Hello All, I just bought my first Model T, always wanted one and it's exciting. lot's to learn on these T's, I collect cars but mostly in the 60's era so this is a learning experience for me.
If anyone can help with a few questions I'd really appreciate it.
I was told to use straight 30w oil, good idea? and does anyone know the quantity for an oil change?
The petcock on the radiator drips a bit regardless of how tight it is. Any easy fix (new o-rings, etc.) or do I need to replace it?
Should you always hear a buzz from the coils or does it depend on the stroke of the motor? A few times mine did not buzz.
Last, Any clubs in the Connecticut area?
Thanks all, looking forward to a lot of fun in this car. Dave
Whoa, nice pickup! I see you live in Connecticut, I lived in Manchester, CT from 2000 - 2011 when I was working for Pratt & Whitney.
I use 5W-30 in my 1924 cut-off touring (now a pickup, see my profile photo).
Be careful not to use oil that has molybdenum disulfide in it, it has been reported to be bad for the magneto.
There are many, many threads in the forum regarding oil, you can do a Goggle search on "oil mtfca". Here is one of the earlier threads:
The link Mark provided is a good one. I am going to provide a quote from the lengthy scientific test that is linked on the page, which I feel is very important when considering oil to be used in a splash lubricated engine.
" Thicker oils DO NOT automatically provide better wear protection than thinner oils, as some people mistakenly believe. Extensive “dynamic wear testing under load” of over 170 motor oils, has shown that the base oil and its additive package “as a whole”, with the primary emphasis on the additive package, which is what contains the extreme pressure anti-wear components, is what determines an oil’s wear protection capability, NOT its viscosity. In fact, the test data has shown that 5W20 oils can provide INCREDIBLE wear protection with over 120,000 psi load carrying capability/film strength/shear resistance, while 15W50 oils can sometimes only provide UNDESIRABLE wear protection with less than 60,000 psi. So, DO NOT use thicker oil under the assumption that it can provide better wear protection for our engines, because that is simply NOT TRUE. " End Quote
I expect you will have fun with it. Looks like a good one.
Oil is always a big discussion. I'm in the camp that says buy as cheap as possible and follow the Ford schedule of frequent changes. The scuttlebutt is that the oil Ford recommended was the equivalent of modern 20W. I use the Wal-Mart house brand 5W-30 or 5W-40. Anything with the API seal on the container is fine. I don't see any point in paying extra for expensive advertising. A five quart bottle will cover it. Fill with the top petcock open until the oil starts to come out and shut the petcock when it stops.
You can replace the dripping petcock (not expensive) or you can fix it (cheaper) with toothpaste or another mild abrasive.
You guessed right about the coils' buzz depending on the position of the crank. The timer may be making contact (buzz) or between contacts (no buzz).
Yes, there are clubs in your area. Both MTFCA and MTFCI websites list clubs and contacts by state.
Here's some info on what you'll need: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG80.html
I started using 5w 30 Wal-Mart store brand in my 26 T. I have used this same brand and weight in model A Ford's for years. Tim
David -- That's a nice-looking pickup. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun driving it, once you get the hang of it. Driving a T is not difficult, just different so there is a learning curve.
Your profile says the car is a '22, but the slanted windshield didn't appear until the '23 model year. It's not at all unusual for the titles on early cars to be off by a year (or more).
Get hooked up with a club in your area and start taking part in their activities. Their members will be a wealth of information for you.
Congratulations on your first Model T Ford! And welcome to the hobby and the forum. It looks like your T has been nicely restored. If the chassis was also done as nicely as the body work looks – it should be a great running and driving Ford.
As Steve mentioned both national clubs have chapters listed by states. The MTFCA listing is at: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm and the MTFCI listing is at: http://www.modelt.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=15
If you are near the border, sometimes the nearest club is in the state next door.
I often post a long list of safety items that I recommend a new owner check out. You can discover them all on your own or you can learn from others. Learning from others is usually more cost effective but not as exciting. Please see the safety items at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/506218/576808.html the second posting down. There are some of those that can safe your life and one that can save your home if you have an oil or gas fired hot water heater or furnace in your garage. (You know that leak from the radiator… well eventually most Model T’s will leak gasoline unless the owner replaces items before they start leaking. Someone probably does – but I’ve always waited until I noticed the smell of gas before I saw the leak. The carb float might stick, there might be trash holding the carb needle valve open, the carb drain might leak, etc. That doesn’t happen often, but with a gravity fed carburetor, it can leak all the gas out of the gas tank overnight. But if they leak gasoline, in an enclosed garage, near an open flame it can be and has been disastrous. )
There is also lots to be learned about the cars themselves. For example on my profile page you can see my T named Blackie. Assuming the body was original to the car (the bodies are easy to swap), Blackie started out as touring car ( an open car with a front and rear seat). Someone prior to 1950 removed the back seat and made it into a pickup truck. Again before 1950 someone added a seat in the bed of the pickup truck so passengers could ride there more comfortably. Those modified tourings are often referred to as “cut offs.” It was a very inexpensive way to have a pickup. And in one case within the past 10 years a person purchased a T that was a touring but was made into a pickup truck. And he found out that the rear seat had been left in the field [helps to purchase from farmers that have had the same land in the family for many years]. The new owner was able to reunite the original rear seat and rear doors to the body.
