Waterpump... Why does the model T even have one?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: Waterpump... Why does the model T even have one?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Oravez on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 10:51 am:

Ok, I am sure this topic has been beaten to death on here and I have found multiple threads on the subject but I figured since I am at a cross roads as we speak I would reach out for some facts.

I am not really looking for any more of the comments about tossing the pump on the wall or in a plastic bag. I understand that people tend to not like them.

What I am looking for is why does my 1918 and 1919 T's both have water pumps on them? Maybe they are not stock to those years but that does not change the fact they have them. If we forgive the leaks on the shaft (I am fighting with that right now) what are some valid technical reasons to ditch the pump? Do they offer any advantage under certain situations?

I mean they invented them for some reason even if that reason was allowing people to run damaged restricted flow radiators.

I am thinking about ditching both of my water pumps and thermostats but before I do I would like some factual data to make my choice. After all my situation on the road may differ from yours so I need to make the choice an educated one.

Thanks for the facts and sorry in advance if I have caused a storm of pro pump vs anti pump replies. As stated that is NOT my intention.

John


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Pawelek Brookshire, Texas on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 10:58 am:

There were a lot of aftermarket water pumps for the model T and I assume most installed them rather than clean out the combustion chambers occasiionally or because the well water used in their radiators clogged them somewhat and helped the engines to overheat. I have rebuilt 6 Model T's, took pumps off of four, and they all ran just fine with no overheating. A water pump for me is unnecessary and just another part to malfunction on the road. Your mileage may vary.....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith, Lomita, California on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 11:08 am:

I ran a water pump on my '13 for over forty years, always thinking I need one. One day I decided to take it off. Nothing has changed except I can use a shorter fan belt now.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Dufault on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 11:09 am:

John,

Both you
(that reason was allowing people to run damaged restricted flow radiators)

and Michael have answered your question.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 11:15 am:

I've had 2 T's with pumps on them. I installed neither of them and left both in place. The first I have no info on but the second was installed by the guy I bought the car from. He basically paraded the car and swore it cured his parade/overheating problem. Was it a possible stop gap cure for a dicey radiator? Don't know because I left it in place with no problems. I have no idea if a thermostat serves any purpose on a T and I'm sure I'd lose that if I found one on a car I owned. Again, based on what the former owner told me about the pump, I left it in place. The only way to find out if it's doing anything is to remove it and drive.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Garrison - Rice, Minnesota on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 11:23 am:

XJohn, whether your intention was to cause a storm or not might not make a difference with this crowd. It'll probably happen.

When Henry designed the Model T, he decided to go with the thermosyphon cooling design. Model T's were never meant to have water pumps and a proper functioning cooling system on a Model T will never require one.

Over the last couple years two of the three Model T's I've bought have had waterpumps when I bought them. I immediately took them off and threw them in the junk pile. I've never missed them.

If the cars had overheated after removing the waterpumps I'd have repaired the cooling system. I would never have put the waterpumps back on the cars. It's just my opinion but I believe waterpumps create a restriction in what might be a poorly working cooling system that needs a proper repair. They do nothing more then add to a bad situation.

But, as I said, that's my opinion; other's mileage will vary.

New radiators are expensive and flushing and cleaning an engine block is very difficult and the lure of the waterpumps can be great. And, perhaps, in some situations, they might help. But in a great many cases the waterpumps are nothing but a poor choice to avoid a proper repair.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman - Sumner,WA on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 11:25 am:

John - Yes,....controversy for sure! I would address just one paragraph you wrote,.....the fourth, which was just one line. And, I think I can comment on that one sentence with just one sentence of my own:

Because many people just THOUGHT that they needed a water pump, many water pump designs were created, mostly with the main purpose of making a lot of money for those who built and sold them!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 11:27 am:

The first T I bought had a water pump on it. I didn't even know then that Ford did not originally use one. The shaft was worn and leaked. I took it to a machinist who installed a bronze shaft. He didn't have stainless steel. The pump then worked and on one of our first tours we went into the mountains on a cold morning and when we stopped for a break, I noticed many of the others were standing in front of their radiators to keep warm. My radiator was cold! On another tour the pulley got loose and the set screw cut a groove into the bronze shaft like a lathe. That was when I removed the water pump and installed an inlet. No overheating problems and the engine actually warmed up in cold weather.

