How close to disaster was I?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: How close to disaster was I?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warwick Landy Traralgon Australia on Friday, August 21, 2015 - 03:12 am:

I am rebuilding the front end of my 1916 Touring. New shackles,king pins bushes etc. Last thing to tackle was the tapered leaf front spring eye bushes. I was part way through knocking the old bush out of one side when half of the spring eye broke. I was disappointed that I had been too heavyhanded with my hammer and punch. A closer inspection revealed something more sinister. The pictures show that half the spring eye had been welded on! A very poor weld with virtually no penetration. I am thinking myself very lucky not to have had a very serious accident considering the rough roads and miles I have done since taking ownership of this car. I would expect that noone else would ever uncover a similar problem but if you are taking on someone elses restoration, check all aspects of your car thoroughly by disassembling and inspection before taking to the road.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Alan George Long on Friday, August 21, 2015 - 03:20 am:

Extremely close I would suggest Warwick. Phew !!!

Alan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Friday, August 21, 2015 - 04:21 am:

A good reminder for us all!
The odds are that if it broke while diving, nothing serious would happen. On a stock T, the end of the spring would drop onto the axle. The front end would shift slightly to one side, as a result, the steering would get a little squirrely, but you would probably handle it fine. You would probably slow down a bit because it feels funny. When you got home, or wherever it is you were going? You would look at it and say "YIKES! I dodged a big one!"
Then again. It could just as well break at the worst possible moment, the front end shift hard to one side, steering run wildly from side to side on a curve while your precious T flips over three or four times killing you.

At least once a year, and a lot more often than that if I drive them half as much as I like to, I go around each of my drive-able Ts and shake each wheel as hard as I can.. I carefully look at every shackle as I oil them, run wrenches on about half the chassis and engine bolts, inspect all wheels for signs of rust dust (indicating loosening wheel bolts). I usually also look for any signs of cracks around springs and cross members. Basically, look for anything that doesn't look or feel right.

Yes, you were close to a potential disaster.

And for a little illustration, I sometimes like to post the following picture. A very long time, very good friend of mine and his wife had a bit of a wild ride when a spring perch broke on his lowered speedster. A few scary seconds, and the car was stopped safely on the shoulder of the road. But?



Do drive carefully, and inspect your Ts often. W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker in Sumter SC on Friday, August 21, 2015 - 07:06 am:

G'day Warwick,

Yes, it could have been a disaster.

You may never know when that part was put there. But it illustrates the importance of thoroughly checking our cars when we purchase them (or inherit them), to make sure things are safe. In this case someone opted for a "taper leaf" spring with a poor weld rather than a "clip leaf" front spring. And from memory (not as reliable as documentation) I think the bottom leaf will interchange between the taper and clip leaf springs. If so it should have been easy to replace the defective bottom leaf. Or at least in the USA the clip leaf style springs are fairly common.

Glad you found it on the work bench and not on the road.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap l9l5 cut off


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Friday, August 21, 2015 - 07:09 am:

Hmmm... Speedometer gear on the left wheel. I don't think I've seen that before.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Williams, Hillsboro Oregon on Friday, August 21, 2015 - 09:29 am:

I recognize that speedster. It is Speedster hall of famer Dan Erceg's.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Friday, August 21, 2015 - 04:34 pm:

Yes, Tim, it is. Or rather was.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Willard Revaz on Friday, August 21, 2015 - 05:24 pm:

Was that an aftermarket, speedster type perch? That can usually be the cause for failure.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Friday, August 21, 2015 - 06:42 pm:

It was a modified standard model T perch. Dan bought the car from an estate. It was a well known and popular car back before 1970 (Dan and I were friends in high school at the time), it was one of two restored very similar by two close friends at the time. After Dan got the car, he went over it and redid several things, repainted parts of it, and generally checked everything.
This is all very fitting for this thread. Dan is a professional antique automobile restorer and consultant, as well as one of the finest people I have ever known. After the spring perch broke, he discovered that it had been "repaired" probably back when the car had been restored. The "repair" had involved a small amount of welding, well hidden by nice paint. The weld developed a crack, which resulted in a wild ride for Dan and his wife.

All model Ts should be routinely inspected for potential problems if they are to be driven much. A "new to you" model T should be very closely inspected for mistakes and errors by past owners.
People that drive their T a lot can develop a feeling for the car, they too need to inspect the car occasionally, but not all that often per mile because problems often announce themselves to drivers that have developed that feeling for their car. They still need to do something like my annual "shake and inspect" to look for things that can quietly develop.

As Dan's speedster so beautifully illustrates, Even cars that have been around for awhile, and closely inspected and checked, can have serious flaws hidden by any of several means. A nice restoration can hide a serious flaw.
The reality is, short of a total dis-assembly and re-restoration, complete with magne-flux and x-ray examination of all parts? Not all flaws can be found every time. That is why we must always drive with a bit of extra care and caution. Sometimes, when you least expect it? Things just break.
Do drive carefully, and enjoy. W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warwick Landy Traralgon Australia on Friday, August 21, 2015 - 10:28 pm:

Hap, I have found a later main leaf to fit to the spring. I will rebush it and paint it today. Looking more closely at the way the shackle is set up, as Wayne suggested I may not have been sitting on a disaster but may certainly have ruined a days touring if it broke! In the last year I have found many things on this car that have been less than satisfactory. Fortunately none have been found by "accident"! Most annoying was to remove the right rear hubcap and found no split pin in the axle nut. This is a simple 5 minute check that all owners should perform on their cars when they purchase them. Front end is nearly done, only have the rear to do now. Rear end sounds nice and quiet but who knows what nasties are waiting for me in there!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Saturday, August 22, 2015 - 03:53 am:

Warwick, et al,
About twenty years ago, I bought an antique automobile that was "fully restored". It had about three hundred miles on it since restoration and I was assured that it was fully "tour ready". I had the car trucked home because of the distance involved. After I got it home, I drove it around the block a few times, then started checking things over a bit more carefully than the couple hours I looked it over and drove it before buying it. Neither front wheel had a split (cotter) pin in the wheel bearing nut. I found a few other more minor things also. The fellow I got the car from was well known, highly respected, and toured a lot with his several other cars. I don't know how those wheels stayed on for the three hundred miles he did drive it.
"New to you" antique automobiles should always be closely inspected and safety checked.
Thanks again for starting this thread.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John McGinnis in San Jose area, CA. on Saturday, August 22, 2015 - 08:55 am:

Somehow I can't imagine welding springs...spring steel. Requires tricky *taking down/annealing* the to-be-welded area, proper weld preparation and welding and then post heat treating. A *cold weld* will just result in a heat affected zone (HAZ)which will fail.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Sunday, August 23, 2015 - 10:30 pm:

The speedo drive is AC and mounts on the drivers side.


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