OK, I'm on the road. Met Ross and his massive trailer in Newark, and first set eyes on my shiny and lavishly coachlined 24 Touring. Only briefly - we then went to pick up another T in Long Island, shoved it in the trailer with mine, then drove through the night to Charlottesville. My cousin's husband had very nobly titled & registered the car there on my behalf - I picked the docs up, waved goodbye to Ross and hit the road. Sunday traffic southeast to the coast. Had a "moment" when the car died at a busy junction. Called Ross & performed distributor surgery (sorry purists) under his instruction. Car went well after that (I topped 50 a couple of times!). Now at Ordinary, Virginia - covered 160 miles today, now sweaty & exhausted...
Sorry about the garish trainers - I needed slender shoes for those pedals, and these were the narrowest I could find.
Thank you Tim
looking forward to many more updates
I was born in Charlottesville, VA. Enjoy the view of the mountains! I'm sure You will see them again when you head back west.
Yep !! You need to burn those shoes !!! lol.
And Ross is a good lad.
Excellent! I'm excited for you. Where are you headed next?
I would be nice to have some kind of itinerary (if U have such a thing).
Being a well known cheapskate, some years ago, I bought two pair of running shoes in some horrid national sports team colors, simply because the store had gotten stuck with hundreds of pair that few people would buy. After sale upon sale, with the price creeping ever lower, they had two pair left in my size. I bought them for $2 per pair (brand new!). Took them home, spray painted them black, wore them for a few years.
Tim Moore, I look forward to many updates! And I hope to see the book when it comes out.
The adventure begins
Go Tim GO!
I used to live just north of Ordinary a few miles in Gloucester county. Safety travels and keep us posted!
I agree with Hal; an itinerary, or even a possible itinerary would be great.
Tim, where do you expect to cross the Mississippi River? Memphis is a great place; not much snow this time of year!
Tim, Thanks for Posting and Good Luck!!
We'll be waiting to read about your adventure, Drive Safe
Hit the Atlantic (or a salty bit of Chesapeake Bay) and turned back west. Or north west. Now in Culpeper, VA. 150 miles today.
Bit reluctant at this stage to commit to an itinerary, but I'm heading to Detroit first...
You could call this trip across America the "Red Shoe Diaries".
Oh, um, wait, already taken
very cool, some thing to look forward to every night after work - good luck !!
Very cool story and nice looking T.
I don't recall whether anybody mentioned it when we were suggesting places to visit, but this is one: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g37470-d3372376-Reviews-Model_T_Fo rd_Museum-Richmond_Indiana.html
And out west is this national treasure. The art and artifacts are great, and just reading Charlie Russell's illustrated letters is a delight.
Don't forget Wall Drug. After all, you can always enjoy a free glass of ice water. Errr, on second thought...
Get off the interstate and enjoy a trip through the Badlands of South Dakota, finishing at Wall where you can enjoy a glass of ice water. I know it has become a tourist trip but it is interesting to visit. Back in 1931 Ted and Dorothy Hustead bought the drug store in the town of Wall. People were passing by the town on highway 16 across the state but not stopping. Imagine, long dry roads, fussy kids in the back of cars, no air conditioners for decades. Dorothy thought of putting signs up, like the Burma Shave signs, offering free "ice water"for anybody who stopped. People stopped for water, bought ice cream, sodas, and necessities and the business started to thrive. Over the next 75 years the store has expanded several times and has become a major stop along the new interstate. Ted become a millionaire many times over but continued to help the small town that got him started. He gives signs to folks to take elsewhere, stating that it is XXXX miles to Wall Drug. The signs are in Vietnam and many other countries of the world.
I am a T owner who will gladly offer shelter if you get near Cody, Wy. Steve Jelf is not kidding when he says the Center of the West is a treasure. I just sat out side of the museum this AM as the July 4 parade was gathering up. It's a wonderful place.
