Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

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Walter Higgins
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Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Walter Higgins » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:35 am

In the course of rebuilding my engine and reworking the magnets I'd like to add a flywheel ring gear and notch the mag ring in the event that I want to add a starter at a later date. The flywheel seems to be turned to accept a ring gear, but in place of that ring gear is a steel ring with no teeth. Assuming this is what they did on non-starter cars during the starter era, Is it simply a matter of removing that plain ring and installing a proper ring gear or have I got something else going on here?
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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Dec 10, 2019 10:58 am

The 8-5-28 parts book shows no such thing. I suspect aftermarket, though I don't know why anybody would replace a ring gear with something like that. From the pictures it looks like all you would need to install a ring gear would be a set of new screws.
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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by RajoRacer » Tue Dec 10, 2019 10:58 am

That is quite an interesting feature - the "waffle" stamping of the brass screws is definitely Ford factory work - I've torn down too many T power plants to keep count & have never seen that ring on one !


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Altair » Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:09 am

There were several makers of these flywheels even Dodge made them for Fords, it is possible that the foundry made too many of the ring gear type and rather than dispose of them converted them to
non- starter type. I can not see any aftermarket purpose for the conversion. 15 and 26 flywheels
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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Mark Gregush » Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:55 am

Almost 2020 and there is still new stuff coming to light! :o
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by John kuehn » Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:48 pm

So does the flywheel have the starter era Ford ID no. on it? I’m thinking the ID no. would be for the starter era flywheel since the fly wheel is machined for a ring gear. Or so it seems.
Does the transmission cover have the starter accommodation?
Somewhere down the line things were changed. Or so it seems!?


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Adam » Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:53 pm

I think you have something else going on there. The earliest flywheels with ring gears had two dowel pins 180 degrees apart from each other that acted as keys as a safeguard to prevent the action of the starter from shearing the 16 brass screws. These are only found on the very earliest starter type engines. If your flywheel and blank “gear” don’t have provisions for the dowel pins, then it probably isn’t something “transitional”.


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Kohnke Rebabbitting » Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:32 pm

Walter Higgins wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:35 am
In the course of rebuilding my engine and reworking the magnets I'd like to add a flywheel ring gear and notch the mag ring in the event that I want to add a starter at a later date. The flywheel seems to be turned to accept a ring gear, but in place of that ring gear is a steel ring with no teeth. Assuming this is what they did on non-starter cars during the starter era, Is it simply a matter of removing that plain ring and installing a proper ring gear or have I got something else going on here?
Wow, first one I have ever seen!

Thanks,

Herm.

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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Walter Higgins » Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:42 pm

Thanks for the input thus far. Humor me for trying to approach this from a different angle as I'm not as familiar with the later cars. In the "starter era" where a starter was an option, 1919 and later, what did you get when you ordered a non-starter car? Did they make two different flywheels?


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by John kuehn » Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:57 pm

That’s a good question! Maybe some one has a parts book to see if the non starter cars had a different part no. for the later non starter cars. Your flywheel should have a T no. stamped on it.


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:59 pm

Adam

I wonder in this case if it isn't the very definition of "transitional". Steve Tomasso pointed out the factory appearance of stippling-type peining...a feature that I too mentioned to Walter prior to his posting this interesting bit of mechanical history. I wonder if this actually predates the starter option by perhaps a few weeks or months after flywheels were machined but starters or ring gears were not on the line yet.

My dad has a '19 hack that has Liberty electric ammeter and (had a) very early generator with non-removable cover (the generator which sadly disappeared during a motor rebuild). I wonder if very early on, there were modified flywheels coming down the line and no starters/ring gears on the line to fit the bill...those magnet screws need something to screw into. I'm not ignoring the dowel pins on early ring gears...just wondering if this doesn't actually predate them for an extremely short period for a very narrow range of vehicles...All pure speculation, of course, but the peining on the screws sets me down this path.

