An introduction and a question for you all

OldBobbyOldBobby Member
edited March 15 in HUDSON Posts: 5

Hello there, I'm Bob over in the UK and I am the very proud owner of a 1946 Hudson Commodore 6 Sedan. I'm in construction during 'working' hours ....and play with old cars, motorcycles , Landrovers and music when I have any spare time ...which my wife says is zero. :)

  I have owned my Hudson for about 5 years now and have a question regarding her. This winter I decided the play in the steering was finally too bad to live with so stripped the steering box off and got to work. My question is twofold:

A: What make is the steering box on her? It has a short number stamped into the casing but no name. Is it an 'in house' Hudson box or ( as a friend over here has suggested) is it a Ford component ?

B: Where would I buy service parts for it such as the worm and nut and bearings? No bearing supply company over here is being very helpful and al shake their heads in a most sad manner especially as soon as I say what my steering box is off. :(

     Many thanks for any help any of you may be able to give me!

PS: My daughter lives just outside San Francisco so when I next visit I may be able to meet up with one or two of you.

                            Bob Smith UK 


  • Jon BJon B Administrator
    Posts: 6,431
    Welcome to the Open Forum, Bob!  Hudson owners in England keep popping out of the woodwork -- maybe they should try to contact one another and organize some sort of gathering! 

    I can't answer your question, but it is entirely possible that someone who has a stock of old Hudson parts -- and they are many -- might have the bearing or worm you need.  Hudson parts are indeed "out there", you simply need to know where to look!  That's why we have the H-E-T Club, to sort of bind all these people and parts sources together (do consider joining, if you're not yet a member!)

    The "trick" with these harder-to-find parts is to work up a list of ALL the stuff you are looking for -- with careful descriptions, original parts numbers, and even a photo if possible -- and then send that list to known suppliers of Hudson parts.  This is very easy nowadays, with e-mail.  (We used to have to snail-mail people, and include a stamped, addressed return envelope -- a very tedious and expensive proposition).  The key is: take an inventory of EVERYTHING you may need, not just one bearing or part, so that you don't have to keep going through this process.

    Who to send it to:  if you receive the Club's newsletter, you can just go through the classified ad section at the back and (if you don't find the part) collect names and e-mail addresses for your mailing.  Or, you can go online and type "Hudson Parts" in your search engine, and see what pops up.  There are also suppliers of "general" antique parts (including Hudson) out there, whom you can contact.

    Before your next trip to the States, do check the "events" section of the aforementioned Hudson club website, to see if there are any local or regional meets taking place near San Francisco while you are there.  Then you can meet up with a great deal more than "one or two" of us!

    By the way, someone may jump in here and suggest modern-day interchanges for those bearings.  AND, the problem might be simply an adjustment (I believe there is a cap on the side of the steering box that unscrews, revealing an adjusting screw that will "tighten things up" for example.  Indeed, are you sure that your problem lies in the steering box at all?  Could it be some loose tie rod ends, worn kingpins, or a loose connection in your linkage somewhere?
  • OldBobbyOldBobby Member
    Posts: 5

    Thankyou Jon !.....

     I have done all the lower part of the steering assembly and used all the adjustment available on the box itself. There's the screw on the side of the box and also by taking shims out ( or putting more in)  on the bottom of the box you can adjust both 'sides' of the worm , up / down and side to side..... but I still had over half a turn of 'freeplay' at the wheel so...a rebuild was the only option left ........ Many thanks for your advice and I shall continue my mission ! :)

     I have tried to find the few owners I have found out about but they seem to be reticent about coming forward for some reason :) So far I know of 2 Coupes ( one hard and one soft top versions) , one 'Super Six' that has never been restored and is still being used regularly and one other Commodore that is restored as a US Army Staff Car. Apparently there is another Commodore somewhere in Bristol which is only 25 miles away from me but as of yet I have not got hold of the fella.

    Thanks again ! Bob.

  • ValVal Member
    Posts: 430
    Old Bobby, try these guys maybe they can help
  • Jon BJon B Administrator
    Posts: 6,431
    What part of England are you in, Bob (town or county)?  We list 25 current members of the Club as living in the UK, so if any of them are watching, they might step forward here, make themselves known, and maybe you could arrange a sort of get-together.

    As to the steering box: even if there are no more new steering boxes or parts out there, there must be a good used box that someone will sell you.  I have a '37 model and as far as I know the steering box is original....and it still works just fine after all these years.  So, a good used one may be all that you need to correct your problem.
  • LanceLance Member
    Posts: 507
    Bobby, The steering boxes were made by Gemmer for Hudson. Whoever told you they were supplied by Ford is mistaken. The number on the steering box ,if origional, is 33695. That was Gemmer's number -not Hudson's for the model of Hudson you have. I do have some steering box bearings and if you can possibly tell which ones you need I may well have them. My email is : Drop the HET when emailing. 
  • Geoff C., N.Z.Geoff C., N.Z. Senior Contributor
    Posts: 3,286
    Bob, by "free-play at the wheel" do you mean  that you can waggle the drop arm?   This is the only true way to test for back lash, and the steering must be at the halfway point to test for this.  It is possible that the drop arm is on the wrong position on the spline.
    With the sector and worm in  the position of minimum backlash the wheels should be in  the straight-ahead position.  Because these are quite low geared boxes, the  "Loose play" at the wheel is not a valid test, only by jiggling the drop arm back and forth can you test this.  There must  be no discernible movement at mid point.
    If you're stuck in a hole, stop digging.
  • OldBobbyOldBobby Member
    Posts: 5

    As of late last night,  I think I may be sorted...maybe!...I'll let you all know over the next few days as things come back together but I sincerely thank you for our help and interest and I shall definitely be staying !  Now knowing it is a Gemmer box is a massive help, thank you Lance!.

