I'm curious to see what the general consensus here is. I would like to hear opinions on the monetary value of a properly modified Model A crankshaft. The NZ cranks are up in the $1600 range now (I think). So what would a good A crank be worth, after being converted to fit the T block, mag'd, polished, and balanced? AND - as the block has to be heavily modified as well, what would a shortblock be worth?
I guess it's not worth anything either way?
One source is quoting $6000 for a finished short block. I'm very interested in an A crank set-up for a future Fronty engine project, but 6K is a definite turn-off. I know it's a lot of work, but I just can't see it. Hopefully, you're thinking of doing it and pricing it for us regular guys?
I'm thinking, but honestly everyone wants the work done to perfection, but no one wants to pay what it's worth for that machinists time, skill, knowledge, and the parts/materials required.
I thought this time I would look before I leap as I still have a brand overhead valve engine sitting here that I can't sell for what I have invested in it. I can't stay in business losing money on every engine we do here, so some thinking is required.
The A crank in the photo you see above is stock, so is the T block. I posted this photo so everyone could see a little more of what is involved. The crank has to be modified - common knowledge I think. You also know that the mains need to be hogged out and relined, and new caps have to be custom made. But look closely, both the front and rear mains are too long, they have to be milled down or cut off for the crank to fit. The nose on the crank will be machined, as well as a new flange on the shortened rear main.
$6,000? Did that include stainless valves and balancing? Was the crank cross-drilled for oil? Inserts or babbitt?
So I guess the next question is "What would you pay?" I may be able to offer just the crankshaft modifications soon, and you could save some money and modify your own block.
It probably included stainless valves and I may be mistaken but I don't believe it included cross drilling or balancing or inserts. Again, I could be wrong on those points.
As to what I would pay. Well, it looks as if a standard short block rebuild runs about $1750 - $2000 these days. I know, that's the low end and I could pay far more than that, depending on who I use. If an A crank conversion costs twice that, I would consider that as reasonable. No cross drilling, no fancy inserts, no high lift cams, not even interested in hard, or even recut, valve seats as I'm going "overhead". I wouldn't driving at Indy, just want an engine that will hold together with OHV's.
As for balancing. I would expect at least rudimentary balancing, meaning that the rods were balanced to each other at the big & small ends.
You missed a question, what about just the crankshaft alone?
Also, you say no high lift cams - what would you want in there? A used one? I'm asking because my favorite cam manufacturer offers 250 and 280 cams, both at the same price. The other options (not good in my humble opinion) are regrinds, or worse - re-using the old one.... Regrinds don't last as well because the hardened surface has been cut away and most old ones I have seen are already worn out.
And either way, thank you for the input. I do value the opinions of others on here. Even if I don't agree with them!
Last time I had an A crank modified and turned, it was $150, by Phil Wyatt in Hesperia. He charged $200 for a Chevy crank.
What year was that?
I really have no interest in a crankshaft alone. While I could make the main caps myself, I don't have the equipment to do the babbit work and the opening up of the block main journals.
I see your point about the cam. All my cars have good, used cams in them. All with proper and uniform lift, (at least when I installed them). I don't like regrinds either. I don't think a regrind is inherently bad, but the ones available today have all the lobe hogged away. If the they were carefully ground with effort to remove as little stock as possible it wouldn't be such a bad option. Since the Fronty rockers amplify the lift anyway, a Stipe .250 would be just fine for me.
Tim, This is a pretty common problem with Old Car stuff. I am a modern day auto tech ( own ny own shop) and I was checking on doing just T transmissions. I needed to do my own and I figured if I was going to figure it out and buy the tools, why not do a few extra.
I checked with a few guys and they quoted me anywhere from 400.00 to 750.00 to rebuild mine. Then I looked on T-Bay and recently one sold all done for as little as 350.00 and another one brought 1250.00????
You hit the nail right on the head that people want the best work possible without paying for the skills. I am not picking on T guys, it is that way with alot of busineses. Why do you think Wal Mart thrives (less quality, lower prices and if it breaks, just throw it away and buy another one).
In my own business, I have a simple rule, I either do it right or I don't do it. Yes I do loose a few customers, but I gain respectful customers that want it done right.
Just my turn on the soap box!
Paul; " (less quality, lower prices and if it breaks, just throw it away and buy another one). " If it hasn't killed ya first.
Paul & Tim,
It's not that I don't want to pay for quality, I just don't want to be the guy that pays the most for quality. It's a hobby after all, and like all hobbies, there is only so much money one can afford to divert to it. If I discover I can't afford an "A" cranker right now, then I'll hold off until I can, but, I won't expect anyone to do it for next to nothing just because it's not in my budget.
Paul. It's not just like that in every business, it's like that everywhere. It's called competition. You shop for the most competitive price that still delivers the product you want. Model T's guys are no different, as you have stated.
When I get an idea what the average price for an "A" crank conversion is, (taking into account the extras such as cross drilling , etc. as Tim has pointed out), then that's the price I will be willing to pay, if I can.
Hope I didn't kill this thread with my last posting? I really would be interested in hearing about what you can offer in an "A" cranker.
I've been up to my elbows in greasy Model T parts, not allot of time for typing lately.
The project is on hold until the end of the month, my "new best friend" is out of town until then. It's all hinged on his ability, my ability, and the cost.
