Is it just me, or do the rest of you who own both an A and a T, find that the A is just plain harder to work on. It seems that every task that l get into on the A takes way longer, takes more ingenuity, more cussing, more busted knuckles, and more misery than anything on my T. At this time, I'm doing a complete brake job on the A and it has been in my shop on 30" jack stands for almost 2 months now. What a bugger of a job.
The only time that my T sat still for that long was while the engine was away for overhaul. And during that time, she got all kinds of lovin' ... Brakes, rear, wiring, springs, etc. Back when l first got the A, it needed a new water pump. At a quick glance, that looked to be a job that could easily be done on a Friday evening after work. Boy, was l wrong. Wow, the radiator has to come out because the pump sits INSIDE the head and those aren't bolts, they're STUDS. Wow, the headlights have to come off because the wiring travels THRU the radiator shroud. And it went on and on. That water pump took most of that weekend since the headlight removal turned into a blunder of rusted bolts and soldered wires.
Anyhow, it looks like l only have about six hours left on this brake overhaul, and man, I'm gonna be glad to get it behind me. Back in August, l had gotten a quote from a very reputable A shop to do my brakes. 3900 bucks!! ....and l can totally understand why.
If you take the fan off and unhook the rods that go to the cowl you can tilt the radiator forward to the headlight bar and get the water pump out. I just did it 3 months ago. I've done it before too.
If you want the brake job on a model A to be as quick and easy as on a T just don't do the fronts and you'll still have better brakes than a T.
But I agree, there are a lot of things on a T that are easier than on an A.
Dave, I find this thread rather soothing, I JUST sold my 29 A roadster.. Well not really, I'm gonna miss that damn car! Boy it is a good runner!
Yeah Aaron, that tilt method didn't work for some reason, darn it.
for what it is worth, I love my Model T, but since I was seven years old, my dream car has been a Model A Roadster. One of these days, maybe I will be able to afford one.
T and A! Love them both!
Yep, Dave, been there & done that water pump change. Have you tried to put everything back together yet ? I had taken the crossbar bolts loose at the fenders in order to let the crossbar lay a little farther forward. Then I couldn't get the crossbar bolts though the fender on reassembly. I wound up loosening the LH fender mounting bolts just to get the crossbar bolted back on.
Before starting the water pump job, one of my friends who is very experienced with Model A's recommended that I remove the head to change the water pump. I said, "You gotta be kidding." In retrospect he was absolutely right. But he was enough of a gentleman to not say, "I told you so."
In defense of the A, I have had a couple of times when my wife's mini van was in the shop, my El Camino was out of commission, and my '53 Merc was also not running. For a few days the Model A was my only operable transportation. It's never let me down.
Under the skin the A is more truck like. Overbuilt to an extent. The Old Man wasn't wild about brakes to begin with which is why there seems to be more there than necessary and if you're not used to it they can be a major pain.
Does your A have a two blade fan or four? With a two blade fan the water pump should be able to come off without removing the radiator. I just replaced the pump on my '31 coupe a few months ago. All I did was remove the two radiator support rods from the radiator and tilted it forward slightly. I also put a piece of cardboard over the radiator to prevent any damage to my recent recore. I take the fan and pump off as one, then remove the fan after it's off the car. It only took me about an hour to get the old pump off and the new one on. Unfortunately if you have a four blade fan, the radiator has to come off.
Heck I don't even remove the headlight bar or headlights to change an engine in an A. I just pull the Rad. If you are lucky you can pull the studs out that hold the water pump and then life gets easier.
If you think a T is easier to work on, then try replacing the "generator" on a non-starter T. I would much rather change an A generator than a T magneto.
Like Aaron I got the pump out of my '29 Tudor too without extreme measures.
Not because the pump leaked but because one fan blade (4 blade fan) had a small crack near the center.
