I went out tonight to determine the size of my spoke dowels on my 1923 Touring so I could order new spokes. I really had not paid much attention to the sizes of the wheels until tonight.
Each of the four tires on this car is a 21 x 4.5.
When I looked up the spokes in the catalogs, I see that they list the 21 inch spokes beginning for 1926-27. They do not show 21 inch spokes for a 1923 Touring.
Do I have the wrong size wheels on this car, or was 21 inches an option in 1923 Tourings?
I believe 21 inch tires/wheels came out in 1925.
21 inch wheels were an option in 1925 but not in 1923. Before 1925 they had 23 inch ( 30 x 3 1/2)on the rear and 24 inch (30 x 3) in front if they were non demontable. 23 inch (30 x 3 1/2) all around if demountables.
Jack the car up and remove the rim. The part with the tire on it.
you can see the size of the spokes and determine if you have 1/2"
or 5/8" spokes.
That's what started me on this adventure. When I removed the tire, I noticed it was a 21x4.5.
I've determined the spokes are 1/2 inch based in the inside diameter of the spoke holes in the rim. In order to get new spokes, I needed to know if I had 21 inch or 30 inch wheels.
I am concerned I may have the wrong wheels for this car, 21 inches instead of 30 inches.
I am hopeful that I can stay with these 21 inch rims and no one (except those who happen to read this thread or who are super knowledgeable about Model Ts) will know any better.
If I stay with the 21 inch wheels, will there be any problem with gearing; or will the fenders look wrong; etc.?
The 21" rims with tires and the 30" rims with tires are about the same overall diameter. The 21 x 4.5 are much taller tire and make up the difference.
1919 was the first year for optional demountable wheels.
The outside diameter of the tires is the same. No change in gearing. Only concern is whether you want to have original size wheels or not. If you should decide to change the wheels to the 30"x3 1/2" check also the brakes. You could have a later rear axle with the larger drums.
Eric, your 1923 touring looks almost identical to a 1925. Since the 21 inch tires are an option for the 25 cars, they will look right at home on your car. The main thing is they changed the steering ratio to go with the 21 inch Balloon tires. 24 and before are 4 to 1 ratio. 25-26-and 27 are 5 to 1 ratio. While the 4 to 1 ratio steering will work with the 21 inch tires, It will steer easier with the 5 to 1 ratio. If someday you want to change the ratios, you do not need to change the steering column(tube and brass gear case). All you need to change the ratio are the little pinion shaft,3 little gears, and the long center shaft with the 3 pins in it. All those parts need to be for 5 to 1 ratio. A lot of people switch to the 21 inch tires. They are a lot cheaper than the 30 inch tires. have fun and be safe Donnie Brown ...
Excellent. Thanks everyone. I'm keeping the 21 inch wheels. This is a full rebuild so we will take advantage of the opportunity to make the steering ratio adjustments Donnie noted above.
The Model T encyclopedia says the steering ratio changed with the introduction of Balloon tires for 1925 models.
Similar to 1917 but horn button no longer doubled as the light switch on non-starter cars. (Dash board with switch was now standard.) Column support bracket (to instrument panel) added in 1924. Gear ratio changed to 5:1 in Late 1924 (1925 models) when balloon tires were introduced.
Like I mentioned above, the 4 to 1 ratio works OK, but is a little harder to steer. If you were to hit a rut or something, the steering in a T can go "lock to lock" several times very quickly and violently. With 4 to 1 ratio it could break your thumb three times before you get it out of the way. With 5 to 1 ratio, it probably will only break it twice. .... Just kidding (kinda ) Have fun and be safe ....
The 21" wheels with the larger balloon tires (21") will ride nice. Your rims on these wheels will be the 'split' rim type.
Note the line in the demountable rim, lower edge of photo, that is the split line so the rim can collapse to fit the balloon tires.
The 21" wood wheel will have spokes about 6" long from the edge of hub to felloe.
The standard 30" wheel that is made for the 30" clincher rims, for the clincher tires, has a longer spoke.
Three breaks versus two breaks!?! And that's after I crack my arm trying to hand crank it. Now I know why they made Model T ambulances.
Eric, And don't forget that it can "run over you" when hand cranking on a cold morning. That's why it helps to be a "little crazy" when owning a Model T.
I just had this "vision" of some poor old Model T guy. He is hand cranking his car on a cold morning. It "kicks back" and cracks his arm. While he is "reeling in pain", old Lizzie "runs over him". After picking his broken self up and finding Lizzie resting against a tree, (but still running) he climbs in to drive his aching self to the hospital. While on the way he hits a bad rut in the road. Since he can not hold the steering wheel very tight due to his pain and suffering. And since he has a 4 to 1 ratio, Lizzies steering wheel breaks each thumbs three times. If only he had changed out that steering ratio he could have saved himself some pain. have fun and be safe ....
Just a note on the balloon tires.
Back in the day, the tires were 4.40 x 21 and fit was good at rear fenders. Today you can get 21 tires in 4.40/4.50 and 4.40/4.75 or even bigger, so it can get close at the rear fender front edge on the pre-26 T's. Not a big worry but it can look like it.
1923 with 21" wood split rim wheels with balloon tires.