I have a 1913 roadster that I'm about to start taking care of for my grandfather. The ol' girl used to be run all the time but hasn't been started in four years now. So I have plans to get her up and running this spring and of course don't know all that'll entail.
Anyone have a good general game plan for getting an ol' girl running again that hasn't started in a few years? She's starting to get a little ode de barn fresh odor.
I'd say the two most important things to take care with are gunck in the fuel system and pre-lubricating the cylinders.
Any gasoline over one year old should NEVER be used in the engine. All the goodies have evaporated out of it, and it won't burn worth snot.
As gasoline evaporates it leaves a varnish-type residue. This gums up the tank, fuel lines, and carburetor. Depending on how old it is, it can be a bear to remove, but since you mention 4 years it may not be too bad.
I'd remove the carb and clean it thoroughly, and you might as well order a carb rebuild kit before you start. At minimum replace the needle and seat, and make sure the float floats. Before you put the carb back on, pour about 4-5 gallons of new gas into the tank, and drain it out through the now-disconnected-from-the-carb fuel line. If it flows nicely and empties the tank cleanly, you're in business. If not, the best advice is to take the tank to a radiator shop that has boil-out capabilities, and use laquer thinner on the line and sediment bowl/shutoff.
By the way, DON'T re-use the gas you flushed through the tank and lines.
Now for lubrication. If you've turned the crank, you may have done some harm already. Hopefully you haven't.
Don't replace the carb yet.
Remove all 4 spark plugs. Pour half a shot glass of oil (same stuff you use in the crankcase) or Marvel Mystery Oil into each plug hole, and slowly crank the engine over a couple of times. Stop with the crank 180 degrees from where you started, and repeat.
As you work further, crank the engine over 90 degrees now and then, to let all that oil drain out the intake and exhaust valves. Some will drip out of the intake manifold, which is why you didn't put the carb back on yet.
Time is your best friend here. Use plenty of it. You want the excess oil to have time to drip out, and to soak into the cylinder walls.
Meanwhile, change the oil. Drain it out through the big plug in the bottom of the transmission, just like your modern car. Give it plenty of time to drip out - it will be thick.
While the plug is out, pour a quart of new oil into the filler hole (right side, front of engine, just ahead of the generator). This will help flush the old gunky oil out of the low parts of the bottom of the engine pan.
Then button her up and pour in 4 quarts of oil. You will probably get as many different opinions on the type and weight of oil to use, as you can stand. I suggest the same stuff you use in your modern car.
I'll say it here in case I forget to say it later. After you've run the engine a couple of hours, change the oil!
By the way, see those two petcocks on the back of the transmission? They're your oil gauge. Oil MUST run out of the bottom one, and if it drips out of the top one you have quite enough oil in the engine. If it runs out of the top one in a steady stream you have too much. Of course you'll want to make sure they are open when you open them - run a piece of wire into each one.
Now hook up a battery. With the key on, to the left, (counter-clockwise), slowly crank the engine over. You should hear four similar but slightly different buzzings from the spark coils, as you turn the engine through two complete revolutions.
If you don't, the first thing to check is a dirty timer. It's that dome-shaped thing on the front of the engine just ahead of where you put the oil in. Remove it by swinging the clamp out of the way and disconnecting the rod that turns it, but don't disconnect the wires. Clean it out, and clean the brush or roller that spins inside it. Put it back and try for buzzes again.
If you can't get 4 buzzes, or any at all, you need the help of a local T enthusiast.
Install and connect the plugs, and install the carb and put 5 gallons of FRESH gas in the tank. Make sure you have gas to the carb by opening the valve on the bottom of it.
Push the left-hand lever under the steering wheel all the way up. Pull the right-hand lever about a third of the way down.
Push the car outside, because there's going to be a lot of smoke! Pull the parking brake lever all the way back.
If you have a starter that works, crank the engine and simultaneously pull out the choke knob on the dash for about 2 seconds then let it go. See how she runs??
When it starts, and not before, pull the left-hand lever down two-thirds of the way.
