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Fun with steering gears---> 1918 Buick


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Steering wheel play is not 2 inches or 6 inches, but one whole revolution of the wheel. Not good.

 

Too cold to work on the car so I popped the steering column out to bring into my crib . Figured out the problem, and it's not an easy fix:

 

The hardened endpiece broke off the half-nut! The gears are fine and everything looks great, I wonder how I can re-attach the little hardened piece onto the half nut.

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Edited by Morgan Wright
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If you can, run a file across part of the pin.  If it slides across the surface without cutting, You will need to use grind stones or find a machine shop with EDM.  You can also test with a carbide scribe, if it won't mark the surface carbide cutters won't do the job.

Bob Engle

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I have vague recollections of going for a first run of a restored 1918 McLaughlin-Buick.The owner turned to go left out of the driveway but the car went right ! We went around the block and had to turn the steering wheel the opposite direction for turns. That was 50 years ago and I can't verify it,but be careful putting it back together !

Jim

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14 hours ago, Morgan Wright said:

Look at the pics. The screws broke.

That's obvious.  The point is that screws have heads.  If these were screws you should be able to locate those heads and gain an avenue for extraction.

If they're pins, you may have the opportunity for a similar approach.  Dowel pins are typically pressed in with an interference fit.  The raw casting doesn't have that kind of precision, which means that there would be tooling access to the holes.  Or they used cheap, soft pins that were malleable enough to fit rough holes.  If they are pins and there are holes through the case, put a punch in the holes and knock them out.

 

Or not.  The pictures aren't detailed and comprehensive enough to make a thorough assessment.  Put some JB Weld on it and clamp it together overnight.

Edited by KongaMan (see edit history)
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If these are the two mating parts, drill them, ream them, press in new pins.  You might even get lucky and find out they're a slip fit and will spin out with a plain extractor and you need to do nothing more than replace the pins.

 

1918-steering-gear.jpg.3e5e70047316df8e3b35d33e8f2a7d50.jpg

Edited by KongaMan (see edit history)
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Today they make spring pins, made of manganese steel, that contract when you tap them in, and extremely strong.  I don't know when they were invented or what steel they used back in 1917. I probably should pop the other hardened end off and put new spring pins in that one too.

Edited by Morgan Wright (see edit history)
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PLEASE, do not use spring pins. They are notorious for breaking. If those are typical hardened dowel pins, they will have relatively soft centers that may allow you to drill them out. (And maybe even allow you to tap them for a slide hammer)

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The thing that would help the most here would be if Mr. Wright would simply wash up all of the parts in the steering box so that everyone could see what is going on and what it is that he is talking about.  Without that being done, it is very hard to grasp what it is that he is talking about.  I have several of these steering boxes and have seen these things all apart, so, I understand them.  Not everybody on here has that advantage.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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8 hours ago, JerryVan said:

PLEASE, do not use spring pins. They are notorious for breaking. If those are typical hardened dowel pins, they will have relatively soft centers that may allow you to drill them out. (And maybe even allow you to tap them for a slide hammer)

 

I'll do a shear test on the pins I use before deciding which ones to use. Manganese spring steel is virtually impossible to break. They make lawnmower blades with that stuff, my 1980 mower deck on my Satoh still has the original blades on them and I've hit 1000000000 rock with them. I've sharpened the blades 20 times. They dull, but are about as unbreakable as steel can be. The pins I use will be that kind.

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2 hours ago, JFranklin said:

I agree that the first step to any repair is a thorough cleaning. The grease just attracts grit and will need to be removed anyway before reassembly.

 

Concur.  I'm kind of anal that way: I generally clean the outside before I even open it up.  Then I clean up the inside and give the whole thing a once-over before I start putting it back together.  It's just a lot easier working on clean parts.

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1 hour ago, KongaMan said:

 

Concur.  I'm kind of anal that way: I generally clean the outside before I even open it up.  Then I clean up the inside and give the whole thing a once-over before I start putting it back together.  It's just a lot easier working on clean parts.

 

The sequence of photos I attached is the disassembly. It boggles my mind that you think it would be all clean inside during disassembly.

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4 hours ago, Terry Wiegand said:

The thing that would help the most here would be if Mr. Wright would simply wash up all of the parts in the steering box so that everyone could see what is going on and what it is that he is talking about.  Without that being done, it is very hard to grasp what it is that he is talking about.  I have several of these steering boxes and have seen these things all apart, so, I understand them.  Not everybody on here has that advantage.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

 

I always take photos during different steps of taking things apart so I have evidence of how they looked when they were together. This is an important trick to remember.

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7 minutes ago, Morgan Wright said:

 

No. The first step to any repair is diagnosing the problem. The second step is removal of the part. The third step is disassembling the part. The 4th step is cleaning.

I wonder what special trick you used to diagnose the broken endpiece before removing and disassembling the gear box.

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The dowels are not hardened. I will drill out the broken dowel on the hardened endpiece using a drill bit smaller than the dowel, and then move the bit around the hole to get it all out. From that I can get an accurate size of the new spring dowel. Using a drill bit that exact size, I'll drill the dowel out on the half nut. This will be an easy job, tomorrow.

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If that's supposed to be (or if you intend it to be) an interference fit, you'll want to drill those holes undersize and ream them.  Interference fit or not, rather than moving the bit around in an attempt to enlarge the hole (a job for which the tool is not really designed), why not use a larger bit of the proper size and get a round hole instead of a Rorschach test?

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The 4 pieces of dowel are 0.148 inch diameter as you can see. I used a 9/64 (0.141) drill bit to get them out. The length of the dowels can be measured also.

 

The torsion spring pins from the hardware store failed the shear test. I didn't want that kind anyway.

 

Now to find manganese steel spring pins.

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Edited by Morgan Wright
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.003 is a huge gap.  If those measurements are accurate, the pins should have dropped out of the holes, and the other endpiece should have fallen off after the center pawl was removed.  If the pieces slide on the pins, that could have contributed to the failure with the shear and bending forces encountered on the pins.

 

It might also pay to check the parts for wear.  They wouldn't use a hardened cap if they didn't anticipate wear of some sort.

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As long as we're popping off about this...

 

Is the indicated groove in the pad a wear mark?  If it is, it might be beneficial to rotate the pad 180° at reassembly (or make new pads if that's not feasible).  You'd think there's a good chance that wear like that would introduce slop into the system; putting the contact point on a fresh surface might tighten things up a bit..

 

1918-steering-gear-pad.jpg.b155f0402ee40940b922f741e940234e.jpg

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Be careful when putting the half nuts back into the housing. If you do it wrong, when you turn right the car will go left and vice versa. A friend with a '19 had that fun experience.

 

JB weld in a car that has been in storage for 80 years???

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