Been meaning to start a new build thread....or rather a re-build thread, for my well traveled '26 roadster over the next few months as I prep for Chris and I's run to Bonneville next year.
I'll start off with the new mill. Mike and Tom at the Antique Auto Ranch built up a killer new engine using my spare '26 block. The block was clean but had been bored a few times (more then .060 over!) so I opted to have it punched up to .080. The new engine will be a bit more of a "monster" then it's predecessor and specs out as follows:
'26-'27 block, bored .080 over
'26-'27 "EE" series crank
Egge .080 pistons
.300C full-race cam
289/302 Ford SB V8 valves
New babbit bearings (rods/mains)
fully balanced engine/transmission
Here are some pics:
I also had them install hardened stainless seats as well:
Many of you might remember that I was planning to run two Stromberg 97's which many thought might be made to work, but could still be a problem. In the mean time I decided to go with the carburetor that most suggested instead...the Stromberg 81. I bought and had built two specificly for this motor...to go with the Burns twin downdraft intake I found:
Next it was time to pull the roadster down to the bare chassis. In addition to the engine swap, I decided to "right some wrongs" with the suspension and other areas at the same time and just give it a full "once over" before our 1,500+ mile journey to Utah next year:
I have always had issues with the front suspension. It was certainly stiff, which I liked, but bumps in the roadway were uncomfortable and dangerous...so I decided to take the front end in a different direction completely......Split wishbones. I decided to use Model A 'bones and hang the front spring perches fron the them for a much softer and correct ride:
In my search to find a period alternative to modern split wishbone ball-joint ends, I came across the method of using Model A tie-rod ends and replacement ball joints. I really liked the way it all worked out and I could buy all those components new....so I did. After buying up all the extra parts I would need, I made up a few drawings to get my ideas straight and make sure I do it right the first time.
First thing I did last night was re-hang the front spring and center up the axle on the front cross member.
Last week I got the radius rods re-ground to fit the T axle. Last night I got the wishbone ends cut and welded in. For the adjustable threaded ends on the 'bones, I bought a second sacrificial tie-rod and took 6" off each end (with the L and RH threads) and welded them into custom adapters that Chris was kind enough to make up for me on the Lathe (to size them up the the ID of the 'bones....then I welded those assemblies into the 'bones...
With all that welded in place, this is what I got ..Was quite pleased with how it turned out...still have some more clean up to do.
Now my first line of business was to get them finished up, by getting the front axle ends modified for the right fit and the correct Castor angle. First I mocked up the frame and the front end to actual ride height...front wheels and all and a little more space between the front cross member and axle this time around.
Next I pulled the 'bones off and carefully cut the tubes so that I could remove the castings.
Then I reinstalled the cut 'bones and adjusted the front axle to the appropriate 5 1/2 degrees of castor....actually 6 1/2 for a more race car look
...Then they were all welded up
My other endeavors for the day were to cut the new shackle plates for the front wisbones....
After spending nearly 35 minutes measuring, adjusting, double and triple checking all of my tolerances, distances and centers....it was time to weld. I first tacked the tubes that Chris made me in place, removed the assemblies and welded the heck out of them. Step two was to assemble the shackles again and weld them to the wishbones. Both went off like a charm and front end is hung and supporting the chassis up front with the blocks removed
I also have a bunch more room between the axle and the front cross member too:
I also did some much needed repair work to the chassis, such as the rear frame cross member that I had butchered with the plasma cutter:
I also pulled the Chicago O.D. apart and found a bit of damage. The front bearing race retainer had walked off the shaft and the threads were damaged. I also found a chipped bearing. Repainted it as well:
Next line of business is redoing the rear end:
More to come, so stay tuned!
Looks ok so far. May i ask what those frame extension things are?
They are off a 1909 Cadillac and he uses them to hold his headlights on the front of the car. Headlights are off a 1913 Stutz so they are a little larger then stock T's.
The frame extensions up front are from a 1912 Cadillac and they hold the headlight forks.
I love this car! Saw it on the Jalopy Journal.
