My name is Donnie Dingler; I live in Crowley, Texas. This past August I had the good fortune of purchasing a 1924 Touring car. Shortly after obtaining the car I discovered this fantastic message board. I read the board daily and you folks are just incredible with the wealth of information that you are willing to share. I have always been a muscle car guy but, this car has changed me completely about my appreciation for the automobile itself. The car was owned by a next door neighbor and has been in storage for 49 years. I have memories as a 10-11 year old going over in his garage and watching him working on his cars not ever imagining that one day I would purchase not only the T but also his 1953 Studebaker Commander. Over the last 9 months I have dove deep into obtaining all the information that I could about Model T’s. My wife says that I’m obsessed. I have purchased all the manuals, Bruce McCalley encyclopedia and have worn YouTube out. I used the “Taking a T out of Moth Balls” article as a guide. I have gotten the car running and have been able to take her on a few drives but I’m still in the process of going thru and making her as safe as possible. The fenders have been painted red and have faded/rusted. There was no seat covers but all the seats are there. No top. I have several questions in my mind of what I want to do with the car – restore or preserve. I’m leaning toward just making the car mechanically sound and be as safe as can be and just leave her as she is but, with that said I have to put an interior in it and with the heat of Texas I really need a top. There are also approx. 25 snaps that are completely around the top of the car that I’m not sure why they are there? I will have many questions in the future and look forward to my new journey with this magnificent piece of history.
Greetings to the world of Model T's! Have fun and take your time learning about your 24. Your lucky to find a T that hasn't been out on the back forty for years and years.
By the looks of it seems that the restoration was started. Sometime in the past the wood wheels were redone or at least cleaned up and varnished.
Have fun and read and reread the manuals. They can save you a lot of grief when starting to work on the car.
Welcome Donnie. You are clearly one of the hardcore Model T guys right from the start. I continue to be amazed by the large number of people who have converted over from muscle cars even though I'm one of them. I would get the top, interior and mechanical sorted out and then decide later if want to pretty it up or leave it as is. Hope you post often.
Well, if the fenders looked as nice as the body, I'd say preserve it, but they look sooo bad compared to that body--especially the red ones!
Looks like a wonderful car. take some close ups of the "snaps" maybe we can figure them out--or maybe not!
Welcome to the addicTion!
Welcome to the forum! Since you are just a little south of Ft Worth, I would recommend checking out the local Model T Ford clubs in your area. See http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm#tx and http://www.modelt.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=15#TX . Linking up with a nearby chapter can provide a lot of good advice and fun.
You commented, “There are also approx. 25 snaps that are completely around the top of the car that I’m not sure why they are there?” Those would not have been installed by Ford. I suspect a previous owner either had a tonneau cover or was planning to have a tonneau cover to protect the interior from the sun etc.
You have a nice looking Touring. And it appears to have the equal length door hinges that were introduced during calendar year 1924. (See: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/114100.html ). You might also want to check to see if your emergency brake quadrant (the part with the teeth that the emergency brake pawl engages to keep the emergency brakes on) is held on with 4 rivets or with 2 rivets. The 2 rivets would indicate a later 1925 frame or that the brake quadrant had been replace at some time. See: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/315817.html?1349572419
You mentioned your car is a 1924. And it is clearly the 1924-25 high cowl touring. But are you basing the year of the car on the title? Sometimes they are not as correct as they are for the more modern cars. I.e. the DMV cannot just type in the VIN and find it listed. If the engine was swapped out the previous owner may or may not have bother to change the engine number on the car’s title. And they might even use the title for the car they took the engine out of. All that to say if you use Bruce’s (RIP) book, it has a lot of good details to help you indentify if your car is a 1924 or a 1925. Not that it matters much, as they look very close to the same. Or a very late 1924 and a very early 1925 have different engine serial numbers but the rest would be the same.
And before you install the upholstery; be sure to install the body irons that the top pivots on. Below are two different styles that were used. I suspect the 1925 longer style would be correct for a 1924 – but that is only a “GUESS” as I don’t have that documented yet.
+++++ safety info below +++++++++
When I was a teenager I didn’t care what year the car was or if it had any safety issues etc. I was concerned about could I drive it. If I could, then it was great car. And besides you don’t really need good brakes or brakes at all for that matter as long as the horn works.
While it doesn’t matter what year or for that matter what make parts you use, it is important that you enjoy your car. And there are some known safety items about the Model T that you should check out before you start driving it. (If you are driving slowly on a farm where it doesn’t matter if the brakes fail, the spokes fail, car turns over, etc. – then you can ignore them all). If you have been around Model Ts for while you probably already know about the pitfalls. But if not, I would recommend you review them so you learn about those issues second hand rather than first hand experience. Getting an experienced Model T person to help you learn about your car can save you lots of frustration and possible expense. For example if you fail to retard the spark and you push down on the starting crank at the front of the car to start the car, you could easily break your arm. That is a known safety issue with Model Ts. And it isn’t dangerous as long as you understand what causes it [spark lever advanced [that is the left hand lever on a left hand drive car] it should be pushed up], commutator adjustment rod installed wrong or bent improperly so that even with the spark lever up, the spark is still too far advanced, shorted wire on the commutator, etc. . And if you use the electrical starter that your car should have – if the spark is advanced and the engine back fires – it can damage the starter and/or bendix drive. For additional details please see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/68644.html?1224126132
and there are other related threads.
