Just as the title says. I've unwrapped the engine block for my 16 coupelet after almost forty years and I'm ready to work on it.
Before I assemble it I need some advice on what types of parts and vendors have good reputations.
Here's my general guideline on the engine.
1. Remove crank and have crank and rods magnafluxed.
2. Purchase high compression aluminum pistons for a little more go power.
3. Purchase reground camshaft.
4. Have crank/piston rod assembly/flywheel balanced.
The engine has new babbitt, crank has been ground and fitted. Rods have new babbitt also. Block has been decked and it appears the valve seats have been ground. Grandpa bought new one-piece oversize valve and the reamer so I'm good there.
I have two main questions:
1. Who is a reputable cam grinder?
2. Which vendor sells the best high compression piston for the money?
Thanks in advance.
I'm sure you've already considered this but, I would highly recommend the Stipe 250 cam.
Here's one guy's opinion - many will disagree. Each HP you add to your engine, whether its via cam or higher compression pistons or head, puts a little more stress on a crankshaft that's just adequate for the 22 HP it was designed for.
A stock engine in good repair will easily do 40 mph, if you want to go much faster than that with stock brakes and steering (on public roads), you have a death wish.
Mountainous terrain may be different, but I have ridden with Dave Huson in a stock T and climbed some incredible grades with no trouble (the ruckstell was a big help though).
So save your money; once when you use the stock parts and once when you don't join the two piece crank club.
Taylor Engine either in Whittier or Santa Fe Springs, I forget which, is very familiar with the evaluation and machining of model T, model A and flat head blocks. If you buy your pistons from a different source than through them, which would be probably be Egge pistons, you need them to tell you what size to order so they can hone the block for a correct fit once they have your pistons in hand? They can also do the balancing and can regrind the crankshaft as well. Vic Terrel, Antique Engine and Bearing service in Escondido, can do the babbit work if you need it and fit the rods and pistons and he is an artist. I have the Chaffins touring cam in both of my cars and have been very happy with it. You can buy a new Stipe, but it's a lot less expensive for a regrind and the Chaffin's cam is a good one..... Save a couple hundred bucks... Taylor did my '11 engine work and I did the assembly. I was very pleased and will have them do the machining on my '15 block as well.
If you can get a good deal on Egge's through Taylor I'd go that route to save shipping time, and those are what I just put in my old '15 engine. When I swap over the 11 to high compression pistons I will may try the Snyder's pistons, they're supposed to be very good; for me it will depend on what the pistons cost through Taylor. I don't think you would be unhappy with either, and with Snyders you pay shipping but no sales tax so probably about the same cost.
FYI, I just bought a driven gear puller so if you need it it's available. I also have the KRW mag gap gauge you can use to set your magnet heights.
I thought Taylor Engine went bankrupt after Jay Steel died? Their website is no longer listed either.
If you have a low head the high dome's might collide, especially if it has been milled already. You get more bang for you buck in my opinion with a z head. I second the stipe cam, but if budget is an issue, Chaffin's cams are good, so are the ones from Birdhaven. I stock and sell pistons, same as Snyders, $110 for the High Domed and $70 for the regular aluminum.
Pistons or head?? Several have stated over the years the smart money is the head? You can't go wrong on ballancing.Bud in Wheeler.
I just found the article about Jay dying.... So Taylor engine is out. That's a loss for the entire Antique Engine community. That guy was really sharp and fairly priced.
The Z head is a high head, if you want it to look correct you need a low head.
I have a low head with Egge domed pistons and there is no issue, for me, with clearance.... There's plenty. That said if your head is heavily milled you may have an issue. I have a high compression head with standard pistons in my other car and will change it to domed and the original low head when I go through it again.
Yup, you can spend about $650 on a new Z head and new Stipe cam, and I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results. Or you can spend about $125 and have a good reground cam and cover the difference of the cost of domed vs. stock pistons.....
I am not slamming the high compression heads or new cams; I think both are great for a car that will tour a lot. For a car that will have occasional drives or just occasional tours, for someone in hilly or mountainous areas, I'd save the money and put it towards a Ruckstell and/or external brakes.
