I am always amazed at how tuff the model t engine is. I am posting pictures of a friend's engine that we pulled after a 120 mile tour. He had reported at the schedule stop about halfway that his 26 touring was acting sluggish. We checked the usual suspects, oil, coolant, carb, and timer. Because his magneto had stopped working sometime back we also checked his battery by turning the lights on bright to see if they were dim. All looked good though he did have a little trouble when starting the T when we were getting ready to get back on the road. Long story short we finished the trip and decided to look further into the issue while at a friends shop. Taking the hogshead off explained the engine pull. Amazing to me is that the engine would still run.
did his magneto blow up!!!???
It looked that way. There are small bits of copper everywhere as far up as the front crank seal.
Oh, dear. That never happens, according to some people. Compare that mess to an external generator or mag.
but Model Ts dont have external magnetos so live with it or buy a different car.
Btw, with an external mag he would have been stuck, but because he could continue running on battery, he made it home.
Sure agree, the Model T is like those old Timex adv on TV,,'takes a lickin', but still keeps tickin'" .
Oh dear. Ralph. That T on vibrator coils, battery fired still kept running, compare that to a busted dizzy or external magneto. Would have stopped dead in the road.
I like that, your right. Even timers can and do break which is contrary to what some will say
This is a typical failure mode (I've had that happen in my car). A coil gets loose and snags a magnet and then it unwinds the whole magneto and chews it up. It grinds copper into the oil which then gets impregnated into the bearings. The worst damage to the engine occurs when you keep driving after the failure. There is a good chance that after 60 miles of driving the mains and rods are toast.
Another cause of the damage is a worn thrust surface on the mains.
The typical symptom is that the mag stops working and the engine bogs down, a little sluggish.
On mine I pulled over within a few hundred yards and checked it out. As soon as you look into your transmission screen (you have one of those, right?) you will instantly know what is wrong. Another way of spotting the problem is to look at the oil... you can do that with an oil stop cock at the bottom of the engine... the oil will have a pretty (or hideous if you recognize the ramification) metallic copper look just like an orangish tinted black metallic paint.
The only thing to do is to go right on to the trailer and take it home for an immediate rebuild. I was able to scrape my bearings and take up the shims. The babbit gets really hard and difficult to scrape. I hope you are that lucky.
It really looks like Linguini in there, doesn't it?
UGH! So far, I have not seen that up close. (Except for a rusty barn find on display at a Turlock swap meet many years ago.)
Good luck on the rebuild!
Drive carefully, and enjoy the holidays! W2
Those brass screws holding the magnet keeper plates often crystallize with age and break off.
That plate can start that same damage or if you are lucky, it could end up in the screen under your hogshead inspection cover.
That's about it for me. I'm going exclusively to an external magneto. I like the fact I can get to it readily. And I'll be able to clean half that crap off the back of the engine and avoid these troublesome dang internal opportunities for failure.
Mike, just dump the Model T's and drive your Vette... no "troublesome dang internal opportunities for failure" anymore!
John, do you know yet what caused this to happen?
""Mike, just dump the Model T's and drive your Vette... no "troublesome dang internal opportunities for failure" anymore!""
Just plug the laptop in on the passenger seat! troop
I'm pretty new to this T stuff so, naturally, this blows my mind a little.
Did Henry manufacture an external magneto? I know lots of other folks have, aside from Henry's, I've only seen them on the front of engine blocks or where a modern distributor would be located.
My T racer has a Bosch magneto on the engine's front LH side.
Just thinking about some of the comments being made. I'm by no means a purist. Henry does not own your Model T anymore so do with it what you want. With that said, The fun of owning and driving a Model T for me is using it how it was designed to be used as much as possible. I enjoy maintaining the original ignition system. I enjoy rebuilding an engine, and I just plane enjoy making repairs on the Model T. Most of the technology used in the Model T is reliable for what it is. It was not built to run down the road 100,000 miles before you change the spark plugs or drive 5000 miles before you change the oil. It is not a modern car. It takes a little different mind set to run a Model T. Problems like John has posted happen, that's what make it a Model T. If this were my car the fun for me is to now figure out why it happened and repair it. Yes I know some of these kinds of repairs can be costly but again that is part of owning a Model T. Changing it to all aftermarket parts is not going to be inexpensive either. I understand the frustration of a problem like this but it is still a Model T, make the necessary repairs and move on. I would rebuild the original system and keep the car uniquely Model T.
David - I've always wondered too, why an external magneto wouldn't be a good idea on a Model "T". After all, it has been done on "T" racers, speedsters, etc. And, small airplanes do use magnetos very successfully. However, it's obvious that there is a good reason why airplane engines that use magnetos, always, ALWAYS use TWO magnetos! For what it's worth,.....harold
an external mag would work great on a T, and it probably would be better than the original ignition system, I just get tired of people bashing the original model T systems.
The beauty of the model t ignition system is that it was cheap to manufacture, and did not require a battery. the only ignition that compares to that is the external mag, which is expensive.
No one ever said that never happens. They only said the original system is very reliable, which is very true. Now, hindsight is 20/20, but the owner knew something was wrong because "his magneto had stopped working sometime back". Had he looked into the problem then, it might have been able to be fixed for as little as $200-300, if he did the work himself. That's less than a True Fire or E-Timer. Probably less than a distributor, and no matter which of those three things he may have chosen, this would still have happened unless he went in and took the coil ring and/or magnets out......and if you went that far, why not just put it back like it's supposed to be?
