Drive the car home??
Any one do this before. Have suggestions.
There was a post about a month ago where a fellow was going to try to drive home a car that sat for 30 years but I believe he decided to trailer it because of safety reasons. The main reason is he didn't know if the rear end had been rebuilt.
If it's been sitting for 30 years I'd give it a thorough salty check before driving around the block, much less 1,500 miles. Once it passed safety muster I'd then make sure the fuel, cooling, ignition and electrical systems are operating correctly. Then I'd drive it around a little (before starting the trip) and see how it behaves.
Be sure to take a cell phone with you!
Having had the experience of putting a "barn find" back onto the road after it had been sitting for about 40 years I would advise against it.
This car had been driven normally and then put in a shed as it was when last driven.
The band linings were rotten, although I suppose you could drive it a short distance. Certainly not 1500 miles. Having replaced those, I found the carburettor dripping, as was the valve on the petrol tank. Having then replaced the brittle cracked tyres I started taking it out on the street.
That's when I found how little power it had. I had to rebuild the coils and replace the timer to fix that.
Driving further afield, within about 300km, No.1 conrod babbitt failed. All good for a few thousand km after that until one of the original two piece valves broke apart putting a hole through the head. A year later the pinion gear broke because unbeknown to me I'd been driving around all this time with no thrust washers.
So, you really have to know what condition the car is in before doing something like this.
if you got the time go! bring plenty of tools stay on the back roads. I would like to come with!
Any one do this before. Have suggestions.
Do you have a reliable history of the car? Was it parked because it was worn out or ?
Do you have plenty of time and facilities to thoroughly inspect and do significant maintenance before you start out? Do you have the time and resources to do roadside repairs?
Do you have a Plan B in case there are problems beyond the scope of the time or facilities you have?
If you know the condition of the car and have the time and resources to make any necessary repairs it might be a fun adventure. I doubt that I'd do it myself but I know of one fellow that drove a car from Illinois to Seattle with almost no prior experience with a T and a car that had been sleeping for several years. The fair tires were shot by the end of the trip and a failed valve keeper had him scratching his head for a bit but he made it. Not sure if he ever wrote the book but part of the reason for the trip was to document the adventure.
The first time I started and drove my T after it sat from 1964 to 2004, I had zero low gear. I had to back up a slight incline and slip high to get her rolling enough for high to get a grip.
I have no idea why low disappeared while sitting. I changed all three to kevlar.
Charles -- I see from your profile that you're an "auto technical instructor." So obviously you have plenty of mechanical aptitude. But do you have lots of experience in dealing with Model T's? Unless the answer is "yes, very much so" you'd be silly to try what you're proposing. Do as Henry suggests and get to know the car before driving it any distance.
Not recommended here.
What caused the T to be sitting for thirty years is unknown. T's got 'put away' for a reason and that is a mechanical issue in most every case.
Obtain it. The have it hauled to your garage. Then go over every bit of the chassis, engine transmission, steering, ignition and fuel systems prior to airing the tubes up or, changing tires or replacing loose spoke wood wheels before going on a public road.
On side roads at speeds of 35 m.p.h or less
With a chase vehicle pulling a trailer to load it on if it broke down right behind you
With the flashers on the chase vehicle turned on
Sure - why not ?
I would be surprised if you would get more than a day's worth of driving on those old tires. I'd gently take it home and massage it back to life.
Thanks for all the input.
I have seen cars that were just about as far away and thought about doing the same thing. Part of me is adventurous enough to try but the smart side would not have let me, so for now I will stick with the car I have.
Unless you know what's inside (like thrust washers for instance), it would be a huge gamble. As Dan says, there's a reason it was parked for thirty years.
On the other hand, if it checks out for the obvious .... tires, brakes, runs good ... you can
always trailer it from where it breaks down IF it breaks down. In the meantime, should you
make it with minimal trouble, you'll have the adventure of a lifetime.
Find all the great back roads, take your time, see the sights, enjoy the moment. What's the
worst thing that could happen ? Someday we all die. Don't regret not taking a few chances
along the way.
Just do it! You'll learn heaps along the way!
My 14 had been sitting since 1939 when I bought it at Hershey in 1975. The thrust washers disintegrated the second time I drove it. I fixed that, put new tires on it and drove it trouble free for the next ten years,then joined the two piece club. When the thrust washers went it took out the whole rear end.I had planned to drive it 20 miles to a car show in the morning. Not to be deterred,two friends of mine worked on it all night and had it drivable by 5 AM. We made a late night parts run to an (old) guy who had Ts. He gave me a mounted display of all the parts of a T rear end that had been used in a school. None of us knew anything about Ts at the time and just put it all back together. It made no noise and was still in the car until years later when I installed a ruckstell.