I bought another T which had a water pump and one of the first things I did was remove it.

For a water pump to work as it should the car should have a thermostat which keeps the water from flowing until the engine warms up but the thermostat should have a bypass so that some of the water will flow so that the thermostat itself will get hot enough to open at the proper time.

I have nothing against water pumps, except that if the radiator and block are clean, the thermosyphon system works just fine and one trouble maker (water pump)is eliminated. It is also a talking point when showing the car, that it has no fuel pump, no oil pump, and no water pump. That point shows the simplicity of the machine.

Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 11:28 am:

Dave is correct. The pump is a Band-Aid for a cooling system that's not up to snuff. It's cheaper than a new radiator, but otherwise has nothing to recommend it. If the radiator is good, the pump offers no advantage. If the radiator is really bad, adding a pump may be money wasted and would be better put toward a new radiator.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Eckensviller - Thunder Bay, ON on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 11:33 am:

For probably the most important historical reference on whether or not you need a water pump, consider that Ford started T production WITH a water pump on each and every car then removed it from production part way through the first model year.

So the production score is 2500 with water pumps and about fifteen million without.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 12:10 pm:

Let me get back to the original question. Fact is the pumps are there on both his cars and I'll stick my neck out there and say since he isn't complaining about the cars operations he has no problems in that area. So what if it is a band aid fix? It works and isn't taking any $ out of his back pocket. Drive and enjoy. If one or both go and you absolutely have to spend well then spend.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George John Drobnock on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 12:23 pm:

There is nothing wrong with a Model T having a water pump. Generally during the period the
Model T was in production there were multiple accessories available - including a water pump. And the claim for using a water pump is valid.

If not, they would have lost popularity very shortly after introduction. And you would not be finding Model Ts with water pumps today.

As a side note - how may of the group have seen or own a Nova 1 1/2 horse stationary gas engine that is liquid cooled. The engine has no radiator, no means of circulation of coolant. Just a large vessel above the head that is filled with water.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 12:51 pm:

As many of us here have said many times: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les VonNordheim on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 12:55 pm:

I have a 13 touring with a Brass Works Radiator. The first 5 years I had continuous heating problems. Did all the things that forum members suggested to cure the problem but it still continued. On a long hill during a Knab tour lost over a gallon of coolant on one long hill.

Installed a new Texas T water pump with NO Thermostat over 10 years ago.....never had a heating problem since! Yes, the moto meter indicates just a little red at the bottom....however, the engine has run this way since installing the water pump. Also, have used synthetic oil from the beginning. Have never removed any bearing shims to date and the engine runs great.
If your model T does not over heat with out a water pump....then I don't suggest installing one.
I like the Texas T water pump....it has a stainless steel shaft/impeller, modern seals/bearings and has not leaked to date. Band-Aid??....it works for me and that really counts in my book! I care less about the comments others may make about using Synthetic oils, after market ignition systems and water pumps.....I do what is working for me.
I have a Model A that has a water pump....The block and head cooling design is very similar to a T.....it will also Thermo-barf and perform like a T if I remove the fan belt.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 12:58 pm:

Very few Model T's are driven day after day in the dirt and sand roads of the time.Back in the late 50's i found a water pump in grand dads barn i asked why? I was told the T's would often overheat even when new! When i found a Atwater Kent Dist i asked why and was told when coils were out of adjustment they were expensive to replace and the dist got the timer up out of the dirt/water/mud/and snow.When i found a honeycome after market radiator i was told they cooled much better than the Ford.The first Delong car was a 1915 and with 3 boys the youngest 1906 many many Model T cars,at least two TT trucks,and more than one fordson tractor. These were Model T people and they used what they had! Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harry Courtneay on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 02:49 pm:

My dad was raised in central CA when model T's were still being made. I remember him talking about when he was a boy any time his father bought a brand new model T the first thing he always did was to install a water pump and a distributor.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kevin Whelihan Danbury, WI on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 04:34 pm:

I think George hit it on the head: it was an accessory. The motoring public just LOVES accessories. Plus in the day, some of the claims made by manufacturers for everything from love potions to tires tended to be more than a little inflated. Just look at period advertising. How many motorists bought the rationales for these accessories hook, line, and sinker is probably staggering. And in the end, their wallets were a little lighter, but they got to brag they had the "latest" improvements for their cars.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By R.V. Anderson on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 04:56 pm:

I wouldn't put one on my car, but if you want to do it, it's your car; more power to ye.

