Fired up the new 26 coupe this morning for the first time. It's officially out of mothballs! After ensuring everything was alright took off for a short 2 mile test drive. On a flat road I estimate I was probably doing around 30. I also had the throttle wide open though and spark down 6 or 7 notches. This motor is in excellent condition so I know I should have more power/speed than that. I think part of my problem was I forgot to let out the needle a little more after getting it started: started on 1 1/2 turns out or so, so imagine opening up to 2- 2 1/4 turns out from closed would improve fuel flow and thus power/speed. Any other tips and tricks to getting the proper power and speed I know this motor should be giving me? I've been around T's my whole life but my actual driving experience is relatively limited.
Opening up the mixture 2 to 2 1/4 turns is going to be way too rich. One full turn up to 1 1/2 is where it should be.
Is the parking brake completely free?
30 mph is a good cruising speed. For more top end speed, try more spark advance.
Tim, I was wondering if that was going to be too rich, Sounds like I'm probably spot on for my current needle setting then, I may play with it a little but this seems like a good starting point. I can't get my spark advance to go past 9 notches or so: it stops before reaching the bottom of the column, is this typical? Oh, not sure if this matters or not, but apparently the old Vet/engineer that restored it re poured all the babbit for the rods, bearings, etc. He only ever ran it in parades and car shows. This motor is still kind of tight to hand crank, maybe it needs a break in/wear in period still and the motor is laboring due to the tight fit? Running a standard Holly NH carb.
30mph was definitely nice, I liked it. The main reason I'm seeking 40/45mph kind of output is the very large hills in the Catskill mountains area I live in: I mainly want to be able to build speed for getting up and pulling hills.
If you want to go 40/45 face your car downhill with a wind behind you!
Normal operation of the mixture control would be to open about 1/4 turn more then normal for starting and to close back down to the normal or optimum setting as it warms up.
For maximum speed the throttle and spark should be all the way down. This image should give a good idea on spark and throttle settings.
Odd that you can drive for so long with the spark just a few notches down without overheating? How does it react with more advance?
When you pull the spark lever all the way down, does the timer look all the way advanced when looking at it? If not you may need to adjust your timing by bending the rod. You won't have full power if your coils need service either. Do you know what rear end gears you have? If you do need to adjust the timing do a search to find out how. When fully retarded it should fire after TDC.
I may be off on the count, but it seems like the spark only opens up about 8 or 9 notches. Opening up spark all the way and throttle just about all the way is how I achieved 30mph. Ran well. This car seems great in the cooling department: it idled in the garage a long time with the throttle open 4 notches and spark open 2 notches: radiator was still only warm to the touch.
I will definitely look into whether the rod is being obstructed, hadn't thought of that. As far as I know the rear end is stock T: 26' large drum rear end. The motor was rebuilt but is stock save for an external oiler line that runs from the hogs head top to the oil fill cap in the front of the block: nice little addition that when I checked it seems to do a pretty good job of pumping some extra oil up to No.1 cylinder area.
Your 1½ turns is a good starting point. But another adjustment may be better when you're driving and the car is warmed up. With the car at cruising speed (30 mph is fine) close the needle until the engine starts to slow down. Open it back up. Keep opening until the engine starts to stumble again. Halfway between the two stumble points is your setting for driving. Some folks do the setting at idle, then set it again when the car is moving. I don't leave the car sitting around idling all day, so I just leave the carb set for driving.
You haven't reached this stage yet, but when you do get up in the 40/45mph neighborhood you may find it far too exciting. A big part of that may be the shape of your wood wheels, and I do mean shape. If your front wheels have considerable runout (wobble) the car can have a tendency to wander all over the road. I don't like to go that fast, but when I do I find that my new Stutzman wheels have greatly improved the handling.
(Message edited by steve_jelf_parkerfield_ks on May 11, 2017)
A model T will tell you what speed it is comfortable with, that is the speed to drive it. It's a seat of the pants driving experience. KGB
I think you'll find that less than 1-1/2 turns will be what you need. Also, as you accelerate, work the spark lever up and down till you feel the best acceleration. Run it there.