"I just don't want to be the guy that pays the most for quality". How will you know if you tipped the scale? And if most of you only pay between the least amount and the average amount, then the average price keeps going down.
Diesel fuel (and heating oil for those elsewhere that don't use the stuff) here is $4.10 per gallon right now. That's almost double what it was last July. So I should get twice my labor rate from last July too, right?
Tim's in a mood - fair warning before you read on:
Let me put it very simply. If we can't make a living at this, we won't be here later when you decide you do need me for something. Forcing us to charge rates that were seen back in the 80's (like the $150 A crank mod above) will put me out of business - along with every other T mechanic out there. Who's going to re babbitt your engine when we're all gone? Not the Ford garage ($120/hr around here by the way). We can't haggle with the supermarket for a better price for milk, we can't lowball the gas station attendant. I can't bargain with the mortgage lender for 50% off when I have a bad month in the garage. Explain to me why everyone thinks that we can afford to sell everything at a loss?
If you drive your car, you will wear it out eventually and need talented people to fix it. If you want something special like an A crank, you need very talented people. I think they deserve to get paid for their time, don't you? Either you need to learn every single thing there is so you can do everything yourself, or you will need to hire someone eventually.
When you hire someone, you rent the knowledge, experience, talent, tools, facility, electricity, the hands, legs, eyes, and everything else remotely connected to the job you need done. In this task that you need done, the person you hire loses all the time it takes, and risks injury to move you towards your goal.
Some of you maybe don't realize that the rate your charged does not go into the mechanics pocket as pure profit. It pays for everything around him first - the tools, equipment, mortgage, business and use taxes, power, water, heat, advertising, bank fees, and on and on. I'd consider myself lucky if I could walk away with minimum wage for my time at the end of the month. It hasn't happened yet.
Given the choice, which would you prefer? Someone charging $1/hour and does not care about you or anything he does, or $100/hour for someone that will take the time needed to do the job to perfection, and walk you through each step so you understand it and are happy?
I just dropped my shop rate here (yesterday) by 40%. I did it because I know that with the gas-nazi's driving up the price of everything we need to survive, there is very little left over (if any) in most households. Play things like our T's have to take a back seat to groceries. I'm hoping that my actions here will allow a few more of you to hire us to get your T back on the road. I'll have to work twice as much now, but I want to see everyone out enjoying and promoting the hobby.
I am working on several side projects like this A crank idea. As they become ready I will advertise them on my website, and post photos on here too if I'm allowed.
-end of rant
Just as a measuring stick you can look at the price that Texas T Parts charges for installing an A crank.
$800 when included during a shortblock rebuild or $1600 if only the crank installation is performed.
Not an endorsement and no affiliation here.
It looks like that is April 2007 pricing. I wonder if it's gone up since then. "Cost of installing an A crankshaft in your engine without a rebuild is $1,600." - crank bedded into the block, nothing else. That price range may be do-able. We'll have to wait and see. $2700 for a A crank short block is pretty cheap, but I looked at the list of parts used. Alloy valves, aluminum timing gear, and not balanced. Interesting.
Tim, All I can say is Amen! I am in the automotive business in a small town of less than 700 and you were taking the words right out of my mouth. It is a family business that is in it's 63rd year so we must be doing something right, but I could probably bring home more money each week by working at the local quick lube, but that isn't what is in my blood.
I am the fourth generation in the shop and we still use the values that my Great grandpa, Grandpa and Dad drilled into me. My dad still works in the shop, but should be retired. When times would get tough, my grandpa would always come in and say don't panic, it will all work out. Boy I miss my grandpa!
He also had a saying that I still use with customers to this day. When someone was in "price shopping" he would say "Be sure that you are comparing apples to apples and when those apples turn to sour grapes, will the owner of the orchard be there to make it right?
As a new new dad, I sometimes am scared to death about money and if work will stay steady, but just the other day my dad reminded me of my grandpa when he said "it's all going to work out, just don't panic!
Tim, I just wanted you to know that you are not alone in your worries. Don't dwell on the work that isn't coming in the door, just take good care of the customers that are and they will take care of you. There isn't any better advertisment than word of mouth.
Just a few tips that have kept me from sitting in the corner and counting the dots in the ceiling tiles!
I was talking to a good friend in Tucson Az. last week who had just received 2 subject Model A crank shafts modified for a T. He was complaining that the machine shop costs have really went up compared to what the shop had charged on other shafts. He said that all together he had spent approx. $1,000 for each shaft. The costs included welding, machining,adding counter weights, grinding/polishing and balancing. The shafts were not drilled for oil pressure which would have been extra. The shop that did the work normally takes approx. 6 months as they will only do special items such as this when normal work is slack. Last year, I had a shop in Tucson that does babbit/line boring install a 28 chev crank shaft in my T block. I supplied the Bronze main caps which were partially machined including grade 5 bolts and they did the rest. The cost for their work was $600.00. I found the bronze main caps at swap meet for $150.00 As you can see the cost can really add up. If you are interested in one of the finished shafts that my friend in Tuscon has then send me an E-mail. He is leaving this Sunday for Chickasha. I was told he has never had any of the crank shafts break from the machine shop he is using. "Les"
I just got a phone call, perfect timing for this thread. My buddy that was hauling cars just closed up shop and sold his trailer. Seems everyone wanted him to haul their cars around the country for less than the $1/mile he asked for. He could not make back enough to pay for the insurance payments, cost of the truck and trailer, or any of his time. A perfect illustration of what lowballing entrepreneurs can do to our hobby. He's now out of work, losing his house, and we have one less resource for moving out precious vehicles around with respect and careful attention.