One thing I like about not having a pump is that when I shut the ignition off, the water keeps circulating. A pump impeller would block it, which may lead to the formation of hot(ter) pockets in the block or head, which already need all the cooling help they can get. Pumps were popular back in the day. Maybe that's why so many T blocks have old cracks in the water jackets.

Besides, it's one more non-Ford part to break down on a tour.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Eubanks, Powell, TN on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 05:19 pm:

The original round tube radiators were somewhat marginal in hot areas and as the years went on, lost more of their conductivity between the fins and tubes due to corrosion. Today flat tube rad.s cool much better and yes, folks bought accessories for their T's if they needed them or not.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dean Kiefer - Adams, MN on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 05:27 pm:

A water pump is good for about ten bucks at Chickasha.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Duey_C on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 05:50 pm:

When I put the '24 Crappy-Lizzhe together in the 90's, I had a pump but no water inlet elbows.
It's one of the "low volume" pumps with a couple of cast angled fins on the pump shaft.
It doesn't move much water but with a very original radiator, that very worn out engine has never spit up nor given any signs of over heating even in warm parades with the "ears" all the way up. I do have a non Ford fan behind the radiator running on the belt tho.
The '18 with a very fresh upper ended '23 engine was not happy with me taking the pump off. It overheated right away. That should change in time I hope.
The '25 TT doesn't have a pump and it may never get one. It's happy right now.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 05:53 pm:

Water pump accessories are common addition to the Ford, as the thermo syphon cooling works OK when the system (block, hoses, radiator) are functioning as they should.


Of course if labored, the T engine will generate more heat than the thermo syphon system can struggle to keep up with, especially if the water is low in the radiator.

Then add pond water contaminates in the radiator, and carbon deposits in the cylinders and head, lack of coil point maintenance and dirty timers, worn or loose band linings, poor fuel and carb adj. and spark lever setting.... then the Ford can overheat easily.

So water pumps did help worn out or poorly maintained Fords. Also in the winter, before anti-freeze coolants, the alcohol needed to be churned in the system to prevent freezing, so water pumps did that chore too.

But, as any 'add on', there were limitations to the pumps, that is why hundreds of styles and types of water pumps were made for the Ford.

Anytime you have many solutions to a problem, any individual versions of the those so-called solutions doesn't really work well. That is why so many tries at making pump types and styles work on the Ford!


Today they make great collector items :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Terry Woods, Richmond, Texas on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 05:55 pm:

Question: Why did ford decide water pumps were necessary from the Model A on. I can understand their use with pressurized systems, but Model A's and Fords in the thirties had little, or no pressure. I, myself, are in the no water pump crowd, but I've always wondered why they were used after the T.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Pawelek Brookshire, Texas on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 07:09 pm:

Terry, The Model A needed a water pump because of all the additional screaming horse power! :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Pawelek Brookshire, Texas on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 07:12 pm:

John O., Literally hundreds of millions of dollars were made producing and selling aftermarket accessories for the Model T. A prime example is the story of George Pepperdine, Western Auto and Pepperdine University......


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Oravez on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 07:36 pm:

Well it sounds like some solid logic, as I see it if you have a working radiator and a clean engine you should not need a water pump. However if you do a lot of driving and don't perform maintenance you can use the waterpump as a band aid.

Sounds like a solution to a problem that should have just been fixed to begin with.

Thanks again for the factual information. I kind of figured as much but I wanted to get my logic double checked.

I think I will plan to remove my water pumps as they are both leaking. My cooling system and engine's are both rebuilt and in fantastic condition on both my cars so I should be fine.

The Model T is like a lego car, you can chop them, hack them, bolt on things you don't need and remove stuff you probably should keep on it and a snake oil salesmen will be happy to help!

Thanks
John


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 10:07 pm:

When i used a water pump i found a slight bit of grease would stop leaking.[The model T is like a lego car,you can chop them,hack them,bolt on things you don't need and remove stuff you proably should keep on it and a snake oil salesman will be happy to help] Good luck!!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Garrison - Rice, Minnesota on Monday, May 29, 2017 - 11:21 pm:

Wow, what happened to you guys? Where's the controversy? Have we all mellowed? Is this a sign of things to come? Where's the old spirited name calling and intimidating posturing gone? This is so sad! What could be causing this overwhelming civility among us and what needs to be done to correct our broken forum?

