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Hlp with 1937 Ross steering gear box


NewOldWood
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What i'm working on is a boat, a 1937 Gar Wood. The steering is on the right and the owner wants to move it to the left side. Gar Wood made them both ways, the only difference was the gear box. It's a Ross gear and does not appear to be reversible. Steering gear boxes from this era were (as far as I know) all sourced from the automotive industry, which is why I am posting this here. I'm hoping that someone might recognize this part and be able to identify what vehicles it would have been used in. The body and side cover of the box have what appear to be casting numbers on them, and Ross on the main casting, but no other identifying markings.

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It’s a mid 30’s Ross box. They were similar to car boxes, but the mounting flange is much different than a car box. The worm was available in different ratios and left and right had drive. You need to look in boat areas as only the worm bearings would be interchangeable with a car, the rest is all boat. Maybe the antique boat guys in Minnasoda would be a good place to start. It’s not going to be easy to find. Maybe a modern unit with the Ross column and wheel spliced on is the way to go?

 

I have plenty of similar series car boxes......out of Pierce Arrows. They never go bad. I might have something that you could cut up from a car to save your unit intact.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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9 minutes ago, edinmass said:

It’s a mid 30’s Ross box. They were similar to car boxes, but the mounting flange is much different than a car box. The worm was available in different ratios and left and right had drive. You need to look in boat areas as only the worm bearings would be interchangeable with a car, the rest is all boat. Maybe the antique boat guys in Minnasoda would be a good place to start. It’s not going to be easy to find. Maybe a modern unit with the Ross column and wheel spliced on is the way to go?

 

I have plenty of similar series car boxes......out of Pierce Arrows. They never go bad. I might have something that you could cut up from a car to save your unit intact.

The mounting flange is a seperate part that clamps to the main body, it's adjustable for angle. I Have to reuse the steering wheel which has the throttle in the center of it, so adapting that to a diffferent box is probably going to be difficult. Did Ross make steering boxes specifically for marine use? I don't think they would have made one specifically for this model boat as the production numbers were very low.

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Best guess now.........it’s probably 80 percent modified car parts......but the steering ratio would probably be different, also the car boxes use bearings......a boat would be fine with bushings......and much less expensive. Back then companies could easily make small run custom stuff and it wouldn’t be overly expensive like today. I never played with big 30’s boats but have gone for rides in them. My guess is Hacker, Garwood, Chris Craft all used the same supplier. Ross was used in almost half the non GM cars of the era. Pierce Arrow, Duesenberg, and a bunch of others. Gemmer was another popular brand. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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The wheel looks much lighter duty than a car unit.......probably because the load on it in a boat is 10 percent that of a car. Wheel looks like a 1938 Banjo wheel some cars used.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Since you probably have to make a new drag link or modify the old one anyway, here's a suggestion:

 

1.  Undo the big nut and remove the Pitman arm with a gear puller.  The arm has a tapered spline to match the shaft.

2.  Rotate the box and steering column 180 degrees.

3.  Reinstall the Pitman arm with the ball pointing down when the steering wheel is centered, don't tighten the nut.

4.  Rotate the housing clamp 180 degrees.  Make a new seat for it.

5.  Install the drag link to the rudder.

6.  When everything is lined up OK and you have checked clearances, tighten the nut on the Pitman arm. Usually, a cotter pin goes through the outer end of the shaft.

 

The ball on the end of the arm will be sitting some inches higher, but if there is room to connect the drag link, it should be OK.  You might need to modify the drag link or make a new one with a Z in it to compensate for the height difference if clearance is tight.  Be sure to fill the box with Grade 00 grease (Tractor Supply Co.  $5.99 a quart) before you install it as the filler will now be on the lower side.  Maybe run some 1/8" pipe around the box to provide a filler on the high side.

 

Before you do this, it's probably a good idea to take off the rear cover, pull out the sector, and unscrew the steering column nut so that you can pull out the worm and replace the steel bearing balls, probably 5/16" diameter, about 24 balls.  Do this every 80-90 years.  If the cups are corroded, new ones for Jeep CJ's may fit.  It is unlikely that you can find a new worm or sector.

 

1920490092_1929Studebakersteeringbox-Ross.jpg.795a40466112bb30a05e6ecf89ddcbf4.jpg

Ross steering box from 1929 Studebaker.

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