I have just started the process of getting a green 1926 Model T Coupe back on the road. The rear end has been on jack stands since about 2010, when the owner decided that he was no longer able to work on the car. Unfortunately, he has since passed, so information surrounding the car's current status is limited.
The rear end is up on jack stands. My knowledge of working with other vehicles tells me that the differential responds as expected, and when turned over manually (slowly), the engine generates a vacuum at the carburetor air intake and positive pressure at the end of the exhaust pipe.
Thankfully, there is no sign of rust anywhere except the exhaust pipe.
However, this leaves the transmission in questionable territory. The car does not have a floorboard, it appears to have rotted apart just before the car was left. However, we have not had any luck getting the gearbox to move. With both rear wheels in the air, turning one wheel causes the other to rotate in the opposite direction, as expected.
How would you go about analyzing the function of the transmission without moving the car?
Thanks in advance for your help!
Move brake lever all the way to the front. Have someone crank over the engine, the rear wheels should turn. Then have someone press hard on the left peddle (high-low peddle) and see if the rear wheels turn slowly when someone else cranks. Then pull the brake lever half the way back and have someone press on the middle peddle (reverse peddle). The wheels should turn backwards when someone cranks. Then push the brake lever all the way forward and have someone press hard on the right peddle (brake peddle). The person doing the cranking should not be able to crank over the engine. It is possible that one wheel will turn when doing the test if one rear brake is dragging.
The engine should have compression. Crank the engine like you were going to start it and see if there is a resistance. The resistance should peak then diminish as you get past the top of the piston stroke. Check all 4 cylinders doing this.
Take the transmission cover off an peek at the transmission. Remove any keys or anything else that might fall into the transmission. If something does fall in you will have to take the engine apart to get it out. See if the three bands have some lining left. They should be at least 1/8 inch thick.
Find someone in your area who is knowable about Model T's to help. Most people are more than happy to help an new kid.
Guess what. I live near you. I will send you a private message (PM) so see when I can come visit.
Gotcha, thank you all for the input! I'll get back over to the T and try each pedal in the positions you described. Great idea as far as cranking the engine to test the transmission--we had been trying to turn the wheels, and with them in the air, we were not having much luck.
This T does not belong to me, it has been recently been inherited by a friend of mine, so I will keep you posted when I am able to get back to it.
Other than changing the oil, coolant, and tires, should we do anything to ensure that it runs well when we try to start it for the first time? I've heard that 30wt non-detergent oil is the way to go. Is this what you use?
Also, as far as gasoline...does the T require high octane? How does it respond to ethanol in fuel?
Thanks again for your advice.
Mathew, as far as oil, pretty much any oil will do. Some prefer the 30 wt. non-detergent. I personally use 10 w 30 detergent oil, and have driven many thousand miles, and it has served me will. It does not need high octane. Actually the lowest octane gas available is probably higher than what was available in the day. Ethanol in the fuel is not a problem as long as the car is driven regularly. The main problem with the ethanol gas is that it goes bad much faster than the non-ethanol gas.
Some of this may help. http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG93.html
Thank you all for the input so far. We got to work on the T, and were able to change the oil, change the coolant, clean/gap the plugs, polish the contacts on the ignition breakers, fill and charge the battery, and regrease all the cups. The car had been stored with an empty fuel tank.
However, all that having been done, the car still will not start. The only thing I can state with 100% certainty is that the engine is getting air, and is able to compress it. The crank provides about the same amount of resistance on each cylinder, and as the engine is cranked manually, the carburetor pulls a vacuum and the exhaust pipe generates positive pressure.
Do you all have any tips for checking to see if the plugs are sparking? Or if fuel is passing through the carburetor?
Contact your local club. http://www.tarheelts.com/ There may be someone nearby that can help you.
This is not a valid test of spark plugs, but it will tell you if the ignition system is feeding current to them. Remove the plugs, leave them attached to the wires, and lay them on top of the engine. Turn the key to BAT. Slowly pull the crank. You should hear the coils buzz one at a time (1, 2, 4, 3) and see spark at the plugs.
If you haven't set the timing, you should do that too. http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG97.html
I was able to help in person this Saturday morning. The problem was a very simple one. The ignition switch on this 1926 coupe has a concentric switch for the lights and one for the ignition that is operated by turning the key. The key or lock is worn so it is won't turn without some wiggling of the key. So the ignition was off and the light switch was thought to be the ignition switch. We tested the coils and timer and everything worked as it was supposed to with some nice fat sparking. Started up on about 5 pulls of the hand crank. The starter is not working.
This car will need some additional work before it is ready for the road, but at least it is running now after being asleep since 2009.
Great news! Thanks for helping someone new to the affliction, Neil. Folks like you are what makes this community great.