Philip -- Since you asked, I'll add my two cents' worth. I use domed pistons from Snyders and have had good success using them with a milled low head, up to 1/8" for more compression. (Be sure to check the wrist pin fit -- they might need to be reamed a bit.) Put the pistons into the engine and check the clearance using modeling clay to determine how much space you have for milling the head. I've not had any problems milling them 1/8", but you never know how much a head might have been milled before, so check the clearance before milling.
I've also had good success using Tom Carnegie's reground cams, although my first choice would be a new Stipe cam if you can justify the expenditure. Be aware that you'll need some way to handle the thrust on the cam if you use a reground one, which will add about $25 to the cost of it. You won't need that with a new cam.
Static balancing of the rods and transmission drums, and dynamic balancing of the crankshaft/flywheel assembly are worth the money.
I don't think that the mods you are considering will put undue stress on the lower end. Those are moderate increases in power, not an OHV setup.
Hey Philip - everyone has great input, but what is the end goal of the car? Do you want to do 65 mph in speedster, a solid touring car, or something very correct? Your answer to that will dictate a lot of what you decide to do to the engine.
I think Tom's brother Rick does the grinding. Rick told me they were 180 grind. I have had him do a couple but have not had a chance to install them.
Thanks for asking Seth. I'd like a good solid touring car, no speedy stuff. Reliability is more important then speed.
The crank has been ground so maybe using aluminum non-domed pistons might be better for longevity. More for me to mull over.
I want as original of the model t experience as I can get not a modern version of the model t experience.
The engine load is a function of speed and grade, not compression. If you push the engine past its normal limits then you will be adding stress to the crankshaft and other components.
I am running cams reground by Norfeet in Dallas with excellent performance.
If you want to bullet proof your engine, then you might spring for a Scat or Dubats crank. I think Chaffin has both. I broke the crank at 40 mph in my 24 and it ripped out the back main, shredded the mag coil and dinged a few other items. A new crank might be worth some serious consideration. A low dollar cost is not always the best value.
I would recommend:
Aluminum, flat-topped pistons - you can always add a Z head if you want some more hill-pulling power.
250 Stipe cam - you want a touring car, not a speed demon. I think this is a good way to get some great oomph from the engine and still be very stock. Is it an original cam? No, but it's no worse to me than re-grinding an original.
Valve job: cut the seats fresh! New valves without new seats is a waste of time. You're already planning on reaming the guides, get new springs/retainers for those valves and adjustable tappets while the cam is out. This is a great way to really maximize what your engine has to offer. Or, if you don't do it, a good way to undermine what other good stuff you did.
Another thing is look at getting a new crank gear and timing gear - while you have everything apart this is very easy to do. When it's all put together and in the car the idea of pulling enough out to replace crank gear is frustrating (ask me how I know).
Balance! : most definitely get everything balanced front to back, include pistons/rods/crank/flywheel/triple gears/drums.
Alignment: just as if not more important than balancing everything is getting the transmission shaft aligned. There are several threads on this but most important is the Montana 500 guys will tell you that this part is CRITICAL to a smooth running engine.
Last but not least - just do it now! Whatever it is you are thinking. Just go ahead and do it now. If you have to save a little longer, or wait until something else is done, just do the whole thing correctly while you have the opportunity. It'll never be easier and I guarantee you will not regret a dime that you spent after you crank the car the first time. Don't try any half measures or save a little here or save a little there. The difference in engine longevity and performance is not worth the measely few $$ you 'save' by going ahead and doing it right. Heck I've even managed to convince my wife of this - I'll argue with myself about buying something or doing something and she'll say "Oh just go ahead and get it. You'll be annoyed if you don't. I'll be annoyed if the one thing you didn't do means we're on the side of the road while everyone else tours on. I WILL leave you and ride with someone else while you sort it out." Lol, she says the last part jokingly (but seriously she'll just hope in an open seat of a touring car and let me deal with it). Anyway! If you're on the fence on something hopefully this changes your mind.
I agree with Seth on the 250 Stipe cam. A reground cam is a gamble - a Stipe cam is not.
"I want as original of the model t experience as I can get not a modern version of the model t experience."
