is there any cure for having to jack up the rear wheel to crank my 14 t when it is cold?
Try a lighter weight oil?
Move to Florida or wait for global warming.
Gil Fitzhugh, Morristown, NJ
You could do what most folks did in the day, buy a newer car that had a clutch that really releases. A dragging Model T clutch is the nature of the beast.
try 5w-30 oil, it acts like 5w in winter temps, but when warm acts like 30w
also a kerosene lamp under the flywheel, will help keep the engine warm. could be a firehazard though, but it was often done back in the day, and similar things are done today.
Free neutral adjustment. Keep it simple.
Drain the oil and heat it on the stove and put it in warm.
draining the oil wont drain the oil in the clutch though,
What weight oil is in the car ?
I park mine with the lever forward, i.e., in High Gear. That keeps the oil squeezed out from in between the clutch discs. I also use 5W-30. I park indoors in an insulated shop, but it is not heated unless I'm out there working. And....our weather is probably not as cool as yours, but....I have no problem hand cranking either of ours even in the Winter. Well, except when I forget to leave the lever forward. It REALLY makes a difference. If I forget and leave it in Neutral when I park it, it takes several pulls to get it loosened up enough to crank.
There are those who say that if you have your Ford clutch properly adjusted, you won't be having that problem. But most folks aren't that adept at adjusting the original clutch and have the problem you are experiencing. Or, you could install a Watts clutch, which many of us here think is wonderful (not Royce though). You'll get a true free neutral, and smooth clutch engagement. I have driven T's for many thousands of miles with the Watts clutch and wouldn't have any other type in my car. R. V. Anderson is the current source for them.
Cold in North Carolina? Very funny!
Mikes right. A clutch adjustment or update to Watts or Jack Rabbit will do the trick.
We're supposed to have -22F on Monday. I've got half a mind to leave my '14 outside overnight and have my boy videotape an actual cold-start demonstration.
Eric - Please do it. My '14 is put away for the winter, but we would really like to know if it would start by hand cranking in really cold weather.
This is something that is rarely (or never) mentioned.
If your transmission is worn out, you may never get a free enough cold neutral to start the car without jacking up one wheel, even if you have made all the correct adjustments.
Warped plates, jagged lugs, worn shaft, worn bushings, etc. are contributing factors.
Either update the clutch as others have mentioned, or at higher expense,install an auxillary trans or KC Warford to provide a positive neutral.
My dad told me his grandfather in Okieland, used to drain the water from the radiator, fill all his grandmothers pots and kettles with it and get them all to boiling. Then pour it all back into the radiator...hand crank it a few times, start it, then move to start it. I don't know if that works, but it apparently worked for him.
If your Ford clutch is adjusted properly and not shot it is the best clutch you can get. Installing an inferior aftermarket clutch won't change the amount of difficulty hand cranking the engine at all.
If you use a 0W-30 oil the car should hand crank easily Eric. My grandmother used to hand crank the '15 touring every morning to take my dad and his brother and sisters to school every day in Eagle Bend, Mn. If she could do it I bet you can too.
Having recently acquired '15 Touring I now am also in the "learning curve" on hand cranking a T. Even tho she sits in a well insulated, unheated garage she starts a lot easier if I just position one of those cheap shop lights with the big silver globe right over the manifold area overnight, and usually it'll start on the first crank, if not even on compression. I've tried it without the light, and it took three or four cranks to get her to go, if I can run around fast enough to catch the spark lever in time! Now to find out how to adjust the clutch that everyone's talking about.
I am somewhat surprised that no one has suggested a magnetic oil pan heater.
Quick to put on or take off and heating the oil is at least as effective (or more so)
than heating the coolant. Can be set up with a timer for whatever length of time
that you find works best. You won’t need it on all night. An hour or two depending
on the temperature.
Seems like a no brainer on a vehicle were the engine and transmission oil is common.
I permanently strapped one to the back of the oil pan sump on my 460 cu in Ford
and the starter would spin the engine in -30° F weather instead of just groaning to a stop.
Has anyone tried one on a T ?
I was told that the problem is the discs in service get lapped together like Johannsen guages, so they wring together and won't let go of each other. When you're doing a trans overhaul, if you scuff up the plates and give them a light hammering to distort them a bit, it all works fine. Well, it worked for me.
The clutch disks need to be flat and smooth. If they were scuffed, distorted and hammered as you say, and I found them when disassembling an engine, I would throw them away.
Been 28 to 35 for about a week or more here in Portland OR. I went out to start the T tonight, forgot I had put 30W in it!
Hal Davis mentioned parking the car with the clutch lever forward. I finally got the chance to try that trick, and it works great. Normally at near freezing temperatures I can barely crank the car (I have 30 weight oil in it) but after leaving the lever forward, it cranks very easily and started with out having to jack up the rear wheel. The temperature is 34° today and it was as easy to pull the crank as when the temperature is above 60°.
This forum is the greatest, I have only been playing with Ts for the past year, and with the help of all those here, I have been able to learn things that would have taken years before the webernet made it possible to get answers so quickly.
Just put a chock in front of the wheel so that it won't run you over when it starts and you don't need to jack up the rear. After the engine warms up, it doesn't need the chock.
Note: The above works down to 20 degrees. I have no experience with below zero weather being that I live in California. It does get a bit colder here in the mountains than at sea level, but rarely gets below freezing.
Just putting a chock in front of the front wheel will do nothing to make it easier to crank the engine, it is the stiffness in the transmission that drags on the engine, making it harder to turn and harder for the engine to run when first starting. If you have a well adjusted parking brake, that should work better than a chock. I do know from recent experience, leaving the clutch lever forward until time to start makes a humongous difference in how hard it is to crank the engine.
