I have this Model T model 540 tail light and I want to put oil in it to burn. How do I get the oil into the reservoir ?
the bottom bowl come out of the socket look for the little pins and the slots might need to bump a little with rubber mallet to loosen it up only move about I/2 inch and will come straight down
Use kerosine,not oil.
Use modern "lamp oil," which I believe is paraffin based, and the missus won't complain about the smell.
Grab the bottom (Called the "Font") and push up and twist counter clockwise as viewed from the bottom. The burner and font will come off together. The burner can then be lifted off of the font. Fill the font with the lamp oil of your choice (I like Ultra-Pure by Lamplight). Put it back together in the opposite order of removal. Give it a minute or so to 'wick' up the wick and light it. Adjust the wick for maybe 1/2" flame. Too low and it's not bright enough. Too high and it will soot up the lamp.
Avoid Citronella oil. Smokes too much, but does keep mosquitos away.
I filled mine just yesterday as Hal described.
Old time kerosene works just fine for me. Wicks do rot with age, so eventually you may have to get new ones.
Does anyone know where to buy the right sized wicks? Most are too wide and thick to feed through the burner.
When filling with paraffin based oils, the paraffin will clog the wick after a while. DO NOT USE ANY TYPE OF MINERAL SPIRITS!
Dave, see Page 125 in the 2014 Lang's catalogue.
Unless you've got other stop lights that are electric and hooked to your stop pedal, it's not a good idea to run an oil light as your tail light. I'd electrify it and use it as a stop light, that's what I did on my touring. You can get a two contact bulb and socket, then you can have the bright side for stop and the dimmer side for tail.
And you don't have to ruin your light, I just removed the burner and ran the wiring through the knob slot in the side.
For safety sake make it an electric stop/tail light, nobody ever seems to notice your car stopping or for that matter even see it at night, without big reflectors and an electric stop light helps also (I also have two aux stop/tail lights hanging off my top saddle arms, you can never been over cautious on slow moving vehicles). You can always run your front side lights on lamp oil if you like.
Steve, I just checked that page in the Lang's catalog and indeed those wicks are described as the right size. Even the picture shows what is clearly the correct one. I'll be sure to order some. Thanks so much.
I don't recall now whether it was Lang's or Snyder's, but one offered two different wicks. Get the more expensive one. It fits. The other does not. At least not very well.
As an aside, I bought a cowl or tail light one time that had two pieces of wick sewn together. I used it as is but it wasn't long until the joint was up to the burner and wouldn't roll up any further. I still have the wick. I keep it as a testament to how hard times must have been for someone to have gone to that trouble to save the cost of a lamp wick.
Yes, the more expensive one. The 70 cent wick is Lang's part # 6392X. It is listed for '09-'14 cars. The 90 cent wick is part # 6392XB. It is listed for '15-'25 cars. Using the correct wick is a must. The wrong one makes adjusting the flame impossible and might even damage the burner.
On my 16-23 style tail light the springs in the font are so hard that it's an even tougher job to remove and replace the font than to open the headlamps - and the headlamps are usually tough to push and turn when you're concerned not to damage any paint or glass.. It's best if the lamp is fastened on the car, not so easy when it's loose.
Thank you all, you have been a great help. I'm an oil lamp collector and picked this tail light up for $40.00 thought it was a good deal and something cool to light on the mantle as a conversation piece. Loved seeing all your Model T cars posted on these boards. Maybe some day I will look into buying one, I think the car looks great !
All my rear lights are self oiling from oil leaks, I don't really think electrics require oil though! KGB
Those who actually burn their tail lights can let me know, but does the heat from the chimney put "wear and tear" on the paint, especially on a Touring where it's so close? I'd hate to risk a paint job like mine!
If you do oil your electric lights, it is imperative that proper air pressure be
maintained in the steering wheel. Failure to do so will result in catastrophic
failure of the spring flex collectors.
Tim, the heat from the lamps has not affected the rather tough, urathane paint on my lamps whatsoever.
I have the square lamps but I put some Vaseline on the font/lamp contact area and they turn right together. Wipe off the excess and the fonts are easy to remove to fill & trim the wicks.
