Finishing the steering wedge.

October 26th, 2011

Completing the steering wedge required me to get some more steel as I had nothing suitable at home. I went to Enterprize Steel on Rosebank Road last Saturday morning. They used to sell steel to the public on Saturday mornings from a big shed out the back of the main workshop. I turned up there to find it was all shut up. I wandered to the main workshop and after going through several workers I finally found someone who could help. Must be a while since I bought steel, they haven’t sold from there for years! They did sell me some though. I got some angle iron (I have an idea to build a sheet metal folder from it) and what I thought was a 2m length of 30mm by 6mm bar. Unfortunately it ended up being a 2.5m length of 30mm by 9mm! Too thick for my purposes but since they got it for me I took it. The other place to buy steel that used to be just around the corner from me were unfortunately forced to move a few years ago after they built an apartment block next door. Bugger.

I had another hunt around home but couldn’t come up with any steel so I asked my dad on the off chance he had some. Turns out he did! It is only 5mm thick but I decided that would do. The Gould book suggests 1/4 inch steel with a 1/8 plate welded to the side. I decided to use 5mm with a 5mm plate. Hopefully it is strong enough. The plates dad had were fomr an old fireplace and needed trimming down. I clamped them to a board and used a thin cutting disc on my angle grinder.

IMG_0929_1 Cutting steel.

With it cut to the right width I then had to bend it. 5mm steel is pretty stiff. You can just put it in the vice and whack it with a hammer. Well you can but you won’t get very far. The way to get good bend in it is to heat it so I got out the torch and heated the steel to a dull red where I needed to bend it. It then bends easily.

IMG_0931_1 IMG_0933_1 Bending steel.

Most bends were done with the steel in the vice and a big hammer. Minor tweaks can be made using an adjustable spanner to tweak the metal. I then cut a side plate from the same steel to be a good fit into the side of the wedge. I ground down a chamfer on both the wedge and the plate so there was a V groove between the two so the weld would get good penetration and be nice and strong. I MIG welded it in place.

IMG_0934_1 IMG_0937_1 Side plate chamfered and welded.

I then ground down and filed flat the welds. I finished it off with a sanding disc to get a nice finish. I then placed the wedge on the chassis and bolted it in place temporarily. I used a piece of masking tape to mark where the centre of the brake pivot hole was in the chassis. I then transferred this line up to the wedge and used that to work out where to mount the box on the wedge.

IMG_0941_1 IMG_0942_1 Mounting box to wedge.

IMG_0944_1 IMG_0945_1 Steering wedge and column in position.

With the holes drilled in the right places I then painted the wedge. I also had to make one smaller piece. Because the column is angled to be straight in the car rather than following the angle of the chassis (which is an A frame so angled out) the brake pivot bolt isn’t at 90 degrees to the wedge. Usually there is a wedge shaped block that goes over the bolt so that the nut will be flat up against something.  Instead of cutting down the existing wedge shaped spacer (which was used with the later side mount steering box) I made my own from a scrap of steel.

IMG_0953_2 IMG_0955_1 Steering pivot bolt spacer wedge.

I gave that a quick coat of paint and will mount it all once that is dry. The column is now at an angle of 35 degrees which is the same as an Austin 7 Ulster and should be about right for what I want to build.

IMG_0948_1 IMG_0949_1 Painted wedge.

The other job I did in the weekend was to ream the stub axles with a 1/2 parallel hand reamer. Once I get an axle sorted out they should be all ready to assemble.

IMG_0927_1 Reaming stub axle bushes.

Need to think about getting some nice plywood so I can lay down a floor and start working out the body next.

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