Chapter 12

Well, with the salt-racing season over and the garage somewhat straightened out, I have once again pushed the Tribaker back into position for the winter work in the upper garage.  I removed the cockpit after making a template to cover the transmission and seal the firewall. I’ll bend this up later in the winter. I have been brooding over the steering set-up, and have now removed the monte-carlo rack and pinion. Somehow, the pinion was “jumping” the rack.  It was a power rack, which someone told me might not have pieces as strong as a manual one.  I acquired an Omni rack, also rear-steer. It was apparently a Flaming River rack, as it had been threaded for Ford tie-rod ends.  I mocked up the new rack after determining where the center was.  It was important to get the tie rod arms at the right angle as they shot outwards to the spindles. I positioned the rack posteriorly enough to minimize any angle front to back. The transverse front spring acts as the lower A-arm, and the angle of the tie-rod does match it well.  After a few trys, I have fabricated a bracket which is very strong and will perfectly position the rack in front and below the oil pan.

The steering column is from a 49′ R-series truck. It had 3 in the tree, and that will give me more leg room in the cockpit.  Those columns had a central shaft which was integral with the steering box. I sawed off the end of the shaft and grafted on a “double-D” end which would work with modern steering parts including a universal joint I got which would mate it to the Omni rack.  I restored the column, made a slip ring for the horn (and slipper made from an old set of points) and ran a wire up to the horn button.

The steering wheel I wanted to use from the same truck had a Deco look, but was about 17″ across. It was cracked, but had a nice horn set-up.  I used a chop saw to cut it up, re-arched the upper and lower hoops over a 13″ pulley (making more cracks) and welded the hoops back together, now as a 13″ diameter wheel. I took the center section and welded it back on after cutting away some of the plastic to reveal a pair of “banjos” embedded within.  Using some epoxy, I filled in many of the cracks, and using epoxy putty, I smoothed the contour around the region where the steering stalks were welded to the steering wheel.  Hand to remanufacture some rubber parts in the inner horn ring.  Bought a “historic” set of arms from an old leather MC jacket, cut them apart and made a template for lacing a leather cover over my newly fabricated wheel. I used electrical tape made for moisture sealing around the whole wheel to give it a little squish when gripped.

 Finished rack bracket

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