My father has a 23' T Roadster that has been sitting for about 20 years give or take with the exception of a start-up 4-5 years ago. I am getting ready to clean it up and do whatever maintenance is necessary for a T that has sat this long. I already plan to change the bands with wood band, change the oil with about 4 quarts of 10w-30 and a dash (6-8oz) of ATF. I will also check to make sure all cylinders have spark, and I plan to check compression.
Other than the fore mentioned items, I am uncertain as to what additional steps need to be taken to ensure the vehicle won't incur damages due to poor maintenance. Please feel free to give any advice.
Here's a link to a great article on taking a Model T out of mothballs by Milt Webb.
Thanks Jay......Read through the article and found a lot of good information.
Just for a startup after years of hibernation, I would go with a low viscosity oil, such as 0W-20. Once the engine has been running for a while and the oil has warmed up and all the old crud is suspended, I'd drain it and replace it with a 5W-30 unless you have ambient temperatures in the triple digits right now.
Jay, what am I missing? For me the link brings up a little postage stamp that's too tiny to read. Any idea what I'm doing wrong?
Steve - I get 9 "little postage stamps", but when I click on each one individually, it greatly enlarges it to readable (just barely) size,......harold
Hey guys.....I actually found where someone typed the whole thing up in this forum:
Just go to this web address.....highlight text, copy, and paste into word
Once you click on the photo, click twice on the magnifying glass on the lower right and the page will fill your whole screen.
First click: the photo will pop-out.
Second click: the photo will fill the whole screen.
Although I think I am pretty comfortable with replacing the bands on my T......Since it is my first time......Has anyone come across a really good step by step?
Thanks for the info on the oil change....good idea to help flush. I'm thinking 5w-30 may be a little light weight for the 90ish degree Missouri weather were having at the moment.
Why would you want to change the bands? Are all three bands worn out?
Biggest reason I want to change the bands is that I am uncertain of their condition after 20 years of non-use. I expect that they have dried out and have heavy deterioration from sitting. Basically I would rather be safe than sorry and spend the money on replacing the bands instead of risking damage to the drums.
I was thinking the same thing as Jim T. Until you open it up and inspect what makes you think you must replace the bands? If they're OK why not just leave them?
Of course, if you already know they're bad, then disregard this comment.
I will make sure to give it a good look when I open it up. I am going to be opening it up this week to install the splash screen and an Earth Magnet anyway.
We were typing at the same time...
Erik - Yup! Sure does! Fills the whole screen! That's so simple and yet this is a good example of how I'm "just barely" computer literate. It' like my digital camera I guess. I'm able to take some really good pictures, even though that camera will do much, much more that I know how to make it do! Guess you could say that I'm just an old guy that has an "NH Holly" mentality, living in an electronic fuel injection world! Ha,ha,.....thanks Erik
An "NH Holly mentality, living in an electronic fuel injection world" describes many (most?) of us and certainly me!!
Why do you need a dash of ATF, when you are using detergent oil in the first place?
Honest answer.....I don't know.....It seems to be popular opinion in the forums that a dash of ATF is a good thing....
No one else has mentioned it so I will - definitely need to make sure there are brass thrust washers in the rear end and not the old babbitt ones. Big safety item.
Good info.....I would think that this had already been performed when my father rebuilt the T in the late 50's but I will be sure to check the rear axle for the "silvery" sludge.
Any opinion if bronze is worse/better?
Grant - My personal opinion for sure, but I really believe that adding ATF to motor oil is just another one of those "automotive myths"! Over the years, I've had numerous people explain (in one way or another) that they note that ATF always looks clean and clear when drained out of their modern car transmission, as compared to drain oil from their engine crankcase which appears black and or dirty. Therefore, they assume that the ATF is keeping their transmission clean. A logical deduction I suppose,.......however,........
What they don't consider is that even in modern engines, the products of combustion, to some degree, find their way past piston rings and find their way into the motor oil. This makes the oil black eventually, which is one reason why we change oil periodically.
The automatic transmission however, has it's own closed lubrication/hydraulic system, the ATF from which never comes in contact with anything connected to the engine or crankcase oil, or anything to do with "products of combustion", therefore, there is nothing to make the ATF look dirty or black.......that's my story, and I'm stick'n to it!
Don't tell anybody, but over the years I've been known to put a quart of transmission fluid in the engine of my various Mopars when I was short a quart of new oil, and vice versa, I've put a quart of engine oil in my transmission when I was one quart short of tranny fluid. Never noticed any ill effects, but maybe I was lucky!
As Seth mentioned, do check the thrust washers. The problem is that the Babbitt washers deteriorate over time due to moisture contamination in the oil. If the rear end was rebuilt in the 1950s or '60s, conventional wisdom at that time was to not replace them unless they were bad. However, being only 30 to 40 years old at that time, the deterioration was not deep enough or often severe enough to be a big problem. Even if the oil/grease was changed at that time, the contaminants remaining inside the washers will have continued to eat away the integrity of the washers. Another 50 years down the road (even just sitting) from then until now has made a huge difference in the strength of those thrust washers. The closer they get to 100 years old, as opposed to 30, the weaker they get and the more likely they could simply crumble without warning and result in a dangerous situation.
