Ford Model T Roadster Questions! (PICS)

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2011: Ford Model T Roadster Questions! (PICS)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Andrew Kean on Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 04:16 pm:

Hello everyone!

My name is Andrew and I am new to this forum. I am here seeking advice on an old Ford Model T Roadster that belongs to a friend. He says that it is a 1926 Model and that it has a 1925 Engine in it. Could someone verify what year the car is and what year the engine is? It's a real straight car. What I am doing for my friend is storing it for him in my shop and working on it to make it drivable again after being stored for a few years. I am trying to get the starter to work on this car and through my exploring I can see that it has a lot of original wiring that needs to be replaced. It looks like a fire hazard waiting to happen! I would like to put a new wiring harness in this old gal, but I am not sure on were to get one and which one to get. Could someone help me out here? My friend said that the starter, lights and horn used to work, but now nothing does! The car will start when it is pull started, but it runs rough and misses. I can see the first two coils going from right to left produce a good spark, but the other two don't for some reason. Anyone on here know why?
The car was overheating pretty quickly when we drove it, so I flushed the radiator and was able to get a lot of crud out. Hopefully that will help with the overheating issue, unless someone else has another suggestion.

Well my friends, can you help me out with some of these questions?

Thanks in advance!
From Denton, Nebraska.
Andrew Kean

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 04:29 pm:

The engine serial number is from September, 1923. The car appears to be a typical 1927 roadster in very nice shape.

Go here and click on Part Suppliers:

Lang's has been my favorite but you may find one of the other vendors is closer. All have about the same prices.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Danuser on Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 06:29 pm:

Andrew I'm in Fulton Mo, I don't run a catalog but I'm a dealer for Bobs Antique auto in Rockford Ill, I carry a full inventory if you'll send me your mailing address Ill send you a catolog. T and TT ford Parts

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Craig Sutton on Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 06:49 pm: is also another great vendor. Also, you will want to contact Ron Patterson here on the forum to do your coils. He is the go-to guy for that kind of work. Might as well send them out now while you're doing other work on the car. Also, PLEASE make sure that the rear end is rebuild with brass thrust washers. The original babbitt ones will come apart and destroy the gears and leave the car with NO BRAKES. This work will take the better part of an entire day, or a weekend if you don't push it. It's necessary for the safety of everyone riding in the car and others around it.

I copied and pasted this from the forum originally posted by Baybridge Sue:



Yep, it takes more than a can of gas and a new battery to get a mothball 'T' [10-50 years storage] ready to go on the road!

You always hear, "It ran OK 10 years ago!" In my experience, it takes all the checks, cleaning, repairs, and adjustments outlined below to get through the first mile!

Here's how!


Install a new 6-volt battery, negative to ground. Remove and clean ground strap bolt on the frame. Install a ground strap from the bolt at the emergency brake cross shaft bracket to the bottom U-joint cover bolt on the crankcase. Use a heavy woven-style cable or a #1 gauge cable with flat ends. Loosen one bolt on the starter and re-tighten. This breaks corrosion, if any.

Remove and disassemble the starter switch. Sand the contacts to shiny clean. Remove starter cable nut at starter. Tighten bottom nut to just snug. These are pinned and soldered on the inside. Sometimes the solder joint breaks loose and the pin pulls out easily if over-tightened.

Install new #1 gauge cables, from the battery to the switch and from the switch to the starter. Old cables are usually corroded even when you cannot see the green.

Caution: Do not use 12 volt cables [number 4 or 6 gauge]. 12-volt cables will get warm or hot during crank, plus the cranking may be very slow.

It is best to test the starting system with a digital voltmeter. For best results, acceptable voltage drop during cranking readings are:

Cable, batt. to starter switch 0.2 volt max
Starter switch, post-post 0.2 volt max
Cable, starter switch to starter0.2 volt max
Cable, batt. neg.[-] to engine0.2 volt max
Batt. pos. [ +] to neg. [-] 4.5 min [cold]
Battery, positive to negative5.0 min [hot]
Starter draw 400 amps max
See Figure 1 on "How to Make Voltage Drop Measurements".

For better starter switch durability, install a '48 Ford starter, 6-volt solenoid. Use the 'T' starter switch for the solenoid 'control' switch to ground. See Figure 2 on 'hooking up a solenoid'.

If the starter is 'sluggish' at this point, try spraying some electronic or motor cleaner on the starter commutator during crank. If the current draw is over 400 amps, have the starter re-built.

During re-build, install a seal in the end of the starter mount housing. See Figure 3 for how to. This will prevent massive oil leaks out of the starter.

Test starter after re-build by hooking the starter post to a 6-volt battery plus (+) terminal with heavy jumper cables. Hold the starter on the floor. Connect the negative (-) terminal to the starter at the mounting bolt flange. Run starter motor [no load]. Grasp the starter shaft and hold to slow down the shaft. If you can slow it down some, but can't stop it, the starter is good. If you can stop it [shaft], it won't crank engine. During this test, the amps will go up to 75 at around 4.3 volts.


The commutator [timer], coils, and coil box are usually in need of cleaning, adjusting, and tightening. Corrosion takes its toll from sitting.

Clean the timer and roller [or brush] with solvent and sand the grounding bars to shiny clean. Sand the roller or brush tip. Sand the brush-type commutator bars and clean with solvent.

