What color should I paint my engine?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: What color should I paint my engine?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Trey Gwaltney on Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 11:40 pm:

This project has become much more than I ever planned, has taken much longer than I expected, and we won't even begin to talk about the cost!! Nonetheless, I'm hoping my '24 Roadster will be a showstopper when I'm done.

So the engine and transmission have been totally broken down, cleaned, rebuilt, and ready to put back together. The transmission cover still has green paint on it, but the block and head have been stripped bare. I understand that pre-'26 models didn't have painted blocks, but I really don't want to leave the thing raw. It was suggested that I paint everything black, but I'm leaning to a "cast" shade of gray and maybe black for various attachments, to give some contrast.

As always, I'm interested to have you guys weigh in on this. Any pictures would be great. Haven't unwrapped the plastic from the block yet, so it's not too late to change plans. Tell me what you think.

Thanks for the input!!

Trey


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith, Lomita, California on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 12:19 am:

Do what you like! Black is correct any way you look at it. I prefer Rustoleum satin black. It still has a slight shine to it, but in my opinion looks good.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Noonan - Norton, MA. on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 12:26 am:

I agree with Larry, not too shiny, just right. :-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSDHjgIbYqI


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 12:37 am:

The superstition to the effect that ford didn't paint engines is probably due to what Ford did use. It was a black "Gilsonite wash" that didn't last long. Like Larry, I use Rustoleum satin black. I tried glossy, and hated it. For the exhaust manifold I use clear VHT paint. some people make their wheels "natural". I do it to my manifold. :-)




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 02:39 am:

Stripped my '23 to what I thought would be bare metal. After 2 different color coats of green I came down to what's described as the wash coat of black. Looked like thinned down black paint.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Vern (Vieux Carre) on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 05:41 am:

The fact that it's a roadster, gives you permission to a broader range of colors.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By G.R.Cheshire (La Florida!) on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 08:26 am:

Steve, what is the red stuff in the valve chamber?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 08:29 am:

Hi Vern,

Huh?

What in the world are you talking about?

How does a Model T body style affect engine color? The chassis, with engine, were all the same color coming down the assembly line before they arrived at the body drop station.




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Macky Mongold on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 08:39 am:

G.R.
Glyptal is red and is a common paint used inside of the engine to seal the cast iron.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James A Bartsch on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 08:51 am:

There is also a clear Glyptal that has similar properties to the red. jb


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Osterman on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 09:11 am:

I used rustoleum rust reformer spray paint. It has the rust conversion formula and a satin black finish. Iíve used it on the body parts as well. If you buff it down a hour after it dries to the touch it has a very nice luster that looks like original paint that has aged.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Landry, Hudson, NH on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 09:40 am:

POR-15 makes a nice engine enamel in many colors.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 09:59 am:

I see Model T engines of all years which were painted green at some time in the past. Usually those were "restorations" done 20-50 years ago. And usually they were a lighter green which was thought to be the correct color during that time. The '26-7 T's and, I believe, Model A's had a darker green engine color so that's what many folks thought was correct for all T's. But before the '26 models, the engines were black. You can see that in the assembly line pics above. Probably a thin "wash", as mentioned above, rather than a nice thick even coat of black paint like we use today. I use semi-gloss black engine paint from O'Reilley or NAPA.

(Message edited by coupelet on December 17, 2017)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 10:12 am:

p.s. -- Here's a pic of the engine I built to put in my car. You can see what a nice coat of semi-gloss black engine paint looks like. It has a bit of a shine, but not glossy. It's a '15 engine, with a Haibe Giant power head and an aluminum '09-10 intake manifold with no paint. The carb is a straight-through Simmons, my favorite. The head is painted with red engine enamel, which adds 5 mph to the top speed. ( :-) ) The exhaust is painted with high-heat ceramic coating made to withstand the heat in exhaust applications. You can get that at O'Reilley or NAPA as well.

eng


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 10:29 am:




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 10:46 am:



