Last Sunday I was driving my 1925 roadster pickup from Switzerland through Austria to a Oldtimer meeting in Vaduz (Liechtenstein). Suddenly it was jumping and made some noise, then it stopped. I couldn’t start it anymore.
I trailered it home. Now I removed the head. When I cranked it by hand, the valves didn’t move anymore, but the pistons seemed to work well.
Then I disassembled it down to the timing gear.
- The timing gear has lost a lot teeth (I think it is made of Bakelite(fiber)).
- Now the crankshaft has a lot of play horizontally and when I turn it, only the first piston goes up and down. This means, the crankshaft it is broken.
Now I have to remove the engine (I have never done this)
- I will have to buy a new crankshaft
- I will have to buy a new timing gear
- I will also have to check all the bearings
- I will also replace the valves (one is burned through and all have to much play. I think 1/64 OS will be OK)
- If possible, and if it’s not much more expensive, I would like to have some more power, because here we drive a lot in the mountains. (I already use the Z-head)
- Timing gear: Is Nylon the best? There is also one with something like 7 degrees advanced ??
- Crankshaft: from where shall I buy it ? There seems also to be the possibility to install a Model-A crankshaft. Is this possible in combination with the Z-head, because they write it’s a stroker ??
- There would also be the possibility to send the engine somewhere to the USA to have it professionally rebuild.--> Does anybody know what it costs to send a engine from Europe (Switzerland) to the USA and back and how does it work with the customs ?
- Who does a good rebuild job and is not to expensive?
- Who can rebuild it, to get some more power and to last “forever” ?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Some of the parts suppliers list reconditioned blocks, that might be the cheapest way with only one way freight, Snyders web site price is $2200.00US for a short reco engine.
Installation of an A crank means quite a few modifications. Nowadays the forged SCAT crank might be an expensive but reasonably bulletproof alternative:
If your babbitt is good and undamaged it might be an easy install, but likely you'll need a babbitt job too. Guess there are a lot of competent engine builders in Switzerland and neighboring countries that can do the job if you as a customer has read the books and supervise them about the oddities in an old Ford compared to modern engines. It ain't rocket science
There are aluminum gears (Ford 'n More) and bronze timing gears(Dmc gears, Dan Mc Eachern) available with dovel pin holes drilled 7.5 degrees advanced for better hill climbing with a worn or reground stock cam. If you invest in a new cam shaft you don't need the advance, they're already optimised for good medium rpm hill performance. You may lose a few mph in the top end with the advance, but in the mountains it's likely a big bonus overall.
What a wonderful thread ! Willi is playing with his Model T at home in the European mountains. I broke my crank back in '76 in the US Rocky Mountains. Who is that Neil guy in the UK who claims to be the European supplier of Model T parts? My recommendation would be against the Model A crank and for the bronze cam timing gear. Theres plenty of good original crankshafts out there (here in the US) but the SCAT is, indeed, a great alternative. I'd try and get a custom engine rebuild in England - although we're fortunate to have an Englishman in Texas doing remarkable engine rebuilds ;o)
I’m sorry to hear of your engine problems. Glad you got the car home safely and are working to get it going again. I would recommend contacting the local clubs and find out who is a reputable rebuilder in Europe. And compare the cost of the rebuild and shipping from the USA to the cost of rebuilding and shipping from Europe. I would guess and it is only a guess that the shipping would be less if you found a rebuilder in Europe.
The Tuckett Brothers are located in England and if they do not rebuild the engines themselves they will know who does. They may also know of a rebuilder closer to you. See their site at: http://tuckettbrothers.co.uk/
From the posting at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/258181.html?1326093547 The full restore price by the "Ford-expert" may be OK if he knows what he's doing and the trans is included. There's an 80 year old guy in Borlänge, Sweden who is said to be good at rebuilding T engines, Ivar Westermark. http://alturl.com/2zae9 Perhaps you should ask him too? (I've never asked about his prices)
That posting also has a good discussion of price for the engines etc.