Check the wiring from the commutator to the coil primary for shorts and opens by disconnecting both ends. for testing. Re-install wires to commutator, routing them so they will not touch metal or kink when advancing or retarding the spark.

On roller-type commutators, oil rotor and commutator bars liberally with motor oil upon re-assembly. On brush-type commutators. I recommend leaving the brush and commutator strips dry.

Disassemble the coil box connectors. Clean all the hardware in muriatic swimming pool acid [goggles and gloves]. It is best to solder the contacts to the small carriage bolts . Install new wood [kit from 'T' suppliers]. Treat the wood with water sealer, but do not paint the wood, especially with black paint. Painting may cause shorts. Black paint has charcoal, a conductor!

I strongly recommend you let a professional restore the coils, installing new points and modern condensers, and adjusting to the correct current draw using the hand crank magneto. You will more than likely have reasonable trouble-free operation. Adjusting the gap to a 'strong buzz' does not guarantee good spark.

Clean or replace the spark plugs and adjust the gap to 0.025 inches.

You may want to compare the cost of a distributor to 'T' coil repair. If you're showing your 'T', stay with the original coils and timer to maintain authenticity. If you want a driver [durability and smoother acceleration] purchase a distributor, 6-volt coil, and plug wires.

If using a distributor, disconnect the 'T' coil box primary wire and connect it to the new 6-volt coil + terminal. Connect the coil terminal to the distributor. Use number 14-gauge wire for all primary wire hook up.

If your 'T' is a 12-volt system, install a 'dropping' resistor to cut the voltage from 12 to nine.

Adjust the point gap to 0.017 inches if no specification is provided.

The distributor turns clockwise. Remove number one plug and turn crank to TDC on the compression stroke. Retard the spark lever, turn the distributor body in the counter-clockwise direction until the points just start to open. This is the retarded firing position on number one cylinder [TDC].

Install the advance linkage and adjust the rod length with the spark control lever in the retard position to match the retard position of the distributor. Tighten distributor housing clamp bolt.

Check advance linkage for binding.

If your new distributor has advance weights, retard to start, then advance the spark by moving the lever down inch from the retard position. The automatic advance will take care of additional distributor advance at higher RPM.


Remove all four plugs and measure the compression. Continually crank the engine until the compression pressure has built up four times. Record the compression pressure of each cylinder. A good 'T' engine [cold] will crank 50 psi on each cylinder. 45 psi is OK. 25 psi is a worn engine or bad valves and there may not be enough power to propel the car. If the compression pressure varies over 5 psi from cylinder to cylinder, grind the valves and set the tappet clearance to around 0.012 inches.

If there's no starter, remove all four plugs. Crank each cylinder through compression with your thumb covering the plug hole. If the pressure is about equal in all cylinders, the valves are probably OK. Also, visually look down each plug hole at top of valves. If they are the same color, the odds are they're good enough to start the engine.

Drain the oil. Install four quarts of 20-50 weight oil. Check for dripping out of the top oil level petcock.

If the old oil is 'jelly' or 'syrup' let it drain overnight.

Install pan plug using a small amount of RTV gasket maker on washer.

If equipped with an external oiler, disassemble and verify it's not plugged up.

After start up, let engine warm up for one minute at around 1000 RPM.

Increase the RPM to 1500 and hold it steady. Then, short each cylinder, one at a time, to detect rod bearing knock. If the rod knock(s) goes away with a warm engine, the rods are slightly loose. If the rod knock(s) continues with a warm engine, adjust the rods to 0.002 inches clearance and install Chevrolet-style oil dippers ["T" supply houses stock the dippers].

Refer to the 'Engine Manual' published by MTFCA for detailed procedures.

Drain water and re-fill. Add a cup of StaLube 'soluble oil'.

If the tubes are rusted on the top end, remove radiator and have it professionally checked and flushed at a radiator shop.


In the fuel system, checks include the fuel tank, fuel lines, filter, carburetor, and intake manifold leaks.

Start at the fuel tank. If it's full of flakey rust inside, or there is 'algae' and\or it has rust holes in the bottom, have it restored professionally or replace it.

Disassemble the fuel sediment bowl, clean in muriatic acid and replace the filter screen.

Set up sediment bowl in vice. Loosen front fitting. Use a propane torch to heat bowl casting.

Reassemble and install the sediment bowl into the tank. Use aviation, gas-resistant sealant on the threads. Do not get sealant inside gas passages. Do not use 'Teflon' tape. Gasoline will dissolve the tape, and it may get inside, causing flooding problems.

Pour in one gallon of gas and test for leaks and flow out the sediment bowl. Install the gas line over the frame rail. Route the fuel line under the splash shield parallel to the frame rail. Route fuel line between firewall and frame rail adjacent to firewall to frame bracket. This routing will minimize heat transfer into fuel line. Other routings may cause fuel foaming ['vapor lock'].

Disassemble carburetor and clean in carburetor cleaner. If float needle valve seat is 'frozen' in the carburetor top, leave it alone. Use old needle valve.

If the needle valve seat can be removed, replace it with a new 'Viton' tip needle and seat or a double check ball-style valve [Grose Jet].

Test the float [brass] in hot water. If small bubbles escape while immersed, the float is defective. Replace it!