A Model A is just too modern for me, although my Dad used one for his Rural Route mail delivery for several years in the mid fifties when I was a kid. They are cool, just not as cool as a T. JMHO. Dave
Its been a long "a while ago" that I dont remember
where, but there is 'one' magic spot and the pump
comes right out without touching the radiator. Most
people will say not so, but it is so. Problem is
it may take all day to find this secret spot and
angle to remove. One thinks working on these are hard get this. My youngest boy buys a new F350
diesel he didnt get 5miles and some kind of stupid
oil pump goes south. And they the dealer has to take
the cab off to fix it??? say what??
Well, I must say that the A is a pleasure to drive. The fan is a 4 blade, which aggravated the situation. Those pump mounting studs are gone, replaced by well greased bolts which LOOK like studs! I love the idea of pulling the head to do the pump... That would have been a breeze (maybe). The brakes have just been surprisingly difficult to do. It seems that the T was made for the farmer to repair and the A was meant to go to an "authorized service center". We put about 4,000 miles a year on our 26 Touring and I never fret servicing anything on that baby.
I've been kicking around for years the idea of trading or selling my 26 tudor for an A... Car is excellent and fun in the winter, but I've always wanted an A. Still kicking it around.
I recently bought a 31 roadster. It is really fun to drive, and a fairly classy looking car, but it is not a Model T!! A Model T is a totally different car.
All I know is that there has been a great T in garage for three years.
Then one day it had a younger friend!
During an extended conversation the 1919 T told me that the 1931 A was her younger sister.
They had shared a barn for close to 45 years and she was thrilled to have her close again.
What could I say or do? So I let the A stay.
Actually the decision was made when my wife said that she liked the A and could see herself driving it.
And my granddaughters both want to help get it going.
I am hoping that the younger sister isn't high maintenance -- Like some women.
Matt........KEEP YOUR TUDOR T.
I have a '27 Tudor and I love that thing to pieces.
I have a '29 Tudor A too and love driving it but not quite as much as the T.
Someone at Ford really screwed up when they decided to put those god awful seats in the A's........THAT was a huge step backward.
T seats in the A would be a vast improvement.
My first old car was a 1924 Ford T. I "restored" it over a ten month period. I never imagined I would own more than one antique so with a growing family and the wish to travel farther for tours, of course we didn't own a trailer, I decided to upgrade to a Ford Model A. You know, more power, real brakes etc,etc. It took me seven years to restore the A and we've enjoyed it for 28 years now. Did I miss the T? You bet. Are they different? A lot. Did I want to get another some day? Oh yea. Well, in 2008 I found a 14 Touring for sale, bought it, got re-acquainted with owning and driving a T and enjoy every minute with it. Both are great cars and give a lot of smiles per mile.
I started with an A. Did a full restoration over the course of 4-1/2 years. But when I got into T's, the A stopped being driven much. T's are much more interesting and much more fun. Except for the lack of a synchronized transmission, an A is a modern vehicle. T's have character, if you leave them original. Of course, there are those who do everything in their power to remove all the interesting features of a T and turn it, too, into a modern vehicle. For those people, there is probably little difference between T's and A's.
interesting. Restore my A, in the beginning of the project i found your conclution is correct. Working on my A is akin to working on a modern car in that hand and finger room was becoming a premium.
Some things are easier and others harder on an A than a T. I have had 13 Model A's in the past and 3 Model T's in the present.
You can do more on the engine of an A without pulling it out of the car, and it doesn't have a magneto. You can adjust all the main bearings on an A without pulling the engine. You can pull the transmission out of an A without pulling the engine, so those parts of an A are easier than a T.
however, I think it is just about a toss up pulling the engines out of either car. Same with the rear axle. However, the rear spring on an A is much heavier and harder to remove than the spring on a T.
A brakes are just about the same to reline than on any other modern car with drum brakes. However to do a good job, the backing plates need to be rebuilt so that the shoes will make good contact all the way around. The adjustment of the A brakes is comparable to adjusting Rocky Mtn. Brakes or parking brakes on a T. The rods must be adjusted to apply equal pressure on all wheels so the car won't pull to the side or slide one wheel when braking.
Anyway, there are similarities and differences between the cars.