I bought a 1925 chassis for parts and will be installing the engine in my 24 Touring on a temporary basis. The plan is to run it for a couple years while I save up for a first class rebuild on my car's original engine.
I'm not a novice mechanic, but I am a novice Model T mechanic and I know I'll have a lot of questions. I'll use this thread to document the refreshing of this temp engine and to ask questions. I'd appreciate any help that the knowledgeable folks here can offer.
Here's the chassis. I paid $300 for it and am hoping it was money well spent. In addition to the engine, I'll be using several other bits like the rear springs, accessory engine support, battery cable support bracket, starter button, gas tank, and more.
I bought the chassis from a hotrodder who pulled the coupe body off to use in a ratrod project. He initially thought he'd get the T running, but gave up before even trying to start it. And thankfully so. He went absolutely hog-wild with blue RTV gasket sealant and gooped it everywhere...even on the head gasket.
Today, I pulled the engine out of the chassis, placed it on an engine stand and started a limited disassembly.
I pulled off the head, the hogshead and the valve cover first. As I mentioned above...the previous guy went crazy with blue RTV. Thankfully, he never even tried to turn the engine over with this stuff all over everything.
(Message edited by rustyfords on July 04, 2018)
Tranny looks great. I am guessing you got a deal here.
The babbitt looks pretty acceptable on the connecting rods and caps. The cylinder bores and drums all look decent as well.
This engine came with a few "modern" ammenities like a 4 dip pan and quick change bands.
But all is not sunshine and roses. I checked for loose bits in the oil pan and found these little dudes....part of the magneto assembly.
Which leads me to my first dilemma. My fear is..if these little screws and plates are dropping off the magneto, then more will follow. I do really want to have a working mag because I consider it to be part of the overall Model T driving experience. My question is...if I decide to pull the transmission apart to get at, and replace the magneto, will I need special tools or super secret Model T engine knowledge? Or...is this something that a pretty competent mechanic can tackle in his garage?
Thanks Dave. I'm hoping that's the case.
You did good. I bought a chassis in a little worse shape but with a few extra parts for $400 about 9 years ago. I rebuilt the mag, crank miked good so I adjusted the rods, ground the valves and put new rings on std cast iron Ford pistons. I've driven it plenty around here on county roads after adding fenders and a cheap wood open body.
I do things the hard way I guess but I didn't have special tools to work on the mag. I bought a rebuilt field coil and recharged the magnets. Takes a lot of measurements and putting the flywheel on and off to set the gap. I don't have a starter or even a battery so it works fine.
That's encouraging Corey.
I guess I'll go ahead and finish stripping it down. By the looks of it, I need to pull off the oil pan in order to get at the drums and then the magneto.
Don, the only specialized tools you really need are a spring compressor to remove the spring pin, a puller to remove the clutch basket, and a puller to remove the driven gear. I made some from stuff laying around the shop. Setting the proper gap for the mag takes a bit of time and some give and take with a bunch of shim's. All very doable to someone who knows how to wrench in general.
You'll have to remove the pan and I always disassemble the transmission with it still attached then when you unbolt the flywheel it's not so heavy and I assemble it like that in reverse. I've seen the whole transmission removed as a unit but I don't have enough equipment for that. You will need a clutch drum puller.
Will a regular puller (like one used to pull a harmonic balancer) work?
Somebody told me I got lucky with this, but I took a steering wheel puller and some 350 Chevy head bolts plus a little wire to hold it together and made one. I used it about a month ago and it was in a good bind when it popped. I bought a transmission separate so had it sitting on end.