          I'm in the West Country ....the last bit of England, on the Welsh side of the River Severn and jammed up right against Wales in a hidden place called The Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire...which is basically exactly what it says on the tin....a big forest!  It's a wonderful isolated place but having said that we're only about 25 miles from the small city of Gloucester and about the same from the bigger city of Bristol......and  I'd very much appreciate being put in touch with any other Hudson owners over here ! Thanks !


  • OldBobbyOldBobby Member
    Posts: 5

    Thanks Geoff,

      The freeplay was pretty horrendous .....whilst driving along the road if the front wheels went into any manner of surface 'groove' the whole car would move across the road alarmingly without the wheel moving in my hands drive her , you had to 'take up the slop' against where it started to move the wheels and anticipate any corner  by rolling the wheel to where the slop 'ended' in the other direction to get ready to be able to steer her gently around a corner  ..then rapidly take up the slop again in the opposite direction to be able to gently straighten her back up (hope you can understand my explanation! ). This was all well and good on a wide open road but in traffic or when passing other vehicles on narrower roads it could be quite interesting :)

           I'd already renovated  the hefty 'relay' (not sure of you fellas terminology but that's what we over here call the cast iron 'T' shape lump that transmits the steering from the rod coming from the drop arm on the box out to each wheel .... The bolt and bush through the middle of it was very badly worn so that was all done and the track rod ends ( again I think you call them something different?) were all very good and everything is well greased. You could hold the drop arm ( do you fellas call it a 'pitman arm'?) whilst someone turned the wheel and the wheel would move over half a turn before anything moved down with the drop arm ....... ON stripping the box the top bearing on the worm was found to have seized and ground away the shoulder on the worm that it sat on .This has been renovated by a machine shop for me and a new bearing was finally sourced. The bearing itself is exactly the same as the bottom bearing except that the casing that gets fitted into the top of the actual steering box is a lot smaller. This is all now done after a heck of a search for a bearing.

        I don't know what working on old cars over in the US is like but over here although there are specialist companies you can use , they usually add a lot of zeros to the end price for any components in a frightening manner.... For example, I found a company over with you that would rebuild the whole box for just under $300 plus shipping each way  ....and that was with a new worm and nut too and of course new bearings......One company that I approached over here in the UK wanted £700 plus VAT (that's our purchase tax and its 20%)  just for the worm...that's about $900! ......... The other type of companies which are much more involved in modern vehicles don't want to know..... If you even ask them to see if they can get maybe modern equivalents of just the bearings? usually get a sharp intake of breath coupled with a deep frown and a shake of the head that says " Sorry mate..... we can't be bothered to even look "

        But anyways ! I digress! ......

          This morning I'm held up for some timber for a big job so I've refitted the box and it does seem to be a heck of a lot better .......I won't get to road test her until this weekend so I'll let you all know the results. All I have to do now is bleed all the brakes as I had to remove the pipe from the master cylinder to get the steering box off .......And I'd just like to say having started that in the last half hour?........ Hudson could possibly have put the master cylinder on the '46 Commodore in a little bit easier a place to be able to get the top off it and pour fluid into it ! :)  

             Many thanks again,


  • onerare39onerare39 Expert Adviser, Moderator
    Posts: 913

    Since you have such a passion for your Hudson automobile you really should consider joining the Hudson Essex Terraplane Club.  Read through the following link and send me an email for a complimentary copy of the White Triangle News, the award winning publication of the Hudson Essex Terraplane Club.  It will cost you nothing for a test ride.

    John Forkner
  • Jon BJon B Administrator
    edited March 16 Posts: 6,431
    Bobby, here are the towns in which our current English members of the H-E-T live.  Being geographically challenged, I don't know how close they are to you.  But if you select one or two which are near you, I can P.M. you with the contact information. Some of these people may own Railtons, not Hudsons, but may be members of the H-E-T anyway.

    Bishops Waltham Southampton
    Burgess Hill
    Cosham, Portsmouth
    Dunstable. Beds.
    Fordingbridge, Hampshire
    Lee on the Solent
    Milton Keynes ENGLAND
    Rhosgoch Builth Wells
    South Yorkshire
    Stanford Le Hope
    Stroud Glos

    I would echo John Forkner's suggestion that you join the H-E-T because then, through our online webpage, you would have access to the current club roster with names and addresses, and you'd have access to the online library with downloadable shop manuals -- among other things!
  • PaulButlerPaulButler Administrator
    Posts: 737

    Paul Butler here and , for my sins, the WebMaster for the HET sites. I live not too far from as the crow flies (Codsall) so would be happy to take a trip down the M5 to visit. I'll drop you a PM with my contact details as well.

    As Jon and others have said I would recommend joining the club; best $58 I spend every year :)

  • OldBobbyOldBobby Member
    Posts: 5
    I most certainly will join up ..thanks for all your help and by the looks of it there's a few more Hudson owners about than Impression of ! great stuff ! and Paul I'll look forward to meeting up with you  Cheers all again Bob
Sign In or Register to comment.