Driving a T with a bit more power doesn't take away the "Model T driving experience," it makes it more pleasurable. I agree with almost everything Seth said, but I still would suggest that you use the domed pistons and milled low head, rather than the Z head. The Z is a high head, and I don't think you'd like the looks of it on your largely-original car. Something else that I routinely do when rebuilding an engine is to use the advanced timing gear, available from Lang's and others. This, and the domed pistons and Stipe cam, all are measures you can take to give the engine a bit more power, yet still be totally original in appearance. I think you'll be very happy with the results.
Hey Mike - the only reason I say the head over the pistons is that it's something of an option you can add later. You're kind of stuck options-wise if you have the domed pistons. Just as a note I have domed pistons and low head in my '14 speedster. The next head I get will be a Rajo.
Mike, I don't think the Stipe cam is supposed to be used with the advanced timing gear - the advance is built into the Stipe cam from start, with a modified gear you'll get too much advance.
And for a budget build I would recommend the Carnegie brothers reground camshafts from Ford-N-More in Spokane, Wa: http://www.antiqueautoranch.com/fordnmore/
Here Tom shows how a T with a reground cam can pull up hill and go fast too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX45_9PGRzw
(but a reground cam benefits from advancing the timing 7.5 degrees)
Thanks for all the engine advice guys.
Now can someone tell me if my running boards should be flat when on the car or leaning downward on the outside?
I created a new post on Saturday but not much action on it.
As the line in The Sting; "Flat rate!" should maybe even tilt a little up on the outside without any load on it. Notice the bottom of the rear fenders where the board fastens--it's parallel to the ground. Fender irons too should be parallel to the ground.
SS valves! ?
Roger K. -- Someone else told me that same thing about the Stipe cam, but my experience is that both the Stipe 250 and 280 perform better with the advanced gear. I have used that combination in a few engines with good results.
Philip -- I recommend that you set your running boards parallel with the frame, as Seth advised on the other thread. I don't see how that could be incorrect.
Lots of choices to think about. Now for the cam I pulled one out of the 22 engine I had and it seems to be in decent shape.
Can someone give me some measurements to check to see if it is usable?
Mike can you tell us how to take care of the thrust problem if one uses a regrind?
Philip, With original cams they where ground off of a dumby blank that they followed, if you check an original nos cam there is .010 to .015 different in lifts and durations. The new Stipe or Chaffin's cams are CNC ground and exact each time. You may not think 10-15 is much but you can sure tell a smooth engine with one. Same amount of fuel and exhaust each time.
Phillip, put the money into the cam and save the '22 cam for later. If the cost of the cam is prohibitive, wait until you can afford to do it. With these old cars I'm learning that doing it right the first time is a heck of a lot cheaper then doing it again.
Philip -- Measure each cam lobe using a micrometer. Measure the height of each lobe and the width of each one. Originally there was a difference of .250". A lesser amount of difference will tell you how much that lobe is worn, and how much less lift you will get from that valve.
Randall -- the pre-'25 or '26 cams (the ones without the wider front lobe) need to have something to hold the cam back, so it doesn't move forward when running. Chaffin's sells a kit which uses washers similar (or identical) to the 3 spacer washers in the transmission. You install the washer(s) as needed inside the timing cover to keep the cam from moving forward. Chaffin's kit is about $20; if you have any tranny washers lying around, you can use those. (Or you can buy some from the vendors.) Put them on the cam gear nut's nose until they come flush to the height of the block where the timing gear cover bolts to it.
Sent my cam off to FordNMore on Friday. Stock grind nothing fancy. Next is too order all the engine parts for assembly.
Ted Dumas, you said your crankshaft broke and tore the rear main out of the block. That's bad news.
However, I know of incidents where the reverse happened. The rear main had cracked in the webbing and this had let go, resulting in the crankshaft breaking.
Four have been in pre 1913 blocks, but one was in a 1923 block. Indications were polishing of the cracked area where it was 'working' and cracks observed once the block was chemically cleaned.
I would like to see more examination done in this area when a crankshaft/block fails. We may be presuming the wrong thing. It may well be that we should be closely examining all blocks in this area before going on.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.