Front wheels impoperly aligned can rapidly eat up your tires, wearing
them out distressingly quickly. Fortunately this is easily prevented by
proper adjustment. For this we'll refer to the Ford Service Manual.
gather (toe-in) is rather simple, but doing it with a
tape measure or some kind of stick can be annoyingly awkward. I made
this tool that makes it easier. Just compress the two parts together to
fit between the felloes, let the spring expand them against the
felloes, and tighten the set screw. Then you can take the tool from
between the wheels and measure its length. This is done at the front of
the wheels and at the back of them, and the difference between the two
measurements is the gather.
It's handy to have something that supports the tool at the same height
as the spindles. In this case a pair of plastic pails did the job.
NOTE: Many Model T wheels have some run-out (wobble). To compensate for
this you can take four front measurements with the wheels turned to
different positions relative to each other, and average them. Then do
the same with the rear measurement.
THE ALIGNMENT TOOL
Model T era tools being scarce and costly, I made this tool
for measuring gather.
The long part is 3/4" conduit, 53" long. The shorter piece is 1"
conduit, 30" long. If I were making this tool again, I'd put the set screw
(A) about a foot from the rivet (B)
to make it easier to reach when taking the rear measurement.
The set screw (A) is a
1/4-20 bolt with a piece of 5/16 rod welded to it.
A long pop rivet (B) an inch
from the end of the tube keeps the spring inside.
A 6" compression spring (C) in the end
of the longer tube is backed by another long pop rivet (D).
A piece of electrical tape
on the felloe protects the paint.