I drove the "T" to our garden yesterday morning - about 8 miles from here. About a half mile from my destination, the T made an odd noise (kinda like rolling some marbles in a tin can). Anyway, the noise ceased, but there was a noticeable drop in power. As I was nearly there, I continued on.
Finished my work at the garden, a little apprehensive about the T. Externally everything looked fine, plenty of oil and water. She started right up on the first pull of the crank, so I drove home. It was pretty obvious that I only had 3 of the 4 cylinders, but no more noises and got home OK.
Only took a minute to figure out that number 3 had no spark. When I pulled the plug I saw this...
Pulled the head and this was the problem. Apparently, the T valves are two-piece (I didn't know that before) and it just decided to separate on me. Jeez... I haven't dropped the pan yet (I'm a little concerned about the half-dollar sized metal chunks floating around in there, but I hope nothing much happened). I wouldn't have driven it home if I'd realized what happened, but I'm hoping to get by with just new pistons and valves... but we'll see!
If those are the original cast iron pistons, you have an engine which probably never been rebuilt. It would be a good time to check the bore and crankshaft dimensions. You can get new one piece valves and original standard size aluminum pistons to fit your car, but unless you find the pieces of piston, you should pull the engine and clean out completely. That piece of iron will be heavy enough to sink to the bottom but could get into the dips in the pan and cause problems with the rods. And if it should fall into the area around the flywheel might get stuck on the magnets causing damage to the magneto or worse.
Anyway, first step would be to remove the inspection plate under the crankshaft and look for the pieces. If you find them and the transmission and magneto have been ok, you could replace pistons and valves. But if the crankshaft or cylinders are tapered and out of round, it would be worth the time, effort and cost to rebuild the engine.
if U need an iron piston, I have a bunch. Free for actual freight chg.
I'm heading for San Diego in about 30 minutes so I won's be able to check size until I get back.
Thanks for the input! And thanks for the offer of a piston, Hal. I may take you up on that after I see what I can find inside the block.
The car has always been a strong runner up until this...
Paul if the engine is a low mileage engine that is still pretty strong and the babbitt is still good in it it would be worth just replacing the piston and all the valves.
Surprisingly there are still good and decent original engines out there. Yours may be one of them.
Do you know any of the history of the car or engine? That would give you an idea of which direction to go.
I don't know much about the car. I bought it about 13 years ago from the previous owner's relative. He had driven it as a speedster around Nashville, TN in the mid-1960s. It sat in a shed until I bought it. (Kit car body-wise, but chassis & engine complete.)
I think I lucked out... found all the missing metal & to my inexpert eyes, the babbitt, cylinder walls, etc. all look. perfect.
I'll PM Hal and see about just replacing the piston (and of course, all the valves!)
Thanks for all you guys input and help!
If that valve head didn't score the cylinder, you are a lucky man! I had a stock T until recently with original Ford valves, and never had a problem, but you never know. It doesn't appear the head came off the stem, it looks like it broke off at the head.
Paul if you want to look at things a little closer ck out the timimg gear.
If it has one of the fiber gears in it I would replace it.
It still may have a original steel gear in it.
When dealing with an engine that hasn't been gone through in many years its always tempting to go all out when you don't have to.
You may not need to but a fiber timing gear that's been in there a long time can unravel.
As soon as I saw the first photo I knew what the next ones would show. Glad it's only that much damage.
OK John, I will check that too. I really appreciate the feedback on the problem. I think I was VERY lucky.
Did you check the head for any damage? If she didn't lose coolant or over heat on the way home it shouldn't be cracked.
Looks like the valve head banged around a couple times (that was the sound of marbles) and then punched through the piston top. Pretty clean injury, you maybe very lucky.
Looks like what mine did a few years ago.
Paul: If you just replace the piston, make sure you find one that is the same size as the old one. Not just standard or .020 over ect. try to find one with close to the same amount of wear. Also make sure it is the same type of piston. there is a heavy type and a light type. When removing your rod do not clamp it in a vice. Instead insert a large Phillips screwdriver, long bolt, or rod thru the wrist pin and clamp the rod or screwdriver in the vice. that way all the twist is held on the rod or screwdriver and can not bend your rod. They are very easy to bend. I would also suggest to replace all the valves and lifters at this time. I suggest the adjustable 3 wrench type and not the 2 wrench type of lifters. I personally do not trust the self locking 2 wrench ones. But that is my personal feelings on them. and give everything a good look at also. The valves with the 2 holes for the valve grinder are nearly always the 2 piece cast type that do what yours just did. If I see 2 holes I change them. Good luck ....
I thought you posted a picture of my engine. Mine looked Identical when my valve broke off.
A friend lost a cylinder on one of our tours. He drove on 3 for about 70 miles. When we pulled the head there was an exhaust valve (head) missing with no other damage. We never found the valve. He had an old engine laying around that he took a valve out of, installed it without grinding or adjusting (Not my choice) and drove the car for a year of two before rebuilding the engine. Just another story about how the Model T will "take a liking and keep on ticking".
Paul, I'm only way to San Diego and won't be able to check my iron pistons until around the 20th
I found a piece of missing 2 pc. exhaust valve in a muffler once !