Thanks for all the advice guys! I work my 2 jobs from 9am-11pm tomorrow so I won't be able to drive again until Saturday or Sunday. Now that I've got a running Model T I want to go everywhere! Montana 500 here I come!
I don't know what you've done to the car, but I'll mention a couple of things that can make a difference. One is a set of coils in tip-top condition. I have plenty of other things to do, so I depend on Ron Patterson or Brent Mize for those. The other thing is very basic: correctly set ignition timing. That's pretty easy. http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG97.html
I got lucky with this car: it came with a brand new set of Ron's rebuilt coils when I bought it, and the guy who got them off of Ron had less than 10 miles on them. Plus, Ron rebuilt a set of coils for me a few years back as part of the Model T youth program he does. So I have a brand new spare set as well
Although your attempts at higher speed are admirable for running in the Montana 500, in order to accomplish that feat you must live long enough to do all that is necessary to get there.
Where I live, we have the occasional pet that pays no attention to an oncoming vehicle, and the wayward toy followed by a child determined to fetch it before it gets too far away. Just for grins and giggles (and more knowledge), would you consider riding with a passenger and at some point unknown to you, have that passenger shout out "child", and see just how far you travel before you come to a stop.
Perhaps your "hill climbing ability" can be best accomplished by an auxiliary transmission.
Thoughts of mine because I wish you a long, happy life.
Enjoy your "Lizzie"
One item comes to mind to succeed in your efforts to run your T at 45 to 50 MPH. Start with a couple of shots of some smooth Kentucky bourbon. You will not be inhibited by the shaking and rattling your T will make. You probably will not care too much about stopping either!!!!!!!!
I have 4 Model T's and all run 50+ top speed. T best and least expensive way to get better performance is to install a Kevin Prus 8:1
head. It makes more HP and torque for the hills. Some will say it is bad on the engine. I know at least 10 guys using this head with no problems.
If you're serious about the Montana 500:
If you can hit 40+ on a straight stretch level road
You got a sick T
But 30 to 35 should be a great cruising speed
I once went 50 mph in my 27TT. Don't ever want to do it again but I was younger and wanted to see what it would do on a flat road at 4500 ft. I think she would have hit 55 if I'd had the nerve. The speed was what the GPS showed and it was enough to not do it again.
it has one of the newer Warfords in it and the high speed rear end of course. Now, I am very happy to travel at 25 or so and watch the world amble by. But she sure did 50.
I'm confused, I thought normal expected top speed for the lighter weight stock Model T's was 40/45mph?
Yes, it is - those who responded negatively may have misunderstood the question as if you want to drive that fast all the time. You're just checking your new car out so that it's ok and will be able to pull the hills that lies before it.
If an engine hasn't been run much after a rebuild it can be a bit tight and will loosen up after a few hundred miles. Ford put a sticker on new cars with instructions to not exceed 20 mph for the first 500 miles for best performance, but few held that strict. Though it's more likely it just needs some tweaks and adjustments to run 40 mph when needed.
One word: Small Block Chevy
(putting on asbestos flame suit now)
Another critical adjustment would be to tighten your trouser belt and if installed, your seat belt too!!!
Alan in Western Australia
And since I don't think you have any speedometer in it, maybe you actually were driving faster than you thought? Try bring a GPS for accurate speed. And new coils isn't a guarantee for perfect sparking if the timer, coil box or wiring are acting up - first suspect is always the timer. If it's an old roller timer it may have worn the track a bit bumpy, so the roller starts jumping at higher speeds. That'll limit top end for sure.
If you are using the magneto to power the coils (after starting on battery), then that old Ford chart is, at best, misleading. I am one of the T drivers who believes that the timing lever has just 2 positions:
1. Fully up for starting
2. A sweet spot about 2/3 down for ALL running.
I have never counted notches!
If the magneto doesn't work, then if you are running on 6v DC you will need all the advance you can get at the higher speeds. If you are running on 12v DC, the timing lever position is more critical, but you will still need at least half the travel - assuming fully up is a spark just ATDC.
