HAVING JUST BECOME THE PROUD OWNER OF A 1915 T I HAVE ALREADY LEARNED MY FIRST VALUABLE LESSON.
DO NOT SPOT WELD A SPLIT RIM AND TRY TO FORCE THE TIRE ON. :"IT DON'T WORK"!
WISH I HAD FOUND THIS FORUM FIRST
ANYONE HAVE ADVICE AS TO THE CORRECT WAY TO DO THIS?
The title of this thread reminds me of:
"Some people refuse to learn from the experience of others. That's why we still have cigarettes." — Arnold Quagmire Farn
Art, first of all, welcome. If you go to the Keyword Search (see the top of this page) and type in "split rims" in quotes, then click SEARCH, you'll get 122 results. I expect one of those will provide some guidance.
Everybody here loves looking at Model T Fords. I hope we'll see some pictures of your 1915 soon.
Pictures of what you are talking about and what you did, and what you want to do, would help so we can be sure we are all talking about the same thing. I assume you are talking about demountable split rims, but they were not available in 1915, so I'm not sure what you are referring to as split rims, is what I understand them to be. If you are talking about demountable split rims, you cannot mount them without unlatching the catch and splitting the rim which reduces the size, so if you welded the split closed, the first thing you will need to do is grind the weld off and restore the split. Be sure to grind smooth the sharp edges of the weld so it won't cut your tube.
Once the tires are mounted, you open up the rim to its' former size, realign the ends and latch the ends together. There is a split rim crank type screw jack, called a rim spreader, equipped with three arms for helping to re-expand the split rim and align the ends. If you don't have a rim spreader, there is a way to do it with a Model T jack or a bottle jack. I posted a few pictures below. Jim Patrick
And if you use a "split rim jack", or a car jack to push the split back together; Unless you are really careful, you run a real risk of ruining your rim by warping or kinking it. A kinked rim is really difficult if impossible to fix.
Here is a photo of a kinked T rim I pulled off the internet somewhere. You can see the three spots where the rim was kinked by a Y shaped rim jack.
the more i research this, the more confused i am getting. are you saying not to use a rim splitter? is the best way to do this is the wooden blocks?
the title says 1914. is there a way to conferm this.
i am 54 and as smart as we think we are. i have no referance to what i am doing, BUT WANT TO LEARN. IS THIS CONSISTANT WITH 1915 OR HAVE PARTS BEEN SWITCHED?
The first question answered would help a bunch...
Do your tires look 'fat' and have a rim that does have a full split line?
If so, then there are old rim cranks available at swap meets and as Adam warns, 'newbies' can get carried away with them and destroy a perfectly good rim forever. It can also be done without the tool, and there are OTHER ways with wooden blocks, home-made turnbuckles etc...but you still need to be aware to not kink or overstretch.
So, confirm your wheel style as there are many and normally these so called ballon style as shown are NOT on a 15 traditionally, but a 15 COULD be outfitted with them as an afterthought.
Art, a 1914 does not have a slpit rim wheel. Something is amiss here. Could you provide a photo and clarify what you welded.
I think parts have been switched to the simpler demountable rims. The 1915 used a 30" x 3" wheel on the front and a 30" x 3 1/2" on the rear. If you have 21" demountable rims, you definitely have the wrong wheels and tires on your car and it might look somewhat disproportional. Since you are new to this, you will need to get you several books on the Model T, but until you get them you can go to the encyclopedia located on the homepage of this site and educate yourself on your car. All the Model T's are listed by year. www.mtfca.com
I have a three point rim spreader and they work good if you are careful, but if you don't have one, the bottle jack method with rounded blocks will probably be the best and safest way. You may want to get the proper wheels for your 1915 at sometime in the future, but it's not really necessary. It makes it no less a Model T and you can have fun with it without doing so and most folks won't know the difference. Just enjoy it. Jim Patrick
An original 1915 wheel would have a 'non-demountable rim'. In other words, the rim is a permanent part of the wheel and the tyre has to be changed on the car. I think it was 1919 when demountable rims came on factory Model T's as standard equipment.