For those wondering about the 26-27 engine color, here's an actual 1927 example. This is where all those bizarre greens came from. Somebody saw this OD and called it green, and people's imaginations took it from there.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Tomaso - Longbranch,WA on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 10:54 am:

Here's a few examples:


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rich Bingham, Blackfoot, Idaho on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 11:19 am:

Always thankful to Steve for posting great pictures to illustrate what we're talking about !! Gosh that engine looks good on the way up !!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Duey_C-west central, MN on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 12:02 pm:

Perhaps a wrench in the works..?
My Sept '19 (serial) engine.

green

Nothing makes sense to me here, green paint, casting numbers look funky to me and it has ribbed pedals in I believe a fairly correct iron hogs head.
West Central MN granary find. ;-) It had been in a shed for a long time before that auction.
I got it in '96 and it had little care before that.
:-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rich Bingham, Blackfoot, Idaho on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 12:18 pm:

This has probably been posted many times before, but what is the order for day, month and year on these casting marks ? Could the "15" and the ribbed pedals point to a 1915 transplant ? The 1919 serial number could have been re-stamped when the motor was replaced ?

Wool-gathering on the "Gilsonite wash" perhaps applied more as a transient rust protection (like cosmoline) - maybe "leftovers" from painting bodies were thinned and used ?

Re/ the muddy green on that cutaway display engine, Over 50 years ago,when Rich Eagle was restoring his '30 Model A Tudor, we went to our favorite auto supply store which had been established in the 'teens and remained pretty much unchanged. The mission was to secure some engine paint of the authentic color. Ever helpful, Mr. Plessner said he didn't have a chip or formula, but Rich could "paint it a pretty green that you like".
Ah, the memories !


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 12:32 pm:

Duey's engine was at least 77 years old when he got it. Lots of part changing could have happened long ago, including the ribbed pedals. I believe they were used in Canada well past 1915. Maybe they sneaked over the border from Ontario or Manitoba. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Stephens - Arnold, CA on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 12:45 pm:

I've been looking for an assembly line photo to show the chassis parts sheen level. I would gather this photo has been posted on the forum before, I just haven't seen it. To me, this looks definitive, especially the large photo: You can click on the top photo (in the following link) twice to get it to 6358 ◊ 4945 pixels: http://actionspeaksradio.org/tag/assembly-line/

The engine does look satin.

This is a smaller version of the photo:

Ford assembly line

Tom


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 01:09 pm:


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Tomaso - Longbranch,WA on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 02:58 pm:

Nice enlargement, Steve ! Notice the oil fill cap isn't "home" and the cotter pin absent in the carb. mixture rod.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 03:20 pm:

Steve the color of the 27 engine looks sort of grey to me. Not trying to start a rumor!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Martin Vowell, Sylmar, CA on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 03:32 pm:

I always paint the engine grey and the head any color that strikes my fancy. Black engine in a black car, wow, try finding an oil leak on that... when it is blacker than a well diggers belt buckle at midnight. No thanks, I prefer to see where any possible leaks may occur or come from.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Claverie, Memphis TN on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 04:02 pm:

As usual, Trey, this thread shows us two things:

One, there is no definitive answer to the color that a Model T's engine SHOULD be.

Two, that whatever you decide to do with your engine will be absolutely correct for YOUR engine.

Personally, I think your idea of a Gray engine block with Black accessories, sounds nifty.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 04:32 pm:

Both of mine are painted "cast iron" color. Back when i did them, there was no strong consensus either way. I sided with the bare cast iron crowd. Ive seen enough evidence now to convince me black would be the correct color. If i had it to do again, I'd do it black.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Tomaso - Longbranch,WA on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 05:21 pm:

Here's my wife's Fire Chief's rig engine - counterbalanced crank & Ricardo head.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Rogers - South of the Adirondacks on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 05:22 pm:


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fords Masterpiece . nj on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 06:22 pm:

The black can be the correct but No doubt in my opinion that black is the color that JUST HIDES the beauty of the engine , at least the glossy black ! So i already ordered a green one for Joe Bell . I know it will lookk not correct for a but whem you open that hood you will be looking at a beautiful engine instead of a hidden black block of metal . Can anybody tell me whats the code on the green from the million car ? looks like a military green....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George Mills_Cherry Hill NJ on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 06:35 pm:

There has always been issue over when and what the engines were but it really boils down to...

