I'm a newbie with some questions and would love some advice. This past weekend I picked up a 1915 Speedster with a numbers matching rebuilt engine and rebuilt front end...or so I thought.
I'm not able to crank start it as the motor is just too stiff, so I checked all the fluids and pull started it in high gear. She fired up and ran rough, but managed an idle and short low speed drive. The issue came when I made a left turn and the front wheels got squirrely - extending to the left then quickly back all the way right - almost out of control.
I jacked up the front end and all seemed to be tight. I have about 1.5 - 2 inches of play in the steering. This thing is just too dangerous to drive until I figure it out. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
I also forget to mention that with adjusting the mixture, spark, and throttle, I still couldn't get a smooth engine.
Had the engine been recently rebuilt ??
How long had the car been sitting ??
How old is the gas in the tank ??
Oh and welcome to the Forum, great place for answers to your questions.
I'm sure some of us can help. Also there should be some T guys near you that may be able to help you.
There may be some guys willing to come over to help you sort a few things out.
Got any pics to show ??
Welcome to a whole new world!
The list of questions starts to explode as a speedster could be most anything for components as well as condition. Some photos or description of what your new toy consists of could be real helpful. The easiest start might be if there are any folks with some Model T knowledge that would be willing to visit you and the car to help sort out what you have and what it might need. If the drive train is reasonably stock, regular T folks might be able to provide some good insight. If the drive train is more exotic, it may be a bit more challenging. Do you have any information you can share for when the car was put together and when it was most recently driven? I've seen speedsters (and other T's) that were ready to go from the get go with just minor adjustment and education. The other extreme could be something someone assembled but never got around to really finishing. Hopefully there are some folks near you that can help you sort things out but if not just share as much as you can for what you have and what background you may have about the car and forum folks will try to help you get things going.
Here's a list of clubs in your area.
Welcome to the forum and to the hobby! Good news, the car should not have the wheels going full left and then full right. So once you get that corrected it will be a lot more fun (probably a little less exciting) to drive. Please let us know a little bit more about your background. I.e. you are a certified auto mechanic on modern cars or you have never touched a wrench before but you are looking forward to learning. It will help us know what questions to ask and how to better respond to your questions.
The advice above to find some local T folks is great. And if you go to: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm and https://www.modelt.org/chapter-listing.html you will find a listing of local chapters for our club (Model T Ford Club of America - MTFCA) and also the Model T Ford Club International (MTFCI). Many of us are members of both clubs and several of the local chapters are chapters of both clubs. Even if there is not one nearby – I would suggest you contact them to see if they know of anyone near you that is knowledgeable about the Ts.
You also stated “I jacked up the front end and all seemed to be tight. I have about 1.5 - 2 inches of play in the steering. If that is true, then one of the most likely causes is you front axle has neutral or more likely negative castor. That can be caused by several things. But neutral to negative caster will cause the front wheels to go hard over in one direction and when you try to correct that they will then often go hard over in the other direction. I need to run to an appointment, but I will post some more on that or more likely some of the other folks will highlight some of the posting on being sure you have the spring perches installed correctly (they fit either way but are dangerous if not installed properly); axle straight, etc.
Again, welcome to the forum!
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Rick, The squirrely front end may be due to the wheel spindles being put on backwards. There is a left hand spindle and a right hand spindle. The threads for the nut are backwards from standard on one side but currently I can't remember which side. Someone else will write in and clarify.
What I think you might be alluding to is the possibility of a negative camber situation with the axle.
The spring perches on the front axle are angled such that the bottom of the axle "kicks out" a bit, causing the kingpins on the spindles to lean back and help the car want to go straight. This makes backing up quickly, particularly in soft sand a real hand-full and the steering can slam lock to lock, right and left. If for some reason someone installed your front axle backwards (regardless of left/right spindle installation in this case) then the kingpins will lean forward. If this is the case DO NOT DRIVE THIS CAR until you remedy the situation. You can use a framing square on concrete floor to see if the kingpins lean backwards a bit. Please purchase "the bible" on Model T's...this is the manual Ford put out to describe every step of assembly, disassembly, and repair, along with shop time. This will tell you everything you need to know including the procedure I just mentioned. All of the dealers carry it and their part number for it is "T-1".