If you have no working starter, there's a procedure for crank-starting. We'll go into that later.
If the starter (or crank) has a lot of trouble turning the engine, jack up both rear wheels and put jack stands under the rear axle.
I said put jack stands under the axle!!
Then, let the parking brake lever forward. This will take the friction inside the transmission out of the equation, and make the engine easier to spin. The rear wheels will spin, too!
Then, after the engine starts, you can ease the lever back and free-up the stuck transmission parts.
Crank-starting -- Use the jack stands. Brake lever forward. Key off (middle). Pull out choke wire sticking out of the radiator and crank the engine two half-turns by pulling up on the crank. Turn on the key, and verify the left-hand lever is all the way up. Engage the crank at about 7:00, and be sure to put your thumb on the same side of the crank as your fingers (either hand will do). Pull up smartly. After 3 or 4 smart pulls, if it doesn't try to start, turn the key off and choke it some more, then try again.
That's all there is to it!
I think Peter mentioned all of the key items. Go through everything systematically one at a time.
Peter mentioned using an oil in each cylinders and letting it soak in. This is very important. If you have time repeat the process a number of times. A mechanic friend recommends using ATF (automatic transmission fluid). ATF is thinner and will soak down in between the cylinder walls. It also has a nice feature that it will help breakdown rust.
Just be aware when you start her up with all that oil in the cylinders, she will smoke for a few minutes.
If you have never driven a T then I would put the rear end up on jack stands when you start her. This will make her easier to start if the clutch plates are sticking. Also you can practice using the three pedals and not worry about traffic.
Also there are a number of youtube videos that show how to startup and drive a T. I spent a lot of time looking and studying these videos.
Last tip, purchase a reproduction on the Ford Service manual.
Would your grandfather be Roger Hull?
That sounds like fun. Your grandfather would be proud of you. Do you have any pictures of the car? You have a very old car It will be 100 years old in 2 years! That year is quite popular and one of the most desired of the Model T's. Good luck.
Darin, here's a link to a terrific article written by Milt Webb on taking a T out of mothballs. I found it very helpful when waking up a long sitting FORD.
Darin, Peter was right about the oil - everyone have their own opinion and so do I.
You did not say anything about your grandfather had passed away. If he is still with us - go and get as much info you can - in particular what oil he used to use. Then continue to use the same type of oil.
A Model T is realy not high tech where every component are stressed to the limits, so it does not require latest issue in synthethic oil.
In the T-days the oil was not "self-cleaning" so over time various "stuff" would deposit in various places in the engine.
If you start using a newer oil with detergent additives these deposits can loosen and block the oil flow.
If however your grandfather have used the same oil as he did use for his "modern" car, then you can continue do the same.
One last thing - a lot of warnings here - do not be scared! As Peter also said - Time is your friend - give time and you will end up with one of the best toys a grown up boy can have!
Oh yes - one more: Find out if there is a local Model T club in the neighborhhod. They can ans will help you just as we will here.
Welcome to the thribe!
Darin, sounds like you have a nice T on your hands! Theres a lot of good advice about cranking a T after setting up for several years that was posted. You probably already know this as well as the others but do CHECK THE WATER in the radiator. You didnt mention if the radiator was drained or not or if it had antifreeze in it. I know this is a given thing to do but just checking!
Wow, thank you for the detailed response. Great game plan and I'll print it off like a check off list.
Your postings made me very happy That I just joined the MTFCA for the first time only a few days ago. Such great knowledge and experience.
Yes, my grandpa is Roger Hull. He's my inspiration for joining the club and for beginning to take over the care of the 13 T. We have so many memories with that T and I look forward to carrying on the tradition with my children, his great-grandchilren. I live in the Atlanta area but went to centerville only a few weeks ago to see him. He will make his goal of reaching 100 and was even talking about beginning work on a 37 Austin 7! :-)
How do you know him?
