I've driven my 1923 Touring / pickup conversion enough now (I bought it in June of 2013) to get a feel for its mileage (not that it really matters for what is to me a fun toy). I'm getting about 15 mpg in my local area, which is fairly hilly. My longest trip so far has only been 20 miles, so the car may not be fully warmed up for much of my driving. I adjust the carb needle valve to the position for best running before I depart, and I usually give it a little twist leaner after a few miles once the car has warmed up. I also move the spark advance lever as required based on engine speed and load, although I must admit I have never heard the engine ping (I run 87 octane unleaded with 10% ethanol).
Is this typical? Can others share their mileage experiences and their mileage stretching techniques with a newbie? Thanks!
Our local club has run a number of economy runs where we drove as far as we could on 3 cups of gas. Here are the results from 2003. In later years the mileage went up, as folks learned some of the tricks from the high mileage guys. Tweety-bird is the yellow roadster in the picture.
When I went on my 10,000 mile around the U.S. trip, I kept good track of my gas mileage. I averaged 21 MPG for the trip. Mostly highway driving at approximately 50 mph average speed. My car is a 1926 coupe with a B-1 gasifier.
In this year's 2nd Hershey Hangover tour, I averaged 17 MPG in my stock 15 touring. Both of my speedsters have always got around 10 mpg, but, they have lots of modifications.
Thanks, sounds like I'm in the ballpark, possibly with room for improvement.
I'm curious, Tom, how did you ensure that everybody only burned 3 cups of gas? They wouldn't be able to climb any hills with only 3 cups of gas in the tank!
I don't check my mileage very often but when I do I always get somewhere around 20 MPH. I just checked my 16 touring after some pretty tough mountain driving the other day and got 21 MPH.
Mark, I've been getting around 18 on my '20 Runabout and on the '12 Roadster Pickup I pretty much consistently get 20 mpg with the top down, and around 16-18 with the top up. Those tops put more drag on these cars than we realize.
My 21 huckster which has about the aerodynamics of a touring and maybe a little lighter, about 15 1/5 average even on longer trips, hills and flats with a speed of about 30-35.
I live in central Virginia and just before a short block rebuild I was getting 10-11 mpg on 91 octane. Cold weather hit shortly after I got everything back together so I haven't put many break in miles on it yet to see if that has improved.
Mark asked: "how did you ensure that everybody only burned 3 cups of gas?"
We disconnected the main gas line then hung a little one quart tank from the radiator rod and plumbed it into the carburetor on each car. The little tanks would drain, even on the steepest of hills.
Tim said: "Those tops put more drag on these cars than we realize."
I don't believe it. I think T's have less drag with the tops up. At least that is what the Montana 500 folks have found for 23-27 T's. No T has finished first in the Montana 500 since the first T with a top won in 2007. Since 2007 only 3 T's have finished in the top five without a top up.
You need to think of it in gallons per hour. My T's use 1 1/2 GPH and my modern car uses 2 GPH.
The wife and I did a 180 mile drive this past Sunday. Four adults in the T, lots of hill driving and I don't baby the T. I got about 16.5 miles per gallon. I drove to the centennial celebration in 2008 from SoCal and got anywhere from 15 to 19 miles per gallon depending on driving conditions (mountains, flat terrain, wind). 15 mpg running around the hills doesn't sound too bad. You might check your spark plugs. If you have a lot of carbon build up you might try leaning out the fuel mixture a bit. Should help the mileage a little.
Thanks everyone, I wasn't complaining about the mileage, just curious to see whether mine was similar to others or not. My plugs are dry but somewhat black (I run the newer Champion X gapped at 0.025), so I definitely need to lean it out some more.
Do any of the higher mileage folks have a picture of their plugs that they can post to give me something to shoot for regarding plug color?
Without an odometer it's hard to tell, but on several trips of roughly 100 miles, I have used between 4 and 5 gallons, which works out to between 20 and 25 MPG. Generally 100 miles is a half tank of gas.
