Hi all! I've been using this site for about a year now or since I acquired a 1926 TT. So I've been getting accustomed to how they operate and behave. I bought it in good mechanical shape from an owner who used it periodically in parades. I've had it on the road since last fall on about 5 mile trips. This weekend I took it for a much longer drive in some hilly terrain to a local show, about a 25 mile round trip. Now I have racked up enough experience to ask for some thoughts on a few quirks it has. So here we go.
1.) Front tires. I knew one of the tires in front needed replacing but after the trip yesterday it went from noticeable tread to near nothing, especially on the outer side. I noticed on smooth roads the right fender shaking more than the left at speed. The tire in question is a Wards made in USA. The other is a Wards but much newer and pliable to the touch. The old one is rock hard. So the concern is it wearing down due to the age or an alignment issue? (our roads are rough chip seal). Should I buy the fronts as a set or just pick up a new Wards too match?
2.) Fuel problem. Yesterday after my trip I drove a few miles close to home and the engine just died at speed with no difference made switching from magneto to battery or spark/throttle adjustment. I had removed a plastic filter for better flow going up hills. I also topped the tank off which probably had never happened in decades(some noticeable rust, maybe scale). I was able to get it to run only with full choke on. I did eventually get it to run at part throttle but it would die on the hills. My guess is clogged fuel line. Should I put the filter back on?
3.) Radiator. Appears to leak at lower left(driver side) but only a few drops when the engine runs only. The fluid is to the top of the core or about 3" from top of cap threads(normal?). No leaks on the floor when it's parked for an extended time. I can't seem to locate it but I wonder if it's the overflow. Should I just keep an eye on it? I would not use a stop leak product if it is a true leak.
4.) Noise. What's typical sound level when driving? I have a closed cab so I get all the vibration rattles but the engine noise makes it hard to talk. Exhaust has no leaks but the exhaust manifold has a small 1/4" crack. I heard some other T's at the show and they sounded quiet driving off. Something to be concerned of?
So that's about it. Thanks for any or all replies.
I think I would get the gas out of the tank and replace it or strain it. But while the tank was empty I would do some thing to get the rust out of the tank. There are several options for this. One would be to take the tank off of the truck and shake some nuts and bolts around in it. Some people use a length of chain.
You then need to go all the way through the fuel system and clean everything. Blow the line out and take the bowl off of the carburetor and remove any foreign material.
If you have a 1/4 inch crack in the exhaust manifold that needs to be addressed also. Either repair or replace it.
1. The old USA made Wards Riversides have a good reputation for long wear. The uneven wear suggests an alignment problem. See Pages 46 & 47 in the Ford manual.
2. Forget the inline filter unless it's the glass bowl type. The stock Ford screen at the tank end of the line should be enough. If little bits are getting into the carburetor and causing trouble, get rid of them. That might mean tank cleaning, or maybe even a new tank, depending on how bad the present one is.
3. The coolant drip only after driving sounds like overflow. If that's the only drip, and if there's no overheating problem, leave it alone.
4. A certain amount of noise is normal, but that crack may be boosting the decibels. As the nephew said in Tobacco Road, "It don't hurt the runnin' of it none." I wouldn't quit using the vehicle, but I'd also be looking for an uncracked manifold.
Have you gotten in contact with your local chapter? Maybe there are some other T owners in the area that can put another set of eyes and ears to your problems.
Thanks for the tips thus far.
Herb and Steve, definitely going to address the tank issue either new or cleaned. By the way my tank has baffles so how would you get bolts in the other bays? Forgot to mention that the dump valve at the tank bottom won't hardly produce a drop and the baffle is in the way to see it from the cap.
In the meantime on the manifold I had thought about drilling two small holes at the ends of the crack to prevent spreading and using some JB Weld for a quick patch. Not sure I'm comfortable quite yet removing studs, gaskets, heat shield, exhaust "screw", and such.
So what are the "felloes" that are referenced in the manual on camber and toe-in? I can visibly see the 1-1/2" of nonadjustable camber which before reading the service manual I thought was extreme, causing the tire to wear the way it is. It's the passenger front with the abnormal wear. Or does the tire actually make full even contact with normal wear out from the center to each side?
Dave, I just looked and found a chapter reasonably close. I'll check in to it and see what they are about. It's the "Tent Topped Touring Ts".