But for that stippled peining, I'd dismiss this a depression-era fix/hodge-podge of some sort, but I can't just yet.
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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by HPetrino » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:12 pm

This is all very interesting. Given what we know about Henry Ford's frugality, it would seem to me that when starter cars were introduced in 1919 he would use the same flywheel for all, simply installing the ring gear on starter equipped cars and not on non-starter cars. I'm having trouble discerning what purpose the "blank" ring gear may have served, aftermarket or otherwise.

I don't know much about post-1919 non-starter cars, so my thinking could be wrong. Were different flywheels used?

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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Walter Higgins » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:22 pm

To add to this further, I'm going to leave out of it what "year" engine this is. Even good complete stuff has had parts switched out and in this case this engine is an amateur "rebuild" that I'm going through and reworking the mistakes. The parts on the whole unit, both internal and external, range from 1913 to about 1920, so no sense in going down that road other than to examine the details of the specific part in question.


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:40 pm

Henry

the magnet keeper screws screw into the ring gear. If it was absent (and the flywheel was machined to accept one) there would be no method of fastening the keepers, so the "blank" or dummy ring gear serves a function.
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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Joe Bell » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:52 pm

Just tore down a 19 with out a starter, ring gear was on the flywheel, I suspect some one had a flywheel with bad teeth and chucked it up and turned them off on a big lathe? Looks original screws as they said earlier.

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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:56 pm

Looking again at the 8-5-28 parts book, we find two flywheels listed. 3269C is for 1911-1919. 3269G is for 1919-1927. I assume that A and B were before 1911, and that D, E, and F were variations between 1911 and 1919. If you are replacing an earlier flywheel, the book tells you to order 3269C and a 3268 ring gear (only one listed,1919-1927). I gather this applies to both starter and non-starter cars. That goes along with the 1919-1925 and 1926-1927 hogsheads. Both were made to accommodate a starter, whether the car had one or not. Hogsheads on non-starter cars came with block-off plates over the starter, Bendix, and generator openings (3381, 3382, and 3017D).

Given the comments about never seeing this before (it's certainly new to me), I expect it is a rare item, produced briefly just before or during the transition to starters in 1919. What's the assembly date of your engine, Walter?
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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Walter Higgins » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:20 pm

Joe Bell wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:52 pm
Just tore down a 19 with out a starter, ring gear was on the flywheel, I suspect some one had a flywheel with bad teeth and chucked it up and turned them off on a big lathe? Looks original screws as they said earlier.
Without knowing what was and was not available in the way of factory parts, this is one of the things I was wondering. Even without a big lathe, my Van Norman Rotary Broach (which is made to service flywheels) would be able to take off the teeth with a little special effort. Perhaps a screwed up ring gear flywheel was destined for a non-starter car and they just didn't care to have the teeth in there for no reason.

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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Walter Higgins » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:21 pm

Steve Jelf wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:56 pm

Given the comments about never seeing this before (it's certainly new to me), I expect it is a rare item, produced briefly just before or during the transition to starters in 1919. What's the assembly date of your engine, Walter?
See three posts above yours.

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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Walter Higgins » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:29 pm

Walter Higgins wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:20 pm
Without knowing what was and was not available in the way of factory parts, this is one of the things I was wondering. Even without a big lathe, my Van Norman Rotary Broach (which is made to service flywheels) would be able to take off the teeth with a little special effort. Perhaps a screwed up ring gear flywheel was destined for a non-starter car and they just didn't care to have the teeth in there for no reason.
I'm going to quote myself here! Can somebody post a close-up of the gashed side of the teeth of a known original ring gear? On the photos of the reproductions I see the gash runs so close to the screw holes that I don't think it would machine away. My ring doesn't show the remains of any gashes unless it's flipped over, but even then I think I'd see evidence of that on the edge. Maybe Ford didn't gash them quite as close.


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Autie » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:37 pm

Just curious, does the ring line up perfectly with the flywheel? Is there a "lip" anywhere on the ring/flywheel where they join together that overlaps one another? If not, I would think Mr Bell is correct about the lathe. If not then added at the factory(?)


