I am new to the Model T world. I'll have a lot of questions and need some advice.
I have a 1927 Model T touring.
The car has matching engine and chassis numbers from April 1927.
Would this car have had wooden wheels?
The Fan pulley looks like an older style, not attached to the water outlet. Could this be original?
(Actually the engine pictured has been replaced with what was the original matching one, but is configured the same.) I'm sure I'll have many more questions. Working on the top next.
Congrats on getting a T!
Generally speaking, these cars are basically automotive Lego so a lot of things can be mixed and matched between different production years. The fan bracket for sure isn't correct for the year, nor is the linkage to the carburetor. I see you also have an aftermarket alternator in place of the original generator. I'm sure other changes have been made to the car over the years, it is ninety one after all, but if it runs fine the way it is there are plenty of people who would encourage you to just enjoy it.
The most pressing need I can see in those pics is to swap out that fuel line for the stock arrangement. Those in-line filters can be prone to causing a restriction in fuel flow.
For 1927 standard wheels were the 21" demountables (split rim) with wire wheels an option. I can't be sure from the little picture, but I think your wheels may be in the Lego category. They look like 30 x 3½ clinchers to me. Black was the supplied color; other colors were special order or dealer-installed options.
I don't know Steve, those tires look fatter than 30 x 3 1/2, I think they may be the correct "balloon" tires.
What is the tire size molded into the side of the tires? Do the rims have a split in them that is locked by a tab and bolt, like this?
The tires are 30x3-1/2" clinchers. Not split rims.
Most of the body looks like '27, and the transmission definitely the 'improved' style, with the wider brake drum.
12 volt alternator and some sort of electronic ignition added inside the timer. The coils have a little resistor added as a jumper, but appear to still work. Runs on battery.
Thanks for the info.
Check out the mtfca encyclopedia, should answer most of your questions about what is right for your car. 26-27 is the best model t, congrats.
Thanks for the info on the tires and rims, I guess Steve's eyes are better than mine, sorry Steve.
From the MTFCA Encyclopedia:
Same wheels as above but 21 balloon tire/wheels an option.
2800I 291H Front 21 Balloon, black (1925-1927)
2800J 291I Front 21 Balloon, natural (1925-1927)
2814N 2815F Rear 21 Balloon, black (1925)
2814P 2815G Rear 21 Balloon, natural (1925)
21 wheels finished in natural wood were available in addition to the standard black.
2800A1 291J Front 30x3-1/2 Non-demountable (1926)
2800I 291H Front 21 Balloon, black (1925-1927)
2800J 291I Front 21 Balloon, natural (1925-1927)
2814F2 7698H Rear 30x3-1/2 Non-demountable (1926)
2814N2 2815J Rear 21 Balloon, black (1926-1927)
2814P2 2815M Rear 21 Balloon, natural (1926-1927)
2881 2846 Front/Rear, 21 Wire (1926-1927)
Early production continued the options available in 1925 but the 30 x 3-1/2 (all around) demountable wheels became standard after a short time, then the 21 wheels with demountable rims became standard. 21 wood wheels were the same as 1925 except for the 11 rear brake drums. Wire wheels, introduced in January 1926 in black only at first, then in several colors, became optional. These used the same 21 tires as the wooden balloon wheels. New hub caps, nickel-plated steel, were used with the wire wheels.
Standard wheels were the 21 demountables, with the wire wheels an option. Wire wheels became standard equipment in the last production on closed cars beginning in late 1926. Black was the supplied color; other colors were special order or dealer-installed options.
Strange thing happened to one coil.
I tool the T out for an airing tonight and it seemed to not be running well. Took it back to the barn and a neon tester told me that #1 cylinder was not firing. I opened the coil box and switched coils #1 and #2. Closed it up and #1 was firing. Drove down the driveway, but still didn't seem right. Back at the barn smoke was escaping from the coil box. Tar bubbling up from coil #4. What happened?
John, here's an older thread on the forum that has input from two well respected coil re-builders talking about this exact issue. Hope this helps.
Get them all rebuilt! Youll thank yourself later on.
The electronics in the timer must be an E timer. Most think it is a nice improvement and requires the resistor on each coil. Google E timer and probably get all the info you need to keep it going. They are about a $400 item, so if someone talks you into going back to original, don't just give away the E timer as there are plenty who will buy it. I run two cars on them and love them.
John, didn't see that earlier post that mentioned the electronics inside the timer and resistors, my bad. Frank is probably correct about the E-timer, so a different diagnoses is certainly needed, and my link should probably be disregarded.
I noticed the fuel line going to the filter on Your car looks like fiber reinforced plastic water line.