Hey Kyle, you definitely need to drain and clean the gas tank and the valve at the bottom. If gas doesn't come streaming out when you open it, it's because it's clogged with lots of junk. My car hadn't been driven much and when I filled up with some fresh gas that had ethanol: which promptly ate any and all possible varnish or junk in the tank and clogged the filter and carb. Once I cleaned it out and drove it some it eventually worked all the junk out.
As for the manifold, I don't think the JB weld will stand up to the temperatures that the exhaust manifold will reach. Your best bet is just to get a new manifold, they aren't very much and are easy to replace.
The felloes are the round part of the wheel at the end of the spokes. From the outside in you have the tire, the demountable rim, and then the steel felloe (then spokes and then hub). On the older T's the felloe can be made out of wood. The camber probably isn't too bad, but the main thing you need to check is the toe-in:
You measure it from the felloe on the driver's side wheel to the felloe on the passenger side wheel. Pick a spot 90* from the ground towards the rear of the vehicle, so either 3 oclock from the driver's side or 9 from the passenger, on the inside of the rim, and measure the distance to the same corresponding spot on the opposite wheel. I believe it should be right around 53" give or take a little. Then roll the truck forward so that the spot where you measured from moves 180 degrees, on the driver's side it'll from from 3 to 9 and vice versa on the passenger side. Then measure those same spots, and if the difference isn't 3/16" to 1/4" difference, adjust as necessary and start the whole measuring process again.
The radiator sounds normal. Since there's no pressure in the system it'll basically puke out any excess coolant. Drive it some more and just make sure it doesn't keep leaking.
If you can, post a video to youtube of the truck running and what it sounds like when you drive. That manifold crack is probably a big contributor. At idle T's are pretty quite, especially compared to a regular truck, but when opened up and moving down the road, they're just loud. Nothing wrong or weird about that.
Sorry, re-read my post and on the toe-in, your second measurement should be 3/16" to 1/4" SHORTER, thus showing that you have a little toe-in, not much, just a little.
Usually when you adjust the connecting rod on the front end one turn on the end equals about 1/8" of an inch.
If you clean the tank and carb do not forget to blow out the fuel line like I did. Will save you a lot of breakdowns.
The toe in is the only adjustment which can be made without bending a part. However, an axle or radius rod can be bent from hitting a pothole or a curb. Several things can be made by visual inspection. One the spindle bolt (kingpin) should be tilting back so the top of the spindle is leaning toward the back of the car. You can check that with a square on level pavement It should touch the bottom but not the top. Another thing you can check is whether the vehicle pulls straight on a level surface. This is best done on a parking lot or other nearly level surface. Or in the center of a crowned road. The vehicle should pull straight when you let go of the steering wheel. If it pulls hard to one side, something is out of alignment.
All true measurements are found in the maintenance manuals and will need to be done by straightening frame, axle, radius rods etc.
Looks like I'll be busy this weekend cleaning out the tank. Maybe put in an order for a new manifold. When replacing the manifold, what other "accessory" items should I get along with it?
Try this link for video:
Hey Kyle, I'd recommend checking the threads on your exhaust pack nut, if they aren't nice and sharp just get a new one to match the manifold. Also, lots of folks like these gaskets better than the copper crush rings.
They're just easier to work with. Personally, I had a couple of normal gaskets for a V8, and I just cut them into the right size to fit over the gland rings. Nice and thick and very easy and forgiving. Basically just like those big copper ones I linked, but mine were free. I'm on my phone and can't see the vid but will check when I get to my laptop.
Investigated a little tonight. Bled the tank and lots of rust deposit in the grooves on the bottom. I noticed a second exhaust leak at the gasket as well. Roughly measured toe in at 1-1/16". Put a level along side the right tire and measured a distance of 1-1/4" for camber. Caster looks tilted back at the top of the spindle like it should be. Didn't measure that.
Your toe in is too much. Shorten the tie rod one turn and measure again. Note, it can only be adjusted one turn at a time. Keep adjusting until you get the measurement between 1/4" and 3/16"
Just watched the video and your TT sounds about right to me. I bet with a new exhaust manifold and no leaks you'll be amazed at the difference in sound level. At the same time, T'ss are just loud when spooled up. In my speedster at 45 mph the engine and the wind force my wife and I to speak very loudly in order to understand each other. Your truck looks GREAT, very nice. I want one just like it to tow my speedster to tours and events.
