Well...it happened to me today. I got off of work early - 11:00 - and asked my wife if she wanted to go out to lunch. We rarely get time together alone because of work or children, so we were looking forward to this. I asked her if we could take the T and she agreed. We got a mile from the house and heard a loud "Bang." The engine immediately stopped and I pulled the car over to the side of the road. I popped the hood and the mushroom-shaped oil cap was gone. My wife found it on the road about where the bang was heard. When I couldn't turn the crank over by hand I had a sneaking suspicion of what lie ahead.
My wife walked back to the house to get the Expedition and a tow cable. We towed it home and I pulled off the inspection pan. Sure enough - the crank broke between cylinders 1 & 2. There doesn't appear to be much damage inside, with the exception of the nylon timing gear. It is missing a tooth now and will need to be replaced.
For those of you who have done this work, how many hours does this repair involve?
I don't think this is something I have the tools or expertise to do by myself and am thinking about having a professional do the work. I am so bummed! I drive my car several times a week and was having so much fun with the "new" Kingston carburetor. Now, it's wait and save the schillings.
Jim - Sorry to hear of your misfortune. The repair will require that the engine be removed from the car, transmission removed and a replacement crankshaft fit which will require new bearings poured and then align bored to fit your new crankshaft. In my opinion it would be a good time to go through the entire engine and transmission to make sure that everything is in top shape.
Only a matter of time which is why I always recommend T owners to grab spare crankshafts when they see them. In this part of the world where Model A crankshafts have been fitted to a lot of T's, I was able to get spares quite easily.
Yours broke in the same position as mine. In addition, the No.2 conrod flew up and broke the camshaft.
The first main bearing was damaged. There was no loud noise, just a buzzing sound and a rapid vibration through the brake pedal as I slowed down. The car was driveable like this until I stopped. Then it was impossible to crank - hardly surprising when I saw the crankshaft pulley sticking up at an angle and the pistons in all strange positions.
I took the opportunity to have the whole lot rebabbitted and the cylinders rebored. Now all the bearings have shims! It was worth it because that was almost four years ago now and the engine has not missed a beat since.
Apart from the block being away being bored and babbitted, it took about a week to dismantle everything and put it back together again.
Been there done that! Unless money is so tight that it is an issue of eating or repairing it makes no sense to pull the engine and not do a total rebuild as needed. It may mean the car is off the road a bit longer now but that sure beats having to take it off the road again. When the crank snapped in my '10 I had a bit over 8,000 miles on the last rebuild. I had used the original crankshaft which was a big mistake. It was mag fluxed before being cleaned up a tad but I later found out that there was a void where it snapped. The only way to have found that would have been to Xray it. I installed an EE crank the next time but if the Skat cranks had been available at the time I would have gone that route. The goal is to do whatever you have to do to minimize having to spend more time working on the car than driving it. You have an opportunity to get it all done right and in the long run you will be glad you did.
I'd offer to help you, but from your picture, you must live a long way from me. We have sun and have not yet turned on the heat. Just the fireplace a few chilly evenings. You must live in snow country, so you have enough time before the tour season to go through your engine and fix it. I agree with the above, go through everything and fix anything which needs repair. Your local club should have someone who has been through an engine and will know who can help you pour bearings and do machine work. Simple hand tools are all you need to pull the engine out and dissasemble it and put it back together. Get the books on Engine and Transmission and Electrical system. These will give you instructions on how to fix the engine, transmission and magneto. It's possible that the problem which caused the crank to break was the missing tooth in the timing gear. It would have two effects on the engine. One would be to cause the crankshaft to bind at the timing gear. Two throw the timing off which could cause the engine to fire at the wrong time putting a strain on things. Most likely cause would be misalignment of the center main bearing causing the crankshaft to bend slightly with every rotation eventually resulting in metal fatigue and a broken crankshaft. The power stroke on number one would cause the timing gear to bind and break the tooth. If the block is not cracked around the bearings, you can get another crankshaft and have it turned so that all the bearings are round and the crank is straight and not cracked. Pour all bearings including the rod bearings line bore the block and put things back together with new timing gears. You will also need to re-set the clearance between the magnets and magneto coil. Fix anything else which needs it including a new magneto coil ring. Good luck
Welcome to the club.
Make sure you have your pan checked for alignment and straighten it as needed before you finish your rebuild.
Sorry for your misfortune.
: ^ (
Sorry to have you join the club! Please go slow with your teardown and tell us what you find.Bud.
That was your fairly recent "rebuild", wasn't it ?
The engine was completely rebuilt in 2010 - new bearings poured, AL pistons, stainless valves, etc. A friend of mine recommended finding a crankshaft that matches the diameter of the bearing surface as closely as possible, then using Time Saver to get the bearings to fit the crank. Any thoughts on Time Saver?
