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My 1910 Mitchell "parts car" project


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Posted (edited)

I'm nearly embarrassed to post today's developments. I had some new ideas about how to go about putting the radius on the ends of the spring shackles but the real problem is that I made two mistakes when I made the blanks...the holes aren't perfectly centered and I did not leave any extra material to be milled away on the end. I thought I could work around this but, by 2 o'clock I'd decided that I would never be happy with the result. I started thinking about starting over when an idea came to me. I was making them because there are no machined surfaces on the original shackles to use in aligning the holes which I want bored out and bushed. I thought of a way of using the actual hole...The shackle was clamped in the drill press vise and I used a piece of 1/2" ground stock to line up the holes perfectly vertical. It was necessary to do each hole individually and you can't rest the work piece on the bottom of the vise because the bottom isn't square.

 

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Then the hole was drilled. I'm only going from 1/2 to 39/64 and I was careful not to put too much pressure on it since all that's holding it in place are the vise jaws...

 

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And reamed to 5/8"

 

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It worked surprisingly well so I took the other shackle off its spring. I took this picture to show that there is still quite a bit of original paint on it. The flash distorts it a bit but its a light cream color. The same color is seen on the chassis rails, the axles and the wheels.

 

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So, after two days of fiddling with the new shackles, it took 2 hours to fix the originals. I'm not complaining though. I learned a lot about horizontal milling – something I haven't done much of. This is a good example of my besetting problem of always starting with the complicated solution. I'm trying to address that but probably won't live long enough to see any real change!

 

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Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Ha! The flip side of my over complicated mind is that I usually know when to quit. I've rescued a lot of parts but I still have a box of mistakes...I'll have to post pictures of it one of these days!

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I' trying to finish all the parts I've started recently. I don't like having 3 or 4 different assemblies going at once but between waiting for materials and the various set ups that I could use more than once, it seemed prudent. In any case, today started well. Since the rotary table was on the mill (and it weighs about 70 pounds) I turned it up to mill the hook spanner notches in the adjustment turnbuckle for the tie rod.

 

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This went perfectly...

 

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Then I thought I'd look at the rear spring shackles. I only had one pair off so I dug the other rear spring out. As you can see, it's pretty crusty although there are lots of traces of the original cream-colored paint still evident.

 

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The rear shackle was held in place by carriage bolts. There was no provision for lubrication. I'd thought they might have been replaced at some time...

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But when I got them out – a job that required using my torch to get the nuts bright red, there were traces of the original paint under the heads so I'm now convinced they were like this from day one. After this, everything went sideways...I damaged one of the shackle plates - not critically but it gave me cause to stop and think about it. Actually, Held describes an improved shackle for 3/4 elliptic springs like this. Since I have the material on hand I try and make some. Also, I had so much trouble with the curved radius on the earlier ones I'd made that I feel I should go back and get that operation right. I know I can do it because I've done it before but a failure like that drives me to figure out exactly what went wrong so it won't happen again.

 

I also cut the flange off the end of the Chriscraft prop shaft (it wouldn't press off) and got the prop off. In doing that I had the idea of making the threaded sleeves I'll need for the improved radius rods from that - a material that is so expensive I'd never have bought it but since I have it, why not?

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Posted (edited)

This morning I cut 4 pieces of 1/2 x 1-1/4 to make the new rear shackles. In this case I'm making "non reversible" shackles. Heldt shows them in his book although I can't say I've ever encountered them. Apparently there was a problem with 3/4 elliptic springs in that, on rough roads (which we hardly see today), the rear spring shackle could flip over. This time I started by squaring up the guide edge.

 

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Then I did all the centering and positioning of the holes with the mill. There are 4 holes - 2 5/8, one 1/4 and one 1/2. The 5/8 holes are for the shackle bolts. The 1/4" hole is for a cap screw to hole two pieces together for machining and the 1/2" hole is the "non reversible" bit.

 

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When I'd put center holes in for each - I moved over to the drill press to drill and ream.

