I just recently had my 1927 Tudor repainted and was thinking about installing step plates - my wife picked me up a pair for Father's Day two years ago. The car has never had them on before, so I would be drilling holes into an already fine running board. The running board isn't perfect, mind you. Even after I had it powdercoated, you can still see the rust pits in the metal and there would have been holes in the tread had the powercoating not filled them in; however, you can also see the "Made in Canada." which is pretty cool.
A part of me wants to dress up the car and another doesn't want to change things for fear that I would be permanently ruining the running boards. Perhaps I am worrying about nothing. Any thoughts from those in the know? Thanks.
To me, Made In Canada stamped parts are not that common from where I am here in NY. I own a Canadian T and I don't think mine are stamped with that--I would LOVE to have a set. That being the case, you have two choices in my view. You can drill the holes, knowing they are not perfect boards, or you can find another set of more common USA boards and just throw caution to the wind and drill away, then have them powder coated to match what you have. Running boards for USA cars are pretty common, not sure why most everyone wants a fortune for them though.
The bottom line is ultimately it is your T, and unless it is super rare, the choice comes down to what you want to do.
Jim, I don't know what brand my step plates are, but I think they have the manufacturer's name cast into the bottom side of them, so I'd have to check. They are period manufacture plates and not modern repos. I didn't want to drill my boards either. As luck has it; the holes in the plate on either the front or rear side, perfectly match the running board carriage bolt spacing, so by slightly enlarging the step plate tapered mounting hole (making it non-tapered), I can use two of the running board carriage bolts to secure the plate. Two bolts are all that is needed. Four are not necessary.
I couldn't see the "Made in Canada" until I removed all of the paint. It wasn't stamped very deep into the running board; however, it came out even with the powdercoating. What year is your car?
The step plates that I have are repos.
Here are some before/after pics of the car with the step plate resting on the running board. The first pic was taken in 2007, the second pic today. I am still waiting on the top wood to be made.
I often think about not wanting to drill or change anything on my car, like step plates or what have you. Then I thought when I got this car it was a basket case and I'll make my car how I like it and when I'm dead and gone the new care taker can do what he wants but for now I'll enjoy my car the way I want to. So enjoy your car
Jim, my car is a '25ish Canadian cut off touring made into a pick up truck. I have found a lot of parts stamped with "made in Canada", but the car is kinda of a hodge podge of parts. It is registered off the Canadian engine number which is a '20, but it clearly is not that year.
I can never keep from chuckling when I see a step plate mounted in front of the false door on an open car. I guess that I am just odd in that way.
My 27 Canadian Touring has the running boards stamped "made in Canada" as do other cars I have seen here in Canada. I also have a set I took off a 27 that I dis-assembled for parts. I think they are stamped as well. I have found many of the parts on my car are stamped. This would apply to Canadian cars as well as cars built in Canada for export to the British Commonwealth.
Like those steps plates, so add them! Might be able to place 'em so the Made in Canada can still be seen.
Aftermarket plates were found on many T's...owners liked to dress up the simple Ford.
Not a lot left of this version step plate, but in its day looked snazzy.
Or... the one... Apples sure liked to dress up her T. Step plate, running board lamp to light the way, and other accessories. Even her name spelled out on the radiator
I don't like step plates. Also, I can't see drilling holes through nice running boards for them.
Rather than drilling holes and installing non original step plates, I find it better to carry some good spray wax and apply it often to the place you step. Wipe off any grit as often as possible too. The paint can last many years like this and the car will stay original.
Then too, you could get some magnetic strips like they use on magnetic signs and glue them to the underside of the step plate and hope the magnetic side hold them to the running boards when driving.
I like the magnetic strip idea. I will have to get it a try.
Mine are just stuck on with some silicone RTV, cut the bolts and stuck them in too, no holes to fix if I ever remove.
That right there Frank is probably the best idea I have heard yet. It falls under the "this is so simple why didn't I think of that".
It would devalue a T to me. I just don't like them, or any other showy accessories, like Gas-Oil-Water cans, Oogha horns, brass plated stuff that's supposed to be black, etc. That's just my taste, or lack of it. No criticisms intended.
Jim. if you valued your step plates, I would get enough magnetic tape to completely cover the underside of each plate. The most surface area; the better. If you wanted the attaching screws at each corner to show, then you could attach them with silicone to the plate holes. If the magnetic strips don't work, just RTV them to the running board as others have proposed.
