Hey guys, just thought I'd introduce myself. New to model T's but not new to cars. Was moving a friend from Ct to NC this past weekend and went to visit a friend in TN. Knowing I'd have some down time and an empty trailer I started searching craigslist for something rust free I could sell back home to make a little money. I stumbled upon a craigslist add for a 26' model T coupe. "Doctors coupe" as I guess there nick named. With my f250 packed full of friends and my brother we drove the 3 1/2 hours from Knoxville to Whites creek to look at the car. The owner was very friendly and had some nice model a's and a daily driven 49 f1 pick up. He told me the car ran and drove when parked 5 years ago, and would pop over a few times on starting fluid. The car is extremely well preserved with two small rust spots on the quarter panels. It was completely original to the best of his knowledge. So I bought it, he used his tractor to pull it onto my trailer and I went back to my buddy's place in Knoxville. A few drinks later and I found myself cleaning the carb at 2am in my buddy's sink, by 3:30 am we pulled t behind my truck around the parking lot to pop start it. A little playing with the mixture screw and it ran surprisingly well! We spent all of the next day driving the car around, the more it runs, the better it runs! I'm keeping this car despite having a few people offer to buy it already, a little unsure on what exactly I will do to it. Total restore or original condition. I've got some questions as far as the ignition system and my options to make this as reliable good running as I can. Anyway here's some pictures!
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Congrats, from a fellow 26-27 coupe owner!
Ah yes the pictures were too big to post. I'll see if I can resize them. This thing currently has the factory wood "buzz coils" and "vaporizer" carb. What are my options as far as carb and ignition go for the best running and reliable engine? Also looking into doing a 12 volt conversion.
Justin, you found a great piece of history and a good place to share your interest and find information. You can have a lot of fun and get to know the car the way it is and restore it later if that is what you want.
New folks are such a nice addition to this forum.
I have no experience with the vaporizer, but from what I have read, they aren't quite as fast with that type carburetor. The parts are available to keep the vaporizer working if that's what you would like to do. If you want to keep the car original, that's what I would suggest. With some modifications, you can install a Holley NH or Kingston L4 which are good carbs but you would need to replace both intake and exhaust manifolds and alter the linkage between the steering column and the carburetor if you choose to go that way.
The coils work very well without much trouble when correctly tuned and have a good timer. They will work on 6 volt battery or 12 volt battery but work best on magneto. If your magneto is working I would suggest you keep the coils.
If you decide to go to 12 volts you will need to replace all the light bulbs with 12 volts and the generator will have to work hard to keep it charged. You can replace the generator with an alternator. The biggest problem with 12 volts is the starter. It can be easily damaged, especially if you should forget to retard the spark or leave the parking brake forward. Then again the starter can be replaced with one which is rewound for 12 volts.
Anyway, if you want to make any changes, they will be involved with other changes necessary. When you open the hood, a distributor or alternator really stands out as not stock. The carburetor would look correct for a model T except to those who are familiar with the vaporizer would notice the change.
It's your car, and you can do to it anything you wish to, but it's hard to improve on Henry's design.
The car doesn't need to stay 100% original, though I will keep any parts I take off it so that I can always return it to original. I'm unsure of if is running on magneto or not, there's a toggle switch on the dash somebody put there. Flipped on it has ignition. I'll have to see how it actually works. Likely just battery power. I want to squeeze some more power out of her so I can comfortably cruise at higher speeds, may use the scat striker crank with pressurized oil and a z head with aftermarket camshaft. that way I can drive and enjoy the car on more roads. Henry was doing something right, there's not many 93 year old vehicles you can drag out of a barn and have running and driving in a few hours! He left some to be desired with the brakes though, I'll need to upgrade those. This forum is great, there aren't too many places around me with anybody who's into vehicles this old. Especially not my age! (22)
Just remember, If it makes you happy and you like it. Thats all that matters. Congratulations and enjoy.
Welcome to the world of Model T s Justin. Although Model Ts are very forgiving in the way they’re treated, they’re very maintenance significant. The biggest downside is the babbit thrust washers on the rear axles. Before you get too far from home and before you purchase the performance add ons mentioned above, I’d ensure you have upgraded bronze thrust washers in the rear end. And I’m surprised Steve Jelf hasn’t directed you to his website oldgeezer.com for new T owners. He will. Regardless what you paid for it, it’ll more than pay you back with the fun you’ll have...
Cruise at 30-35 mph and it will seem like 100 in a modern car until someone passes you! Going faster is dangerous especially if you have wood spoke wheels, 2 wheel brakes. The car is quite top heavy and does not like turns at high speed. Some have done some modifications to the engine that will make the car go faster, but the drive train is made for 22 HP and will not like increased power.
I like to join club tours and drive together. There is great comradery, and help available in case you have problems. When they are all going about the same speed, you don't feel so slow and the other drivers are more likely to see your group.
If you should decide to install front wheel brakes know that the front axle was designed for no brakes, so it might need some beefing up.
The best thing to do with a T is drive it like it was intended to be driven That is leave plenty of space between you and the cars in front and pull over to let the faster drivers pass and try to use the less traveled routes. Try to anticiipate stops such as stop signs and signals and slow down so you don't need to slam on the brakes. If you do so, you will have fun, but if you try to drive like a modern car, no matter what you do to increase the power or stopping ability, remember that it is over 90 years old and anything added to make it faster also increases the danger of a serious accident or breakdown. When driven responsibly, when in good condition will have few problems.