Replace it with a ethanol rated hose from a auto supply store and avoid trouble down the road.
When a coil cooks like that, its typically the result of a short to ground in the wire that leads to the timer. This causes the coil to fire continuously. I would suspect that before Id blame the electronic timer.
Is this a non-starter car? IF so wouldn't it have had the 30x3.5 clinchers?
The old thread was helpful. Thanks.
I'll check the timer wires to the coils. I ordered a rebuilt coil. I think that the problem is related to the coil box cover, which I had off several times and may have been installed incorrectly. Maybe.
If I clean up the erupted tar, will the coil be OK or is it shot?
The car has a starter.
I'll replace the plastic fuel lines and filter.
The coil might very well be fine, Trust me. Mine boil over if the wires to the timer short out (doesn't happen that often) and I've repaired many now.
If that coil primary was shorted to ground (Which it looks like it was), can that not damage an E-Timer?
Check the resistance across the two side terminals of that coil. Should be something like 3200 ohms. If it still reads that, you may have lucked out on the coil. If you decide to convert it back to stock ignition, you'd do well the have all 4 of them professionally rebuilt.
The presence of the little green fuse jumpers across the coil points indicates the coils are actuated by an E-Timer. Properly installed, there are several layers of protection designed to prevent this situation from occurring.
1. E-Timer internal 3.5A fuse protects the car, wiring and coil against internal E-Timer failure.
2. External 4A fuse installed in series with the coil box power wire. Protects the car wiring and coils against wiring fault. i.e. timer wire shorted to engine ground due to broken wire of timer terminal direct contact to ground.
3. External 7A fuse jumper installed across the coil points. Another layer of protection that protects the car wiring and restores normal coil point buzzing in the event a timer wire gets shorted to ground; alerting the operator of the fault.
Given the possibility the metal coil box cover may have been installed incorrectly, the coil could have over heated if the point element(before the fuse jumper) was shorted to ground by the metal cover AND no external 4A fuse was installed in the coil box power wire. Note that this scenario is completely independent from what type of timer is used. You can download the E-Timer installation and operation manual from the website: www.modeltetimer.com to verify the E-Timer is installed properly per instructions.
The coil may be re-usable provided the primary and secondary winding are not damaged. The E-Timer does not utilize the coil points for operation so just need to check the fuse jumper is not blown.
(Message edited by mkossor on June 20, 2018)
John I understand that the car now has a starter,but because it has no top (I cant tell but the rubber plugs may still be in the body where the top pivots bolt in) this car may have started as a loss leader for a dealership. They advertise this one with no starter and no top then the salesman's job was to up sell you for one of the finer machines on the lot. the starter could have been added later by simply removing the blank off plates for the generator and the starter. In 90 years a lot can happen.
The car had the threaded studs that the top ribs/ bows pivot on. The seller (to me) included a set of ribs/ bows in pretty good condition except for a missing front wooden bow, which will be the easiest to replace. I installed the posts and saddles that the folded top rests on. I think it looks better even with the skeletal top, than without anything. There were no plugged holes in the body. The top bows need a little clean up, and I'd like to get a fabric kit and re-do the top.
I just wonder if in April of '27 the factory was cleaning out old stock, and maybe that's why the fan pulley and 30 x 3-1/2 wheels don't seem right.
The engine ran (probably on 3 cylinders) after the tar eruption, so I hope the E-Timer is OK. I'll check the ohms at the coil. I'll look into adding the protective fuses. With my luck this might happen again. Fuses are good.
Thank you all, J.R.
Thanks Mike. Would I be correct in assuming the coils still have to have a good capacitor to work with the E-Timer?
Hal, No, a good capacitor is not necessary for proper E-Timer operation. The fuse jumpers effectively short out (bypass) the coil points AND capacitor which is connected across the coil points. All coil current flows through the fuse jumper regardless if the coil points are open or closed (hence bypassed). The E-Timer functions very similar to a Master Vibrator; charging and firing each coil for exactly the same regardless of the point setting on each coil. In Manual timing mode, coil charging starts immediately when the CAM position sensor is activated like the stock mechanical timer. In Automatic Timing Advance mode, the E-Timer keeps track of engine RPM and delays firing assuming the spark lever is set to full advance (55 degrees BTDC) so that the coil fires exactly at TDC at idle and automatically advances by up to 5 degrees BTDC as engine speed increases; unlike Master Vibrator operation.
I cleaned up the coil with the tar eruption. Checked firing with a neon tester. All four seem to be firing. Still not running great. I replaced the fuel filter, and will pull the plugs and look in the carburetor for foreign matter (I think that the repo carb was made in China).