For what Michael was saying, When assembled correctly, the right spindle will have the nut come off by rotating clockwise. The left spindle will come off counter-clockwise. The front bearings are threaded, there is a tabbed washer, then a castle-nut with cotter to hold each set of wheel bearings in adjustment. This way, even if maladjusted, they cannot self-tighten and ruin the hub. If the spindles are reversed, you can really damage the hubs if a bearing works loose and starts to tighten itself. Note: If your front wheel bearings are not threaded, then someone has fit Model A bearings and you want those out ASAP as they will not stay in adjustment and will tear up the spindle threads.
Welcome to the wonderful world of "T"s and to the forum
George, thank you for the feedback. Yes, the engine was rebuilt 2 years ago and was going through a speedster body build during that time. The guy I bought it from ran out of steam on the build and had never run the engine since the rebuild. I put new gas in the tank.
As for photos, I'll post some as I get closer to finished. She's a bit "apart" now for the winter.
Walt, thank you. My seller bought the car from the engine rebuilder. It came with the info that the frame was blasted and powdercoated, front end, transmission, and engine were all rebuilt. He bought it with nice coated wire wheels, seat, and cowl intact. I understand that the rebuilder moved to Hawaii which is why my seller got it. I'm also hoping to meet some local guys that might be able to give it a look - but as Fall is starting in here in Connecticut, it may have to wait for Spring.
Thank you Hap,
My background: I'm the son of a Chevy Ace mechanic so I could turn a wrench early on. I've semi-restored and collected antique cars and boats for over 30 years now. My oldest before this was a beautiful 1930 Model A coupe. As far as wrenching goes, I'm better at body and interior work with a 5 out of 10 for engine work and suspension. I normally look for cars with good bones, then build up from there. This looked like a good find for me to do that (I hope it's true). I did get a lot of books and manuals (as well as a spare engine with PTO, fenders, radiator, carbs, etc) so I'm sorting through all that now.
I just bought a 26 touring with wire wheels that has some type of a enclosed piston damper on the steering linkage to apparently help prevent front end oscillations. it looks like it was recently added before I got the car and the damper looks new may be part of a add on kit.
Wow, ok so that sounds like an interesting and scary error on the builder's part if that is the case. The car will stay in my home garage for another week or two before I trailer it to our winter storage facility. I WON'T drive it again until I check that out. Thank you. I believe I have the Model T bible in one of the boxes the seller sent with me.
So, here are some photos of the car before I started disassembly of the body.
Steering wheel free play of up to 2" is supposedly OK, but I dislike anything over ¾". Contributing factors can be worn linkage connections, bushing wear in the steering bracket, loose gear case mounting rivets, worn steering gears, and often a combination of some or all of the above. A little slop here, a little slop there, and pretty soon you have a car that wanders and darts all over the road. You want somebody to turn the wheel while you watch all the steering components to see where the slack is.
snazzy looking car!
maybe it's the camera angle, but the front axle indeed looks canted forward if the passenger side kingpin is really at the angle it appears to be at. I'm with Steve...you really need to take up the slack in parts to bring the steering wheel down to very little play as well. Many times a "new" car will not have the pitman arm properly socked down to the steering shaft...I start there and work my way through the various parts of the steering system.
Neat looking speedster Rick and welcome!
My 18 Runabout will do the Hippy Hippy shakes every great once in awhile but what you describe is dreadful.
My steering is down to much less than that and I have more to do like Steve J mentions.
And yet another T with the steering wheel upside-down... Rick, would you fix that?
Guys, am I alone in seeing Rick's axle is at least straight up if not canted a trifle forward?
Perhaps it's the camera messing with our brains.
Should we warn Rick about the over the top-early wishbone?
