I'm trying to figure out how to install the belt rail and tack strip in my 1923 roadster. Does anybody know how this is done? I've ordered the parts from Cubels, but I'm not sure how they go into the car. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks again guys.
It has been a few years since I did my '25, but I think the bodies are the same. To get all the pieces to fit I used 10-32 or 10-24 stove bolts about 2" or so long. The wood and the body have different curves to start but with the long bolts you can snug things up a little at a time and get things to fit. Remember, the fasteners will be covered with your seat upholstery so when all is snugged up be sure to remove any bolt ends that protrude out. I think the seat back wood pieces also are involved with the tack strip bolts.
Early 23 roadsters have a 2" belt rail. Then they went to a Tack strip 3/4" rounded over on the out side top edge and this rounded top edge is about 1/6" smaller then the bottom that rest on the body metal. Someone will come up with a picture of it. I do not have one on hand.
I should have said also low cowl 23's.
Jon Anderson, RVs' brother makes the tack strip. He's in N.Y., and Ray Wells in El Cajon, California make the tack strip. You need to use a 3/8? rounding over bit on it all the way around, so as to have a place to tack the upholstery before the top is installed.
Larry, I'm not looking to buy tack strip. I bought some from the Cubels at Fordwood.com.
I'm trying to figure out how it gets assembled into the car, along with the wooden belt rail. Does anybody have pictures from this step in the assembly of their car?
I had to heat mine and form it to the body (21 touring) It has counter sink 1/4" bolts holding it to the body and a square tube where the two pieces come together.
Where does the tack strip go in relation to the belt rail? I'm not sure how everything goes into the car, and the drawings from Cubels don't explain much.
I ordered the complete wood kit for my 1919 touring from Cubel's. The tack strips which were an extra charge are a synthetic material 3/4" x 3/4" Square. Installed by heating and forming to the curve of the seat back sheetmetal. The 1919 touring wood kit does not use the belt rail.I have not installed any of it yet, so don't know how it will go.
I think if you have the belt rail you don't need the tack strip as the belt rail serves the same purpose, the upholstery is fastened to it. I am new to "Ts", so don't know much about it. This is just how it looks to me.
Jared is your car a low cowl 23 or a high cowl 23?
This could make a difference in the type of wood kit you use.
Determine which type car you have. You probably already have since you bought the kit.
If your using the composite tack strip for your car it is slowly heated and bent as you go around the body.
I also used the composite strip on my 21 T low cowl body and Cubels furnished good and detailed installation instructions.
The composite tack strips work really well and much better than using wood strips. It drills well and holds tacks very secure. Some may disagree but for me its pretty good stuff.
Jared: Take the pieces of wood and, starting with the long straight one, put it on the back of the seat sheet metal and see where it fits best. Clamp it there. Then take the other pieces and start around the curve on both sides of the long, straight piece. This way you can find the fit. Does your wood have holes already bored ? This can help too. The seat back sheet metal will have holes you can use to help position the wood. This is not a difficult job. I was a rookie when I did mine. Take your time. Wiggle and jiggle the wood around and you'll see how it goes. You will have to bend the wood with the bolts to get a good fit. Use long bolts so you can apply pressure slowly. I'd send pictures but my upholstery covers everything.
I'm not sure I'd trust the 3/4x3/4 tack strip to hold the brackets that hold the top bows. Maybe I'm being paranoid or something, but don't you have to have the wooden belt rail in order to support the top brackets that come out the sides?
Your tack strip should be in two pieces, a right and a left. They are secured to the body by a series of holes that are in the back and side panels of your car. As mentioned above, they are bolted to the body by8-32 flat head screws. If your tack strips don't line up perfect, I would suggest putting a spline between them.
The bolts that hold the bracket go through the sheet metal as well as the tack strip.
The tack strip system was changed to the belt rail when Ford did away with the overhanging lip at the top of the sheet metal panels. A belt rail simply forms the top of the seat back frame and doubles as the wood edge to which the top and/or the upholstery material is tacked.
Here is a photo of the complete seat back assembly on a '23 roadster. The tack rail consists of either 3 or 5 pieces of wood with lap joints, which can be bolted or screwed together. Countersink the holes so the fasteners don't interfere with the upholstery or padding. The edges of the belt rail, where it joins the curved corner sections, have not yet had the little filler pieces installed,.