The older carburetors use a cork float. If intact, sand lightly with 320 grit sand paper. Coat with gas-resistant epoxy [Hobby Poxy #1]. Wipe off excess before the epoxy cures. Coat a second time. Wipe again. Check weight before and after each coating. Less than 0.1 ounce increase in weight is OK. If more, start again with a new cork float [available from 'T' parts suppliers].

A new cork float must be coated with very light coats of gas-resistant epoxy. The same technique discussed above applies to new cork floats.

Gas-resistant- Try it out; soak a small amount of cured epoxy in gas. It if softens, try another brand. If the float gets too heavy, it will sink, causing flooding!

Adjust the float to specification. Turn carburetor upside-down. Usually, if the float is 'level' with the top surface of carburetor, the float level is OK.

Re-assemble and install carburetor. Adjust needle valve to one turn open from seat. Most 'Ts' run at around to turn.

If adjustment is a lot different than this on NH carburetors, something may be wrong with the carburetor or float. Review the Ford 'T' Service Manual or the Carburetor Manual published by the MTFCA.


By now, you know if 'neutral' has a slight drag which is normal. In some cases, long storage and some oils will allow the clutch disks to 'seize up', caused by 'congealing' of the old oil. If this occurs, jack up one rear wheel so a 'neutral' will be available for easy start up.

To test for neutral [before start up] pull the emergency brake lever all the way back [neutral and rear wheel brake]. If it cranks with the starter, neutral is OK. If not, pull the engine through with the hand crank. If no neutral, then try and free up after start up [see 'Run Start up' later in this text].

If neutral is OK, check the pedal adjustments next. Low gear pedal should tighten the band just before hitting the floor board. The high gear lever should begin to engage the clutch shaft lever for neutral about midway between all the way down and the vertical position. The rear wheel brakes should not drag at this point. Pull the brake lever to vertical position; both rear wheels should have an equal heavy drag [see Rear Axle Drive Shaft and Brake Adjustment].

The transmission brake pedal should engage about one inch above the floor board.

The reverse band should engage about halfway between full up and the floor board.

If band adjustment cannot be obtained, review the Ford 'T' Service Manual or the Transmission Manual [MTFCA] for relining and adjustment procedures.


Start with the steering gear. Remove the steering wheel and steering gear cover. Pack with moly chassis lube or wheel bearing grease. Lube steering collar [lower part] with grease cup.

Check the pitman arm on the shaft. Many times this nut and arm are loose on the steering shaft. Check woodruff key for slop. Oil threads and tighten to around 75 pound feet torque and re-install the cotter pin.

Test the drag link ball caps for looseness by turning the steering wheel free play [wheels on ground]. Put your finger between the cap and the steering arm. If there is 'slop' [more than 1\32 inch], remove cap and grind flat face. Re-install cap and re-check for clearance [less than 1\32 inch]. If OK, disassemble, grease with moly lube, tighten bolts and jamb nuts, insert cotter pins. Test for binding (lock to lock) with wheels off the ground.

If drag link binds, loosen bolts slightly, tighten jamb nuts, and insert new cotter pins. Check for binding again. Repeat drag link cap check on the right end steering link.

Check and oil the tie rod ends. If more than 1\32 inch clearance, replace pins and bushings [See Ford 'T' Service Manual for procedures]. Rebuild kits are available from the 'T' parts supply houses.

Check the radius rod 'wishbone' ball and cap. If less than 1\64 inch play side-to-side when turning the steering wheel [front wheels on ground], grease wishbone ball cap, tighten and \or replace studs, spring, and nuts. The wishbone ball must be tight in the socket with no side-to-side play.

Safety wire both studs to each other. Do not use cotter pins. Ball joint studs may work loose and unscrew.

Remove and inspect the front wheel bearings and grease seals. Clean bearings in solvent ['paint thinner', not lacquer thinner]. Blow dry with air and then wash in solvent, again. If rollers are pitted, replace bearings and cups [races].

Grease bearings using moly wheel bearing grease. Install inner wheel bearing and seal. Install wheel on spindle shaft and screw on outer wheel bearing. The right spindle axle nut and bearing should be a left-hand [counterclockwise] thread. The left side is a right-hand thread. Tighten until snug and back off until light bearing play exists. Install washer and jamb nut. Tighten jamb nut to line up cotter pin slots. Bearing play should be just snug with out binding. Turn wheel [off ground]. If it stops abruptly, loosen jamb nut, loosen bearing nut _ turn, re-tighten jamb nut. If the wheel turns freely, adjustment is OK.

Lastly, test the spindle and bushings [king pins] for end [up and down] play and for vertical plane play.

In the vertical plane check [wheels off ground], grab the top and bottom of the tire and wiggle in and out. If the outer rim moves in and out more than one inch, look at spindle bushings and wood spokes [spoke looseness checks in 'wheels' section]. If in and out movement at spindle [king pin] bushing is more than 1\64 inch [0.015"] the spindle pin bushings are very loose and should be replaced.

Next, test the bushing end play [up and down movement in the vertical plane]. The end play clearance should be zero. Test by placing a tire iron under the tire [wheels off the ground]. If end play clearance is greater than 0 [like 0.005" or 0.010", 0.015" is 1\64 inch], remove cotter pin, loosen jamb nut, tighten spindle bolt turn, re-tighten jamb nut, and re-test for end play.

