Its been a little while since we did a study of the various parts of the Improved Models. The studies have been going well, with very little thread drift. The input has been great, and is appreciated. So picking up where we left off, this is study number 8 in the series. I bought a hubcap at a swap meet a couple months ago that brought up some questions. It is different than the repros, and also I do not remember seeing one before. It has 8 tabs to bend over and the repro has 23 tabs. It is also a slightly different shape than the repro. It is very little difference, but appears a little "fatter", when sitting side by side with the original. My question is, Are all the originals an 8 tab design.?? or are there some originals with 23 tabs.?? My Aug 5 1928 Model T "price list of parts" shows the 8 tab design, but I have found out that even though a part may have changed, the photo in the parts list, did not always change. I have also shown a pre 1925 style hubcap in the photo. Since it applies to the Improved models, I thought it should be shown as well. It is the style that was used on the wood wheel supplied 1926-27 Improved Models as well as 26-27 TT Trucks (front wheels only). Then photos of the 8 tab original. and also the 23 tab repro. If there are original 23 tab styles, Were they a later version .?? Thanks for any help or info you may have.
original 8 tab
repro 23 tab
Aug 5, 1928 Parts List
(Message edited by dobro1956 on October 11, 2014)
One other thing that I forgot to mention. All the hubcaps should be nickel plated.
I hope you are aware that some 1926 vehicles could be bought with 30 x 3 1/2 clincher tires on demountable rims also. These were mounted on wooden spoke wheels.
This is in addition to your base model touring that could be bought with non demountable wheels.
Thus the threaded hubcap should be included for 1926.
I have one wire wheel with a slightly larger center hole for the hub cap. The wheel fits the hub pattern, and looks like the others. Hub cap drops right through. What do I have here ?
Gene (26 Touring)
Arnie. Im aware of the different wheel choices. There is the "non" demountable "steel felloe" 30 x 3-1/2 inch clincher wheel used in early 26 on non starter cars (probably till the 27 models came out), Im pretty sure the "steel felloe non demountable" was also used in 25 on non starters (and maybe earlier) Then 30 x 3-1/2 inch demountables as used on pre 26 cars was also an Improved option. Then there is the 21 inch balloon tire on wood spokewheels with split rims, and finally the wire 21 inch wheels. There were introduction times for various wheel choices. Probably any wheel option could have been used on all Improved Models except the "steel felloe non demountable" 30 x 3-1/2 inch clincher. It was discontinued when the non starters were discontinued in late 26. I am planning a complete study of all the wheels in the near future.
Gene: Can you post a photo. or at least a good measurement of the hub cap hole. I would have thought it could be a model A wheel, but you say the bolt pattern is the same. ??? An inside measurement of the area that looks like a brake drum, may also be of some help. Maybe someone made the center hole fit a model A hubcap. ????
Not much response on this thread. I was hoping for some input and photos of original hubcaps vs repro hubcaps .....
I sold a NOS cap a couple months ago. Wish I still have had it here for your study. It was probably twice as thick as the reproductions, and the stamping was much more defined, and crisp. Hope this helps.
Tim: My original is about twice as thick as the repro. That is probably why the tabs break off the repro's and they will not stay tight ...
I put rubber o-rings around my hub caps after installing them. No more rattles. (From the wheels that is)
Will try to get some measurements tomorrow. A repro hub cap is an easy "Slip fit" through the hole. I recall that long ago, someone mentioned that some late '27 wheels were made to use the Model A hubcap. if I had one, I would try it for fit.
Just did a little research. This could be the answer:
Gene: Thanks for the link. So it appears that very late 27 wire wheels may have been made to accept the AR hubcap. The late T wheels will have no reinforcement stamped in the lug bolt area and have a 5 on 5 bolt pattern (like all other stock T wire wheels), but they have a 2-3/4 opening for the AR hubcap. All model A and AR wheels will have the reinforcing stamped into the wheels and have a 5 on 5-1/2 inch bolt pattern. There are other differences of the A and AR wheels but that is left for the A people to play with .. Thanks for the input guys. This is the stuff the studies are trying to find out and get into one series of topics. One note about the caps I have pictured above. While the hubcap Im calling the original one(green paint) looks like an AR hubcap, it is the small size to fit a T wire wheel.
Donnie, I have 5 repos made in the sixties with the 23 tabs. I have never removed them and never have had a loose one or broken a tab. They are going to be replaced with five NOS ones that I have. They all have 8 tabs and are of heavier construction than the repos.
Remaining skeptical that Model T wire wheels ever had wider opening for the hub cap used on the Model A.
The Model T wire wheel opening is a taper opening within the hub. This is important as the long front wire wheel hub supports the wheel, that is to say, the long snout of the front wire wheel hub is what supports the wheel with the forces on turning.
The T wire doesn't fit like a Model A wheel is designed to fit.
And the T wire is 5" bolt circle. The A wheel is 5 1/2" bolt circle. That included both 21" A wheels, the A and the earlier AR wheel. The 1928 AR has a narrow brake drum, and those wires won't fit to the later A brake drum.
1928 Model A Early AR wire wheel, note how narrow is the brake drum flange, looks kinda like a Model T, but not!
1926-1927 Model T wire wheel, the hub center is a taper cup, or "Dixie Cup" shape, that is important for fitting to the non-brake front hub of the Model T. The taper fit is critical to the strength of the wheel on the hub!