Recommended resources so you will better understand what will be and can be done during an engine overhaul/rebuild. The MTFCA engnine and transmission booklets at: http://modeltstore.myshopify.com/products/service-manuals when you have the engine rebuilt – doing the transmission and magneto at the same time is usually a wise choice. (They may not need service – but often they will have worn parts etc. that could also use service. While you have them out of the car is the time to have them checked. ) There are also some DVDs available at: http://modeltstore.myshopify.com/products/restoration-videos
For a more detailed look at engine rebuilding recommend Vic Zannis’ booklet “Rebuilding the Ford Power Plant” see: http://www.modeltford.com/pl.aspx?t=s&v=T-RFP&page=1
I would not recommend having the engine rebuilt by someone who is not experienced with rebuilding the T engines. Our local T supplier here took a crankshaft out of a rebuilt engine. It had not had the proper radius ground on the crank journals. He brought it to “show and tell” at the local club meeting and asked folks to see if they could tell what was wrong with the crankshaft. Most of us had not seen that level of detail before. And the person who rebuilt the engine did not understand why it was important. Please see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/46525.html?1201460648
If you have generator with a gear drive – I would not recommend a fiber timing gear. Also be sure the generator gear is aligned properly and in good shape.
And recommend you see the Tulsa site for information on engine performance. While you have the engine rebuilt installing a good camshaft and a slightly higher compression head provide good performance at a moderate additional cost. See: http://mtfctulsa.com/Tech/index.htm great articles.
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With a new crank small regrinding radius won't be a problem. There are lots of pre war engines in europe with cast babbitt bearings, so there should be a few competent repair shops - just ask around. Ivan here in Sweden will be 85 this year, he has great prices but may not do as many engines each year as he used to..
Willi,Myself i would avoid anything but a babbitt 4'th main.Whoever rebuilds your engine i would have the flywheel crankshaft assmbly ballanced.Bud.
Babbit 4th main only, alumn. timing gear only. It ought to be against the law for anyone to sell a fiber timing gear!
I recommend that for best and longest lasting performance, buy your timing gears as a matched set, meaning that both crank and cam gears have been cut on the same machine. I have a set of MacEachern bronze/steel gears in each of my three Ts and am thoroughly satisfied.
Before you settle on a plan make sure to check your block. Sometimes when a crank breaks it will also break/destroy the block.
The unanswered question is did the sheared teeth on the timing gear cause the crank to break?
There is a common held theory that many crank breaks may be the result of sheared timing gear.
I'd guess that your timing gear looked like this.
Obviously another fiber gear is not a good idea. Nylon? Some people have never had a problem with them and say they're great. I had a bad experience with a nylon timing gear in a Chevy. Its failure didn't break the crank, but it wrecked several valves that had to be replaced. I would go with an original Ford gear or new bronze or aluminum.
For parts I'd check with the guys in England before paying to have stuff hauled over the pond.
Hello Willi Bonjour,
In the north of France there is someone who can help you I think.
His name is Jean-Pierre Hombert he is living in STENAY France. In the Ford-t.fr club he is called "Docteur T"
I will send you an Email with his address.
If your babbitt is good and crank is standard, you can just install a new crank, and likely a rebabbitted rear main cap. If the crank is undersize, then you might have your new crank ground to fit, or more likely you should go for new babbitt and crank. Tuckett Brothers in England likely can help you get your parts.
Thanks a lot for all your comments.
I have now a lot of new information and will wait, until I dismounted the engine.
Then I will decide.
I already ordered 2 books about engine rebuilding ;)
In answer to Larry Bohlen's speculation. I have found plenty of evidence of broken T cranks LONG before fibre cam gears existed. If you examine in detail engines with broken cranks, I have found that usually there is evidence of the crank/rods hitting the camshaft.
My cam shaft got kissed when the crankshaft broke between #3 and #4 and broke out the rear main from the block. I repaired the damage with a stone at its still a good camshaft.
It is a shame that the ball bearing "4th main" has had it's reputation tarnished by incompetents producing incorrectly designed versions and not providing proper installation instructions. It was offered as a race car item then and has now been used for almost 100 years with stellar results (when properly done). In addition it eliminates one more oil leak, eliminates the dilution of the rear axle oil with motor oil (which can then eliminate the cause of some rear axle/rear wheel bearing leaks(over full rear axle assembly).
My ball bearing 4"th main was in the car before i bought it and i do not know who installed it or if it was installed to your standards! What i do know is that it was shot and i would think the cause of my broken crankshaft!!!!!!!!!!! Your damned right it's a shame!! It's a shame whoever did it did not use Babbitt!!Bud.
We found some thing we agree on Les, well stated!
We've all seen lots of shredded fiber timing gears. (The new ones, not old ones that were made to better standards)
Not all shredded gears lead to a broken crank. In fact, it seems, at least from my experience, that the majority of broken gears do not lead to broken cranks. So, it can be said that a fiber gear can break without a broken crank to initiate the failure.
Now, in cars with broken cranks & also with fiber gears, the gear is usually broken too.
From this I infer that new style fiber timing gears frequently break and, if you're particularly unlucky, they can also cause a crank breakage. There is no question that crank breakage can happen by many other scenarios as well, even "LONG before fiber cam gears existed". However, broken cam gears sure don't help the situation.
