Wooden or Metal Firewall for 1923 Touring?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: Wooden or Metal Firewall for 1923 Touring?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Eric Dunlap - Orlando, Florida on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 11:25 am:

When I got my 1923 touring, it came with a wooden and a metal firewall. Neither were attached to the car at the time that I got it. I am not certain if I need just the metal one, just the wooden one, or both of them. Does anyone know which of these I should be using for the 1923 touring?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Tomaso - Longbranch,WA on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 11:41 am:

Depends if you're a purist and the time frame the car was produced - I would venture to guess the steel one would be less maintenance once finished


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Eagle Idaho Falls on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 11:53 am:

The MTFCA encyclopedia says "Steel, used with low hood for short time beginning about February 1923. Both the wood and the steel were used concurrently for a time. On April 7, 1923, a factory letter said that all production was then with the steel firewall."

I have seen many steel ones so they were plentiful. Looks like it is your choice to me.
Rich


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Eric Dunlap - Orlando, Florida on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 11:59 am:

Excellent. So it looks like we will go with the steel by itself. Thanks for the quick replies.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 12:02 pm:

My June 1923 has steel. I suppose you could go by the date of the serial number. Wood before February, either one in February and March, and steel in April, May, June, and July.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 12:07 pm:

I would use the steel firewall. Over time people would change out the wood firewall to the metal one. More than a few 17-early 23 T.s were changed to the improved metal firewall.

The metal firewall wouldn't be correct for the earlier low cowl T.s but it would fit and it was an improvement. That's why Ford started using them in the last of the low cowl t.s.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Eagle Idaho Falls on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 12:13 pm:

PS the mounting brackets are different. That might be a consideration as it looks like you have the ones for the steel one.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey, N. California on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 12:52 pm:

I was going to mention the brackets too. The metal Firewall could be mounted with the earlier brackets with the addition of spacers and longer bolts. I've been told the factory spacers were magneto magnet spools!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don Lyon, PDX, OR. on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 03:27 pm:

My roadster, '23, has two steel firewalls. On the interior side the inner firewall comes down about 3/4's of the way and on the engine side the firewall of course comes down to the frame. I would love to change out the cracked wiring junction block but I can't get to the backside. Don.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Osterman on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 03:42 pm:

Based on the serial number my 23 runabout was early July 1923. It has a steel firewall and low hood / radiator.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker in Sumter SC on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 04:01 pm:

Eric,

From the photo you posted I strongly believe you have a 1924-1925 model year high cowl metal firewall. (They also continued to be used on the Ton Trucks.)

You have a wooden firewall that fits 1917-1923 and because it has the slot for a choke on the inside of the car, came during the starter cars 1919-1923.

If your are building a body or if your body is a depot hack etc. with a flat front that fits up against the firewall, you maybe able to use either one with the body. But if you have a 1917-1923 body it will only work with the wooden firewall, or one of the earlier metal firewalls that was designed to replace the 1917-1923 wooden firewall. And if you have a 1924-1925 body it will only work with the metal firewall that you have in your photo and not the smaller wooden firewall.

Ref:



Compare to your wooden dash and I suspect it will be real close to 24 3/8 across.




Compare this one to your photo and you will see it also has those reinforcement ridges that the earlier metal firewalls do not have. And of course a yard stick will tell you quickly if it is 28 inches wide or not.

Note -- any 1909-1925 body will fit on any 1909-1925 chassis (there are few minor exceptions -- for example the 1911 Torpedo Roadster and 1911 Open Runabout). But in general the bodies fit fine and you only have to move the gas tank to the correct location for the body (coupes had it several locations, most centerdoors had it under the driver's seat, etc.) And of course you need the hood and radiator to go with the body.

I.e. any 1909-1916 radiator and hood to go with the 1909-1916 body [ok -- you can cheat on a 1915-16 you can put the 1915-16 hood former on any low cowl body (1917-1923) and the brass radiator and hood will fit fine.]

Any 1917-1923 radiator and hood with the 1917-1923 body;

Any 1924-25 hood and radiator with a 1924-25 body (and includes the 1924-27 Ton Trucks);

Any 9926-27 hood and radiator with the 1926-27 bodies.

[Note the 1924-1927 radiators are the same size but the hood is different.]

If you have a complete body -- just hold the firewalls you have up to it and it should be obvious which one fits and that it the year range of your body.

If you have a pile of parts (many of us do) then you probably need to confirm the parts came from the same car or same general time range. The parts look very similar. And in some cases interchange great. For example the 1915-1925 touring and roadster doors all interchange (the lock and stricker plate are different on the earlier cars). But the 1924-25 cowl is totally different from the 1915-1923 cowl. And the 1921ish-1923 front half of the tourings are the same while the 1921ish- 1925 rear part of teh tourings are the same. And you can fit a 1921-25 rear touring seat section onto a 1915-1923 touring front half. It will fit and function ok. But the body molding doesn't line up and you have to make a few minor changes and it takes less time to put it together with the same year range parts as mixing those parts.