If you don't have the printed T book, Mr Cimorelli has it online. The pictures aren't great but the rest is gold. :-)
Oh good grief my Sandra. Get off of facebook so I can have a little high-speed bandwidth for this...
Oh well, I've looked and felt a fool before. :-)
This is the steering damper that is on My 26 touring, steering is very tight with very little play or shimmy going down the road, it might help with your problem if there are no major problems with Your front end that need addressing.
Model T Ford Steering Stabilizer
The picture wouldn't up load.
Part #: 16-26514-1
Alt Part #: B3281STAB
1909 thru 1927
See applications below for exact details.
.DESCRIPTIONFITMENTMORE PRODUCT INFO
•High Quality Construction
•Eliminates Front End Shimmy
•Reduces Driver Fatigue
•No Drilling Required
driving your classic 1909-1927 Model T should never be a hassle. However, constantly having to readjust your steering wheel, especially while on long drives, can cause you a great deal of unnecessary strain. This popular bolt-on accessory effectively eliminates front end shimmy, making your 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1924, 1925, 1926, or 1927 Model T much more enjoyable and safer to drive. It hides out of view behind the front axle. No drilling is required. This stabilizer greatly reduces driver fatigue on longer drives. MAC's Model T Ford steering parts.
I just had a look under the car and, sure enough...the axle appears to be on backwards - the kingpins lean forward!
I'm guessing it's not too difficult to raise the car, disassemble the front end, and reinstall. I'll get the "bible" for torque specs. Any "be carefuls" are much appreciated. You all have been great.
@ Duey...YES on the steering wheel - it was the first thing I fixed!!
Save yourself time & trouble,,,, just remove spring shackles at perches, remove perches and switch. Axel should be in corrected position.
Spring perches come in left & right, they're made angled for steering geometry.
On second thought, the modified axel may have been bent, check alignment of straight section with ends.
WOW, one great looking speedster. Nice start to T-dom
It also, appears to me that the steering arms are turned upwards? Shouldn't they be turned down? So, the tie rods are below the wishbone? So, I believe the steering arms are installed on the wrong spindles!
The seller told me it had a speedster "drop axle". Not sure if that is contributing to your points. I like the stance of the car so I'm hoping I can still use what's here.
@ Willis - I'll have to get the manual out this weekend and go over it to see. I'm also checking to see if there are any locals that can have a look for me.
Thank again everyone for your input. It's invaluable.
It's too bad you got a T that is having problems.
Didn't you drive the car and ask questions before you bought it? Next, don't believe everything you hear on this forum, or from uninformed individuals who think they know everything!
My suggestion is to buy the Ford Service book. This book was originally published by Ford in 1925, and you can believe every word in it. Next, make informed decisions based on what you have learned, and don't be afraid to ask questions.
No on the "test drive" as the car was in the middle of a speedster build and no fluids were in it. It's the first time (in 30 years of collecting and showing cars and boats) I've ever bought a car without running or starting it, but I was up for a challenge and felt that the T was nice enough to take a gamble.
Will do on the Ford Service Book.
The front spring is of a later version, 15 springs are tapered at the ends.
yes, it is a drop axle...they are modified originals available from the various dealers. Due to that, there will be some variance from stock on steering arms, etc., to make everything clear. I don't see why you would have to abandon it...it will be fine. Good that you have ciphered out the kingpin angles before you hurt yourself or the car. These things happen with restorations...particularly if the restorer is not intimately knowledgeable on "T"s, though it is a pretty glaring error in any case. Since you're found this problem, ensure that the correct spindles are on the correct side...just check as to which direction the nuts loosen...see my post from yesterday for that. If everything's copacetic there, take Bob J's advice and simply plan on swapping the perches to get everything set up right and you'll be done with that project.
Larry - you are something else.
Rick, when there is a departure from original specs, all sorts of compensatory adjustments need to be made.
The slope on the kingpins is set by the spring perches. These can be difficult to remove if you have to swap them from one side to the other. It is often easier to leave them in place and turn the whole axle round.
