My grandfather was approached in the store a couple weeks ago by a Cohoes resident. He was asked if he could bring his 1923 (early 24) roadster to the show since it would largely be 50's and later cars. So I got out of work at 10pm Friday night and made it to his house for 10:30pm. Woke up at 6am. This would be the first time starting the Roadster since last summer so we added the 50/50 mix of coolant back into the radiator. Checked the oil. Put the 6V battery on the charger since he'd forgotten to disconnect it for the winter. Checked tire pressure and filled up the gas tank to 9 gallons. Opened the gas bulb. Checked spark. Break for coffee and omelettes at his favorite place in Watervliet then back to the garage. Got her going after 6 or so pulls on the crank. Motor was rebuilt years ago but is still incredibly tight due to having under 100 miles on it since then. Running much smoother than before though. We kept the hood off on this hot and humid day. She shook and rattled, but with a steady purr to her as we headed out the driveway. After a quarter mile she began to make an odd noise. Lots of band chatter. Bands are catching on the drums somewhere, as we had very little pulling power in second gear and she didn't want to stay in it. As we headed up the big hill by Clifton park pool and bike path in Latham a state trooper was coming down the hill. He rolled his window down and gave us a big wave and smile as we slowly pulled the hill in low gear at 5mph. Joggers and bikers and kids in the parking lot of the park waved and gawked as we went by. My grandfather gave a good push on the electric horn for them as we passed. Lots of smiles. Now was the hairy part. 9 is now three lanes one way and 2 going the other. We only needed to be on it for maybe 2 miles though to cross into Cohoes. We darted out into the far left lane and into the center yellow for turning to avoid holding up traffic. We made the left turn with no issues. This part is downhill. Motor was purring along strong with the Boyce meter barely giving a hint of red line at the bottom of the gauge. Bands were still fighting us though; catching on one of the drums giving us a whine, and in the case of the clutch band shifting the car between a half state of low gear and 2nd gear, impeding our speed. but we continued, he was set on getting to the show. Cars were stacking up behind us as we were maybe going 20/25mph. We pulled to the shoulder to let them pass. Lots of smiles passing, one passenger stuck his arm out and gave us a thumbs up. We stopped at a red light on a slight incline, almost flat. My grandfather closed up a little too much on the throttle. She gave a cough and quit on us. Out I came. Crank was proving difficult to get a fire on, so I resorted to my fall back. "Put her in neutral and I'll push you!" I called up to him. As I was positioning myself behind the car a guy on a motorcycle pulled over and offered his help. We pushed and with one press on the starter motor she fired back to life and took off in high gear. I thanked the man and began running. Caught up with the T hopped the running board and pulled myself back in next to my grandfather as she went along. In the city we watched a man literally dive behind him to his phone on the bench to take a video of us as we passed. We approached city Hall. A big sign proclaimed that the show was postponed due to possible thunderstorms! Disheartened we turned into city hall to head home. My grandfather unknowingly pulled into a one way street leading into city hall. I mentioned it to him just as a cop, who was parked in front of city hall as we had come in, was passing us by in his car. We gave him big waves and a buzz from the horn, sitting in the one way facing the wrong way. He smiled and gave us a wave. Whew. On the way back we were still suffering from bad pulling power from the bands catching. We had to keep her in low gear half the time. This unwanted stress caused her to heat up quite a bit, driving so far in low. We pulled into Burger King to grab a bite and let her cool. Bombarded by curious but polite people on our way in. I watched from the window the same Eastern European man walk around the Roadster for a good 15 minutes admiring it before he left. Got her started on the 2nd pull of the crank after our break. We backed her back into the driveway. Time for tinkering. I pulled the inspection cover off the transmission and got to work. Bands are yellow color, I'm thinking my cousin who did the rebuild probably put Kevlars in since he said "you'll never have to change them again pop." They've never been adjusted. Definitely looked tight. I let off just a little bit on the brake and reverse band nuts. I loosened up the clutch band a decent bit. Checked the hand brake with the plate off to make sure it didn't also need adjustment. Seems alright. I could see the brass clutch piece seemed to be shifting accordingly to the hand brake position well enough. Pu the plate and floor boards back in and fired her up again with the crank. Motors really purring; she seems happy I adjusted her carb needle earlier too. Out we go. 2nd gear is pulling much better now but something is still skipping in the transmission. Methinks a little looser on the clutch but definitely looser on the brake and reverse are in order. We back her back into the garage for the day. My grandfather and I sit in his wicker chairs in front of her with the garage door open and talk for a while. I can hear Lizzie giving off a few small dime size drips of oil from where the universal and transmission meet. Not a big deal. We talk a bit and arrange for a maintenance run sometime soon. It was a good day for a young Model T'er and his teacher.
Great story! Hope all turns out well with the transmission.
Interesting trip, always some adjustments needed when it's only 100 miles since major overhaul..
Failure to get into high hasn't with the bands to do - it's the high speed clutch that may need adjusted. There are adjusting screws on each of the three clutch arms, you can see one or two with the inspection lid off. Try screw each one in half a turn, be very careful not to drop any cotter pin - tie a string to each before taking it out.
Check if it helps, may need one more adjust - but if you screw them in too much, you may loose neutral.
Thanks for the advice Roger. I'm not quite sure what you mean by the arms though?
For clutch adjustment, see Page 246 in the service manual.
Matthew Achinison, that is quite a write up.
You ought to get an award or something?
Steve is right. Here's a link to the Service Manual online:
You didn't adjust them on the road side as soon as something was wrong?
The original clutch plates are very forgiving fortunately, but sometimes they are blue from overheating - just never let low or reverse slip like that, it'll turn into lots of work way sooner..