By the way, I'm still fighting a head cold, but I'm starting to feel human again. So I guess the disclaimer now should be -- I may have some or all of those details wrong and if so it is my fault -- not the cold medicine.

For additional details on low vs high cowl body and parts please see the postings at:

How to tell 1917-1923 low vs 1924-1927 high radiator see:

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/109384.html?1255047908

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/179374/202420.html general info -- be sure to see the correction on the 1924-25 hood -- the dimension first posted was wrong. Some info repeats.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap l9l5 cut off


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 04:44 pm:

The steel firewall shown in Eric D's picture is a low style. When available, I always look at the mounting places for the to-the-frame brackets. The early (low) ones are less than an inch from the outer edge. The later high style are more than an inch inward. A difference I find easy to see. One looks close. The other looks farther.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 04:51 pm:

Hap if you look at the photo closely you will see that the wood firewall is sitting lower in the picture than the metal dash. It makes the metal firewall looks taller.

Also the firewall brackets on the low cowl steel firewall are almost to the edge of the firewall.wheras the high cowl later firewall brackets are further away from the edge.

The pic shows the brackets on the edge which indicates it's the earlier firewall.
That what it looks to me anyway.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 04:54 pm:

Hap

Lots of info as always :-), but believe that firewall photo by the poster identified mistakenly.

The low firewall is easy to spot, the hole for the dash wire loom is below the terminal block.


1923 low hood firewall


The high hood metal firewall '24-'25 has that hole above the terminal block.




'24-'25 high hood firewall



Comparison to sizes, the '24-'25 high firewall in background.


(Message edited by Dan_Treace on November 11, 2017)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Tomaso - Longbranch,WA on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 05:13 pm:

To add to Dan's information - the area where the terminal block attaches is quite different in the way it is stamped out.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker in Sumter SC on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 07:51 pm:

Yes, I see it now.... my bad! They are both the low cowl firewall.

Maybe I'm not feeling as well as I thought? Thank you all for the corrections. And especially for pointing out the hole for the wiring loom being lower on the low cowl and higher on the high cowl. That should be an easy one for me to remember in the future -- at least I hope so.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap l9l5 cut off


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Eric Dunlap - Orlando, Florida on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 08:21 pm:

Man, you guys are always full of such great information. Many thanks for the detailed responses.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 09:53 pm:

An easy way to tell a '23 from a '24-5 one is that the '23 has 3 vertical ribs and the later ones have 5.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 10:05 pm:

Hap T, Thank you so much for sharing that wealth of information! I always like to see and read your postings.
I have mentioned many times on the forum about how so much more is known today than was known half a century ago about the model T's details and timelines. There are many people to be thanked for this. And you are certainly high on that list.
What I find so intriguing about this discussion, is the when the steel firewall was put into the assembly. When I first started playing with model T Fords (CRIMINY! That was over 45 years ago!), it was commonly believed that the steel firewall showed up around 1920. I remember arguments at the T club meetings about it. A close friend of mine had a 1921 touring car with a wooden firewall (the car had the three-piece rear tub). The original wooden firewall had begun to fall apart, so although the car was a very nice looking restoration, he was planning to replace the firewall. Both before, and after, the task was completed, there were many discussions of what he "should" do. Many people were convinced that the wooden firewall was incorrect, and a result of a not quite proper restoration. Many people expressed opinions that he should change the firewall to the "correct" steel one. He actually had a very nice wooden one made using the original to copy from, saying that he "figured the car had a wooden one, and should continue to have a wooden one".
One of the arguments was that the low steel firewalls were just too common to have been used for only one year. While it may seem that way, we now know differently.
Little by little, more and more people were convinced that the starting time for the steel firewall was later and later. Even a few years ago, I heard people swear that the steel firewall was used for most of '22 and beyond. Now you tell me that even the early '23s had wooden firewalls? Incredible. Maybe the low steel firewalls will cease to exist altogether? :-) Why are there so many of the low steel firewalls floating loose? One can only guess. Even I have two of the things, one which is believed to be new-old-stock. And maybe that is the answer. The wooden ones were known to come apart after years of rough use. Ford recommended replacing the wooden ones with the new steel version. Maybe they flooded their own market with replacements that never got used. Maybe the reason that there are so many used ones around is because they survived, and when people needed to replace the firewall on a running car, they used an available new one rather than take one off of an abandoned car? Just speculation on my part.

Thank you Hap T, and all!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John F. Regan on Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 12:46 am:

I have a February 1923 Touring car and it has a wood firewall. Early steel firewall for '23 actually was somewhat flimsy and Ford then added a bracket from the instrument panel to the steering column to get rid of the flopping around of the unsupported steering column. Wood dash never used that.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By RalphS in NE Oregon on Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 09:01 am:

I have a method to tell a low firewall from a high one from 50 feet away. Just count the number of holes for the coil box. If it has 10, it's from a low radiator car; if it has 9, it's from a high radiator car.
I have several beat up low radiator firewalls that are definitely not NOS; they were well used!


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