If your not planning to rebuild the engine but get it running slow down a bit and check a few things first. Remove the inspection plate on the oil pan and remove the rod caps one at a time be sure that you mark the cap so you know which side is on the cam side. See if there are shims under the cap, inspect the cap and babbitt. If it looks good the push the piston down a bit and see what the babbitt looks like in the rod. Take a caliper and measure the through at 90 degrees by turning the crank, if it’s close on the 2 measurements, put the cap back on just like you took it off and repeat on the other three. If they all loo good, babbitt, shims & through measurements then remove the pan. I suppose you could remove the pan before it’s just the way I was taught. Then mark the fly wheel and crank flange so that you put it back in the same position, the way you took it off. Remove the 4 bolts holding the transmission on. You’ll need to order new brass screws and if your missing them magnet facing plates. Take the transmission off and grind the end of the brass screws off for easier extraction. Don’t grind the heads of the brass screws but rather the ends more than likely they’ve been punch. One at a time remove and replace the screws. Be sure to use a flathead screwdriver that is snug and one that covers the slot completely. As always look for any cracks in the magnets. You’ll also want to inspect the drums for any cracks too. Find a plastic 5 gallon bucket an put the transmission in the bucket drum side down. This will give you a could platform for you to take out and replace the screws. Once completed put it back on the way you took it off base on the position marks you made. Mind you this is just the basic but not thorough dis-asembly and assembly to get you going. The pictures seem to show your valves are not 2 piece type so they may not need replacing. You may want to seat the valves if they need it. Again this is just a short way to use minimal dollars and effort to get you engine up and running. Your mileage may vary. Best of luck John
A basic inspection like John T. T mentions can help you feel comfortable with a "freshened up" old engine. Do check for one piece valves in it and replace the valves if they are the old two piece type (they are prone to breaking from age).
As for the transmission. Many an old model T transmission has been thrown into a car and run reliably for many long miles and years of good service. However, then there ARE "the others". Any way you look at it? It is a gamble. You may take the thing completely apart, find it is all good, and feel better just knowing it is good. And one can toss a tranny into a T and wind up with major regrets when it goes the big munch a couple months down the road. Back on the other hand? I put an unchecked transmission in a T I put together as a temporary engine and had the nicest, most quiet best working transmission I ever drove in a model T. Until I replaced the engine with its permanent and well rebuilt engine. When I took the tired wheezy old motor apart? That wonderful quiet smooth transmission literally fell apart on the engine hoist. When I took it apart and actually inspected it? It was one of the worst most worn out planetary transmissions I ever saw (even the flywheel was junk!). I was surprised it ran at all, let alone so nicely. So I was lucky for a couple thousand miles.
Personally? I would still consider running a decent looking transmission without taking it apart. But I am not sure that I would recommend it.
For what it is worth? The magneto magnet bolts can be replaced without taking the engine completely apart. But I would recommend removing the flywheel and transmission from the engine for one reason. The fact that you have at least two broken screw heads indicates that at some time in the past, someone probably tweaked those screws a bit hard. That would suggest that others may follow suit and also break. It also suggests that if someone has worked on it? You should at least closely inspect the magnets for any sign of cracking at the bottom of the "V".
The fact is, that a flywheel magneto that has never been messed with or damaged in any way? Likely will not have a magnet ready to break any time soon. There is of course always the exception to that rule. I have taken apart several transmissions over the years, and found quite a few magnets that were either broken or ready to break. They were almost always on flywheels that showed some sign of damage or tampering. And yours does, with two broken screws.
Good luck! However you decide. And mostly? That engine looks really nice (except for the blue stuff)!
Thanks for all the great advice and wisdom John and Wayne. This is exactly why I started this thread.
I'm completely comfortable leaving the transmission alone. What's really causing me concern is the magneto starting to come apart. That's what I want to get access to and repair or replace.
I think that's what y'all are describing.
Now to locate the 4 bolts that are holding on the transmission. When those are removed, does it just slide off as a unit, leaving the field coil ring only, attached to the engine?
(Message edited by rustyfords on July 05, 2018)
If you take it off as a unit there are 4 bolts that hold it to the crankshaft. They are safety wired and you have to remove the rear main cap to remove them.
Since components of the magneto assembly are failing, you need to go in there and just do the magneto. If you have an engine hoist it is easy enough to pull the transmission as a unit. Get the magnets re-charged and a re-wound coil ring. There are may threads here on setting up the magneto, but the electrical book will be of great help. Buy or borrow the KR Wilson tool for setting up the magnets on the flywheel. It will save a bunch of time. Also you will need a brass feeler gauge to set up the gap between the coil ring and the magnets. The specification is 25 to 40 thousands, but the closer to 25 the better the output. See if you can find some T folks in you area that have done this to guide you through it.
