A few months back—June 2013 issue, to be exact—we half-tackled the steering on our 1933 Tudor project. I say half only because that's just what we did, the lower "half" of the Vega-based cross steer setup. The remaining portion, that being everything above the Borgeson Universal Company box (as with most things on the build), was still in the air at that point regarding what Jimmy White and I would need to complete the steering.
You may have noticed that for mock-up purposes, we'd incorporated an original '37 Ford steering column, complete with banjo wheel. A then-reluctant White eventually gave in, literally, offering up the parts for the cause. That was/is great for me, as it made for one less item (or if you dissect everything, "items") to procure for the project. Ultimately, it truly fit the cause—nice, excuse the term, patina, bolted right up to the sedan's dash, and had already been severed from its original box. (Later, as you're about to learn, that last part would play a near-pivotal role, no pun intended.)
So, for the time, the 1937 wheel and column hung proudly till we could focus our attention back to finishing up the steering. Well, that time has finally come. With the Borgeson box mounted and ancillary tie-rod/draglink connections made, the linkage continued between box and column.
Initially, I—not being as well versed on early Ford mechanical gear as I should—assumed the steering column's output shaft was "OE", simply what you'd have once the steering box itself had been peeled away from the column. Despite Jimmy's doubts, I proceeded by ordering a U-joint from Borgeson to fit the protruding splines and diameter of the steering shaft. Borgeson themselves questioned the application, but still sent what I requested, a 9/16-26xDD stainless joint (along with a 3/4-36xDD for the Vega box, as a length of stainless DD shaft for the intermediate connection). And so as I always do things—backward—I went to separate the shaft from the column after receiving the goods. Alas, everyone's disbelief was confirmed: rack-and-pinion input shaft.
Now, what's a 9/16-inch diameter shaft doing on a 1930s Ford steering column, you ask? Well, I'll tell you: at some point in time, someone, after severing the column from the box (the only part I got right), welded—very professionally I might add—a short section of steering shaft to the column, assumedly for the same purposes as ours. Now, under normal circumstances—and I highly stress that—welding steering shafts is a no-no. However, this had been done so well (not only was it perfectly TIG welded, it had been properly pinned in not one, but three spots) that I felt comfortable using it. Beyond the mating aspects, whoever performed the work also outfitted the column with Delron bushings top and bottom (along with a caged roller bearing below), disabled the stock ignition lockout, and as mentioned, it "fit" our application. We just had to clean everything up and make the proper connections. (Note: we don't recommend modifying steering shafts whatsoever. Manufacturers such as Borgeson and CPP make new shafts. Any compromise in a mechanical part as crucial as a steering shaft is a potential compromise to you and your passengers' personal safety!)
With column hung, parts in hand, and time to burn, we finally knocked out the remainder of the Tudor's steering—and made it possible, when necessary, to move the sedan around the shop without the aid of Go-Jacks!