So if I use one I don't need the other?
Yes, Jared, that is correct. You sound like you're about where I was 2 years ago.
If your car has sides which go straight up, are somewhat floppy, and nail from the outside, then you need RV's framing (like I did).
If your sides bend over at the top and are stiff, then you need just the tack strip that fills in.
Show us a picture of the top edge of your side panels and we'll be able to answer for sure.
Scott, here's a couple pictures of the left and rear panels of the car. The right side has been off awhile while getting the seat frame and floorboards put in.
Sorry it took so long to get the pictures, but classwork has kind of overwhelmed my life as of late. I hope this makes it a little clearer.
Looks to me like you need the belt rail as shown RV's picture. Your panels look similar to my 24 touring that used the belt rail.
Im not absolutly sure, but from the pics above I think your panels are mis-matched. It looks like your rear panel is for the 3/4 X 3/4 inch tack strip. and the side panels are for the belt rail made of larger pieces of wood in sections. If you notice in the picture from RV of the body wood installed, that there is no "lip" above the rear belt rail piece. The belt rail style just nails thru the side and rear panels and the 4 top iron pieces bolt it all together. The belt rail should stick up above the sheet metal enough to tack the uphoulstery to it. There are some areas of the sheet metal that the top brackets bolt all the way thru the sheet metal/wood/top bracket and sandwich it all together. I think yours are missing, but I see what may be part of the bolt ears in one of the pics. If your body was to use the tack strip the side panels should also have the angle/lip bent at the top also. Then you would just have the 3/4 X 3/4 tack strip sitting on top of the lip all the way around both sides and back with screws and the top bracket bolts, holding it in place. From what I see I suggest that you use the belt rail made of the larger pieces of wood made in sections and modify your rear panel to fit. I have built several bodies both touring and roadster. I have built a 15, 17, 19, very late 22, low steel 23, a high steel 23 and two 25s. By far the hardest to get right is the late 22 early 23 transitional bodies. Good luck and remember to clamp everything together before drilling any bolt holes, and do not assume that if the holes are already in your wood that they are in the right place, because more than likley they are not. Also make sure to fit you doors to the body at the same time you are trying to do the belt rails. It is real hard to "un-drill" any wrong holes.
Jared, after re reading the posts above, I see you asked about the relation of the tack strip to the belt rail. Your body will use one style or the other, not both. If you need to call and talk it thru send me a PM and I will send you my phone #
I didn't know it was that easy to bolt the two body styles together. I've been looking on Howell's website, and it looks like my rear panel is a 1925. Maybe someone else can shed a little more light on the subject.
On second look I agree with Donnie. The center panel would use a tack strip, while the side panels are belt rail. It might work ok as a mixed assembly and look ok, but upsetting to the purist.
I'd rather put the right parts together. Does anybody have the proper panel they'd be willing to trade?
Jared, here are some pictures of that same area on my 1923 (might be early 1924) touring/pickup. Mine used the wood belt rail all the way around. If you don't have the short metal straps that attach the wood pieces together, PM me, I have some extras.
Jared. Notice how in Marks pics above that the belt rail is above the sheetmetal enough to nail the uphoulstery. Also note that the bolts for the plates and top brackets go thru areas or "ears" of sheetmetal to sandwich it all together. You can see them very well in the last pic. Marks pics are very good to show how it fits together. His wood is original wood. As to the stampped steel clips that span the joints. That is part of the transitional stuff. Since your car has the cast rear top supports it serves as the joint tie clips, at those points. I have seen some cars with both the cast ones at the rear corners and also a small stamped clip at the joint between the front and rear top supports. But not all cars used the one in the middle. Also notice in the last pic at the seat frame area. There is a flat strap made of sheetmeatal that rivets to the seat frame and then attaches to the wood thru the back panel lip, or sometimes another steel piece that is the top saddle bracket on earlier cars. It is to support the "hip pad of the uphoulstery. Without it, someone with a big butt will tear your uphoulstery loose. It is often left out of the cars as most people do not know it is supposed to be there. I also think Mark is mis dating his car. It appears to be the earlier style top irons are needed for his car. There are no holes thru the side panels for the top support rods. That means he needs the "over the top" type of brackets, instead of the "thru the panel type of brackets like you have. I am having a little trouble identifying what he has. He calls it a touring pickup. I see a pickup bed behind what looks like a touring rear panel (no gas tank under seat frame) in one of the pics. But I see a gas tank under the seat frame of another pic. Mark,can you clarify if your car is a pickup made from a touring or not. Either way the wood of a belt rail is almost the same front or rear. I am lucky to have all the original Mel Miller blueprints from years ago for all body styles. I thought I would copy the area in question, but it appears as even "Mel" did not want to address the belt rail/tack strip problem as there is not one single refrence to them in all my blueprints.
