As Grandpa's race car project winds down, I'm shifting gears and starting my own. He had another runabout which last ran in 1982 or so. It has a little jumbo auxiliary transmission, Z'ed frame, and under slung brackets up front.
here's what she looks like:
You guys are starting to grow on me and I'm digging the old ways more and more. Worst case, someday, I'll put together a model A drivetrain. But for now, I'd like to have fun with an original T.
I just drove 1500 miles and picked these parts up for $1200. Lots of model A wheels and suspension parts.
I've waited all of my life to build a roadster and this body is in pretty darn restorable shape.
My first step is to jig the frame and start building and repairing the body.
I'm sure I'll have lots of assembly questions!!!
Nice project......the rewards are in the doing..........
And isn't it nice to smile pump up your chest and say "I did that!" I also like looking at the admiring people who congratulate you on a Job well done.
Thanks fellas. The fun is in the doing.
Today's discovery makes a good case for not building frames on saw horses.
I laid the sub frame out on my weld table and was unsurprised to find this. The crossmembers are not square either and there is a bad repair job. 110 volt wire feed welds that looked like they were dropped from 20 feet up...
A minor set back cutting the driver side apart and rebuilding it square and true on the frame.
I have had frames that I didn't have to do almost anything to, except touch up the paint only once. I have restored several frames that needed a lot of repair work. I always check over a frame.
Thank you for bringing up a good point to be considered.
Drive carefully, and enjoy the journey, W2
Thanks Wayne for chiming in. I laid her on the frame today and she doesn't look so bad (which means nothing really). The fact that these sub frames are wider and hover over the frame means that you can have a sub frame that is severely tweaked yet the holes still line up.
I also found that the area under the driver's door had been replaced with a different model. The height is much shorter.
passenger side unmolested...
I picked up a bunch of steel today...Not looking forward to building this section from scratch
Since it isn't going to be an original build and most (almost all) of the subframe is covered by the body and the floorboards and a floor mat, then maybe the difference between left and RH side won't be noticeable at all?
It'll bother me to bits, Roger. Even if I can't see it!
The frame is beyond repair but I fixed the roadster sub frame today.
used some big iron to bend the lower lip in the sub frame replacement panels...
another piece saved! I was sweatin' it. Now I can start building up the body...
After lining up the front two crossmembers, I took on the previously hacked bun panels. It would have been nice to have them rusty but intact..
cut out a piece of 14 gage and made it in one piece
Can anyone point me in the direction of how these areas are supposed to look like on a stock roadster? I have no point of reference. Were the rockers riveted independent of the bun panels and cowl?
Been gettin' after it lately. Taught myself how to TIG last week so I've been hammer welding/installing(with some of my grandfather's old body tools) lower bun panels and fabricating the ends and upper bun panel which was really botched.
Before botched by lap welding, warped, installed too high...
Did all the pieces come from the same body originally?
There were indeed changes during the production run, so it's particularly hard to get parts from different bodies to match. Patch panels from the only game in town is even worse..
It's hard to say, Roger but I can attest to the fact that nothing really fits so that makes sense. (It's being made to fit). Fortunately, these bodies are small and simple but every panel needs to be nearby to custom fit because one affects the other for sure.
Been buying used sheet metal tools like crazy so I think I'm out of the woods on the hard stuff.
Still need rocker to bun and cowl shots if anyone has them.
Nice toys...boat and #5 sprint car.
Your current project looks like fun.
Thanks Jon. The boat was last year's project. Total gut, rewire, repower, transom, deck, etc. I am blessed to be able to do my own work. However, this 'car' is going to be taking a bit longer I'm finding. Been really getting into a lot of dolly, hammer, and shrinking for the first time which has been fun. Working on wheel adaptors too.
Looks like I have an earlier chassis with a low radiator which adds moving and riveting body mounts for the longer hood, and finding another radiator.