Thanks, some nice suggestions there. Been in the wars today. Had to put a new set of points in just outside Harrisburg (with the assistance of Ross on the phone and a Navy aero engineer by the road), then after a few big Appalachian climbs the car died in a lonely spot out of phone signal area. Quite incredibly I singlehandedly diagnosed and fixed a dodgy ignition switch. A perfect day to establish Independence! Did 110 miles, now in Franklin WV. Elkins and beyond tomorrow.
I hope that you put in a new condenser when you changed to the new points in the distributor. A bad condenser will kill your new points and give you a lot of trouble.
Ha ha haaaaa! As my British literature professor told us, the louder the groan, the better the pun! Glad you're figuring it out. You'll probably sort out some of these little things for a few days but your T should settle in for the long haul soon.
Those are just interesting interruptions in your incredible adventure. As they say "Keep on Trukin'"
I envy you and your adventure, please keep us informed with words and photos.
FYI, July is the best month to spot black bear in the Appalachian mountains around Virginia.
Badlands of South Dakota for sure.
Tim, I have wide feet and have found a pair of shoes that fit me and fit the pedals of our 1924 tudor. I didn't care what they look like as long as they fit the pedals and were comfortable. I now have a 1925 Canadian tudor which has a little more space on the pedals and a few weeks ago found a pair of BORN brand leather shoes that are perfect for T driving. We are going to be in Montana for the MTFCA/MTFCI tour. May see you along the way.
My dad typically wore leather oxfords when driving hist Model T and other antique cars.
They are no different today than what a lot of men were wearing 100 years ago. They have a have a substantially narrower profile than a lot of the clunky shoes that most folks wear today. The tapered toes are more conducive for operating Model T pedals.
Tim, looks like your trip is going swimmingly (with a few drowning pools here and there, but that's the fun of it).
Remember, safe travel also means common sense travel too.
Keep the shiny side up and greasy side down, mate.
With my size12 feet I always drive my T bare foot. Those rubber pedal covers are a necessity after a few minutes of driving though!!
Alan in Western Australia
Thunderstorms and many miles of 9% grades made a fun combo today. Curtains worked pretty well, though I got a bit tangled up in them while refuelling and simultaneously conversing with a T owner (he wasn't driving it). Consequence: his young daughter got a full squirt of gas right in the face! Dear me. She was OK after a full rinse & he took it pretty well.
Now in Fairmont WV, 152 miles today & NO BREAKDOWNS! Hopefully visiting a kind club member tomorrow...
I hope you have a great trip - will be looking for future updates - thanks for posting.
Wow, that was some day. Stopped for gas in St Mary's, WV, where a hot rod enthusiast noticed my right brake had more or less fallen off. He fixed it, but when I went to leave the car was dead. Battery terminal loose. Tightened it, but then - WTF?! - the starter motor packed in. The guy gave me a push start & I somehow managed a 110-mile non-stop, stall-free drive in a biblical downpour (waterfall right through the dash electrics) to the entirely excellent Paul's place (MTFCA-member) in Granville Ohio. Of course I promptly stalled it outside his garage, so he had to drive his beautiful 1912 T out & we pushed mine in. He'll diagnose tomorrow. Wonderful chap!
201 miles in all today.
Tim,your lucky! Even bad luck is luck. Not to worry,sounds like your support team is everywhere. Sounds like a trip to remember already. Watching and wishing here in Indiana!
Drive safe and keep us posted.
Remember, you can crank start the car if your starter is troublesome. Just remember to fully retard the spark and set the hand brake. A chock in front of one wheel is a good idea, as well.
Look forward to seeing you when you get to Detroit. I'll be at the Ford Piquette Plant on Wednesdays. Several of us can advise on roads that are more Model T friendly than the major streets.
I almost always hand crank a T, even one with a working starter.
Most important! Be sure your parking/hand brake is working properly, and set TIGHT before cranking. A cranky T can try to run you over when started by the front handle.
Sounds like things are going well! I, and I am sure many others, are enjoying all the updates so far!
