I bought a complete engine at an auction in NJ yesterday. By the serial number, it's a 1915 block. It's on a 4 dip pan with a 26-27 hogshead and transmission. Not having the hogshead attached to the block, as is normal on a 26, would it seem unwise to run this in my 26 Touring?
I pulled the head off of it last night and was very surprised to find the bore to be standard, in perfect shape, and cast iron Pistons in there. Judging by the oily dirt caked all over the outside, she ran a lot of miles in this configuration. I plan to pull it all apart and check the crank, Babbitt, end-play, install one-piece valves, etc. What do you guys think?
You can't run the original generator on a early block.
Hmmmm, know you have me thinking. Do you mean that there is no provision to bolt the generator mount casting to? Am I able to put a later timing cover on this block? Crap.
The 1915 engine block should work fine on the 1926-27 transmission for 4 dip pan as far as propelling the car down the road.
As Frank mentioned there is not a place to mount the standard generator. But unless you are planning to do a lot of night driving or stopping the engine every 20 minutes and starting it again after it cools down -- you should be able to charge up the battery before you go on a trip and you should be fine. Even if the magneto is not working it would still have enough battery power to run a distributor. And if it has a working magneto -- then you don't even need a battery. You can start it on magneto and run it on magneto (although a hot shot etc. makes it easier to start...)
If it was running that way before -- it should work fine. Note, there might be some folks that would want to trade you for a 1915 engine block. The last time I checked years ago the 1915 engine blocks were more expensive than the 1926-27 ones -- but I have not compared prices in years.
Good luck with your car.
Hap l9l5 cut off
The answer to your question is NO.
However you can buy a belt driven alternator, so the problem is solve able
For 40 years, my Dad and I ran a 22 block on a four dip pan with a 26-7 transmission attached. The four dip pan doesn't matter, except now you can get to the rear rod, easier. The pre starter (pre 1919) blocks will not let you use a generator.
I ran that kind of a setup for over 30 years. No problems.
The thing I would be most concerned about is the amount of wear in the center main bearing. The center main gets twice the inertial loads as the outer bearings because it is supporting two rods and pistons and tends to wear faster. Often the center main cap is filed or shims are removed to take up the wear. This causes the crank shaft main bearing to be forced out of alignment. As the crankshaft rotates, it flexes in tension and compression by the amount of misalignment for every rotation it makes, and is a leading cause of crank shaft breakage. This is especially true for breakages at the number 1 and 2 rod journal.
Although the block may have a 1915 serial number that does not necessarily mean it is a 1915 engine block. When Ford dealers replaced a block they were directed by Ford USA to re-stamp the original serial number onto the new block to preserve the identity of the car. And as long as the block was cast so a generator could be fitted you are in good shape. By Apr 18, 1919 all the blocks place in cars were the starter type blocks. And on May 28, 1919 the last non-starter engine block was made [I would guess that was at the main Ford plant and that one or more of the branch plants might have still assembled a few more non-starter blocks. Note that means the block was the style that could not take a starter. For many cars and trucks were sold without the starter but all were now coming with the block that a starter/generator could be fitted to. Ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/doc19.htm that also documents when they added the starter ring gear to all engines, the starter hogs head to all engines etc. ]
Take Look at the right front of the engine and see if it had the two bolts to hold a casting to the side of the block or not.
When the starter and generators first came out, rather than using the more expensive casting that allowed the owner to mount a generator, a less expensive casting was used. That less expensive casting that came on the 1919-21 non-starter cars that had a starter engine block is shown above. It was part number 3017-B with the part name “Time gear cover.” The photo below was posted by Corey Walker at http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/118802/153324.html
Above shows the more expensive casting that was part number 3017 also called “Time gear cover” in the price list of parts. Thank you Corey for posting that one also. And there is a discussion of the price drop in this part and why by 1922 they started just using the 3017 and dropped the 3017-B part from normal production.
Unless your block was modified – that front right hand corner will let you know if it is 1919 and earlier or 1919 and later (yes the change was made during the 1919 model year and there was some overlap when both style engines were used ).
And for comparison purposes below is the 1917 block in the Rip Van Winkle and it is similar to the closed valve blocks 1911-1919. Note you cannot mount the generator on that one in the normal spot.
Good luck with your car.
Hap l9l5 cut off
My theory is that IF the pan stays straight, then the centre main only should wear the cap. When I have taken up the centre main I always check for wear in the block Babbit. So far haven't found any on my cars.