You forgot to mention fuel costs..
"When there is oversupply, the price falls to the level of the dumbest competitor."
Tim's quote: "A perfect illustration of what low balling entrepreneurs can do to our hobby". Sad to say but that's the reason I have moved from making T parts to doing orphan car items. When people know going in that a part no longer exists and they need it to complete a restoration then they are more willing to pay a proper amount to have it reproduced. With T parts the person is always holding out that they will find one at a swap meet or on e-bay for less. Couple this with many parts being cheaply reproduced off shore since the demand is high which helps to develop this sense of lower prices for all T items.
Not saying I have unique situation but I have more work on the table now than I can complete in a 40 hour work week so I can select work that returns the most for my time. If things slow down then I can come back to doing some of these lesser paying projects. Not too many one man foundry/machine shops left that can do one offs in loose pattern lay ups and then machine it to a bolt on part so I have craved out a niche that has keep the work coming in.
There are many jobs that have just gone away due to new technologies and these jobs just couldn't be saved. Remember the watch repairman, the TV repairman, and service stations that sold gas and did tune ups? And the list gets bigger everyday and soon I will be one of them on this list that many of us with our unique skills have already joined. Bob
Well, I guess it sounds like the problem boils down to this. You can't make a full time income off people who don't collect cars full time, but, you can probably make a part time income off people who collect cars part time. (In other words, as a hobby.)
Tim and several others,
I am nearing completion of an A crank modification. Without going into great detail here I am planning to write an article for MTFCA on this subject complete with pictures. I have one additional small step to accomplish and the engine will be ready for assembly.
There are two methods of accomplishing a quality finished product. One method is to cut and shorten the A crank at the rear flange by cutting and welding. There is also a freeze fitted flange modification I am aware of. The other method is to not shorten the crank, and entails moving the engine ahead on the pan 1/2 inch.
I have heard prices for the shortening of the crank to be in the neighborhood of $300. If welding, get the services of a great welder. Some welded flanges have broken!
The A crankshaft grinding is $150 here in Oklahoma. It entails grinding the rod journals as required with no additional dimensional changes. The mains are ground to minus 0.070 undersize. The nose end needs to simply be turned down to duplicate a T nose. This is simple job. The crank is ready.
The block must have the mains line bored to the diameter of an A block. This is an expensive job if it is sent to a machine shop. A T line borer can do it but it really does stress the tooling. This is what I call a chunk boring job as only the cast iron block half of the journal is cut down, chunk by chunk. This is where the tooling needs to be very sturdy.
The center main bearing is always the reference for this mod job and requires no dimensional changes.
The rear of the blocks front main needs to have 0.125 removed, as does the front of the rear main. The block is ready for Babbitt!
To correctly accomplish this job the front & rear rods need to be re-centered on the wrist pin. This is due to the front and rear rod journals being 0.125 farther from the center main. This entails removing 0.125 from one side of each rod and brazing a spacer to the opposite side of the rod to place the rod in the center of the wrist pin. Machine this spacer to fit the crank journal. Some of the other modifiers skip this step. I have a broken piston (0.100 oversize!!) received from a friend that didn't have the rods re-centered on his A crank conversion. The wear on the skirt of the broken piston shows visible off center wear!
There are 2 ways to build up the main bearings. One is to buy the brass aftermarket mains.
The other method is to use standard A mains and mill the 0.500 bolt holes inward to fit the T bolt centers. This method doesn't cut into the babbitted surface but comes close. I then made some spacers with 0.500 holes to place on the main bolts over the ovaled cap bolt holes and torqued them down. Then weld the spacers to the mains. This relocates and references the main bolt holes for reassembly. Grind or machine the external surface of the rear main to fit into the crankcase. The rear main also needs to be cut to the length of the T main.
Babbitt and bed the A crank.
Grind the block as required for a no interference rotational fit. Assemble the engine. Check again for rotational clearance.
If you cut the crank length down you are done. OTW you need to re-drill the pan so that all of the CC bolts are 1/2 inch forward. The front oil dam needs to be moved 1/2 inch forward. The rear area where the hogs head fits to the block needs to be extended to the rear 1/2 inch. This can be a piece of 1/8 X 1/2 iron with brackets!
I used the second and cheaper method.
In my opinion the less expensive (cheaper sounds like a bad engineering decision!) method is a satisfactory mechanical choice and is not to be considered a Klooged up haywire fix as some purists might be prone to call it. Success for this modification method is 40 years of experience and many copies that were all successful.
That's it folks!
I need to add that this is not my idea. An elderly T engine rebuilder designed and made an A crank conversion, as I have described, over 40 years ago and has made numerous copies at the request of his customers. He recently opened up and inspected the #1 engine he converted and everything is still AOK. No work or rework was required.