Your improvements are very slick and I think very smart. The shackle setup used before just gave me a bad feeling. Although I'd rather it be all "T", this should be much better and it's definitely more "hot roddy".
I do have some questions about your accessory transmission. Do you use underdrive much, or mostly overdrive? I'm hoping my (Jumbo) transmission allows me to climb hills a little faster in T high/Jumbo low without crawling like being in T low as it is now.
If you guys ever make it to PA I have a place you can crash and also promise to feed you at least once! We used to go to Goodguys in Columbus (about 4 hrs away) and will again if you ever decide to go.
Thank you kindly Craig!
I use "underdrive" in the Chicago all the time. I usually use it at stop lights and go through the gear all the time: start off from a stop in T low/Chicago low...let the T out in high then shift the Chicago from there.
Here are the gear ratios for the most common Aux. transmissions:
1st - 1.37:1
2nd - 1:1
3rd - 1:1.363
1st - 1.792:1
2nd - 1:1
3rd - 1:1.397
The Jumbo Giant:
1st - 1.66:1
2nd - 1:1
3rd - 1:1.357
The Chicago Mark-E
1st - 1.500:1
2nd - 1:1
3rd - 1:1.556
Your Jumbo should have the lowest gear ratio in underdrive and a decent ration in overdrive.
Are you sure one of you kids didn't graduate from M.I.T.? All this engineering is way above my pay grade.
I Like it a lot, but I am puzzled by one thing. Given that the radius rods are nearly parallel, the shackles are able to swing, and I doubt that the radius rod/axle bolted joint can resist turning, what restrains your front axle laterally?
It's also interesting that your axle beam now doubles as what in England we call an anti-roll bar - I think you call them sway bars. But I don't suppose it will roll much!
No, no M.I.T. grads here....just a couple of your average "shop monkeys" doing things the old fashioned way...the ONLY way
...Besides, its not rocket science...it's Model T's
Hello from The States! The "side-to-side" swaying of the front axle will certainly be a problem, that is why I intend to ad a Panhard Bar from the wishbone to the frame to eliminate that lateral movement.
Excellent. I'm reassured.
The Panhard bar is next on my list, once I get the frame mount plates/ball joints made up and get the wishbones finished and mounted up the frame.
I plan to make one up for the rear end as well.
Clayton, I am very impressed especially by the way you have certainly stepped up the skill and engineering level on this rebuild.
Wow, and solutions to many problems learned from your experience and by listening to advice given (sorting the 'wheat from the chaff' takes some wisdom - without offending all the givers too).
You are an inspiration to my son and his buddy on just what you can do when you put your mind to it.
(And I live the Chicago colour scheme too)
All the best,
Thank you kindly! I have GREATLY improved in my skills since the first "go around" with this car...so I'm putting those new skills to work correcting the "wrongs" in this chassis.
It is truly a learning experience, and I prefer to learn and keep alive the old ways, trick and ideas from the past.
I'm glad that I can be an inspiration, I am also honored.
Am curious as to why you chose split wishbones?
Using the Model A spindle arms, did you make any modification to the hole in the T axle? I just read that the holes are the same for both T and A.
I decided to go with split wishbones because of a few reasons. Since the car is so low, I didn't want any interference with the frame by running them to the stock wishbone location on the pan. The stock mounting location does work...I felt it was a bit on the "flimsy" side, so I wanted to make it a bit more stout. I also just like they they looked. I have seen a few different types of early hairpin style 'bones on period cars and since it was a rarity back then...I thought it would be a perfect fit on my car.
The wishbone/spring perch pin holes are the same on both the T and the A....but the axle casting size is different, so the A wishbone cast yokes had to be widened to fit the T axle.
Clayton, you guys are doing a great job on your cars. One thing that I want to bring to your attention, the parts that you refer to as "cast" are almost always "forged". There is a LOT of difference. Cast parts require very different methods to modify them, such as welding, cutting, bending, etc. Forged parts are WAY easier to modify, they are basically steel. They appear to be cast from their rough finish to the untrained eye. Just a heads up. Keep up the good work, nice to see younger guys get involved in the hobby. Dave
Thank you kindly for the correction. You are certainly correct that they are "forged" and not "cast". Just a miss-type on my part.
