After I purchased my 1915 Runabout I noticed five things that needed attention. One problem was the gasoline tank sediment bulb (Potato) was weeping; the gas shutoff valve was frozen and wouldn’t move. I had planned to drive this car regularly so I wanted a reliable long term solution, but did not want modifications that would be plainly visible.
I had never owned a “Brass” Model T and knew I needed advice.
When talking to several friends I knew and trusted it became apparent that while Potato fixes existed, they were not long term reliable solutions. I sent the Holly G carburetor to Stan Howe for rebuilding and during our conversation he mentioned a sediment bowl and valve used on Ford 9N, 2N & 8N tractors. Here are photos of the unit Stan recommended.
As you can see this unit has several desirable features; The valve to tank fitting was standard 1/2 NPT thread just like the original Ford gas tank; It has a removable glass sediment bowl with replaceable gasket and filter screen; It has an outlet control valve with a one gallon reserve valve feature (assuming a Ford 9 gallon round tank) and an integral gas inlet (fence) screen filter inside the gas tank.
By opening the main valve 2 turns gas flows to the bowl and outlet.
By opening this same valve fully allows access to the one gallon tank reserve.
This unit can be purchase at Tractor Supply for about $25.
The only issue was to adapt the valve outlet double flared steel tubing fitting to the ½-18 Ford female nut with neoprene gasket.
I also wanted to include an easy accessible 1/8 NPT ball valve as the main gas shutoff to the carburetor. I was unable to find off the shelf fittings to interface directly from the flared tubing sediment bulb outlet to the ½-18 Ford nut and my insistence upon the ball valve shut off complicated the number of joints.
Here are photos of all the parts including fabricated parts for the complete assembly to be installed on the bottom of the original fuel tank.
Notice the fabricated adaptor to interface the female double flared tubing to the 1/8 NPT ball valve male connection. The tubing segment is silver soldered to the fabricated piece. The hex section was selected so a wrench could be used during installation.
A fabricated adapter nipple is used to interface the female 1/8 NPT outlet of the ball valve to the original 1/2 -18 nut to capture the steel gas line to the carburetor. Stan Howe makes this nipple.
I wanted the ball valve near the gas tank and not at the carburetor so it was not easily visible. You can also see the parts without the ball valve if you so desire.
By simply lifting the rear floorboard in my 1915 Runabout one can easily reach the main gas control ball valve without crawling under the car. If you wanted to utilize the gas reserve feature one needs to crawl under the car to turn the main filter gas outlet/reserve valve fully open, but that should not happen very often.
Obviously this solution is not for Model T’s entered into fine point judging. The installation details herein may vary for other year cars, but you get the basic idea. I think this is a very effective solution to the troublesome Ford gas sediment bulb that is not readily apparent to casual observers.
Ron the Coilman
For me I use a reducer at the tank into 1/4 pipe T fitting modern valve that'with a end cap plug straight
Out of the leg is valve the compression to the line to the orginal carb fitting
The sediment bowl and filter you show is sort of a generic item and is available from many different suppliers both with and without the reserve feature.
I have used the same type of bowl/filter for some years now and believe it to be a much better solution that the original "potato". Its also nice to be able to look at the glass bowl occasionally and see if there any sediment coming from the tank.
I mounted my shutoff valve on the right frame rail with about a 1 foot section of rubber gas line connecting to the carb to allow for movement between the carb and frame. A (very)small hole in the floorboard allows me to insert a screwdriver and rotate the handle on the shutoff valve.
An additional advantage to having the valve under the floorboards is that in the event of an engine fire, shutting of the gas might be a lot easier.
Tsk, tsk, Ron. When you got that car you were very proud of how original it was. Now you're replacing correct original parts with modern ones. Tsk, tsk.
"...it became apparent that while Potato fixes existed, they were not long term reliable solutions."
Isn't this a little like replacing Ford's original ignition system with a disturbutor because it's easier?
I like it. But if the unit has a valve that operates both the reserve and the fuel flow, why add the ball valve?
Isn't one shut off valve enough? Or is it just for easier access?
: ^ )
No knowledgeable person I spoke with told me the original sediment and shut off unit was worth a damn for several reasons. Fine for a show car, but otherwise nothing but problems.
The original Ford sediment bowl/valve is in a box and will be kept with the car when it is sold. Along with the problematic Kingston L2 carburetor. The car will have a properly rebuilt period correct reliable and trouble free Holly G carburetor installed.
Easier access and control. Also notice the solution included an option for those who did not want the ball valve.