My conversion will be the last engine to receive his personal guidance. I am doing the work myself. He is slowly retiring, again. This gentleman works an 8 hour day, 7 days a week in his shop and is in his mid eighties.
I am indebted to this fine gentleman who has spent his life working with T's and owning a successful diesel pump rebuilding business. I am privileged to work next to him these days. He has freely given to me massive amounts of his knowledge from his successes (and self admitted mistakes) over the years. I go to his machine shop 2-3 times a week when possible. His generosity has made this modification possible for me.
He also has shown me how to install a Chevy 3 speed tranny in my 1914 T. I have such a modified tranny ready to go onto the A crank engine.
His down draft carburetor mod will also go on my A engine. It about doubles the mileage of the T!!
I have chosen the least expensive method to modify my engine. I am moving the block forward and using the modified A main bearing caps.
I forgot to add one important step.
The "A" rods need to be shortened and a "T" wrist pin upper end welded onto the "A" rod.
You can buy a set of pistons that is set up for the unmodified "A" rod.
Catalog #82, May 15, 1929, Chevrolet Bros. Mfg. "Frontenac" racing equiptment for Ford cars:
Item#221"Model T cylinder block with Model A cranckshaft installed and fitted, drilled for oil pressure. #218B connecting rods. Special pistons, rings and pins......$150.00"
That's alot of money in 1929 dollars
Noel, the contribution this fine gentleman has made to the hobby over the years is deserving of the Rosenthal Trophy. Why don't you guys nominate him? Herman Campbell of Oklahoma City.
Comments on your very fine presentation, and many thanks for the MTFCA article. I doubt that it is necessary to modify the number 1 and 4 rods 1/8" although Herman insisted on doing this procedure on my recent converstion. I've been running a Fronty conversion since 1975 with thousands of miles with no problems with the rods offset 1/8 inch from center. If it's not necessary, why do it?
Moving the block forward on the pan only works on a later pan. Not enough room for the fan pulley on a pointy nose pan. Don't get me wrong, I do think it is the way to go. I've got a new engine in the cooker and the crank will be installed in this manner.
A purist (like me) would not be happy with a VW down draft carb installed on a Model T.
I really see no reason to use the welded rods, although there is nothing wrong with welded rods.
Noel, Thanks again.
P. S. Noel, Now that you are trained, will you be offering this service when Herman retires? And what will you charge for this service?
I have seen the application of an "A" crank to a "T" block plus many other mods including Chevy heads, etc. I know of at least 2 "T"s out there that are running a full "A" engine with an "A" pan mated to a "T" transmission. Not acceptable practice by many "T" enthusiest but it makes a great touring/road car.
Pete, thank you very much for finding that, you just proved my point completely.
I found this:
New Home (Median Price)..$7,246
New Car (Avg. Cost)..$643
Per Capita Income..$ 652
Pick your poison here, use anything above to adjust for inflation and bring that $150 A crank job from 1929 up into the 21st century.
I'll start - gasoline 0.25 then, $4 now. 16 times the original price. Sooooo... $150 x 16 = $2400 just to modify and bed in an A crankshaft. Sounds fair to me, given the work involved.
Also found this, machinists in 1929 made about $0.91 per hour.
Noel, how many hours go into that so we can see how much profit we walk away with here?
Noel I have to get your advice as to the best method you have seen or used in cutting and rewelding the flange to obtain the correct distance on the rear main of an A crank for the T block conversion. I bought 2 early forged A cranks that were ground .030 under and sold by the owner because he didn't want to use them in his A rebuilds unless they would clean up with .020 or less. In any case they seemed like good candidates for the T engine crank mod. However, the flange conversion has me worried. After asking other machinists on their method I still don't know the best one to try and so here are two methods that were suggested that seemed to have merit.
The first method is to cut off the flange, shoulder the crank down to 1" at the oil slinger, bore out the flange to a .998 diameter and press it on the crank and then weld on both sides of the flange.
The second method is to remove the flange and drill and ream a 7/8" hole all the way through rear main. Then taking an old T crank and cut off the rear main and machine it down to a .001 over 7/8"and press it through the rear main of the A crank then weld it at the front side of the rear main and at the flange. The T crank has to be cut so its full length is left so when pressed through the A's rear main it extends out the front to be welded and machined flush.
I see both have good points as well as bad ones and since I haven't gotten involved with this type modification I don't know ones that failed to ones that have lasted or are there other methods that worked better. When welding what type welding rod and type welder were you using that worked the best? Thanks,Bob
Mickey Gustafson of Bakersfield has cut off the crank, threaded the cut ends male and female, and screwed them together, followed by a perimeter weld. Even if the weld failed, the pieces would still be threaded together. That's failsafe design.
I prefer the Chevy crank. Pic courtesy of Wolff.
I won't say my way is better or worse yet, as it has never been tried. I'll tell you how later - if/when it works. Screwing the flange on was discussed with my new machinist friend. He brought up the point that if the weld broke (which is really the bottom line here), couldn't the crank unscrew itself?
Any way you do it, it's got to be stronger than 40+ year old methods. We have better welders, more precise machine tools, and more knowledge of why things happen. So they should break less than they used to.