Having got the kingpins leaning back at the top, attention is needed to the spindles. One has a left hand thread nut holding the wheel bearings in place. That one must be on the right hand side of the car, the passenger side on a LHD car. The idea is if the nut comes loose it will wind off, rather than tighten and cause major problems. The other spindle with the right hand thread goes on the left side of the car. Make sure you do in fact have one of each thread.
Your axle has what looks like a 3" drop. This effectively raises the spindles at the ends. The over axle radius rod then gets in the way of the tie rod, so later bent spindle arms have been used to set the tie rod above the radius rod. Here may be the source of your troubles. This double-up raising of the tie rod ends means the angle between the drag link and the pitman arm is quite upset. To get things back into a less extreme setting, it may be better if the spindle arms are swapped from side to side and the bend oriented downwards so the tie rod is below the radius rod. If that will work, it will give you a steering setup which is closer to original spec, and having less chance of the steering going over centre.
This may help, or may not.
Allan from down under.
You guys continue to be great - thank. I'm under the car this AM still trying to figure out how to jack the car up enough to get the front axle off. Looks like I'm out to the store to buy another high lift jack!
Rick... Welcome to the affliction! Beautiful car you have!
I see you've already met several key players here. There are a couple of other sites to get help as well but likely as not you'll find one of these jokers there as well.
The Ford service book is great but as pictured all Model T's are not perfectly the same.You may very well have a miss-match of steering parts? Nice looking speedster and is it a actual 15?
If you have jack stands that will go up to 24" or more to put under the frame, you don't need the high-lift jack. I made a pair for that. They've been mighty handy.
Larry - Trust me, you cannot believe every word in the Ford service manual.
Folks - you should not be able to install the early style perches backwards as they are designed so the wishbone enters from one direction. The side where the wishbone enters the perch is chamfered - the opposite side where the bolt is tightened and rests is flat.
If the perches on the car in question are in fact currently installed backwards, then the holes in the perches and/or the wishbone prongs are most likely extremely worn out. That is a problem in and of itself.
The same goes with spindles - it should be hard to install the spindle arms backwards and therefore have the left and right spindles installed the wrong location on the axle. The spindle arm hole is chamfered/recessed on the side where the arm enters, and flat on the other where the bolt is tightened and rests.
Ok, so here's an update. I managed to get the axle off and turned around. Now the kingpins are at least upright, if not slightly torward the back. I did, however notice that spindle arms are of the newer style (T270B is the driver's side). I messed up the threads on this one as it wouldn't come out with a rubber mallet so I made the tough decision to get it out with a regular hammer (I know - YIKES!) So I either have to have them cut again, or buy a replacement T270B. Didn't see them on Langs. Are they available?
Does anyone know if the T270B threads are 5/8 24 or 18? I'm going to try a die set to recut the threads. Thanks.
Yes, those parts are available and there is a good chance someone on the forum will let you have one and/or sell it to you at a very reasonable price. You could also purchase one off e-bay or from Mark at Model T Haven (he is running a business so he sells at retail so he can keep the lights on etc. see his web site at: https://www.modelthaven.com/ ) You can also put a "Wanted Ad" on the club's classified site at: http://www.mtfca.com/cgi-bin/discus/show.cgi?3487/3487 See also the for sale ad at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/3487/789619.html?1505597278
I apologize, I do not have easy access to my price list of parts so I don't know if that will or will not work well for you.
Note, if you turned the axle around, and "IF" the spindles were installed on the correct sides before you turned it around, you would have needed to swap the spindles and therefore you would not have needed to remove the arms.
Did you check to make sure the spindle nut will loosen as the wheels go forward? That is how they should be installed. If you did not check before, now is a good time to check. You may have gotten lucky or you may need to swap the spindles and as a result need to swap the spindle arms again.