Many people retro fit the later wheels to the earlier cars because you can change a rim so much more quickly and easily.
Where do you live. I have tools that are not shown above. If you live close enough I will mount your tires for you at no charge. Among other things I have is a Weaver Tire Changer that makes it less difficult. If you are close enough call me and we can set a date to mount your tires.
Art, when I got into this recently (during the last three years) I was mystified by the various tire terms. I'll try to describe the various set-ups as I understand them, and somebody with more experience can correct me.
Your car, mid-teens, would have come originally with non-demountable clincher tires. Clincher means that the edge of the rim curls in toward the tire, and the tire has a bead that fits into that curl to keep it from popping off. Tire pressure is high (around 60 psi) to keep the bead pressed into the curl. Non-demountable means that the rim is permanently attached to the rest of the wheel, so you would have to take the wheel off to change the tire or change it with the wheel still on the car.
By the late teens, demountable clinchers were available. The rim was attached to the rest of the wheel with four bolts. If you had a flat you could just undo the four bolts, take off the rim, and install a spare rim with a spare tire already on it. I believe these wheels were available as an option, but the non-demountables continued to be the stock product.
In the mid-twenties split rims came along. These were a lower pressure, fatter tire on a rim that was, as the name says, split. The pictures above show the split quite clearly.
The 1926-1927 Fords came with modern style balloon (low pressure) tires on wire wheels, No more demountables, no more split rims.
One more type of rim is the demountable used on the TT rear wheels. One of the rim walls is a spring steel ring that fits into a groove. These rims kill people who aren't very careful with them. They have to be changed in a steel cage or with chain wrapped around them in case they snap loose.
Dating your car will take a couple of things. One is the engine serial number. It will give us the specific date the engine was made, and if it's the car's original engine that will date the car. The serial number is stamped on the flat surface above the water inlet on the left (driver's side) of the engine.
But if the engine has been changed and is of a different year than the car, you have to date the vehicle by its features. A lot of guys here are very familiar with the features of various years, so posting a bunch of pictures from different angles should pin it down. Confusion over the specific year of a car is common, and a title having the wrong year is not at all unusual.
I will at this point discuss the '25-'27 model T type split rims. The model T split rims are not as tough as many split rims used by larger cars. If you have a little muscle, you can remove and install the rims on tires using a hammer, a tire iron (even a big screwdriver or two) and said muscle. Instead of squeezing the rim in far enough to pull the tire off easily, use a hammer and tire iron to gently snap one side of the split over the other. It should only go one way and should overlap less than an inch. Then use the tire iron to lift and pry the one side of the rim "sideways" across the other. You may have to work the bead a little bit. Once it is snapped off the outside, give the tire a "bear hug" and pull (peal) the rim out. (This actually distorts the rim less than a rim spreader does.)
Putting the rim on is sort-of in reverse, except instead of the bear hug, a little prying with the tire iron and some kicking with your (hopefully hard) shoes. Tire iron pry the end of the rim back across the other end. Tire iron pry the ends and gently tap the rim down the tire iron till it snaps in place. Pressure and friction will not allow it to just pry into place, the hammer is more for vibration to allow the rim to slide.
I have done this many times, at home and on the road. I have done this with Jaxon rims, Buick rims, and once, a Lincoln split rim. THAT one was tough.
AN IMPORTANT POINT that needs to be made. Often.
These "split rims" are NOT the "split rims" notorious for decapitations and permanent smiles. Those type are two or three part "split" rims that can blow one part off the other under pressure and can kill you. (Some early automobiles do use the three part type.)
These model T type "split" rims are one part. They can, if not properly seated or locked, snap apart and even blow the tube. They CANNOT blow off the tire. They could hurt your eardrums. I suppose you could have a finger in the wrong place and lose it. But the only way they could kill you is if you hit your head on the way down after being surprised.