Waking up after thirty years and immediately piling on 1,500 miles would be an amazing feat, even for a Volkswagen Beetle.
While your exceptional experience as an automotive technical instructor would stand you in good stead, there would still be the matter of waiting for parts to be delivered to the sites of multiple breakdowns. _That kind of thing would turn an adventure into an ordeal.
A properly maintained Model T is a fairly dependable machine, but after such a long period of collecting dust (and mouse-nests in the darndest of places), the post-resurrection period will include evicting a quite a few gremlins.
Among Brass-Era cars, the 1916 Ford is just about the most reliable (and enjoyable) ever built and once you've replaced the rotten rubber and worn-out parts, got the steering tightened and run a proper safety checklist, your Tin Lizzie will give you, your children and their children at least another hundred years of fun.
Here's a link to the safety checklist:
Congratulations and welcome! _Now, post some photos of your car so we can all admire it. _
I don't recall any one who actually did what you propose. That is get in it and go. (as if that were possible). You don't state the cars condition. If it's been off the road for years the chances of a trouble fee trip are about nil. In fact even if it's been a driver you'll likely run into unforseen break downs. Trailer it. there's too much to check/repair no matter what your T experience is.
Charles, Slap one of these on the dash and your good to go.
As an old contractor friend used to say when he and I would optimistically start a sketchy remodeling project: "What could possibly go wrong?"
No guts, no glory
Cowboy up! Spend a day checking it over, pop the left side off the rear end and replace the thrust washers, it's a couple hour job on a bad day, put a set of bands in it and change the oil, pull the inspection cover and check the rods, check over the front end and get in it and go. Anybody can have one shipped or trailer it, where is the challenge in that?? If you have a close to teen or teen kid take them along and teach them about Model t's and how to deal with the things that come up in life. The absolute worst thing that can happen is you have to rent a U haul truck to load it in and take it home. Stop at the top of every long low band hill and celebrate. Tighten up the rods at the motel or campground. Don't quit and load it up until there is no possible way to keep it running. Take a few pictures. Don't listen to all these guys who have no sense of adventure and are afraid to get five miles from home with a Model T. Take a copy of the roster along so if you have problems you can call somebody like me who can fix anything on a T, has a yard and a shop and a several piles of parts; pickups, trailers, tires, radiators - whatever you need - and will come give you a hand. I have engines you could put in it in one evening and be back on the road in the morning. There are thousands of people all over the country who have parts, engines, shops, expertise, whatever you need. Teach your kid to drive it as soon as you get out of town a few miles and let her drive. Once you get out of town nobody will care if your 12 year old is driving a Model T down a dirt road. Take the two lanes and gravel roads every chance you get. She will remember it forever. So will you.
Well said Stan. Spend some time as Stan says. Go for it.
A cell phone, credit card and AAA membership will get you out of a jam if needed. Just finished a short drive in the T Model, 2,000 miles in 10 days, had a ball.
Over the years a small group will take a trip 3,500 to over 5,000 miles in our T's each year, problems sure, lost a rod, broke an axle, broke the ear off the pan, flat tires, electrical issues,broke a rocker arm shaft on an overhead. Cracked low speed drum and other much smaller events. These problems are five cars over a five year time frame. I will say that every time we had an event there was a guy. May have been a T guy or may have been some one that had a place we could fix our problem. Go for it and have a blast, take pictures and tell us about the adventure!
I'm adding onto Walt's story above regarding a "young" fella, Byron Ricks (no relation to the late RDR, I believe) who inherited his Gramps' brass grocery wagon, had a so-called "expert" T mechanic from Chicago do a full service, jumped into this rig with his dog and made it from Chicago (camping out, mind you) to Cle Elum, WA before engine issues prevented him from making the full trip to his home in Carnation, WA. He told his story at one of our T club meetings and was quite interesting, indeed an adventure !