Do not need to remove the main cap. A socket and a extension and rotate the crank to find clearance.
Yesterday I pulled, inspected, adjusted and reinstalled all four connecting rod caps. I also removed each piston, cleaned off built-up carbon and carefully reinstalled each one in the same orientation that they came out in.
Then I dropped the oil pan. Good thing too..because I discovered two band washers and a nut in the pan.
During my time doing all this, I reminded myself why I was messing with this spare engine in the first place...and that was to cheaply get my car running while I save up for a first class rebuild on my car's original engine.
So, then and there I decided that I wasn't going to mess with the magneto in this temp engine. All the other components in this engine look good and I'll be ok running the thing without a magneto if it gets me a Model T that moves under its own power, instead of the static display that I have now. Plus, I can avoid spending the $$ for a new coil ring, magnets (if any are broken), magnet screws, and so on and put that money in the kitty for my "real" engine.
If I diregard the magneto, I think I have everything in my possession right now to get this temp engine running and installed in my car.
So here's where I need advice. I know I need the structure of the magneto to fling oil around. But if I just want it to perform oil flinging duties and nothing else, what do I need to inspect and do to the magneto to make it safe to run given that bits of it have already come apart?
As previously mentioned, you’ll need to remove the transmission because 2 of the 16 brass screws already failed thus releasing 2 of the ‘clamps’ connecting the magnets. Buy a set of 16 brass screws from T parts vendors. I’d go the extra mile and determine none of the 16 magnets are cracked and you have continuity in the mag field coil. Once you’ve completed the spare engine and Ross rebuilds your other engine; I’d also acquire, frame and hang the Model T lubrication picture also available from the vendors. The T is maintainance significant to ensure your continued enjoyment.
If it's a real '25 frame, it will have the two rivet hand brake quadrant.
It does appear to be the case Larry.
Thanks George. I'll be pulling off the transmission this week.
Another thing I worked on yesterday was the crankshaft pulley.
It was in pretty awful condition and needed to be replaced. As I attempted to drive out the pin, I smacked the pulley rim a few times and it separated from the hub of the pulley that attaches to the crankshaft. The rim was now free to roughly spin around, making it really hard to strike the pin.
Since it was toast anyway, I decided to go Neanderthal on it and just hacked the rim off using some metal sheers.
This gave me a more direct line to smack the pin but it absolutely refused to budge, even after I applied some careful heat to it (not enough to melt the babbitt in the first main)
So...I drilled it out.
Dern old cars. I've lost track of how many times things that should take minutes, end up taking an hour or more when working on antiques.
Of course, the pulley from hell is still not relenting. The pulley hub is still stubbornly holding on to the end of the crankshaft. I may have to cut it off as well.
(Message edited by rustyfords on July 08, 2018)
Don, I re-read your post of this morning at 0732. You stated you “need the structure of the magneto to sling oil around”. You probably know the magneto consists of 2 basic components: one is the ‘field coil’ of 16 insulation wrapped copper spools bolted to the block and the other is the 16 magnets fastened to the flywheel. These magnets exist to splash oil throughout the engine. Tolerances given above are Ford’s recommendation. I like to narrow the range to .028 and .032. I admire that you want to experience the magneto engine operation. It’s a pain in the butt to later-on remove the engine and separate the pan so take a little time to inspect triple gear bushings and the 25 clutch discs while you have the tranny off. I have plenty of good original crank pullies. Would be glad to send you one if needed.
Thank you George. I'll send you a PM about the pulley.
As for this engine, all I really want it to do is to give me a mobile Model T for a year or two. By then, I'll have my T's original engine rebuilt professionally and placed back in the car.
If this "temporary engine" is still running, I plan to find a guy resurrecting a non-running T and give it to him. The generosity and willingness to help, that I've experienced in the Model T community is far greater than I've experienced in all other branches of the old car world, combined. And...I plan to do my part to keep that spirit going by giving this engine away.
