Category: Ford Model T

How to Drive a Ford Model T… – @FordModelT.net

How to Drive a Ford Model T… – @FordModelT.net

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Excellent content from FordModelT.net

Contents

Controls of the Ford Model T
Starting the Engine
Making the Car Move…
Stopping
Hill Climbing
Steering
Drawbacks of a Two Speed Gearbox
Maneuvering a Model T
A Three Point Turn
The Transmission
Interactive Gearbox Simulator
How to Drive a Ford Model T in Plain English (Summary)

For the visual learners out there, the following video shows you what to do. If you learn better by reading, the “how to” section is below the video.

With the car on level ground and the engine off, climb up behind the wheel. Notice the hand lever on the floor to your left, the two levers on the steering column beneath the steering wheel, and the three pedals on the floor.

Let’s start with the hand lever. All the way back it sets the rear wheel parking/emergency brakes and puts the transmission in neutral. Half-way released it maintains neutral, and fully released it engages the planetary transmission in high gear. Feel it a few times, notice that it holds the left pedal in neutral mid-position, then release it, and notice that the left pedal is all the way up.

Next, the lever to the left beneath the steering wheel is the spark adjust advance/retard from before top dead center ignition to after top dead center. To retard the spark it is moved up, to advance the spark it is moved down. The Model T is always started in the retard position, as it was designed to be started by hand cranking. Unless it is retarded the engine can and will KICK BACK and do damage to hands, wrists and arms. NEVER crank it except in the retard position. After the engine is running, the lever can be moved down to advance the ignition until the engine chuckles smoothly, and when rolling to get the best performance.

Controls of the Ford Model T

The lever to the right is the throttle lever, there is no foot pedal like a modern car. Up is idle speed, down is as fast as it will go. Maximum performance in a Model T is like with a mule, with both ears laid back.

Next, the foot pedals on the floorboard –
The left foot pedal changes your forward gear ratios, up is high, down is low. The Model T has just those two forward ratios, high gear and low gear. Midway between high and low is the neutral “out of gear” position of the left pedal.

To engage first gear, let the handbrake lever off and push the pedal all the way down until it becomes HARD. Pull the handbrake up and feel how the lever holds neutral position on the gear pedal.

The center pedal is for reverse gear engagement, but either the hand lever or the left pedal must be in neutral position before engagement, or the engine will stall. All the way down HARD is reverse position.

The right pedal is the brake. It engages a band around a braking drum in the transmission, operating in the engine oil bath. Therefore, to avoid burning off the oil due to friction heat, and wearing out the band quickly, apply the brake in relatively short duration thrusts to allow the oil to wash and continue lubricating and cooling it.

Note: The Ford Model T only applies braking to the rear wheels.


Braking by right pedal is via the driveline to the rear wheels only, does not actuate the rear drum brakes, and can cause dangerous skids in slick road conditions, as the differential will allow one wheel to spin forward and the other backward. Therefore, in slick conditions, use the hand lever to apply braking to the rear drum brakes.

Starting the Engine


Get the feel of the controls, they will become familiar quickly

1. Raise the right side of the engine hood and check that the engine oil level is adequate, within the limits prescribed. This is done by opening the lower petcock at the rear of the engine. If it does not flow, close the lower petcock, open the upper petcock and add oil until oil flows from the upper petcock. Close the upper petcock, lower and latch the hood.

2. Remove the radiator cap and top off the radiator with fresh water and/or antifreeze solution in freezing weather. A 30-40% methanol (wood alcohol)/ water solution may be used, but a 50% ethylene glycol/water solution is recommended for all seasons.

Please observe that the hand crank is located in the center of the car below the radiator. To crank the engine, one must stand in the path the car will take if the engine starts while in gear. The car is NOT OUT OF GEAR UNLESS the Emergency brake/neutral lever is all the way back and the rear brakes set. This must be done FIRST, or you will get run over by your own car should the engine start, MOST EMBARRASSING!

NEXT, move the spark advance/retard lever all the way up to retard position. Move the throttle lever down approximately ? of the quadrant.

Observe that the Magneto/OFF/Battery Switch (or key) on the coil box or dash panel is in the OFF position. The Model T may be started in either Magneto or Battery position, usually in Battery position unless the battery has lost charge.

Observe the wire ring at the lower left corner of the radiator as you face the car. This is the pull wire of the hand choke. PULL IT OUT.

With the switch (or key) OFF, push the crank in and crank the engine over one or two turns, finishing by coming up against compression and just past.

Turn the Magneto/OFF/Battery switch to Battery. The coils will buzz, and sometimes the engine will start without further cranking, especially if warm. If it doesn’t, the engine must be cranked through one more cycle of intake/compression. Do this carefully with your LEFT hand, pulling up ONLY by ratcheting the crank as necessary. Do not grip the crank handle but cup it in the palm of the hand with the thumb on the same side of the handle as the fingers. As the cylinder begins to come up on compression, ratchet the crank down to the bottom. Now pull up swiftly, and the engine will start. If not, repeat the process.

