Don Jr.

1921 Steering box

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Hi, Now working on the steering box in the touring. I scrapped off  all the road grime and see a number  C-7134 with a E underneath the numbers also to the right is a cast M encircled around a hex. Any info on the box would be appreciated before I pull it down for inspection and repair. Who made these boxes?? Thanks, Don.

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Hi, Yes I found this post earlier today. Very good one. My box looks to be tight but wanted to know how to adjust it before i pull it apart and paint myself in a corner!! Have really learned on the early Dodge. Struggled with all the details needed to clean up the engine and reseal her. Never restored a car this early. Model A's and above is what I have been doing!! It is a hearty car but little things need to be attended to as others stated on the site! When I pull the box apart I will post what I find. Assume parts are not easy to find?? Thanks for the help. Don.

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I'm not sure what is available in terms of bushings or thrust bearings.  I was lucky that mine didn't need replacement.  I would start with Myers and Romar in looking for good used parts or once in a while I've seen a steering box on Fleabay.  

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Thanks, will go gently on tear down. Were adjustment easy? Did not know what was available. Did a Gemmer box from a Model A Ford for our 2 man race car. Got lucky as most worn parts are readily available. Quality of replacement parts was an issue but now the box works great and very little play! A sloppy box really gets old when driving.

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Posted (edited)

Adjustment is very straightforward.  The long brass eccentric bushing is used to adjust the sector gear closer to/farther from the worm gear by rotating it CW or CCW .  The castellations are used to lock it in place.  It will be obvious how it works once you get it cleaned up, open the side cover.and then remove the  adjustment pin lock & cover plate (see photo).  You can then put a wrench on the flats at the protruding end of eccentric bushing and rotate it CW/CCW and see the sector gear move towards/away from worm.  Sorry I didn't take a photo of this before I installed it on the car...  It will be obvious how it works once you get it apart.749664639_steeringboxadjustment.thumb.jpg.b9fc9fe145e9ebf55e8e1c506a0cb7a3.jpg

Edited by MikeC5 (see edit history)

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Fantastic. Do I make the adjustment with the full load of the car on the chassis or jacked up?

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Hi, I went in the shop and my adjuster bushing is chewed up on the end!! Thought it looked goofy. Looks like someone used a pair of water pump pliers to adjust it and tore the end up!! Will see if I can grind a flat on it to adjust it or going to have to remove it and build it up with braze!! This is why I depend on the site to help out. You folks have tribal knowledge which is invaluable to me as a first timer with the Dodge. Have all your knowledge in a Dodge Brothers note book for the car.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Don,  I can't remember if I made any adjustment after installing the box back on the car.  It can be done though.  I am sure I adjusted it on the bench though. Before you remove the box from the car, use a punch or the like and put a dimple mark on the end of the sector shaft where the drag link arm bolts on and a corresponding dimple on the drag like arm (so you mark the current position of the drag link arm on the sector shaft end before taking it apart).  The other thing to do, with wheels off the ground is steer full left & right and note how much of an angle the drag link arm changes relative to wheels straight ahead.  You may also want to try and note the angle of the drag link arm at straight ahead wheels position relative to the steering box itself and the clamp position that connects to the steering column shaft  to the box (if you want to preserve the current position of the camp and steering wheel). This information may come in handy if, after getting things apart and cleaned up, you decide to rotate the sector gear to take advantage of less worn gear area (the bonus of having a full circle sector gear).  If you do this,  you most likely will want to rotate the sector gear by 180 degrees from it's original position so that the full range of steering motion uses the 'new' sector gear teeth.  In other words, you don't want one portion of the steering range on 'new' teeth and the other portion on worn teeth.  Once you get the box back together and add lube (or at least smear grease on the moving parts),  you can experiment with the sector gear adjustment by rotating the eccentric bushing as described in previous post.  Bolt the drag link arm on so you can easily see and feel small movements.  Rotate the steering shaft clamp (worm gear) by hand CW and CCW.  Feel for backlash when you reverse direction (a dead spot where the drag link arm doesn't move).  Tighten the adjustment until the backlash goes away but be sure and rotate the steering through the full range of left to right (using the angles you recorded).  See if the resistance to turning changes as you go through the full range.  You may find you have to back off the adjustment a notch (castellation on eccentric bushing) to prevent binding at the expense of a little backlash.  You may be able to take a file to restore some semblance of flats on your eccentric bushing.  You may then also need to come up with a custom wrench to get between the drag link arm and frame of the car once the box is reinstalled on the car (an adjustable wrench is a bit too thick) since you may end up with a somewhat smaller distance between the flats if you file to repair the damage.  I believe there is a DB tool that was originally part of the tool kit that came with the car to make the adjustment.

 

I'm not an expert at this but this procedure seems to have worked well for me.  I have also installed new tie rod pins & bushings, new spring bushings and shackle bolts and have very little slop (backlash) in the steering (I estimate it at less than 1/4 inch at OD of steering wheel)

Edited by MikeC5 (see edit history)

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Thanks again great tips and will do so. Hoping to install the motor back in the chassis next week when the rain stops then tackle the steering box. Will report back as soon as I do this. Sure appreciate all the help I am receiving. We live in upstate NY and the weather has been really unpredictable to say the least. The car sits on a pad covered by a plastic tarp behind our garage so I am at the mercy of the weather at the moment.

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