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by John kuehn » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:22 pm

Since the brad marks on the magnet screws look like factory bradding marks the ring gear could be a turned down ring gear. Just out of curiosity if it is a factory turned down ring gear it should have Ford on it and “maybe” a Ford no. on it? I can’t remember if they had Ford markings or not. But if it does that would be a definite clue that the flywheel was turned down at the factory. Just a guess.

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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by RajoRacer » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:29 pm

Thanks for the proper terminology Scott !

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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Corey Walker » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:59 pm

Here are pictures of both sides of a presumably original ring gear and a pic of a reproduction. It looks like it roils be possible to machine an original and the gash marks not be present.
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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:17 pm

See three posts above yours.

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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Wayne Sheldon » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:26 pm

Well, I did see such a ring before, However, the application was different, and I have not seen a similar one since. I was told what I saw was from an early Fordson tractor, but I don't know, I have doubts about that. The flywheel I had did have the magnets and screws like this one, with the toothless ring. And it also appeared factory made.
The flywheel I had was clearly model T in origin, however, the center was machined differently, a bit thinner. The three holes for the triple gears were there, but had never been finished. The flywheel was still bolted onto what appeared to be an output shaft that looked a lot like the T shaft for the drums to run on, but was twice as long! Along with this odd flywheel, was the remains of a coil ring. It looked just like any common '20s era T coil ring, except that it had only three evenly spaced mounting holes instead of the four that a T uses. Evidently, the flywheel and the coil ring were from the same something.
I have mentioned this flywheel and ring on the forum in years past. Nobody seemed to be sure what it was, and some indicated that the Fordson tractors they were familiar with did not use an altered T flywheel. So, I really don't know for certain what it was from. But whatever it was, it was factory made, and maybe by Ford. Remember, the flywheel was altered from an apparent Ford factory one that did NOT have finished triple gear pin holes! I always surmised that the flywheel was likely rejected for some minor flaw and relegated to whatever the modified use. Henry disliked waste.

Maybe someone here that really knows early Fordsons can enlighten this subject?

Regardless its use. It existed, it appeared to be factory, and the toothless ring was manufactured. They may have been available to rebuilders, and at some point installed in an engine.

As far as the crossover non-starter cars go. If I recall correctly from past forums, some of our better researchers stated that for part of 1919, non-starter flywheels were used in non-starter cars. However, about mid '19, Ford's record of changes said that all cars would receive transmissions with ring gears. However (again), empirical (survivor vehicles) evidence indicates that TT trucks continued to get non-gear transmissions at least til the end of 1919, and likely for a short while into 1920. Whether these few may have had the bolting ring is not known. Given how rare these toothless rings are, I consider if unlikely that Ford would have used them in the TTs. The extended use of non-starter transmissions in TTs was probably simply to use up such transmissions on hand.
All this timing is somewhat speculative. However, remember, although we like to think of all 1919s having starters available? Actually, there were some usual delays in production, and even the enclosed cars did not get starters until about December 1918 (nearly three months into the '19 model year!), at which time they became standard on the enclosed cars only. For open cars, even the option for the electrics package (starter, generator, battery etc) did not come about until about April of 1919.

As I recall, I think earlier this past year, however, maybe last year? There was a new poster discussion about his 1919 coupe not having a starter. It was a '19 body, not the earlier style used in '18. There was some indications the car was built very late calendar 1918, and therefore a '19 model, without a starter.


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:59 pm

Thanks for info, Wayne!

much of your post is a new education for me and I appreciate it.
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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Wayne Sheldon » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:52 pm

Thank you for that Scott C ! It is nice to know it is appreciated. I do tend to rattle on, and try to be as accurate as I can without going on forever. I am not nearly as organized as some of our better researchers. Dan T and Jerry VanO (to name only two of several) usually post some really nice pictures, ads, and actual change notes. What I did have bookmarked on a previous computer was lost in a system meltdown a few years back. I had wanted to back them up for some time, but my helper seemed always unavailable for assistance.
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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by BobShirleyAtlantaTx » Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:50 pm

Dose the Mag ring have a starter notch?

