Sprak Plugs - New to T's Help!

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: Sprak Plugs - New to T's Help!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By TT on Friday, May 15, 2015 - 04:44 am:

Hi all

So first of all this is my first T always loved them , but over in the UK so when looking for a specific has taken a while, anyway now a proud owner of a 1922 Runabout (Pic added)

This is a regularly used car rather than a museum piece, its LHD and been in the uk about 20 years. (I have had a number of older cars before, though only in my late 30s)

Anyway, though the car seems to run well, as part of me getting to know the car I am changing the oils, and generally giving everything a good clean and look over, but one of the simplest jobs is puzzling me:


Fitted are a unknown brand, they do not screw all the way in so i am assuming should be some form of tapered thread or similar, but the pklugs are not? Not sure and do not want to do something stupid! From someone that has been stripping engine on cars for many years this seems like the simplest question!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Doug Money - Braidwood, IL on Friday, May 15, 2015 - 05:23 am:

The spark plugs are pipe thread and do not screw in all of the way like you are used to.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank van Ekeren (Australia) on Friday, May 15, 2015 - 05:30 am:

The thread in the cyl head is also 1/2" tapered pipe thread, just screw the plug in until nipped up.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By TT on Friday, May 15, 2015 - 07:03 am:

Brilliant thank you

Simple when you know how :-)

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Kopsky, Lytle TX on Friday, May 15, 2015 - 07:54 am:

Nipped up? That has a totally different meaning in the states. Especially in the cold weather regions. :-)

Hard to tell in this picture but the plugs DO have a taper thread.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Zibell, Huntsville, AL on Friday, May 15, 2015 - 09:09 am:

TT, getting in touch with local T guys may prove worth wile. A quick search led me to this. http://www.modeltregister.co.uk/ You should be able to find folks nearby through that organization, and of course this forum.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Friday, May 15, 2015 - 09:21 am:

Here's some reading for you on the Champion X plugs. http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG95.html

There are also modern Autolite and Motorcraft plugs which I imagine would cost you under £3 apiece. Some say they work just as well, and others say no they don't.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By TT on Friday, May 15, 2015 - 09:32 am:

Thanks for this, the local uk register is good unfortunately, I live is a rural part of the uk, so the next nearest T is about 80 miles away for any form of comparison, which does not sound like much in the US I know but over here fair when on smaller roads.

Though there is quite a few classics in the areas and some great people, knowledge of T's is 'sparse'! This forum is great though and really appreciate the help, some fantastic knowledge.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker in Sumter SC on Friday, May 15, 2015 - 09:23 pm:


Congratulations on your new 1922 runabout. I would encourage you to ask the previous owner if the Babbitt rear thrust bearings were replace with bronze thrust bearings in the past. If he doesn’t know – I would highly recommend that you check and confirm what they are made out of. There are also some roller bearing thrust washer/bearings. I personally would recommend the bronze – but the main thing is to make sure they are not the original 1922 Babbitt thrust washers. When they fail – they tend to go quickly and you no longer have a transmission brake, or low or high or reverse gear. You are free wheeling because the pinion gear is no longer making proper contact with the ring (also called crown gear). Below are some additional safety items and links that are helpful to a new T owner. While they may be common knowledge to the T owner of 70 years ago, many folks today have not grown up around Ts and are not aware of many of them. That your T has been a driver for the last 20 years is a good thing. Many of the items below are issues from a part being repaired and then installed incorrectly (such as the front spring perches – which can cause the T to be a wild ride and even turn over. )

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). I would encourage you to review them so you learn about those safety issues second hand rather than by 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

Again a 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.

I would also encourage you to check out the local Model T Ford club(s) near you. You mentioned 80 miles – but if you contact them, perhaps there is a member or owner or even previous owner who could be some help. See: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm and http://www.modelt.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=15 They can be a real source of encouragement and help you as you learn to maintain the car. Steve Jelf has an excellent set of books he recommends for new owners on his web site at: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/ with the T section at: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG52.html and the recommended books listed at: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG80.html

Note there are also free “how to books” on the internet such – see: http://books.google.com/books?id=uKVAAQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=editions:xR 56bbT2W68C&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tdpWVMi4PMOjgwSAhoC4Ag&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=fa lse and there are others – on the net. And the Ford Service is online at: http://mtfci2002.readyhosting.com/manuals/Model_T_Service_Manual/mtsm.html and does include the starter equipped cars and even the 1926 -27 “Improved car” features. The owners/instruction manuals are at: http://www.mtfca.com/books/bookmenu.htm and the 1921 would work great for your 1922 car. Also the Ford Instruction Course on that same page the link is: http://www.mtfca.com/books/Course.htm And to help you with parts identification etc. I like Lang’s Old Car Parts on line catalog (you can also down load it as a PDF) available from: https://www.modeltford.com/download.aspx 16 mb so on a slow connection start the down load when you are going to do something else. Many of the photos are in color. Many but not all of the part numbers are the same as those used by Ford. They also have some helpful tips in the catalog. They are also great folks to deal with. And since you are there in the UK for sure you should be looking at the Tuckett Brother’s site at: http://tuckettbrothers.co.uk/

Have lots of fun with your new Ford and welcome to the forum.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap l9l5 cut off

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Hallett on Friday, May 15, 2015 - 10:14 pm:

TT, this is the what yours should look like if you 1/2 inch pipe thread type plugs.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By TT on Sunday, May 17, 2015 - 06:03 am:

Thanks Hap, some really good stuff to read through.

Overall, I am working through the car and getting to know it, my driving has improved considerably in just a few miles, listening to what the engine needs, getting the mixture right is slightly tricky but will feel my way, every one is different I'm sure. Lots of hills where I am so keeping the tank topped up, I have also added a fuel tap just before the carb so I can switch off every time I drive it, though must remember to put back on!

Rodger, thank you for this exactly what mine look a but with no markings! They seem to work ok colour is nice.

Off to familiarise myself again, will need to make some side screens at some point, don't mind getting a bit wet, but british weather dictates this wi be more often than not!!!

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