I found this rusted old engine block buried behind my old man's house.
It's provenance is, and forever will be, unknown. All I know for certain is that it has been sitting out in the elements for at least 20 years. Found this old Hogshead, too.
The serial number is all but rusted away except for what looks like a seven, all the way to the left above the water inlet. It has a single valve cover. Given those two pieces of information, my best guess is this is a 1923? Sound reasonable?
I think this block is too rusted to attempt a restoration. But I was curious if anyone had any thoughts or advice on how to get the best use out of this thing. I have a '25 Touring. Anything I should think about trying to salvage?
Or is it probably just good for a decorative piece, in which case I was thinking about cutting a 1 inch thick piece of glass in the shape of the head, making a coffee table... or something.
If it's not cracked or rotted completely through in some areas it's probably salvageable. Even some of the cracked blocks are salvageable. It all depends on how much you want to spend.
It's very likley that some parts, like the magnets and other magneto and transmission pieces, can be used. Good, uncracked reverse drums are golden.
Unless badly broken the block is probably useable. Hogs head is probably savable, even the oil pan can donate parts to saving a better one. The block as a coffee table is a good idea if you do not cut anything up to make the coffee table .. . It saves the part till it can be better used. If you want to be fancy, mount a warped exhaust manifold, a intake manifold and one of Stan Howe's beautiful brass carbs. Now that is "art" in my book ...
There's a fellow in Minneapolis who takes junk and turns it into tables and lamps.
Here is a Model T block coffee table that he had at the Minnesota State Fair - he wanted $2,000 for it. Sorry about it being so close. I was using a camera phone and the lighting was crappy and the shots that were taken further away didn't turn out well.
If you click on this link, you can see another shot of it on his website:
Personally, I can't get excited about this type of "art."
"It all depends on how much you want to spend."
Well, I was hoping to spend less than ten bucks....
Thanks, Steve, I'll certainly save the transmission drums.
I'm thinking now it may be best just to completely dissect what can be dissected, and itemize the pieces.
Donnie, that sounds like it would be a handsome piece, adding warped manifolds and a carb. Erik, I actually dig the light bulbs in the cylinders, but part of me cant help but feel that poor engine has been carnivalized and forced to end its days like an old Elvis.
The engine in my Model A sat outside in a yard for some 30 years with the head off, subject to all kinds of weather, snow, rain, etc.--I never could get the owner to let it go. Then I heard it was in the junk yard, so I bought it. Had to use a 4x4 and a hammer to get the pistons out (didn't really care about the pistons as I knew it would have to be bored at least a little!). That engine has been in my model for some years now, was a great rebuild.
I wouldn't write off your engine without doing some careful inspecting!
Ps, looking at your pictures, I'd check the ground all around there for smaller pieces too!
It just depends upon how it sat, where the water sat, how long, and how corrosive the surrounding soil and debris was. I have seen engines sat out for decades, look horrible, and clean up nicely inside and run beautifully. I have seen a few that looked pretty good from the outside? Only to be rusted completely through a couple of cylinders.
Your block looks like what was used from 1922 through 1925 model years. It is probably the most common and easiest to acquire in good condition of all the block variations. (1922 used casting molds from both earlier and later styles.) Almost anything can be repaired, cylinders sleeved, valves re-seated. I have seen really valuable non-T cylinder blocks welded back together from as many as 29 pieces (they counted them, the Locomobile runs great!) (For some silly reason, I know almost a dozen people that have a Locomobile? You will never guess which one and I ain't telling.)
Brass era T blocks are worth much more than later ones, and are worth spending considerable time and/or money to preserve and use. Later blocks may get to that point in some years. It is amazing how so many parts that people used to give away have become difficult to buy nice ones now. Think about transmission drums and rear axles. I try to preserve almost any marginal model T part.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I would love to get hold of the transmission and soak it in mineral spirits for 2-3 months.
I have done more than a few rusted up and stuck transmissions doing that and had pretty good results and some good drums also.
If the block was an open valve block it would bring a BUNCH more than you think in that condition!
A few years ago I found something like that engine.
With elbow grease and a few $$$$ I made this out of it.
It turns well and have the original pistons in it.
You don't know what you've got until you dig in. That's in both the block and the back yard for what might be left in the ground. Obviously, as shown, the dead just might rise again! Good Luck!
Even a very poor block can be used for other purposes. Royce recently posted how to use an old block for straightening an exhaust manifold. Others have shown how they can be used to straighten crankshafts. A coffee table would be cool to, but I wouldn't make one that would destroy it for future use. I for sure wouldn't scrap anything, you just never know what may be usable in the future. JMHO. Dave
Davey: check out this thread
Forum 2015: Never throw anything away -early engine block
Here are pictures of a block that was saved
OOPS tried to do the wrong thing here is the link
I'm beginning to think a winter's long bath in mineral spirits may be a good idea. Davey
Good idea Davey! For me its always been fun finding old parts and just soak em!
I used kerosene, diesel or what ever we had here on the farm until I used it up.
You can go to Wal-Mart and get a few gallons of mineral spirits fairly reasonable. I have also used a mixture of diesel and mineral spirits with good success also.
Don't throw it away! You can reuse it over and over. You can strain it and reuse it.