Bob & Ricks
On the last two I have done I have machined off the entire flange and then to a gentle 3/4" per foot taper for 1" up from where I want the new flange to end. Then made a new rear flange hub from 4140 and made it 1 1/4" long and bored a matching taper into it. The heated up the new rear flange to about 600 degrees and pressed it onto the end of the crank. After everything had cooled off then machined the hub all over and counter bored holes into it to accept socket head bolts to hold on the flywheel. NO welding at all. Yes you need to shorten the rear main about 3/4". This design has now been running for about 3 years with no problems. I had used a similar but obviously larger version of this design to drive piston compressors up to 1200 HP in the gas industry.
I had done this A crank conversion (first time for my about 30 years ago) before by welding but they would always fail eventually (maybe 5000-10,000 miles). Others perhaps have had better luck.
I have now quit this and am focusing on the new billet 4340 counterweighted and drilled cranks with 1 7/16" mains and 1 3/8" throws. The crank costs more but the installation is soooo much easier!
Here is an example of the "A" crank Les describes above.
The way I modified the rear main on a chev. crank was as follows:
1. Set the crank in a 16" lath, support the rear main in a steady rest and machine off the original flange and shorten the main to desired length.
2. Select good Model T trans. shaft, take a small clean up cut on shaft and flange to insure shaft runs true. Maintain large radus where shaft meets flange.
3. Center drill end of crank where flange was removed,Drill/Bore hole thru main/throw for press fit with T trans. shaft.
4. Weld prep machined end of main.
5. Shorten T trans. shaft so that when pressed in to main it will be approx. 1/4" short of protuding thru throw. Do not over do it on press fit!
6. Heat rear main, cool trans. shaft in dry ice & quickly press shaft in place.
7. Mig or stick weld trans. flange to main filling up weld prep area. Burn it in good! Do not recommend tig weld.....may look good but difficult to get deep penteration.
8. Weld end of trans. shaft/throw for additional strength.
9. Machine rear main to desired dia. for finish grinding. Leave large fillet where main and flange join.
Before I modified the crank shaft to accept the T trans. shaft, I first placed an old tran. shaft in a 60 ton press and did some heavy pushing to verify shaft strength. I found the T trans. shaft to be tough. I was supprised to see how much force was required to break off the flange. Using this method, you do not risk shrinking the rear flange O.D. and hole circle dia. that will occure if just a T flange is welded on the end of the main. I believe in large weld preps and getting good weld penteration. Just sharing how I tackled the job. Les
I had a full length A crank in the Speedster. When I pulled it down for inspection, it had 3 cracks in the #4 rod journal. That's an awful heavy flywheel/tranny to hang out there, and mine didn't even have magnets.
When you use a full length crank and move the block forward 3/4", you have to cut the water outlet and barely have enough left to secure the hose, as you kinda' see below.
A carb message from the purist. Herman (the wonderful 87 year old Model A crankshaft guy from OK City) suggests you install the VW carb on all Model Ts. And the folks in CA are installing so many Model A carbs on their otherwise mostly stock Model Ts a shortage of Model A carb is likely to be the outcome.
These moves are pretty much unnecessary in my opinion. Using a stipe cam and a Z head, model T crank and an NH carburator one can easily climb Mount Evans and Pikes Peak, both over 14,000 feet (stock gravity feed). Why not accept the challenge to Keep your Model T a real Model T. Just as a point of interest, your Model T will perform even better with a Model G carb.
Thanks Les for the input. Your Chevy crank mod is basically the same as the second method I had gotten to use on the A crank mod. The use of the T trans shaft makes more sense then cutting up a T crank to get the flanged end.
A couple of particulars on machining.
1. What was the interference between the shaft and the rear main bored hole?
2. What type welding rod did you use and did you use straight DC? Thanks, Bob
Is a Model T not a real Model T if it has era aftermarket parts?
The Stromberg OF and the Schebler FA were made for Fords, and are far better than the puddle carbs Henry used. The OF gives far better economy, and the FA gives better mileage and more power.
After rough boring the hole and reaming to finished size, I suggest having an interference fit of no more that .0005". The first time I allowed for .0015 and got in to big trouble. After sticking the trans. shaft in only half way I ended up cutting the shaft off and boring it out.....not fun! For strength, I prefer using D.C. with 7018 stick rod. However, using the T trans. shaft & having a press fit....The weld material is not the primary load carrier which is why I perfer this method. With this method, the actual weld material selected may not make that much difference provided you have good penetration. I have seen a fabed crankshaft (Joe Morris Style) that was tig welded....good looking beads but broke at the weld. NO WELD PENETRATION! I like tig welding but not on crankshafts. I also fabed a crankshaft for my 2 cyl. REO out of 4130 and used 4130 rod. I wanted the crank shaft material to match the welding rod for heat treat. I like deep weld prep's on thick material for all welds. I first tried tig but nearly melted the water cooled torch befor switching to stick welding. When selecting what filler material to use, I suggest running some practice welds and check for cracking. Sometimes it becomes critical on what filler material you select...tig welding using 4130 would quickly crack when welding connecting rods but mild steel would not. Just sharing my experiances, some may say...I totally lost my way....smile! Les
Actually Ralph, I have no problem with whatever folks want to put on their cars. I just want folks to know you can get good performance without resorting to non T era carbs.
As to the era T Carbs you mentioned, I love em!
