I am in the process of restoring a number of T and TT chassis' and parts. Of course they are old and well worn, but I notice that there is very little lube or evidence of lube on points like spring shackles, king pins, pitman arm, wishbone, steering and assorted grease cups, etc. I suspect that maintaining lube at all of these points was a major task and was not regularly performed.
How about today? Do we do all of these lube points as recommended?
You will notice how worn the TT is in all those wear points if regular oiling and greasing hasn't been done.. If it looks dry now it's still possible it was oiled when used, but that may have been 80 years ago?
It's not much fun to change worn out original parts with (sometimes) substandard repro parts, so yes, it's best to follow Ford's recommendations for service.
Three variants of the owners handbook can be found in the link "Ford litterature" at this website.
Lube chart...does anybody ever do this?
The lube chart is a good reminder. I lube my car every time I take it out of the garage. I check the engine oil and water. Oil the steering and kingpins. Oil the brake rod clevis' and rear spring shackles. I clean and lube the timer once a month, along with cleaning the oil screen, lubing the universal and checking the diff oil. I don't seem to have any trouble doing this routine, but remembering to turn on the gas or filling the tank is a problem that I always seem to have. Mike
John, I think oiling and greasing is one of the joys of having an early car. If that's not to your liking, then it's better to build a rod with modern chassis parts or buying a 60's or newer classic car.
Yes, folks who want their parts to last do it. For oil points, in places like spindles, hand brake lever, and spring hangers, some use chain saw oil instead of motor oil on the theory that it flows slower and stays longer.
My maintenance is about once a year for the high mileage items such as differential.
Maybe two or three times a year for oiling springs and tie rods.
More often for the fan hub.
Engine oil is checked regularly and completely changed, each spring.
I can't remember the last time I oiled the rear brake cam.
I have a friend who has a Harley Davidson Motorcycle. He has done a number of modifications to it and is always tinkering. He has says that it is just like owning a Model T. You have to be driver and a mechanic.
How may people still change their own oil in their modern cars? I'm sure more Model T people and Harley people do than the rest of the general population. I change the oil on my Che^rolay truck, every 3,000 miles, but my wife's Subaru has a maintenance package that came with it and calls for (synthetic) oil change every 7,500 miles!
: ^ )
Go thru the Lube Chart after every tour. Most seasons doing 4-5 or more tours.
As tours are normally 500-600 miles, that makes it about the right timing. Change oil, check or clean the oil screen, (inspect band linings then too). Then proceed to lube the chassis parts as shown in the chart. And inspect nuts, bolts, front end, by looking over wishbone and steering linkage, and rear end, by looking over the radius rods, etc. Check air pressure in tires and spare tire. So that is done each 500 miles or so.
Seasonally, usually in Jan., remove the front hubs, inspect and re-grease bearings, with front end jacked up, test steering. Drain the radiator and refill with distilled water and touch of anti-freeze. Check rear axle lube. Clean timer, check wiring, adjust bands or RM brakes as needed. Jack up rear and push/pull on wheels, remove hub cap and try to tighten axle shaft nut more (good thing to check, most times its still tight), check spokes or wire wheel hubs, and tires for cracks or looseness. Clean under chassis of excess grease or dirt, and visual check underside for any thing suspicious.
Then if not driving that T for a while, close gas valve, add MMO and Sta-Bil to the tank, then drain carb bowl, set axles up on jack stands to get weight off tires, remove battery and place on shelf for trickle charging, and then pull on the car cover. The T is at rest and all ready for next road work.
I picture lubing the front end requiring lots of drip pans...for a long time. I suspect that the proper lubing results in lots of oil drips, spills and general.
I am impressed with some responses with detailed procedures...I certainly don't do any of that. Shame on me.
I really wonder if, in T days, anyone ever did the prescribed lubes. By observing the parts I have, I don't think so.
Yes, a lot of people didn't. But apparently a coat of primer will fix that.
Steve, the shackles in primer are restored to museum quality, ready for final paint!!
I personally don't get to tinker as much as I'd like, but whenever I can I go out and at least make sure she hasn't leaked out all her oil or water/antifreeze and the tires haven't gone flat. I also put oil in the cups on the front and rear axle before I leave the barn. I'm still using regular motor oil because that's what is in my oil can, but once it runs out I'll give the chainsaw bar oil a try. I change the oil in the spring before the new driving season, then change the antifreeze when it's time to retire for the winter. Might not be completely correct, but it's what I'm doing for now. I'm sure I need to do other maintenance tasks more often, but it's hard to find time.