Okay, I can't handle this! So; anyone that'll run a waterpump puts MMO in their fuel tank and crankcase, uses an etimer, would jump at the chance to run Kevlar bands and probably has an AM radio hidden somewhere under the drivers seat cushion. Oh, and an electric fan mounted on the radiator to make sure their car really won't overheat!

Okay!

There!

:-)

Anyone want to discuss the value of HCCT vs ECCT? Huh? Anyone?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David L Corman on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 12:21 am:

Water Pumps make a Great wheel chock


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les VonNordheim on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 12:26 am:

Not all water pumps are created equal, some work well while others hinder the flow. A good pump will keep the coolant flowing eliminating "Hot Spots" noted with thermo-barf cooling.
It's interesting to note how many different water pump's were produced in the day when....according to the many "Experts" we have on the forum saying they are totally unnecessary. Am I to then believe that the engineers that designed them were "Stupid". There were also numerous different distributors offered in the day to help solve problems that never existed???

I find it very funny when some Model T owners quote as Scripture doing it only as Henry originally did. However, the same folks are happy to use
Flat tube core radiators,Fun Projects pinion kits, 280 cams, Z heads, Scat cranks and the list goes on. "Do as I say...not as I do"???

Smile!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 12:28 am:

Amen to that!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 12:47 am:

Mike, if I buy a doctor's coupe what kind of oil should I use in it?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 01:00 am:

Why did Ford add a water pump to the Model A, because the market demanded it, modern cars had them. The Model A is still thermo syphon with water pump assist. I have an Atlas pump and 160 thermostat on mine, the radiator is marginal at best.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 08:31 am:

Castor oil.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George John Drobnock on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 09:15 am:

Castor oil. Some may remember that there was a time at the race circuits.... there would be an exotic aroma in the air. The smell of hot/burning Castor Racing Oil.

Now my 1922 coupe has a very non-aerodynamic shape...a basic brick.

To increase the chance my engine will not melt down under certain conditions, I use a water pump. I have added 10 more mph to my speed.

To make the car appear to be an exotic European racing machine I use a small of castor oil in the fuel...the exhaust has the aroma of a real racer....

I use the same approach on my 741 Indian...it is not a fast bike, but the exhaust with the sweet smell of burnt castor oil makes it a winner circle's choice....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Garrison - Rice, Minnesota on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 12:22 pm:

Steve, non-detergent synthetic oil with a couple cups of MMO added is the only reasonable motor oil to be used in a Dr's coupe.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry Davis Houston TX on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 11:30 pm:

Why were so many T water pumps made when T's were road kings. Why are so many "barn finds" unrestored engines found with water pumps? Why are there so many T garages with 20 or so T water pumps of different manufactures hanging on the wall? What did they know that we are forgetting? I ran 40 miles yesterday in 92 degree Texas heat and the red never appeared in my motormeter. Thank you water pump.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Corey Walker, Brownsboro TX on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 12:14 am:

I've got enough vehicles with water pumps. I've replaced them on most of them. A couple times on one. I like to keep my T simple. It cools fine without a pump. I have a brassworks round tube radiator. One less water pump to buy.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fred Dimock, Newfields NH, USA on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 12:33 pm:

You guys are killing me---

The radiator in my 19 was barely OK with the old motor but is wanting with the new one.
My play cash is focused on getting a Model A running for my wife but this thread has me thinking that a W@t@r P@mp might be a temporary solution to the problem.

It certainly makes sense for the short term when it is nearly impossible to come up with $800 for a new radiator!

(I can't believe I said that!)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By bbrunia on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 02:33 pm:

I have to concur that, depending on the water pump, they can inhibit cooling. When I purchased my 25 runabout, it had a water pump on it. I had overheating issues. I removed the pump, and overheating issues stopped. My 1918 did not have a pump, never had an issue with overheating - yet :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Lloid on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 03:22 pm:

I have 3 T s and only one has a pump but I wouldn't put one on unless I had a bad radiator and couldn't come up with a new one.I wouldn't want to hurt your good motor either.


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