Regarding the way a T drives/rides, how is a newbie suppose to know whether components are old and worn out, or if that is just the way an older designed car is suppose to drive/ride? Slop in steering, body roll, worn transmission bands/brake, or any number of other driving/riding characteristics. I suppose the only way is to get other experienced T guys in the area to drive your car??
Regarding steering slop, rock the steering wheel back and forth to see how much free play it has before the front wheels start to turn. You should be able to get the steering wheel free play down to under an inch at the rim. Small amounts of slop in bushings, tie rod ends, and steering box gears can add up and have a big effect on the amount of free play. Also, make sure that the pitman arm nut is really tight, if the pitman arm is loose on the shaft, the shaft can turn without any corresponding movement of the arm.
As you work your way through eliminating all of the bushing slop, have a helper turn the wheel back and forth while you watch all of the linkage. The remaining sources of slop will reveal themselves.
Yes, it comes with experience. That can be from experienced people test driving your car, and from you driving theirs.
Any car of any age should feel tight without excessive play in the steering wheel. _American roads in the 21st Century are surprisingly smooth, (even more so than when I was a kid in the 60's and our roads were pretty good), and because of that, regardless of what you've heard, a ride in a Model T Ford is not a tooth-rattling experience. _True, there is no shock-absorber dampening and you'll really feel that if you drive on corduroy pavement, but on most roads, the ride will be surprisingly smooth. _Expect to feel a little side to side shilly-shally at cruising speed as the wheels normally do wobble a little bit (5/16ths of an inch of wobble might be considered a reasonable limit and happy is the Flivver owner with only 3/16ths" inch of wheel-wobble). _As for body roll; your car should sit square with no leaning when at rest. _The car feels more tippy on curves than any modern car you've driven and if you experience significant body roll in a turn, you're taking it too fast. _Worn or badly adjusted transmission bands feel like a slipping clutch, which is would you'd expect. _Acceleration is fairly brisk in low gear and slow in high gear. _Hills are a pain in the neck because the car really needs an intermediate gear between low and high, so you'll creep your way up with the engine whining higher than feels comfortable, and modern traffic behind you may become impatient. _Going uphill in low means putting lots of wear and tear on your planetary gear bushings, and your engine's front bearing probably won't be getting as much oil splash as it needs with the crankshaft furiously spinning it's little heart out. _Preplan your route to avoid hills; it's part of the challenge, part of the fun.
Bob's description of hill climbing applies to a very steep hill or a car with a tired engine. A hill near here is called Horseshoe Hill because originally there was a wide horseshoe-shaped switchback to help horse drawn traffic get to the top. In 1934 a cut was dug and the road was straightened, so it goes in a straight line to the top. A couple of years ago I rode up the hill in a 1926 touring that needed low pedal to get to the top. Later I tried it with my 1915 runabout and went all the way up in high with no trouble.
If I lived a tad closer I would drive over in my T so that you could drive it and experience the allure of these little black cars. Bill
Get out there and drive the wheels off of it. You won't be newbie for long.
Rick - If it's any consolation, I've felt like a "newbie" for 60 years! I started mess'n with these old Fords when I was a 15 year old kid, and believe it or not, I eventually got to where I actually knew quite a bit about them. But now, I'm 75 years old and I'm not only forgetting things more and more, and also getting my Model A "knowledge" and my Model T "knowledge" mixed up, and forgetting a lot of both, to the point where I STILL feel like a "newbie"!
If you cannot drive a friends T in known good condition I suggest you take Hal's advice .You will have specific questions to ask on the forum. I am sure every question will be answered by knowlegable T owners. Lenney
First don't try to drive a T like your modern car or truck.
They react and do 'feel' different.
A Big surprise is to realize they don't have "real" brakes like your modern vehicle. Average cruising speed for a stock T is 25-35 mph.
Your taking your life in your hands if you pull out on a freeway. When your driving down a good road at 35 MPH the guy who's driving 60-70 MPH comes up fast. They aren.t use to a vehicle driving that slow on a good road.
Once you figure out how to stop?! your T you will begin to get used to it.
That's the first and most important to learn first.
If it starts and makes you smile going down the road than that's what it feels like.
Rick I have 3 and they all drive differently. Like Richard said if it makes you smile....
My 26rpu drives nothing like my 27 but everything has been gone through on it but the 26 rpu still drives better than most also model As to me any way and you all know I am a model A guy. Tim
I like that post Richard! If it makes you smile.... Good one.
To what John K was saying about the guys that come up behind you at 60+mph. I was thinking that maybe T cars could be equipped with a gizmo that poops out orange or red colored foam every so often like field sprayers have to mark their end spray booms that would be a warning of a slow moving vehicle up ahead. Hmmmm??
How's it feel? I've owned & driving my T's for 18 years now, seems like yesterday, with my wife. The one thing I have asked her the most while riding in the T is "What was that?" Still waiting for an answer. Now it takes longer and longer to figure out What was that.
They are a bit noisy and they seem to have their own sounds and shutters but they are just different but your first ride is the best and you know your hooked. They are just a great part of automotive history.
Rick; Body roll is going to feel a little exaggerated due to the mounting configuration of the springs. It does take some getting used to but as long as your car is mechanically sound and you don't try to make a "U" turn at 25 MPH you should be O.K. please check door latches for proper operation and all spring perches and bushings and make sure your spokes are tight before trying to determine the correct speed (READ SLOW) for making "U" turns