I have found that times, when powered coated, the T wheels are too tight, so have to sand/grind away the thicker powder coat to allow the wheels to fit snug on the front hubs. Do this to test fit all wheels (including the spare!) carried on the car so that all match in the taper opening, so all can be interchanged around the T.
Agree with the comparisons
The original caps had only a few teeth to bend down, the repro caps have many. The repro only need to have a few bent down, and for me too, wrapping the inner rim of the cap with some friction tape prevents rattles!
Dan, Im skeptical also, but there seems to be more than one wheel with the large hole.?? I also think what they may have, is a model T wheel, since the bolt pattern is supposed to be the same. If the bolt pattern is the same as well as the taper that you describe, then maybe .?? Gene if you can, post a photo of the inside and outside of your wheel at the hub cap area. Henry did strange things, so Maybe there is a "rouge" wheel that was made late in production, or even during the Model A changeover time. The only other thought I may have is Maybe a Western Auto, Montgomery Ward, (or other aftermarket) wheel that had a special hub cap. ????? I do agree that the wheel will have to have the correct taper you describe as well as the correct bolt pattern.
Dan, I started this thread and hardly no one was responding. I thought I had a "dud" for a study. I forgot everyone was at Hershey. Now that everyone is returning, things are looking up. Always appreciate your input.
I've seen T wheels with large holes for A hub caps, but they could easily have been hogged out on a big lathe (which I believe is the case).
Donnie, After reading all this I thought I would add some fuel to the fire. I've got two what I would consider to be original caps each with 8 rounded tabs and some repop's that I purchased from lang's 10 years ago with 18 rounded tabs. The shoulders on the older caps are different from each other, one is sort of angled toward the base the other is more squared off. The repop's have a mfg's letter none on the originals.
I haven't had a chance to take that wheel off for measurements. I had to install the hub cap with RTV, so it will be hard to get a picture. I did try a regular wheel on a front hub. I find that the hub is a close, but not snug, fit inside the wheel, inboard of the cap. It allows plenty of clearance for the cap and its tabs. The support while cornering, does not bear on the cap and tabs. When I get some pictures, I'll then have to learn how to load them here.
James, I believe the slight difference you show may just be manufacturing variations. Bruce even mentions in the "car that changed the world" book that there were many slight variations thru the years. It was probably a "tool and die" maker thing. It could be that the dies were re-built and then re-used. or a different die maker made "his" die a little bit different. ?? As to the large hole, Im still a little skeptical, but there does appear to be enough of them to think 'maybe". It could also be someone made a set (or two) of them. and then later they were separated and now are surfacing as "singles". I know from experience that the stuff does resurface. I have been selling T parts for about 25 years. I have a distinct way of marking my stuff. I can not go to Chickashea, or most swap meets in the central US and not see some of my markings on something for sale, that used to be mine. So that may be what has happened to a set or two of these large hole wheels, ???? We may never know
Gene and Donnie,
I started the debate over the over-sized T hubcaps two or three years ago. All five of my late '27 wheels are definitely T patterned and will accept the early A hubcaps. These wheels were never machined or knurled out to accept the A caps as suggested. Much was discussed and others had the larger openings also (I believe around 7 or 8 owners had them). Also the 8 tab, nickel plated caps are the correct issue in '26/'27. I bought a set 30 years ago from a Ford dealers parts with the original part numbers on the box and 5 caps were wrapped in a wax type wrapping paper. Good luck this is an interesting thread.
Skip, thanks for the input. I can see Ford doing something like this. Especially during the end days of the T and changeover to the A. It may be hard to ever know for sure, but I see it being possible. If you or others are not aware of the studies I am trying to do on the Improved Models, you can do a keyword search for them. Use the keyword search button at the top of the page. Then use the words "Improved Models a study of" and also check the box for subject lines only. All that should show up is the "a study of threads" sometimes a "rogue" post will show up but it should just be the studies. I am asking everyone to not use that string of words in any of their subject lines or titles for any of their own posts. I hope to keep a monopoly of those words so the studies can be easily searched. So far the studies have been going well. Im about ready to do the next study in a few days. It will be on the wheels of the Improved models, Lets see what kind of a "can-o-worms" that opens up.. So as far as the hub caps go Im going to venture the following.
1. Screw on hub caps for all Improved Models with wood spoke wheels including 26-27 TT trucks (front only) (rear TTs are also screw on but a different size than the front)
2 Original wire spoke wheel hubcaps will have eight ears and fit a 2-3/8 inch hole in a stock model T wire wheel.
Repro hubcaps will have more tabs. There are examples of 23 tabs and also 18 tabs. The repro caps are also thinner and some have a "manufacture letter" stamped into them. Most I have seen the letter is an "R" possibly for "reproduction" ???
3 Then there is the "rogue" wheels that may have used Model A hubcaps. The hole in these wheels will be 2-3/4 inches and all other features of the wheel is the same as other T wire wheels. The wheels will have the Model T, 5 on 5 bolt pattern and the taper center (Dixie Cup shape) to the center cone. These are still being debated, but are possible. So this give the possibility of Model AR hubcaps as a correct option. But only only if you have the "rogue" wheels
Those are my closing arguments for now. So do we agree, disagree, or Donnie is just crazy. (Ill leave myself open to ???? on that) But because Im closing out for now, Please, still feel free to add to this thread if you have any new info.
Thanks Donnie. I have a '26 Coupe and a late '27 chassis and look forward to your studies.