Cast Iron Pistons, Maybe

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: Cast Iron Pistons, Maybe
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Everett on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 11:06 am:

I just read that rebuilt engines with cast iron pistons sound different than rebuilt engines with aluminum pistons.

I'm at that crossroads, and would like to hear the difference.

Is there a youtube video with an engine with iron pistons running?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Adam Doleshal on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 12:22 pm:

Aluminum pistons that are fit correctly are usually just about indistinguishable in how they sound. However, cast iron pistons have a reputation for idling a little nicer. This may be due to their heavier weight, but is probably more likely due to the thinking that "the old engine had cast iron pistons and seemed to idle better". In fact, most engines that idle exceptionally low & slow are usually ones that are very "well-worn" (bordering on worn out)...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Corey Walker, Brownsboro TX on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 02:30 pm:

I've got one with standard cast iron pistons, one with .040 aluminum pistons. The one with cast iron pistons does seem to idle smoother but the one with aluminum pistons seems to have more pep and driving you can't hear a difference but you can feel it. Both are otherwise stock except for one has the newer no drag clutches which in my opinion is a bad idea and I'm swapping back to Ford clutch discs if I take it back apart. They work fine and don't grab and jerk.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 02:40 pm:

Here's my '23 with cast iron pistons running:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWjb5mRxSwA


Here's my '14 with aluminum pistons:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUhFZSZOotU

The aluminum pistons are much quieter, the engine much more powerful, and smoother due to less reciprocating weight.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John C Codman on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 03:55 pm:

To Royce - Makes sense to me. My engine has it's original 88 year-old iron pistons, but if it ever needs new ones, they will be forged aluminum if such a thing exists.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Everett on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 06:27 pm:

Royce, thank you for the youtubes.

Now, I don't know which one sounds better!

I think I'll get Bailey to play them tomorrow while my back's turned.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By kep on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 10:32 pm:

My cast iron pistons are nice and quiet. i hope i never wear them out as they are no longer available. Does drive like it's throwing more weight around in the crankcase though. Then again alloy pistons feel the same way.
Does idle nicely with iron pistons.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Thursday, December 31, 2015 - 05:56 am:

Reciprocating weight adds low-end torque which is what you want in a model T.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Thursday, December 31, 2015 - 09:35 am:

James you are mistaken my friend.

Reciprocating weight adds no torque. The more reciprocating weight you have the more power it takes to move. Thus less power is available to propel the car when you have heavier reciprocating weight. This is why any race car engine builder in any competition in any class anywhere in the world strives to reduce reciprocating weight. We call it "free horsepower" because it is the easiest way to get more power from any engine.

Rotating weight (heavier flywheels, magnets, crankshaft etc) saves or stores torque. This can be useful in a low power engine, because it will allow the car to lurch away from a dead stop without stalling. The flip side of this fact is that heavier flywheels take more power to accelerate to speed. So again in the typical race car engine builder scenario the lightest rotating mass that can do the job is the desired goal.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman - Sumner,WA on Thursday, December 31, 2015 - 02:21 pm:

It's well worth watching Royce's technique in driving. I have to say that my "T" driving is very similar and I feel that I am very easy on bands and the clutch. It's no harder to be easy on the car than to have excessive and unnecessary wear & tear. I can't recommend "California stops" as that is illegal, but it sure is easy on the low band. Notice that Royce either avoids going to low pedal at all at intersections, or, when having to go to low, he rarely come stop a full stop, hence no slipping of low band at all. Also, when shifting from low to high pedal, momentary closing throttle all but eliminates slipping of the clutch. I don't care what anybody says,....when going from low to high pedal, leaving the throttle open and just letting the clutch just drag the engine rpm's down to low is just plane lazy, careless and unnecessarily abusive and a bad habit. Again, watch Royce's driving carefully and learn,.....he was taught by a genuine "old school Model "T" master from way back in the "T" era,....his Dad. FWIW,......harold


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By bob middleton on Sunday, January 10, 2016 - 10:10 pm:

Think it's more of the muffler then the pistons but yes I think cast iron buckets run smoother


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Willard Revaz on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 03:45 pm:

Royce does have the finesse in shifting that we all should emulate. Otherwise, we make engine/transmission rebuilders very happy. Also, if you are rolling when shifting into low, there is minimal band and drum wear.
Think about it, when driving a regular stick shift, unless you are in a drag race, do you keep the gas pedal applied when you depress he clutch? It should be the same for your T.


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