Note -- while it should not be assembled incorrectly, it has happened. There is occasionally a car that has two of the same side spindles. When that occurs on one side the spindle nut will loosen as the car goes forward but on the other side the threads are such that the it would tighten. Good news there is a cotter pin that keeps the nut from turning. The BAD NEWS is the threaded bearing (if roller bearing) or the threaded cone if ball bearing can still tighten up as the car rolls forward.
Several years ago one of our local chapter members had two of the same side spindles on his front TT axle. The bearing turned and tightened up. Fortunately it was in the drive way. It split the hub was the only damage as the son who was driving stopped when he noticed the problem (car pulls in the direction of the drag). But at speed, I would think the hub probably would have seized or failed before he could stop. See the recommended posts at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/80333.html?1233523419 for a discussion of the front axle. And http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/40382.html has some additional information which were listed above for additional details.
You will get it all sorted out. Just take your time and take breaks as needed.
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You can take the spindle nut down to a good hardward store and try a few bolts to figure out what the TPI is. A thread gauge would be easier but you may not have access to one of those.
Note, I would guess, but I have not seen your threads, that a thread file might work better for you in this case than a die. If you could put the die on past the bad threads and back it off, that would be great. You may find it difficult to get the die started in the same thread pattern that was originally cut if the bad threads are on the end, which is what I suspect is your case.
Again take your time. Note in the future if you need to use the hammer - you can often take the castle nut, turn it over and screw it back on the bolt/threaded part flush with the end. Then hit the part. The nut normally will keep the threads from mushrooming. And when it does not, back it off with some back and forth movement and some thread cutting oil usually will clean the threads up.
Note -- neutral caster is also still bad. You want some positive caster to avoid the wheels going full left of right. You may have a bent axle, a bent wish bone or you may have two of the same side spring perches or something else.
Good luck, you have a great looking speedster. You just need to get the "bugs" worked out.
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Great advice Hap, thank you. I haven't checked the spindle nuts yet as I can't seem to get the wire wheels off. When they powder coated the frame, I think they assembled the car too early and I have "stuck" parts. I'm going to try later this week to get the wheels off with a larger rubber mallet (don't want to damage those nice wires!).
By the way, I now have positive camber that matches the diagram in the manual. I'm getting there!
Good for you Rick. I am SO glad you came to the forum for some questions and mentioned the terrible driving characteristics. As you said, you're getting there!
So here's an update, and another couple questions if I may:
Update: I got the axle turned around and the spindles were indeed backwards at that point. I switched those back now where the nut "loosens" as I go forward. I also have the replacement control arm in. I thin tightened all of the steering components and the steering feels much stiffer now.
Now for the questions:
1. As you can see in the photo, my drag link is touching the wishbone on the passenger side. I was planning on getting one of the wishbone braces from Langs, but before I do, I need to figure out how to fix the touching.
2. The car still has a LOT of stiffness and kickback when trying to hand crank it. I'm thinking that the spark rod may be too short and not retarding the timer enough. When I bring the lever all the way down, the bolt on the timer presses in to the fan belt. The car runs best with the lever in the middle position. Could this be the case?
Thank again for all your help.
I suspect the touching may be caused by the over-axle wishbone being mixed with later spindle arms. After 100 years most of these cars have a mixture of parts from various years, and they don't always play nicely together.
Fortunately setting the timing isn't terribly complicated. Adjustment is done by just bending the rod to a length that fits. Here's how:
Unfortunately, the Ford Book was written with the stock Ford in mind, so some of the details concerning the suspension might not work with the altered axles. After you make the adjustments concerning the reversal of the axle try the car out on an area of light traffic such as an empty parking lot or very lightly traveled street. If the steering is working correctly, you should be able to take hands off and continue in a straight line. If you are on a crowned road, you might need to pull slightly toward the upward side to keep going straight. When you turn the wheels it might not pull back to a straight line like a modern car, but you should be able to turn it any direction you want to go without it pulling the wheel out of your hand and you should be able to hold it on the course you desire.