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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Walter Higgins » Tue Dec 10, 2019 10:32 pm

Corey Walker wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:59 pm
Here are pictures of both sides of a presumably original ring gear and a pic of a reproduction. It looks like it roils be possible to machine an original and the gash marks not be present.
Thanks for the photos, Corey. I agree that based on what you show there that no gash marks would be present were the teeth to be machined away from an original ring gear.

BobShirleyAtlantaTx wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:50 pm
Dose the Mag ring have a starter notch?
Bob, see my third post in the thread.


Thanks to the others that have chimed in. At this point I kind of hate to take the ring off if it's truly a factory oddity. I'll tear into the trans first and see what's what. If the flywheel has some other ailments, perhaps I'll source a different one for my ring gear conversion and save this one for posterity.


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Original Smith » Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:52 am

Sure looks factory to me. I didn't know Ford was using aluminum magnet spacers that early?


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Scott_Conger » Wed Dec 11, 2019 11:57 am

Coming back to this thread and studying the photos at highest magnification, I would be inclined to rule out the teeth having been turned off of the gear post installation. First, it makes no sense as nothing is gained, second it would be all but impossible to turn off the teeth in a lathe (and it was a lathe as a mill leaves an entirely different lay on the metal), as there is "zero" touch on the cast iron flywheel from the lathe tool. It would be very difficult to have done such a perfect job on the OD of the "ring" gear in matching the OD without having the tool at least touch the cast iron...and again, why would any mechanic/machinist make that extrordinary effort of precision/perfection if they were simply trying to remove teeth? Dead nuts OD would be the least of their worries, not to mention it would be a significant undertaking on quite a large lathe to accomplish all of this.

That thing was made this way and installed, and by all appearances/evidence, installed at the FORD factory or agency.

I make the effort to duplicate the stippled peining on my work, but cannot imagine anyone, certainly back when this was installed, in attempting to duplicate the factory tool. Time is money. In a normal shop, two whacks with a ball pein hammer and it's upset enough to move on to the next one.
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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Piewagon » Wed Dec 11, 2019 3:40 pm

Somewhat off subject but not totally - Many years ago when I was designing the Model T Pinion Bearing kit for Fun Projects, Inc I was at what was then the Henry Ford museum archives and the Benson Research Center was not built yet. I was there to obtain all the drawings of the various parts that comprised the "stock" pinion bearing setup so that I could make sure that all the bearing parts of my kit would fit exactly with the regular Ford parts. To my surprise while looking at the DRIVE SHAFT SLEEVE drawing there was a second drawing of a Drive Shaft Sleeve that was identical to the DRIVE SHAFT SLEEVE that was commonly known to us except it was bored to an inside diameter of .990" which is about .010" under sized. In all other respects it was the same sleeve as the ones I had seen many times. On this FACTORY DRAWING was the notation that it was being created in order to "salvage" "Miss Machined" drive shafts. No indication on the drawing that I recall but clearly drive shafts had a critical O.D. to press fit the sleeve and if machined incorrectly the driveshaft would have been an expensive thing to use as a tent stake or other "salvage" market item for junk. Often wondered if anyone ever ran into a driveshaft that was .010 undersized since a new sleeve would have spun loose on such a shaft.

I think that Ford was likely very surprised by the popularity of his "self starter" setup for the T and underestimated how many would be sold at the beginning. It is possible the new design flywheel may have been miss machined in some fashion and Ford was salvaging them to non starter equipped car orders by making the ring. Totally possible and probably more commonly done to salvage parts than we know about. I for one NEVER saw yet a driveshaft that had a .010 undersized sleeve pressed on it but I sure DID see the drawing that they were made and used. Could be a similar situation here. Would Ford want to toss away a miss-machined flywheel back then???

On a secondary note I have in my barn a flywheel that came off a 1919 equipped with ring gear and it had several dowel pins (not just 2 of them at 180 degrees apart) very neatly placed around the perimeter to place the ring gear in a precise location but later Ford simply used the magnet keeper screws. Dowel pins most likely denote a 1919 model but I have not verified that via a Ford Archived drawing.