I remember Roger. We were on the tour when the rivits broke on his steering gear box and as a result he had an accident. I think he rolled the car and his wife was hurt badly, but recovered. Which tour was that? Denver in '77 or Tulsa in '78? Something like that. I also remember the '49 or '50 Ford Pickup and home made trailer he hauled the T on. Roger seemed old to me then, and that was 30+ years ago. I certainly hope he is doing well. Give him our best wishes.
Where do you live in the Atlanta area? I live North of Atlanta and we have a 1913 Touring.
Keith that was the 1976 Model T Ford Tour in Fulton Mo, they came back from Booneville Mo over the old bridge and that's where they lost it in the first curve past the bridge, bridge is now gone, I toured with him on many other tours also Darin tell hello from John and Karen Danuser Fulton Mo
I believe I've heard that story before... my grandmother was called Gerry which is a shortened version of her name. Of course, I believe grandpa also had a serious accident on a Pike Peak tour, along with others on various tours. Believe he's rolled it a few times. :-)
Roger was the first President of the Southwest Ohio Model T club. I believe he's still an active member of it, MTFCA, and MTCFI.
And yes, he had a green 50 Ford truck with a trailer he custom built so the T would actually sit on the axles of the trailer. I saw that trailer on my second to last trip up to Ohio maybe a month and a half ago... it was in rough shape then. Grandpa sold the 50 Ford truck (what a classic!) and then got a blue 70s Ford truck which was his latest towing ride.
Grandpa will be turning 100 next year.. you're right, he's always been old to me too but always looked the same. Even though age has finally started to catch up with him, he was saying he wants to start working on his Austin 7 and get it running again... so his mind is still going 100mph.
Thanks for the memories, I'll tell him you said hi.
I live in the Cartersville area and I work in Cobb County. I saw that there is one T club in Georgia, under the MTFCI. However, I didn't recognize the city it was in, so I'm guessing it isn't close. Didn't see one under MTFCA. I have just joined MTFCA but haven't joined MTFCI, yet. Probably will soon. There aren't nearly as many T clubs down here as there were in Ohio where I grew up. Do you go to any T functions down here? Are there any T functions around here?
I plan on starting work on the T this spring... not a clue how long it would take to get her up and running. My goal would be to be able to putt around with her this spring or summer.
Right now the plan would be to restore her over time but, for now, take her to car shows in the area... especially in Bartow County. Mainly would need to stay in the Bartow area at first because I don't have a way to tow the T. Grandpa's trailer is not functional and I don't have the money to really spend on a trailer.
No matter what condition she's in, I'm guessing people would love to see a T. Especially with the T being almost 100.
I have toured with Roger on a few tours. He hauled his T on a very odd trailer for today. Not many of them used today. The wheels was free of weight making no load on the axle bearings & wheels.
You would remember him after your first meeting and interesting type of guy.
I wish you a happy 100 next year Roger.
Keith and John,
Funny story about the Fulton MO tour. Grandpa called my mother to tell her that he had been in an accident. Mom said grandpa's call went like this, "I've had an accident and it was bad.... but the T is fine." Grandpa went on, AFTER mentioning the T, to let mom know that my grandma was in the hospital. He went on to tell her everyone was helping him with the T, and oh, Gerry will be out of the hospital in a couple of days. :-)
haha, Grandpa loved his T,
The MTFCI North Georgia T's Chapter in Fairmount, GA is pretty close to you - only about 30 minutes from Cartersville. I am not a member of the MTFCI and am not familiar with the activities of that Chapter. We primarily particiate in Horseless Carriage Club activities with our T. We also have a Model A and participate in the Model A Ford Club of America.
We have had our T for 3 years and really are enjoying it! I would encourage you to get your Grandfather's car running and driveable and have fun with it!
Darin can you email me Roger's address, we'd like to wish him well and a Happy Birthday (date ?) firstname.lastname@example.org, as I am the only remaining original member of our chapter I'd love to do that thanks
Some one asked about a picture. The Southwest Ohio Model T club has a picture of grandpa in his 13 T at the following web address:
By the age they give, this picture should be approximately four years old.
