Above we see new 1915 Model T Fords coming down the assembly line at the Highland Park plant circa May 1915. The firewall assembly is installed with the steering column still wrapped in its protective brown paper. The horn tube is secured to the steering column with a bit of twine so that it will be out of the way when the body is dropped onto the chassis. Photo property of the Henry Ford museum.
When we left off in our last installment (here’s a link:)
The scene above is from the firewall assembly area of the Ford Highland Park Plant circa May 1915. Towards the left side of the picture the steering columns, wrapped in brown paper, are installed in the firewall. The firewalls would be installed into the chassis fully assembled with coil box, steering column, speedometer, wiring and timer as a unit.
The Model T Ford steering column is a pretty important item that often gets neglected to the point that it is dangerous to drive the car. Particularly the earliest versions used from 1909 – 1914, which have the gear box riveted to the steering column upper bearing. Even the columns used from 11915 – 25, or the unique 1926 – 27 versions can become dangerous if the rivets come loose that secure the upper bearing to the tube.
In this edition of Model T Ford Fix we show how to overhaul a steering column both for safety’s sake and to improve its appearance to like new again.
Ford built the first 2499 Model T Fords with water pumps. The brand new 1909 above is one of the first 2499 cars equipped with a water pump. The crank ratchet is made to hold the crank in either up or down position, a feature that was deleted during the redesign for all Model T’s serial number 2500 and subsequent. While the water pump idea didn’t work out for most Model T’s, it does make the earlier cars more interesting and valuable to collectors. Few were built, fewer exist, and those that do exist for the most part are never driven. The ones that are in private hands do get used, some more than others. As a result many of these cars that are driven have to be repaired frequently because the water pump design is not very good. Let’s take a look at what it takes to rebuild one.
When the Model T was being sold and driven as a new car most Americans lived outside of cities on farms. There would seldom be any other car on the road. Meeting another car would be at a minimum an occasion to wave and honk. Perhaps you might even stop to exchange pleasantries, and to view the other driver’s machine.
Today most of us are faced with the challenge of operating our Model T on the same road as other modern cars with their not – so – attentive drivers. You and your Model T need to be on your game to stay safe out there.