 

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And...here's a question. Have any of you ever seen a light like this? I haven't...it looks like a conventional cowel light but the two mounting brackets clearly have always been there. I bougth it to use as a tail / stop light and I'll replace the clear glass with a convex red lens and mount it in the center of the chassis at the rear.

 

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Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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On 4/28/2021 at 2:41 PM, JV Puleo said:

I' trying to finish all the parts I've started recently. I don't like having 3 or 4 different assemblies going at once but between waiting for materials and the various set ups that I could use more than once, it seemed prudent. In any case, today started well. Since the rotary table was on the mill (and it weighs about 70 pounds) I turned it up to mill the hook spanner notches in the adjustment turnbuckle for the tie rod.

 

IMG_4204.JPG.db80c18bcd09457134f0a06499c6b58d.JPG

 

This went perfectly...

 

IMG_4205.JPG.12e39d32b0e1f6caf4b18006144e0d8c.JPG

 

Then I thought I'd look at the rear spring shackles. I only had one pair off so I dug the other rear spring out. As you can see, it's pretty crusty although there are lots of traces of the original cream-colored paint still evident.

 

IMG_4206.JPG.b549d3e978756e36154816209065c3a7.JPG

 

The rear shackle was held in place by carriage bolts. There was no provision for lubrication. I'd thought they might have been replaced at some time...

IMG_4207.JPG.14450f105c1ccc984330501fcc03a97a.JPG

 

But when I got them out – a job that required using my torch to get the nuts bright red, there were traces of the original paint under the heads so I'm now convinced they were like this from day one. After this, everything went sideways...I damaged one of the shackle plates - not critically but it gave me cause to stop and think about it. Actually, Held describes an improved shackle for 3/4 elliptic springs like this. Since I have the material on hand I try and make some. Also, I had so much trouble with the curved radius on the earlier ones I'd made that I feel I should go back and get that operation right. I know I can do it because I've done it before but a failure like that drives me to figure out exactly what went wrong so it won't happen again.

 

I also cut the flange off the end of the Chriscraft prop shaft (it wouldn't press off) and got the prop off. In doing that I had the idea of making the threaded sleeves I'll need for the improved radius rods from that - a material that is so expensive I'd never have bought it but since I have it, why not?

 

Once again your Mitchell looks to be using the exact same parts as my Staver.  My car uses full elliptic springs , but the shackles are a dead match , and also the saddle that the u bolts clamp to and that rides on the rear axle tube. Those shackles leave quite a bit to be desired don't they . They remind me of something Staver and Mitchell would have normally used on a horse drawn vehicle rather than automobile practice. 

I am very interested in seeing your improved solution. 

 

Greg

 

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Posted (edited)

Today I milled the curved surface on the ends of the shackle pieces. It worked better this time but still wasn't absolutely perfect. The flaw is so inconsequential that I can ignore it but I am getting better at this and there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. I removed the 1/4" cap screw in the center and replaced it with a 1/4" dowel pin and, because I happened to find it, added a 5/8" dowel pin. Bolted down the two pieces have to stay in perfect alignment with each other.

 

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Even though I've made every effort to make these parts identical I would still rather keep them as matched pairs so I stamped a number "1" on both pieces of the first pair. I'll put a "2" on the second pair.

 

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There is more to do on these...the flange bushings have to be countersunk and I will put a bevel on the outside edges to make them look a bit more finished.

 

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I did try a pair on a spring...It's not assembled correctly but you can see what the 3rd hole does...I'll eventually use a pin here but the idea is that the shackles cannot flip over if you hit a rut or pothole. I imagine this was a much greater problem in 1910 than it would be today.

 

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I have an entire drawer full of counterbores - and don't have the one I need...oh well.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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One of my goals here is to make the parts look like they were made in 1910. While they would work just fine as they were, they look "clunky" to me and I'm reasonably sure that in period they would had a more finished appearance. I was going to cut a 45-degree bevel on the outside edges but then had the idea of fluting them with a bull-nose end mill. I also did this on the edges of the valve cages I made so the parts will look as if they were made by the same hand - which, of course, they were. This is the first one...