I remember your grandpa from several of the Ohio Jamboree tours as well as a few of the MTFCI International tours. I always enjoyed talking to him. I don't believe I ever saw him when he didn't have a huge smile on his face. He is just a happy guy that makes you happy to be near him.
On one of the tours there was a contest for the ugliest sport's jacket. Your grandpa came up with a real ugly one but the funniest part was how he strutted around while modeling it. It was like Thurston Howell III from Gilligan's Island and Groucho Marx all in one. Of course, he won.
You're lucky to have him both as your Grandpa and as your Model T inspiration. (But you knew that)
I am embarrassed. I just read the instructions on posting a picture into this thread... and amazingly, I couldn't figure it out. I'd like to post a couple pictures of the Ode de barn fresh 13 T. Can someone quickly spell it out for me?
One more question I'll toss out there since I've been considering it. I know it's a preference thing, but I'd like to hear what some of you have to say about it.
Color of the 13T. I've considered three different options for repainting the T.
1) I've been told the original color was probably a midnight blue with black fenders. So I could work towards making it more original looking.
2) Even though the 13 T isn't from the black era, that's what people seem familiar with when it comes to Ts... how many folks would love to show their kids a black T and start the line, "You can have any color you want..." So, I could paint it all black, which can look good.
3) Keep it red/black as grandpa had it. I'll see him in a few weeks and ask him why he painted it that color to get a background.
Also, if I get it repainted... any suggestions on what to do? Do I take the whole car to a paint shop? Maybe take all the body parts off and just take them in? Could I take it anywhere? Or would it be better to avoid the "Maccos" and try to find someone that has certain experience? Or do it myself? :-)
Actually thought that my paint question would probably be better posted on the main forum since it is so different in nature.
Where you are typing up a post, you will see a bar that says upload attachment
If you click on that it will open a box that lets you name your attachment. Any name will do.
This same box has a "browse" to click on and this will open up your My Pictures folder in your computer. It is assumed you will know where you put the picture you want to post, so find it and click on it.
Finally you click on upload and a link to your photo will appear at the end of the post you are typing.
There are requirements of course - the file size is limited to 200 Kb - generous compared to some other forums I can think of.
This is just my own opinion but if it were me and my Grandpa I would do everything possible to get the car back on the road this spring while he is still young enough to enjoy it and in good health. When someone is getting close to the 100 year mark you never know what the next day will be like for them and you would have more fun with them both right now if you wait a few years to repaint the T. You are looking at a project that may start out to be just a simple thing that will take more time than you think. You want this car ready to go when he wants to go for a ride, not in some shop torn down to the frame for the next year or more. I have seen some cars sit in the shop 5 years or more even. You can always restore it later on.
Keith and John,
Speaking of Roger Hull's accident... I think this should bring back more memories of that tour. I found this in a bunch of his T stuff.
Thank you for the instructions... easy.
Hey guys, here is the Ode de Barn Fresh 13 T. I know that paint will have to be done eventually. Can anyone suggest some product I might be able to use to try to recover/restore the paint to make it look as best as possible?
Gorgeous little runabout!!!
Thank you Patrick! I'm going to get her out of this garage, looking sharp, and then take the ol' T out to some shows and around town. :-)
This is a few of the Jamboree pins grandpa had.
Darin You did good!! I have a whole bag of those w/out names of individuals on them, as I was the only member of the MTFCA for 10 years before we formed our chapter in 1976, we put on 3 Natl tours, and Now I'm the last living original member left, Bill Backers oldest daughter is still a member, we still have only 12-15 members, but we still have local tours, meet 11 months out of the year w/ carry in dinners etc.The T looks a whole lot better then it did after rolling down the embankment up by Booneville Mo. that July day, there were photo's in the Vintage Ford back in 1976 of the wreck
I would not be pre-occupied at this point in time with painting the car. That is a low priority.
