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f1 steering/ 32 frame / headers. How I did it.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Mart, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. Mart
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,768


    Had a few days off this week and did a fairly Major job on the 32. I modified the flange on the f1 steering box and then modified a header to clear it.
    I have been reluctant to show these pics as recently people have raised the standard of workmanship far beyond my backyard talents. But we're family here, right? So here it is with gobby mig welding and all.

    Basic problem: Header will not fit with F1 steering in place. Header bought from Macs, made by Reds. I think f1 specific headers might now be available (vendettautofab's post here on the hamb) but I didn't know that when I bought these.


    I decided the header needed modifying so I cut it as shown


    This allowed the first two flanges to bolt up, but the rearmost pipe was so tight I struggled to get pipe in place to the third flange.


    I decided after reading NealinCa's post on the subject and the vendettautofab post (both on the hamb) that instead of just redrilling the frame to suit the f1 flange and using shims I would make a new flange. This would mean no new holes in the frame and I could gain a little clearance at the header. I didn't want to push the steering box right through the frame, as I wanted to retain the column in the right relationship to the pedals, so just cut the box back while still leaving the seal location in place.

    First the 32 steering was bolted in to gain a datum for column position. The f1 was then offered in place.


    The box was then gutted. Parts are in great shape.


    The flange was cut off on the trusty bandsaw.


    The old Hendey was fired up and the flange turned completely off. The diameter was reduced to approx 44mm for the distance shown.


    A new flange was whittled from 10mm (approx 3/8") plate. Let the power tools do the work!


    The flange was roughed out, the uppermost part radiused off to fit in the frame closer by the top bolt hole and the hole positions marked.


    It was then drilled out with a hole saw and then bored oversize (about 48mm) and heavily chamfered on the lathe. I goofed and chamfered the wrong side, no problem, I just radiused the other side of the upper ear.


    Flange was positioned in frame, box located in place with pitman shaft inserted through frame from outside for location, supported from underneath with a jack.



    While in position, it was just possible to get in there withn the mig and tack the flange to the box.

    The box was then removed and fully welded.


    Here you can see the angle due to the taper of the 32 frame.


    And the reason for the big chamfer: It allows a good bead to be run round the front face.. Just about got away without damaging the seal counterbore (spatter was chipped out)


    The box was then reassembled and remounted in the frame. clamped in place for now, the flange will be drilled when the body is in place and the positioning finally settled.


    Header had better clearance, was just about do-able with a tight radius bend. Migged the header, on reflection I should have just tacked with the mig and then gas welded it, (don't have tig). I didn't realise how messy it would look until I'd finished.


    Another angle.. Header now clears steering box.


    I was pleased with the job from a purely functional point of view, it's a big step forward for the build, but was annoyed with myself that it looks a bit messy especially with the very high standard of fab work being posted these days. The job is virtually identical to the Hudson steering conversion on Old Rusty so I did have previous experience of such a job, but still gained clues from the posts mentioned, especially the input from Mike Bishop in Neal's post.

    My new roll of brake pipe has arrived so if I can get a bit more time in the garage I can make more progress there.

    Neal's post:
    vendettautofab's post:
    My last progress post (with links to others)

  2. thunderbirdesq
    Joined: Feb 15, 2006
    Posts: 6,744


    A little time with a sanding disc and it'll look right as rain. Nice work, thanks!
  3. 3Mike6
    Joined: Jan 2, 2007
    Posts: 704


    Wow, I uh, hope you're not doing much structural stuff on your ride.
  4. Nice work Mart as usal - boy would I kill for a lathe man....

    Pull the headers and hit those wleds with the flap disc/dire grinder combo...that oughta neaten it all up somewhat !!

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  5. Mart, have you given any thought to what the radiant exhaust heat might do to the steering box? That's pretty effin close, man...
  6. The Rocky33 had the same setup. Heat was not an issue.

    Dont fret the pretty welding you see here Mart. An adequate/strong weld is preferable to a pretty/weak weld. I had a very Pretty Pete and Jake tig weld on a rod end peel apart last year. Upon inspection the penetration was minimal.
  7. Andy
    Joined: Nov 17, 2002
    Posts: 4,504


    Flathead exhaust is cold compaired to anything else. I was more used to hemi and that is HOT. The flathead is like a boat exhaust! Water cooled.
  8. rottenpop
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 589

    from Holbeach

    Nothing wrong with that weld. Good penetration, strong, perfectly adequate for the job. Ok, it,s not an oooooh look at that pretty weld but seriously, are they all?
    Nice work Mart, love to see the Sedan one day.

    You want to see a bad weld? From a supposedly professional shop in L.A.?
    Take a look at this that I,ve just removed from my recently aquired Model A Sedan.


    Nice huh?
  9. 067chevy
    Joined: Sep 18, 2005
    Posts: 2,073


    damn, I wish I had a lathe.
  10. Mart
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,768


    Little mini-update.
    I put the body back on and positioned the top of the column with a new column drop. Now the column position was fixed, I spot faced the flange and drilled for 3 good quality 3/8" bolts. I had to cheat a bit and put a washer in between the frame and the lower front lug to align the column properly. Should have put the body on before welding the flange.

    anyhoo, it's all buttoned up with the 32 pitman arm which fits the f1 shaft.


    One last thing. I was not very pleased with the welding on the header mods. I tried a flap wheel in the angle grinder and was very impressed with the results.


    It looks pretty good now, I think.

    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  11. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,506

    from Nebraska

    Header looks great - night and day difference! I always look forward to your updates.... Thanks, Mart.

  12. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 14,461


    right smart Mart!
  13. Got me wondering if I will need to do this to my box. Running inline so I doubt it.
  14. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,305


    Yes, 1935 MILLER/Ford Indy 500 cars came to mind as I looked at the photo.
  15. qzjrd5
    Joined: Nov 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,256

    from Troy, MI

    Great solution one of the most challenging packaging situations on an '28-'32 build with a later style steering box.

    One point here to add. Sometimes using an F100 ('53-'56) vs. an F1 ('48-'52) box (or vice versa) makes a big difference. The column location where it enters the box is different between the two, as well as the overall width of the box itself.

    I had originally planned an F1 on my '29 on '32 rails with SBC, and it wasn't gonna fit without significant modification to the box. I tried a buddy's F100 box just for kicks, and it worked without any mods. $100 later, his spare F100 steering box became mine.

  16. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,410

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    Good job, as usual, Mart! With any luck, I can get over and have a gander...maybe this summer!
  17. oldrodder43
    Joined: Oct 18, 2007
    Posts: 211


    For my money, your welds are perfectly adequate. I would be real happy with those welds. Don't degrade yourself. If we waited for perfect, there would not be many rods! Great build. Perley

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