However, if you enter your Model T Ford in a MTFCI judging contest, you will be docked points for era Model T Ford accessories, even if they are authentic accessories. Don't seem right does it? Did you ever see a barn fresh Model T Ford that didn't have accessories on it? Pretty rare I bet.
Don't get me wrong. I like the concept of judging simply because it encourages the correct restoration of Model T Fords. Seems like we could figure out how to do that without discouraging the restoration of those wonderful Model T Ford Accessories.
This is from a 1923 science magazine, and is one of my favorite:
My choice at this time is the shrink fitted flange Les Schubert described and designed. However Nordheim has a good idea.
Les Van Nordheim,
I like the trans shaft installation method. This also sounds like maybe your design. I have a 13" X 7' South Bend lathe. Sounds like I can do it!
The shortened hose connection is a drawback for sure.
I like the water deflectors around your spark plugs. Are they water tight. Are they off the shelf items? I enjoy living your life vicariously. You do seem to have fun.
I am doing this conversion for the pure fun of it. Les Schubert has stated this is why he does everything he does. I am doing lots of converting of things, the "A" crank, the downdraft carb, the Chevy 3 speed, a liquid oil level gauge from the teens high on the firewall, etc.
BUT, I am not modifying a single part of the original and stock 1914 T you see in the Pike's Peak picture. All of the original parts will be preserved and retained so the car can be returned to it's pristeen stock condition.
No original parts are being modified.
That is some Science Magazine. The pix is from page 554!!!
This thread has been fun. No quibbling, just info and ideas being freely exchanged.
When modifying the Model A crankshaft I like to weld the flange to the oil slinger since it is in the correct position to begin with. At least it is on the shafts I have worked with. That way the weld is at the largest diameter possible, which means the stresses on the weld will be lower. It's kind of like torquing on a 1/4" bolt versus a 3/8" bolt. The 3/8" bolt is much stronger.
The original Model A flange can be used except the welding will shrink it slightly so a weld bead will need to be added to the perimeter of the flange after the flange is welded. After welding, the flange is machined to the proper diameter and thickness. Because of the shrinkage the flywheel pin holes have to be re-drilled at 90 degrees from where they originally were and the flywheel bolt holes re-drilled to fit.
To prepare for the welding, the end of the crankshaft is turned down at a 45 degree angle up to the slinger. The flange is bored out to just fit on the slinger and is machined at a 45 degree angle to match up with the slinger.
With this arraingment the weld will extend into the mounting hole area slightly and be very strong.
Another thing that has not been mentioned is the cam gear keyway needs to be moved back to match up with the new location of the cam gear and the area where the old keyway was located needs to be filled in because that is where the front seal mates to the crankshaft. I have found that welding the area closed will warp the shaft so I don't care for that approach. A thin sleeve can be machined to fit over the crank in this area.
I hope this helps.
Good new info. It makes heat shrink and the trans shaft look like better solutions.
I agree that the methods you are referring could be considered to be easier, but they result in the weld being located at the diameter of the crankshaft instead of at the larger diameter of the oil slinger. This results in higher stress on the weld which increases the chance of failure. The oil slinger is approximately 2.3" diameter. The Model A crank is 1.625 diameter at best. So welding at the slinger diameter results in a 30% increase in weld length, and a 30 % reduction in torque stress as opposed to welding at the crankshaft diameter. I think this means the total torque stress on the weld is 50% less with the weld at the oil slinger location.
Also with the easier method if the journal and flange have been grooved out sufficiently to provide a strong weld joint then there is a good chance that the flange will also shrink some.
Not to belabour the point but my metheod of heat/shrink removes all welding. So far it has been failure free!
I agree with your point/solution on the front crank end modification, I use the sleeve approach as well. A "Speedi-Sleeve" gives you a really nice hard and corrosion resistant ground surface with no appreciable size change
One more thing; the first one of these conversions I did about 25 years ago I welded at the outside of the slinger just as you suggest. After about 10 years of hard driving it let go (no real consequences, it just wouldn't run any more). Now this car would really go, it was full pressure and counterweighted with a big cam and Stromberg 94 carb and Sherman head. It would rev strongly to 4200 rpm (kind of flattened out and wouldn't really rev past 4500 rpm, I believe the stock T valve springs would float,) Anyway the police clocked it at 92 mph and that wasn't quite flat out. Fortunately that was the guy who had bought it from me. Ultimately the crank flange let go on him. The car has been fixed and is still in the area. The the guy who owns it now is afraid of it!!
Later Ford cranks fitted to a Model T... I also posted this on the international site.
There was some discussion about shortening a Model A crank in order to fit it in a Model T block.
I have attached a photograph below that shows that a Model C crank will fit in a T block without shortening it.
It requires that a relocating spacer be fabricated which will move the hog's head aft the correct distance. You can see the arched aluminum spacer very clearly in the photograph.
The front dam in the pan is also relocated. The front of the Model A or B or C crank shaft is modified to fit the T block. Note that this engine has a special steel billet flywheel.
The throws of the crank shaft are also reduced for pan clearance and the whole rotating assembly is then balanced. This technique will keep you from breaking a crank shaft.
Some folks are mounting the crank in a press, heating it up cherry red and then applying pressure to shorten the crank. The squeezed metal is then removed in a lathe.