It is my personal opinion that a significant percentage of original T drivers did not really understand mechanical equipment and the value of such basics as lubrication. Even keeping adequate air in the tires was beyond many of them as we have seen in lots of the old photos posted here. There have even been discussions about the fact that so many of the tires were obviously low on air.
My own grandfather owned and operated the TT that I now have for years. When I started tearing it down it was evident many of the lube points on the chart hadn't seen any attention since before he acquired it.
I think this is due to the fact that they started out as boys and young men in a horse and buggy world. They didn't have dads who knew better nor did they have old jalopies to learn on because there weren't any old jalopies yet. Our generation does better because we've learned better right from the start. The old timers didn't have that advantage.
Anyhow, it seems a reasonable theory.
I think that theory is correct for a lot of folks. My dad was born in 1903 and was raised by his grandma in a one-horse town. He remembered the town's first car and saw the first local airplane flight. He spent his teen years in the horse and buggy era, and I think the new Ford he bought in 1935 may have been the first car he ever owned. He was great with woodworking and carpentry, but with cars he had the mechanical touch of death. So any mechanical knowledge I have, I didn't get at home. I think there were probably a lot of folks who learned how to drive that first car, sort of, but not how to take care of it.
Ignore that sound. Just keep driving.
Henry - Yes,...not only did many "not really understand mechanical equipment and the value of such basics as lubrication" as you mentioned, but I've read that quite often, the Ford salesman had to teach one of the family (not always Dad either) how to drive a Model "T" before he could sell it! Guess an auto salesman really worked hard for a sale in those days, huh? And I'm sure that in the area of maintenance and lubrication, lots of cars were horribly neglected,.......harold
Didn't mean to be your "echo" on some points Steve,...you just type faster than I do!
Hey Steve, I think red oxide primer is much better than grey primer.
I think that people did a better job of lubrication than many people give them credit. Most of the Ts that show advances signs of wear on shackles and other metal on metal wear points are probably due to a long life of service rather than lack of lubrication. I have several vehicles that have bronze spring bushings that require replacement at regular intervals due to wear even with constant lubrication. Lubrication does not stop wear, it just slows it.
Lubing the front end is best done right before a drive. It will have stopped dripping by the time you get back to the garage.
In the pre - 1928 world it didn't matter. Garages and roads were primarily dirt. Cities and counties sprayed oil on roads to keep the dust down. A little more from every Model T that went by would not have been noticed.
Your Model T will not experience the kind of wear seen in Steve's photos if you follow Ford's instructions.
Royce, Your chart says oil or Vaseline every 200 miles for commutator, High maintenance compared to the E-timer never.
I consider myself lucky to be able to own and drive a piece of American history, having to oil and maintain it at certain intervals seems the least i can do. This is a hobby last time i checked, isn't it?
John, I have enjoyed traveling many miles with the stock system. I would never consider placing E-timers on all of my T's. But I have spent a lot of time bent over.
I am getting old enough that my desire is to travel the slow roads but with out unnecessary maintenance delays. The E-timer has allowed me to do just that since I installed it. The beauty of it is NO modification. It can be changed back to stock in minutes.
P.S. I will continue to run E-timers on Most of my high mileage T's
It's not my chart. The chart comes from my copy of Dykes Automobile and Gasoline Engine Encyclopedia. It is a 90 year old book. I enjoy reading it, even the parts that don't apply to a Model T. It is history, and it is not always perfect. You either like history or you don't.
I am kinda weird in that I treasure real objects that have history. I am constantly disappointed by imitations of things that look similar to a real one but don't work as well. I call those type of things "rubber tomahawks".
That is why I like real Model T timers that were made when the cars were new. They work fabulously well.
As technology advances so does the convenience and reliability. I suspect your love of true history is limited to the Model T; Otherwise, you would be using oil lamps and a wood stove in your log cabin and fetching dinner with a rifle.
I wonder how many people are left that use the order blanks in the catalogs and mail them in? I suspect not many. You included.
No, actually I am interested in all sorts of history. For a while I concentrated on Napoleonic history, then the Roman Empire, then the Panama Canal and on and on. In the days before the interweb you could find me at one of the branches of the Dallas Public Library nearly every weekend swapping out one pile of books for another.
Of course Ford Motor Company stuff is a big part of what I have spent a lot of my money and vacation time on in recent years.
There is history being made every day. The same has been true for a long time.
And don't forget that it's now later than it's ever been in the whole history if the world.