Checking for silver in the oil may not tell you anything on a car that has not been driven much for a long time. The silver effect is caused by the softened Babbitt wearing and discoloring the oil. Then again, if the silvering does show up, you will know what you have to do.
As others have said, you may want to look at the bands before committing to change them. However, the options 50 to 60 years ago were not as many as we have today. The two things used most were original type cotton linings, which work great provided they are operated properly, or hydramatic linings, which are hard on the drums but more forgiving to misuse to the linings.
If they are cotton, definitely change them. Cotton, like Babbitt, has a "rot" factor, and after 50 years, can look like new, but have no strength left. If they are hard linings, they may be hydramatic linings, and they would probably still be as good today as they were 50 years ago. But I didn't like them then. I prefer softer linings. They are easier on the drums.
So, are you getting the car ready for you or your dad to drive and enjoy? Just curious. Driving Ts can be a lot of fun.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Count me as dubious about the ATF too.
Here's a little info on those thrust washers: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG79.html.
Actually, Dad has little interest in driving the T these days as he is in his 80's. He will likely take the T for a short drive now and again.
I have been planning on getting the T road ready for the past 4-5 years since I fired it up last. Recently got some good motivation to hop on the project as I am getting married this October and thought it would be different to have the fiancÚ ride up in the T, and us to leave with the T.
I am hoping to have the time to get it fully road ready later this month so we can go on some test drives to the wineries 50ish miles from our house. I'm guessing dad will beat us by a half hour or more, and stand with the vet and T to tell old stories.
Thanks for the Heads-up on what was common practice 50ish years ago. Its good to know because my father can't remember everything that he did to the T back then.
Pour a little MMO into each cylinder, leave plugs out. Hand crank engine twice daily for three days. Replace plugs and start up. If you have old gas in tank and don't have a good way to get it out (really should drain it out), you can use Seafoam to perk up the old gas so it will start. This is how I had to do it after mine had set for 2 1/2 yrs. I had a sticky ring that wouldn't go away so this method was recommended to me by Griffy. Worked like a charm, so save some headaches and MMO before first start-up.
Haven't heard about the MMO before, I'll give it a try right before I'm ready to fire it up.....The gas won't be an issue. Drained it before storage, and ran engine till fuel line and carb was clear.
Thanks for the advice.
Grant, MMO = Marvel Mystery Oil . Because of my sticky, rings I was getting smoke when the engine was warmed up. Beside in the cylinders to soak the rest of the bottle went into the crank case. Once engine was up and running, drive 40/50 miles and drain and refill with your Fav. oil. I had 5-30 in it before on a long tour and had no prob.s You can use 10/30. Some of the guys in the St.Louis club swear by 10/40 for the summer and 5/30 for winter. I'm useing 10/40 at this time and engine is running fine. Here in SoCal a number of guys are running 20/50.
MOST engines, A little ATF mixed in will not hurt anything. Generally not over one quart per engine fill. Some people say it is about the same as MMO in an engine. I am NOT going to argue either side of that very much.
However, as a general rule, NEVER put engine oil in a transmission. The seals between various components can be eaten away by the base in most engine oil (I don't know about synthetics, although I have heard that the same rule applies). Now, about 1/8 cup of engine oil can be put in a high mileage automatic transmission that has begun to slip because the seals have become worn and/or hardened with age. The chemical activity of the oil MAY slowly cause the seals to soften and expand, buying you some time and miles. Basically it is just like "transmission-rebuild-in-a-can". Not really good, but what have you got to lose? I got a lot of miles out of a tired transmission using a small amount of brake fluid in it a long time ago. Same idea.
Mark S, If you still have one of those automatic transmissions that has had engine oil put in it, I would recommend a flush and change, soon.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Last month our club,The Dairyland Tin Lizzies, had a Tin Lizzie University session. One of our members had bought an old original 1927 roadster that got into a "fender bender" accident in 1934 and was put into the barn. Some of our members put 4 good coils and a new timer on it. The gas cap had "swelled up", so had to be broken out. The tank was clean, so gas was added. After letting the gas run out the carb drain, the bowl was taken off and cleaned. The oil had been drained and new oil put in. A new battery was installed, and water went into the radiator. It started and after the smoke cleared and all of the mouse's nests were blown out of the muffler, it was driven up and down the road on the property. It ran very smooth, with no strange noises. The transmission and running gear was one of the "quietest" that I have ever experienced. Because this was a 1927 engine without the hole for the carb rod between the center cylinders, the engine is pretty well sealed, so it stayed clean inside.(it has a vaporizer, as all 1927's do)
This car was apparently a low mileage car that had not been run for 69 years.
That is fantastic! Thank you for sharing the story.
I also participated in the Tin Lizzies University. Reviving the roadster was a lot of fun. It did take a while for it to spring to life, a few sputters at first, but that just egged us on. As time went on and we made adjustments the engine began to run better. Eventually Fritz got to drive his treasure up and down the driveway, even with one broken off rear radius rod.
The engine did smoke a lot, but settled down some. There was no water in the radiator so it could not be run long, but we had a blast.