Today I started investigating the wreckage to see what will need fixing or replacing. Initially I was afraid of a bent frame, but sighting down the top it appears to be OK. I'll still check it with a straight edge to be sure.
The ugliest damage was to the fender and splash shield. The running board was unhurt.
I'm wondering whether repair will cost more than replace.
Apparently the impact sheared off the bolt holding the switch and the running board brace.
The front running board support took a pretty good hit, but I think I can straighten it.
Tomorrow I'll get the car up on stands and pull the front axle. I'll be very surprised if it isn't bent.
There is no way I could pretend to be a good body/fender man. My specialty is resurrecting things from beyond dead, and making them look decent from twenty feet away. However, one thing I have learned, and run into several times, is that fresh collision damage, not yet messed with, can be much easier to straighten than a decent looking piece that has been messed with several times already.
Often, the trick is to leave it attached to the rest of the car, clamp onto it, and carefully pull it back in the reverse direction toward straight. Pull slowly, relieve kinks and wrinkles as you go. Often, they can pull back so close to their original shape that only minor ding and wrinkle repair is needed. You probably will need to change the exact direction you pull a few times and keep working it closer to where it belongs.
I, too, will be surprised if that axle wasn't bent a little. I saw a Model T speedster once that had hit a deer. The front axle was twisted and bent back an amazing amount. Who would have thought?
And be sure to put those firewall bracket bolts back in! (Along with the broken running board/starter switch bolt.)
Be well my friend!
Steve, your fender is junk. Hang it on the wall as a conversation piece and get a different one. You could pull all day on it and it will never be right.
45 years a auto body repairman and I say replace it. The crush damage is what is the deal killer on a fix. Kinks and wrinkles- no problem. Crushed areas- Save your time and money and replace. Gary
Steve, looks like there may be some pieces that could be used to repair other fenders, like the part where it bolts to the running board. A lot of otherwise good fenders are rusted out there. So glad that you weren't "damaged" Dave
Find someone with an English wheel and knows how to use it. Those dents and can be rolled out fairly easily since the metal in the Model T fenders is pretty substantial and doesn't stretch that much. Make sure to abrasive blast it first though to remove all paint and primer before putting it on the wheel.
Steve: even if you get a new (Better) fender I would keep that one around and use it to practice metal shrinking techniques (or in my case use it to learn what I can and cannot do with my English wheel) after all if you have to replace it might as well use it to improve yourself and learn something new.
Steve anything is repairable,except a broken heart or the crack of dawn.That said it sometimes is not feasible to put the time and effort to repair.Replace is my vote. Cheers pete
I'm in the "replace the damaged sheet metal, but keep the old pieces around for patches and tin knocking practice" camp.
Replace the fender. If you plan to keep it for a wall hanger that's OK.
If you want to junk it KEEP all the brackets that's on the fender. If they are bent they can easily put back into shape.
Fender brackets for the fenders are not being reproduced and probably wont be for a while if ever.
You might try Model T Haven in your state. Original front fenders for your year Model T have to still be plentiful, even if some minor repair work needs to be performed. You'll never be happy with the fender repairs to yours. It's now a donor for sectioning out areas for other fender repairs, or for practicing welding/body work techniques, as already suggested. At the worst, new fenders are not that terribly expensive, not any more expensive than paying someone to TRY and fix your fender.
Marshall's suggestion is what I had in mind. I've sent an email to Mark to see what he has. I may be off to Iola today or tomorrow.
I'm sure it was done a lot back in the day, but I'm not sure I would trust a bent, then straightened, drag link, tie rod, or wishbone.
I have seen articles showing successful straightening of front axles, though.
Steve - I have been following your posts on the forum and on YouTube since I got into this hobby two years ago. If anyone can get this T repaired and for a VERY reasonable cost, its you! Good luck!
There are so many options, enjoy however it is you choose to fix your touring.
Steve, that bolt hole at the starter switch bracket looks to be rather dirty, indicating it may have fallen out sometime earlier. Was it pinned? It not being there may have allowed the running board bracket more movement and easier bending.
Allan from down under.
Steve, mount the fender on the wall as a reminder of your painful experience. Hope no front seat cleaning is required during the repairs. Good luck and keep us updated.
Methinks Allan is onto something. It looks like the bolt was gone long before the incident and allowed the running board bracket to give way.
For the time it will take, there is no commercially viable way to repair the fender. However, if you will invest in the book "Key to Metal Bumping",
In two days, you could have that fender very presentable for a driver car. I would not suggest either the book or the fender repair if I had not done it myself already. That book was my complete course in shrinking, stretching, and dent removal...it is fabulous, and I highly recommend it to anyone contemplating doing body work and is not a professional.
That metal shrinking is something I need to understand a bit better as I have a 1962 Ez-Go golf cart that has some kinks in the side panels that are not that bad but every tap on 1 side makes it bulge on the other.Metal is stretched.
