I'm working on my 09 frame right now and the front cross member is in bad shape. Cracked around the square hole and most of the rivets had been replaced with oversize ones over the years. They are all loose today.
I went to my inventory of ??junk and came up with another front cross member. Both of these measure about .126 thick. This is thinner than the later ones I believe. Correct??
Interestingly the replacement cross member has never been drilled for the rivets that go adjacent to the radiator stud.
Anybody seen this before? Maybe some of the early cars didn't get these rivets until later in the production.
I'll be welding up some of the rivet holes and re-drilling as even the replacement has some oversize holes. No cracks though.
Those two rivets are not present on the first 2500 cars. The water pump equipped cars had a long bolt at each end of the radiator that went all the way through the radiator, top of the frame, and the bottom of the frame, with a nut securing it under the bottom of the frame.
The early frames are 1/8" (.125") steel. Later frames and cross members are .162" steel.
Thanks Royce. That answers my question. I kind of hate to drill the holes in it now if it's that early.
You are going to have to weld up rivet holes anyway; save that early member for someone doing a very early car (amazing, how did you find it? Though not too surprising, I found an NRS driveshaft leaning against a tree in a field here in town, and no other parts around). Your original cross-member isn't that bad, weld up the cracks, grind things smooth, and it's good for another 100 years--probably more, as we don't abuse these cars like they used to be used.
I have welded up worse front cross members before. A fancy wire feed type welder can help reduce distortion and future cracking, but I don't have one. I just used oxy/acetylene with mild steel rod, hammered hot, cooled slow, and ground smooth. It also helps to anneal the area again after it cools. Easy use on modern roads it should be good for a very long time.
Make the heads smaller on some larger rivets can help with the appearance using oversize rivets. Done that a few times also. Saves welding, grinding, and re-drilling holes.
How early is your frame? Fish-plate early? Or late '09/'10? Just curious. It could alter the preferred decisions on the best approach to restore this. And just how correct do you want the finished car?
As more and more details are being learned about the many changes being made in the first two years of model T production, it is becoming more clear that that decision should be made early in a restoration or upgrade project so that you can target the proper set of multiple variations. Or not. Your car. It depends on what you want.
Nice project! Good luck!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Does anyone know the thickness of the frames through the years? I believe it is stated that the improved models had thicker steel frames. Does anyone know the thickness of the 1926/1927 frames?
Thanks for all the input. I'm going to preserve the early cross member rather than drill the holes its missing. Can you build an original water pump engine car around an original cross member? Joking aside my 09 is a RHD Canadian car from late in the production year. I've already started welding up the oversize rivet holes and the crack so I'll be using the original front cross member. I have the complete running gear, open valve engine, square hogshead, one piece pan,one piece spindle front axle etc. The rear axle is an early 6 rivet. All the RHD stuff is there and correct 1909. No body but Ray Wells made a beautiful, Canadian style touring body for me. It's painted and upholstered. The rear fenders are original as is one running board. The engine and trans are rebuilt, new wheels, rebuilt RHD steering column. The frames been a bit of a holdup as I'm not looking forward to doing the riveting. So it's all apart still and a big project but I'm excited to be making some headway. Maybe out for summer 2018
Ken F, Sounds like a great project, and you seem to be well on your way in the right direction.
I have offered my opinion on many threads over the years, and will repeat and slightly rephrase here.
One should never assemble an antique automobile from a bunch of just parts. One may collect bits and pieces for possible future use. At some point, one picks up the "remains of an original car", no matter how little there is, and restores "that" car. If you want a water-pump T? And if you have the means (not necessarily a lot, but some amount of time and money coupled with the desire and dedication)? It sounds like you have the basis to restore it. (Please, no thread drift into the definition of "restore"!) (Or I WILL bring up my two huge dictionaries and quote from them!)
As for the frame riveting. I have done several that needed minor re-riveting, and one that needed most rivets replaced. Not very difficult at all. I took a scrap of 3/4 inch thick steel, about three inches long, and a bit over an inch wide. Drilled a recess in one corner (might need to do two corners?), the hole was NOT quite large enough for the rivet head to go completely into the hole. One person can do the riveting more easily than two can that way using C-clamps to buck the rivet head on the blind inside or inside corners. Heat and hammer in the open side where it is easy to do.
So, get in and get it done!
I hope you can post more pictures of your project and progress.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Ken, I have repaired/welded a number of cracked frame cross members. I found the best job was done by using a die grinder and carbide burr to cut a groove in the outside surface of the crack almost to the depth of the material. Then I used a Mig welder to make the welds, filling the groove. This results in a full depth weld which will clean up nicely.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.