Tim, while you are with a T guy get familiar with cranking your car to start. That is why it is there in case the starter wont work. Hand cranking is part of the package and also fun to show off!
I'm for crank starting... the 12 has only one its by hand... Just think most of the Montana 500 race cars don't run with an electric starter as well. Like Warwick says, it really puts on a show for people when you crank up your car.
Retard and don't get run over with it in gear!
In my book, to crank or use the starter depends on how big the audience is.
I did try to crank but failed miserably! Will get Paul to give me a tutorial. In all the excitement yesterday I fear I may have forgotten to retard the spark...
Tim, You can't afford a broken arm or wrist!
Sounds like your in good hands with Paul.
Tim, you gotta remember to retard the timing for starting. That may be what broke your starter.
Starter is officially deceased - Paul scaled new peaks of generosity by (a) diagnosing the issue and (b) driving me on a 160-mile round trip to Gaslight for a replacement. I also got a Bendix there to be on the safe side. We'll fit it all in the morning. What a gent.
While you have some down time awaiting repairs, what are your next immediate travel plans? You are certainly are within range of Dearborn, MI now.......
I am enjoying reading of your travels! And somewhat envious!
Car starts! Paul drove it a while & was impressed: said it ran tight, good power, no band slip. Relieved as I had no frame of reference. Changed the oil, swapped out a blown headlamp bulb... then we realised we'd forgotten to bend back the tabs on the Bendix bolts. DOH! Praise be for his hydraulic lift and my spare gaskets... All good now, heading into Amish country tomorrow, then towards Detroit. Willis - are you in Dearborn?
This is the coolest damn thing ever Tim!
Crazy stuff! And rock on my good man.
Everything's closed on Sunday in Amish country? But you will see a lot of buggies Don't expect to be able to buy stuff. Even gas
Glad to hear you are up & running again! You will have a good time in the Detroit area. Take your time to see all while you're there!
No, I am in the Chicago area.
You will have o problem buying gas, the Amish don't run the gas stations.
Too cool :-)
We (regretfully) sent Tim on his way this morning, after a really enjoyable few days checking out his`24 touring and spending some time with a very interesting gentleman. If you possibly have a chance to meet Tim on his "oddesy" I highly reccomend it---It confirms one of the joys of our Model T hobby--meeting good people who share a common interest in these cars and, in Tims case, a guy whose"plan" is to actually drive his car around the country over a three month time frame experiencing the fun and the problems as they might occur. Safe travel, Tim----looking forward to your reports , along the way!! Paul
Kind words from a kind & multitalented man, thanks again Paul. What a splendid ambassador for the MTFCA.
Did a record 219 miles today! Saw a couple of Amish buggies on the road & a big gathering of them outside one house. As stated above, all their shops were closed so I couldn't stock up on cheese & handmade furniture.
Now in Monroe, MI, beside the soothing lullaby of the I-75. "Looking forward" to tackling Detroit in the thunderstorms tomorrow... As always GPS set to avoid highways, but any other route suggestions welcome!
Probably dodged some road apples in Amish country on a sunday . Whats the plan after Detroit for your route?
Just got off the phone with Bob Kirk (the previous owner). He is 93 and housebound on oxygen. Said he has had the 24 Touring since 1966 and never did anything to the starter.
He is not surprised to hear that you were making the cross country trip. He told me the car will make it okay. He said that you were going to write a book after your cross country trip.
Thanks Anthony, that's really great to hear! All I knew about the car was that the previous owner had it for 51 years. Please pass on my very best regards to Bob when you speak to him next. The car is a tribute to him & is universally admired. Hopefully the new starter will do its job until 2068! I am indeed writing a book - see the previous thread for info.
Dallas l - yep, whole orchards of road apples! Will spend two or three days in Detroit, then head south-westish. To muddy the waters I have to go to Hong Kong (!) from July 20-24, for a literary festival I was booked in for months ago. Flying out of Chicago (though I won't be taking the T to that city, will hopefully arrange to leave it somewhere safe on my route, and take a train or plane to Chicago from wherever I am on July 19).
