My 1913 t has its original drivetrain. I have not checked the differential fluid since I bought it two years ago. What do I need for fluid if I need to add to it and how do I tell when it is full. I also wanted some opinion on what is the best oil to use in the engine. The original owners manual talks about flushing the engine with kerosine between oil changes. Does anyone do this and why does it say this.
600 wt in the rear,level should be down about 1/2 inch or so from bottom of hole . I would switch oil to detergent,5W30 or 10w30.drive it for 300-400 miles and change again. Then change it once/year or 700 miles,whichever comes first. Many will perhaps disagree,but it sure cleans crud out of an old engine.
I also have a 13 T with the 13 rear axel housing on one side and a Ruckstell on the other side.
With the fill plug removed, insert your small finger as far as it will go (Don't Get It Stuck)thru the fill hole pointing down...if the end of your little finger touches gear oil, it's full enough. If you fill the differential until gear oil runs out, it's over filled and you will have greater problems with oil getting past the axel seals. Some T owners use 600W...others use lighter weights. I use 140W synthetic gear oil.
Synthetic gear oil does not attack the bronze thrust washers. Do you know if the babbitt thrust washers were replaced with bronze? The babbitt washers crack and break up. Replacing the Babbitt thrust washers is a must if you intend on driving the car. Checking rear axel end play with the rear end jacked up will tell the story on how good your thrust washers are. There has been numerous topics on the need to replace Babbitt thrust washers.
The lubricants that we have today are far superior compared to what was available when Model T's were produced. Detergent oil helps keep sludge from building up. Suggest changing the oil several times a year, depending on how much the car is driven. When the oil gets black, it's time for an oil change.
Everyone has their thoughts on what to use for engine oil. Many including myself, use 10-30W oil.
I use synthetic 10-30W. Suggest not using heavy single weight oil in the engine as it tends to make the engine harder to turn over when cranking. With the emergency brake on, the clutch pack tends to drag/stick more causing the car to move forward (Wanting To Run Over You) when crank starting. Using modern detergent oil, I see not reason for flushing the engine with kerosene between oil changes.
Les is absolutely correct, the reason kerosene flushing was necessary was the horrible non detergent oil that motorists had to use before modern oil was made available in the 1950's. When you open a Model T engine that has been run with non detergent oil it is very sad to see the caked on waxy sludge blocking areas that need lubrication.
Non detergent oil is a real mess, glad we don't have to use it any more.
As a teenager, I remember helping my dad clean up a flat head V8 that came out of Gramps 38 ford. I got the job of scraping out the sludge which was over 1/2" thick in the tappet chamber. The inside of that engine was a mess and took me several hrs. of scraping before using thinner to complete the task. This was before detergent oil became the norm. Gramps may have never changed the oil and just added oil when it got low. I remember folks saying that changing oil was a waist of money. Just shake my head when T and other old car owners say to use only non detergent oil.
You are blessed that your Dad is doing good and still enjoying the hobby. My Dad is 96 and spends most of his time in a wheel chair. Helped my Dad rebuild and restore many cars before he could no-longer spend time in the shop. Those were wonderful times.
Hope you are having fun at Chickasha
How do I tell if the thrust washers have been replaced?
Should I drain the old differential fluid and start with new since I don't know what is in it?
Check the end play on each axle. If the thrust washers are still serviceable and the rear end was set up correctly, there should be a minimum amount of end play. Start by first Jacking up the rear end with the emergency brake off and try moving each rear wheel assy. in and out. There should be some movement....however, if the axle can move in and out an 1/8" or more....the rear end needs re-built. The thrust washers help control ring & pinion gear mesh which is very important. The main problem with old Babbitt thrust washers...they crack, crumble and fall apart.
The only way to tell if the thrust washers have been replaced is by taking the rear end apart. There is no easy way of determining if the thrust washers are bronze vice Babbitt. If the oil in the rear end has a bronze color...that would be a clue on what the thrust washers are made of.
If there is a minimum amount of end play and the rear end is not noisy when driving....then everything may be fine. Draining the old differential fluid with the rear end in the car is not easy, It must be sucked out. There is no drain plug in a model T rear end.