Get rid of the fuel filter.
I received a rebuilt coil, after I cooked the old one. The old one measured 2300 ohms, the rebuilt one in spec. Not happy yet with the way it runs and the power output. I did discover that the throttle linkage has a catch in it. The action of the leaver at the steering wheel doesn't translate to the carb. It seems to jump in one spot from nothing to something.
Still not running well. I bent the rod that connects from the steering column rod to the vertical rod attached to the carburetor. That helped the 'catch' in the throttle control. Only about 1/4 of the throttle arc seems to have any affect on power.
I checked compression and noted 50psi on all four cylinders. A neon spark tester lights up on all cylinders. I've cleaned the spark plugs several times but they haven't been too sooty. I changed the manifold gaskets.
Today's run started out running a little rough. Didn't want to go above 25 mph on a straight flat road, (which usually it can do 40+). Would not climb grades that it can usually do. Wouldn't even make the last hill in low. The engine would rev up, but once I hit the low speed pedal, the engine would stall. It almost feels like a transmission problem.
The thing never ran well, but lately has been running worse and worse.
Don't know what to do next. Could it be the eTimer?
Doubt it'd be the timer. Try jacking up the wheels and spinning them by hand. Lift both rear wheels are see if one spins the opposite way from the other when one is spun, No tight spots ect.
I jacked up the rear wheels. Wheels were free and spun in opposite directions with no tight spots.
There was about 3/8" wobble in the right rear wheel and a 1/4" in the left side, like its loose on the wheel bearings. Also found a lot of backlash when I rotated a rear wheel forward and backward.
The rear bearings may indeed be shot, but I don't think they can cause wheel wobble. More likely that's in the wheels themselves. Actually 1/4" to 3/8" isn't bad.
Try this. With the rear end off the ground, push/pull each wheel. Is there any in/out play? The reason I ask is this: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG79.html
Has the universal joint been greased recently?
You may want to unscrew the hubcaps and double check how tight the nuts holding the wheel to the axle are if you have any doubt to the wobble.
I will check the in -out play. The wobble includes the hubs and parking brake drums. The U-joint was greased less than 100 miles ago. I'll check that. Now I want to pull the rear wheels and see what's inside, and make sure that they are tight.
There is no axial play in either axle (no pun intended).
I found that the retaining nuts could be turned in a lot on both wheels, but when I tightened them the drums rubbed on the brake shoes. But that did take all the wobble out of the wheels.
There was some, but not of dust and evidence that the drums had been rubbing on the shoes.
Could the rubbing have heated up things and caused a lot of friction?
I ran three grease cups of grease into the u-joint grease cup.
I looked in the transmission cover, and nothing looked amiss. Not even a lot of stuff on the magnet.
I ordered a couple of tapered axle shims ordered, and won't drive it until I can install those.
There is some backlash when I rotate one wheel a little backward and forward. I don't know what is normal.
Just a note; ALL cars came with a top. By 26/27 people didn't put the top down as much so rubber plugs were installed in the holes for the top rest. Can't remember for sure, but ether the screw in irons were included with the car just not installed or you could get them at the dealer and put them in.
So having the rubber plugs does not tell you anything except the irons were never put in and the top when on the car never put down or just rested on the back somewhere.
Looks like my car. When the shoes rub it does produce some heat, mine got hot enough to melt the grease in the bearings. Some shims should help nicely.
I plan to restore the top on the irons I have (purchased at swap meet by the previous owner, but needs some wood replacement). I want to get the mechanical and dependability issues fixed first.
When I get the shims, I'll install and test drive again.
BTW I found one of several smart phone apps that acts as a speedometer and odometer, and lets me 'save' trips.
Is your engine a 1927? I have to admit, 30X3 1/2 wheels look strange on a '26 or '27, but it could be a former owner didn't wish to have the new size wheels, and changed them himself? At any rate, finding 21" wheels shouldn't be difficult, unless you wish to keep what's on there. Good luck with your project.
According to the matching serial numbers on frame and engine it is April 1927. It has the coil box on top of the engine, and the 'improved' transmission with the wider brake band. The odd things are the wheels, and the fan pulley. I did see a picture of another '27 on the interweb, with the same two anomalies. I've been installing a new set of 30" x 3-1/2" tires $$$ so I'm going to stick with those. Its never going to be a museum piece, so I don't care if it shows its 'history'. I just want it to be more dependable, and I don't want to wreck anything.
I shimmed the tapered axle to wheel hubs connection. That seemed to push the parking brake drums away from the brake shoes a little. From the evidence of rubbing in the past (shinny spots and a little dust) I don't think that was my problem. It did eliminate 100% of the wheel wobble. I'll test drive today.