Personally, the first thing I would is simply wash the car, including cleaning the top, interior and upholstery. Then I would tackle mechanical items and get the car running/driveable and then proceed with cleaning the engine compartment and running gear. I would remove some of the extra junk on the car (such as the bungi cord, extra spare tire, ropes, homemade windshield filler,etc.) and I would save polishing and waxing the body and polishing the brass for last.
You can accomplish a lot with soap and water and mineral spirits (use mineral spirits to remove grease and oil).
Whether or not the paint will "take a polish" depends on the quality of the paint job.
1) You can do a lot of cleaning of the engine, pan, running gear, and any where else on the car where there is grease, oil and grime using mineral spirits and rags and scrub brushes.
2) Clean the interior (upholstery, door panels, etc.) with soap and water (use a mild soap such as Murphy's oil soap).
3) Cleaning the body:
First wash it with soap and water. For use a car wash soap such Armor All Car Wash Concentrate.
Second, remove oxidation and polish the paint with a fine polishing compound such as Meguiar's Fine-Cut Cleaner. Do it by hand - do not use a machine.
Wax - use a carnuba wax, preferably one that does not contain silicone. Again, do this by hand - do not use a machine.
There is no mystery to cleaning, it just takes common sense and some effort.
You have any of those pictures? I have a bunch of my grandpa's Vintage Fords, but I think all of them are from the 80's. I'd be interested in seeming them if there was some way to do so.
Between you, Peter, and other members, I've got a great game plan for this coming spring. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.
Darin, great car! You are very lucky to have your Grandfather's car. As for the paint, I have had very good luck with Scratch Out, made by Kit, www.kitwax.com. It is very reasonable, only a few dollars for 14 OZ. bottle. It is available from most auto supply stores. It removes dead paint very easily, just apply it like paste wax. Each time you use it, it gets better. It also works very well on plastic headlight lenses. Dave
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm basically in the brain storming process right now. I have to finish my comp exams to complete my grad degree this spring... then I'm going to bring home the T. I know if I bring home the T now, it'll prove to be too much of a distraction from my studies. I'll post pictures along the way and I'll let everyone know how it's going.
Darin - You'll have to get a picture of Roger and you with the T and post it here. I'd love to see it. You'll also want to talk with and maybe record some of what Roger remembers about his T, what he did with it, memories of his youth etc. Imagine, growing up between 1911 and 1927...do you suppose he ever drove a brand new Model T? There are very, very few left that know what it was like to drive a new Model T...How quiet was the transmission? The questions could go on and on. How many T's did he own and /or drive in the Model T era?
Jerry Van - I remember that tour with the "loud sport coat" contest. I think it was the MTFCI Tour in Rockford, IL in 1995. There are pictures in The Model T Times.
If anyone has any pictures of my grandpa... Or pictures you could share from these vintage fords of his wrecked t, for example... please post them if you can.
I plan on telling grandpa about all you guys and asking some of the questions you guys have brought up. Grandpa has his good days but there are usually more bad days. 100 years will eventually start to catch up to ya, of course. I'll see him again in about a week... hopefully we'll be able to talk about these things. I'd love nothing more than tell him about joining MTFCA, discussing the people that remember him from tours, and talking about the T. But there has been a time when he didn't even remember me... though its been better lately.
See, that is part of the driving force of keeping this T in the family, sharing it with my children, and discussing such things with you guys. It is a way to keep the great memories of grandpa with us when he is 500 miles away... and one day when he passes on.
So, thank you for your time gentlemen. I'll see him soon and I'll see if I can't just manage to get a smile out of him talking about the 13 T, great memories, and wonderful folks like you guys.
Darin, the pic. you posted looks like it was taken at the 2001 Hillbilly Tour at the Lake of the Ozarks. I've got a pic. of my dad and I on my first T Tour. It's also where I first met John Danuser. Picked up some parts from him a couple of years ago. Need to get a few more things from him the next time I'm there. Spring/Summer ?? I've had some serious fun with that car. You will too.
Best. George n L.A.
These cars will be links to our childrens' children and family they never knew in person but will be able to hold the wheel and experience what they did and how they felt long ago.