Here is my first model T in the early 1970s. I hauled the chassis back to the farm with my father doing his best at steering the thing fitted with solid tires. I built it into a commercial runabout. In 2001 I overturned the T when cut off in traffic. Year later I made this tintype of the damaged radiator which is now in a collection in Tokyo. The radiator cover still hangs up,in the garage.
I have a copy of "Key to metal bumping" and the photos are very impressive. That was when men were men and labor much much cheaper than material. They show roofs, fenders, quarter panels so crumpled that today repair would never be considered. I have plenty of will but lack the way. Hands on instruction is best for me.
Sorry the damage picture was sized wrong. This gives a better sense of the degree of damage. Should make you feel better about your wreck. :-) It could have been much worse.
well lets see a finished photo after repairs! I would cry if that happened to 1 of mine after all the work I have and am putting into them.But it can happen in less than a split second.
To show there is life after accidents ... here is the same car after I converted it to a speedster. So, Steve will have no problem gett8ng back on the road. I sold this last year to buy my ‘23. It was a great car ... light and quick ... always started with no problems.
Steve- I didn't know you had an accident? What happened?
That's a great looking speedster. Really good proportions. I like the "vintage" paint job.
Mark,I sent you a email if you want to send me some more pics of that 1.I like it! Side light mounts,and mirror mounts are of interest to me for sure
The speedster is gorgeous Mark.
You've really got a knack for nailing down that "worn-but-nice" look that I'm working for with my '24.
James, here's the story: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/708324/812577.html?1512075268
After reading Allan's speculation about the switch bolt I took a closer look.
I found this still in the hole. The missing bolt didn't cause the running board support to give way. The support sheared off the nut and the end of the bolt on impact. That's why I was able to use the starter switch before the wreck but had to remove the floorboard to get to it after.
Today I got the front of the car up on stands and started removing things.
A straight edge shows the axle curving back at both ends. Tomorrow I'll look at a few others and see how they compare.
The right perch is OK. The left one is toast.
More inspecting tomorrow.
Steve, so the perch nut just unthreaded and fell off?
Yep. Forgot to pin it. Once that wishbone drops off a perch you're in trouble.
Steve,has that front axle been a trailer axle in its earlier life?
That notch has me thinking about the front axle on the Crappy T which is notched. A former trailer axle.
My stars, what damage.
Thank you and watching updates. :-)
Just amazing to me that you didn’t see, hear a different rattle or feel a vibration with a nut so loose. I guess we all should have have a safety checklist we go over once a week for maintenance. Sort of like that old lubrication chart showing how often specific parts should receive oil or grease.
Looking over and under my car I was shocked to find no cotter pins in the nuts on the rear spring u-bolts. One nut is not even a castle nut. It will be later today.
Steve's incident, and his honesty and willingness to share, has a lot of us checking things for safety and that's a very good thing.
I've seen the same thing occur before with many of the other types of old cars I own. The neat thing about forums is that a incident/safety-check like this is occurring across the US (heck....internationally) whereas back in the days before the internet, it would be much more of a local phenomenon.
(Message edited by rustyfords on December 01, 2017)
Mark, is your Dad pulling you with a Pinto?
Again, I'm just glad you didn't get hurt in this accident.
I suppose one of the nicer aspects of Model T ownership (as opposed to other cars of the same era) is the colossal supply of replacement parts. -I have a friend who owns a 1912 S.C.A.R. (Société de Construction Automobile de Reims) touring car and it's got more brass than Glenn Miller's big band. -These cars were built in France and at present, there are only seven in the whole wide world, so Heaven only knows what they're worth. -He drives the car quite a lot and has fun with it, but oh, brother, I don't know what he'd do if he ever pranged up a fender.
Maybe the easiest way to deal with your particular problem is to buy a used fender in real good shape, sand, prime and paint it and hang it on the car. -But having read your threads, visited your website and watched your how-to videos, I've a strong feeling you're not done with the bent metal. -If there's something on a Model T Steve Jelf can't fix, I ain't heard of it yet.
So, does Ford need to issue a recall on Model T's between 1908 and 1927 to install a special lock washer on each perch?
Hey Bill, Yes ... that was a Pinto hatchback. I was pulling dad. Interesting that I'm now around his age when that picture was taken. We pulled the plugs and drove about 5 mph since we knew the transmission was a potential problem. It was only about a mile from the farm.
So my eyes weren't playing tricks on me,I thought that was a Pinto.I hope he had brakes being behind you like that! BUMP<BOOM!
Or at least that is what all the safty geeks claimed anyway.
Well Steve,you got her fixed yet?
Working on it, little by little. The new front axle, with its fresh paint, looks so pretty that I decided to give the ratty-looking front spring a paint job too. So today I took it off, pressed out the bushings, and smoothed the depressions with a grinder. I'll blast all the pieces Sunday when we're supposed to have weather way up above 60º. I should have the axle and steering back on in a week or so. Meanwhile, I'm shopping for a fender and splash shield.