Ron, you don't sound like the Ron I know! There is nothing wrong with the original sediment bulb! Take it apart, clean it, or replace it with a better one, and be sure to put in a new lead gasket. Don't give up so easily! I have 3 T's that use that type of sediment bulb, and have no trouble with any of them. If you need a good outlet for your sediment bulb, I'll send you a NOS one if you'll pay the postage, but please get rid of that modern crap!
Any small engine/lawn mower shop will carry these.
I am not sure what "easier" means?
In my view, if one takes the time to understand how it works and gets it right the original Ford ignition system is just as reliable as any alternative.
I believe many Model T owners are in too much hurry to jump in and drive their car that they do not take the necessary time to get it running properly.
This may be so "inside" nobody will get it.
Dash choke rod grommet used on Radiator?
Tsk, tsk, tsk.(Slowly shaking head from side to side.)
I like the sediment bowl solution. Just don't drop the glass bowl. Ask me how I know this. Luckily Mike Bender was there to bail me out about 8 years ago.
Ron -- The ignition system analogy was just to get a rise out of you, which obviously worked.
The point I was trying to make is that like the original ignition system, the original sediment bulb works great when it's in good condition, and there's no need to go to different parts for a solution. I don't know who told you they won't work, and I don't care, but I disagree with them on this point. I know that they will work fine, even if they need some TLC to get to that state. I have built lots of Model T's, and I have always used original sediment bulbs on them with no problems. Sometimes (often) they need the valve lapped, sometimes they need a new screen. But other than having the valve handle broken off, those are about the only two things which can go wrong with them. And those two things are easy to fix. Been there, done that, lots of times. And even if you can't find a good enough old one to refurbish, new repops are available which look and work just like the original ones.
I too like the original sediment bulb. My '25 mostly original coupe has, I think, the original gas tank and bulb. There has been some dirt and sediment in the tank. I just drove it till it would start to starve for fuel, pull over, and drain the bulb, sometimes getting a bit of moisture out too. That's what it's for. After a few times, no more starving. I would much prefer to get all of the "junk" out of the tank than leave it in there to possibly start a rusting/corrosion problem later. Remember, if you have a screen, or standpipe up inside of the tank, that not only leaves the crud in there, it can also leave moisture. It certainly has been reliable and definitely "long term" for me. JMHO Dave
Larry, Mike and David.
Thanks for your rating of my solution based on YOUR set of assumptions.
I wondered if I would regret starting this post? and now I do.
Ron the Coilman
I get it.
The loop on the 1915 choke pull wire is correct per the Ford print.
Ron the Coilman
Ron: Thanks for the posting. That is a nice solution that I will likely clone. david
Ron, yes it is. But it's still wrong. We all cheat in some way or another.
Steve, I'll take a stab at it. The twists are wrong at the end of the loop.
Did Henry really use the grommet? If so, my "original" '15 fails the inspection.
(Just one of several failures - I do like the accessories!)
No, that was Steve's "inside" joke. That and I am reasonably sure that the loop should be horizontal instead of vertical.
Good luck with your projects. Bill
According to the Ford print the loop should be horizontal.
So far nobody's got it. I bet Mike knows.
Looked again. And again.
No brass washer under the brass nut and the cotter pin is steel instead of brass.
Frame is bent tilting the bolt outward to go through the holes in the radiator.
Ron, if it makes you feel better, I too have a similar bowl on my pickup. As you said, it is easy to change it back to stock if need be, but the part I enjoy is that it is leak free. I must have gotten a smaller one as I had to adapt it to 1/2" NPT to fit the tank. Either way, it works well.
I know we all enjoy out T's, but truly, how many of us have 100% correct, 100% all factory part cars that actually get driven? This isn't an AACA show, this is drive your T and enjoy it. It is getting a little frustrating around here that we constantly have "oh my god, that is not correct" and then the ensuing rants and raves. Winter has barely begun, lets enjoy the T's guys and gals, and make the days to spring feel shorter.
My 2 Cents.
Ron I like the reserve capability
And it's your car do what you dam well want .
That's my 2 cents worth Jim
Ron Dont forget all the crap you pitched me about putting a tru-fire in my cars. By the way it has been almost ten years and I am still running the tru-fire, it has been strong and reliable and no maintenance so far. Best Mike
We can all agree, as history tells us, that the Model T was reliable by the standards of its day. If you want the greater reliability that we tend to expect from the equipment of today, you have to change some things; there are no two ways about it. An absolutely stock Model T will give essentially the same reliability it gave when new. You can't avoid all wear and tear, metal fatigue, etc. so some losses in reliability must be expected, but their will also be some unavoidable gains. For example, you can't normally buy tires of the poor quality of the new ones of 100 years ago, and it's hard to find such poor roads. Even so, if you are so inclined, you can have most of the historic experience of the maintenance problems your Ford gave its first owners if you keep everything stock. On the other hand, if you are like Ron, you can have the fun of driving it without some of that. That is all this thread is about. To each his own.