I'm with Jerry on this one. When I bought by '14 some well meaning folks tried to convince me I needed the brass step plates to keep my running boards and shields from getting scuffed up and ruining the paint. But I am a purist and have tried to keep my car as close to what Henry created off the assembly line. Besides that, I like the look of a well loved and used T! But I have to admit, the step plates do add some bling to the black background of a T.
Our 14 had them and i wish grandmaw would let me remove them! I also wish grandmaw would let me paint it red but that's a no also! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
I don't use them because the step plate maintenance is just more upkeep. Especially an original running board where extra holes are required, or where use of the plate beats up the painted running board surface as severely as using it for a step. We have them on a Shay's A we have, but those were supplied with the car. Had they not been on that car, I would not have added them in that instance either. I don't suppose anyone has a clever running board protection method that is effective and fully removable for showing etc?
How long has the SI RTV held up? I like that idea. I believe it would stick pretty well to the powdercoating.
The reason Ford put the diamond pattern on the running boards is so your shoes would only touch the top of the diamonds. Step plates are a waste of time, and some folks don't use them either!
I lose track of time easily but I think a year or so, the brass Ford badge on the radiator is tacked on with RTV as well and that's been there several years.
"I don't suppose anyone has a clever running board protection method that is effective and fully removable for showing etc? "
Easy on. Easy off. No holes to drill. And they really are period correct.
Bill, The cocoa mats provide the protection, but instead of adding "bling"; they add "blah" to the appearance.
Putting bling on a Model T is like giving Granny a boob job. Yeah, you can, but it is just wrong.
I really appreciate all of the ideas and the openness of opinions. It really is helping me make an informed decision. Thank you so much - all of you!
Holes can be welded shut again, should anybody want to..
I wouldn't think of ever putting my dirty shoe on a nice painted running board, so I have to make a large step when entering a T with running boards but no step plates.
Don't like unnecessary bling stuff either, so my solution is - no running boards on my T's ;)
I have seen the cocoa pads, but expected the mounting wires would take paint off as effectively as foot traffic. I haven't inspected a set on a car that is a driver, so am making an assumption that may not be supported?
I guess, to an extent, it's a matter of personal taste, but you can apply the standard, artists' design rules here as you would anywhere else. _For instance, the rectangular side-view mirrors belong on the earlier brass cars that have rectangular cowl lamps and rectangular, wooden dashboards, but he '15s and '16s, with their curved cowls and cylindrical lamps with circular trim, look better with round side-view mirrors.
Then, there's the simple matter of what folks are used to seeing and as a rule, you won't see any extra 'bling' on Model Ts built before 1912, but after the brass-era, things get a bit more lenient. _Why? _Well, like the Geico commercials say, "It's what you do." _An Obama/Biden bumper sticker just looks more at home on a Prius with New York plates in a Starbucks parking lot on Earth-Day than it does on a gun rack-equipped pickup with Texas plates in a church parking on the Sunday after Christmas. _So yeah; going by that, step plates look right on the '26 and '27 Tourings (roadsters are iffy) and they're probably okay on most of the later, plain black cars.
But hey, I could be wrong—happens all the time—just ask my wife.
A previous owner had installed step plates on my 25 so I committed no crime. Am I going to remove them? I doubt it, because they do serve a purpose other then just bling. I'm also not going to remove the spare tire from the spare rim because wasn't included in the base price. Bottom line, would I personally install step plates if it meant that I needed to drill holes in the running board, I doubt it.
Wow! I never thought this thread would get all this different feed back but I have to know...What weight oil do you coat your running boards with to protect them and do you use a water pump when you clean them?
Bottom line is it's your car do what you want and like.
Scott, I have known people who make their guests remove their shoes before entering their house. You might try the same technique with passengers in your T....
Even the street rod crowd take off their shoes!
("Big Daddy" Roth and Tweedy Pie)
I took Frank's suggestion and used silicone to adhere the plates to the running boards. I also cut off the heads of the stainless steel sqaure drive screws to give the look that they were screwed down. Both plates were best placed where me, the driver, and my daughter, the passenger, would place our feet getting in and out.
The left side is done and is held on tight. I have yet to drive down the road with them, but I think that they will hold up just fine and using the silicone is better then drilling a hole in them, in my opinion.
Jim & Frank - I sure like the idea of silicone/RTV for mounting the step plates. Mine were attached with screws however, and it always kind of bothers me that there is no doubt, moisture that works it's way under those step plates, and certainly that can't be good! I would think that carefully applied silicone/RTV could be carefully applied in such a way as to seal against moisture just inside the step plate edges all the way around. Knowing the care in how Jim Kelsey works, I'm sure you're way ahead of me in this area, right Jim?
