Last summer we were stopped at a busy 4-way and because the T wasn't heavy enough evidently, to trigger the light, we sat there for several cycles without getting the green. Consequently, Betsy boiled over...
What do you do in cases like that? Just let it boil I guess?
The first of a thousand opinions...
I was running an original radiator and continued to have this same sort of problem all the time. I had it cleaned out, flushed the block, everything...I finally bought a new radiator from Bergs and have yet to find a way to make it boil over.
It may sound too obvious to mention, but anyway:
This has happend to me. I later realized that I neglected to advance the spark after starting it. They heat up if the spark is left too retarded.
In addition to the cooling system, a Model T can run hot for the following reasons:
1) mixture too lean
2) retarded spark
3) overly advanced spark
4) not enough oil in crankcase
Also - once you have come to a complete stop, take your foot off the brake. The car should remain stationary while the clutch is in neutral. If you are on a incline or the car has a tendency to creep, use the parking brake, not the brake pedal, to keep the car stopped.
Side note: under the unchanging red light rule, Minnesota law allows motorcycles and bicycles to proceed through a red light if they have been waiting at the intersection for an unreasonable amount of time for the light to change due to the inability of the sensor to detect the bike or motorcycle.
I agree with Steve. In my experience there are 3 things which make the T overheat. Running with the carb mixture too lean, runing with the timing retarded, or trying to run with an original T era radiator. The latter issue is the most expensive fix since sooner or later the owner either gives up and sells the car or pops for a new radiator. Just about all old T radiators still hold water just fine. The problem is that when built the construction was to push metal tubes down through a stack of fins that were spaced apart. Over the years dirt and vibration has cause the contact between tube and fin to be removed and thus the radiator ceases to operate as a heat exchanger. No amount of flushing is going to fix it. You can re-core the radiator but that is very tricky for a T since it must be installed perfect flat and to correct dimension or the hood won't fit nor the water necks line up. Try running rich and check your timing since those are cheap and easy but if it turns out to be the radiator then consider getting a new one rather than re-coring only because if the re-core doesn't work out you have wasted a lot of money in the wrong direction. Good luck.
Oops. Others can type faster than me. ha ha.
I once worked on a Model T for a fellow with the same problem. It had a nice radiator/tubes, had a fan but got hot quickly. I found the baffle soldered into the top of the upper tank had came un-soldered, fallen down and was blocking many of the radiator tubes. A quick trip to the radiator shop, re-affixing the baffle inside the top tank and it ran cool from then on.
Ron the Coilman
In 1963 we purchased our first 1912 T and the previous owner said it got hot when climbing hills. Our hills go up to 10,000 feet in Southern California so he should have said mountains. Anway he had a pump tank garden sprayer rigged up so the it sprayed a fine mist on the radiator and it worked very well. The three boys took turns pumping it for me. We later got a new radiator core and I removed the spray pump as it was no longer necessary, so the answer is a good radiator solves a lot of problems.
On our number 22 Speedster I installed a 12 volt radiator fan and we do not use a water pump. I turn the fan on when at those long lights and shut it off at speeds over 20 miles an hour. I also use it when climbing on those 10,000 foot high "hills" with ten percent grades. I also had a custom built radiator fabricated with a heavy-duty top and bottom tank and we pressurize it with a seven and a half pound cap and an over-flow bottle. We can't go on certain Speedster runs with it but it works very well and we love it.
I do not think turning off the engine would help, because the heat has already been generated while running, and the fan would stop turning if the engine were turned off. It might help to speed up the idle because the fan would turn faster. Whether or not you keep the foot brake on would not make any difference, because the brake drum is not moving when stopped in neutral and the brake pedal only operates the brake band. There would be no friction on the brake drum whild standing still. I think the only ways to solve the problem would be to install an electric fan such as the one Frank has on his car, or to prevent the overheating by optimum spark and mixture setting. If that doesn't fix it, cleaning and or replacement of the radiator.
Wow, as always, thsnks guys. You have given me a number of things to check out. I suspect carb setting and spark advancement. I still don't have the carb control rod, but I can set the adjustment down at the carb by hand. And as for spark, I was/stil am learning about the best place on the "dial" to set it at.
I better get back to the party. Over on the coast today with my daughter and her famiy and will be heading south later tonight to the folks' house.
Hope you all are having a great T-Day weekend...
