It looks like it will be some time before I obtain my grandfather's roadster. In the meantime I guess I'll finally get around to getting my chassis running. I screwed up though: I had the no.1 cylinder at top dead center on the firing for the valve when I put the head and new gasket on and torqued it down. However, the motor got seized (turns out I needed to back a single nut off on no.4 rod cap 1/16 of a turn, was too tight on it). Since then it has been rotated and I no longer have any idea what cylinder and valve is in firing. Can someone help me time my motor and wire it who's nearby in NY? I'm thinking I can put a pencil in no.1 cylinders spark plug, raise it to top dead center, and by removing the valve side cover I can see whether it's on exhausting or firing. I'm new to the electric aspects of the Model T.
Backing a bigend nut off so you can turn the engine over is not the way to go, either your cap is around the wrong way or miss matched off another rod, it wont last long if you leave it the way it is now.
As for your timing, it wont matter about TDC, the timer roller can only go on one way if you are running the same cam to your T model year in your profile, the wiring is color coded and easy to follow. Have you a owners or work shop manual?
I have the manual but for some reason the coloring of my wires does not coincide with the colors listed in the book/photos.
Like Frank said, You're only one start from imploding your engine. Better find someone in your area that knows model T engines. There should be shims on the rod cap, They are what takes up the space between the cap and the rod to give the right clearance. If not then somehow things got confused. Having the right on the clearance on the rod bearings is really important. Whatever you do, do not start the engine like it is.
Only replacement rods got shims from Ford, production engines had shims for the main caps that could be removed for adjustment when the bearings got worn - but rod caps had to be filed for adjustment. Frank is right, it's likely the rod cap is mixed or turned the wrong way when it binds when tightening it up without filing the cap.
You may have a lot to learn about working with engines, but the model T a great car to learn on - and with some hands on work you'll learn a lot that can't be learned from a book
Hint - check for markings, 99 out of 100 seems to be marked with a number or dots for which rod they are from by some previous mechanic - and the direction they should be comes naturally, the markings on the rod and cap goes together on the same side.
When checking babbitt for how it fits it's helpful to use Timesaver lapping compound mixed with some oil - then you don't have to scrape the babbitt as they did back in the 20's and the fit gets much better from start. https://www.modeltford.com/item/TIMESAV-Y.aspx
Rod bolts should always be torqued to about 30 lb-ft and a little more until it can be cotter pinned - if they aren't, the rods would very soon start to knock and the rod bolts break.
The mains should be torqued to about 80 lb-ft.
You can check if you have correct play in the bearing with a 1" wide piece of newspaper as a go - nogo gauge. If the bearing has the correct play, the crank shaft should be locked with the piece of paper between the crank shaft and the torqued cap while the crank should be possible to hand crank without the paper and the caps torqued.
For the first start after adjusting the bearings you may have to pull start the car, but with plenty of oil and some running in miles, it should loosen up quite soon.
The rod caps were re-done with help from members of the local club. No.4 on the crank shaft was slightly egged for some reason (the crank not the cap). I should have been more specific: guys in the club ground down ever so slightly on the cap to get a better fit. but I tightened down on it too much. I did back off on it and add a shim and tightened it back down again.