I believe that I have a 23 coupe. But the engine block states otherwise. Serial number is 4620740 and that should have been from a 21. But what is with the 17 cast into the engine block? What does that mean, if anything?
I understand that parts were quite interchangeable, so I am trying to find out what would be correct for a 23.
1923 is a year which people have a lot of confusion about. The reason is that Ford did re-design during the 1923 calendar year. The new cars came out in August and are the 1924 Model year. So when anyone says they have a 23 Coupe, my first question is does it have the suicide doors which open from the front towards the back, or does it have the standard doors which open from the back to the front. The 1923 Coupe would have suicide doors, the 1924 Coupe has standard doors.
It is very common to find the wrong year engine in a Model T. They are all interchangeable and they were swapped out all the time. So you really can't go by the engine number in determining the year. You have to look at the body.
They didn't make a lot of changes between the 1919 and 1923 Coupes. From 1919 to about 1921 they used a strap to lift the door windows. In Dec. 1921 they changed to a rod with a handle which runs vertically along the edge of the window. You turn the handle out of the notch in the window trim strip, move the window up and down then turn it into which ever notch you want. That can help narrow down the year some. I'm sure there are other changes which may be unique to the 23 Coupe and hopefully someone will chime in with those.
One of the smaller differences between my October 1922 Coupe and a January 1923 example is the use of door pull handles mounted on the inside of the doors on the 1922 versus a raised lip in the window sill on the 1923, for door closing.
Very minute differences if we are talking a Coupe with a low radiator and low hood.
-As pointed out, window latches...
-Does your hood have handles held on with rivets or without (21 with)...
-is your horn button only a horn button or a combo (21 combo)...
-radius rods handed or not (21 not)...
-does it have a teens era hand crank, or the later type pressed sleeve (21 teens)...
These are the most glaring differences I can think of off the top of my head that distinguish the '21 Coupe from a '23
You might have a real 23 with a 21 engine transplant...or you might have a real 21 with a title mistake. With the '3 foot rule' of observation it would be very difficult to see or even notice the difference.
21 coupe would have exposed wood around the door and quarter windows. 22 to 23 models the wood was covered with metal. By 1919 to 1922 the horn buttons would have been just that, the light switch would be on the instrument board as this is a enclosed car.
That engine number would put it around Dec 1920. It would or should have the the forged running board irons and crank sleeve that is held on with a pin and tapered. The crank and running board supports were changed some time in mid 21.
Not to hijack the thread but George stated:
"is your horn button only a horn button or a combo (21 combo)... "
What's the 'combo' part? i.e. what did it do, beside sound the horn?
Light switch, no dash mount
Ahh ... very good .. thanks!
Welcome to the forum & hobby. From your posting at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/388316.html?1379172260 you shared that you were given your Grandfather’s 1923 Coupe and that you are looking forward to getting it back on the road again. That is great to have a T that has been in the family for a while. Were you able to go for many rides in the Coupe when you were younger?
Ref your question what does the number “17” that is cast into the block in front of the water inlet on the left side of the engine. It is most likely part of the numbering system that was used by the foundry to track defects in the molds. I.e. each mold would have some numbers that identified the mold. If the blocks with that number started having issues when being machined etc. they would know which mold needed the repair work or needed to be replaced. There often is another number a little further forward in addition to the two digit number nearest the water inlet.
Note from your photo it appears you have a “casting date” to the rear of your serial number. If you look at the sample casting date below that was provided by Phil Mino, you can see the circle area that I am referring to on your engine. That is the date the engine block was poured & cast.
Looking at your engine serial number 4620xxx it is one of 3902 engines that were assembled on Dec 1, 1920 – or it was a serial number from that same day that was sent to one of the Branch Assembly Plants to be stamped onto an engine that the branch plant assembled.
When trying to date a Model T Ford, I recommend look at as much information as you have available to you. For example you have shared it is a 1923 – but is that because it says 1923 on the title, because your Grandfather always called it a 1923, or because your Grandfather gave you the original bill of sale from the Ford dealer etc.? As already mentioned the engines were sometimes changed out especially in the twenties and thirties when a good used engine was available for a lot less than the cost of overhauling the original engine. But Ford specifically worked hard to make the later parts fit the earlier cars. For example the roller wheel bearings in the non-demountable wheels were the same from 1909 to early 1926 when the last non-demountable front wheels were offered. And any 1909-1925 body will fit on any 1909-1925 chassis. The gas tank, radiator, hood, fan, rear fenders, etc. may or may not need to be swapped out so things line up – but it is a bolt on operation and no cutting or welding is needed. So it is possible to have a 1924 coupe body installed on a 1923 or 1921 chassis. It fits fine.