John Regan - Since you and several others have mentioned carburetor mixture adjustment, this touches on something I have always wondered about:
With the NH Holley (probably the most commonly used carb) it seems that there must be an ideal adjustment, and it would of course be somewhere between too rich and too lean. In my experience, there is approximately one half to three quarters of a turn of the mixture adjustment between the point where the engine begins to slow down and run rough. What I have always done (simply because I don't know what the "ideal" adjustment would be) I just lean the adjustment out until it's obviously too lean, and then slowly turn the adjustment to the point where it's obviously too rich, and then just center the adjustment between these too points.
Having said that, I have two questions;
1) Do you suppose this "mid-point" adjustment is at or near the "ideal" setting, and if so,.......
2) Would this "mid-point" setting be "ideal" for higher RPM as well as idle speed?
Or, should it be necessary to constantly change the carburetor mixture adjustment as "load" and RPM changes? Or, as we all know, every "T" seems to have it's own "personality", so do you suppose the answer to these two questions would vary from car to car,......??? Just wondering what your thoughts are on this, because I wonder about it every time I adjust a carburetor. Thanks,........harold
Even after all that, I said that wrong. I meant to say, half to three quarters of a turn of the adjustment between too lean and too rich. (I tend to get so "wordy" that I forget what I'm talking about!)
I have an NH and I don't think there is any easy answer for your question. The mixture control is a rod with a point on it and the rod is supposed to taper down smoothly to a point. If there is a ring formed in it from being too tightened then it acts more like an "on/off" valve than a mixture control and it is then a very touchy adjustment but I will assume yours is correct and smooth. The problem is that even if smooth there is little likelihood that your rod has the same taper or taper angle that mine has since I simply ran mine in a drill and held a piece of emery against it to smooth it out when I found that it had a ring in it. Thus even if I duplicated your exact procedure (and I have) the mid point of my setting between max rich and max lean would not necessarily result in the same mixture as the midpoint of your adjustment. The midpoints while easy to talk about and easy to set to are not going to produce the same amount of clearance between rod and orifice on both our carbs. The relationship is not linear in that the number of turns of the rod doesn't necessarily relate to the same clearance. In truth I don't fiddle with the rod at all. I have it set fairly rich because I learned during my Chevy hot rod days that one is way more likley to hurt a motor by running too lean than by running too rich. When I start my car I pull the choke and step on the button and it starts right up when I drop the choke. I then will sit there and listen to it run and as soon as it starts to stumble from being too lean, I give the choke a quick pull and release. That restores the engine and it never stumbles again. T's heat up the manifolds very very quickly and I just am lazy and don't want to fiddle with the adjustment all the time so I just leave it at the "sweet spot" permanently. Now realize that I am in Illinois and the pressure is constant due to the world being flat here and I don't drive in the winter so the setting is for "fair weather" and I don't say this will work for everyone else. I just started doing this years ago and have continued. Your mileage will vary on this (pun intended)
Thanks John - I think you pretty well answered my question when you said something to the effect of, "better too rich than too lean". Guess I'll modify my carb. adjusting procedure by ending my adjusting with one more additional step,......just a bit of a twist toward "rich" from that "mid-point" setting.
By the way, my #3 son is almost your neighbor as of last month. After a 23 year career in the USAF (mostly in Japan) he landed a manager's job in W. Suburban Chicago and has a home now in Roselle, just a short walk from the home we owned when we left Roselle in 1972. I told him he's been all over the world since we moved from Roselle when he was a kid, but he really didn't get very far! Thanks as always for the explanation John,........harold
I bought a new Brass Works Radiator and the T could stand at a stop light for hours. I could not get it to overheat. I also have a 1930 Cadillac that would overheat within minutes of just starting it when I first got it. I got the radiator recored and it now takes some time just to get it up to normal temp and will never overheat. I think if carb. adjustment or timing adjustment makes your T overheat its more than just your adjustments, but thatís just my experience.
Same here. I have a new Brassworks radiator - well, it was new 10 years ago - in my 15 and it won't overheat no matter how hot it is or how long it sits idling. Of course I keep the spark 1/2 way down and the idle a bit above closed throttle at stop lights or when in a parade. It was pretty hot this year and even at 105 degrees there was no problem.
Carburetor mixture depends on the taper of the needle valve. A short stubby one is hard to adjust and a long thin one is best. If you take a unisyn and place it over the carburetor intake you can adjust the needle for the best running fastest idle and then richen it up a tad.