For slack in the steering, any looseness of any of the parts from the gear box down to the pitman arm can cause slack. The ball joints at the end of the pitman and at the right arm should be snug but not binding tight and well greased. The spindle arms should be tight in the spindles. And the tie rod end bolts should be snug but not binding.
Another cause of wander or pulling out of your hand is improper toe in. The adjustment should be made to about 1/8 inch +-. Turn it to where it just begins to toe in when the bolt is in the upward position.
I didn't notice whether you are running the Ford ignition system or a distributor, but fixing the misfire would be different depending on the type ignition system.
I would suggest that you join one or more of the local T clubs in your area and try to find someone in your neighborhood or within a few miles of you who is interested in the mechanical part of Model T's and preferably interested in Speedsters.
You have a beautiful looking car. I am presently working on a 14 speedster for a local friend. The car is all there, just had to do some work on the brakes, the fuel system, the electrical system and the radiator. Hopefully we will get it running soon. He drove it into my garage from a trailer but only the ignition system worked. All other wires were just hanging and pieced out! This car has a later hogs head and starter and the starter also worked. Nothing else electrical worked and the previous owner had converted all lights to electric.
Thank you for the info Steve and Norman, I appreciate it. While my wife is running her annual Halloween party this weekend, I'm going to sneak away and hide in the garage with the car and do some more wrenching! This thing is a blast to work on.
You said it Rick! "I'm going to sneak away and hide in the garage with the car and do some more wrenching!" Good for you!
Rick, It looks like your wishbone is the earlier style mounted at the top of the axle. You need to add another to the Bottom of the axle to prevent it from bending over if you bump a curb or pot hole. Check out wishbone doubler threads for many ideas.
Something that hasn't been touched on is the rough running engine. From your pictures it looks to be mostly stock, if that is the case then most people on here can help. If not we need to see some engine pictures to see what you are starting with. Some things to think about, is it running a magneto? I can see a coil box but also possibly an oil line from the magneto pickup?
In regards to the backwards steering wheel, it isn't that uncommon. On my mom's speedster the wheel was bent/reversed in order to compensate for the lowered seat.
Her wishbone is aassembled using an early perch like what you have. The wishbone used is a combination of an early and late grafted together onto a Model A tierod end onto the frame.
@ Chadwick - love that speedster photo!
Thanks all. I ordered the wishbone brace from Langs which should be here today.
As far as the info I have, the engine was rebuilt stock except for an aluminum hogs head and oil pan cover. The car does have a magneto with the oil line to it, but the seller told me he unscrewed the magneto screw as he was trying to take the nut off and now there is no pickup from the magneto. I don't want to take off the hogs head or drop the transmission at this point to reset it so I've been attempting to start it off a battery. I've only been able to pop start it as the hand crank is so tough I can't get a good turn without it pulling back! Yes, the spark lever is in the full retarded position but I'm not sure the timer turns far enough to fully retard. I'm going to set the timing without the lever attached and see if it turns easier.
I changed the plugs and have new wires and on the battery, I'm getting a strong spark to each cylinder. Maybe it's just very good compression as it was just rebuilt that's making it stubborn (I'm running 30 weight oil too).
Here are some additional engine photos per your last post Chadwick. Please let me know if you see anything out of the ordinary that I should address. Now that winter is quickly coming, I had to bolster up my to-do list!
(Message edited by rpm33 on October 30, 2017)
Any Model T speedster is non-stock to some degree, as Ford never sold speedsters as such. They are always aftermarket concoctions, usually with parts from many different years like this one. As Dude says in Tobacco Road, "That don't hurt the runnin' of it none."
The first 2500 Model T's came from the factory with a water pump. The following fifteen million didn't. Sometimes the presence of one indicates a bad radiator. Not always, but often a water pump is a Band-aid for a radiator that no longer radiates as it should. On the other hand, sometimes it's there just because somebody thought a car should have one.
The external oil line off the mag post is a popular accessory, but this one is unusual. I'd be interested to see that part that's peeking out from behind the steering column.