I do the wheel chaulk thing myself.
Putting a cock in front of the wheel will do nothing to help start the car, there must be something else you do.
Chock, not that other thing Spell check only catches them if they are spelled wrong, not the wrong word.
Despite what Royce posts the best free neutral in a T is with a Watts clutch. I bet if we could get the lurkers that don't want to be beat up on the forum and guys that don't post often but really drive their cars you would find that about 10 to 1 are on board with Watts. 3 of my 4 running T's have Watts clutches in them and the next time the engine comes out of the 4th it will have a Watts clutch in it. They are simply superior to the original Ford clutch.
Lets not pull punches. It isn't that you or the rest of the T community can't adjust the original clutch right. It's that the original clutch is inferior to a Watts clutch. I am tired of the forum bully that has no experience with a Watts clutch spewing falsehoods about it.
I was going to stay out of this one but I find that jacking up a rear wheel when it is cold is part of the fun of owning a T.
When I park the car in the garage I put the brake handle forward to squeeze the oil out of the clutch.
When comes time to start it I jack up a rear wheel, pull the brake handle part way back, open the throttle about half way, pull out the choke and give it few good tugs, advance the spark a little, and turn the switch to the battery.
I get a free start about 50% of the time.
The wheel spins so I then pull the brake all the way back as it warms up. The motor usually slows down a bit so I know there is a lot of drag due to the oil viscosity - OH ya I use 10-30 OIL sometimes 5-30 in the cold months
I also jack in the summer when I start it for the first time because I like free starts!
The best free neutral you can get in a T is with some form of an auxiliary transmission! (KC Warfords are so sweet) I do not have any experience with a Turbo or Jack Rabbit clutch and while I do have some reservation about them I have never used them have no ability to report on their reliability, performance, or longevity, unlike the forum bully who has never used any of them. I can report that I have used Watts clutches since they were introduced with superior results to original Ford clutches.
I have used the Turbo clutches and can report that they offer no improvement over the factory Ford clutch when both are adjusted properly and in good condition. The turbo, watts and jacked up clutches do regularly fail in service if not adjusted properly, or through the actions of an inexperienced driver. Thus the Ford clutch is superior in that it can take an incredible amount of abuse, yet survive and still operate properly. The neutral characteristics of any of these types is identical. All offer a perfectly free neutral. The Ford clutch is simply more reliable.
Perhaps I am the "Forum Bully"? If you mean that I am someone who cares deeply about the Model T and its history, and dislikes horse manure, then yes I am that guy. Somebody needs to speak up when the original design of the Model T is said to be deficient, when in fact it is not. You will find that I will address these things politely, and with all due respect to the person making the mis - statement.
I just love being called a "Forum Bully"!!!!
The chock will act as a safety precaution in case the brake is not on all the way. If you park with the brake forward get inside the car to pull on the brake before cranking. It is hard to pull it back all the way from outside the car especially with no door on the driver's side. If you don't pull on all the way it is still in "neutral" and if there is any drag it can run you over or pin you against anything in front of the car. The chock will not make it any easier to start, but is a safety precaution.
What's the big deal with jacking up a wheel for easier winter starts. I use a winter storage jack with a long handle and it just takes a second to get the wheel up. Just be sure to have a decent wheel chock on a front wheel. I can start my car without jacking up a wheel but it's a lot less strain on an old mans back with a rear wheel in the air. I even do it in Florida where I spend most of the winter these days because I prefer a heavier oil for less leaks!
I have been jacking the rear wheel up since it got cold, it is not fun to crawl under when it is muddy to do this, but otherwise, I agree it is part of the T experience. I have been parking with the clutch lever forward for the past three days, and I am sold on doing it that way, you can still jack the wheel up if you want to, but I have found that it is not necessary using this method.
I have to admit, I would prefer to not have to jack up a rear wheel before every cold start. Call me lazy, I guess. However, I can really appreciate those that don't mind and call it part of the experience. I have long said you should not just DRIVE a Model T. You should EXPERIENCE it. That is why I feel the way I do about lots of the 'upgrades' I see others doing. One day, when I'm too old and decrepid to do otherwise, I may have to install a starter on a pre-1919 car. And I'll admit to considering the installation of some sort of auxilliary brakes on a T so I would feel more comfortable about taking one to the mountains. But that is really about all I can think of. The rest, I view as part of the experience, not a hinderance. BTW, I would jack up a wheel, if I had to, before I would install an aftermarket clutch. I just don't have to.
You can get a high lift quick acting roll around jack really cheap. Years ago when I still had a good back I always did the morning start on the '15 with a TT jack, sort of a ritual, on a just because it took less that 2 quarter turns that way with the wheel engaged no matter what the conditions. Once warm, always 1/4 turn of the stem if I remember to set things right.
Then one Christmas the missus bought me one of the high-lift-quick lift long pump handle things. Today my spine is wracked with arthritis more severe than my doc has ever seen and it's a god-send on the '15 Runabout because I really want to keep the '15 and it has never been molested even though at times I've been tempted to dump in that spare '23 engine I have.
I STILL use it on the Hack and Fordor and the Coupe all with electric start because while I've never had creep on any...chock the front wheels, 3 or 4 pumps on the handle, lever forward and 'go'. Less than a minute on 'first' start after sitting. Some may argue that the 'flywheel effect' is too small to matter...my own experience is different because grinding on a starter continuous is NOT the best thing to do with 90 year old starters and while one is new and quite sweet, consistency just prevails in what I do.