I am trying to figure out the scenario where a broken cam gear can contribute to a broken crank.
When a cam gear fails generally the engine stops. it it does not immediately stop the vary least that happens is that the cam Is now "late". So the spark will be late (occur well past TDC).
If the spark was suddenly "early" I suppose you might get some extra strain on the crank. The probability of this happening with a broken cam gear borders on the impossible.
I can well see that a when the broken crank swings around and contacts the cam it could very easily monetarily jam the cam and rip some teeth of it and as the crank swings away there will be enough contact to allow the cam to move on.
I thank you for the affirmation and complement. I suspect that we agree on many more things than we disagree on when it comes to Model T's.
It is more likely that whoever built your engine was generally incompetent and installing the ball bearing "4th" was done in a fashion that was entirely consistent for them. I will guess that some or all of these things were involved in your crank failure;
1. The ball bearing was not properly fitted to the output shaft. A improperly fitted babbit one would have also been a problem.
2. The pan was not straight and/or properly aligned to the engine. There is no good excuse for forcing the 4th on and not verifying that it is not trying to pull the whole mess out of alignment.
3. The driver ignored the early warning signs. He did not "listen" to the engine. Your T engine will tell you when it is "happy". You ignore this at your peril!! I have observed that a lot of broken cranks occur to people who engage in poor T driving practice.
4. Often on a broken crank the centre main is WAY loose.
And there are more things to be considered but these seem to be the big ones. Another popular one is cranks that have been in service way to long!!. How do you tell? If it has to be ground smaller than .020" under it is probably on the back side of the fatigue life curve. There are exceptions of course if it is a standard crank that is rusty. I would rather leave some pits and keep as much of the steel and strength as I can.
Being able to see all that without actually seeing the how,what,and why tells me your off meds!!Bud.
I agree with you Les Schubert..... Our 13 touring has a ball bearing fourth main. I machined the out put shaft to be a snug slip fit inside the ball bearing inter race I.D. The out put shaft can still move in and out the bearing as the trans. expands/contracts in length.
Our T has the original 3 dip pan. There was no problem sliding the ball bearing fourth main in place with the engine stood on end (Trans. Up).
I would not use a ball bearing fourth main that requires the out put shaft be bonded with lock tight or epoxy to the inside bearing race. Doing so could put excessive force on the crankshaft ....enhancing the possibility of breaking a crank shaft
I installed the ball bearing 4th main over 6 yrs ago and no problems to date.
My dad, who is 95-1/2 yrs old started working on model T's for a car lot when he was 14 to earn extra money. Besides replacing cracked trans. drums, he remembers replacing several broken crankshafts. These had original style babbit 4th mains.
I stand behind the statement....It's not if the original model t crankshaft will break.....the un-known part is when.
Les is right, cranks don't break from time gears.
There are more cranks that are NOT checked for cracks then that are.
Some cranks are hit with a hammer to see if they ring LOL. If you are going to try to find cracks with that method, do it with another moron friend and take turns hitting each other in the head where you would be at least doing some good, maybe.
I haven't ever taken a motor down that the crank had broken, but I have taken hundreds apart that were cracked and wern't long for this world.
I would estimate Model T crack rate at 60%, maybe more.
A broke, or about to break crank will take a timing gear, Plus all the other reasons that Les stated.
As Les said,If the pan isn't in alignment with the tail shaft for any reason, babbitt as well an a ball bearing ball cap will fail.
Willi, do us all a favor and if you would be so kind as to take as many pictures of the inside of the engine, and when you get it tore down so we can have something to study.
On any of the broken cranks I have seen the crack "propagation" is obvious to the eye. The initial crack will be quite small and usually discoloured. As Herm has pointed out, if there are cracks then failure is coming sooner rather than later
While those of us who are proponents and users of ball "4th's" may have some differences of opinion on the "best" way, we all agree that;
1. It MUST allow the transmission to continue to have end float.
2. It MUST be installed so it is not forcing the rotating assembly out of alignment.
I rebuilt the engine in my '27 in 1978. I installed Dunn counter weights (which I only don't recommend as they are a bitch to do right). I balanced all the moving parts and I installed a ball bearing 4th of my own construction. I now have about 40,000 miles on it. I have removed .002" from the rods and about .005 from the centre main about 10 years ago. The front and rear mains were fine. I pulled the engine out at that time and put in Chevy valves in the exhaust(got tired of grinding #4 exhaust valve. Besides I HATE working under the car and having oil drip in my face.