The bottom portion of the axle has a thread for the spindle bolt. If it's stripped, tighten jamb nut to take up end play. The Ford 'T' Service Manual specifies tightening the spindle bolt until 'resistance' to turning exists.

To avoid wheel wobble at low speed, tighten spindle bolt to just zero end play, as outlined above. If left tight [resistance] steering will be hard and the car will steer you and you will be constantly correcting as you travel down the road.

Oil the oil caps at top of spindle bolt with motor oil. If oil drips to ground out of bottom bushing, oil holes are open. If not, disassemble spindle bushing bolt, clean oil holes and re-assemble. Test for end play, align spindle jamb nut, and install cotter pin.

Test for camber, caster, and toe-in ['gather']. Make a 'plumb bob' with a string and a nut tied to one end. Measure camber by holding the string at the top outer surface of tire. Move forward until string clears the hub cap. The horizontal measurement to tire surface at bottom is three inches [specified in Ford 'T' Service Manual].

Test the caster [pitch] by holding a carpenter square perpendicular to the floor and touching the front surface of bottom spindle\axle area. Measure the distance from the square to upper edge of spindle\axle area. This measurement should be the specified inch on both spindles.

Measure the 'gather' [toe-in] by holding a tape measure the inside front rim edge about halfway up from the ground. Measure distance to same spot on other rim. Move the tape measure to the inside rear rim edge. The 'toe-in' should be around 3\16 - inch. For example, if the front measures 53 inches and the back is 53 inches, the toe-in is inch.

Many times, the toe-in measurement will be inch toe-in or up to inch toe-out! Needles to say, the car will wander all over if the above measurements are incorrect.

Review the Ford 'T' Service Manual for detailed procedures to measure camber, caster, and toe [gather]. Toe is adjustable.


In 1998, the wheels with metal outer rims may be up to 78 years old! Wood felloe and wood outer rim wheels may be 88 years old!

That's old! If the spokes are loose in any way, consider having them re-spoked by a professional wheelwright advertised in the hobby magazines.

The wheel(s) may be slightly out of true in the vertical plane. A _ inch out of true wobble is OK; but if greater, consider re-spoking the wheel.

You have read about wheels folding up on curves and causing accidents. It's worth the price to your family, friends, and relates, in-laws and outlaws to make safety a top issue!

Do not try shimming, epoxy, or resin to 'tighten' up the spokes. The heat from the rear brakes may melt the glue to honey, run out all over the brake, and then collapse!



Test the drive shaft front bushing by removing the drive shaft housing plugs. Insert a small screwdriver and push up. If it pushes up 1\64 inch [0.015 inches] the clearance is barely acceptable the clearance spec for this bushing is 0.002 - 0.006 inches. If the clearance is over 1\64 inches, it's very loose! This measurement excess may indicate other rear axle wear and excess end play.

With a screwdriver, move the pin fore and aft to check drive shaft end play. If over 1\64 inches [0.015"], it's too loose. Although loose, one can drive the car. Consider re-building the drive shaft assembly. Check the Ford 'T' Service Manual for overhaul procedures.

If the drive shaft\U-joint pin is loose, support the bottom of pin with a _ punch and blocks [hardwood on cement] to the floor. Peen the top of pin with a inch punch and a two-pound hammer. Turn drive shaft 180, and peen the other end. The pin is quite soft.

Grease the drive shaft bushing cup with moly grease, and turn it in turn for every trip. The front drive shaft bushing without grease is a 'high wear' item on a 'T'!

Test the rear axle up and down play with wheels off the ground. Any play up and down up to 0.005 inches is OK, Test the wheels with a tire iron on the bottom side of the tire using the iron as a lever. Lift it up and down. If it's over 0.005 inches, it's loose! The wear is usually in the bearing axle sleeve upper outside edge [Part #2509].

To remove wheel hubs, jack up one side. Install a 'knock-out' on opposite axle shaft. Tighten knock-out. Srike heavy blows on end of knock-out with a 'sledge' hammer. If really tight, re-check knock-out. If, after five hard blows, it is not loose, install a 'wheel puller' to remove hub. Most wheel hubs fall off or come loose with a couple of firm blows.

Remove the bearing [two small screwdrivers] and feel the ridge wear in the axle sleeve. Remove the race [with puller from 'T' supply houses]. Install inner axle seals and new 'heat-treated' sleeves. ['T' supply houses have these parts].

Measure the rear axle bearing diameter with a micrometer. The standard diameter size of the roller bearing is 0.500 inches. If it measures 0.495 or more its OK. If it less than 0.495 inches, replace the bearing.

I personally prefer a bearing 0.002 to 0.003 inches under 0.500 inches.

The looser, the faster the car will go up to an acceptable limit!

While the bearing is out, check the axle end play. If over 1\32 inch [0.031"], it's excessive. If left this way, the axle may shift in and out causing the drum to rub the brake lining edges. It may squeal! Check the Ford 'T' Service Manual for correct set up when re-building the rear axle assembly.

Install inner grease seals [Part #2511] and the bearing sleeves [there is a left and right sleeve; grease holes must line up!].