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Kerry » Wed Dec 11, 2019 4:56 pm

John.
Doweling may have been done at a factory level? but I know it's done in re-builds, I've done several myself over the years on bad fitting ring gears.
As for the pinion sleeve, I wish that they could be bought or still made as I've come across shafts that sure could use them :)


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Wayne Sheldon » Wed Dec 11, 2019 5:51 pm

I absolutely agree with Scott C's assessment concerning post manufacturing machining of the ring. Had exactly the same conclusions myself when I zoomed in.

John R, Many years ago, I had a driveshaft that could not use any (new or original) driveshaft bearing sleeve I had. Can't say for sure, but I would guess it was undersize just about .010 inch. We tried a few sleeves, all fit the same. The consensus of opinion at the time was that it was worn that much. However, there was NO sign of unevenness or gouging like is usually found on one worn that much. I ended up sending it to a machinist to cut it down for an added Muncie transmission, therefore eliminating the undersize problem.
It did not have a sleeve on it when I got it.
Maybe I should have preserved it?


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Chris Haynes » Wed Dec 11, 2019 6:06 pm

I[ am in the process of tearing down my nonelectric 1921. I found an original Ford script head gasket and standard bore pictons. This engine is well past being worn out. :-) I assume that it has never been torn down before. At any rate here is a picture of my no stater flywheel with a virgin ring gear on it.

Sorry. This site won't post my picture saying it is too big.


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by tom_strickling » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:25 pm

For what it's worth, I have a 1921 TT that never had a starter but was equipped with a ring gear and starter hogshead. It also had no holes drilled for a starter foot switch to mount or holes in the running board brackets to accommodate a battery carrier. I think it is strange they seemed to differentiate frames as starter or non starter given the lack of these holes.

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Walter Higgins
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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Walter Higgins » Wed Dec 11, 2019 11:02 pm

Chris Haynes wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 6:06 pm
I[ am in the process of tearing down my nonelectric 1921. I found an original Ford script head gasket and standard bore pictons. This engine is well past being worn out. :-) I assume that it has never been torn down before. At any rate here is a picture of my no stater flywheel with a virgin ring gear on it.

Sorry. This site won't post my picture saying it is too big.
(This is the photo Chris was trying to attach.)
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Haynes ring gear.jpg

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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Walter Higgins » Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:39 pm

I'm glad for the added discussion as it has caused me to look closer. Also, John's input regarding undersized driveshafts is interesting whether or not it is directly applicable here. I wasn't aware of that.

With respect to machining, as I mentioned above, a Van Norman Rotary Broach (which used to be a common piece of equipment in engine machine shops prior to aluminum heads becoming so popular) could be set up to cut the teeth off a ring gear without the need for a large swing lathe. In one of its forms it is essentially a reconfigured vertical spindle Bullard lathe.

Also, the ring does protrude from the o.d. of the iron flywheel about 0.003 to 0.005 all around. That said, I started going around it really close and now see something that I didn't notice before -- sections where there looks to be a rolled burr on the flywheel side of the ring. In the attached I picked out a piece and am pointing at it so you can see it better.

So with that I'm sort of leaning toward it being a turned down ring gear. As to who did it I cannot say but, if after the factory, somebody like me might. It doesn't make sense from a practical standpoint, but if it was shot, it was going in a non-starter engine, I didn't want to get my hands cut up handling it, and I had the machine laying around that could cut it, I would spend the time do it. The set-up time is less than the time it takes for a potential cut from a gnarly ring gear to heal!
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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:30 pm

That is some compelling evidence, I'll admit!
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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by Walter Higgins » Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:39 pm

Sorry I didn't see that before. There are only sections of it and I had to spin it around to find that.


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Re: Is this a "dummy" flywheel ring gear for a non-starter car?

Post by J1MGOLDEN » Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:24 pm

I bought an early Hand Crank Coil Tester with a flywheel like that on it.

I suspected the teeth were removed in a large lathe to keep them from catching on a workers clothes.

Someplace I read that all flywheels produced after 1919 had the ring gear with the starter gear ring attached, just in case the buyer wanted to spend the $60 and upgrade later.

Perhaps after his wife refused to crank the engine anymore.

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