Hi, looks like the T needs new rings. 25 lbs on each cylinder, starts with great difficulty won't stay running.
Are there books, videos on how to re-ring your motor?
Your engine probably needs far more than just rings.
The transmission and rear end are likely very equally worn.
You need to buy the Ford shop manual. It tells you step by step how to fix any part of your T. Typically low compression is caused by a combination of poor valve seal and worn rings and sloppy grooves in the pistons. When you get the engine apart it is likely time to fix all sorts of things. Do it right and it will last a long time and make you happy.
I'm with Royce. Do it right the first time and it will give you many years of good service. The Ford shop manual and the MTFCA publications are great resources.
Manuals are ordered from MTFCA except for Service Manual and the Model T Ford Owner which they don't seem to carry.
I agree, it's unlikely that the rings wore out all by themselves. There's probably plenty of other stuff in the engine and transmission that needs attention. An experienced mechanic who is new to Model T's can probably get along with just the books and the videos. A person without that level of experience will do well to take the engine and transmission to a rebuilder who knows what he's doing and what needs to be done.
Before you pull the engine, do a dry and then a wet (well oiled) compression test. If your problem is valves you will see a marked difference between the wet and dry tests. If you have the 2 piece cast iron head valves, they need to be replaced. You need the MTFCA Engine,Transmission, and Rear Axle Manuals as well as the original service manual. You should join the Space City Model T Club and get some local help.
You can do most of this work yourself. If the engine needs rebabbitting, Ross Lilleker in College Station or Pat Linderman in Fredericksburg are close by.
Wet test shows low 40's with 1 50's.
I joined Space City T's 5 months ago. Spoke to Ross Lilleker for the first time today. This is what it looks like with the head off, the carbon mostly wire brushed off, and the old copper gasket back on.
Those certainly look like the two piece valves, so a valve job at least.
Has the motor sat a long time? If so, the rings could be stuck in the pistons. There is a very slim chance you could take the rods loose, pull the pistons and put in new rings. The more likely event though, is the bore is tapered and you need oversized pistons & rings and a bore job. This can't be done in the car, like the valves, etc.
Of course some will tell you the reason you're having so much trouble is that water pump!
Ignacio, Have you had the car running long enough to tell how it runs? Does it knock, does it smoke, will the motor pull the car in high gear, is there a lot of transmission noise, etc.? As others have said everything; engine, transmission, rear end, may be well worn. While you have the head off make sure all the valves are opening and closing all the way and that the coils buzz at the proper time. Then put the head back on to try to see if the engine will run, and how well. Start checking your Model T budget to see what work you can budget for. Check with your local T club members to see if anybody has a good used engine to sell. Have a Merry Christmas.
Ted Dumas - Not trying to be a "smart a$$" but just trying to be helpful and avoid any confusion. I know you know exactly how to perform a wet & dry compression test, but I think you might have said it backwards. If you see a marked difference between the wet & dry tests, that would NOT indicate a valve problem, but would indicate worn rings because the oil will help seal worn rings that let compression leak by (and cause a somewhat higher compression reading) but the oil will have no effect at all on the compression reading from a leaking valve or valve(s). FWIW,.....harold
This is the book you need most:
OK the test shows you need rings but what is the condition of the cyl's?? Oversize,Scratches,Taper?? Look through the trans cover hole,Band condition,Lint,Dirt?? Mag work?? How far will the crankshaft move back and fourth??As prev mentioned replace valves and seat surface by whatever might be needed Bud.
If I open the hatch for the hogshead and look at the transmission bands, how can I tell if they are good or bad?
All of the manuals are purchased just not here yet.
Here is what the inside of the transmission looks like.
Ignacio, I'm from the other side of the fence. Sorry guys but I'm so cheap I'll re-use everything to just get it running. Ignacio, your old junk should go the way it is if all is half OK.
DON'T take it down the freeway right away as there are more things to worry about. :-)
I've started with 2 FAR WORSE looking engines and they run beautifully. Well, they pick them off perfectly is more like it and I hand crank the 3 running model T's here at my place. I use no starters.
You have an edge on me with your engine. :-)
40 pounds, wet test? Not bad. In MY opinion.
My Crappy T: 2 of the cylinders on my Crappy T make perhaps 10 pounds and the 2 good cylinders perhaps make 30. It's plum wore out.
The 2 really bad cylinders usually won't start it but do once in awhile. I just find one of the 2 good cylinders. 3 or 4 pulls on the crank. Once running, ALL four sound quite nice.
2-1/2" drive shaft tubing for exhaust pipe so I can hear it cackle. That engine got a drill and bench grinder valve job 20 years ago.
Haven't checked compression and should so I can say exactly what they are. It's wore out. That engine is in need of a rebuild and will get it since I now know what a fresh T engine (on top anyway) is like.
My TT truck: After an afternoon valve job (in October) of grinding some two piece valves and using a hand operated valve seat cutter that was so dull (used it 20 years ago on the Crappy T) that it would only cut the rust off the valve seats and not cut ANY cast iron and then the bench grinder to set valve/tappet clearances. Two chokes, one more pull and it runs great. With a vaporizer carb! Engine hadn't ran since '93, probably never been rebuilt and it's worn out. Some compression, not great. But what a sweety! Three pulls on the crank and it's running.
You'll find that combination of what's going on with your engine. Yes, if it sat for along time it's gonna be a bitch right away. But you've just oiled the cylinders! Making it ready for another attempt.
Do me a favor? Check to see that you have the valve action necessary to make an engine run while you have the head off. Pick a cylinder and hand crank it over: Intake valve is open when that cylinder is going down, compression stroke up (no valves open), power stroke down (no valves open), and exhaust opens when the piston comes back up. Check the other cylinders the same way. How do all the valve seat surfaces look when the valves are open? If in doubt, regrind the valves and clean the seats. Easy to do.
I'm sure it's the pic but I only see the exhaust valve partially open on cylinder 3 but it's at the bottom of the stroke. Looks like it's just ready to exhaust as the cylinder comes up. Check those valves and their actions and lets move ahead. :-)
Those bands don't look terrible as they are but let's get that sucker running good first... That engine looks really clean inside compared to 2 or 3 of mine...
I'll get chastised for my junkyard dog views on cylinders and valving. I'll take it. :-)
Kevin's question above is most important to me. How's it sound while running? Knocking? Any funny noises? Ignacio, you're a wrench, how's it sound? You'll get there!
Hi Duey thanks for the words. It sounds fine to me when running (my first T so I don't know what normal is) but the blessed thing is very, very, difficult to start even with electric. When started it ran for about 200 yards and quit. Then it would not start again. I've tried a lot of things to get it started.
Ignacio, I am assuming that by now that you have checked that all four coils are buzzing at the correct time for their cylinder and that the valves are opening and closing correctly. Then we are back to your carburetor problem. If your rebuilt carburetor hasn't arrived yet perhaps someone it the local T club can loan you a good carburetor and give you a hand in trying to get it running. May be your short 200 yard drive with so little fuel, under one gallon according to your post, caused dirt to plug up the carburetor. If you are stuck using your old carburetor for now, and have three gallons of gas in the tank, then close the adjustment needle all the way and back off open 1.25 turns to start. Next try removing each spark plug putting a little bit of gas in each cylinder. It should now at least try to start. Adjust needle open so that it will keep running.
I'm kinda with Duey, might not be broke, so get it running, then decide. You need to learn to tune it any way, the first step is fairly even compression, no matter what it is. Dave in Bellingham,WA... Merry Christmas, Everybody