Again welcome to the hobby and best of luck with your new Ford.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Hi David. I just bought my first T last week. I live in Terryville. There are several clubs in CT. One is called Crankin' Yanks. It is holding its annual meeting tonight. The next meeting is in May and will be held in Oxford. I couldn't make tonight's meeting but I will be at the May one.
As far as oil goes I purchased my T from a well known long time engine builder and machinest. He recommends Shell Rotella T 15-40W. A large jug at Walmart is $13.
Thanks Keith, I'll check out the CT site for the next meeting as well. Dave
Steve, Toothpaste? Do I remove the petcock valve and put on threads?
Mike, Any other way to verify year? Title shows 1922 but I did read about slanted windows in later years as you mentioned.
Thanks for the info, Dave
The toothpaste thing was a suggestion I saw on the forum. The idea is to remove the valve shaft from the body, smear it with a mild abrasive, reinsert it, and turn it until you wear off any irregularities so the two pieces fit too closely to allow a leak.
Here's a page on figuring out the year of a Model T: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG90.html
Your car is 1923-1925. We can narrow that down with a few details. The opening in the front of the radiator shell is just under 17" for 1923. It's about an inch higher for 1924-1925. The hand brake pawl has four rivets until 1925, when it has two. Those things and the serial number should pin down the year pretty well.
Steve, The radiator opening is 17" not sure about the location of the rivets you mentioned. The serial number shows a build date of November 1922 but I'm not sure if that works the same as modern day cars where that would be a 1923 model.
Thanks for the help
Anyone know what this copper line is? Coolant line?
Extra outside oiler to supplement the internal one. Provides a bit more oil for #1 rod
Thank you...compression not wasn't on correctly so it was falling out, just curious as to what it did.
David, that is a lovely looking T.Someone has done a great job on it. There is just one thing. The rear fenders are set too low. If you have any sort of load in the bed, I am almost sure the spring will bottom out and the tyres will rub on the brackets. Most likely the brackets are custom made for your car, and you should look at re-making them to raise the fenders before any damage is done.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
Thanks, more good input although I doubt i'll ever put anything in the bed or at least anything heavy since the bed floor is finished very nice.
Yes, November 1922 is in the 1923 model year (begins in August). The combination of low radiator (1923 & before) with slanted windshield (1923 & later) agree with that.
The rivets I mentioned fasten the hand brake quadrant to the frame. Your 1923 should have four.
Thank you again Steve
Keith, I found the exact oil you recommended at Walmart, only question I have is that it says "Heavy Duty Diesel Oil' is this correct? Thank you
Dave,I think where you live and if you stem wind has much to do with oil choice for a model T! I use rotella 15-40 in the diesel pick up,back hoe,lawn mower,model A,Stand by gen,camping gen,and big string mower.I stem wind our 14 and Grandsons 15 and i use 5-30 in model T's! At prices quoted for rebuild's i think it foolish to save a few penny's by buying the cheapest oil to be found!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Yes Dave that's the stuff. It isn't my recommendation but rather that of a well known engine builder here in CT.
When two oils have the same API seal on the container and you buy the more expensive one, are you paying for better oil or a bigger advertising budget?
The trucking industry has a standard and usually it's Shell Rotella !! Large diesel engines are expensive costing a huge amount of money so do you save a dollar a qt x 44 qt's or chance a failure? Everyone pay's your own bill's so do whatever you think is best!!Bud.
Dave, here's another something to help ease your mind. Worked for me. :-)
A handful of years ago in a past life (work as technical support), purchasing wanted to keep it simple for himself and only order one oil for the
gas AND Diesel engines we used.
I called our regional technical guy and asked if we could use Diesel oil in their small engines (starts with a K) and he couldn't have blinked an eye before stating the notion that we had his full support to use Diesel oil in their 18, 22 and 25 horse air cooled gas engines.
He did say something around the notion that Diesel oil is better than gas engine oil.
I have 15-40 Rotella in my little Ford at the moment too. Had it on hand... :-)
Howdy Dave and welcome aboard The Board! Born and raised in Norwalk, I bought my first load of T chassis parts for a speedster when I was 20. That's 35 years ago - ouch! I picked up those parts from a fellow in Ridgefield by the name of Bob Swanson. He was quite involved in the HCCA and AACA activities in the area. A quick search on the web shows some posts from just a couple of years back with him talking about the car show and swap meet that used to be held in Ridgefield. I wish I had more information on him but maybe you can go old school and find him in the phone book?