You can do anything if you want to spend the money. The hog's head relocating spacer at the rear of the block results in a very strong engine. If you are interested I can post pictures of the bottom of the engine so you can see the complete picture.
Another crankshaft that I have looked at using is the early (pre 37) Flathead V8 crank. It is the same length as the Model ABC crank with similar main bearings to the BC crank. It of course is only 3 3/4" stroke. The operational advantage is that it is a 90 degree crank, which would solve the "siamesed" port/breathing problem that the T and ABC has. You would of course get a uneven firing order but you could get the firing of 1&2 and 3&4 to be at least 270 degrees apart. The firing would be uneven and so it would sound a bit like a Harley Davidson.
It would need a set of custom connecting rods and a custom timed cam shaft but you could significantly extend the duration of the cam now that you have gotten away from the 180 degree port breathing problem.
I wonder if it would be legal for a Bonneyville car? Stock block, 3 main bearings!!
I'm a little confused.
You mention moving the hogs head rearward and moving the dam in front forward.
Is the engine relocated forward 1/2+ inches?
Are you actually moving the hogs head rearward?
I like the looks of your setup. Nice work.
When I lived in California in the 60's they called the heated crankshaft method a "crankshaft squash". Interestingly, I never heard of one breaking.
Did I read correctly, you destroked the engine also??
I did fail to add that the 4 dipper pan I am using needs to have the oil troughs deepened or a spacer added. But I left the stroke stock
So an addendum to my simplified sequence is necessary.
Deepen the oil troughs
Fill the keyway on the front of the crank.
And I'd like to add that when Herman Campbell did the 1st engine 40+ years ago special pistons were not available so he welded his rods. Now the welding is an option. I can easily heed Fred Housten's experienc when he sez the movement of the rods to center the wrist pin is unnecessary. Just buy the A mod pistons.
In modifing eather the A or 28 chev crank shaft....has anyone moved (Advanced) the keyway 1/2 the key thickness? I understand Fred Upshaw did this on the 28 chev crank shafts used in engines he build. I was told his engines pulled better on hills due to advancing the keyway with out much loss on the flat. I know you can accomplish the same by moving the cam gear.....but if you need to cut a new keyway anyway....why not advance it at the same time if this provides better performance on hills.
I am not asking to be stoned by the bone stock model T Gods! If you have done this or know of some one that did.....what can you share. On this one I am really looking for experiance not just opinions. Please do not be offended. I did this to my chev crankshaft and have not run the engine yet. Fred Upshaw is not around to ask....wish he was! If this proves to be a bad modification, then I will change the cam shaft location to bring it back to stock. Thanks, Les
I would suggest that you make a "offset" key. You don't actually have to re-cut the keyway in the crank (at least I never have done this). Another choice would be to "broach" a new keyway in the crank gear with the appropriate timing adjustment. For modern engines you can buy timing chain sets that have as many as half a dozen keyways in the crank gear to allow you to fine tune the cam timing you want. Of course the problem on a T engine is that you can not easily pull the crank gear once the engine is assembled. If you drill a second set of holes in the cam gear 1/2 tooth out then you can easily advance or retard the cam in 1/2 tooth increments and only have to remove the front cover (and pulley, and radiator and ignition timer) Still easier than moving the crank gear if you don't like the results.
Les S, your mentioning of timing chain sets for modern engines remind me of an old idea I've heard about - to make a reverse rotating camshaft to cure the siamese intake port problem on a speedster.
Have you (or anybody else) an idea of where to find a chain & sprocket set that can be modified to fit on a T?
Roger, I have heard of this being done with English Ford 4cyl pushrod (Kent) timing chain parts.
Twin exhausts and perhaps 4 carbs :-)
You of course then wind up with siamesed exhausts. I gather this was tried with early v8s. There were cooling issues with the exhaust coming out of the intake.
Roger, I spent a lot of time working on this project. I even called Cloyes, the largest manufacturer of timing chains and gears, and talked to their engineering dept. Because the T crank and cam centerlines are so close together, there does not appear to be any timing chain-gear sets anywhere close to what we need. I could not even find any sprockets with a small enough diameter to fit. So I physically reversed the cam in the block. It is not running yet, so I can't report on the success of the project. good luck, Wayne
Yep, I've seen comments on burning out the former intake ports with a reverse rotating engine - but if one uses full throttle only for short hill climbs..?
Speed usually shortens engine life in a model T. I Wonder how bad the chances for success are in this case?
The cost is low, only lots of work in making a new intake and exhaust manifold.
Bruce & Wayne,
Ok, so the English Ford Kent parts maybe were used for a model A or B engine?
Did you have to make a billet cam, or was it possible to change the cam's rear end into a front end with a screwed or crimped on adaptor piece?
(sorry for hijacking the crankshaft thread, but both modifications are mostly of interest for speedster builders, so..)
Wouldn't running the engine backwards have the same effect. You would of course have to put the crown gear on the other side which is easy enough even with a Ruxtel (well OK a little more work with a Ruxtel as you would have to remove and rotate the brake flanges maybe).
I can't imagine that you would have any real problems with the intake ports "burning out" when used as exhaust.