(Message edited by rustyfords on July 08, 2018)
Bought a 360 Dodge engine. I was told it leaked oil. Leaked oil was a understatement. The worst was the rear pan seal that was loaded up with RTV to the point it actually squished out of place when the pan was installed. Had to completely disassemble a Lycoming aircraft engine and clean the RTV from everywhere there was a gasket plus the case halves. Leave your RTV in your tool box or better yet leave it at the store.
I agree Daren.
The guy I bought this engine from had different ideas however...almost a love affair with the stuff.
From looking at the pictures, your magneto coils are losing insulation. This is what I suspect happened. The band washers were picked up by the magnets and hit the magneto coils. That is very likely what also caused the heads of the brass screws to break off. You need to get the book from the club "Electrical System" It tells you step by step details on how to rebuild the magneto. You need to check the magnets for cracks and recharge them. You should also re-wind or replace with rewound magneto coil ring. Replace the brass screws and if the starter ring gear looks worn replace it at this time. Then install the magnets with equal height from the flywheel and when you install the flywheel measure the clearance between the magnets and the coil poles. This is a lot of work, but the only way you can make the magneto work and keep it from causing further damage to the car. You could put slingers on the flywheel and leave the magnets off. Then you would need an e timer or tru-fire to run your ignition system or replace it with a distributor.
I would recommend you rebuild the engine while it is apart. Those are the old cast iron pistons and very likely the cylinders and rings are quite worn. Check every thing out and save a lot of future work.
Good grief man, what a perfect job of drilling that pin!
Thanks for the info Norm.
As for rebuilding this engine...it's my car's original engine that will get rebuilt. The whole purpose behind this one is to have something cheap that I can quickly install in my car for a year or two to make it a runner.
Ha! I was actually kind of miffed at myself for veering off as much as I did!
After much effort, I managed to remove the remains of the lower pulley this afternoon. I had to cut it off.
What a mess. It was a two piece thingamabob, whereas the good used original one I was given is a solid, one piece part.
I also hit a major snag with this "temp" engine this afternoon when I pulled off the transmission.
Since I've decided that I'm going to try and make the magneto work, I figured I should check the crank end play. With the engine standing on end (on an engine stand), I was able move the crank up and down quite a bit and was able to get a 0.025 feeler gauge in between the rear main rod cap and the crank thrust surface.
The Ford manual says .004 to .007 is acceptable so this looks like it's way out of line. And my guess is that it'll interfere with proper magneto function.
So...my quandary is...should I continue to try and get this temp engine going on the cheap, or just throw in the towel and take my 24 Touring's original engine to Ross Lilleker and have him do it up right.
Other than the babbitt, the 24 engine is in good condition. The bores are decent and are standard bore size. The block deck looks really good as does the block in general.
Buy a new rear cap and scrape to fit. Then use a belt sander to set up the end play clearance.
You can learn a lot from the experience of freshening up a tired old engine. Are there risks? Yes, even a few serious ones like maybe the engine will blow apart at the worst possible time and could result in a serious accident. But the fact is, that ALL life involves risk. And the more we learn? The better we can mange that risk. This is not just about model Ts? It is about every aspect of life.
There are several simple ways to eliminate that end play, if you want to do so. Fitting a re-Babbitted main cap is one of the best and easiest. You could also oval and shim offset your old main cap and accomplish the same thing (but it won't hold up as long). Some of the parts suppliers sell a bolt on end play adjuster that several people have tried with great success. And amazingly enough? If you leave the end play alone, your magneto once recharged and adjusted as best as lousy end play will allow, might just work okay.
I know that a lot of people disagree with me on this. But I like the idea of patching up a temporary engine and running it for a couple years. Like I said before. I have done that before.
Don this is what you need.
Mark...that's what I'm leaning toward. I pulled off the rear main cap and not only is the thrust surface worn, but the babbitt that contacts the crank is pretty nasty as well.
John...thanks for the suggestion, but I'm guessing that the end play shim would be redundant if I buy a new rear main cap.