Grease the rear axle bearing with heavy duty wheel bearing grease or moly grease. Install bearings. Tap bearings in lightly and turn cage back and forth. With old bearings, they will slip in easily. With new, reproduction bearings, a moderate tap is OK.

When all the way in, the bearings will rotate easily, because the axle is usually worn from 0.003 to 0.005 inches on the bearing surface area. If in doubt about the above, review the Ford 'T' Service Manual for procedures.

Check the brake shoe lining. The small 9-inch brakes with lining is inadequate for hill country, but may be OK for flat country [a personal opinion]. You may want to consider 'rocky mountain' brakes.

The 11-inch brakes ['26'27 'T'] is much better and adequate for mountain driving. 'Fade' may still be a problem.

Recently [1997], I had my 11-inch brakes relined with a 'molded Kevlar' lining used in industrial brake applications. The brand name is Redco Heavy Duty Woven Lining. This Kevlar lining will withstand higher temperatures before fade than Model T brake lining. If it fades, the brakes will recover faster upon cooling.

After 100 miles, the brakes seated and stopping power is superb with minimum fade.

In either case, have the lining professionally drilled and riveted with brake machinery. Don't skimp and do it 'by hand'! It will work loose! There goes your safety factor!

Oil brake arm cam lever bushings. Put a thin film of moly grease on the cam surface [top and bottom]. Install lining. Disconnect brake rods.

Prepare rear axles. Remove axle burrs and shine taper surfaces with 80 grit-type sand paper. Peen the outer end of the axle keyway. Insert the axle key by tapping into the burr. You don't want this to move when installing the wheel hub. Clean axle threads with a _ x 13 [National Fine] die. Tap nut to clean thread.

Oil axle surface, axle thread, and nut for a better torque.

Slip on hub drum. Rotate wheel. If you hear a metal scraping, it may be the brake lining edge rubbing the drum. Remove hub and install an axle shim [Part #2505 SH] coated with oil. Recheck for scraping sound.

The oiled axle shaft surfaces will provide a better seating of the hub on the axle. Install the nut, and snug lightly [for now]. Re-install brake rods, oil clevis pins, and install cotter pins.

Adjust the brakes for equal drag. Pull the emergency brake handle to the vertical position. Test for equal drag on both wheels.

Move brake lever to neutral with no brake. Test for free-wheeling at rear wheels. The trick is to have the wheels free in neutral with no brake drag, then pull lever to vertical. The wheels should have a heavy equal drag to almost locked up with brake lever in vertical position.

Make sure emergency brake lever and locking pawl doesn't slip. If it does, replace it [pawl].

In my experience, the rear brakes are, quite often, adjusted too tight. If tight, the brake applies the instant you pull the lever into neutral.

As new brake lining high spots wear in, re-adjust rear brakes for equal drag as outlined above.

If all the above adjusts out as discussed above, tighten brake rod clevis jam nuts and install cotter pins in clevis pins.

Torque the axle nuts to 75 foot pounds, align the cotter pin slots, and insert the cotter pin.

Fill the differential case to bottom edge of fill plug hole with 140 weight gear oil.


Now, for the big test! If all the above has been performed with good repair practice and adjusted to specification, your car should start in 5-10 seconds and almost be ready to drive on tour! The order of start up and drive events are as follows:

Adjust mixture, engine off
Crank and start
Adjust mixture and spark advance
Test for rod knocks
Test transmission band adjustment
Drive car, test shifting
Drive car, test brakes
Drive car, test for 'wabble'
Test for overheating
Drive car on tour!

Turn on gas and adjust mixture rod to one turn open from seated position. Hook up battery.

With gas at half throttle and spark in full-retarded position, crank engine for five seconds. During crank, choke for up to two seconds.

On hand crank models, use the same throttle and retarded spark settings as previously discussed. With ignition off, pull crank through three times with full choke. Release choke.

Turn on ignition, leave spark retarded, and crank to start.

Upon start up, be prepared to choke slightly as the engine begins to rev up. If it's 'sputtering', open choke [no choke] to let it rev up more. Advance spark to half way on 'Ts' equipped with four coils and timer. To lean the mixture, turn mixture knob clockwise until the engine 'smooths out'.

Return to idle slowly. Adjust idle throttle screw and mixture rod to maintain good idle smoothness.

NOTE: In my experience, the mixture rod will be open around turns from seated position at throttle. Idle mixture setting for a long idle usually requires about turn more rich [counter-clockwise] than at throttle in neutral.

During warm up, rev engine to around 1200 RPM. Leave it at a steady RPM. Listen for knock(s).

Short [with a screwdriver], one spark plug at a time. That cylinder will drop in RPM. Simultaneously, listen for knock while plug is shorted. If the knock goes away while shorting out the cylinder, the rod is loose.

Perform the same test on remaining cylinders.
After a long warm up, perform the same rod knock test, again. If it still knocks, the rod(s) is\(are) very loose.

In addition, test for center main bearing knock by holding at _ throttle and spark advanced halfway. Short number two and three spark plug simultaneously. If the knock goes away, adjust the center main after you adjust the rods. If you have any doubt about knocks, review the MTFCA Engine Manual for procedures.

To test the transmission bands, set emergency brake and start engine. Warm up. With emergency brake set, push in low pedal gently. Listen for a changing transmission 'whine'. This is the beginning of low band engagement. This point should be around one two inches up from the floorboard surface.

