Dreaded Slow Speed Wobble

Recently Tim phoned lamenting that when his T hits a bump at slow speed the front wheels go berserk, threshing uncontrollably from side to side.  My T has also been or maybe still is afflicted with this mechanical St. Vitus Dance. Many Model T owners have found it to be incurable and have opted to treat the symptom and not the illness by adding a shock absorber between the axle and the tie rod. This remedy seems to work ok but I wonder if it may mask a more serious problem.

Tim had just completed a precision job of restoring his engine and transmission so to have the front end tun on him as it did was a disappointment. The syndrome most often presents just as you pull by a group of people who all feel you haven’t noticed and take great pride in pointing it out.

My own attempts at diagnosing and treating the affliction have provided temporary relief, only to have the disorder return after a couple of seasons of touring.

I once made a list of the possible causes which I offer in another post.

Tim’s car now drives true and smooth and the fix wasn’t that difficult.  First he eliminated the play in the steering linkage and suspension . He even added inserts to the top axle yoke eyes because they were a tiny bit loose. The problem still persisted. Exasperated he pulled the cotter keys from the front spring bracket (motor mount) and tightened the castle nuts about 1 1/2 turns until they felt nice and snug. That’s all it took or maybe that was the final piece of a complex interconnecting puzzle.

This year after the club safety inspection I took up any looseness in the front end linkage and even replaced a couple of spindle bolt bushings.  To my dismay there was still a hint of slow speed wobble. The one thing I didn’t do was tighten the spring bracket so I tried Tim’s remedy. Last night Marge and I took the T for a drive to the sushi house for supper and the symptoms were gone.  Our pickup even ran straight and true after navigating a half a dozen speed bumps at Dalhousie Station.

In Summary

Make sure your steering linkage is free from excessive play then tighten the two castle nuts on the spring bracket.  I am guessing the early style bracket will not allow as much play as the the Y style bracket (1921-1927) on Tim’s 27 roadster and our 26 pickup.

Update July 15

After a few days of driving the wobble is back.

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