I have read a lot of posts about obtaining free neutral and have all of the bands adjusted and the small linkage that engages the high speed clutch adjusted per the procedure that is often posted.
That said, my neutral is still not as free as I would like which can make the car cranky to start. It is a '14 so no starter.
With the wheels off the ground, it starts very easily when cold. In fact it will often free start when I switch to Batt after a couple of priming pumps.
With the wheels on the ground when cold, it tries to free start, but I just get one puff and it dies. Then the cranking begins. It is way better than when I bought it, but still not as easy to start as other Ts I have seen.
I played with the car with both wheels up to try to find the drag. In neutral the rear wheels spin and if I press the low pedal down they actually slow down relative to neutral and I can hear the triple gears. If I release into high from neutral the wheels speed up. Since I can't hear the triple gears in neutral when the wheels are sinning and pushing the low pedal in slows the wheels down, I am pretty sure the high speed clutch is what is dragging.
I have switched to Rotella 5W-40 and taken to parking with high engaged and that helps, but I am confident it can be better.
With the inspection cover off and the car in neutral, the little fingers that pull the clutch are slack so adjusting the little linkage on the pedal will not loosen the clutch more. I have read about tightening some screws in the trans when the disks wear. Should I try loosening them instead? How are they adjusted?
If the fingers are slack then you have neutral. The clutch disk dragging when cold is just part of the picture. That what the parking brake is for.
Maybe the lugs inside the brake drum are notched by the large clutch discs after many years of use? If the large discs can't move freely along the cast iron lugs, the clutch pack will tend to drag a little more than when it was new.
Unfortunately the fix involves a complete teardown and filing of the lugs (or replacement of the drum if it is severely damaged..)
Improved cars got hardened lug shoes that stops most wear at that point. New brake drums has the improved solution.
Could it still be the oil?? I'm not sure if the brands vary on [shear strength] or not?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Warped discs can also cause it. However, a little drag on a cold engine is normal. If it goes away when warm, it's just the oil dragging on the discs. Now, there are some who can't tolerate even a little drag and that's why they make Jack Rabbits, and Watts, etc. Me? I like the steel on steel Ford discs.
It isn't that bad, it really only effects starting when cold. With wheels jacked up it starts extremely easily, free starting many times. With wheels on ground when cold, it will try to free start, but only get one puff. Starting after that sometimes goes easily, sometimes she is cranky. If it had a starter, I would not even notice the drag, but since it makes my life harder when trying to start, I would like it as good as possible. (I didnt and still do not want a starter...)
I don't know if I want to open this can of worms up, but what oil do people use that works well with achieving a free neutral?
I use the Rotella 5w-40 in my mini (which has a sliding gear trans, but the also shares the engine oil with the trans) the Rotella seemed to provide good shifting in the mini when cold. (The synchros did not like heavier weight oil when cold) and still had reasonable levels of ZDP. I figured the T would like a thin oil when starting and the ZDP shouldn't hurt so I used the Rotella 5W-40 on it as well. DOes anyone have any other suggestions based on experience obtaining a freer neutral when cold?
Some people have said to add a little ATF to the oil?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A TRUE FREE NEUTRAL IN A MODEL T WHEN COLD WITH THE STOCK CLUTCH PACK. Some creep more then others some less till the oil is warmed up. Make sure you have good parking brakes. Your best bet is cheep 10-30 or 40 oil, change it often and leave the clutch engaged when parked to squeeze the oil out as you said you do. The clutch is one of the many quirks of a Model T.
Pull the engine and tear down the clutch and inspect the clutch tabs in the brake drum for wear as Roger suggested.
Learn to live with it and enjoy it's quirks!