Next, push in reverse pedal with emergency brake set. The pedal should travel about half-way () to the floorboard surface.

With new, or old transmission bands, start with the above suggested adjustments. The real test is on the road. The adjustments may seem on the 'loose' side to you. However, the loose adjustments will minimize premature failure due to excessive drag.

If the bands are too tight, they will already be partially engaged. They may work against each other, and the transmission may sound like it's binding up. Further the bands may burn and fail prematurely due to lack of oil [cooling].

Sometimes the clutch disks will not allow a neutral. To test for neutral while running with one wheel jacked up, pull brake lever back slowly to neutral. Note RPM change, if any. Then continue to pull increasing brake drag. Engine RPM should not change and transmission neutral is OK.

If engine slows down during this maneuver, clutch disks are hung up and\or oil is congealed on disks' surfaces. Try this brake on\off procedure for 10 minutes.

If it [neutral] still does not work, change oil again. Repeat above steps. If it still hangs up, remove, disassemble engine and transmission to repair clutch.


Now the big plunge! You're ready for the road!

If you are not experienced, ask an experienced friend who regularly drives 'Ts' on tours to drive your car the first time.

Slowly, slowly, engage reverse pedal gently and back out of the driveway. Leave emergency brake in neutral position to hold clutch pedal in place, while backing up.

Push in low pedal to move forward. Leave emergency brake lever in neutral. Accelerate to 10 MPH in low, then let up on the throttle and low pedal.

Let the car coast. Then apply foot brakes, gently. No chatter during stop- Next accelerate to 10 MPH in low. With your foot still on low pedal let the brake lever into high gear position [all the way down]. At 10 MPH, let throttle off slightly and simultaneously let clutch [high gear] engage by slowly letting up low pedal.

Note how smooth the shift is! If it chatters, the clutch disks may be 'hanging up' on the inside of the transmission brake drum guides.

After 50 miles or so, change the crankcase oil, again. When bringing your car out of mothballs, the syrupy oil could cause the hangup and rough shift. New oil may minimize the rough shift.

You have been applying the emergency brake gently, noting pull. At 30 MPH in high gear, let up on throttle and pull emergency brake to lock the rear wheels [panic stop]. Be prepared for a pull to right or left.

If it pulls to right, adjust the left clevis pin one turn tighter and re-install cotter pin. Try panic stop again. If you cannot get equal pull, re-line emergency brakes as discussed in brake section.

Test for 'Wabble':

Proceed over chuck holes slowly [5 MPH]. If shimmy develops, re-check front end looseness and alignment checks, as outlined in the 'Front Axle' section.

Test the radiator. If it boils on a cool day during these pre-tour tests, consider a 'flat tube' radiator re-core or a new radiator. In a good radiator system, water pumps are unnecessary, even on hot days.


If all the above works as outlined above, you're now ready for a durable tour.
Before every tour:

_Fill radiator to inch from full up
_ Check oil drip out of top petcock
_ Clean timer
_Fill tank with gas
_Turn front drive shaft bushing grease cup one turn.
_Start, warm up, and go on tour!

Couple of extra things - perfect for winter -

Join both the MTFCA and the MTFCI. Their magazines will help you understand your car better and let you see what other people are doing. Join the local Model T chapter, there are a lot of great people to meet that way.

Tom (Detroit, Piquette Ts \ Casual Ts)

By Stan Cummings on Friday, November 25, 2005 - 12:11 pm:
Here are the driving instructions posted by Bay Bridge Sue some time back.
The Model-T is operated by THREE pedals on the floor in front of the driver, the EMERGENCY brake lever to the left, and the SPARK and GAS levers on the steering quadrant. RIGHT is BRAKE, CENTER is REVERSE and LEFT is the CLUTCH. Pull the EMERGENCY BRAKE handle all the way back, to set the rear brakes and place the transmission in NEUTRAL. RETARD the SPARK by pushing the LEFT quadrant lever all the way up. Pull the GAS quadrant lever down 2 or 3 notches. Then CHOKE the engine by pulling the choke rod out for 3-4 quarter revolutions of the engine. Turn on the ignition switch to BAT and crank the engine until it starts. When it does start, you can switch the ignition to MAG and pull the SPARK lever down about 1/2 way to give some power to the engine.
To get underway, hold your right foot on the BRAKE while releasing the hand brake to the vertical position, but NOT all the way forward yet! The car is still in neutral and you are holding it stopped by the service brake. Add some gas and at the same time release the BRAKE pedal and SLOWLY depress the CLUTCH pedal to the floor to get underway and hold it there. When you have attained a speed of about 10 MPH, release the EMERGENCY brake to the forwardmost position and SLOWLY let the clutch pedal all the way out as you would a conventional clutch and you are now in HIGH gear. Advance the GAS lever as required. To STOP, reduce the speed with the gas lever by pushing up, apply the brake, and when almost stopped depress the clutch pedal about half way to keep the engine from stalling. To go backward, keeping the CLUTCH pedal depressed halfway, release the brake with your right foot and SLOWLY depress the center REVERSE pedal and hold it tightly for as long as you want to go backwards. Then release it and apply the BRAKE as normally. All the time keeping the clutch pedal slightly depressed to be in NEUTRAL. The emergency brake lever may also be applied a few notches when going in reverse instead of depressing the clutch. After you get confidence you will soon learn to release the hand brake lever all the way when holding the clutch pedal in NEUTRAL when starting off and going in REVERSE. If you get in a panic situation, just remember to press HARD on any TWO pedals simultaneously and it will bring you to a STOP and stall the engine!! GOOD LUCK!