Probably the biggest problem would be starting it as the starter bendix wouldn't work. Making a new crank ratchet would be easy though
What about the planetaries spinning backwards? The bands are now self energizing. Reversing their rotation would negate that, like Rocky Mountains being weak when backing up.
I wonder if anybody has looked at adapting a Ford Escort SOHC head? It's the same bore as a T.
PS: any of you keying on "Last Day" updates are not seeing new threads. Compare to "Last Week."
Ricks, the bands would not unwind. They would simply wind the other way. RM's are fixed on the far end, tranny bands are not.
Les, I don't think altering the timing gear key position is worthwhile. If your doing the engine properly, you're using a degree wheel and adjusting the large gears position to compensate for possibly errors. Why do the work twice?
It's not undwinding, Tim, it's leading vs. trailing. Look how the low band is anchored, compared to the reverse and brake bands.
I have been advised by a reputable T replacement cam manufacturer that people have gained noticeable improvements in HP under certain conditions by adjusting the cam timing by 1/2 tooth (ie it requires either redrilling the cam gear holes or a "custom" crank key). I have not personally tried it.
When I try it I will go with the re drilled cam gear holes (shift them 1/2 tooth at 90 degrees to the existing holes.
I don't think you would have any problems with the bands, the system is way different than Rockys.
I drive a right hand drive '13 T with the pedals on the other side. There is no difference in how that transmission behaves compared to my '27 left hand drive car.
In regards to using late model heads the problem seems to always be in the cylinder spacing between cylinders 2 &3. Modern engines never seem to have that big gap there
OK,Les,I've never seen a RHD hog head. Are the R and B cams on the outside on the right side, mirror image to the LHD?
Why might the T block have that big center gap, for the center main?
Les, I install Stipe 280 cams "straight up" in my "touring package" engines. Which by coincidence is 7.5° to 8° advanced. It boosts the low end power noticeably, and so far I have not seen a downside to it. I use the degree wheel to verify that it's right. I had one cam gear show up here with 12° retarded dowel pin holes. That mistake would have ruined my day, as I usually re-assemble the car completely before firing them up for the first time - or ship it out.
Using this trick in my fordor last fall got me nothing. It ran no better, no worse. The cam has 1/8" side play at the front bearing and now I see that the triple gears were also cutting into the flywheel. I'm guessing that the worn cam bearings cut the benefit down, the car is very heavy, and the friction in the tranny didn't help the matter any. The new motor should go better.
I sell the 1/2 tooth advanced gear (in nylon) on my websites parts page if anyone wants one.
Your right foot is still the brake and your left foot is still the clutch. R as usual is in the center. So it is not difficult to get used to.
Ok I am slightly confused. You have a 1/2 tooth advanced gear. Does this give you the 8 degrees you are talking about? Or is the cam already made with the advance built in? I went to your web site but am still not sure. Nice site incidentally.
I have pondered the idea of working on a variable cam timing in a T engine. My thought would be to move the cam for and aft and use the helical gear to achieve the timing change. From what I understand most of the performance increase from variable cam timing occurs in the T rpm range.
Let me try again, Les. Are the R & B cams outside, on the right, in mirror image to the LHD, or are they internal, or still outside on the left?
Upon further reflection I need to give you full marks. Yes the RH hogshead has two outside adjusters
(low and brake) so these cams are inside and tighten the slack side of the band as you suggested.
I had observed this but never thought much about it, now it makes perfect sense.
Les and Roger. Roger, I used a model A Winfield cam. It was a lot of work and a lot of machining. I machined the flange off the front, then turned that down to the rear cam bearing size. Then made up a new front section with flange that pressed on what was the old rear bearing journal. It is difficult to explain. I don't know how to post pictures, or I could show you. I don't think it was worth doing it that way. Stipe will grind a reversed cam, that is the way I would go next time.
Les. Running the engine backwards would do the same thing. The late Felix Graves from Tulsa did this many years ago in his hill climb car. I saw the car, but did not get to see it run. Fred Houston took me over to see it. He said it was a very strong runner. Maybe Fred will jump in here with more info. Wayne
I have also modified a big grind A cam to fit a T block so I understand what you are describing. The one I did had 5/16" lift and 280 degrees. I ported the block out to the largest rectangles I could make and then constructed a 4 runner intake manifold with dividers that extended all the way into the block to crate 4 separate intake ports. As a flathead it would run with any overhead I ever encountered.
For the cam shaft I actually have the "masters" to grind more. The cam does NOT work well at all in a stock T engine. Without the port mods it will work well over 2500 rpm. With the port mods it works well down to idle. With variable cam timing it would likely be better yet. As it was I had a Watts clutch which acted as a built in torque limiter (it would slip at full throttle below 2500 rpm). I concluded that this was a good way to save the rear axle so never changed it. I sold the car before I killed myself as it only had 2 wheel brakes and I had a young family.
I wonder if the band thing was a problem on Felix's car. Obviously you can get around the brakes with external brakes and maybe you don't want too much grip in low to save the rear axle
Felix Graves (my mentor), did the following: Put the ring gear on the other side of the pinion. Opened up the intake ports. Retimed the cam to reverse firing order (1342). Used two Stromberg 281's. Haibe flat head. Pull start. Ran good enough to win the Tulsa Hill Climb a couple of times. Fred
Bands were no problem with the reverse rotating engine. Fred