As for the mixture, get the car in high gear at about 25-30, then slowly screw the control in (clockwise) until the power suddenly falls away. Then unscrew about 1/4 turn.
My 26 Coupe will achieve the advertised 42mph on a level road, but it's happiest at about 36.
Thanks again! And Roger, yep you're spot on. I'm just looking to make sure it's functioning as intended, which would be top end of 40/45. I have no intention of driving a Flivver like a madman haha!
You should have someone follow you to verify your speed. 30 mph is pretty frickin slow. My 26 coupe easily does 40-45 but it would climb hills worth a darn without a high compression head. As others have stated, 35 is pretty comfortable cruising. 30 mph on flat roads mean you probably can't climb a hill.
I've read you can use a smart phone as a speedometer, but I use a stupid phone so I can't tell you about that. But I can tell you that a bicycle speedometer is cheap, needs only some extra wire spliced in, and works well. One of these days I'll install a real Model T era speedometer, but until then the Cat Eye Velo 5 does the job.
Matthew, doesn't your new-to-you 26 have an inline fuel filter of have you removed it? You may have a fuel supply issue
Going downhill you can go faster than it's comfortable to go or to stop! Going uphill you go about 22 in high before you need to shift down. I have found that no matter how fast I rev the car before I start up a hill it will very soon slow down. However, on a 22 mph hill if you try to start out in low, you will stay in low until you get to the top. I know I might make some people behind me mad, but I usually don't stop for anyone to pass until I reach the top. Then pull over and let all the followers pass before I start again.
One thing which angers me is when I have a short lane to pull over and let someone pass while I continue to move and they slow down right alongside me to take a picture. Then I come to the end of the lane and have to stop! GRR!!
Although a good running T will go around 45 or 50 top speed, it is not good for it to continue that speed for very long. 30-35 is a good cruising speed.
As for the fuel mixture It should be richer for starting but as it warms up turn it leaner. The spark advance is something you can experiment with. Try pulling it all the way down for speed and when you come to a hill retard it a few notches to about 3/4 down.
Also you didn't mention whether you are running on battery or magneto. The top speed is higher when you run on magneto.
Another thing I thought of is the spark advance rod. I have run across cars on which there was so much slack in the rod that you could move it quite a distance before the timer actually moved. So That might be a place to look to see if you have that same problem.
Gary, yep it has a filter, and the one currently on there is a little gummy with sediment. I plan on switching out the filter to another filter this weekend, and eventually I'll put a proper sediment bulb on there. Unfortunately the mag appears to be dead on this car: tried switching over from BATT to MAG 3 times, stalled out immediately each time. I'll check the lines for any issues, but I'm thinking magnets are too weak. We have a guy in our local club that can do a recharge in the car though if there's no cracks.
Didn't read the total comments -- but if you want something faster than 30mph -- then the stock Model T is not what you want.
Are you running on 6v or 12v? Mag is the way to go, but if you have to run on battery, then 12v will give you better performance than 6v. 6v effectively retards your timing.
Was getting some rusty sediment in the original filter today when running in the garage. Went to local auto parts store and picked up a larger filter, some spare filters, and upped the hose from 1/4 hole to 5/16. Ran it, tiny tiny bit of sediment. I'll probably totally drain the tank tomorrow and add new gas and should be good to go. Took off for a short spin. Coming back up the road she must have warmed up because all of a sudden she was cooking! Haha, must have easily hit 40/45. Mission accomplished!
Matt, As someone that has dealt with fuel delivery issues, Please heed the advice of not using the filter. A stock sediment bowl should be more than adequate. You "may" be able to get by with the filter because the '26 has the tank in the cowl, but the best end solution is clean the tank and use the stock bulb.
Per recommendations, I do plan on ordering a sediment bulb pretty soon. The filter is just a cheap quick fix to hold me over until I place the large order: looking to order some more grease, bulbs, sediment bulb, tumblers for locks, bands, oil screen filter for transmission, etc.