I have a similar setup to what Tim has. O'Reilley has the tail light with the clear window for about $7 and it's mounted to the license plate holder. The electric tail light runs off a 6 volt battery on the running board.
Steve's lamps look really good and I believe it is a good idea to "Light up" even during the day when it is overcast. Modern cars are also "lit up" and drivers are used to seeing lights.
Ken in Texas
David, I agree with Martin. -Some of us do live in bucolic neighborhoods of lightly traveled backroads where traffic is mostly absent and even riding horses is safe. -In that case, a completely stock Model T with a drive-line brake only and no lights at all is also safe enough to operate.
But I would guess that most of us are not so blessed and depending on the configuration of your car, you may need some electric lights. -In the case of an open touring car with the top down, you can more or less get by with just a brake-light and no electric turn-signals (though I myself wouldn't bet on today's hat-backwards, cell phone-texting, young drivers knowing what a right turn hand-signal looks like). -In the case of driving an enclosed Tin Lizzie, the driver of a car in your blind spot, behind and in the lane to your right, cannot see your hand-signal to change lanes in his direction. -An enclosed Model T might not only need a working brake-light, but electric turn-signals as well.
Now, some guys advocate having electric turn-signals at the rear only. -Eh... I guess maybe that's okay; certainly they're more important in the back than up front, but my feeling is that if you're going to start wiring up turn-signals, you may as well do a complete job.
Okay, I've been lollygagging around a tangential issue when we're supposed to be talking about your single, kerosene-burning tail-lantern. -If you live in Amish Country where drivers expect to encounter horse-drawn buggies; yeah, you're safe enough with just an orange, "slow moving vehicle" triangle. -From behind, your horseless carriage fits right in. -Otherwise, you really do need at least one operating brake-light. -Your choice is whether to electrify your kerosene lantern or keep it as is and add a pair of non-authentic, auxiliary brake-lights—or, if you're compulsive like me, you can not only add a pair of brake-lights, but electrify the tail-lantern as well. -If you're going to go with just the electric tail-lantern, for Pete's sake, make sure whatever kind of bulb or LED you choose is BRIGHT, because the red lens on that lantern is kinda thick and even a 12-volt bulb (powered by a 12-volt battery) doesn't appear all that noticeable in daylight.
Not finding my jar of Vaseline handy, I tried this font lubricant. It seems to work OK.
I use that for the commutator. It seems keep my flapper nice and is only $9.99 at CVS.
Ken in Texas
Thanks Dave...but how about the metal body panel, it's awfully close to the lamp too. Get any soot or blistering? Dang, gotta update my post name too!!
Okay, lets see if I did it!
As for burning the paint, I did blister some lamp tops I painted with nitrocellulose lacquer years ago having the wick turned up too high.
I recall my first lamp restoration 50 years ago. Several of us hiked down to the local filling station to buy 5 cents worth of bulk kerosene and lit it on Henry Fords Birthday. Times have changed.
Tim, I only get soot on the lamp and it wipes right off. My wicks are in terrible shape though. I expect I will get better results from the new ones I will be ordering.
I burn the lamps in my 1914 and after a search, got the right size (narrow) wicks at Walmart. A pack of six was about $3.00.
I think Tim W is asking about the heat from the lamp burning the paint on the back body panel.
The heat does not seem to be a problem with the rear lamp but the fumes may be. My 16 had signs of corrosion and rust holes above and below the lamp when I got my car, which has since been repaired. The damage did not seem to be heat related, (rust is usually not affected by heat), so after nearly 100 years of use, one may have a problem with the paint.
This is the 1913 that Constantine drove from Australia to Moscow. It has its original paint which was undamaged by the tail lamp over its 100 years in existence. In fact it was about the shiniest part of the whole car.
Full sized photos are on the MTFCI forum here:
I've added some pics/info to the thread above on the MTFCI that Royce started.
I just installed the proper oil lamp wicks that Lang's sells. Unlike others I've tried, they are the right size and feed through the lamps perfectly. I can also drive at high speed and they won't blow out.