 

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Except I outsmarted myself. When one flute was cut there wasn't enough material remaining to hold it to cut the second one so I had to rearrange the part to be gripped flat. Getting the new flute to match the one I'd already done was a chore but once done, all the others followed easily.

 

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When the 3/4" counterbore I ordered arrives I'll recess the flanges on the bushings so they are flat with the surface. If I calculated this correctly, the new shackle bolts will fit perfectly. If I didn't, I may have to mill or grind the back sides a tiny bit.

 

Also up are these ends for the radius rods. When I fitted them to the brackets that will hold them I realized they are too side so tomorrow I'll mill them down from 1-1/2" wide to 1-1/4".

 

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Face milling the radius rod ends proved easy - since I've finally learned the betst speed and feed for the cutter.

 

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Thinking ahead a bit, I cut 4 pieces of the prop shaft to make into threaded sleeves for the improved radius rods.

 

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While the saw was working, I made these two little tools to insert the threaded sleeves with. since I had a few pieces of left over threaded rod I used that rather than set up and thread them. These will also serve to make nuts if I ever have to do that again.

 

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The last thing up was to start on the threaded sleeves. The plan is to thread the inside 3/4-16 and the outside 7/8-32. That super fine thread was determined by finding a tap that would work properly on the ID of the DOM tubing I used. I had two pieces of scrap from the first set of rods to test it with so I know it will work...if I can make the sleeves. The wall thickness is only 1/16" so the will be a bit tricky to make.

 

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Posted (edited)

Today I finished drilling the piece of prop shaft...

 

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Then threaded the inside. I decided I'd better try to finish one to see if my planned technique would work so I mounted it on an expanding mandrel...

 

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And turned it down to 7/8". You can see how thin the wall thickness is.

 

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The next step was to thread the OD. I took it off the mandrel, put it in a 7/8" collet and set up my shop-made die stock with it's aligning piece.

 

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The super-fine thread is only .020 deep so I took a chance and threaded it without first single pointing the threads. To my relief, it worked just fine.

 

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But, the thread has to run off the end so when it was about half way down I took it out of the collet and put it back on the mandrel.

 

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Then put the mandrel in the 3-jaw chuck bolted to the mill table to hold the sleeve while I finished the thread.

 

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So far, it had worked as well as I could hope. The final step was to try it in the threaded piece of DOM tubing left over from the first set of radius rods...

I also bushed the small holes in the spring shackles down from 1/2" to 5/16". These will just get a pin with split pins on each side passing through to prevent the shackle from flipping over if I hit a big pothole  - which isn't very likely but is something that would have been a real issue in 1910.

 

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It screwed in very easily...a perfect fit without any shake or loose feeling. When I insert these in the new radius rods I'll use Locktite on the threads and I doubt they will ever move again. It did occur to me that in period, before Locktite was invented, they would have used powdered solder mixed with flux and heated the entire piece to melt the solder. I could do that - but Locktite seems so much easier.

 

I then went on to do the other three but by 5PM my back was hurting from standing all day so more tomorrow.

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Posted (edited)

Not too surprisingly, the only one of the threaded sleeves that was easy to do was the first, though I can't say what I did wrong. I drilled and threaded the remaining 3 pieces, then turnd them down to 7/8". I did use the piece of the prop shaft that was worn - something that gives me an odd sense of accomplishment because I made something useful out of something that was effectively useless.

 

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I should have turned them a bit smaller than the nominal size because it was a bear to thread them. This morning I put two of them back in the lathe to take a few more thousandths off. In retrospect, I probably should have single pointed them about .010 deep but it's done now and they did come out well. The zip ites are to keep them in L & R pairs. I keep thinking I'll accidently put both lefts in one side and both rights in the other.

