I have built a couple of Ts up from parts. My first was a 1915 Speedster using a original '15 motor. Now that I have seen engines with more mileage, the '15 must not have been used much at all. Transmission is tight (doesn't rumble and has a neat whirring sound in low gear). Cams on the transmission hogs head and pedals are great. My latest, a depression open express with a '27 motor must have has a bunch of miles. The transmission makes a definitely different sound and I need to replace the cams on the transmission hogs head.
Here is the question. Without opening the motor can you get a general idea of the mileage on the motor by the condition of the pedal and hogs head cams? Is there another way?
Howard, i think it would be virtually impossible to tell the condition/mileage from the condition of the hogshead alone, considering after almost ninety years the hogshead could have been changed out many times. I would think the easiest way to get a general idea of the condition of the engine would be to pull the head and see if it still has the original bore with cast iron pistons and two piece valves, or has it been bored and maybe had aluminum pistons and new valves and valve seats installed. Not an exact science for what mileage it has, but i think that it will give you a better picture of what you have. Best of luck with it.
Yep, take a look at the top side. That gives the best clues as John notes.
If valves lay on the top of the block, and if just slightly worn bores, like these factory tiny O.S. pistons, the motor is likely little used.
With little wear up top on the motor, would be more likely the transmission is rather OK too
One can really wonder what has happened to these things in the past hundred years. I have worked on a number of both earlier and later engines over the years. While earlier blocks do have some weaknesses, they seem to tend to be lower mileage than later engines usually are. That makes sense, actually. Roads were worse earlier, and cars became beat and outdated long before most of them wore out. On the other hand. Earlier engines are often cracked due to a lack of anti-freeze, and I have seen a few that were run to death.
I am working on the engine for my "spring" '15 runabout. I have mixed feelings about it. It is a late '15 engine I picked up several years ago, it looked nice enough, and the price was right. But it IS newer than I really wanted to use with the February '15 body and other earlier parts.
Then again, I took it apart. It must be one of the lowest mileage engines I have ever seen! The bore shows almost no wear whatsoever. The top of the block is as clean and smooth as any I have ever seen that hasn't been re-milled. And the valve seats! Clean, sharp, narrow, no visible wear.
When I bought it, I did not expect anything so nice. It was greasy, dirty, rusty, and showed non-original paint as well as a few other signs indicating a questionable background. The seller, was very honest and pointed out most of this and indicated that he knew very little about it (it was out of an estate sale).
When I took it apart, I also found that it had two early heavy connecting rods, and two lighter late rods. The timing gears were later type helical cut, and the camshaft looked like an extremely nice low mileage, with the timer roller pinhole drilled only part way through. I am not sure when that hole changed, but I think a late '15 should have had the hole drilled all the way through for the roller pin.
So, the thing I get curious about? Is why would such a low mileage engine have been worked on so long ago (based upon the grease, dirt, and rust), and required changing of the timing gears, rods, and camshaft? Even the main bearings appear almost like new, but old. No re-fitting of the mains was needed, center main was within a half thousandth in line.
From the outside, on a mostly assembled engine? I don't think there is a good way to guess how good or bad it will be inside. Pedal shafts are probably one of the best clues? But as has been previously said, hogsheads got changed often. Sometimes, bad hogsheads may have been put onto good engines, or good hogsheads onto bad engines.
Sometimes. Even when you look closely inside, they are still a mystery.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2