I just purchased a Model T (1918). It still has the hand crank and I would like to upgrade to a starter of some kind. I am not sure what it is worth. It is completely unmolested and running. Has no rust - AT ALL. Slight body damage in rear drivers side door. Other than taht the car is real nice. It has been sitting in a garage for 50 years. I would love to get an idea of value for insurance purposes.
Also - where do you find parts. I am a muscle car person so this is new to me.
Mark, congratulations on the acquisition. I expect you'll have fun with the new car. Roadster, touring, coupe? I believe 1919 was the first year for Fords with starters, so unless your car has a later engine than 1918 there's no place to put one. If the car is well-tuned and properly adjusted, hand-starting should be easy. Millions of people used to do it. Just be sure you only pull up on the crank, starting at about the 7 o'clock position. It's best to pull with the left hand, and NEVER EVER go over the top. For used parts, one place to check is the classified ad section on this website. For new parts, if you google Model T parts you'll find Lang's, Bob's, Chaffin's, and the other dealers. This forum is a great source of information and help from a lot of people with oodles of experience.
Thanks for the ninformation. I am completely new to this era and need to understand the basics. Everyone talks about the crank being a wrist breaker - I would like to try and avoid that if possible.
It is a 1918 Touring. Four door with a rag top. I have no idea how to drive or crank this car so I might be asking for more information. The car is arriving at my house Monday and the first thing I plan to do is change the oil and clean the gas tank.
Any other advise on either task or what needs to be done in order to get this car running? After all, it has been 35 years plus since started and 50 plus since driven.
I will post some photos next week.
Steve is absolutely correct, if you get it tuned up like new, hand crank starting is very easy. Remember the car is 80+ years old and has probably been "worked on" by 80 people some knowing what they are doing and others not. When you find a car like this in many cases prior attempts to correct problems may have resulted in mistakes that have made thing worse and you will have to troubleshoot and correct. Do not be overwhelmed or intimidated, take each problem one at a time and when you get done you will have a nice running Model T just like when new.
Initially ask questions here and select one of the experts in the given area and work with him directly to drill down on the problem. If you try to address every reply to your question you may find yourself unnecessarily buffeted around lacking real focus.
The best first thing for you to do when you get the car is find another local Model T'er and have him coach you on learning to start, run and drive your new find.
Ron the Coilman
Mark, I second what Ron said about finding a T'er and asking for help. The chapter listing for MTFCA doesn't show a chapter in Georgia, but MTFCI apparently has one headquartered in Fairmount, which is less than 50 miles from you.
They may have a member or two in Marietta.
Mark,If you read the forum i think you will find the more simple and orgional you leave your model T the less trouble it will be.Im 64 and much to young to want a starter! Learn about your model T and it will not hurt you! Bud.
Welcome aboard. As others have already suggested and I would wholeheartedly agree, find the Model T Club closest to you. There is a good chance there are some Model T Folks who are members who will be close by. For Georgia, I was surprised that there was not a Model T Club in Atlanta. But there is one about an hour north of you. Recommend you contact:
North Georgia T's (I)
c/o Calvin Watts
P.O. Box 132
Fairmount, GA 30139
They are part of the Model T Ford Club International, but they share the same love for fixing up, preserving, and driving Model Ts.
Once you have some pictures, yes posting them will allow us and you to get a better feel for what you have. Titles with Model Ts are not quite as exact as with a newer car with a VIN tag. First, many of the cars were not titled until many years after they were sold. Some states and territories didn’t have titles for cars back then. And Ford quit putting the date the engine block was cast in a nice straight row around 1919 or so, because many states were using the casting date as the car’s registration number. So for Jan 9, 1918 Ford built, 3626 engines (most days were closer to 15o0 than 3600)– a lot of which would have had the same casting date and so to states from using the same number for multiple Fords, he changed it to a circle style so the Department of Motor Vehicles and the owners would not get it mixed up. Many of the cars have had the engine swapped out over the years. And in many cases if you had a title and plates for one car and you wrecked it – you would put the plates and use the title on a new car and not worry about it. All you had to do was put the old engine in the new chassis and the registration number was still the same. And of course the 1917-1920 Model T Tourings look very similar just like the old air cooled VWs. If you knew what to look for there were changes but to most folks a Model T is any old antique car. All that to say, don’t be surprised if your 1918 Model T turns out to be a slightly different year with a 1918 engine or a 1918 with a different year engine. Good news – they all are a lot of fun to work on and drive.
There is a good thread on removing a Model T From mothballs at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/8538.html and scroll down to Tom Mullin’s posting the third posting from the top.
For information on how to drive it see http://www.mtfca.com/books/bookmenu.htm and scroll down and click on the 1911 at: http://www.mtfca.com/books/1911Inst.htm and compare to the 1921 instruction manual at: http://www.mtfca.com/books/21manual.htm they share more than you may need at first -- but it was given to new Ford owners -- along with a how to drive from the dealer. A quick 10 minute check out with someone will save you lots of time. If your car is a 1918 without a starter the 1911 instruction book may be of more use than the 1921. But we won’t know the type of engine you have until it arrives.
Before you start driving it in other than an empty area be sure to check out some of the safety items discussed at:
on cranking: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/68644.html?1224126132
they are not fast – slow moving vehicle sign: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/96515.html?1246128999
Safety Glass is nice: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/72116.html
Use safety wire and not lock washers or cotter pins on the two studs holding the wishbone to the underside of the engine. http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/47898.html
Lots of safety items – looks like I’m behind on writing that safety article… http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/69429.html
Over center steering – shouldn’t happen on the later Ts – but if someone replaced your later teens steering gear housing or rebuilt it without the lock pin – it might happen: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/86345.html
Types of safety wire: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/41859.html
Example of loss of brakes caused by drive shaft failure: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/47804.html
Top T tips – many of them are safety related also: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/85208.html
Tour safety check list: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/44331.html
And if you have a gas hot water heater in the garage – be very very careful. The float in a Model T Carb will sometimes stick (or trash in the valve) and the carb will leak gasoline. Not too bad if there are no sparks. However, several homes, garages and cars have been lost when a gas hot water heater was near by and the car leaked gas.
And for some general background on the 1918 see Bruce McCalley’s online encyclopedia at: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/intro.htm and especially the section at http://mtfca.com/encyclo/1918.htm
Oh and there is this one guy on the forum that will ask just about everyone to look on the right front floorboard riser of their touring or roadster and see if there is a body number. That guy would be me. If you have a chance after the “newness” wears off, please take a look at: : http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/40322.html and let me know if you find a body number on the right front floorboard riser or a body maker letter on the front seat riser.
And remember any farmer in 1918 could work on and drive a Model T. You are more than qualified. But they were driving a newer car – so be careful unitl you get it sorted out.
Again welcome aboard.
Hap Tucker l915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and l907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.
Ray Woolf and sons Alan and Jim are nearby Marietta, and the greatest T people. Not only do they have a fleet of Ts, but a 1918 Stanley.
You should be able to find Alan by a search of this Forum.