Ron, I didn't "rate" your solution. I simply said what worked for me. I was just trying to be helpful. Excuse me. Dave
As I recall you were unable to get your coils working properly and opted for Tru-Fire.
As remedial training try this solution? Its easier, you simply screw some pipe fitting together, even you can do that?
All the best to you too.
Ron the Coilman
You rated my solution comparing its use with your dirty gasoline tank.
I have a new gas tank in my car. Obviously if you are going to fix something do it right!
Ron the Coilman
What is the answer to the "inside" rad pic?
I have a tractor bowl on one T and
a sweet potato on the other
they both work fine
Why do we always get into these spats every few Months? I realize that there is only so much T knowledge to be spread around, but this reminds me of all the crap that is going on in our colleges where opposing opinions are shunned and deemed hateful. I personally like my T the way Henry envisioned and built it , but having someone put forward an alternative to one system does nothing but further this hobby even though i might never use it. We all treat our T's differently and we should all be treated with the exact same respect as to our vision to enjoy it.
ordered one today, thanks Ron
Nope Ron, I didn't "rate" your solution. I didn't "compare" anything. Did you read my posts? As I said, I just said what has worked for me. Again, I was just trying to be helpful. I didn't need to "fix" something, I just did what has been done for years. I don't understand why you are so negative to my posts. I have always held you in the highest regard. Sorry to "ruffle" your feathers. Dave
re: the choke rod -- The twist should be in the opposite direction.
There is a lot of talk here, but no solution! Ron, have you removed your sediment bulb and taken it apart? Let us know what you find, I'd like to know. I've redone a few of them, and even though it's a different design than your old '26, it's still the same principle. My offer still holds, if your outlet is bad. BTW, I believe Ford went from the brass sediment bulb to the iron one in 1916.
I personally don't see the benefit of replacing the original set up with something new, the sediment bulb is just another item to restore in my thinking.
Didn't Stan post a remedy for seating the cone shaped valve on the original recently? Pipe dope should fix any leaks in the other spots I can envision ie gas weeping from the area where it threads into the tank and the drain petcock. Oh, yes, and a new lead ring and compression ferrule.
Here is what I'd do:
1. After the bulb is removed and thoroughly cleaned and dried, heat the valve area with a welding torch good and hot. Then quench. The process will free up the handle.
2. Replace the old gasket with a new lead gasket and possibly add a fine brass screen sold by the parts houses.
3. Seat the valve using Stan's or another method.
4. When installing on the tank use a sealant on the threads and petcock area.
5. When hooking up the gas line, use a compression ferrule or something else you trust.
Its always worked for me.
Gee, I'm surprised. I thought surely by now somebody would have spotted the most obvious "incorrect" thing in my picture. The choke wire is brass. It should be copper-plated steel. I think I got the size of the ring right, and used the proper twist, but I cheated on the material.
Dang, darn, heck, and golly. And I know that, too.
Oh the shame, oh the humiliation. Well, nothing to do now but to send all of my Ts, spare parts, and T tools to the scrapper, delete my profile and dive deeply into the world of Anime.
Wouldn't a slice of rhubarb pie go good right about now?
Yes, nothing removes the taste of shame and humiliation like a slice of rhubarb pie, and in this severe case perhaps with a large dolop of ketchup with it's natural mellowing agents.
Thank you, Steve. You saved me from falling on my sword.
The thing I think is funny about this thread is the fact that Ron will give anybody a bunch of heat about changing the ignition system on a T but it's OK for HIM to change the fuel system on a T.
15 years ago when I got my T I spent a lot of time and money trying to keep the ignition original.
Spent big bucks (for me) on Ron's coils, John's coil box kit, Anderson timer, new wires and other stuff.
It'd run good for awhile but I was always screwing with it (after 2 years 2 of Ron's coils had died)
until one day a friend gave me a distributor and talked me into "just trying it for a week".
That dist. is still on it and I don't mess with it.
Ron gave me a bunch of crap about it the last time I talked to him.
Now I see he's doing the same thing.
Thread drift correction. Well not back to the old potato, but to the improved sediment bowl. I had a glass bowl set up on my 1926 roadster, but wanted to go original (almost) . I bought a new from Lang's made like the original. Well worth the price, and works flawlessly. Thanks to the people that reproduce this parts.