I think you'll find that timer setting has no effect on the stiff cranking. Even though the rebuild was a couple of years ago, it's fresh. I think that's the reason for the stiffness. If so, it will become easier after running a couple hundred miles. The good news on that is that a Model T doesn't have to "spin" to start. A slow turn will do it if all is set right.
You can't "drop the transmission". It's on the same oil pan as the engine, and getting into its guts requires pulling the whole engine/transmission out of the car. But you can recharge the magnets if necessary, and adjust the transmission bands, without removing the hogshead.
I'm not clear on the condition of your mag post. It looks normal in the picture. Maybe you can clarify what's wrong with it.
Thank you Steve.
Agree on the water pump - I'm planning on replacing the radiator anyway as it seeps in a few spots when I was driving it that first time. I'm told it's more expensive to repair than to replace.
As for the mag post, the seller unscrewed it from the base when trying to remove the nut so he said he wasn't sure how to screw it back in for proper gap between the magnets. It sounded reasonable as the nut is seized on the post and does unscrew when trying to remove the nut, so I just figured I'd have to run on the battery. I have screwed it in different distances but don't get any buzz at the coils.
If I can test/recharge the magnets and get that post back in at the right depth, I love to run on the magneto! Where can I get that procedure?
Here is a photo of the oil line with viewing window going to the mag.
There is no adjustment to the mag post. No proper gap.
It has a spring-loaded point that goes against a solder blob on top of the mag ring. Sometimes it collects fuzz like this and needs to be cleaned. You just stick it in the hole so the point makes contact and tighten all three screws all the way down.
You will hear the coils buzz only when starting on battery. The mag won't buzz them unless the engine is turning, and then you won't hear them over the engine noise.
For an in-car magnet charge, go to Google and enter mtfca: magnet charge. You should find lots of information on that.
I wouldn't be too quick to ditch the original radiator. I chose to keep mine and have it recored. The main reason was that I wanted to keep the original look. The new radiators are not the same. It also saved me a few Benjamins. But it seems I'm in a tiny minority on that. At the Hershey car show recently I noticed that all the brass era T's except one had new radiators.
Great pics Rick!
I wish we knew where that cool sight glass came from! :-)
You mention twice that it's been biting back at you so don't be afraid to adjust that timer rod some. :-)
Ahh, ok, I didn't know the mag post didn't have an adjustment. So it must have just been the screw that holds the wire and nut at the top of the mag that he pulled out. I'll screw that back in and do a magnet test. Do I do that with a compass? Any other way to do it to get a reading of if they are charged?
Look up magneto on the forum and you will find out how to test the magneto output using an analog AC volt meter and a light bulb. You should have at least 6 volts at idle and increase to almost 30 volts at high speed.
It is possible that your engine might not have a magneto because some people remove the magneto from speedsters claiming the engine will go a bit faster without one.
There are also posts on how to recharge the magnets on the magneto, so if you find out you do have a magneto and it is weak, you can try the in car recharge.
Anyway if you need to or want to install a magneto or rebuild the existing one, you will need to pull the engine and transmission to do so. I would not recommend that you do that unless you need to pull the engine for some other reason and then you can fix everything at the same tome.
What a lunch break! I hooked up the magneto wire, disconnected the timer rod, an moved the timer further. Sure enough, she cranked MUCH easier and fired right up on battery. I then thought, "why not throw it over to magneto"...and she runs! I'm thrilled! It did require some fiddling with the throttle, spark, and carb as it's running rough, but it's running. I con't believe how much easier it is to crank.
Tonight I'm back in the garage with:
1). Set the timing and re-bend the timer rod
2). Do some more adjusting to try and get her running smoother
3). Take a look at the hand crank as it vibrates its way out and the fan blades are contacting it. Any ideas here?
Again, I can't thank you all enough and I think I'm hooked on T's now!
Ok, this might sound like a crazy question (I know, I'm probably past my quota)...As my drag link is rubbing on the wishbone, can I invert the tie rod, therefore raising the drag link mount up and bringing the link off the wishbone?