It seems to me that the running boards aren't some aesthetic pleasure Henry was trying to display, but merely a way to step into the car. I don't understand why people are so afraid to step on them. Just step on the paint, i promise it won't kill you, or the car
Running board cans are not bling when you run out of gas five miles from the next filling station, as I did recently.
That is a nice setup, Steve. They look great with your car!
As for step plates, I have them on each of my cars. I like them. To each his own.
To me, they are pointless "fluff" that serves no purpose other than to add more weight to slow the car
down. They certainly aren't particularly good looking. Just shiny things to cover up part of the running
board and help trap moisture between the two. I mean, what's the point ?
Think the point of them was to stop the diamonds from wearing through.
What's the point?
Well for me it was the fact that my paint work on the splash shield was getting knocked about by boots, so the pointless "fluff" fixed that!
My car already had plates. And I polish em up real good
However, I was concerned about moisture so I added 2 strips of 1/8" thick rubber (from grainger) under the plate (and my tool box) - across the top and the bottom. It didn't noticeably raise the plate and it lets the water dry out.
I recently had someone step up on the running board on the non-door side and now there's huge scratches in the paint. I hate to think what the door side would look like without the plate.
Kep, interesting you mention about wearing the diamonds through. A young friend and myself were driving all around in Pete, my '12, one nice afternoon and decided to stop in at another friends place so I could have him see his collection. He has a '12 touring he's restoring/preserving, I say that because the right side running board has holes of varying degrees in the tops of the diamonds from years of foot traffic. First I've ever seen that. Really cool looking actually. He's leaving them be, as he should. I have step plates too, Mea Culpa.
Somewhere around here I have the short running boards off my Grandpa's C-Cab built 12/24 which he drove around the Seattle area until 1958 - the driver's side board has most all of the "diamonds" worn off as well as the "Ford" script and you can see the ground below !
I, too, have a couple of running boards with the tops of the diamonds worn off. People actually USED these cars.
My opinion, the reproduction step plates look like Christmas lights on your house in mid - May. They are distractions from the beauty of your car.
Like an otherwise pretty girl with some kind of "jewelry" shoved through her sinuses.
How's that for thread drift?
Then, there are those who put a step plate under the dummy door! What kind of logic is that?
When the tops of the diamonds wear through you will be a hit at the Fourth of July picnic with your Ford cheese grater.
Ah...Step Plate ? Who notices a step plate?
All I see is a nice gam.
I don't have the step plates on my model Ts and think if that is the worst thing we all do to these cars they are set for another 100 years. I replaced my model A running boards with new ones and didn't want to drill holes in the new set. IMHO i think its up to the current owners, the next caretakers will make that decision for themselves. Tim
Personally, I have done my best to make the car as authentically period-correct and Canadian as possible, even to the point of making sure that all of the screws, both seen and hidden are Robertson. It ain't easy finding stainless steel oval headed 12-24 square drive machine screws. I had to custom-make my own.
When I had the running boards sand-blasted, there were holes in the diamonds. I had them powder-coated, which filled in the holes and further protected them from the kids that I cart to and from the park in the car. I also made sure that the "Made in Canada" can be plainly seen, so the plate isn't covering that up. Most importantly, nothing was permanently damaged by drilling holes.
Not that I need to justify it, but I put on the step plates for several reasons:
1) With all of the polished stainless screws and nickel plating, they fit right in;
2) They will protect the splash shields from accidental kiddie kicks;
and most importantly
3) They were a gift from my wife, who also likes them.
Some swear by an alternator; some don't. It is up to the individual.
I have the cocoa mats on the right running board of my 1913 T. Before I installed the mats, I bought some rubber tubing, split it down the middle and attached the tubing around the mounting wires that hold the mats to the running board. This fix seems to do a pretty good job of keeping the running boards from being scratched on the top or bottom.
I just ask people to take their shoes off before stepping into my car.
Of course, it does not snow here...
Some people think it a good idea to put big decals on their windshield that tell the world that this
F-250 was MADE BY FORD !
No kidding ?
I may have been the smartest kid in the Dumb Class, but even I can figure that one out !
Some people think red Corvettes are awesome. Other's only see attention-needy, insecure boobs
behind the wheel. Others want to hang every conceivable hunk of glitter gee-gaw on their el cheapo
mizer mobile, never seeing the irony in the clash of charm, .... like chrome plating a Da Vinci.
You can raise 'em up and send 'em to school, and some will still try to eat the books !