seems like that would not be a good idea unless you differentially harden the shaft.
                    Good enough.. Isn't.


                    • pAAt
                      pAAt commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Larry, I will always like you and your truck went to the right guy. Pat

                  • #12
                    Randy Gross ? Seems I've heard that name before.. ...but never gave him no money. It sounds like it could be cheaper in the long haul. Thanks guys !!!!!!
                    Model A's and of course the famous AA's


                    • #13
                      I agree with Keith and Brent that roller bearings aren't a good idea for the sector shaft.
                      My friend rebuild his steering column, and that made a world of difference in how easy his 29 Tudor steered.
                      When I was 12, I wrote letters to Ford, Chrysler, and GM to ask them why they don't use roller bearings on the engine main and rod bearings.
                      Only GM sent me a letter back, and stated that the engineers felt the bushings were the better way to go.
                      Starting in 1970 even BMW motorcycles went from roller bearings to bushings on the connecting rods.
                      If you need easier steering than a good rebuilt steering offers, then it only costs about $40 for the shorter pitman arm.


                      • pAAt
                        pAAt commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Tom, shorter pitman = shorter turning radius ? I could deal with that in the country. Pat

                      • Dennis
                        Dennis commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Pat, shorter pitman leaves you with a wider radius Edited: Should have said more turns of the steering wheel for the same amount of radius.
                        Last edited by Dennis; 02-28-2018, 01:36 PM.

                    • #14
                      The shorter steering radius with a short pitman arm is something I've never seen.I've heard stories about it,but I have not once seen it to be true.A few years ago I had a man bring his A over,he said he had put on a short pitman arm and his steering radius was reduced.I looked at it and found the spindles were hitting the stops,like they should,so how could the radius have changed?I pointed it out to him,but he had been told it reduced the radius and didn't want to confused by his own eyes and the facts.I put his old one on for him and he said the radius was much improved.he drove circles in my yard telling me how much better it was.The internet gossip was gospel,so there was just no talking to him.He wanted me to throw the short arm away,and when he went to pay me he was shocked when I told him his new/old arm was payment enough for 20 minutes of work.I'm using it to this day.


                      • pAAt
                        pAAt commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Keith, your saying there are no down sides to the shorter pitman ? and you have an extra one for sale ?? Pat

                    • #15
                      I rebuilt my two tooth box with the needled sector. So far so good it has not worn out yet from going in and out of the trailer
                      3 ~ Tudor's
                      Henry Ford said
                      "It's all nuts and bolts"

                      Mitch's Auto Service ctr


                      • BNCHIEF
                        BNCHIEF commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Should have kept quiet now Mark knows what you are hiding.

                    • #16
                      Originally posted by Dennis View Post
                      Pat, shorter pitman leaves you with a wider radius
                      As Keith said, as long as the wheels turn enough to hit the stops, then the turning radius will remain the same. A shorter pitman arm gains you leverage, for easier turning, but you'll have to turn the steering wheel more to make the turn, which is fine by me. My next order for parts will include an order for a shorter pitman arm, just to see what I think of it.


                      • #17
                        I use the short pitman arm, as far as I can tell the turning radius is the same.


                        • #18
                          I've pointed out to some people that if the spindles hit the stops before and after the short arm,how can the radius change?The most common answer is,I don't know,but it changed.Some people go to great lengths to compensate for the changes.When you raise that drag link 1-1/2 inches verticaly,you need to move the pitman arm ahead a little to meet up with it.You are talking thousandths of an inch.Some would have you believe you are making a major change in the travel needed.They are the ones that talk about re-centering the steering wheel.The steering wheel wasn't centered to begin with.The worm was pressed on randomly,not like modern boxes.That's why the wheel had two keyways in it.The service bulletins tell you how to reclock the steering wheel if a spoke obstructs the speedometer.I realize the worm is hourglass shaped,and starts out centered,but in real life I can't tell the few thousandths it is off when adjusting.In theory yes,real life,no.


                          • #19
                            Does anyone know what the Sector is made from? If there isn't enough carbon (.40) in the steel, it won't harden properly. Carburizing is an option, but usually the hardened surface is too thin. I'll explain Carburizing if anyone cares..
                            Good enough.. Isn't.


                            • #20
                              I agree with Brent and those who prefer the bushings. I have done them both ways and use to bore the housings for needle bearings and fit them for each respective sector. They did ok but what convinced me was when I’d torn down A few boxes that had the needle bearings the sectors were needle bearings in them the sectors were worn at the bearings.

                              i think the sector handles a greater load overal with the bushings with less wear and they can be honed to fit tight and be a good steering box with quality parts, proper assembly and adjustment .

                              i like the older sectors like wholert when I can find them . not sure who Brent is referring to but please post who that is when you get a chance

                              With a properly rebuilt box, good front end, tires and proper alignment it’s amazing how well they can steer.

                              larry shepard
                              Last edited by Larrys40; 02-28-2018, 10:07 PM.


                              • #21
                                My old Bratton's book came in handy, but taught me there was no lower bearing installed. (thinking it was removed due to being shot) Bottom splines are groved pretty good. Old upper bearing rest fairly ? on the lower spline end.

                                How is the worm retaining ring removed (worm pressed up and removed, then worm pressed off) ? This 7 tooth was running straight grease Please don't !

                                The lower bushing is worn to much, but the the rest looks like new (except shaft is a concern). I'm going to buy bearings, bushing, seals, correct gear lube and give it a shot.

                                Thanks, pAAt
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                                This gallery has 5 photos.
                                Model A's and of course the famous AA's


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