Also, agree with Norman - way too much toe-in. Get that dialed back and you should be pretty set. Camber is also a bit much, but you need some huge tools to tweak that: you basically bend the axle with some brute force and a big lever. It shouldn't be too big a deal as long as the toe-in is correct. You'll notice the camber the most if the car pulls one way or the other.
If you replace the manifold replace the gaskets, i get both the copper kind and the other kind, Cheap enough to get both and if i mess up one the first time i still have the other one.
Good looking truck, Kyle!
The dog wants to have a ride, too
Kyle, one good rule of thumb. If it needs fixing then fix it or it will manifest itself at the least opportune time and perhaps ruin a good tour or show. The first and simplest check on the wheel is check the tightness of the bearings and if there is wear on the spindle. They sell spindle shims to take up excess slack. Replace the manifold, it does not matter if that is the reason for the noise or not, a crack manifold is not good for a lot of reasons. Gas tank, good flushing should work fine if it doesn't leak. The radiator is another story and a leak in the core can go from a small drip to complete failure in a short amount of time. Advanced auto has a tool loan program, if you have one local see if they have a cooling system leak test kit. It is a plug that goes in the radiator fill tube and clamps in tight. Then it can be pump up to pressurize the system. Keep it to less than 10 lbs to begin and then look for leaks. Also see how far the gauge drops over an hour period. If the leak can be found and is accessable then perhaps a good braze job will cure the problem. I am sure you will get many suggestions on here so good luck and don't forget to have fun with it.
Be careful with pressure testing an original T radiator. It's normally a zero-pressure system. The tubes are seamed, not extruded. I have seen a few radiators with no leaking tubes that when tested blew apart with as little as 3 pounds of pressure. The reason for the pressure test was to find a leak on the engine.
To prevent some of the leaking from the overflow, I have placed a 1 1/2 roofing nail in the top of the overflow tube to act as an umbrella. This way, when the coolant starts to percolate up into the neck of the radiator, it just hits the top of the nail and falls back into the upper tank. The loose fit of the nail will still allow any pressure to escape.
As for the manifold, I too would recommend finding a good straight one or by new. Do not use the 3-in-one gasket without the rings. The gasket will not survive long without the protection of the rings. The ring and gland setup has served me well for many years.
Have you disassembled the sediment bowl under the gas tank and cleaned it out. There should be a fine screen on the back side of the round casting that screws into the side of the bowl and the fuel line connects to.
You will have to determine if the noise of the engine is from the running of the engine or just typical vibration of an unbalance T motor. The natural design of a TT cab with no interior panels tends to make it a large echo chamber.
Good luck with your project.
If the radiator doesn't "leak" when the car is parked, you probably don't have a problem. If the engine gets hot and boils, you do have one. It is normal for it to gurgle a little just after you turn off the engine on a hot day after a hard workout, but it should not continue boiling and spewing out steam. After you drive the car and let it cool off, check the coolant level and if it is above the tubes, leave it alone. Then drive it some more and get up to operating temperate. If it doesn't drip anymore, your former water level was too high. I find they run fine without overflow if I keep the coolant level with the Ford name on the top tank.
I got the manifold off. I think every exhaust port was leaking to some degree. The gasket looked like a hack job of three separate kits. A new manifold is coming with the copper crush rings and steel rings. Besides the obvious cleaning do I need a copper sealant or another sealant around the packing nut?
I aligned the toe-in. Still haven't decided on Universal or Ward tires. For only $100 more I can get two Universals with a warranty over a single Ward.
I also took the tank off and cleaned it with TSP and nuts and washers. Rinsed it several times with the final one of alcohol. Still have super fine rust dust that I can't seem to remove. Any suggestions? Looked at a new tank but the gentleman that makes them passed on and who knows when they will be available again.
Did you check all of the suppliers for a gas tank? I had to check with 4 different ones before I found a hood I was looking for. I'd check with Langs, Snyders, Chaffins, Bobs, Macs, Texas T, and I can't remover the name but there's a big place in South Carolina also. Someone is bound to have what you need.
Also, the fine rust stuff may be varnish from old gas. Ethanol laced gas will eat it all out. You'll just have to clean the carb a few times and then you'll be good to go.
Nothing extra is needed for the brass pack nut on the exhaust. Just make sure that the flare on the end of the pipe mates up nicely to the manifold.
I heard the guy that passed had an apprentice that took over and hasn't caught up with the demand yet. I got one last year from Chaffins. Call all of them and see who has one in stock!