BUT this was also one of the motivations for developing my "floating" transmission shafts, to reduce any risks
Install and run it
Just need set up a way run a gen if you want it
If you want use the upper mounts there were steel arms that ran between the ears and the frame you can use these
Excellent information guys. I'll take a closer look at the block tomorrow. I love the way a T with cast iron Pistons idles down.
Debating whether or not to add a bit to what Les Schubert just said, because Les has probably forgotten more about Model T's than I ever knew, however, and please correct me here Les (or anybody else for that matter) if necessary, but notice the capitol letters in the word "IF" when Les said "IF" the pan stays straight:
There's an important reason why Les said "IF" that I'm sure he could explain better than I could, but I'll try:
The four dip pan is not quite as rigid as the three dip pan, and the pan pretty much establishes whatever "rigidity" the engine/transmission unit has (or does not have). The thing you really should know about Dave, is that this becomes somewhat of a concern when a four dip pan is installed on an earlier engine than the "new improved" '26 - '27 Model T Ford. The entire engine/transmission power plant of the Model T is not quite as rigid as you might think, as it tends to have a bit of "flex" between engine and transmission. Henry recognized this, and a couple of the "new improved" changes on the '26 -'27 are the four dip pan (for easier 4th rod access) and and the addition of two bolts that firmly attach the top of the hogs head to the back of the engine block. Henry did this because he knew the weaker four dip pan would add to the problem of "flex" between the engine and transmission. And this 'flex" is the main reason why the center main tends to wear a bit on the top half (or engine half) of the bearing, which is why filing the center main bearing cap causes some bend in the crankshaft with every revolution. Of course the concern here is that the additional flex with the four dip pan on your engine that does not have top of hogshead bolted to back of engine block adds to the chance of an eventual broken crankshaft.
Not the sort of thing you wanted to hear Dave, but just thought it's something you should be aware of. I guess there's a reason why all three main bearings are align bored,.....FWIW,.....harold
The question is will the 15 block work on a 4 dip pan, and the answer is yes. A generator has nothing to do with it!
We did an engine last year that had the center main in the block worn about .020" We were trying to time saver it in and when we were not making any real progress is when we checked it with a straight edge between the bearings. We then had the bearings re-poured and align bored. The engine had been supposedly re-built. It was one of those "steam cleaned" re-builds.
About your theory: I agree there is more load on the cap due to the combustion forces but there is still considerable inertial loads in both directions. The transmission load due to a bent pan would also be a contributor.
Follow Hap's above. It is very important to look a block over to see if the casting models match the serial number. Many engines were replaced at some point, numbers were often changed, or re-stamped. Engines were also sold new for farm machinery, boat motors, and dozens of other uses. Sometimes those engines had serial numbers specific to their use, sometimes they did not.
People do need to accept that the serial number alone is NOT the ultimate identifier of the vintage of a model T engine block.
I have told this tale before, been a few years, maybe it is time again.
Not very long after I got interested in model Ts, there was a fellow that became a regular at swap meets around the mid-Califunny area. He was a very sad case, became a laughing stock in the hobby. This went on for several years. I don't know when he first showed up at a swap meet with his model T engine block, probably about 1970. I didn't know enough yet to know for certain about it, and certainly not enough to say anything to him about it. He usually had a handwritten sign, on a piece of cardboard. It usually said "1915 model T engine block" and gave the serial number. It was a 1915 number. And THAT number appeared to be the originally stamped on the block number. But it was NOT a 1915 block. It was a generator mount block with a long one-piece valve chamber, 1921 or later block. I don't remember if it had the circle casting date or not.
As little as I knew then, I knew it was not a '15 block, but there he would be, swap meet after swap meet. He would have the block, sometimes a few little other pieces sitting on the tailgate of his pickup. Often nothing else. I would wander around, and here and there I would hear other people talking about him, his block, and I would hear them laughing at him.
I was still a newbie, going to college and struggling to work into the hobby and wanting a pre-'15. I began to feel sorry for him.
After a few meets seeing him, I decided to talk to him. He wanted too much for a good genuine '15 block, but his block was in perfect condition, he said so.
It just wasn't really a '15. So I talked with him a bit. He KNEW it was a '15 because the serial number said so! I didn't argue with him. I mean, who was I? I was just a kid. Even I knew his price was on the high side even if it had been a genuine '15. I really felt sorry for the guy. I saw other people tell him it wasn't a '15. Sometimes they were rude about it. And this went on for at least three years.