I'm surprised you didn't already set the timing. That should be one of the first things you do.
The crank is supposed to be out when you're not cranking. That's why it has that spring on the front. You'll probably find that the fan is ticking against the ratchet. It may be that there's enough play in the belt to let you adjust the fan up a little without being too tight.
I won't comment on the tie rod without being there to see it.
Woohoo! Glad to hear you've gotten some more issues solved!
As far as I know, the site has a 10,000 question limit. You have a little room yet. Hehehe!
When I have a question that's too minutia-like/odd, these guys just ignore it. :-)
Did you give those four grease cups under the hood a good twist? ;-)
Pssst, Rick, don't tell anybody, I hate those crank springs.
I guess they're there for a reason tho. The one T that has one, I disconnected and pulled it away. :-)
I never knew about them til last year. Been lucky, my T's don't mind so far.
It should run faster and smoother on mag than on battery. But at least now you know that it has a magneto. Do a voltage check on the mag with the analog AC volt meter across the light bulb. If the voltage is low try recharging the magnets. There are posts on the forum showing how to do the test and also how to recharge the magnets.
Another cause of rough running on mag is coil adjustment. When they are adjusted correctly they all draw 1.3 amps when they spark. The magneto builds up current in a sine wave. If one coil fires at one amp and another at two amp etc, they will fire at different times for each cylinder. If you can get the coils adjusted correctly, they will fire at the same point at each cylinder and it will run smoothly.
Thanks for the feedback and info. I cursed myself with my earlier post and wanted to show off to my wife that I got the car started. Won't start now since this afternoon, but the gas is gushing out of the carb. I have to pull it and see if there is a blockage. I want to confirm which type it is anyway so i was going to do that at some point. It would make sense to me that after running for a while this afternoon, some gunk probably let loose in the carb and it's blocked. Any particular places I should look? The gas is coming from above/top the bowl as soon as I turn on the gas line. There doesn't seem to be any getting to the cylinders.
Rick: From your engine pictures it looks like your carb is a Kingston L2. If it isn't just a stuck gas inlet needle the original float is shellac covered cork, and they don't like the modern gas. The parts suppliers, like Synders, have foam replacement floats, I had to do that with my L2. On your steering drag link hitting the wishbone problem, you may be able to use the pre 1919 type tie rod with the fixed drag link ball end and adjustment on the other end, because the ball is on the tie rod center-line. This may not be enough clearance, you idea of flipping the tie rod might work but then the oilers are on the bottom, and this only works if you have the straight shank type steering ball, the tapered type wouldn't work as the taper would be to the front of the car. What ever you do be sure to check everything very carefully threw all motions of front spring and steering.
Thanks very much Kevin, I appreciate it. I'll have the carb off today and will check everything out over the weekend.
Hey Rick welcome to the group. On your drag link tie rod hitting the wishbones, remove drag link and tie rod. Use a rosebud heat torch and heat the steering arms red hot at the spindles and bend straight down and after that take and bend the ends back level. Check your Ackerman angle do some slight tweaks with torch and reassemble. My son Carston and I are building his little hot rod pick up and we did the same procedure in the " Nuthin' Special". Check out our build thread " Meet Nuthin' Special"
Rick nice looking speedster here are my two I have been playing with ....... The Becker Special
the green one on the left the other I helped in is Clayton Paddison's '26 T roadster we call "Josephine".
And my son Carston little Hot Rod Truck "Nuthin' Special"
Hi Chris, those cars are great! Thank you for the suggestion and I'll get that going. That's terrific that your son in to the mix early. I've got two boys who are also working on their own 1920 T PTO. The motor is rough, but they're young and it'll keep 'em out of trouble! Enjoy.
I really love the look of your speedster Rick.
The dark paint with the black wheels is always a great look.
Thanks Don, I appreciate it. She does have brass hub caps now and will be pinstriped in the Spring. Can't wait to get it on the road.