Okay, sounds like I can use this oil, just trying to find out what's best for the T. I'm the kind of guy who wants the best oil and don't mind paying. I change my oil at sooner intervals than most, I think it's the best insurance for a motor.
Sean, I'll try and locate Bob from Ridgefield since I live here now. Thanks to all for the advice and if there's a better oil recommendation I'll use it on the next change. Dave
Welcome to the hobby. You're lucky to be in Connecticutt. you have one of the best Model T engine experts in the country right there. I live in Florida and I shipped my engine to him to be rebabbited, machined, rebored, valve job, etc. His name is George King III.
Good to know, Thanks Jim
You're welcome Dave. Keep us posted on your progress. We are here to help if you need it.
When I first bought my 1926 Model T Coupe in 1970, at the age of 16, there was no forum or any help to speak of, so back then we had to educate ourselves with the available publications of the day. The following 3 books were indispensable to me during the 2 years it took me to restore my coupe. They answered most of my questions and any questions they could not answer, I had to guess and was lucky that most of my guesses were correct.
Fortunately, you have the forum, which, most time can answer any question you might have, but occasionally, you may get several answers which are sometimes diametrically opposed to eachother. At these times, just use your common sense and choose the answer you feel the most comfortable with or go with the consensus. There are several experts on here that are very dedicated and, in my opinion, give the most reliable advice. Royce, John Regan, Ron Patterson, Hap Tucker. There are many others, but these are the ones that come to mind.
Great advice, Thanks again Jim
Just an update about shell rotella diesel oil. Used to be great for older gas cars due to ZDP(?) [zinc] content. They have changed formula so not so much anymore. Any decent lighter or multi weight oil is fine for the amount of miles we do. As an engineer friend of mine says, any oil is better than none!
On your radiator petcock you can take it a part and use Timesaver compound to make the tapered surfaces match and it will stop the leak. Timesaver is similar to valve grinding compound and available from the T parts vendors.
Even toothpaste will work, that's what I use on mine, just be sure to clean the toothpaste off prior to re-assembly.
We're all assuming the petcock is leaking from its outlet, in which case the suggestions given, about using an abrasive to make the parts fit together better, are correct.
If, however, it's leaking from where it's screwed into the radiator, then any good pipe dope (including teflon tape) will fix it.
Back to the question of oil -- no matter how much or how little you want to spend, you can't buy any motor oil today, that isn't at least ten times better than anything that was available when your car was built. So, use what you use in your "other" car, and your only concern is making sure the level is somewhere between the two petcocks. See, the engine is so forgiving, that a measurement that un-precision is well good enough.
In fact, the only problem you could likely experience would be oil starvation of the front engine bearing when going up-hill, except that concern was addressed by a previous owner with the outside oil line on your engine. So, again, forget it, relax, and have fun!
Let's discuss the buzzing of the coils. At some point you need to familiarize yourself with the "timer." It's the Model T's version of a distributor. It's a dome-shaped thing on the right-front of the engine.
Loosen the bolt holding the springy piece of metal holding it in place, and swing the metal piece out of the way. Then remove the cotter pin from the rod that makes the timer rotate, and lift the timer off. You won't be able to get it far, because of the wires, but that's OK.
Examine it. Both the inside of the cap, and what's on the end of the shaft inside. While you're at it, clean them. Use a solvent rag if needed.
Notice that the rotating part makes contact with four metal segments around the outside of an insulator inside the cap, which effectively 'grounds' the wire attached to that segment.
Notice that the rotating part makes contact with a segment only about half the time -- the rest of the time it's either riding on an insulator or not touching anything, depending on the brand of timer you have.
That's pretty much all you need to know. As the rotor rotates, it sequentially grounds each coil, which makes it buzz, which makes the spark plug spark (and will knock you on your arse if you touch something you shouldn't).
So, yes, it's normal for the coils to buzz sometimes when the engine isn't running, and to not buzz sometimes. It just depends on where in the rotation of the engine you happen to be.
If the timer was lubricated when you took it off, re-lubricate it and re-install it. Not all kinds of timer require lubrication. Don't forget the rod and cotter pin.
A word of caution, which you may already know: When you start the engine, the Spark lever (the one on the left side of the steering column) MUST ALWAYS be all the way up. If it's down in a normal running position, you can have a kick-back, which will either break your arm or your starter, depending on which is being used to spin the engine at the moment.
Once the engine starts, you pull that lever down to wherever the engine runs best. Where that is, will be something you will learn.
Maybe it is an aftermarket, later petcock? It leaks "no matter how tight it is". You don't tighten a T petcock, just turn the knob open or closed.
On a dead-level surface, my '27 will take exactly four quarts before the top petcock starts to drip. I would use any non-synthetic 10-W-30. Some members of this forum have stated that a synthetic is too "slippery" and may cause band engagement issues. 30 is fine, (multiweight oils were not around when the T was being built), but if they were, I'll bet Henry would have used them. It'll be easier to crank cool with the 10-W-30, and the lubrication will be every bit as good if not better.