Levers: the 2 levers under the steering wheel are the throttle (on the right) and spark advance (on the left). The spark lever controls the spark timing - up is retarded (for starting), and you pull it down to advance it to drive. If you try to crank the car with the lever down, the car will backfire (and pop your arm - ouch!!!)...
The throttle is kind of the same - all the way up closes the throttle, to speed up, pull the throttle down. Remember - Spark on the left, Gas on the right.
Starting - Read all this through first!!! Hand brake ALL the way back. I put a chock block under one of the wheels as well - T's tend to want to "creep" when started. SPARK lever UP. Gas on. Switch OFF. Gas lever down a couple notches... and recheck the spark (left) lever to make sure it's up! Go to the front of your car, hold the choke wire loop out (it's on the left as you face the radiator, near the bottom of the rad.) and holding the crank at the 8:00 to 9:00 position push it in - you'll feel it engage. Slowly (to get the feel of it) pull the crank over the top. Easy, no? Do that (with the choke wire out) 2-3 more times. Your motor is *hopefully) primed and ready to go.
Go back to the switch, and if your car has a battery installed, turn the keyswitch to "Bat". (If not, I'll explain in a sec!) If you're really lucky, your car will go "Kerchuf" or maybe even start. If not, you'll hear the coils buzzing under the hood. That's a good sign. If not, don't despair.
If you DON'T have a battery, don't worry - as long as the magneto in your car is still there (and working), and you don't have an aftermarket ignition system (like a distributor like was on your A) you should still be able to get your car to fire. In this case, turn the switch to "Mag". Your coils won't buzz, as the motor has to be turning to make electricity to make the coils work (think like a lawnmower!)...
Now comes the fun! With the switch on and the handbrake back and the wheel chock in place and the SPARK LEVER UP go back in front of the car. Engage the crank at the 8:00-9:00 position, and give it a *swift* pull. If on battery, you should hear the coils buzz. You may need to do this a few times, but the car *should* start!
Once the car fires and is running, pull the spark lever 1/2 way down. Adjust the throttle so it's idling somewhat smoothly, and you're ready to go!
Pedals - the 3 on the floor control your gearshift *and* your brakes. The one on the left (that faces left!) is called the "Clutch" pedal, but it's really the "forward" pedal - all the way down, it puts the car in low gear. Halfway back, you're in neutral, and al the way out is High gear. Also, the hand brake controls the clutch as well (through a linkage below the floorboards). When you pull back on the hand brake, before it puts the parking brake on it moves the pedal into the neutral position... This is important wen you get to the next pedal...
The middle (diamond-shaped) pedal is the Reverse pedal. With the car in Neutral, push down on the pedal, and the car moves in reverse. To disengage, take your foot off the pedal. Easy, no? When you want to stop...
Push the right pedal (the one facing right!). This is your service brake.
Couple of things on the pedals - when you push down on the left or middle one, do NOT be GENTLE - you're contracting a brake band around an oil-soaked drum in the transmission, and you want that drum to stop solid! That's how a T goes into gear. You'll want to find a big parking lot and practice operating the pedals at just over an idle until you get used to them, and how they work. And if worse comes to worse, pull back on the brake lever and stomp on the brake pedal.
Gas and oil? You'll get a bunch of opinions on this, so I'll give you mine first. For Gas, even though a T was designed to run on 60-70 octane gasoline (it was really nasty stuff in the 20's and 30's!!) I run mine on 92 octane. Why? Mine runs better with high-test. Some people run better with el cheapo regular. It's kind of car-dependent. Oil is a huge ball of wax... Being on the west coast (tho south of you) where it doesn't snow, I run 30 wt. detergent oil. Some will say use 10-40, but my feeling (personal opinion) is it's too light for these slow, plain-bearing motors. Why detergent? It's available (non-det can be hard to find), it's of better quality (I burned up a VW motor on non-det during a break in, as the best non-det 30 wt I could find was trash!!), and it won't hurt your motor. At least it hasn't hurt *any* of our cars since we've owned them.
DON'T use a graphite based oil. 2 reasons. One, the graphite *will* cause problems with the magneto, which runs in oil. Second, the clutch (and transmission), which *also* runs in oil (the whole motor/clutch.trans assy runs on the same oil bath) will tend to slip. Some folk use it, but I wouldn't go near it!
How much? The car takes 1 gallon (US, not imperial). There are 2 petcocks on the right side of the bottom of the transmission - they're (usually) brass. The oil level is right when it's 1/2 way between the 2. So... if you open the top and get a tiny start of a drip, and then you open the bottom and get a stream, you *should* be OK. If oil does not come out of the bottom petcock, check (with a piece of wire) to make sure it's not clogged, and if it still doesn't, you're low on oil.
Your car probably has a starter and generator in it... It should have a 6 volt Negative Ground system (Ford went to Positive ground with the A, the T was Neg. ground!), tho it *may* have ben changed at some time.
I covered a lot here, but (hopefully) it'll be enough to get you started. Most importantly, approach your new car with common sense, DON'T be afraid of it, and have fun. Remember, the T was, in a lot of instances, the very first motorcar that a person had driven, and in it's early years, the car was expected to be worked on by it's owner (and it was designed as such!). They're really hard to hurt (as evidenced by all the T's still around!) and meant to drive... Good Luck,

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Halpin on Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 07:42 pm:

I think the car is a 27 too. If you really want to know for sure, pull the floor boards out and look for a serial number on the top of the passenger side frame rail, near where the emergency brake quadrant comes across the frame.