I consider my '24 T roadster to be an economy car compared to my '29 Lincoln that gets about 7 mpg on average. Hmmmm, 1500 pounds vs. 5000 pounds, no wonder
Over the last 16,000 miles, my 26 Tudor has averaged just over 19 mpg. Mileage was recorded using my GPS.
Sometimes a speedster with lots of modifications can get better mileage than a stock T - but you've got to have a good carburetor - see Frank Harris post here: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/298165.html?1341459212 about Humble Howard's experience going from 10 mpg to 25 mpg by just swapping the carb.
The main reason modified engines may get better mpg is likely the higher compression giving better efficiency. Stock 3.98:1 compression turns more of the energy in the gas to heat than necessary, an accessory Z or Prus head helps converting more of the energy into mechanical work
Our '26 Runabout's engine was rebuilt 12 years ago, aluminum pistons, aluminum "Z" head, added '11 intake manifold with '20 NH straight thru carb, rebuilt differential with good Hyatt's, new hyatt front bearings, synthetic lubricants.
Thinking of changing back to the Holley Vaporizor this spring for shitz & giggles.
I've done the same run 4 times over the years in the summer & early fall and have averaged 26 MPG.
I won't mention that all runs were with the E-Timer ignition since that may excite some..... with no ignition failure, so don't even think of negativity.
Now with my "smart phone" apps, I will be checking mph and distance but still relying on the wood gas stick for gas spent.
I use a GPS to determine the length of most trips and keep a record of the mileage to know when it's time to grease the cups, change the oil, etc. Sometimes I don't bother mounting the GPS, but the various distances to my usual haunts is already known, so it's a simple matter to add up the day's mileage. According to the clipboard, my Model T covered 428 miles in 2013.
I've been given to understand that Model T Fords can have difficulty climbing hills when the fuel level drops below a certain value (which seems to vary with individual cars — go figure), so my tank seldom falls below half-full and of course, when you're dealing with smaller numbers, the hairs don't get split quite as accurately as when dealing with larger numbers.
Added to that, it seems like good idea to leave a little expansion room in the gas tank, so mine never gets filled to the brim — and that probably degrades the accuracy of my MPG calculations as well, but according to the dipstick, I usually leave about a gallon of air inside. With that in mind, my reckoning is between 15 and 16 MPG on short trips and as much as 17 on longer trips when the engine is warm most of the way.
I forgot to add that my car is a 1915 Touring and we almost always drive with the top down and the windshield up.
There are a lot of things involved in gas mileage. The condition of the engine, the tune up, the type carburetor, the needle adjustment, the spark lever position.
Then there is the body type and weight carried. I came up a hill January 1 with 4 passengers in my touring. I was in Ruckstell and just about needed to shift to low. In fact I will start the hill in low next time I have 4 passengers. Too hard to shift from Ruckstell to Ford Low going up hill without slowing down.
The same hill I can take with must myself easily in Ruckstell. In fact I can do that hill in a roadster in Ford high.
So the weight of the body as well as the passengers and even the weight of the driver can make a big difference. Maybe in the plains it wouldn't make as much difference.
I kept tabs on my Fuel Millage during our Bonneville trip in 2012....and I was pleasantly surprised.
We would stop every 200 miles and fill up. I have a stock, early round 10 gallon tank and filled to the top this car....
...with this motor...
....and these wise guys driving it...
..would average about 220 miles out of a full tank.
When we would stop after 200 miles, I usually had between 1 and 2 gallons left in the tank before filling it.
That puts my economy between 22.2 and 25 MPG
Average for the trip was 23.5 MPG.....not bad for a hot motor with twin Strombergs :D
You guys would all get better mileage if you used imperial Gallons.
Allan from down under.
Never thought about it, just put the gas in and enjoy! KGB
I get what you mean Allan, but then we would have to move the steering wheel to the other side of the car.