I am only a one year owner, restoring my first T, With help form this forum and a lot of books, and my own experience I am thinking that advise to someone new to model T's, should look at the rear axle first. It is not that big a job to overhaul. Everyone mentions problems that could be serious if not in good shape. I found this myself on my car that had a lot of work done before I bought it and the rear axle was mostly junk. New radiator, new wood, new tires & tubes, rebuilt motor & trans, but the rear had not been looked at. No sense building a good motor if you don't have good running gear. It seems to me that the axle my be the worst for wear. Sure it's a dirty job but I like to get that out of the way first!
That was the first item that got rebuilt on mine. The forum has been a tremendous help for me. There are a couple of century's of knowledge here.
I often post two links for new folks. One is about the books you should have, and the other is about the rear axle.
I have been banging that drum for a long time, and like to see others shout from the rooftops as well.
Old restorations are the worst. When I first got into model Ts, I got, and heeded, some very good advice about those thrust washers. But in those days, a lot of people disagreed with that advice. Most of those thrust washers were less than fifty years old. Time had not finished doing its thing to the soft metals. Many people did beautiful restorations on model Ts, and used the Babbitt washers because they still looked perfect. Now, more than forty years later, those washers are time bombs hiding inside nice looking cars. They wait for an inopportune moment to fail without warning.
Thank you Ed Archer!!!! And Tim Stangland and Tim Butterick, and several others who's names I may not think of at the moment.
It needs to continue to be repeated.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I newish to the T world also. I'm currently doing my first rear end and drive shafts rebuild. I never would have attempted it if it weren't for the men and women of this forum. The past posts and information available through these people is invaluable. Every time I have cleaned a part and uncovered cracks, wear, and damage these people here have kept me calm and allowed me to carry on. The photos here have shown me I'm not unique in the problems I have encountered and taught me the proper terminology to find the replacement parts.
Several safety features:
1. Rear end. Examine internals and replace babbit washers with bronze. Be sure all gears and bearings are good and in proper adjustment and repair as necessary.
2. Wheels. If you have wood spoke wheels, examine for broken or rotted spokes. Rock the car sideways pulling in and out at the top of the wheel. It should be tight. Bolts and rivets should be tight. Rear hub nuts should be 100 ft lbs. Front wheel bearings should be lubricated and adjusted. Replace bearings if worn. Also inflate tires properly. 55 to 60 psi for clincher tires (30"x3" or 30"x3 1/2") or 32-35 psi for balloon tires (4.50"x21"). Replace old or cracked tires.
3. Front axle. Check all moving parts such as tie rod ends, radius rod ball joint and lubricate them. The radius rod cap nuts should be wired, not lock washers.
4. Steering column. bushings should be tight and gears should not have over 1" play.
5. All glass windows should have safety glass. If not safety glass, replace before you drive the car. The old plate glass can shatter and cut off your head!
6. If you drive in mountains or in traffic, you should have auxiliary brakes.
These are first things to check. Others will appear as you drive the car. Have fun!
I'm happy to see others find this important, my rear axle had new brake shoes that was it! It cost me close to $800.00 just to do what had to be done because I do not think my car could have moved 10 feet the way it was ! Funny but the babbit washers looked new (had to be very old) cause it took a chisel to find the bolts to separate the rear! What a filthy job to clean axle tubes and torque tube.
Attach a long handle to a brush for washing the insides.
Found my uncle's books. At least some of them. Per the link above, there's at least one more I need to find / buy (the owner's manual).
I think the rear end is the easiest assembly to bring up to snuff. Mostly replacing and adjusting parts. The only real machine work is the bushing up at the U joint.
Once you take everything apart you'll be able to make an assessment. You may luck out and find some good serviceable parts. I was not so lucky, everything was shot, and or, well past it's respective service limit. Everything but the axle and driveshaft housings needed replacement. Even the right and left differential casings had their problems. Disappointing as the situation was, I able to find what I needed. The left and right axle gears, carrier casing, as well as the traditional Hyatt bearings are not reproduced, but good originals are out there. The left carrier will take a little looking. Chaffin's and Lang's didn't have any decent examples. They both said that they did have some but that they wouldn't use any of them on their cars. Andy Loso came to the rescue on the axle gears,Hyatt bearings, spider gears and left differential carrier. I bought a new driveshaft from John Regan. Both John and Andy are members of the forum
The main thing is to not get discouraged. The forum is here to help.