1 April 2015
I need some advice - the front wheels wheels on my 1908 and a half speedster, go in a circle when I travel forward. The rear wheels follow in a similar manner. Any suggestions or helpful solutions?
You need to flatten each wheel on one side, then rotate them. If that doesn't work you may have to install a 1923 frame.
John, clearly your "T" is giving trouble, and you should be concerned. Try removing about half of the air from the tires, which might help the situation. At least this is what I have heard, mine does that as well but I expect different behavior when it is finished.
Parts for these will be tougher and tougher to find, as I heard both Hershey (due to sale of HERCO to a Chinese firm concerned with internal combustion engines near the chocolate) and Chickasha (they want to repurpose the land for a large electric vehicle charging station) will be closing up shop after this year.
The problem is the modern air that you are using, you need to fill the tires with 1908 1/2 air! Problem solved.
You must have a very early speedster. The first 143 cars produced in late 1908 (1909 year models) had square wheels. Then in October the wheels were updated to a triangular shape. While this improvement eliminated 25% of the bumps, it was still unsatisfactory. Then, in December round wheels were introduced as standard equipment.
It sounds to me like you have an early version of the square or triangular wheels. I suggest upgrading to a round set. While this may mean your speedster is "altered", it will move down the road better. This improvement will also allow removal of the bothersome stock water pump.
This problem is easily solvable. First, jack up the front end and remove both front wheels. Next, jack up the rear end (be careful to only jack in the center of the pumpkin), and remove both rear wheels. Then slowly lower the front and rear ends of the car simultaneously, until the whole car (minus the wheels) sits completely on the ground.
This solution will prevent both front and rear wheels from going around in circles, as you describe.
"..... go in a circle when I travel forward."
What happens when you go backwards?
Most likely, they were originally installed on a Doctor's Coupe.
The problem is obvious: It sounds like a car that was manufactured in Australia. As I see it you have two choices: 1) Send it back to the southern hemisphere, or 2) flip the car upside-down before you drive it.
The Holt brothers encountered this problem on their first four wheeled tractors. Their solution was to replace the four round wheels with two elliptical wheels eliminating the pesky "following" problem.
There is a solution to your problem and a little known secret...add a water pump. The water pump was not designed for cooling but actually to equalize weight distribution. With the torque of the engine turning the crank clockwise there were frequent front cross member breakages and other problems like you experience. With a water pump weight is thrown to the other side of the engine @ 9lbs / gal. A water pump is actually better than a modern crankshaft or a counter balanced one. A water pump will also take the strain off the rear axle assembly with weight transfer so you can run original babbit thrust washers in the rear axle with no concerns as the weight distribution shifts everything so there is no stress. A water pump will also help your coils work excellent as water is a conductor of electricity and is a better ground than any physical connection. A water pump will nearly restore your Model T to factory specifications.
Happy April fools day everyone!
Using air of the same vintage as the vehicle isn't a bad idea. I know the Model A Club gets pretty serious with their judging guidelines and in 1986 a well known Model A hobbyist actually brought a small compressor to Al Capone's vault shortly after the program where Geraldo Rivera opened it. The air was installed into the tires of his 1929 pickup shortly before judging, but was disputed by the judges for "lack of proper documentation".
This is a good April 1 post. It made me chuckle for quite awhile. I especially liked the reference to the Model A Judging standards. That is them in a nut shell.