Remember that when climbing out in an airplane you can cool the engine by richening the mixture so it works on a Model T too. An engine that heats up at a stop sign has issues that should be corrected.
Although I tend to be rather hot headed about things like that, this is what I do. If the light "ignores" me in a T or on my motorcycle for 2 cycles, I run it. My tax and registration money pays for the lights too and if it's not going to work I'm not going to sit there.
If pulled over I'd calmly and politely explain it to the officer and remain calm even if they wrote me a ticket. I would have another chance with the judge I suppose.
Regardless, I'm not going to sit there and burn up an engine or waste 20 minutes of my life. Still, your T should be able to sit there all day and not overheat.
One thing I didn't mention is that to find our if your problem is at all mixture related. I tell folks to go for a test drive and back the mixture out till the car "blubbers" from being too rich and then move it back in just enough to run without blubbering and thus leave it as rich as possible. Then go for a ride. If that cures the overheating then you have learned something. Likewise I make dead sure of the timing. If neither fixes the problem then get a quote on a new radiator. I did this exact scenario many years back at the suggestion of Don Lang. It was the radiator - bought a new one and never looked back - end of the problem.
I had an overheating problem on a 1919 T that had been in storage for over 45 years with antifreeze in the cooling system until I did the following.
It is easy and worth a try.
Thanks again for the additional info guys. Printing all this out today at work...gotta love the offce fringe bennies...grin...
How's the fan and belt? He overheats when standing still too long.
A new radiator works every time.
It also lightens your wallet quite a bit. If standing still too long was the only time he over heated + being rather tight myself, carb setting, spark lever position, fan & belt condition, thoroughly cleaning the cooling system and fresh coolant all have to be gone through first. At probably 5% of the cost of a new rad. Of course if you need one that's that but check it out and keep it simple.
I put a little extra pitch on the fan blades and that was the end of overheating for me.......with an original honeycomb radiator too.
Didn't cost a red cent either.......
That's what I'm saying Craig. If your rads shot it's shot but I've had 3 T's (so far) and I used the gizmo shown in the photo to clear the cooling system on each. Usually at the block connection for the lower hose. With the lower hose off you get the water flowing and give short blasts of compressed air. Plug the overflow tube at it's lower end and keep the rad cap on. You can also reverse it by putting the unit in the lower rad outlet. It's amazing what comes out. All 3 of these cars had older rads in them. Don't know if they were original but far from new any way. Did I cure any thing? Maybe. But I haven't overheated yet.
I put a T speedster together with a fresh rebuilt engine and a new recored radiator.
I could only run the car at night and cool days as it would boil as soon as I slowed down to a anything below 10 MPH.
I put on a new Gates fanbelt and it never overheated again in any weather at anytime and it would not get too hot if left sitting with the engine idling for any length of time.
On some old radiators the fins become disconnected from the tubes and they never get hot to transfer the heat into the airstream. a small breeze at idle blowing past the tubes won't do the job.
LOL this is a lot like the cracked block discussion.
It sure would be nice to be able to afford a new radiator but not everyone has the money to go that route.
Stan Howe said it best -
If the only way to fix an engine was to do it the finest possible method and damn the cost there would be a lot fewer people in this hobby.
Overheating can cause pistons to seize, rings to score the cylinders, cracks in the block and head, burnt and warped valves and other engine and transmission problems. For the cost of a new radiator, you can save at least as much on engine repairs.
If all else fails till you can get the scratch for a new radiator, put a "GOOD" water pump on.
I wonder if the car is overheating or if it is simply overfilled with water.
My experience has been that a water pump will "crutch" an old radiator with loose fins. Using a 1 gallon over flow tank will keep you from loosing the coolant. When the engine cools down the coolant is drawn back into the radiator. I mounted the one gallon coolant recovery tank on the passenger side of the fire wall where I could see it. The tank needs to be one gallon capacity, I used a windshield washer solution jug. Many parts store coolant recovery tanks don't have enough capacity for a T.
There's a new angle.
Why not just install a Toyota Prius engine, batteries, computer and batteries?
You guys crack me up with all the crap you hang on these cars to "fix" imaginary defects in the design.
The T is just acting like a puppy --
It is getting very excited just sitting at the light so it is leaving a puddle.
My '25 coupe had an original round tube radiator and it would overheat at times. I replaced it with a flat tube radiator and never looked back. No waterpump, thermostat, electric fan or any other "fix". No trouble with fouling plugs either. JMHO. Dave