I own a 1916 T. Most of its mechanical parts are interchangeable with its later model counterparts but not interchangeable with earlier years. This lead me to ponder what were the reasons for such rapid evolution? Some recent threads have set me thinking.
Square hole transmission cover was changed to allow access to clutch fingers for adjustment.
Headlight forks were changed to offset style to avoid hand injuries from the lights when cranking????
Engine block casting changed to stop oil leaks
Engine pan made removable to get at the bearings.
Any other you can think of and why?
Just thought this might be interesting for all?
Rear axle casing was clever but weak
Wheels on plain shafts not good
Don't forget cost of parts/suppliers, overhead, durability, ease of production, ease of assembly, ease of shipping parts to branches. Probably more. Dave
Cheaper to build.
Faster to build.
Compare a 1925 Model T to your '16. Not one part is the same, and the car is easier to manufacture and better quality. Ford eliminated the use of Vanadium steel in rear axles and crankshafts, making those weak components far more reliable than they were earlier.
Here is a question. Was there any parts of the T that were unchanged from start to finish?
Legend has it that Henry had set out to produce an inexpensive "every-man's car" from the very get-go.
But when looking at the difference between the earlier cars with their genuine leather upholstery, fancy pin-striping over expensive lacquer paint, aluminum hoods and decorative brass all over the place, and the far more utilitarian plain black cars of the early '20s, I can't help but wonder whether the "every-man's" concept of Mr. Ford wasn't something that evolved over time. _Here, let me show you what I mean:
Those collector-car buyers who prefer pre-war Fords (and are not in the speculative business) are mostly in it for the way these cars look—'cause they certainly drive just awful—and in the modern context, the prices paid clearly tell the story: All the plain black Model T Fords made after 1919 cost the same, absolutely regardless of model-year (in fact, this even includes the "improved cars" of '26 and '27); figure anywhere from about $8,000 for a running car with threadbare upholstery and a few things wrong with it, to $12,000 for a cream-puff. _Then there's a gap of about four or five-grand as the youngest brass Fords abruptly jump to $16,000+ and every model-year older than that is represented by a steeply progressive price increase, until you get all the way back to the Model Ts built in 1908, '09 and '10, the majority of which change hands at auction and the money paid there is astronomical.
I am not old enough to remember, but I think at least three things were involved in the changes:
1. Safety, ease of repair and operation. Stronger component parts. Practical matters.
2. Availability of certain parts and fuel due to world affairs such as WW I.
3. Low price competition by such as Chevrolet,Plymouth and others drove the price down for competition. Which would also involve lower cost of production.
Heres one. I always marveled at how the cantilevered triple gears pins held the thrust of the torque against the triple gears considering they were held in place only by a press fit inside the flywheel. I mused that if I had engineered the set up, I would have supported the triple gears at each end.
Then I saw how the pins of the pre Model T Fords were in fact supported by each end of the gear case in which they rode. After seeing the effects of 100 plus years on the gear cases, I understood why Ford changed to holding the pins in place in the flywheel. Every pre Model T case I have seen is either cracked or buggered out where the pins rode. In all my years of collecting, I have only seen one flywheel with buggered out pins holes, and that was a very early (and light) 1909 flywheel.
You can learn a lot of why Model T features are the way they are by examining the frailties of the pre Model T Fords.
As you note, one is able to see improvements from the earliest to later "pre-T Fords. However, sometimes it seems to go the other way. Model NRS and K differentials appear much more stout than early T. The Model K (and possibly B, the first enclosed driveshaft Ford) even had tapered axles, while the first T followed the NRS style of straight axle.
I don't know if the first T had outside bearing sleeves, but Model K did?
I agree, it looks as though Henry Ford intended to build the best, lightest and least expensive cars from the start. Even his more expensive offerings, models B and K, were by far the least expensive in their class. When the Model N was introduced, it was by the least expensive four cylinder car on the market (1906).
This August 1906 article discusses Ford's intention to build the largest auto manufacturing plant in the world, and at the end of the article, his intent to make an inexpensive touring car:
I don't know the exact process involved in making the one piece front spindles, but it would seem that they would be cheaper. No hole to drill, threads to cut, or nut to hold it all together. Then the time to do the assembly.
Then in 1922 they went back to it for a while.
Doe's anyone have any insight into this?
Herb, I might have a reason Ford shifted from one piece spindles to those with the detachable arm. It is very difficult to get the one piece spindle arm holes positioned so they move freely with the tie rod. The hole has to remain vertical throughout the throw. With the adjustable arms, you can adjust the position without heating and bending the arm.
I've seen restorers of early cars simply open up the clearance on the bushing to allow for variation in movement. Not the best solution. Your comment comes at an appropriate time for me as I have just made 09-10 tie rod bolts (the ones with the slotted cap) and am having difficulty fitting them to the one piece spindles.
When I did my 1910 front end up, I had trouble fitting the tie rod bolts to the one piece spindles as well.
I fitted the tie rod to one spindle only, rotating that spindle full travel and noting the position of the other undone end of the tie rod in relation to the non connected spindle arm at all times of the rotation arc. I then bent the connected spindle arm (with some heat) until the non connected tie rod lined up with the non connected spindle arm (taking into account the slight up down movement a the non connected end and finding the mid point of this movement)
Repeat the process for the other side spindle connected and the opposite disconnected.
Mine was way out. You will notice the difference in lighter steering.
This is a bit hard to put in words but you will see the arc the tie rod takes when you do the first side and understand why those tie rod bolts wont go in.
hope this helps
To Rob from Nova Scotia - Lang's lists the exhaust system as 1909-27.