I'm also getting deep into adding a cross steer steering box so I can run the car with a full hood and lower steering column. Just found out how short the original hood really is today and the drawings confirm it.
Jim, I sent you a PM regarding detailed pics of the Roadster body.
Thank you for all the great, detailed pics, Eric!
My car is September 1926 production. Hope they're helpful.
Thanks Eric and Duey.
Thanks to a wonderful member here, I'll be going all Model A on the steering system with Model T front axle. Then I can run a full hood and use through frame side steer.
Today, I made up a panel where someone had previously cut. I'm assuming for a drive line. I'll aircraft rivet it in place.
Here's some pics...
The extra gap on the left will be used for wiring pass through...or that I messed up.
Today I spent a couple of hours figuring out what I'm going to do about the rocker joint.
I welded studs to the bun panel framework so it is still removable (with the rocker panel attached), from the sub frame.
I decided on an inverted bead. I'm not a metal worker, but I will die trying. I picked up this little Niagara edge roller for about a hundred bucks and it's been invaluable. If anyone wants some bead blanks for just the price of shipping, hit me up.
I fused it into the new replacement rocker panel with the TIG.
I wanted uniform door fit all the way around...
closer to metal finishing...
and the sight line is the most important...
I'm running a few experiments on dipping my body parts....
Great looking work ! im new to this sheetmetal work ,and interested how your experiments turn out .i used vinegar 1 part to 3 water in a bucket . dropped smaller rusted parts in and 2 days later they were bright metal with a little brushing . then wiped jasco on that .
Thanks Michael. Interesting that you used vinegar with good results. I've used it to remove black mold under boat decks with pretty good success. got any pics of what you're into? I'll have to try vinegar as well!
one day on prep and etch yielded this result...
Next I'm trying a 3:1 mixture to see if it still works.
There were crusty rust particles at the bottom of the jar, so it removed the rust. I was planning on following up with PPG DX579 and DX520 for that nice zinc phosphate coating before epoxy priming.
Got a little farther on my "modular" bolt on panels. I welded an inverted bead on the front of the rocker that will slip under the cowl joint.
I hope my patches look that good when im done . i figured out to use 023 wire ! looks way better now instead of making holes ,using a millermatic 211.yes i posted a pic of the floor riser titled Newb and a pile of 21 runabout .the floor riser was nowhere near as ruff as your piece though . i have no real experience ,but the jasco seems to leave a coating ? looks the same color liquid as prep n etch ,i think phosphoric acid .
Well, you're thinking right! I use .023 on all of my MIG stuff and that's a great welder you have. Perfect for sheet metal. I had a Miller 210 and loved it better than the Lincoln 215 I have now.
I'll look into the jasco too.
I gather phosphoric acid is a standard metal prep ingredient. It's in the DuPont 5717S I use. I've seen it used in toilet bowl cleaner too.
Yes, the smell was very familiar, Steve. It's also found in coca cola.
It's been a marathon day today. I took a couple of vacation days to get some things done.
First was to mock up the late body on the early frame thanks to help from others here.
rerun pic. Man, I'm getting excited!
I removed 4 body mounts and added 8 mounts(with bolts only for now) from 2 frames. The first set is at 38 1/4" O.C. from front of frame...
On the rear mounts, I added them to the subframe. I will reinforce/fabricate new rear crossmember extensions. Thank fully I fixed the subframe because everything is spot on.
I started mocking up the model a steering column to get a rough idea if it will work or not. I also test fitted the Model a steering arms in the T axle...
Here's the race car steering with Model A components, specifically the reworked steering arm which I hope to emulate...
Made a patch panel for one on my quarters. Getting better panel by panel using the TIG. LOTS of hammer and dolly!
Just in case anyone wonders why I am talking to myself, I have always documented builds on the web and have learned so much through the documentation of others. There's also not very much info on the nuts and bolts of piecing together a T that ISN'T an R**ROD (insert eye roll here).
Today I decided to tackle a floor board section with poster board. I used 18 gauge for this.
