Most people familiar with the Fords from 1922 on, should be aware that the top saddle arm holes came with a rubber plug. What I've never heard of in 55+ years in the hobby, is whether Ford offered a package deal for those desiring those parts, or if the buyer requested a pair could get them at no cost?
Concurrent with Larrry's entry into the hobby, when we hunted rust as kids 55 years ago, more often than not we'd find touring bodies or sections of them with rubber plugs still in the holes for the top bow saddle hardware, dried out and rock hard. Pretty obvious saddles had never been installed throughout the life of the car. Although I never found any top irons or remnants of tops with those bodies, I rather doubt those cars were sold "topless". I guess it means the owners never, ever put the tops down ? I wonder if the saddle parts were something stowed under the seat with the tools, and never got used - just misplaced and lost ?
My guess is Ford put the plugs in the open car bodies on the assembly line, and then put the top iron and saddles in with the tool kit for each car. That way the owner got both.
Many old photos show tops up on Ts. Probably many never dropped the top.
On my original '24 barn car, the ragged top assembly was lowered on the saddles and irons.
And interesting, the rear seat tool compartment still had its paper cardboard ant-rattle, and assortment of left over tools. One thing was a tired old paper cylinder with cap tire patch kit. Inside that rattled around the original rubber plugs, now hard and still....but they still fit!
Tool compartment under rear seat.
Original irons and saddles
And, when Lizzie struts with top up.....in go the old rubber plugs
If you have ever messed around the back of a T with those top iron and saddles sticking out when the top is up.....you know why you un-screw those irons out of the holes.....and place the rubber plugs!
Larry, just today I got from Lang's a set of your new rubber plugs (this is a plug for you ) and installed them on the '24 project, they fit just swell!
In a photo above that says original irons and saddles, it appears to me there is a fender iron in place of the correct top saddle iron! Several years ago we were able to borrow a NOS plug. They were made in two pieces. The outer part was either hard rubber or bakelite, and the inner push in portion was rubber. Ultimately, we wound up making the entire plug out of rubber.
In this case, they were factory installed.
On my '26 runabout, one can't remove them without removing the hip panels. They are constructed with a flange that is too large to pass through the hole in the body and have to be inserted from the inside. My car came without the saddle rods and the hole was plugged. In fact, when I tried to attach the repro saddle rods, the one on the right side would not fit without adjusting the size of the hole as it wasn't aligned properly. I wonder if it came originally without a top? Is that possible?
The key here is REPRO. They probably were not made correctly in the first place. I would never modify an original body to fit a repro part!
Regardless if the rod is original or repro, it is just a straight rod with threads on the end. No way to adjust that - it is what it is.
The problem is the threaded bracket that is inside the body doesn't line up correctly with the hole in the sheet metal. If the bracket was machined correctly, then it was mounted out of alignment or it is bent. If it is mounted correctly, then perhaps the threaded hole was machined incorrectly at an angle, etc.
There's a lot of quality control that can be done to Model T Ford once it is in your possession.
Simple things like lining up doors, straightening brackets and irons, tweaking and aligning fenders, etc.
thank you, Eric,
You answered Larry's concern perfectly. The problem had nothing to do with the repro part.
Maybe no issue with repro prop rods.
Just installed a pair in the '24 project, and had used a single old original to set the iron work in the body, so that the mount and hole in the sheetmetal aligned.
But when I fitted the new repro rods, didn't fit into the sheetmetal hole. Measured the flange and it was larger than the original used for fitting. Ground the flange on the new rods down in diameter, and fit fine now.
Ground the new rod to match the old.
And here is that new plug!
That makes more sense that what I wrote.
I was thinking only the alignment could be the problem. I didn't quite understand what Will meant by the flange being to large. Now I see what he was referring to.
No, it wasn't that the flange was too large, the body of the rod might be too fat. They are impossible to install from the outside. They must be inserted through the body hole from the inside and then threaded into the socket that is part of the body. That may be a problem with the repros but as my car is 500 miles from me at the moment and I can't judge that.
You can see from the image that the hole is misaligned. This '26 was built in late '25 and they may have been having problems with the proper placement of the hole in the sheet metal with the first ones and that is maybe why my car had the plugs originally installed. There are a few instances in my runabout where it can be seen that there were other problems that they probably corrected later.
How are those rods installed and removed, they have no wrench flats. If you put pliers or pipe wrench on them you will gouge them???
Will: That is terrible that Ford did that, and all those rivets too! Is the other side the same way? About '15 years ago I restored a '25 roaster, that had been completely re-wooded by Ray Wells. He left the saddle iron brackets off for me to do. I understand now why he did. They are a bitch to line up, but I did it. I don't envy will with his project. That is going to be a lot of work! Could it be Ford stamped the hole in the sheet metal panel wrong?
Agree. Wonder what day of the week, and which assembly plant did that job
This is more typical of the top prop fitting.
I am sure the plug were never removed, nor was the top ever put down.
Larry, The other side is better and I was able to install the rod without any fitting except I had to buy a tap that fit the threads in that they were a bit rusted. It is not hard to install it without marring it much, and the other portion of the top saddles would cover were is scratched if that does happen.
You can see the better alignment. The irregularity of the hole suggests that they were having problems at the assembly plant (Louisville). I'm sure this is original as it was covered by a hard rubber plug.