Rolf in Oslo Norway
The last thing I said to you when I shipped the rebuilt coils to you was this; ". If you are happy with my work tell others, if not please tell me first. It is important to remember that for various reasons latent coil faults may occur after rebuilding If you have any trouble please contact me immediately so we can find a resolution."
Ron the Coilman
I DID call you first....you said to send them back. But one day later was too late.
I said just forget about it and tossed them.
Your sarcasm was less than cordial.
Don't sweat it. There will always be folks on here who crap on new ideas shared for the good of the hobby.
I tried to do the same here:
And was on the receiving end of a hit and run job by one Dave Huson and one Willie K Cordes.
I haven't forgotten.
Your story is simply not credible.
I rebuild about 1000 coils every year and invariably 3 or 4 are returned for repair. It is always a latent fault that crops after use. I have never had a customer call about coil failures and tell me to "forget it".
The coils are always repaired and returned to the customer at no charge including shipping.
If I told you to return the failed coils to me and you did not, it is on you.
Ron, The plumbing for the fuel line on my 16' Touring was just plain horrible. A mess of "buy over the shelf plumbing fittings" combined with an older style glass filter arrangement. I purchased a new brass sediment bulb from Langs, part number 2902B at $65. I am sometimes sceptical at the quality of reproduction parts but this item has been fantastic. It does not leak a drop. I leave the tap on between drives and do not leave a drop on the garage floor. I can highly recommend this alternative.
Glass oil sight gauges and glass sediment bowls under a T are trouble. IMHO.
I agree with you about glass oil sight gauges, if unnoticed, a failure could result in a catastrophic event.
I disagree about a glass sediment bowl on the gas valve. Just like the original sediment valve it is tucked up in a very well protected location between the driveshaft and radius rods and in the unlikely event of failure the car would only run out of gas.
Ron the Coilman
Ron just wanted to thank you for the rebuilt generator I purchased from you a few years ago its still working like new. Thanks what you do for the hobby.
Modern tractor parts on your T ?. Probably of Japanese or Chinese origin. I'm shocked!
The most shocking thing about this thread is Ketchup on Rhubarb pie!! Blasphemy!!!!!
(Besides my first reaction--Yeech!! Might as well eat Tomato Aspic!)
And Steve, ya got me (and a lot of other folks here!). Shoulda known better! Pics like this might make an interesting thread, "What's 'wrong' here?"
Now everyone calm down here, no need to toss insults around about one's ideas of how to "improve" their "authentic" model T. Probably the only truest "authentic" Ts are those few rare very low mileage, never touched ones, like the Rip Van Winkle car.
Hmm, Rhubarb pie, that sounds good. . . . .
Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie:
Catchup Advisory Board:
For the record, I want to respond to your public criticism of me and my work.
When you approached me about rebuilding your Model T coils I explained, as I do to all prospective customers, that it is important to remember that we are rebuilding electrical parts that are over 80 years old. Sometimes undetected latent faults can occur. This usually happens in the first few months of actual use, but can be longer. If this were to happen, I asked you to please contact me immediately so we can arrange to correct the problem. Furthermore, I explained that the coil was a subsystem that is part of a system and if the rebuilt coils did not resolve your trouble it was probably was in another part of the ignition system giving trouble, that you should NOT try to adjust the coils so I could help you trouble shoot the problem. This is an occupational hazard I commonly run into when supplying rebuilt coils and did not mind helping you with a logical approach to correcting the problem.
You ignored both admonitions and started “screwing” with the coils. When you contacted me about the failed coil I explained to simply send me the failed coil you replied “just forget about it” and “tossed them out”???
I do not mind a difference of opinion about Model T modifications. It is commonly understood that the original Model T ignition system works reliably if you take care of it. This is why I disagree with people who do not take the time to get it right, are unable to make it work and take the wholesale replacement approach to the system as a solution. I explained my rationale for modifying the sediment bowl on my car; others may disagree, but no one I talked to told me it was a good long term solution and needed constant attention.
I understand and accept your comments about my apparent inconstancy, but you then took the opportunity to add to your Forum comments disingenuously excoriating me with a specious representation of the facts after ignoring all the help and advice I offered you.
In twenty-five years of coil rebuilding with hundreds of satisfied customers all over the world I have found Model T hobbyists, for the most part, a reasonable lot to deal with. In that time I had eight customers I was unable to satisfy. They could not follow simple instructions, made unreasonable demands or had unreasonable expectations, so I politely refund their money and forgot about it.
Under the circumstances your public criticism of me on this Forum is unwarranted and entirely inappropriate.