18 gauge is kind of pushing it for my tools, so I used a miniature air reciprocating saw to cut it out, touched it up with my cheap little bandsaw and 5" air sander and hand files...
I never bead rolled before today and having the world's cheapest quality roller ever, didn't get laser straight lines. I also had to torch and dolly the center to shrink it back down. It was a great learning experience though..
Here's the worlds crappiest bead roller. An old friend showed me how to "trailer hitch" all my tools and keep everything on wheels which is a great tip.
I think these panels, slap in here somehow? I think I'll have to lower everything down in quite a bit...
Made a battery trim piece for the rear floor. Hope to run the rear floor along the inside shelf of the subframe, not on top
Gotta get the nerve to heat the steering arm to position, mount the steering, do some cowl work, rear floor, then blow everything apart to paint.
Your really moving ! Looking good .I have my wood nearly done just mocked everything up to see how she looks.
super stoked other than patchwork and a few dings it's straight .that's original paint too I believe what's left of it
I really enjoy finding builds documented like this . Lots of information , and pictures . I am really looking forward to your paint choices what primer , topcoat etc ,how you prep. I'm thinking a 1 part urethane enamel , I've had good experience with in a marine environment. Only it was applied tip n roll . I will be trying to thin and spray this . Also I'm in california so not sure what is available .
I haven't commented but I am really enjoying how you are bringing this car back to life. Your metal working skills are way past mine so it all looks kind of like magic to me.
I also want to document my restoration on the web but haven't gotten around to deciding how or where to to it, i.e. Facebook, Blog or on the Forum. It will need to be bilingual to make it helpful for any local members.
I hope to have my rear axle done next week. Then I'll be able to get the frame down from the wall and have a place to set my engine when the machine shop finally finishes the crank.
Michael, those pictures are awesome!!! Ha ha, I love those older runabouts. and your car is sooo cool! Judging by your hat, you must ride. I used to do a lot of riding in Washington state when I was in the Navy.
I'll probably use what I have around. I have some Nason(cheap) epoxy primer, some PPG K38 urethane and whatever else is in the basement.
You know, I've learned a long time ago that we all over do it on paint. These cars will hardly ever see rain, hardly be driven in relative terms, and stored indoors. Shooting rustoluem under a good tractor paint will probably be more than a T will ever need and less than $100, lol.
I have some black Awlgrip left over from my boat. I think that the hardener/reducer is the only thing that changes to spray vs roll/tip. But you can't buff, blend, or repair Awlgrip.
A roll and tip job would look really great, IMO.
I've painted quite a bit, but am not a painter. I really like a good single stage urethane(no clear) for easy repair. here's a boat I totally restored a couple of years ago with a single stage Nason seafoam and off white...
It's held up really well, so I may stick with Nason because it's really cheap and easy to work with.
Eric, thanks man! I hope you start a total build thread here. There are a lot of super talented people here and it's great because I've secretly stolen some of their techniques. Your frame looks great!
Wow Great Job ,for me it is frustrating having to to that kind of repair. I see a #5 racer in some of the photos, can you tell us about that also? Thanks
John, thanks. To me the hard stuff is all the meticulous mechanicals that everyone does here. The #5 was my grandfather's. He ran it in the exhibition races with the AARA. It's in a couple of threads, "inherited a model t speedster" and "inherited speedster pt.II"
Re your Model A steering arm - I have just fitted 1927 chev spindles to my T roadster. They are an easy fit using T king pin and bushes and give a 1 inch drop for 27 T and probably a 2 inch for earlier. I think the steering arm is also an easier mode than the A. They will also connect to your model A drag link. I was amazed how easy some chev parts fit onto T's and possibly the reverse.
Nice work. I'm very impressed.