 

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I went on to finish the rear spring shackles. I needed to countersink the flange on the bushings. It's 1/16" thick and getting a uniform depth is a challenge. I couldn't think of a way to bolt them down in my small drill press (which has a depth stop) so I did a calculation taking the depth of the pilot on the counterbore, the thickness of the piece and the thickness of the flange. I needed a plate .202 thick. I was able to facemill a piece of 1/4" scrap.

 

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I drilled an 11/16" hole in it and set it up on the drill press with a piece of grond stock under it.

 

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Then, when I counterbored, the pilot would hit a flat surface and all the flange relief's would be uniform.

 

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It worked just about perfectly.

 

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So I tried one on a rear spring. I had thought I might have to face mill the pieces if the shackle bolt calculations were too short but they also turned out just about perfect. I'm too lazy to go back down to the shop though to re-take this picture so it's out of focus.

 

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I'm back in the shop after two days of fiddling with my lawn mower...a worn out old Craftsman that I should replace, except that I'm too cheap to do so. Plugging away at FINISHING this little pile of chassis parts...today I put a 45-degree chamfer on the radius rod and tie rod ends...one of those jobs that took as much time to set up as it did to do. This is really cosmetic. It will have no effect on how that parts work but I like them to look finished and my experience is that, in period, workmen thought the same way. I set the mill up to cut the chamfer. The head rotates but this is the first time I've actually done this.

 

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It worked pretty well although I probably should have used a different end mill. The two-fluke cutter left a slightly rough finish...not that anyone will ever notice and these parts will eventually get painted with the chassis, in which case the roughness will disappear.

 

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Then I set the lathe up to make another fixture for drilling the split-pin holes in the tie rod bolts...and discovered, after I'd started, that I don't have the proper drill for the threaded hole. So...I ordered one from an ebay seller using the "nearest first" search option. They are only in the next town so I'm hoping it will get here pronto. At least I asked if they'd mail it right away. I'm away again tomorrow in any case so finishing these up feels like shoveling sand against the tide.

 

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Posted (edited)

The next operation is one I'd been putting off. It's always more stressful working with original parts that would be very difficult to replace and these fall into that category. The arm on the steering knuckle needed to be bushed for the tie rod end pin. The set up turned out to be fairly easy but I gave it a lot of thought before doing it. I'm not thrilled with the set up but it was the only way I could think of doing it.

 

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I drilled and reamed very carefully for fear of upsetting the piece and losing my center. Then I pressed in the bushing.

 

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It went together tight...but the fact that it went together at all was a relief. To loosen it up a tiny bit I lapped it with grinding paste. It turns out that the tightest part was the bushing. I used a barrel lap to open it up and then a little grinding paste on the inside faces of the tie rod end, working it back and forth until it moved freely. The result was all I could hope for. Easy movement but no measurable play.

 

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Then I did the second one. This was a little more work because it was even tighter but, in the end, it came out fine.

 

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This brought me back to a problem I've been thinking about for a long time. I have 3 Pittman arms. The one on the left is the original. The one in the middle came with the chassis and the one on the right is from a Model A. You can see that the ball on the original is deeply pitted...there is also evidence that it broke at some time and was welded back together. The one that came with the chassis is shorter but it's curved although the square hole is the right size. The square hole in the Model A arm is 1/16" too big. My question is...how would the readers here address this? I'm skeptical about welding on such a critical piece and it's a forging - not easy, or perhaps even possible to make a convincing one from scratch. This is a point where I really miss the old Bill's Auto Parts in Valley Falls, RI. 40 years ago I'd just go down to Bills and root around in the yard until I found one that would work...Bill had lots of big cars from the 20s and some even earlier. (I bought a complete 1918 Buick chassis from him once for $300).

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Tomorrow I'll try to remove the bearing races...that should be interesting!

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Didn't you make a tool that can make a radius? Couldn't you use some hex stock and turn down one end and thread it and radius the other? Leave some hex under the ball so you can wrench it into the casting. Cut the old ball off the casting and thread it. Could even jamb nut it for some adjustment. Just an idea.

