I am new to the hobby and have a lot of basic questions. I have a 26 TT that has been sitting in a garage for decades. My fist basic questions relate to getting the engine going again. Where does one even start with an engine that has been sitting for that long? The engine is not frozen. Is the best approach to have a shop tear it down and rebuild it or is it actually possible to clean it up and try to start it? What is your experiences?
Welcome aboard !
I believe there are several Model T fellows that are South of you and perhaps reaching out to one of them with knowledge in assisting you get acquainted with the basics would be prudent. There is also much written information available to help guide you if you so choose.
Here's a good thread about "taking a T out of mothballs", hope this helps!
Jason, if the engine ran when parked, decades of sitting has likely not had any negative effects on it.
Before starting it you will want to perform a basic maintenance on it. Drain & change the oil, clean and inspect the fuel system, inspect the electrical system, and cooling system etc.
Many folks here have faced this issue and will surely comment in much more detail.
I would recommend you pick up a set of manuals, become familiar with the Model T workings then go from there.
The link Mark posted above with Milt Webb's "mothballs" list gives a very thorough rundown of all you should do. Not all the things listed necessarily need to be done, but they should be checked. If you want to copy and paste the list, this version may work best: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG93.html
Here's something for all new T owners: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG80.html
It's good to get into a local Model T club too. That's often a good source of help and advice.
Jason Steve is right. There's nothing like a knowledgeable person to point out the oddities of a T. With life long experience working on cars professionally I can tell you the "forget all you think you know" saying is true about T's. It's the horse of a different color they used to talk about. The guy's here can write until their fingers fall off and are helpful as heck but it can't replace a hands on helper. Look on the interweb for local clubs and contact them. Your best bet by far.
I would try to fire it up after you check a few things out, oil gas and fire to the plugs, you never know the engine could have been rebuilt already and it could run like a champ. The worse thing is to tear it down and then you loose interest because what it will cost you to go through it all. Get it running first have fun, get the bug, buy second one then tear down first one. You know they are like rabbits so do not get them close to each other.
Jason: Get a copy of The book "Model T Ford Service "(T-1) That is my bible.
I have a 1919 Touring, and when I got it up to the near running state, I almost lost interest. When I got going again, It was full steam ahead. Then engine was a completely rebuilt so it was tight, and we pulled it up and down our road, several times, and it would start and die,start and die. Finally, I sent the coils to Ron Patterson for rebuild and when they came back it was like a different world. It would start on a 1/4 rev on the crank. Then I found out about the quick start, sometimes it would start as soon as you turned the key to battery.
Mine some times will do it several time.
As others on this post have said change the oil, clean or check the fuel and cooling system and hope for the best. They are fun when you get them going.
Safety is the BIGGEST caution. Never wrap your thumb around the hand crank as you may look for a new thumb, or see a cast on your wrist from an engine that just backfires and BROKE your wrist!
Welcome to the World of the Model T and good luck. Oh you might look at my profile and see what I have!
Bill D MTFCA 14079
Jason The list of potential things to do on a Model T is the same as the number of parts, but the good news is that everything does not need fixing. Many of us do the safety things and have fun.
This site has a few comprehensive lists of things to look at when you are bringing a T back to life.
I'm sure that Hap or someone can lead you to them, but if you just can't wait learn to use the search function or scan old posts and you will have enough info to make your head spin.
I would try to get it to running first. If the engine is free it may not take a lot to get it started. Don't start taking things apart yet.
The threads others have posted have the basics that you need to do.
I would buy a 6 volt Group 1 battery which is available at Auto-Zone or Tractor supply. Don't buy anything exotic or high dollar. You don't need it. The Group 1 6v batteries were used in a LOT of older tractors, older cars and etc. They are pretty common.
A 6v Group 1 battery will fit the battery case.
A T engine is not that much different than any older flat head engine other than the ignition system.
Once you get the timer cleaned up and the coils to fire your on your way. Next is water,oil and gas. Check for any leaks and if you don't have any real bad ones your on your way.
When you change the oil, put one quart in the front of the engine at the oil filler. Then take off the inspection plate on top of the transmission and pour the rest of the oil over the bands and drums so they have some oil instead of starting dry.
You might want to get an oil screen to go under that inspection plate since the T does not have an oil filter. You'll be amazed at what it removes from the oil stream.
Here is a link to the screen that Steven is talking about. You'll need two trans cover gaskets to go with it, one on each side of the screen.
Their picture doesn't show it, but mine has a magnet in the rear trough of the screen to capture any small iron particles that may be circulating in the oil.
Joe, now that you mention it... I DID have the '20 and the '15 sitting next to each other,perpendicular in the 3rd. garage stall to maximize space...then along came the '12!!!!
If you know little or nothing about Ts it's probably best to start by joining your local T club. I'm sure a member or two would be happy to visit you and show you the basics and perhaps give you a hand in trying to start it.
A lot of information and suggestions have been presented here, and I don't want this point to be overlooked in the flood, so I'll quote myself from one of the links above: The Model T Ford is relatively simple, but it's different from other cars. If you just dive right into working on it without any warning of what to look for, you're likely to be surprised by something you don't expect. In some cases you can unwittingly do damage that will cost you lots of expense and hassle. That's why getting the books and getting advice based on experience are such a good idea. I often see folks ask questions that show they haven't done either, and they're living dangerously.
Well worth repeating!
Wow, thank you all for the great information!
Been in that boat. My 26 pickup had been sitting in a barn for over 40 years I know of. I pulled it from Montana to Tennessee and did all the basic things(fuel oil wires etc). Called a guy I didn't know and he came over and grabbed the crank and in no time had it started. Best part of my T is not the car but the people I've met. Now 3 months and 400 miles later and a not so happy wife here I am on the forum egging you on. Enjoy these times. You will love the car and the T people you'll meet and who knows you may make a wife mad also. Congrads new T owner. It's an adventure