Jim, did you have the crankshaft magnafluxed?
Sorry to hear of your misfortune Jim. Sorrier still to hear it is a 2010 rebuild!
Hope to see you and Lisa at the Christmas dinner meeting on December 7th.
The short-block was rebuilt in 2009 at our shop according to my records. We did not assemble the motor. The crankshaft was magnafluxed.
p.s. I'm for the Timesaver idea.
What size was/is your crank, Jim ? I might be able to supply one.
Sorry to see you join us.
If the block and bearings are not otherwise damaged and I could find a good crank that was the right size I would go the TimeSaver route as well. If the replacement crank is much larger in diameter, you should be able to have the existing babbitt reamed to fit the crank for far less expense than a complete babbitt job.
Of course if the block or babbitt are damaged, you are in for more serious work. In the world some folks live in, you could start from scratch with a new Scat crank and spend several thousand dollars. Many of us would look to salvage as much as safely practical. In any case, the car will be down for a while and you will be out a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the final damage assessment and how flush your wallet is feeling.
Good luck and I hope you and your family can forget the T for the weekend and enjoy the blessings that we can be thankful for.
When I first got my ’15 touring, I had already bought into the historical legend that Mr Ford’s Flivver was much more durable than any modern car (else why would so many still be on the road?) and drove it accordingly—meaning I accelerated with gusto. In fact, I had re-equipped the car with a high-compression head, enlarged intake manifold and an NH carburetor, figuring that with something like 30 HP on tap, it would be a simple matter of pouring on the torque to keep up with modern traffic. And for about nine months, I did just that.
Then, Val sat me down and gave me the real story—which included a chapter on why we need to take it easy on the crankshaft. Well, now I drive the car like the proverbial little old lady from Pasadena and so far, so good. But I pretty much know that it’s only a matter of time and so, am steadily putting away a buck or two here and there against that evil day. When it happens, I’ll look for a SCAT.
OUCH, sorry to hear about another newly rebuilt engine breaking its crank.
Consider a Scat replacement so it doesn't happen again. Also really check for any other damage around the block like cracks when the crank broke.
PS Mine broke at the other end.
Jim,What type of fourth main were u using? Bud.
Thank you for the offer. Several guys in the Carbon Canyon Club have already done the same! Pretty awesome. We are heading to Portland today and won't be back until Sunday. I will get it measured then and get back to you.
A real fine machinist out of Vancouver, BC, made the fourth main. He also reassembled the block that Tom Carnegie rebuilt and rebuilt the transmission. He, like Tom Carnegie, has the respect of many local club members, so I know that his work was top-notch. It is anybody's guess as to why it failed. Maybe just fatigue?
If you decide to replace with a crank the same size, be sure the mains are aligned perfectly and at the same time the timing gears fit correctly. The original line bore when the engine was rebuilt did exactly that and any attempt to correct the bearings must be done right or you will either have the timing gears misaligned or the crankshaft out of alignment. Also the 4th main at the rear of the transmission must also be in alignment. The transmission shafts should also be in line with the main bearings so that there is no sideways strain on the crankshaft. And besides the above the crankcase must be in alignment so that the 4th main does not bind.
I like timesaver and have started using it on all my rebuilds. When you tear down the engine look carefully at the crankshaft where it broke. Mine had a void that effectively covered an eighth of what is already a very light crankshaft. I am amazed that it lasted almost 100 years in the first place. As I mentioned before, I had the crank magna-fluxed before it was cleaned up but a void will not show up unless it is X-rayed. Good EE cranks are getting hard to find and I doubt they can come close to the Skat cranks even if you can find one. If nothing else, they are already 85 years old.
A EE marked crank would be best among the old originals, but any crack free mid '24-'27 crank would probably be better than any of the earlier cranks. First the areas between rod journals were made beefier and secondly the fillet radii in the corners of the rod journals were increased from 1/16" to 1/8" on the later cranks. See John Regans post here: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/46525.html?1201460648
"I have a drawing of the T crank dated 1/30/20 that was in the archives during the T-100 research and it shows a radius at the mains of .125 (1/8") and at the rods a radius of .0625 (1/16"). (---)
On the crank drawing dated 2/20/24 EVERY journal was dimensioned and the rods now show a corner radius range allowed of .109/.141 (7/64-9/64) while the mains all show corner radius range allowed of .125/.156 (1/8-5/32). I cannot tell you if it changed again for the later cranks or if it was different on the very early cranks"
If the proper crank can be sourced, what is the best way to employ the time saver in this situation?