Some other safety related items:
And be sure the car is in safe working order. An engine that burns oil is not a critical safety issue (at least not in my book) but the front end castor if it is set up negative can flip the car. If the rear axle still has the original babbit thrust washers you can lose your normal service brake. Those and similar items are well documented "oops" for the T. But if you have never been around one -- they are probably new "data points" for you. Some of them are listed below – not to scare you but to let you learn from others rather than discovering all the lessons on your own.
Safety Glass is nice: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/72116.html
Use safety wire and not lock washers or cotter pins on the two studs holding the wishbone to the underside of the engine.
Lots of safety items http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/69429.html
Over center steering – shouldn’t happen on the later Ts (Ford added a stop inside the steering gear housing. The change was approved Oct 28, 1921 and would have taken a little while to be put into regular production. Ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/S-T.htm#sgc )– If the steering gear is original to the car – that can also be used to establish it was before or after that change. Note there would have also been a period of overlap when both designed were used as the old stock was used up. If someone replaced the steering gear housing or rebuilt it without the lock pin – or installed the wrong length drag link etc. the over center steering might happen: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/86345.html as well as: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/300409.html
Types of safety wire: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/41859.html
Example of loss of brakes caused by drive shaft failure: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/47804.html
Top T tips – many of them are safety related also: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/85208.html
Tour safety check list: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/44331.html
And if you have a gas hot water heater in the garage – be very very careful. The float in a Model T Carb will sometimes stick (or trash in the valve) and the carb will leak gasoline. Not too bad if there are no sparks – several homes, garages and cars have been lost when a gas hot water heater was near by and someone started the dishwasher other item that caused it to turn on the burner at the wrong time. Note gas fumes tend to be heavier than regular air …. so they tend to hug the floor. If you adjust your garage door to let the mice in and the air out – that is a temp work around. But replacing the gas fired hot water heater with an electric heater or having the gas one relocated away from the garage is the best thing
Even with a perfectly good and properly adjusted front steering system – if you back up quickly, the front wheels can go full left or full right and pull the steering wheel out of your hand – so remember to back up slowly. It is caused by the caster of the front wheels similar to the casters on the front of the shopping cart – designed to be stable in one direction but not so stable in the opposite direction. Since you have already been driving the car you probably do not have the following problem – but you might still want to check. If someone rebuilt the front axle and it is was really difficult to keep the car going straight they may have inadvertently swapped the front spring perches. There is a left and a right spring perch that tilts the axle so the bottom of the axle is slightly ahead of the top of the axle (5 1/2 degrees positive caster – although there is some discussion that it is a little less but still positive for the balloon tires like you have). If it has negative to neutral caster it can cause a wild ride and also could cause the car to flip even at a slow speed see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/80333.html?1233523419 that shows the spring perch installed incorrectly and how the front axle looks then. Also see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/40382.html Note even with the spring perch installed correctly a bent or shortened wishbone could cause neutral to negative caster.
Also the rear axle thrust bearings if they are babbitt (originally bronze in the 1909-1915 cars and then switched to babbitt on the cars during 1915 ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/P-R.htm#rax3 see part number 2528 ) can fail with minimal warning leaving the driver without the normal transmission brake (the main regular brake on a stock Model T). See the discussion at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/78685.html?1233159025 If you loose the brakes and you are on a flat area with minimal traffic – it is not nearly as bad as loosing them while going down hill towards a busy intersection. See the rear axle babbitt discussion part way down in the following thread: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/277093.html?1332591272
Wood spokes work fine – but they need to fit tightly, not be split or wood rotted, made of quality wood (pine is not a good choice and yes some folks have offered pine spokes for sale) and the bolts etc. need to be tight without too much wobble in the wheel. see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/179374/248594.html?1322326314
A Model T is a faithful servant but it has some known issues that the driver needs to be aware of and to take proper precautions about.
Again welcome to the forum and best of luck to you with your car.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Well yes, Donnie, we're all obsessed. Glad to have some muscle car influence here. That seems to be where a lot of the younger crowd goes. It sounds like the "T" bug has taken over. I wish this forum had been around when I got my first T.
Welcome, Donnie -- I can tell you've already found out why some of us call the Model T hobby "an affliction." Sounds as if you're knee-deep into it from the git-go.
I agree with David Dewey about the fenders. The body looks good enough to leave alone, but I'd put some black paint on those fenders right away! I'd paint the wheel spokes black too, but lots of folks like them varnished.
The best thing you can do now, as Hap said, is to get hooked up with some other local T guys. Sharing the fun makes it even better!