I did a 15 mile test drive. Ran OK. Decided to stop at a friend's house who had some "T" experience. I asked him to drive the thing. He said that the engine was skipping on and off. Back at his place, with a screw driver shorting out plugs to find the culprit, it appears that one or more coils can move away from the contacts inside the coil box. He stuffed some cardboard behind two of the coils and it ran better.
Now I have to adjust the parking brake. Rolls when parked on a slope.
I did not read every post above, so some one may have already said the following.
All the way up to and including 1927 models the clincher tires and wheels were still available on open cars, especially on non starter cars.
My 26 touring was being restored to original by the previous owner when I bought it.
It had 30 X 31/2 clinchers.
I sold them and went with ballon tires n wheels.
Evidently my car did come with starter n battery, there is no evidence of ever having had cowl lights which even 27 non starter cars had.
Interesting Aaron, I've now heard of other 'improved T's' with clincher tires.
I took out the coil box and tightened up all the electrical post/contacts, and put things back together. Road test: ran poorly, no power, and barely got home.
One coil measures 2300 ohms on the side terminals. The three others 3100-3300.
Even though the neon spark tester shows all are firing, shorting the plugs with a screw driver, makes little difference on two plugs. Three of the plugs were very sooty, and I cleaned them up. I have a replacement wiring harness, which I am going to install from the timer to the coils. Nothing has fixed the poor running yet.
Does your local club have a proper coil tester? You may need to send them to Coil Man or the Coil Doctor.
John, Poor/sluggish engine performance lacking power are classic symptoms the E-Timer was not timed properly OR has insufficient adjustment range. These are 2 very important E-Timer installation steps:
1. Set spark lever to the fully retarded position (all the way up) and adjust the timer pull rod to fire spark at 15 degrees After Top Dead Center (ATDC) to ensure safe cranking. All plugs should be removed from the head for safety, connected to their respective spark plug wires and laying on top of the head so they spark when activated.
2. Verify the E-Timer housing rotates a Minimum of 0.910" when moving the spark lever from fully retarded to fully advanced. Any less rotational travel Will result in poor engine performance due to insufficient spark advance in Automatic Timing Adjustment mode.
Fully retarded timing to greater than 15 degrees ATDC OR insufficient timer rotational travel Will result in poor engine performance. If you have not done so already, recommend you download the E-Timer installation instructions and follow them carefully. Once set properly the E-Timer provides remarkably good spark ignition for the Model T.
Thanks for the info.
Can I do these checks with the radiator in place? It's hard to get a good look at the timer otherwise.
Early last spring this engine was installed. It is the original. The one in the car when I bought it was a replacement installed so that the original could be rebuilt. Supposedly the original was professionally rebuilt, new babbit, valve job, and valve timing set. It did look great, with dippers and all. The eTimer electronics and cover were swapped from the replacement engine to the rebuilt one, when that engine was installed. There could have been a problem at that time. It has not run well since installing the rebuilt.
I will try to verify that the advance settings, and I'll review the eTimer instructions.
I'll investigate a tester for the coils.
John, Yes, you can check the timing without removing the radiator; I prefer doing that way on my 1927 Touring. A couple more comments:
1. The surface on the timing cover where the E-Timer contacts and rotates should be clean and void of paint. The E-Timer housing must make good electrical contact with the timing cover.
2. Intermittent coil contact in the coil box could have changed the E-Timer mode from Automatic Timing Advance (ATA) to Manual Timing mode. You can tell if the E-Timer is in ATA mode if the engine idle slows down after 15-30 seconds when ATA mode kicks in. If that does not happen, follow the instructions to put the E-Timer in ATA mode and make sure your coils remain in good electrical contact with the coil box contacts at all times.
3. Following the instructions to measuring E-Timer housing rotational travel. You cannot "eyeball" the measurement with accuracy as some folks have learned. If the rotational travel (fully retarded to fully advanced) is less than 0.910" you may need to change worn out timer pull rod, the coupling at the end of the spark rod or the pin that holds the coupling aligned with the spark control rod. Mine had a cotter pin installed instead of the roll pin which allowed considerable movement in the spark rod without any movement in the timer housing.
3. You can always send the E-Timer and Vane actuator back to me for a check out.
Lots to check out. I think that we are on to something.
I am getting ready to verify the E-Timer set up. I replaced the wiring harness between the timer and the coil box. I'll go back and study the set up directions.
I have a wood dowel in the #1 spark plug hole. I felt the compression, so I know I should be coming up to TDC. The timer is in an awkward place to see well. Should work on it tonight.