Hi Justin, i am just down the road from you in New Haven. The only problem i have had with my vaporizer is the separator plate is so thin it get holes in it. In a couple of months there is a car show in Shelton that has just model T's'and A's if you go you will meet some young folks,that bring their T's. welcome to the hobby. If you get to New Haven often send me a PM and stop by. charlie
Welcome to the hobby and the forum.
Like everything there are some known weak spots or "gotchas." The thrust bearings in the rear axle that George mentioned "will fail" if they are babbit. Not they might fail -- but they will eventually fail. And unfortunately they often still work until you do an emergency stop. The extra strain pushes them over the hill. When they fail -- you no longer have the service brake on the transmission stopping the rear wheels. It will stop the drive shaft but the pinion will no longer stop the ring gear from turning so the wheels are "free-wheeling" at that point.
There are several other "known areas that if you review them they may help you safe some time, money, and in some cases even pain. I often tell folks a T is a faithful servant but it has some known issues that the driver needs to be aware of and to take proper precautions about. Please take a look at the posting on safety at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/599638/696360.html it is by me and is part way down under Nov 26, 9:20 PM .
There are also some links there for things like "Milt's How to remove a T from moth balls." He has great info on what to check over, lubricate, etc.
Milt also has a great article on how have your six volt system work great -- you can check that one out at: Six-Volt Battery Performance http://milttheinstructor.com/Six-Volt_Battery_Performance.pdf A 12 volt battery is often very hard on the starter Bendix, although some folks put in some resistance to drop the voltage down. With a good 6 volt system and to much additional compression added to the engine it will crank fine.
You mentioned you were interested in a reliable touring / driving car. I would recommend you check out the Technical Section of the Tulsa's web sit at: http://mtfctulsa.com/Tech/index.htm The saying about "speed costs money how fast do you want to go" is still true -- but you will also need to look into additional braking and if you are going a lot faster -- a better steering would also be something to consider.
Recommend you join a local chapter -- there usually are some around. For a listing please see: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm and https://www.modelt.org/chapter-listing.html
Have fun and enjoy your T.
Have lots of fun with your new Improved Ford and welcome to the forum. [What is an “Improved Ford?” The term that Henry had his USA dealers use when refereeing to the 1926 model cars when they were introduced. It was still a “T” and was not a new design. And Henry wanted to emphasize that. See: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1926-27H.htm for additional details.
Let’s see pictures ! Or post a YouTube video
Welcome to the hobby!
Welcome to the hobby and get ready for a different type of car than your modern cars. Try not to get your T use to starting fluid. Yes you might it started that way but older gas engines tend to get addicted to ether and will eventually not start without it. Other than that read the T service manual and get to know it front to back. The original ignition system will work fine with a little tinkering. And remember that Model T's don't have brakes like your modern cars so the best advice is to drive them like they don't have brakes,
This is something you will get the hang of. Have fun!
I rent some shop space in Bethany, just a short trip down 63 to new haven. I'll have to go to that car show! I'll pm you Charlie. I actually got comfortable driving the car on public roads pretty quickly. It is a lot like driving a car without breaks to lump it home. My brake peddle is completely useless, I've been using the parking brake to and down shifting to slow down, using the parking brake to stop. I really just want to get this car to cruise, turn, and stop comfortably up to about 45 mph...... what's the limit of the stock wood spoke wheels? Quick update on where I'm at: have the vaporizer carb disassembled and soaking overnight. I started it about an hour ago and it sounded like it was missing. In a short time the exhaust started glowing red, especially around the middle two cylinders. Trying to richen up the mixture made it run worse, and while pulling the lever down to advance the timing I found the timer was hitting the fan belt. Hoping that's the cause of the missing/glowing manifold. I'll dig into it tomorrow.
"Comfortably up to about 45 mph" Choose one, you can't have both. Welcome to the affliction.
Congratulations on your find and welcome to the affliction. I too own a 1926 coupe (see picture). The following article is from a thread I posted in 2009 and might be of interest to you. www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/102160.html.
Drive carefully. Tin Lizzy's can be persnickety and they multiply like rabbits if you aren't careful. Jim Patrick
I've been gone all day, so didn't post until now. Here are a couple of links to get you started.
Other pages on the same website will have information you may find useful.
Some people subscribe to the superstition that every Model T should be subjected to various "upgrades" to make it "more reliable". Some modern changes really are upgrades, but others are just a waste of time and money. A case in point is the notion that a T must be converted to twelve volts to start. Here's the answer to that:
As others have said, it's your car and you can make any changes you want. But millions of Model T's have given good, reliable service just as they came from the factory.
Welcome Justin, Its always nice to see the younger crowd join the T hobby. Although most stock T's will probably go 45 downhill with a stiff wind at its back, it probably wouldn't like it for very long. You could always build up your motor like some here do with great success, but in my opinion, a stock motor is happiest around the 30-35 MPH range. Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.
I figure if I get a bug or two stuck on the radiator, that's a success! I always check the back glass just to make sure one didn't run into me. Dave
Is it possible the red manifold and missfire was caused by a small air leak at the intake manifold?
As for speed... I've had mine up to 50MPH but it's not cruising, 35-40 MPH is just fine though.
Met a few people in my area off the forums today, looks like I'll have a few parts for this vaporizer tomorrow thanks to john. In the meantime I tack welded up a few pinholes in the separator plate and float bowl, moved the fan pulley away from the timer, and its running very well with no more glowing manifold. Transmission seems to act better with fresh sae 30 oil, seems I may have to adjust the low gear band though.