O.k., this may seem like a really dumb question, but do I have to use some kind of radiator cover if I plan on driving my T throughout the winter? I've had my '14 on the road for short trips to the gas station and township hall and plan on using it as much as I can (weather permitting). Do I need to partially cover the radiator, or can I just continue as is?
A piece of cardboard over the lower half of the radiator is the easy fix. Bungee cord between the headlamp forks to hold in place.
Here's a picture of my cardboard winter front. I sprayed it black to match the rest of the car better. Since this picture was taken, I have sliced another inch off of the top of it for a little more cooling.
But do I need one?
It's a personal choice, I suppose. I seem to recall a plot showing engine wear versus temperature that showed the damage that can be caused by running too cold. Oh, here it is!
Bill, just keep an eye on the moto-meter if you have one. I would suspect if the red stuff never pokes its head out from the bottom, a cover might be a good idea. Ironically, when I bought my first vintage car, the model A, I couldn't drive the car 8 miles before the red went straight to the top,put in a new radiator, and now even on an 80 degree day the red stuff barely pops up a quarter of an inch. That car would definitely need a partial cover in real cold weather, haven't tried it as yet. Probably never will!
Partially covering a radiator would cause a loading and unloading of each fan blade every revolution. This could have a negative on the fatigue life of the blades. Model T fan blades do break off on occasion.
Hmmm. Donald, thats a very good thought. That said, wonder if just using a full cover with small holes throughout would work. I bet it just might. Thanks for that post.
I doubt very much that the non-uniform aerodynamic load on the blades is significant, the fan operates in free airspace behind the radiator. Vibration, unbalance and centrifugal accelerations are greater factors in my view. Regardless of cause, fan blades do fail and should be checked for cracks regularly. my 0.02, jb