At least you can look forward to getting back behind the wheel while in Hong Kong. Safe travels!!! We are watching with envy.
Perhaps you could leave the car at the Piquette Avenue plant. Kind of the ultimate T garage.
What an exciting adventure! I'm in Dearborn just north of where you are now. If you'd like to connect while you're in Detroit send me an email. pnikolajevs at hotmail.com (of course replace at with @ and smush it together).
I would recommend taking the Dixie Highway (the Lincoln Highway's younger cousin). It will turn into Jefferson just south of Wyandotte which is a nice little town along the river.
Best of luck.
I think I figured this out. I found your previous 12+ books. Now I know how you can do this. Should I start reading your oldest or your newest book? The Russia one sounds most interesting.
Ha, it's only 10 actually! The Cold War bike ride might be worth a read, though I gather (as with all my books in fact) that the humour/cultural references don't always make it across the Atlantic.
Now at my cousin's house in Grosse Pointe (one of Detroit's nicer areas). Traffic was OK through the city but the road surfaces and weather really weren't. Managed a huge fishtail approaching a stop light! Dropped to sub 20mph after that. Ominous piston-knock-type sound developing, most audible at around 20-25 under a trailing throttle. Trying to convince myself it's just my imagination, but pretty sure it isn't...
Hmmm, might be time to pull the oil inspection pan and make sure rods and mains have correct clearances.
Check those rods! They can "create a great deal of adventure" really quick. Many other common causes of knocks in a T can drive you crazy, but usually develop slowly. A wrist pin (what is the British term for that?) knock can get nasty also, but it is much more difficult to diagnose and/or eliminate as a cause of knocking.
I had a wrist pin knock many years ago that drove me nutty for two years before I tore the engine completely apart to verify it. It did no damage to the engine in thousands of miles before I proved that was the cause of my "come and go" knock. However, rods can go from "what is that?" to "WHAT WAS THAT????" in a minute.
Check around for a club chapter in the area (pretty sure there is one) and let them help diagnose your knock...might even be water in the fuel.
Better safe than sorry though, have your car checked out before starting out again...and since you're going to be gone for a bit (Hong Kong or did I misread that?), good time to have whatever it needs done. So when you come back you can resume your travels.
As an Austin Healey owner, I can tell you that a wrist pin is a "Gudgeon Pin".
(and good advice on the rods)
I assume you already called Ross. You probably have him on your speed dial. The MTFCI club that manages the Piquette Plant can maybe help?
Sorry I miscounted your book list.
Wouldn't that be a great chapter, to have your rod bearing(s) worked on inside the Ford Piquette Plant.
Thank you for that. I had read the word a few times before, but could not think of it. I knew somebody on this site could pull it up quickly!
Thanks all. Club member Peter in Dearborn has extremely kindly offered to give me a pan-down diagnosis session (!) tomorrow. From Googling this forum I do suspect rods.
This club is full of truly marvellous people, I'm bowled over.
My car looks right at home outside my cousin's 1929 house.
That looks great!
Good luck with the rod bearing adjustments!
Tim, I passed along your kind words to Bob Kirk, the previous owner. He wants me to keep him informed of your progress. He is not computer guy. He said she’s a great car and wishes you the best in your trip. I also got some of the car’s past history from him, so here goes:
She has a high compression head, aluminum pistons and a touring camshaft. This will sometimes cause “kick back” when starting and break the starter Bendix spring (which I think you have already experienced). He installed an old Bendix spring in line with the 12volt battery to the 6volt starter to reduce the starter Bendix load during kick back but even so he still replaced the Bendix spring numerous times.
The magneto coil ring and magnets have been removed. The 4th main bearing is the modern roller bearing type versus the Babbitt bearing type. He had the radiator shell chromed because he did not like the black as it was in 1924.