Jarred. You said you looked at Howells catalog and your panel is a 25. Catalogs are not always right. There are 2 styles of bodys as to the tack strip/belt rails. either early or late. The transition was in late 22 early 23. So your rear panel is a late 22 to early 23 style because of the use of the tack strip. Your side panels are a late 23 to 25 style because of the belt rail style of wood. During the transition you can have sloping windshield overlap the straight style, low wood firewall, low steel firewalls and high steel firewalls overlap, and there are cases of what appears to be original cars with all the above mixed up. Another thing that hurts is sometimes the left side and right side do not match. The guys putting these together did not always work the same. Some left out things, some drilled sloppy holes, some did good. Also remember that there were several different body suppliers. While all the parts look alike they do not always fit from one company to the next without re-fitting the parts. Ive seen it said before. "How can we build them right, If Henry did not build them right" It is hard to identify the details from pics, and I can stand corrected on some of this but I believe I am correct on all of it.
Thanks Donnie. I'm just using the catalog as some sort of reference, as I don't have another way of comparing. I agree with you that Mark's car looks like a different version than mine.
Does anybody have pictures of a car with the through type brackets instead of the over the top style?
The last pictures are of the front section of a 21-25 touring with a wood pickup box.
The tourings have the two inch belt rail.
The 23 roadsters also have the belt rail. 24-25 roadsters used the 3/4" wide 1" tall rounded over tack strip and the bent metal for the tack strip. Your side metal is for the 23 early 24 with belt rail. Your back section is for the 24-25 roadsters with the 3/4" wide 1" tall tack strip. I have a cross section drawing of the tack strip I will post tonight.
1924-25 tack strip
Donnie, my car is indeed a pickup made from a touring car. The engine number of the car translates to January 1924, but whether it is the original engine is anybody's guess. After the pictures above were taken, I drilled the holes in the body and added roadster top hardware. The roadster top saddle brackets had to be modified to fit on the front part of the touring body. After I did mine, I found out that the front brackets should sit on top of a notch in the armrest wood, not poke through a drilled hole like I did. The way I did it worked out fine.
Thanks Leon. The Cubel belt rail is rounded on the side parts but the back is squared. I could always take it to a router and round over the top edge.
I guess I can try calling around to places like Model T Haven and see what it'll cost to get the proper panel. Hate to have to work backwards at this point, but what else can I do? I'd rather build the car out of the right parts than make do, unless make do is all I can do.
