Dad is 96 and resides in a residential care facility in Boise Idaho. His memory is still pretty sharp and knowing my love for the T he related the following story.
He lived with his family in El Dara, Il and his mother's brother, Uncle Melvin often drove down to spend the night bringing his family along in his model T. The way dad described the car it must have been a touring car with side curtains. He brought his wife and three very heavy daughters down from Warsaw, Il. It must have been in the mid 20s. Dad thought it was a distance of 60 miles but I just checked it to be 71 miles. Dad said it was winter time with snow on the ground. Uncle Melvin arrived and drained his radiator. The next day when they prepared to return home Uncle Melvin would heat water on the stove and fill up his radiator, jack up one wheel and crank the model T to start it, then head for home.
Does this procedure sound period correct? Dad must have been a small boy at the time and I wonder if he remembers how it happened?
Curtis that sounds very correct. Thanks
A long deceased relative of my wife told me in an interview about how they dared my wife's grandfather to urinate on his father's Model T engine while it was running. I had to stop the tape recorder for a while.....
Robert -- I hope he didn't pee on the spark plug wires!
Curtis -- That all sounds right to me. "Back in the day," they didn't have anti-freeze, at least not any which was dependable. That's why there are so many cracked water jackets in T engines. It was common practice to drain the cooling system on cold nights and fill it with warmed water when putting the car back into service. Jacking up a rear wheel helps when starting the car, since the Ford clutch and its 25 clutch plates tend to stick together when the oil is cold. You won't need to do that with your car, with its new Watts clutch.
Curtis, That is exactly how my Grandpa did it. He would drain the water at night, and carry it into the house and set it behind the wood stove. Then just before he left for work the next morning he would carry it back out and pour it into the radiator. The warm water was enough to most of the time make the car start. But on really cold days he would carry a pan of coals from the wood stove out to the car and set it under the engine. Then he put a blanket or tarp over the hood to help hold the heat in. He said he would go back in the house, "drink a cup of coffee" and then carry the water out to pour in the engine. Then he could go to work. And we think we have it rough ...
Robert, that is hilarious!!! Reminds me of the stories around here of the dares to urinate on an electric fence or the spark plug wires on a two cylinder John Deere. Dave
Donnie, I can remember my dad taking the ash pan full of re hot coals and sticking it under the oil pan on his cars to get them started.
A wonderful family friend moved to Alaska when he became a Urologist. He was from New Orleans, and an avid sportsman - fishing and hunting. Having been a Navy flight doctor, and of course learning to fly courtesy of Uncle Sam, he flew and owned his own light plane.
My brother visited him in Alaska, and they decided to go fishing. My friend rolled his plane out of his (heated) hangar, and off they went. They landed on an island in a good fishing river.
The first thing he did was take a bucket out of the plane and drain the engine's oil into it. Then they went fishing.
Later, when it was getting toward time to go, he took the bucket of oil, and put it in the midst of a little fire he'd built with some kindling he'd brought along.
When the oil was hot, he poured it back into the plane's engine, and he was able to start the engine and fly home.
I know this isn't about a Model T, but it seems related to this thread somehow.
That is interesting that they warmed up the water in the morning before they left for work. What did they do before they came home if the day was below freezing? Drain it when they got to work?
Several old timers have told me they thinned the oil with kerosene.Bud.
They also poured boiling water on the intake in cold humid areas.
Ill bet a many a gasoline blow torch has been used on the intake manifolds over the years. Ive used a propane one myself, when Royce told me I could not run a T on E85 for a year without some catastrophic failure. The only difference I noticed was cold starting in winter time. Heating the manifold was a big help.
Years ago I worked with a guy that said that they warmed the radiator water on the wood stove for the tractor. He figured if hot water would help, hot gasoline would help even more. So he got a tea pot and you know the rest. He left a trail of fire from the kitchen out the front door. He was not too bright but he only tried that once.
Curtis... My wife's family is from El Dara. Not much there these days. They are the "Losch" and "Reel" families. In any event, you need to ask your father if he ever heard about how some of the Losch clan disassembled a Model T as a stunt and hauled it up to the top of the general store roof and re-assembled it!! The sheriff sat at the bottom and quietly waited for them to finish and then yelled up; "boys, time to bring that back down now..!"
We might be related as my Great Great Grandmother was a Lyons. My Dad remembered the incident you mention and knew a lot of the familie. Joe losch ran a steam engine. I'm sending you my Dad's name and phone number and maybe you two could discuss it. He would love it and remembers nearly everything.
Mike, yes he hit a spark plug wire! He was standing across the radiator and fender and fell backwards onto the ground. Hurt nothing but his pride.
That's too funny.