Wayne...I was starting to get frustrated with this temp engine, but your post made me realize how much I've learned by stripping down this engine, removing the transmission, etc. It has been extremely educational and dare I say...fun. When I was learning the ins and outs of old cars as a teenager in the 1980's, my dad insisted that I tear down and rebuild a 283 small block Chevy by myself and only stepped in when I hit a big snag. This, I'm realizing, is much the same.
The short term goal is to take my car from "static display" status to "glorified golf cart" status, and hopefully the fact that it'll just putt around the neighborhood and an occasional swap meet at low RPM will help keep this temp engine together.
The long term goal is to take the car all the way to something that can run down the road with a tour like the Texas T Party. But, that will require a much better engine and other repairs to the rest of the car's mechanical and suspension/steering bits.
several of these issues are easily sidestepped ... a compromise for sure but you can have an operational engine without a full rebuild... if you get past the need of an operational magneto you can run coils on battery or upgrade to one of the e-timer systems ...this can be transferred to your new rebuilt engine later ...regarding the need for magnets to throw oil ... you can use the old spools or add a set of oil slingers for that purpose ...the rear main is a piece of cake ...actually your simplest issue ...just purchase a re-babbitted rear cap and fit as needed ... always an optimist gene french
I'll need to buy a babbitt scraping tool.
But WOW...Model T's sure are crazy. The thought of scraping bearing material and then reinstalling a cap on an engine is just bizarre sounding to me.
I need to find a video or something to show me how to do this.
Now that you have the flywheel off, be sure to clean and inspect the oil tube that feeds the front of the engine, I'm sure that the funnel end is full of band lining and I have run into tubes that had holes rusted in them.
Don, check out the videos here: http://modelt-tips.com/Engine/
Wow...Mike has nice tools.
Will do John.
After looking at the field coil ring in relation to the oil pickup tube, it looks like the oil pickup tube will need to come off in order to remove the field coil ring.
if you are able to mic. the crankshaft diameter and overall length between thrust flanges on the crankshaft you can purchase re-babbitted mainbearing caps from several vendors ... I regularly machine caps to a customers specs. ...I also supply caps machined with standard .015 thick laminated shims and a small container of timesaver lapping compound ... don't discount the advantage of using timesaver lap ... used correctly and with patience you can achieve a very good bearing fit ...always an optimist ...gene french
Thanks Gene....I'll be in touch.
I do have a good quality digital caliper. Do I need to remove the crank to mic it?
I've never used Timesaver. Is it done like lapping a valve? I guess one just spins the crank by hand while the Timesaver lapping compound is in place?
I have done quite a few " refurbish" used engines ...I like to disassemble and clean and inspect ( document dimensions ) ...I will lap the mainbearings in the block ... timesaver and no downward pressure on the crankshaft ...let the timesaver do the work ... when you have achieved an acceptable bearing in all 3 bearings I will lap the caps ...starting with the center main cap , then the front or rear caps ... you want to start with a crankshaft that is round ... ideally out of round less than .001" ... I have fit crankshaft from other engines that were of a larger diameter this way ...also , you will want to check rods for alignment ... even in assembly a slightly bent rod will shift position abruptly when tightened ... usually front to back is where you will observe this condition ... if a rod has a correct fit on the crank journal when not assembled in cylinder BUT binds when installed in cylinder this is likely your problem ... in looking at your engine , I don't see anything I would be afraid of ... with care you can have a serviceable unit without much more than your time invested ...always an optimist Gene French
Gene...if you do email, my email address is: allenchemistryATgmail.com
Please shoot me an email.
So I now at the point where I need to decide whether to get the magneto going or delete it...and that decision will dictate which parts I buy.
Keep in mind that this engine is meant to be something I run for a couple years maximum. When I get my real engine rebuilt, it'll have a fully refurbished magneto.
Let's say I wanted to keep the cost way down and delete the magneto on this temp engine...I have the following questions:
- Could I run the existing rear main cap with it's 0.025 end play if I just cleaned up all the bearings with something like Timesaver?
- What should I use to sling oil if the magnets are gone?
- What changes would have to be made to the rest of the ignition system?