Sorry Clayton I miss stated my question. Should be the holes in the spindles where the arms mount to.
Clayton, the "M.I.T." remark was a sincere compliment. I've been an unscrupulous modifier and a merciless fabricator all my life. Watching you guys, brings back memories of the good ol days, where the only limitation is the scope of your imagination.
Keep the pictures coming. I know I'm not the only one interested in this. The Model T was the corner stone of the first 'Hot Rod' generation and like it or not, 'Hot Rods' are as American as apple pie (and Model T's).
I echo Dennis - keep it coming!
Sorry, I did miss understand your question. No, no mods are needed. Both the Model T and Model A spindle arm studs are the same length, diameter and thread. The Model A spindle arm will bolt right up with no mods.
I certainly do take that as a great compliment!
"the only limitation is the scope of your imagination" ...nobody could have said it better.
I will keep the updates and pictures coming. hope to make another large chunk of progress this weekend as I got the new ball joints I was waiting for to build the frame mounts for the 'bones :D
Clayton, I found myself back in the 'imagination' game with this Hot Rod Rambler I bought. Nothing about it is stock and I don't have the luxury of being the one who built it. It has 'shaved' doors (no outside handles) and they are operated by a key remote, like the ones you use to lock and unlock modern cars. Neither door worked when I got the car, so if you rolled up the windows, you're screwed. The solenoids were plastic and the installation was 'Mickey Mouse', to say the least. I ordered a couple (metal) solenoids and installation kits from the manufacturer of the original 'shaved door kits' only to realize their solenoid bracket was going to be nothing but a source of future problems.
To make a long story short, the left door is working again. Nothing a little imagination and a few trips to the hardware store couldn't handle. Not only is my hand fabricated bracket 'bullet proof', it's fully adjustable. Now I'll take the whole thing apart again, loc-tite all the bolts and solder all the wire connections. Then, it's on to the right door but that one is a 'bolt in' now that all the 'imagination' work is done.
Frame mount plates for the split wishbones
Put in a little time on Saturday and got the frame mount plates for the split wishbones made up and some clean up work done on the new shackle mounts from the previous week. Got all the welding and fab work done, but didn't get them finished up or mounted....next weeks project
Welds look good. What kind of welder are you using?
Thank you! The shop has a big ol' Lincoln MIG (not sure on the model)that Bill must have picked up in the 1970's.
It REALLY makes a nice weld!
Well, I know it's not much.....but at least it's somethin'..
I did make it out to the shop last night, but couldn't really start anything major....so I got the front shocks and the head light brackets back on so that I can start on the front shock mounts and the headlight fork repair.
I did get a little clean up work done and some shop clean up work too.
More to come.
Front End Work - The Headlight Fork / License Plate Bracket
Whew!.... After that whirl wind Christmas holiday, I have been itching to get back to the shop and with Monday off...I made the most of it playing with cars
I have a few more small projects to tackle on the front end of the chassis before I can "sign off" on the front end and move to the rear end, so yesterday I worked on another important piece of the puzzle who's finish was not up to my benchmark.....the headlight fork assembly.
The forks have never been right since day 1 (I was learning) and since the the car was getting a refresh, I added them to the list. I had collected the correct looking pieces (like the yellow cross bar from a White Truck) for them over the last few years, just never got around to fixing it. I got started by cutting the assembly apart (also found a bad weld in the process):
Next I made up some replacement studs (with some awesome old cap nuts I found) for the two forks as the originals were toast and broken off.
...then I got them all welded on:
Next, I cut down the cross bar. I removed 1 1/4" from each side to make it fit. I'm quite proud of my welding job:
The newly welded, trued up and rebuilt headlight forks after clean up work and some bead blasting:
Next week, I plan to get the front shock mounts made and at least a start on the front Panhard bar.