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I did and I have considered that but I wonder if I can turn a perfect sphere. Chances are, I'll try. Another consideration is that it probably should be hardened, in which case, I'll have to be careful what I make it from.

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I hadn't but its location on the end of the arm and the fact that it looks as if it has been repaired makes me skeptical of using it even if I could repair the surface. I have found a modern part - a "lower ball joint stud" – that might work. I'm waiting to find out what the ball diameter is since that isn't part of the description.

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11 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

This is a point where I really miss the old Bill's Auto Parts in Valley Falls, RI. 40 years ago I'd just go down to Bills and root around in the yard until I found one that would work...

 

Just the other day, when Jane collected me from hospital in Norwich, I said to her that we seem to have lost all the breakers yards that we used to have in our area. Progress, or health and safety?

 

Joe, can you post a side view photo of the original Pittman arm and I will have a think. Mike

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5 hours ago, Mike Macartney said:

 

 

Just the other day, when Jane collected me from hospital in Norwich, I said to her that we seem to have lost all the breakers yards that we used to have in our area. Progress, or health and safety?

 

Joe, can you post a side view photo of the original Pittman arm and I will have a think. Mike

 

 

In the states it's simple.......no one wants to work outside with their hands anymore.............

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I doubt most people have ever had any idea what is involved in actually making something - or fixing something – but as domestic manufacturing deteriorates the number of people who do understand those things is shrinking. I swear many of the people I come in contact with think everything comes from Amazon...

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10 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

I doubt most people have ever had any idea what is involved in actually making something - or fixing something – but as domestic manufacturing deteriorates the number of people who do understand those things is shrinking. I swear many of the people I come in contact with think everything comes from Amazon...


I though you got my pump shaft on Amazon.....silly me.

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Posted (edited)

Today I tackled removing the original bearing races from the steering knuckle. There are two...one is the conventional one you'd expect but this is a Lemoine (sp?) steering knuckle - a system that wasn't used much in the US and was archaic when this car was built. Winton used them...and my 189? Panhard also had this type of axle. I had thought to set up a big puller but, jsut to see if it would work I heated the pieces up with my torch and tried driving them off...

 

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Which worked a charm...and was especially good with these smaller ones because there probably wasn't enough of a lip for the puller to grab.

Then I did the big ones...

 

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If you haven't seen one of these before...there is no kingpin. the vertical shaft has a ball bearing at the bottom and a bushing at the top. The shaft is capped with a brass oil reservoir...you put oil into it and it runs down to the bushing and the bearing.

 

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One of my two oil reservoirs is damaged and has this very old repair...the thread inside is stripped so they riveted one of the lock nuts to it. I will eventually have to address this.

 

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Then we have the Pittman arm... here's a photo of the original as Mike M asked for. You can see that it appears that the ball was welded on.

 

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This is the "almost good enough" one that came with the chassis...it's slightly short and has a decided curve to it.

 

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When I finished removing the bearings I thought I'd try to modify the Pittman arm... I put the curved one in a vise, bolted to a piece of scrap steel...

 

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Then heated it bright red in the middle and bent it down to nearly straight.

 

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It wasn't quite perfect but I was able to improve it by bending it cold in my 20-ton press. It's now straight but 1/2" shorter than the original. What effect does this have on the steering? I'm guessing it will require more turning of the wheel to go from lock-to-lock but I'm not sure that is a major problem. Brass cars tend to be very quick steering to begin with and I'm not sure how much difference 1/2" will make. The orientation of the ball isn't the same but I'm going to make a drag link so I can adopt for that. I still want to make a ball, although this one is better than the original it is still pretty worn...but that can wait until next week.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, JV Puleo said:

1/2" shorter than the original. What effect does this have on the steering? I'm guessing it will require more turning of the wheel to go from lock-to-lock but I'm not sure that is a major problem

Yes, slightly more turning, and usually most steering gears have a bit more available travel than was used in original form;... so hopefully your gears will allow the slight extra needed travel.  Also it will be slightly easier to steer while stopped or low speed parking.