The engine has a 26-27 coil box and what appears to be a 26-27 fan belt adjuster. It's sharp looking. You just don't see that many Roadsters with wire wheels.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield, KS on Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 07:54 pm:

The first Model T parts everybody should buy are these:

They'll save you a lot of grief and expense. Example: Trying to remove the starter without knowing what to do first can cause some costly damage.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Vaughn on Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 10:35 pm:

Andrew - I sent you a private message, I'm not too far from you and would be willing to help you out. Give me a call.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Danial Davis of Veneta, Oregon on Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 11:31 pm:

Clean looking roadster, Andrew.

Great check lists, Craig. I've printed them out. I've had my T out four times since buying it but have never really done a preflight maintenance checklist.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen on Monday, November 28, 2011 - 09:25 am:


Give Mike a call. He is a great resource (along with several others in the Lincoln area).

Good luck with the project.

Rob Heyen
Milford, NE

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Andrew Kean on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 12:16 am:

Thanks for all the great replies everyone! The information you all provided has helped a lot!

I looked at the number on the frame and it reads 14230176 and through some searching I believe it is a 1927 car. Is that correct?

I will be in contact with the ones who private messaged me when I get a chance.

Thanks again!
From Denton, Nebraska.
Andrew Kean

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield, KS on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 12:32 am:

14230176: Thursday, September 9, 1926. If the engine has the same number, it's the original. If not, it's a replacement engine.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Thomas Mullin on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 12:44 am:


That would make it a 1927 model year, right? Didn't Ford start in August with the new models?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Halpin on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 01:20 am:

OK Andrew, it can be a late 26, it can be an early 27. Most people in the know are going to call it a 27 because of the wire wheels. If the title says '1926', just leave well enough alone. Some of the late 26 cars had wire wheels.
Now, what's the number on the title? Let's hope for your friend's sake, it matches that frame number. If it does, the fact that it's got a 1923 engine in it doesn't matter anymore. If the title matches the engine number, tell your friend to just keep quiet about the frame number when he goes to get plates on it. If the title doesn't match either one, well.... that's a whole different 'can of worms'.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Huson on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 02:08 am:

Andrew Kean:

Contact Dale Finnigsmier at Post Office Box 154 Kenesaw, Phone number 402-752-3512. He is very knowledgeable about Ts and is a very nice person that I am sure will be glad to help you.

By the way nice looking car.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George - Cherry Hill New Jersey on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 06:26 am:


It looks like a 27, sounds like a 27 by the frame number, and looks like maybe the rear might be 26/27 with the larger drum brakes.

The powerplant is earlier right up to the U-joint. If it runs, have fun...just remember if you order brakes bands for the tranny you need to order the earlier version, and not the 26/27. The only apparent giveaway on what would be a 'walk by' appears to be the pedals. No need to change, but thats actually relatively easy cosmetic fix if you don't want a bunch to 'ask'. Me I wouldn't care...haha, I actually like the old style pedals a lot more than the later...something about that 'tang' coming up under the sole of my foot on the later just doesn't work for me...for the life of me, my feet are too wide to use the tang for what it was meant for...and since I go back and forth between earlier, middle and late, it is strange jumping into the late.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 03:11 pm:

If the magneto is still working, you should keep the coils. The true Model experience includes the coils! It looks like you have an assortment of coils in the coil box. The one in front toward the radiator, which is connected to number 1 spark plug is from an older year car. Most likely, all the coils need to be rebuilt. You can replace the timer and rebuild the coils for what it would cost to get a good distributor, but once it is done, it will run for a long time, with occasional replacement of points. I would only recommend the distributor if the magneto doesn't work and then only if you are not planning to pull the engine and transmission for other work, at which time the magneto ring can be replaced and the magnets recharged.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Willie K Cordes on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 03:46 pm:

I am sure that Craig Sutton's list is a good one, but I prefer to start off with a much smaller list. That big a list would scare the Hell out of me and cause me to put the car up for sale on Craigs list. (The other Craig)
I prefer books like the "Model T Ford Service Manual" where I can work a piece at a time.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Kelsey on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 05:30 pm:


I really like that checklist. I think it could apply for most any vehicle.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Collin Johnson on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 05:32 pm:

So, I don't mean to start a debate or critisize a guys hard work... just a the engine color correct, close to correct, or???

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 09:30 pm:

Wrong color green. Not even close.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield, KS on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 09:53 pm:

I think for 26-27 the engine green is pretty similar to OD. For earlier years there's been a lot of discussion of whether engines were naked or given a thin wash of something black. I believe the latter was the case. My choice is a semi-gloss (satin?) black enamel.

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