The Ruckstell has high speed gears, probably 3.0. The rear Hyatt axle bearings have been replaced with roller bearings. I have read to watch out for problems with these. Grease them a lot, if able.
It is a she vs a him. You have probably figured that out by now.
Bob told me her name is “Ohsofilthy” as in she is oh so filthy!
"..... He installed an old Bendix spring in line with the 12volt battery to the 6volt starter to reduce the starter Bendix load during kick back but even so he still replaced the Bendix spring numerous times.
I seem to remember NUMEROUS discussions about bendix springs reducing the "shock" load with 12 volts. DOESN'T HAPPEN.
(Helps to keep Glen Chaffin busy !)
Nursed the clunking T to my latest Samaritan - Peter in Dearborn. The gleaming red 1912 T in his garage last belonged to my previous saviour Paul! Peter whipped the pan off and we beheld a con rod some way beyond shimming. It slid about freely, having shed generous hunks of Babbitt which we scraped out, followed by a silvery snowfall of smaller flakes. A fair haul in the transmission screen too.
After a flurry of calls Peter heroically sourced a replacement rod, which he has extremely graciously offered to fit when it arrives (Thursday). Another splendid chap!
I'm really hoping the car is getting all its breakdowns out the way early...
Excellent! I always like to find a smoking gun to problems. Hopefully the replacement rod is balanced and has been checked for straightness.
It would be time well spent to go ahead and check that the remaining 3 rods are correctly adjusted as well.
Was it the rod for #1 cylinder ?
Gary I was wondering the same thing, maybe not getting enough oil? Might want to go ahead and check #1 main too.
Tim, is there an accessory oil line to the front of the engine? I would be surprised if there isn't.
It was the number two rod. The internal oiler appears to be a larger diameter and there is also an external magneto post oiler.
Interestingly, I had the same exact failure on the number two rod on my 27 Tudor. I would also have expected it to be number one if it was a lack of oil, but am open to suggestions for things to look for.
Out of round crank journal?
Just looking at the Babbitt it appears the pour had porosity which can mean a weak Babbitt surface, just my opinion but don't ask me how I know. Ha
Anthony - thanks for the history update. I'm thinking that high-speed diff may have incited my latest malaise. The day the rod bearing went I did 219 miles at a healthy rate of progress, 35-42mph most of the time. I think from now on I'll stick to 30-35.
No idea how Ohsofilthy got the name - after a thousand miles and some terrible weather she's still pretty shiny! The internal PR people at Ford world HQ were most taken with her when they invited me for a quick photoshoot/interview yesterday.
The speed you have been traveling is perfectly reasonable. Don't blame the trouble on your high speed rear end. If anything, it kept your engine RPM's down and helped you.
The T is BACK! Peter & I got the new rod in, four or five shims off and Plastiguaged to perfection. He also donated a hub cover (thanks, Detroit streets) and soldered a dodgy connection in my Jerry-built "regulator". Really nice bloke who knows his stuff. Lovely family (and cat!) too.
Car ran in smooth "silence" back to my cousin's house. So after a mega hiatus I should be finally back end route tomorrow. THANK YOU PETER!
Awesome! That's exciting. I've really enjoyed keeping up with your trip. I hope you head towards Alabama! Lots of great Model T roads here. Nashville, Tennessee is a great stop while you're in the States and it's only a little north of me. We can treat you to some awesome barbecue, southern hospitality, and sweet tea.
Woo! Back in action, 136 sweet & sunny miles courtesy of Peter & the weather gods (check them out in concert). Now in Bryan, OH. Stopped off at Highland Park, where my T probably started life. Pretty sad to see it like this, but at least a lot of the original buildings have survived.
Go west young man! Go west!
I heard "Chicago" and I heard "west coast" so I'm calling it now: Route 66.
Bits of the Lincoln Highway still exist and are sort of on your route: Lincoln Highway Map
Route 66 would be more fun!
I'm going south by southwest, young men! Towards Nashville. Might see you later, Seth!