More to come, stay tuned
Once the chassis is a rolling unit and in final paint, then I can tackle installing the new motor you and Mike put together for me
are you going out to work on it any more this week Clayton?
I am actually. I will be out Friday to get some prep work done for Saturday's "Riveting Extravaganza" :D ...riveting the ball stud frame mounting plates for the 'bones to the frame.
I hope you are going to stay pretty close to the way the car used to look. It wasn't a 'Speedster', it wasn't a 'Hot Rod', it had just the right 'look' to it. I can't explain 'the look'. I think others here will agree, it was just a very attractive sum total of it's parts.
You likely already know this, but I will say it anyway, in case you or someone else who reads it doesn't know. You know that the pistons rise above the deck of the block in a Model T engine, and with the .080 oversize, you could be hitting the head at the edge of the cylinders. Be sure to put the head on without a gasket and check for this potential problem before a final installation of the head. It can be fixed, if necessary, by doing a grind on the head at the area of conflict.
I don't plan to change the car visually or cosmetically much if at all. Over all, it will have the same "look" as it always did...it will just have some added and much needed improvements and refinements that have been nagging me for a long time. Most of these changes won't easily be seen, except for the new engine and the improved front suspension.
Trust me, it will still have that "look" that you all know and love...but it will better, stronger and faster!
That is a VERY GOOD point! I will certainly check this when the engine assembly phase begins.
I have been trying to understand Chris' remark a while back which stated the front axle acts as a replacement for the anti-roll bar in the front suspension.
I thought in order for it to work that way, when the left side of the leaf spring went up for instance the right side of the leaf spring must go up also. The way it looks to me is the spring is captured in the middle so any loading on one side would not influence the other to any significant degree.
Can someone explain how the front suspension shown has anti-roll characteristics?
Thanks dude seeing your car in the little pages was one of the creative inspirations for getting started on my T project. my thread "Got wood?" has garnered some really helpful advice for getting started with the body. Your frame and suspension mods are as creative as can get while staying within the parameters of a 1930s speedster/dirt tracker and your pics have answered a question i had with regard to mounting the rear spring in front of the axle. You appear to have moved the crossmember up in the frame. I hope you don't mind but i plan on copying it(except the no front brakes)to a T and isn't that the most sincere form of flattery? Do you have other posts up or any where I can find more detailed info on your frame/suspension? - cheers Rik
with all the weight now basically transfered to the upper part of the "fork" of the wish bone do you have any plans to beef it up? also what about torsion? as the spring compresses won't it have a tendency to flex or put force on the fork and pin running through the axle?
Rik, try http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=308741
Clayton is a member of H.A.M.B. too.
Arnie, lay a folding rule on the floor as a triangle or V. Put Your foot on the tip nearest You. Lift left tip and You se that it behave like the original wishbone. Same with the right tip.
Now "split" the wishbone like an upsidedown U. Put Your feet on each U end. Lift left corner and You see that it drags in the "bones". To compensate, the axle/folding rule has to twist a bit. You get a resistance in the set up and it acts a bit like a sway bar.
Thank you for your explanation. However, it is normally considered good practice not to have a tubular front axle with split wishbones for the very reason you mentioned. The twist in the tubular front axle could cause problems.
Clayton has an I beam configuration front axle and this axle can twist somewhat to reduce the stress in the front axle with split wishbones.
I am interested in 3 wheeled vehicles with the two wheels in front, and thus my interest in correctly understanding anti-roll configuration front axles arrangements.
Some Fiats had the two supports for the transverse leaf spring separated some distance apart. In that configuration anti roll is established in the independent front suspension by the connection of the control arms to the spring. (Also late model Corvettes front suspension used a fiberglass transverse leaf spring that gave some anti-roll characteristics)
Therefore I am still at a loss as to how Claytons front axle set-up has built in anti-roll characteristics.
Uh..... And some folks get upset when one modifies their T frame! Ha... Way to go, Clayton. In 100 years, someone will run across your car and go "WOW... COOL!!"