You have several choices. You can obtain a copy of Bruce McCalley’s excellent book “Model T Ford” available again in paperback from the club at: http://modeltstore.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/model-t-ford-the-car-that-changed-the-world and also from the vendors. It is also available in a CD version that I like better as it has been updated since the paper version was created. It is available at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/333725.html?1357665853
Both of those sources will give you a wealth of items that you can use to more accurately date the parts on your car. Note – Ford often used up older parts. In general he did not introduce a new year model and immediately stop making the older year model. He normally introduced the “new model” at the main plant and around 1913 and later he then began manufacturing the new model at the branch plants. In the case of the 1915 model year Fords there could have been several months when both the old style and new style tourings were rolling off the production line at different locations. And sometimes Ford would update the touring body but continue the older style runabout (also called a roadster by many folks) body etc. All that to say any two Fords produced on the same day could be almost identical except for the serial number or one could have newer parts while the other had older style parts but both cars were manufactured on the same day. You can use Bruce’s book and/or CD to accurately bracket the time frame the different parts on your car would typically be used. If the bulk of them fall in a given range – that is the likely range that the car was produced – assuming it was not built up from parts by someone in the past. Back in the day someone could take the parts they needed from several vehicles in a junk yard or farmer’s field, add a few other good parts and they had a driving car. They are still built up from parts today – but the farmer’s field supply is not nearly as good as it once was. At the other extreme – there are a few cars like the Rip Van Winkle Ford that when pulled from the barn it had 26 miles on the speedometer. That June 1917 touring car is featured on pages 260 to 274 of Bruce’s book mentioned above. Most of the Ts are in between those two extremes.
You can also post photos of your car on the forum. Folks here will gladly let you know what parts are which years and which ones may not really belong together (for example your engine that was on the Dec 1, 1920 engine log listing would not have come in a new 1924 year model coupe etc.). Sometimes the way things are shared can be a little rougher than some folks like. I’ve been guilty of that myself when I am in a hurry to finish a posting and my wife is ready for us to leave the house. I’ve learned that just hitting “post” so I can get out the door is not always the best thing for me to do. And we have a few folks that are a little more “direct” with their comments than others. But when I remind myself that is sometimes their normal approach and they are not singling me out to be mean etc. I can still appreciate their inputs which are often very helpful. And then on some subjects (distributors, water pumps, band linings and things like that) it can become a real free-for-all as many folks feel strongly they each have the best answer. So if you are easily insulted – I would recommend e-mail your photos to someone you already trust rather than posting them or obtain a copy of Bruce’s book or CD or see the next paragraph.
You can also look at the photos, and information on line an probably figure it out also – but that would probably be harder than either of the above choices. The club has a photo gallery at: http://www.mtfca.com/gallery/index.htm you can click on Coupe and most will have the date below them. Most are accurately dated by model year --- but as mentioned before 1923 is one of the years when many 1924 model year cars were / are titled as 1923 cars. When I just reviewed them – they all appear to be correctly dated. Caution there is at least one 1924 Canadian model year coupe that continued the 1923 suicide door opening doors. You probably will not run across that one – but if you do – just remember it is a very unique vehicle and not a typical Ford produced that year. There is also a Canadian Centerdoor that has the 1924 style high cowl – again – not a typical Ford for that time frame.
Also – highly recommended – join the local T club near you as mentioned in some of the previous postings. They often have a library and you can check out Bruce’s book etc.
And while you did not ask, I will offer the following for free and it might be worth that much or I might owe you something if you read it. As I’ve looked at your previous postings it appears you are getting ready to take your Grandfather’s Coupe rear axle apart. I wondered if you might want to consider if that is necessary at the moment? I.e. was the car being used by your Grandfather and had he rebuilt many of the different assemblies? Or had he driven it, but stopped driving it and parked it because it had some known mechanical issues? My 1915 cut off falls into that category – it desperately needs the engine rebabbitted and until that happens it will not be on the road with that engine (which still runs but – it has some issues). Or do you just not know much about the condition of the car etc.? The reason I am asking – in general – they come apart a lot faster than they go back together. If you have a large test area – I would recommend you consider get the car running and test drive it. CAUTION: As previously mentioned if the thrust washers were not replaced earlier they could fail and leave you without the transmission brake. That is why I said a large test area – i.e. one free of obstacles etc.
That is another area where if you have someone familiar with Ts look at your car they know how to look for wear on the front axle kingpins, tie rods, etc. In general if one area is worn out – and needs rebuilding the other areas have similar mileage unless they were swapped out or rebuilt previously. There is a good article on removing a T from mothballs by Milt Webb at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/8538.html -- scroll down to Tom Mullin’s posting the third posting from the top.
And safety – oh yes. Many folks think Model T Fords are inanimate objects and from a rationale standpoint I can agree with them. But I also lean towards the findings of E.B. White in his description of the Model T in his 1936 article in the “New Yorker” see: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1936/05/16/1936_05_16_020_TNY_CARDS_000161110 “There was never a moment when the bands were not faintly egging the machine on. In this respect it was like a horse, rolling the bit on its tongue, and country people brought to it the same technique they used with draft animals.” And like a horse it can server you well or if you treat it wrong – it can kick you.
For some of those safety items please see:
Again, welcome aboard and best of luck to you with your NEW Ford.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Go to www.mtfca.com/gallery/year/1923.htm, photo gallery and look at the 1923 coupes members have posted to get a good visual of an authentic 1923 Coupe. Jim Patrick