I'm so happy that you are back on the road. It was great to meet you and your cousin and to play a supporting roll in your tremendous adventure.
Drive safe and best of luck on the rest of your trip.
Thanks so much again Peter. Still knock-free! 144 miles today, now in Liberty, IN. T slotted in nicely when I drove into the state this morning.
Did you slow down?
Well... I notched my first overtake today!
As a rare technical aside, the car runs better (a bit faster & slightly cooler) with the timing about six or seven notches down, but is noticeably quieter/smoother (less vibration) with the stick just two or three notches down. Normal?
Normal. The engine runs smoother just slightly retarded, but gives maximum push slightly overly advanced. Try to split the difference. Maximum advance is a bit tough on the bearings and crankshaft. Slightly retarded is tough on the exhaust valves.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful journey!
Thanks Wayne. On that basis I'll err on the retarded side (crankshaft > exhaust valves).
189 miles today, now in Danville KY. Started out in thick, cold mist, which the sun burned off as I wound along the pretty massive Ohio River. Then a hot afternoon through the verdant bourbon/bluegrass hills. Car ran faultlessly!
Tim: I have been following your adventure with interest. Your decision to take rt 66 is a good one. A lot of people have worked to preserve things along the way. I live just West of Joplin, Mo. Carthage is a beautiful old City with some civil war history , the marble court house is worth a visit, historic elevator, C W history artifacts etc. Still a drive in theater operating on 66. Joplin does not offer a lot of 66 history except this is where a lot of mining for lead and zink occured. The miners lived here and the owners of the mines lived in Carthage. When you get to Galena, Kansas, this was heavely mined. They have a recently redone mining museum with a couple of Model Ts. One they use in parades etc. Tow Mater lives in Galena, the wrecker in the movie Cars. Also, one of the resources for the movie operates a small food market in Riverton, just about 4 miles on West of Galena. Eislers is the name and they make a good sandwich, they have some 66 memorbila on display. On West from Riverton is a unique rainbow style bridge that has been saved as a piece of 66 history. If you have trouble in this neck of the woods, I would be happy to try and help out. Keep sending us your experiences. Allen Brintnall. S W Mo.
Thanks Allen. I've evidently caused some confusion - I'm not following 66, though will try and do a bit of it (& the Lincoln) when I cross up through them.
My current plan, fluid as it is, is to head sw through Nashville, then Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas... then into Texas, north all the way to Montana and over the Rockies to Oregon/Washington...
There are pieces of Rt. 66 all the way across Missouri. I drove on them in my T when going to and from the Centennial in '08. I-44 has replaced a lot of it, but there are still lots of pieces of the old 66 along the way. It is possible to drive on them all the way through. There are some very old sections of it between Springfield and Carthage. As Allen B. says, Carthage is a pretty town. If you get that close to me here in NW Arkansas, I'll try to come up that way and meet you -- maybe drive along for a way.
Tim: Sorry I misunderstood, but I picked up 66 in some post. Continue to have a good trip, and keep us posted of your adventure. Allen B
Tim, are you hanging onto the northern tier of Texas on your way West or will you dip down to the center of God's Country?
You may want to pretty soon consider the manual greasing of your Ujoint and rear roller bearings....
Uh, might be time to start a new thread, "Coast to Coast part II" as this one will get mighty long!
If you get the chance while in North West Alabama, stop by the FAME Recording Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. They recorded some of the greatest hits in the 60's and 70's and they offer tours too. Plus some of the best BBQ and Hot Dogs you'll ever have at Bunyan's BBQ in Florence, AL. God Speed and Safe Travels
I hope you put a link to wherever I can buy the book when it's done, I look forward to reading it.
Hey Tim------Treat yourself in advance of this book with some of Tims terrific travel writing skills. I just finished GERONIMO--his trip on a 94 year old bicycle following the 1914 GIRO race in Italy. Amazon lists most of his 10 books for sale. Funny and amazing writer......Paul