1955 Mystery Steering Switch

Gforni

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1955
Not sure what this is; looks to be factory, but can find nothing on it in the manual or online. Switch moves left and right, and has indicator light. Most folks I have spoken with seem to think it is aftermarket, but it is clean (install) and matches the other script. Anyone seen one of these before? The hanging wire is not related to it. Thunderbird Steering Switch.jpg
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
That's one of the more interesting things I've ever seen. I can't tell but does that loose wire go down into the carpet or is it just hanging there? It looks like something J.C Whitney would sell. I don't know if they are are still in business but they were famous for aftermarket gadgets from the 50's through the 70's.
If the fan belt broke and the P/S would go out the gen light would come on. Only in the last few years have units been able to bolt to the steering column for power assist. Any other old timers have theories?
 

Gforni

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1955
That's one of the more interesting things I've ever seen. I can't tell but does that loose wire go down into the carpet or is it just hanging there? It looks like something J.C Whitney would sell. I don't know if they are are still in business but they were famous for aftermarket gadgets from the 50's through the 70's.
If the fan belt broke and the P/S would go out the gen light would come on. Only in the last few years have units been able to bolt to the steering column for power assist. Any other old timers have theories?
The wire is not part of that; just hanging there while we do some other work. Agreed; JC Whitney did make a ton of weird little items and do-dads for all cars (and motorcycles!); most universal 'fit'. I remember the old magazines
 

Gforni

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1955
does not look standard may have been a faulty indictor switch at some stage.
Possibly, but it seems that when the switch was on, the light should come on, and visa-versa. Unless, it was an over ride for something. Does not work right now and trying to chase it down.
 

Gforni

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1955
Have you switched back and forth. To see if there is any difference in the Steering? I've never seen that before. I don't think it's factory.
Yes, and no difference at this point, but still chasing down some electrical goblins. It may work when we are finished - will update if so.
 

Gforni

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1955
Not sure what this is; looks to be factory, but can find nothing on it in the manual or online. Switch moves left and right, and has indicator light. Most folks I have spoken with seem to think it is aftermarket, but it is clean (install) and matches the other script. Anyone seen one of these before? The hanging wire is not related to it. View attachment 19697
OK Gents (and Ladies); the switch is a cut out for the power assist steering. After cleaning up some terminals and fuses, the car was difficult to steer coming out of the garage, so I flipped the switch and the power (assist) steering was back on. Wiring does not look to be aftermarket or added on, and the script, as noted, seems to match the hood pull. There is a solenoid that the power wire runs to on the power steering control valve(?), which again, looks to be a clean install, not some aftermarket junk. Called most of the T-bird supply places, and no one knows of this as a part and or accessory (FoMoCo or aftermarket). Scoured the interweb and cannot find this item under a variety of names/functions/descriptions. JC Whitney existed then, but no catalogs online right now. Anyone have access to one from the '50's that could look and see if it came from them? Is it possible that Ford took this from another model and installed it during the assembly? I have heard the rumor that they would pull cars out of the production line and add items....is this true? As always, any info/brainstorming/jokes are appreciated. Thx
 

jimntempe

Active Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
OK Gents (and Ladies); the switch is a cut out for the power assist steering. After cleaning up some terminals and fuses, the car was difficult to steer coming out of the garage, so I flipped the switch and the power (assist) steering was back on. Wiring does not look to be aftermarket or added on, and the script, as noted, seems to match the hood pull. There is a solenoid that the power wire runs to on the power steering control valve(?), which again, looks to be a clean install, not some aftermarket junk. Called most of the T-bird supply places, and no one knows of this as a part and or accessory (FoMoCo or aftermarket). Scoured the interweb and cannot find this item under a variety of names/functions/descriptions. JC Whitney existed then, but no catalogs online right now. Anyone have access to one from the '50's that could look and see if it came from them? Is it possible that Ford took this from another model and installed it during the assembly? I have heard the rumor that they would pull cars out of the production line and add items....is this true? As always, any info/brainstorming/jokes are appreciated. Thx
Can you post some photos?
 

Gforni

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1955
A better question might be, "Why?"
No idea; was there resistance to power steering in the early days (I.e. can’t feel the road)? It makes a huge difference and while I am a big guy, cranking that steering wheel is not my idea of a good workout. Agreed that it seems to be an odd ‘option’, but there were a ton of these (for all autos/trucks) over the years I suppose
 

CSPIDY

Active Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2016
Thunderbird Year
1957
You may want to post your question and pictures on the Ford Barn forum,
Under the late V8 forum
They have some very knowledgeable old Ford guys
This is indeed an odd item for sure
 

Gforni

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1955
Not sure what this is; looks to be factory, but can find nothing on it in the manual or online. Switch moves left and right, and has indicator light. Most folks I have spoken with seem to think it is aftermarket, but it is clean (install) and matches the other script. Anyone seen one of these before? The hanging wire is not related to it. View attachment 19697
0C6B62DF-804D-4C29-BA6C-1A262732EAF8.jpeg
 

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Gforni

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1955
Hard to get a good shot of it, but notice the wire on the top (comes from the switch and wraps down the steering column tube). Thoughts? Thank you
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2021
Thunderbird Year
None
Looks like maybe electric power steering assist, an aftermarket add-on? Does the car have factory-installed pneumatic power steering assist? I'm guessing not, and someone added this later. I'm new to this, but from everything I have read, the only power-steering assist offered by Ford (at least on T-birds) during that time was pneumatic, and no electric assist was offered (although apparently some other manufacturers did have electric systems?).
 

jimntempe

Active Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
I looks like two power steering hoses attach to it. So I would guess it's a valve which shuts off the flow from the pump to the power steering stuff down below. I cannot think of any reason anyone would install such a thing. Particularly since blocking the flow would be expected to cause the pump to pressure up to full bypass pressure assuming these pumps have an internal bypass or some other way to relieve excess pressure. The presumption would be that absent this valve the control valve on the linkage simply shunts the fluid back to the pump until the control valve senses steering wheel movement and then shunts fluid to the proper side of the power cylinder to move the linkage. Can you tell how the hose are routed to this valve?
 
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