Hi guys, I have no immediate need for this information but I'd like to know so I can file it away in my mind for later, or write it off entirely.
Can a Model T engine make a reliable 40hp at 1900-2000 RPM? I think the right answer is "Yes, but they call it a Model A" but I'm just curious about pushing a T to do it. Assume the use of a (non-Ford) magneto and the requirement that it have a flat head (but high compression or aluminum are fair game).
Do you think it could be done and if so, how?
Why would you want to? Your "right answer" is correct. Can it be done? yes. Should it be done? I guess that's up to you.
The stock ignition system can easily support 40 (or 100 for that matter) horsepower. No need to change that.
The easiest way to make 40 horsepower is to add cubic inches and compression. Add a SCAT crank with the longer stroke. Install a stock head milled 1/8", or one of the excellent aftermarket heads.
You will need better breathing, a set of 1.625" Fordson valves is a cheap and easy upgrade. Install a good aftermarket cam from Stipe. Check to make sure the valves will clear the combustion chamber. Mine didn't, you may have to do some grinding.
Aftermarket carburetor or carburetors will be needed. Look into using one of the U&J or Winfield carburetor / manifold combinations that were sold when the T was new. They work just as well today as they did then, and cost is not bad considering the results.
That should easily get you to 45 or more horsepower. With that much power you should be able to go speeds twice as fast as the steering and brakes are safe. Hopefully you are wise enough to operate at Model T speeds and just enjoy the ability to cruise with ease around other Model T's rather than trying to keep up with Model A's.
There is already a Model A and a Model B. No need to modify a Model T. Just buy an A or B. I think you will find that everything from the crankshaft to the drive train and brakes of a Model T was designed for 20 HP. Once you beef up the engine, other parts begin to fail. I know there are some who install a Model A crankshaft which will increase the stroke of the engine. With just a little Tweeking, the engine can put out 40 HP, but you sacrifice dependability.
Well said, Norman. I don't like the idea of major increases in HP without corresponding improvements in the other systems. When you get done, what you have is a racer or a hot rod. I don't have a problem with that, but it's not the car you started with.
A Scat crank, Stipe or Chaffin cam, high compression flathead, larger valves, aluminum pistons, and proper balancing of all engine and trans parts will put you into the 40 HP range with reasonable reliability. Stock ignition will work if in top shape. Speed costs money. How fast do you want to go? The more power you build an engine for, the shorter it can be expected to last. Our T hill climber is well over 125 HP at 4500 RPM. Every race is like pulling the pin on a grenade. Sooner or later.......
Scat stroker crank, Prus or Sherman Superfire head, hot cam of your choice, larger valves, a bit of porting and more carb capacity, open up the exhaust some, balance everything and there should be plenty of ponies. How fast you want to go is up to you and your gearing selections. It's nice to be able to cruise at 50 to 60 uphill as well as down and that type of motor with an overdrive or 3 to 1 gears should do just fine with no strain. Updates for brakes, steering and suspension are needed to match how you expect to drive. You could do 35 all day and get by with stock stuff but would you? I wouldn't.
A buddy of mine has a little pickup/speedster with essentially that configuration and has topped 67 on his GPS with room to go but he's happy to stay under 60 and just know he has the reserve for hills. He has several thousand miles on the car with no significant problems.
Alright, I ought to fess up my motives: a week and a half ago I got the chance to fly a Model A powered Pietenpol Aircamper and loved it.
I've always wanted a Piet of my own but got to thinking a Sky Scout (the single seater) would be a nice partner to this one. As originally designed the Sky Scout was for T power, although the build article does specifically say a T isn't really powerful enough and to source a Model A engine if at all possible. That's what got me thinking about squeezing A-power out of a T block, and also why a magneto was specified. This isn't a project I'll be starting any time soon, but since it's fresh in my mind I thought I would ask so I can either work on planning the thing, or dismiss the thought entirely.
P.S. I wish I got more pics of the plane and of the Model T fuel truck behind it. The T will probably be its own thread here some other time...