IF painted prior to the mid 20's...the 'slosh coat' painting WAS reportedly but 50% Gilsonite (Hard unique Asphaltum) mixed with 50% spirits. Dried fast, kept the engine from rusting, would have had a bit of a sheen to it, may or may not have 'burnt' off depending on the grade of Gilsonite used. (It never actually 'burnt'...Gilsonite had the favorable characteristics that it did over straight asphalt because the 'binder' was 'waxy'. Cheap Gilsonite actually melts off at 320 degrees...the best grade of Gilsonite melts off at 425 degrees...the spirits part evaporated off before it got to the dealer)

I don't have a clue as to grade used by Ford, but being natural paraffin base, grease and oil and gasoline over the years apparently just took it off.

For what it is worth....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Duey_C-west central, MN on Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 06:41 pm:

Absolutely love that assembly line photo! I hadn't seen that one before.
Did they splash the paint from about the driver's position with the light spots facing the camera?
The runs, drips and errors are a sight. Much like the '19-22 trunk/turtle deck that came along with the 18 here. What a cool mess.
Gloves on the assemblers hands? Vests and beanys on their heads as it might be cooler in the plant.
Staged? Or just inspectors for starting?
The two tubes hanging down: Water and ?? Exhaust. Look where the exhaust nut should be.
I just saw the fellow down in the pit on a stool!
Some fantastic pics all the way down. Wow. This forum sure is something. :-)
For my little pic, I had always thought the casting numbers had the year on the bottom, "15" in my case.
Not so for my generator style engine. Rich, I also have some investigating to do about the casting number placement.
Steve, it had been suggested before about a Canadian influence as I'm only about 8 hours South of Winnipeg yet just 2 hours North West of Minneapolis... The engine came from long standing farmers that scrapped mercilessly for the war drives. The governor was still there for the Case steam engine...
:-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Monday, December 18, 2017 - 11:16 am:

Mine is Model A engine green on the block/head and black on the rest. Never could get my head around the idea of spending countless hours restoring a car and leave the cast iron bare to rust! :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Vern (Vieux Carre) on Monday, December 18, 2017 - 05:54 pm:

Bill H., I apologize for the confusion. I had to think about this for a while and look back at some old threads. From reading the forum this past year, I was under the impression that Ford never built Roadsters on the assembly line in 1924 and that Speedsters and Roadsters were modified cars. While Henry built "Runabouts", some people on the forum interchange the terms and other people are purists to actual Ford sales literature. So, believing that the car was a modified, it didn't matter as much the color. Can't go wrong with black. Glad that's cleared up.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Marshall V. Daut on Monday, December 18, 2017 - 09:27 pm:

I am no expert or purist, but for the 1914 engine I redid for a friend five years ago, we liked the "natural" look of bare metal. Since this is not a show car (as evidenced by the "rattle can brass" Holley NH carb), we went with Cast Blast high temp paint to simulate cast metal. Bolts were made to look raven (satin black, not dull, not glossy). Lots of compliments on the engine bay's appearance, although true brass Model T guys will probably not like it. I just couldn't see going black on this engine. Maybe in later Model T years, but the natural cast look (i.e., unpainted from the factory) seems to be a better compromise for a 1914
Marshall


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Matt the Headlight Lens Guy n California on Monday, December 18, 2017 - 10:06 pm:

Trey,

If you want to showstopper paint the engine purple. Iím sure you will stop the show. People who want things original will stop and look. People like my daughter will stop and look and love it. For people who say they donít like it, you can tell them to take a black-and-white photo and enjoy the photo.

Matthew


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George n LakeOzark,Missourah on Monday, December 18, 2017 - 10:58 pm:

Paint it the Martynn Vowell way. Grey block, purple head with silver bolt heads.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Schedler, Sacramento on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 - 12:07 am:

Here's another idea:


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