The Ford Model T bridges the gap between when cars were mostly built by hand to when mass-produced, interchangeable parts came along. Sometimes, that means that the most effective way to repair one is to go back to the blacksmith-like techniques of yesteryear instead of needlessly dragging the T into the space age. If you’re used to the more modern approach, a Model T is refreshing to work on.Every car has its weak links.
On the T, those are most famously the number one main bearing (“A Ford owner had Number One Bearing constantly in mind,” E.B. Write wrote in 1936. “This bearing, being at the front end of the motor, was the one that always burned out, because the oil didn’t reach it when the car was climbing hills.”) and the thrust washers in the rear end. The ways those thrust washers can fail was discussed in the previous installment on this subject.
Bryan Cady, of Albany, New York, hasn’t had any trouble with his Model T’s number one main bearing, but earlier this year he learned firsthand why many Model T owners prophylactically replace the original-equipment babbitt thrust washers (selected for economy and ease of installation) with hard-wearing bronze or brass thrust washers.