You can run the car on 6 volts with the coils. It would run much better on coils with the magneto working. When I got my car the magneto would not supply enough power to keep it running. The previous owner just ran it on the battery. I did an in the car recharge, then it worked. It would probably run better on 12 volts. Other choice would be a distributor and using the magnets or the oil slinger kit for oiling.
For a temporary and easy use engine? Either 6 or 12 volt battery and standard (good) coils will be fine. Many MANY model Ts have been run that way for many years. One could leave the field coil out and the magnets still on the flywheel for oil circulation. Or a few paddles onto a flywheel stripped of its magnets also works well. Several people admit to running bare flywheels with no ill effects (but I haven't tried that).
Don, I'm on the JunkTard Mechanic end of model T Ford's. My poor Crappy 24 Runabout with the 19 engine is all junk from one end to the other.
Goll, he's cool. :-)
When I've slid the crankshaft back and forth, I can "see" the movement. It's a BIT more than 25 thou. ;-) There may be rub marks...
The last time I had the lighting hooked up, it worked. It sucked because of the bulbs I used but the lighting worked.
Hah! I used a 110V household light switch to turn the lights on. It's what I had. :-)
I will swear that the mag in my 19 engine will still power a timer and a set of coils and have been considering just that to be contrary/correct.
AND for worn out testing... It's a dizzy powered machine for the last 20.
For the Uber Cheap? Try it. :-)
These fellas are correct and know. Get the slop out. Yet?... That's all.
Don get you a third main cap from Gene and this https://www.modeltford.com/item/3030SHIM.aspx. If your forth main is good that’s great if it’s not Gene French can make you one of those real cheap. That would be under $120 for all 3 items, all things being good Your engine should be just fine for years. Give me a call tomorrow I’ll be heading to San Antonio.
I'm about to pull off the field coil ring.
What's holding the oil pickup tube in place? The manual just says to remove it...nothing else.
I think the field coil ring is holding the tube.
The oil tube is held by one of the mag ring bolts.
It may be like this...
I have the long one...I'm guessing that's due to my engine being a '25.
I wish you were closer, that 1925 rolling frame would be a good match to the 1925 touring body that I have in my basement.
Trust me Mark, that '25 chassis is nowhere near as nice as your touring body....not even close.
I'll take some up-close photos of the chassis to show the butchery that the poor thing has been subjected to in its lifetime.
Once I've cannibalized it completely, I'm going to make a period trailer out of the rails and the front axle.
We received some much-needed rain in the Houston area while I was at work today and the '25 chassis had to sit out in it.
But, based on its condition, I don't feel too terribly bad.
Here are some of the most egregious "sins" that have the thing has been subjected to over the years.
This is the frame rail on the driver's side, near the front. Not sure what happened here, but it looks like it was traumatic.
The front crossmember is bent. I'll have to heat this up and straighten it out when I make a trailer out of it.
The rear crossmember and spare carrier have both seen some damage and welding. However, the main cross-piece for the spare carrier was very nicely cut-down to accommodate later split rims. You can barely tell where they did it. I'll be utilizing part of it on my car.
And finally, I may be showing my ignorance here, but isn't the front crossmember supposed to be riveted to the frame rails? This one is bolted.
The chassis under my '24 Touring is positively mint compared to this '25 chassis. There's still plenty of what I believe to be original factory paint on my '24 chassis and zero rust pitting. Dealing with this parts chassis has really made me appreciate how solid and nice my '24 Touring is overall. It saw hard farm use for sure, but it was never allowed to get rusty and was retired to a dry west Texas barn in the 60's. Those things really did it a huge favor.
Granted...it was almost certainly wrecked at some point and the right front fender, radiator and grill shell from an earlier T were used to patch it up, but it all looks right for some reason.
Yes, the frame should have rivets, not bolts. I had a front cross member that was cracked. It was bolted in, but I installed a new one with rivets. If you need to do any riveting when you make your trailer, Jim Dix (Big Flats Rivet Co.) will have what you need.
Thanks Steve. One of the skills I really want to sharpen in the next year is welding.
And, by the time I get around to this trailer, I hope to be a decent enough welder to weld the whole project together...including the crossmember to the frame rail.