 

BTW, heating won't cause any safety issues on drop-forged steel parts, (in case other viewers get panic stricken)  :)

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Thanks Frank. I knew you'd understand a steering question. The steering gear itself is circular rather than being a sector. More than half of it is never used. You can flip it over to get to the unused side. I've only looked at it once. It's one of those bridges I'll cross when I get to it. In thinking about it though, the stops for the Pittman arm are part of the casting that bolts to the the frame (the steering arm actually passes through the frame). A shorter Pittman arm will be stopped before it can make the complete turn...maybe. I've no idea how accurate they are. In any case, I'm sure I can do something then if it proves a problem.

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Joe, the original ball on the Pitman arm looks as if it would be very difficult to replace without welding. The Pitman arm that came with the chassis looks as if the ball would be much easier to replace as there is much more 'meat' to mount the new ball into. I am sure you will think of a good way of fitting a new ball to the Pittman arm. I would be surprised that the shortening of 1/2" is going to make any significate difference to the steering. Wouldn't it make the steering heavier, not lighter, and the travel of the steering wheel, lock to lock, slightly less? Mike

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I have an idea on how to do it that I'll try but I want to see if I can make the ball before I remove the old one - which is usable, if not ideal. Of the 3 Pittman arms, that is the one that was made with a separate ball. As to the steering, it uses a "worm & wheel" box. This is similar to a "worm & sector" except that the entire gear is used rather than a part of it. Lock to lock it only uses slightly less than 90-degrees of the gear which is mounted on a square stud. It can be taken off, rotated 90-degrees, and you have a new, unused sector. Of course, if the worm is worn it isn't addressing that issue but I'll leave that for later... I also have to bush the holes for the thru-bolt since the original is 1/2" and the replacement is 9/16". It has to engage a notch in the hardened square shaft that comes out of the steering box...it's another of those jobs that is more complicated than immediately meets the eye but I'm confident it will all work well.

It was balloon tires that made steering difficult. Brass-era cars with high pressure skinny tires should not be hard steering. If they are, it's a sign that something is dreadfully wrong.

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On 4/16/2018 at 12:19 AM, JV Puleo said:

Back to the intake manifold... today I started by turning up some alignment plugs. These will allow me to position the flanges on the block without having to drill the holes in the flanges.

 

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Here they are inserted in the engine and the flanges mounted on them. The one on the right is perfect. The one on the left is about .100 high. Ths was to be expected because the holes in the block aren't really round. Since the manifolr utlets are slightly larger than the holes in the block, adjusting the flange to sit properly won't cause a problem.

 

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I then measured and cut a piece of tubing. I also decided to shorten the center T union. Since the tube is really one piece, this won't have any effect on its functioning and I think it looks better - not to mention it makes the polishing a bit easier. Aso, with shorter arms, it won't look so much like a reworked pipe fitting.

 

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I also tried the cross piece... you can see here how it works. I discovered that my 45-degree elbow won't work. The angle is much shallower so I'll have to think of something for that. It occurs to me that I should just bend the tubing on the carburetor side once I've calculated the proper angle. I'll have to look into that as I know nothing about bending tube accurately.

 

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Big project , great work!

 

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Thanks! Do you have a Delaunay Bellville? It's one of my favorite cars. Years ago there was a chassis on the roof of the Franklin Institute. A friend of mine was going to buy it...but before he could finalize the deal word got out it was there and he lost it. I've always regretted that I didn't get to work on it.

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Joe: 
The Pitman arm for the 1925 Buick Master had the ball stud loose and wallowed out the bore on the arm.

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Hardly any wear on the ball itself. I was able to bore out the wallowed hole true. Turn the tapered stem of the stud true and make a pressed steel bushing.

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Pressed all together and had it welded. It reduced the steering play from 1/3 turn of the wheel to 1". Still, would be better done on a Mill. All I have is a cobbled drill press and the 10" South Bend.

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