The other type of (two or three part) split rim is wrongly hated and vilified. Most of my adult life I have had old pick-up trucks using those rims. I always change the tires myself. I was doing them for my dad's truck when I was twelve. But you HAVE TO learn how to do them the RIGHT way.
Please, drive and work, carefully, I do not wish to lose friends, old or new,
In the picture posted by Jim Patrick, the rim spreader is not situated correctly on the rim. in fact, It looks as if he is pressing the rim back on after placing the tire. You will notice that the end of the jack to the left of the valve stem is actually bending and distorting the rim, but the other end of the rim where the valve is located is in front of the end where the jack is placed.
To correctly remove the tire from the rim, hook the spreader as shown, but a little closer to the split. The end will be pulling the rim away from the tire, and the ends of the rim will overlap each other.
To spread the rim, turn the tool around so that the two hooks attached to the other end of the spreader actually span the split in the rim. Then it will push the ends apart and toward the tire, seating it in place. When the two ends are seated, latch the rim.
This is not intended to criticize Jim, but to point out a better way to use the tool so that the rim will not become distorted.
Welcome to a fun hobby. Since you are new to Ts and the forum, you may find the first couple of times you try to post a photo it doesn't work quite right for you. See the posting at: for tips on compressing the photo to 200kb or less so it can be posted and the procedures for posting it. And if you would like -- if you send me the photos -- I will try to resize them and post them for you. You can click on my name and my e-mail address is the third line down. Please limit individual e-mails to 10mb or less and please put Model T in the subject line. You have to use my address as the private message (PM) feature does not allow attchaments.
I would also recommend contacting the nearest Model T club near you. The local chapters are listed at: http://mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm and http://mtfca.com/MTclubs.htm Just about any member could look at your car and let you know quickly if you have non-demountable clinchers, demountable clinchers, demountable 21 inch split rims, or some other type of rims (other makes can be used and there were accessory rims and wheels sold). Also they could quickly tell you if you have a mostly a 1914, 1915, with later 1925-1927 split rims or you have a 1925 ish that is titled as a 1914 etc. You can also do some of that research yourself if you would prefer. Go to the Photo Gallery at: http://mtfca.com/gallery/index.htm and look at the cars by years and you will get a feel for what the 1914 vs the 1915-1916 vs the 1917-1922 vs the 1923 vs the 1924-1925 vs the 1926-27 cars look like. You can also look at the illustrations for the various years at Bruce McCalley’s online “Model T Ford Encyclopedia” at: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/intro.htm It is quite common to have parts from different years or to have the engine swapped out. And the engine serial number is often the number used on the older titles as well as many current titles. So the car chassis and body may be one year and the engine from another and the DMV (or previous owner) used the old engine's title for the entire car.
Great news: Model Ts are easy to work on and the parts will interchange easily. Many folks prefer the 21 inch split rims because the balloon tires give a smoother ride at 35 psi than the clincher tires do at 55 to 60 psi. Based on the very little you have shared – that it is titled as a 1914 and has split rims (still to be determined what that really means) and that you did not say what type of body style the car has (touring, runabout or roadster, sedan, etc.) I would give it a 25 percent chance you have a Model T that looks similar to the one below that belongs to Jim Patterson and is shown on the photo gallery.
If your car looks similar to that – two seats in the open with a gas tank in the back-- there is a good chance it was assembled sometime in the last 50 years as a very fun car called a speedster. The car in the photo has the 30 x 3 ½ demountable clinchers rather than the 21 inch split rim wheels with the balloon tires. Many folks choose the year 1914 as it looks nice and kits are available for them. Of course that is just a guess on my part. When you post a photo or some additional information – it will be easy for the folks on the site to let you know what you probably have.
Again welcome aboard.
Hap l9l5 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and l907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.
That's okay Norm. I didn't even notice it was situated in the rim wrong. I just wanted Art to see what it looked like, but thank you for pointing out that it was situated incorrectly. If he gets one he will need to know the correct way to install it. Jim Patrick