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1932 Buick 50 Series steering gear help

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Bob,

 

Forgot to ask if you would measure the sector shaft diameter as well?

 

Thanks,

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I have found a number of omissions and errors in the parts manuals.  I did go back and look and found pn 259457  Sector, steering  gear 1931.  I believe that this is where the omission ocurred.  Most 32 and 31 parts are the same.

 

I would also comment that there is very little use of parts across the GM platforms except for Parts from Delco, Klaxon etc.  There was much autonomy at the divisions within GM.   

 

The dimensions you were looking for are:  Steering shaft diameter 0.985".    Spec manual say 1.  "Measuring from the open end of the worm gear, The large inner diameter  is 0.85" ( same as shaft O. D.)  The small diameter  ( splines) is 0.965"  This means the spline depth is 0.010".

 

The overall length of the wormgear is 3.635"  This includes the inner races for the timkin bearings.  The O.D. of the worm gear is 2.120" dia.   

 

The sector shaft diameter is 1.121" .  Spec manual says 1 1/8" dia. I was surprised at how tight a fit there is in the sector  bushings.  Most all of the wear that I found is on the center tooth of the sector shaft.  Wear point is about 7/8" from the shaft center.  Any lash from this wear would be about would be about ten times greater at the steering wheel.   The sector shaft appears to have been made from a forging and is one piece .  Most of the wear is on the sector shaft center tooth.  

 

If you plan to pull your steering column from the car, I have a few ideas that you may want to try to remove the lash in the gears and eliminate the death wobble.  

 

I hope this helps.

 

Bob Engle

 

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Robert Engle said:

I have a few ideas that you may want to try to remove the lash in the gears

Ooooohhhhh, please share! I would like to see them too.

 

The main change in mine was to re-bush and grind the sector shaft to a very close tolerance. Oil still gets in but I could feel no movement. This took out maybe 1.5" of slack at the wheel rim. There have been no bearings available for my Gemmer box for years but they were in good condition and adjusted up well. You can't put anything on the sector tooth or teeth to build them up because they are subject to heavy shearing action and any coating or add-on will just peel off. Well, that was the case when I did mine in 2001.

 

You can tell if the sector bushes are worn by looking at the end of the shaft where the Pitman arm is mounted. If it moves laterally on steering wheel swinging back and forth (wheels on the ground), it is worn and creates lost movement.

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Bob,

 

You responses have been admirably succinct.  Without the information and guidance you’ve provided I’d be up against the wall with a blindfold.    I made several adjustments today without any meaningful progress; each test drive resulted with the same “death wobble” at the slightest provocation.   I don’t believe there is any option but to pull the steering assembly and inspect the internals.    I’ve been doing some research on various components and history of steering gear boxes.   It seems that Gemmer was an early manufacturer of gear boxes primarily for Ford.   They may have held the patent on this type of worm and sector design.   I am assuming that GM boxes were made by Saginaw.    I wonder if they were a knock off and if they paid a royalty for using the Gemmer design?    The spec book says the 50 series gear boxes are a 17:1 ratio.  Is there a reference to the Buick boxes being Saginaws?   I also see some early ford boxes are also 17:1 ratios.   Coincidence?   Or was the Saginaw box a hybrid.    I am resigned to start the removal of my steering assembly.    I’ll review your previous instructions on the process and get ready to gut it up.   I pretty sure I’ll find that there is pretty severe ware in the worm and sector.   The saga continues.

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Gemmer is in Dodge Brothers motors.

 

The other cause of a "death wobble" might be incorrect king pin inclination. This is set with wedges between the front axle and the springs.

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Answered part of my own questions.  Looks like it's a Saginaw box.

 

 

Steering Box info.jpg

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Before you pull the steering, run one test by adding more toe to the front.  You may be at correct setting, but a touch more may help the wobble.  More toe can have a slight negative effect on tire life.  But in reality, not many of these cars get  a lot of mileage and good driving manners is more important than trying to get maximum tire wear.  It's an easy test.

 

Bob 

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caster.thumb.JPG.64fa017f948014e842d31db3b534836d.JPGSpent the better part of the day doing a few more adjustments and took some readings.   Caster was right at 2 degrees.   Camber was 1 ½ degrees.   So those are in line with specifications in the manual.  Measured the toe.   Looks like someone else tried to cure the wobble by increasing the toe in.  However I would say a little overboard, it was  ¾ inch toed in.   Reset to ¼ inch.   End result was no improvement.   Even after backing off lash adjustments for testing purposes seems like gear box is still binding and makes it very hard to steer.   

camber.JPG

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Steering update.   Started the removal of the gearbox.  Removal of the splash panel was fun since none of the nuts are captured and holding them is a little difficult while trying to loosen the old slotted screws.  I don’t think the panel had ever been removed before.   Removed the Wizard control valve and linkages, carb and riser along with exhaust piping for access.   Found that the carburetor riser is badly cracked in two places.  The diverter off of the exhaust manifold and heat transfer tube all in pretty poor shape.   Might be time to think about a down draft mod. Will have to start a new topic on that one.   Once the area was cleared of the obstructions I followed Bob’s removal formula.   Carefully removed the light switch and throttle pieces.  The light control tube was removed without any difficulty.   The throttle tube was a bit of a problem.  It would only extract about 3 inches before becoming stuck.  I kept working it back and fourth applying some WD40 from up top and letting it work its way down.  It became evident that a shellac like coating had built up, might even have been some rusting.  In any event after a lot of coaxing it came out.  The problem now is none of the little centralizers came out with the tube.  So they are still in the steering shaft and probably contributed to the removal problem.  I’ll have to deal with that once I get the shaft and gear box out.  The pitman arm took some persuading with a large pickle fork but came off after a few blows with a trusty 3 pounder.   Will tackle the steering wheel removal and final push in a couple of days.  In the course of cleaning up under the car I found an interesting little piece.  Not sure if it is something that had been lurking on the frame for years and just now fell off or if is part of something from the column.  It’s non metallic, about 3/16” in diameter and maybe 3/8” long.  Any ideas on what it is?    

piece 1.JPG

Piece 2.JPG

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You are lucky with the engine side pans.  Many got thrown away long time ago.  On your heat riser, put new tubes on the inside and block off the exhaust tubes.  Remove or set the diverter plate in the exhaust diverter to on open position,  the cracks won't be a problem with the exhaust sealed out and new tubes for the Air/fuel to pass through.

The steering wheel removal won't be a problem.  Removing the cone piece that the wheel is mounted to if a challenge. 

 

32 Buick Trivia question.  Where did they use allen head set screws on the 32 Buick??

 

Answer:  on the steering wheel ignition lock ring.

 

Bob Engle

 

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Bob,

 

The tubes look to be in perfect shape.  The problem is the riser casting itself.   It's cracked in a couple of places.   When I get back home in a couple of days I'll post a picture.  Results in basically a huge vacuum leak.  Doubt it can be repaired.  Maybe someone replaced the tubes and cracked the housing doing it.

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Pete- What is the casting number on the back of the 32 50 series heat riser in your picture above please?  A picture of the back would be great.

 

Thanks...

 

Dave

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