Ron the Coilman
I've installed that very same sediment bulb in the past. It works well and I am not the very least concerned about the glass breaking in service. The tractors we had on the farm as a kid had much rougher service than the T's see today.
What many fail to realize is the stock setup is a three position valve. On-Off and On with broken handle so it can't be turned off.
That is a nice improvement Ron. You won't regret it.
How many of you who criticize, have Ron's coils, starters & generators in your cars, or know someone who does, or have benefitted from his help on & off the forum? Why act like this? The guy simply shared a tip on a sediment bulb option and it's "open season" on him. If this had been posted by another familiar name on this forum, it would have been lauded as being clever and innovative. I guess because it was suggested by one of the leading suppliers of quality rebuilds, that made it fun & o.k. to interject rude jabs. Does that make some people feel better about themselves in some way?
Believe me Ron knows who is and whose not "pulling his Chain". We all know and appreciate his contributions to the hobby. Ron knows!
OK Ron...I apologize.
I should have kept my mouth shut.
Won't happen again.
I wish you guys would get over this. The sediment bowl is an original Ford part replica. I can easily see these used on cars from a farm or even smart city slickers.
See this post: http://www.mtfca.com/cgi-bin/discus/show.cgi?tpc=506218&post=748785#POST748785
I wonder how many of you are NOT using modern tires, tubes, bearings or bands?
Ron: Kept me informed how that shut off works for you. I tried one on my 25Pu and could not get flow enough on hills with it. I have used the ones without the reverse for years and not had that problem. I did not look into what was diff about it, just changed it back. Too many other things going on. Thanks, Dan
I have not had my coils done yet - my '27 runs quite well, but at the recommendation of another T owner, I intend to send my coils to Ron this spring. Until this forum thread, I had never seen or heard of anyone who criticized Ron's work on coils.
Multiple sets of Ron's coils are used by members of the Prairie State Model T club without a flaw in any of them. His work speaks for itself, perfect. Ron also had the national tour in Kentucky some time back, a great tour!!!
wow!! this has got to be the longest thread ever!!!!! charley
This is like replacing a roller timer with an
E-TIMER Or a generator with a alternator . It is your car Just keep on Driving and Have Fun.
What I'd like to know is what do coils have to do with sediment bulbs?
Isn't there a "coil" spring on the original type fuel bowl handle?
Larry. I guess you haven't been on the receiving end of being criticized for putting anything other than coils in your car. The point here it is ok for some non original parts but not others. It was pointed out to me that if I didn't have an original ignition that I no longer had a model t. Mike
Ron: Thanks for the information. I didn't know that you could get a sediment bowl with the reserve feature. I use the glass sediment bowls on all my Ts. If some comes to me with gas flow problems One of the first things I do is install a new glass sediment bowl. You can bet I will install glass sediment bowls with the reserve from now on. I hope you keep up the good work and keep good information flowing.
I have this Sediment bowl Assembly also.
Dave - There is available, a universal tractor type glass sediment bowl with shut-off valve and reserve gas feature (which you can either use or cut off). I have them on three of my "T's and they work very well. Very well made and compact like the one Ron Patterson used. They are available at most places like Tractor Supply and also at John Deer dealer parts dept. I bought mine at the JD dealer for $17.95 a couple years ago.
I should mention that this glass sediment bowl idea was passed on to me several years ago, complete with photographs of his installation, by a forum member whose name that unfortunately, I cannot remember, but of all that I have learned, and all of the help I've gotten from this forum over the years, this "tip" was absolutely one of the best! Certainly NOT for "purists" but I consider this a terrific reliability improvement that really doesn't look bad at all. And as for the glass bowl, believe me, that little bowl is one very thick and tough piece of glass! And by the way, they were used many years ago on all kinds of automotive, farm, and industrial equipment, and to me, even tho' not "Ford original", they have a certain "old-timy" look about them anyway.
Perhaps worth mentioning,.....there are two very fine mesh screens built into this glass sediment bowl unit,.....the one that surrounds the little vertical reserve gas inlet tube, plus the internal screen built into the unit which is similar to the screen built into the original Ford "potato". I believe it is noteworthy that any extremely small rust, scale, or other foreign particles that are small enough tho get through either or both of these very fine-mesh screens will pass harmlessly thru' carburetor jets. Besides the glass bowl for any sediment to settle, the screen(s) in the unit are all the protection your fuel system needs and there is no need to install any additional possibly troublesome type of inline fuel filter in your system. For what it's worth,.......harold
What weight oil would you use to lubricate the fuel bowl rubber gasket with?
Darn, Seth! Why'd you have to go and do that??
P. S. The gasket is cork.