He must have spent more money on entry fees to sell at the swap meets than that block was actually worth at that time. I never saw him sell anything. Eventually, I tried to gently tell him that it was not a '15 block. He kept insisting that it was. The serial number said so. By this time I knew some of the differences well enough to try to explain it to him. But he insisted the serial number was all that mattered.
I don't know how many people told him over the years, probably a hundred or more. Usually, most people just walked around his booth, I would sometimes say hello, walk around hear the talk and the laughter. I continued to feel sorry for him. Eventually, I saw him at a small local swap meet, I had not seen him in over a year. I never saw him again.
He had kept raising his price over the years. Good blocks were getting more desirable, and harder to find. I have no idea what ever became of the block. For all I know, this tale may be all that remains of him, because I never found anybody that ever claimed to be a close friend.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
My approach is to remove the centre cap.
Then install a dial indicator on the journal
Now rotate the engine to be sure the crank isn't bent
Assuming it isn't bent, then I push/pry the crank against the block Babbit. I hope for no appreciable movement (zero to maybe .002" max)
Assuming this all checks out, then I know that the bearing is not worn in the block.
Rarely have I found wear in the front or rear main bearings
If I find wear in the block at the centre main, invariably I have found the pan to be bent!!
Gee I type slow! Four more posts between start and post!
One more consideration upon the original question. Clearly the simple answer is YES, the block and pan will work just fine together. And, the four-dip pan IS weaker. But is it enough weaker to worry about?
Remember the roads these cars were designed to be driven on. We almost NEVER drive on roads as bad as most of these cars saw almost every day they were driven in their first twenty years. Even when when we drive a major tour for twenty miles on dirt roads it is GOOD dirt roads by comparison.
If we drove on roads like they had back in those days? I would say NO to using an earlier block on a four-dip pan without compensating for the hogshead attachment (or lack thereof). But the roads we have? I wouldn't think twice about running a four-dip pan.
In fact, my '24 coupe has a four-dip pan, with an April '24 serial number on the block. About five years I have had the car, I have never even looked at the hogshead to block to see if anything was done there. I just don't worry about it.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Well, you guys were exactly correct about the serial number not being the "tell-all". This engine does in fact have the generator mounting bolts, one piece valve cover and no hogshead ear bolts. So the serial of 804,xxx means it was numbered to replace an engine of that number. All good for me, as I do need a generator. Thanks for the input.
Sounds like a good deal!
Check for a faint extra # at the end - if it's 8,04x,xxx it would be a July '23 block
Running a 4 dip pan on a early motor is just looking for a broken crank. When Ford designed the 4 dip pan he knew it would weaken the most rigid part of the motor assembly. the pan. The opening being longer makes the pan weak at the junction of the crank and transmission or, the middle of this assembly. It doesn't take a lot of sag at this point to distress the crank, sort of like bending a pencil in the middle, sooner or later it will break with enough pressure. This is why the upper bolts were added to give the pan and engine/transmission more support. Braces were also added to these bolts reaching to the top of the frame arms for even more support. I have had 4 engines with broken cranks in my shop in the last year that can be directly attributed to this issue. It's your motor, do what you want but, if it were my motor and I wanted it to last, I would find a 3 dip pan and fix it right.
James - You're the first and I guess the only one who has said (probably with a better explanation) what I was trying to say in my April 10th 09:53pm post above. For anyone interested in reading more about what James and I are talking about, Paul Vitko did a lot of interesting research, testing and recording on this forum which proves and warns of the lack of rigidity of the Model T power plant. He even measured, recorded and reported in this forum, the amount of "flex" between engine and transmission that occurs, just due to the forces at work by merely setting the hand brake. Interesting reading if you can find posts about the extensive research, testing and measuring that Paul Vitko did in this area, and I believe it supports what James and I were both saying in this thread,......FWIW,........harold
Actually, I should have said that it supports what James and I and Les Schubert were saying in this thread,....sorry Les,.....harold
James and Harold
We are all in agreement on this issue. I much prefer the three dip pan. Even then I run my transmission shaft
A four dip with the top connection is much stiffer than without
When it comes time to adjust bearings I haul the engine out of the car. I HATE oil dripping in my face. Additionally I like to check all the bearings. It only adds a couple of hours to the job
Roger, I will look very closely for that seventh digit. Harold, I see your point and now have another question. Can I run a 26 transmission and hogshead on a 3 dip pan?
I'm quite sure the brake band won't clear the pan
I also believe this problem is the reason the pan girdle was developed.