Leon, I am confused again. You state that the tourings are 21 to 25 and use belt rails. It is very easy to get model year and calander year mixed up when talking about the late 22 early 23 bodys. I am talking about cars produced in late calendar year 22 (after august) and titled as 22 models when I say late 22. When I say early 23s I mean cars produced in late calendar year 22 to the first few months of 23 but titled as 23s. Then when I say late 23s I mean from the first few months of 23 to about August of 23 when the 24s were introduced. By the time you get to the 24 models introduced in calendar year of 23 (after august)most of the transitional stuff was coming to an end. I have never heard the use of 24 as part off the transitional bodies. I use these dates loosely as the changes were a running change and overlap of the different styles happened. Probley a result of different body manufactures changing at different rates and different branches assembly times were different also. I will not say I can not be corrected but I have always thought the transition is only the late 22s and early 23s. As a general rule all bodies (touring and roadster)from 1915 to late 22 use the 3/4 X 3/4 tack strip. Then sometime in calendar year of 1923 the change to belt rails came about. What really gets confusing is that there seems to be some use of the early style windshield used with low steel firewalls, then sloping windshields used with low steel firewalls, and then sloping windshields used with high steel firewalls. During this time the change from the straight bottom dashboard to the curved end dashboard came about. It has been awhile since I researched all this but it was even debated for years as to if Ford even made a low steel firewall. It was thought that all low steel firewalls were aftermarket replacements for the wood firewall. I do not know for sure if that was ever laid to rest. My personal opinion is that Ford made them. The quality is the same as Ford and I have seen to many of them. Jared for me to Identify what you have I need to know what kind of floorboard risers you have, the type of dashboard you have, I need a description of the front body to frame brackets, It would be good to see the area behind the dash where the cowl lights/windshield mount and the brackets in that area. Also does your turtle deck match up to the bead in the back panel or is it too high or low. What windshield do you have.? I know these are a lot of questions, but you sound like you want it "correct". Like I said before, the late 22s early 23s are the hardest body to build and get correct. good luck and contact me if you need more help.... And remember that the search and research is part of the fun..... I almost forgot. You can never use the engine as a date to date the bodies with as they may have been changed.
Donnie, when I bought the car it had a wooden truck bed on it. I decided to keep it a pickup as it would fit my needs better than having a turtle deck. There were no floorboard risers in the car, as this car was a poorly restored car when I got it. I have a slanted windshield.
The body styles are 1915-20 tourings, 1915-22 roadsters, 1921-25 tourings and 23-25 roadsters. Ford would also use up his parts on the the next year cars. I have seen a Jan 1914 roadster, engine cast Dec 1913 with 1913 fenders and turtle back. It was an all original 1914.
Jared: I located some of the inside/body brackets and have posted some pics of them. I show the touring rear bracket just for comparison. I am going to go out on a limb and say your car was built between Aug/Sept 22 to June/July 23. It will be a low steel firewall, the dash/instrument board will be curved ends with no steering column clamp support. You should have sloping windshield, with the rare possibility of a straight windshield. If the car is built as a non-starter you can have oil side lights with the use of the bolt on side light brackets. You will then need the blank off plate for the starter, generator, and amp meter (with the Clum style dimmer behind the plate) Your seat frame is the low one with the rounded corners near the door post and you will have a oval gas tank. Your door hinges are the triangle shape ones and not the 25 style that is rectangle shape (when open) You will use the floor board risers like I show in the pics. They are reproduced but try to find an original set if you can. The repros are a bear to get to fit right. Make sure you have the "steel firewall" mounting brackets, and not the "wood firewall" mounting brackets. I have seen the wood ones used with the steel firewalls before. I did not post a pic of them. If you are unsure of what they look like Ill find a couple pair and post the pics. I also show a pic of the correct style rear top iron brackets to use with the belt rail construction. I think I figured out the differences of dating between me and Leon. If talking about belt rails only, my terms and dates work. If talking about overall body construction, and take into account the changes of the seat frames and low gas tanks, Leons dates work. There were so many running changes, and as Leon stated, that Ford used up his old stuff, you almost have to use month to month and by the individual items (dash, belt rail, tack strip, seat frame, ect) to figure it out. Good luck and hope you understand my ramblings. As I said before Im reasonably sure of all of this but I can always stand to be corrected.
I also have show the high cowl inside brackets for comparison to the low style. High cowl started aprox June/July 1923.
The left side panel on your car doesn't appear to be the correct one. It has to have the step in it like the back panel does.
larry, I have a matched set left and right, but the back panel is the later stepped style.
I have a low cowl judging by the brackets you've provided, Donnie. I was pretty sure about that but I never could remember exactly. I don't get to the garage enough to measure such things and post them. I really should just take about a hundred pictures and write down a hundred measurements in a notebook one day, so I can have them handy when I'm on the forum.
I'm still amazed how well the back panel lines up with the sides. If not for that step I could probably just install the belt line and nobody would know. My wooden truck bed would hide the bottom of the rear panel. Thanks again for all the help, everyone. This is why I love coming on this forum.
Jared, Use the back panel you have, it will work fine. I also ran into the same thing on a T I restored. I made the tack strip for the back panel. I also have never seen side panels with the same shape of lip for the tack strip as this back has.