All well and good, but..... can the small main bearings hold all that power ?????? Will the Model T block self-destruct ???? There are limitations... agreed ????
Hence my question. If the verdict is "No, it will just blow up some day and you'll have to land in a tree," I'm okay with that.
I would not be OK with landing in a tree! It just might ruin your day.
It's been done. Sky Cloud at the museum. T engine with maybe 50hp.
Bob -- If he goes with a Scat crank, he could get the one with Model A-sized journals and have the block reworked to fit it. Several folks are going that route to get a beefier crankshaft.
I meant to say that I was okay with the T being unsuitable and recognize the A as the right answer.
Either way, I should try and find my copy of the T conversion plans to post here. They make for some interesting reading if nothing else.
Kinda takes away from the Model T experience doesn't it? Better I think to enjoy the stock horsepower and tell the Model A guys that you're not interested in modern cars like the A.
Steve Coniff's Montana 500 car is about as good as they get for a "stock" motor.
I didn't read the article, but I assume the hp is taken at the wheels. If so, the hp at the engine would be higher. In the configuration Steve has this motor, it is very reliable. Perhaps with a larger carburetor, such as a Model A and a Z head, I would suppose that the hp at the motor would be close to 40. I couldn't say how reliable it would be at that point.
More power captain. To water pump or not? To change the ignition from magneto to distributor. Microchip the ignition? Up the compression and change the cam shaft. Pistons - cast iron or aluminum? Gosh I need a new engine to enjoy my car.
15 years ago I considered the same project. I considered a A cranked pressure oiled T block and seriously considered running it inverted to gain better visibility forward
A couple of questions;
1.How tall/ big are you? I'm 6'4" and built a aircamper with NO front seat. I fit fine then.
2. Will you be flying in "controlled airspace". Likely yes so you will want a radio, transponder, and strobe and probably lights.
I ultimately powered it with a Continental A65 to which I added a tiny alternator. I was able to stay under 1200 lbs so I was able to register it as a "ultra light". Keeps the government involvement down.
I ultimately quit flying and sold my 3 planes and hanger. I don't think the Piet has been flown since and can probably be bought for less than it would cost to build it
Let's see all the safety 'holier than thou's' talk about starting THIS one.
Les, I'm glad I'm not the only one who's thought of it. The Piet I flew had the upright engine and radiator in the face and honestly the vis wasn't awful. This one actually was built starting with bits and pieces of Bernard Pietenpol's very first Aircamper plus had wheels and instruments sourced from a Curtiss Jenny. It has none of the 'convenience' modifications that were developed over the years so that means it has the cable 'X' across one side of the passenger seat, the single piece wing, and the skinny airfoil among other things. Quite the time machine.
Here's a photoshoot that was done with it a couple months back (I'm not either of the pilots shown):
As for me, I'm 6'5" and fit okay so long as I wasn't wearing shoes. I don't really like controlled airspace when it comes to flying small, marginal airplanes so electrics aren't necessary. Probably 3/4 of the planes I have in my logbook don't have more than a handheld radio clipped in somewhere, and some don't even have that.
I know what you mean too about a Pietenpol being worth way less than the sum of its parts. I guess that's just a fact of life with any homebuilt.
In addition to the height issue, you should also consider the gross weight issue of a passenger. Certainly your elevation is lower than mine was. Mine flew nicely at about 65 mph. To descend I had to pretty much throttle back to idle. Touch down at about 35
Further I was hinting that maybe you should just buy my old one. Canadian ultralight registration makes things simple. If the A65 bothers you, then repower and sell the A65. I can make inquiries if you are interested. Easy to transport with wings off
I thought I caught that, Les. Unfortunately unless it's comically cheap I just don't have airplane buying money right now.
The Antique Airplane Association and the Airpower Museum would be of great assistance to you I am sure. Bob and Brent Taylor know alot about Piets and would assist you any way they could. Each Sept a fly-in is held at the airfield in Blakesburg, IA. Phone is 641-938-2773. www.AntiqueAirfield.com