The wavy beads you mentioned can be straightened by clamping the panel to a table and using a slightly dulled cold chisel to move the edge of the bead that is too low over slightly. The opposite edge of the bead can be moved from the inside with a bar clamped next to the bead and using a custom made bumping tool. Final straightening can be accomplished by filing the edge along with a heavy coat of epoxy primer. I like epoxy primer since it is stable and doesn't shrink away from the bead edge over time, although it is a bear to sand.
When sanding paint next to the bead the sandpaper should be moved in short segments at 45 deg up to the bead, If the sanding is done long wise to the bead there will be witness lines in the paint due to buildup of paint in the sandpaper.
Ken, that's great info...thanks. Ironically, I have the chevy hubs and bearings for when I was considering installing the chevy disc wheels.
Thank you, Art. And that is great help. I made a couple of different sizes of T-dollies on the lathe, without the "T". between those and your instructions, I think I can straighten them out!
Two things I did differently the next time is that, One, I got a helper(duh on my part), and two, I didn't go as deep. That made a huge difference.
Got a little work done during the "Great Blackout".
I welded a couple of structure pieces for the floor to lay on fore and aft of the rear crossmember. The floor lays on the inner shelf of the subframe, not on top.
I got help as I mentioned on the bead roller...
I didn't really want to build a 1985 prostreet looking panel, but I think that with the aircraft rivets I'm going to use and the other trunk items, it'll just fade into the background.
Posterboard is my friend.
I didn't like the lack of rigidity in the cowl and how it relates to door alignment, so I decided to fab up a bolt-in cowl stiffener/steering column support. It uses the windshield stanchion holes. I left the tubing open to pass wires through if needed.
Fits behind the stock dash and clears the emergency brake handle...
Started mocking the body up for last minute fitment, nips, and tucks
Great Idea, one that I am going to do is install a torque tube in the door of my 25 before I install the interior. It will keep it aligned with the jam.
Thanks John, and that is a good idea yourself.
I have an extra rear spring. Am I doing this right? I copied the technique from the other thread...
Modified lower compared to stock 2nd spring...
Both lowered and matched...
How does it look? Can I go lower? I'm gonna wrap them in friction tape and want little to no suspension travel.
Jim im super jello over your tools and equipment !,i agree on the paint in fact ive grabbed some west marine polyurathane alkyd oil based cheap paint , for the outside and rustoleum for frame and underside stuff . its way beyond the original but similar . real cheap easy to apply and touch up . i tried spraying ,also brushing both results are adequate even for the bodywork.yes i ride current bike a ktm 500 street legal dirt bike with suspension set up for mx track ...its fun to pass someone using a blinker and horn at the track!
Michael, a lot of that stuff like the press for instance is at work.
Alkyd enamel paints is super super durable. I used to use a lot of John Deere blitz black semigloss with hardener over ppg dp50lf on chassis parts and it was bullet proof. I imagine over rustoluem will work for generations to come.
That's cool about your enduro(if they still call them that)
Your'e doing it right Your rear spring is lowered about as much as I would go with that method. Next step is a kickup on the frame or moving the rear axle relative the spring.
I tried to bend a spring even more - then I got unwelcome contact between the rear spring and the rear axle.. You can't avoid some suspension travel - it may get too stiff with more than 8 leafs & then you'll get less traction on bad roads. Yo'll like some type of hydrualic or friction type shocks if you're going to run it fast
Roger, that helps immensely! Thank you! The frame is already z'ed so the spring lowering will be in conjunction with that.
I can always count on you to bail me out
I spent the last couple of days cutting out panels and fixing up my cowl while on the frame. I had to remove many rivets and painstakingly "restore" the rivet holes. The cowl lip to firewall was pretty beat up all the way around. I need to source some fasteners to replace the old rivets from the outside in.
Filled the dash...
Have a happy Easter everyone!
glad to see the progress Jim . i just bought a dash on ebay . it looks okay couple of extra holes need filled . i think the previous owner is flaking he has the dash and floors we forgot to load them ,now no return message's maybe he'll still come thru , but at least now i have a dash...Mike ...Happy Easter to you