Well, I am reminded of decades ago my boss had a 20/25 Rolls Royce sedanca (that's the open driver's area sedan) about a '23 year model. The car hadn't been driven, except around town a little for the past 20 years. He wanted it DRIVEN, not trailered, to Louisville, KY (From Oroville, CA) to his Cousin's house. I was to accompany as mechanic/back up driver (BTW, Right hand drive too). Fresh oil and Water & a lube was all that was done. First day was pretty normal, from that day on it was Drive from 8am to about 11 am, fix car from 11 am to 4 pm. Drive from 4 pm to 8 pm or so. Over the Continental divide the Carbs didn't like the high altitude. One of the ignition systems failed during the drive--I think it was the coil, so ran on mag. Got spare ignition parts in St. Louis at a friend of the Boss' house. As I recall, the last day to the cousin's house I'd had about 5 hours of sleep in 48 hours--I was beat! Trip home was my first airplane ride. Thought I'd walk down a telescoping gangway like I'd seen others do, nope, they opened a door in the terminal, down stairs to tarmac, walk to plane & up stairs into plane! And, at the time, Louisville had the most washboardy runway I've ever experienced since then-I remember being relieved when we lifted off, as all that shaking was getting me ill!
Now then, I could write a book about taking a freshly restored Model A Sedan on that same itenerary--ZERO miles on the car before we left. (Made it to Salt Lake City before a rod let loose). My Boss hated trailers.
When I was 18 the doctor I worked for bought a '24 Cadillac in Maryland sight unseen. The car had not been registered for 7 years. He gave me a plane ticket to DC on the shuttle and told me to drive it home. It took a whole day for me to get it running and to say that I was nervous about making the trip would be an understatement but that car made the trip all the way without skipping a beat and I averaged 42 mph on the trip although I could have run faster but the brakes were not great and the temperature gauge went up proportionately with my speed.
I don't think I would do that today but at 18 I guess I didn't know any better and the Cadillac was only 40 years old at the time.
If I had some back up I would certainly give it a shot!
Do it Charles and let us read about it here when its over! The safety concerns have been well documented and if you check it out well it should get you home. As Stan said, take the back roads and enjoy the drive. Good Luck. 1916's are a great car!
plane ticket and plastic Jesus bought?
anyone know where to get tires in Jefferson city MO
If your already a model T owner and have experience with model T's sound;s dumb but fun! If your a newbie to model T's haul it!!!!!!!!!!!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Charles; you can order them and have them drop shipped to the car's location. I just ordered from Lucas tires, there's another direct seller but I don't recall the name. Be sure to verify they are actually in stock! The Universal Driver is the least expensive. I've run them before and they're fine. Personally I have flaps in mine. 4 tires with 5 tubes, 4 flaps, tax and shipping ran me right about $985.
I carry a couple if tire irons with me. Napa sells a 12" iron with a slight squiggle in the end; a pair of those works great.
I'd also change the hoses before leaving, carry an extra head gasket and if you have time lap the valves and check the clearance before you go. I've changed a head gasket on the side of he road, it's not difficult. You do need a torque wrench; I keep a cheap beam style one in the car.
For AAA, I'd recommend the 'prime' or whatever they call it. It includes 100 mile towing per incident rather than the basic 10 or so... well worth the few extra bucks.
Another thought on changing the bands... can you find out if the existing bands are quick change? If not you'll need to pull the hogs head to change them. You can reline a set before you leave and take them with you or ship them. If you do that get the ones with the quick change ears if you can. I'd take 4 so you have a spare.... that may not matter with Kevlar but it does with cotton (I like original Scandinavia, Ford or Wards linings). Right now I have wood in my '11 and really like them. I have never run Kevlar and can't speak to those.
Also carry a spare coil.
Shortly after I bought my original 25 coupe I drove it on a 1400 mile trip. I did the normal prep on it, packed spares and headed out. I figured if I ran into problems I could have parts shipped to where I was, and if it was major I could rent a u haul truck and bring it back home. I had to tighten the fan belt once fix a flat, and switch out a coil,not bad for an original car.
Carry a few of these and everything will be OK ---
Jay you just gave me an earworm now I gotta listen to this.
What's your motivations? If you're trying to save the cost of shipping or hauling it with a trailer, you'll probably find that you are tripping over dollars to pick up dimes. But, if you're looking for an adventure, you'll probably find one. It is likely to cost you plenty, but you'll have a story for a lifetime.
A while back, I bought a T that had been completely restored, driven for ten miles and then put in storage. It remained in storage for 17 years. It took me about a month to go through that car and work out all of the cobwebs to make it fully tour ready. Cars deteriorate in many ways while sitting. Electrical contacts corrode, grease conceals and fuel systems get varnished up.