This happened on a car I worked on a local Model T, I think the cause was a broken magnet. It is quite hard to tell as there was such a mess. I this case the bearings held up and the end play was acceptable. It still took several hours to set up a new set of magnets as I didn't have gauge and I used an old magneto coil. The is still in use on parades, so I guess all is still well.
I was looking for a picture, this is all I could find. After a labor only fix, the engine ran so all may not be lost.
i wouldnt be surprised if the engine just needs a good cleaning, copper prolly wouldnt do much to the cylinders, or the cam, the only thing to worry about is if the the banding got pulverized enough to get into the bearings and score them beyond repair.
I don't understand why anyone would want to take Henry's design and mess it up by going to a different ignition system than what he put in these great little cars originally. The fact they work and work so well fascinates me. I really enjoy taking the cars apart when something isn't performing its intended purpose and working on what ever is wrong with it and feeling the delight of knowing I've taken a 100 year old system apart and repairing it to make it do what its supposed to do again.
Mike (if your not being sarcastic!lol) i think thats how many of us feel, ive got other cars with points and electronic ignitions to play with, the old buzz system is neat and different.
I understand using other ignition systems, before i understood the buzzcoil system it was quite daunting to bring the car back to original but now im excited about it.
and of course a period magneto or distributor is always welcome on a racer!
Matthew - At 2:10 pm yesterday, Mike posted that he's "going to an external magneto exclusively",.....and then explained why he felt that way.
At 9;22 pm today, Mike posted that he doesn't understand "why anyone would want to take Henry's design and mess it up by going to a different ignition system........"
I enjoy reading everyone's opinion and views on this stuff Mike, but it's sometimes kinda' hard to tell just where you're coming from,...??? Is this that "devilish mood" that you think you still seem to be in that you were talking about on another post?
Ralph has never had a Model T so he does not have a clue how one operates, especially on "MAG". I know, Ralph's car may look like a Model T but the only T parts are the block and the rear axle.
It's OK Ralph, we still like you.
And in this corner......
I've driven a shaky T enough, thanks, Royce. It's no wonder so many think 30-35 is the upper limit.
Let's compare the Ford to a Chevy or Dodge.
The Dodge has an accessible external generator/starter unit and disturbutor. The Chevy has starter, generator and disturbutor. No other car but the Ford has those inaccessible flailing magnets and thimble coils in the engine/tranny oil. After 1918 he magneto is just surplus baggage bandaid for the obsolete buzz coils.
The Ford was called the most improved car for good reason. You could make all kinds of improvements with aftermarket parts.
Both the chevy and dodge require a battery, which in the 20s, not everybody had a battery charger, and batteries werent all that great either.
Okay Harold, you caught me. Yesterday was the whole devilish mood thing. But my meds have kicked in (sarc)and today I feel like maybe I shouldn't be such a jerk. When I posted yesterday it was to see what I could get going. You're right I'm a troll. But today what I wrote I meant. I really do appreciate what Henry accomplished. And as Matthew said and I sincerely agree; any modifications are ok on a racer. From now on when my whole Jeckel and Hyde deal has got me on the manic side I'll try to put the (sarc) thing at the end of the post. However, because my purpose for being a troll is to satisfy that urge to slip into the manic side of my personality I can't guarantee how well I'll do. (sarc, I hope) I wish I could always be like I am today. I know there are times I seriously get on peoples nerves. And sometimes it might be funny and sometimes it gets me in trouble. And I hate having to back pedal for being stupid. But it really does happen. And it's always too late to ask for forgiveness once the damage is done. But if I say that I like anything that creates a modification on a model t there's a good chance I'm not being serious. Though that might not be true too. Because I've got the new style aluminum wheel seals on the rearend of my t's. I put on one of the new fan pulleys with the sealed bearings on one and there's the two piece brake shoes on my touring. I guess I just need to try to be more honest and not be so bipolar. Maybe I should sign Mike on some and Michael on others.
The 1919+ Ford with starter and generator had a battery. It is easier to crank start a car on battery than on magneto, according to most folks.
Up to 2,000 miles on a set of telephone dry cells, is not all that much draw.
Thats the spirit, lol. hey wouldnt life be boring if everything was like really normal?
Hey Gals & guys a little update on the motor. After disassembling the motor and transmission for cleaning we found that it really looks good. Ordering new magneto coil, bendix & gasket set. Should be buttoned up next week and back to the touring. Some additional pictures for your perusal:
good to hear everything is going well.
Just some random thoughts. The model T is a 100 year old artifact. It's subject to metal fatigue, rotten electrical insulation, decayed wood body framing and other sundry old age ailments. Add in poor or no care and abusive use over the years and the result is all kinds of problems. If the entire car is rebuilt/restored correctly and all mechanical/electrical/fuel etc systems adjusted properly, it will function very well as it did 100 years ago. I have a 60 year 0ld Hallicrafters 8" TV that still works but I am going to rebuild/rewire it as the insulation is rubber covered with cotton. It shatters if touched- old age. How many of us 80-90 year old guys aren't wrinkled and fragile ourselves? Medical science can't yet fix that but we can fix a model T. I enjoy putting the youth back in a T. Besides if it is kept original for the next generation think how they might marvel: WOW, so that's how it worked? (not just the image of how a T looked). Driving and working on an original T gives us a touchstone with the past and the experiences our ancestors went through. Just my 2 cents plus.
I would love to see this repair done, John. Please know any pictures of the process will be very much appreciated.