WARNING!

NEVER start the car with your right hand. If the engine were to misfire or kick back, you would likely suffer a broken wrist and/or arm. The right hand may be used for priming the engine, as you need your left hand free to operate the choke, but when ever the ignition switch is ON, you MUST use your left hand. again, do not grip the crank handle but cup it in the palm of the hand with the thumb on the same side of the handle as the fingers.

The WRONG
 Way
The RIGHT
 Way

In cold weather the choke may need to be left out until the engine warms. It may be released (or set) from the driver’s seat by pushing down the choke/carburetor adjust knob to the right side of the dash panel.

Speed up the engine with the throttle lever, advance the ignition with the advance/retard lever about half-way, then return the engine speed to an idle. It will now chuckle over smoothly at about 400 rpm.

Read on

The Gilmore Car Museum Model T Driving Experience – @IronTrapGarage

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The Gilmore Car Museum offers an amazing program called “The Model T Driving Experience”

. This program will take you on a crash course on the history of the Ford Model T and give you hands on experience behind the wheel of one!

You will get to drive one of the many Model T’s in the museum’s collection and drive 3 miles around the historic campus. –

The Gilmore Car Museum –

Website – https://www.gilmorecarmuseum.org/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GilmoreCarMu…

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/gilmorecarm…

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrno…

How I’m weighing period perfection against period plausibility in the fuel system of my 1921 Ford Model T – David Conwill @Hemmings

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If this is the first time you’re hearing about my 1921 Ford Model T gow-job project (“gow job” being 1930s slang for what we’d now call a hot rod), I encourage you to go back and read the first and second installments for the background, where I’ve explained my motivation to update my century-old touring car to circa 1934 technology.

Me in a T, back in 2012. The seating position in my car is going to be the same as this 1915 in the Piquette museum. You don’t really sit in a T—more like on it. Photo by Tony Jesuale.

The short explanation being: I’ve always wanted to own a ’30s-style hot rod, I’ve always wanted to own a Model T touring car, and I feel like this will make my T and a lot of others like it more likely to see the road than collect dust in a garage

.This month, I wanted to cover the last of the major chassis modifications—that is, things that make the car drive differently rather than things that make it look different. The remaining topics are the fuel system and the electrical system.

However, I found myself going a bit long attempting to address both systems in one entry. I’ll therefore be saving my electrical plans for next month.

The fuel system consists of everything from the fuel tank to the carburetors, including the tank itself, the sediment bulb and fuel filter, the fuel pump, the carburetors, and the intake manifold. Each area presents its own challenges in hewing as close as possible to my 1934ish time frame without compromising function

From 1909 to 1925, Ford put the fuel tank of a Model T under the front seat. E.B. White quipped that refueling was “a social function,” because everyone was required to get out so the cushion could be removed for access.

Most gow jobbers of the early 1930s would have relocated the fuel tank out back and chopped the seat riser, so as to sit down more inside the body.

If I were a shorter fellow, that might tempt me, but I’ll at least be starting out with the stock tank in the stock location.

One problem I do share with many of those early speed demons is that of a fuel pump. Ford didn’t incorporate a mechanical fuel pump in its cars until 1932. A Model T or A in stock configuration feeds via gravity, but if you move the tank out back (as Ford did in 1932 and many gow jobbers around the same time) or, as I plan to, switch to downdraft carburetion, you have to provide a means of moving the fuel.

Read on

How I plan to upgrade the engine, transmission, rear axle, and driveline on my 1921 Ford Model T – David Conwill @Hemmings

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I’ve been nattering about this project for a few years now, as the plans have morphed based on my resources. Last month, I unveiled the first installment in a series of articles discussing, in depth, the recipe I’ve worked out with my friend Clayton Paddison to turn a well-preserved 1921 Ford Model T touring car into something capable of running on modern roads without hanging an orange triangle on the back

The blueprint we’ve laid out uses 1920s and ’30s technology to expand the capabilities of the Model T’s 1900s design in much the same way a driver in that era might have done so. The previous installment dealt with the chassis and brakes. This month, I want to explain our plans for the powertrain: engine, transmission, rear axle, and driveline.

The engine on a hot rod should never be an afterthought, yet on my car it’s getting only mild attention. That’s because it’s an original, 99-year-old (June 1921) engine that still runs well.

I know that if I were to start hotting it up, it would quickly collapse under the strain. On a pre-1927 Model T engine (engines stayed in production through December August 1941), the biggest weakness is the “bent-paperclip” crankshaft.Eventually, when the reservoir of fun tickets has refilled, I will build the “big” engine—starting with a 1926-’27 block and EE-series crank and capped off with a pair of Stromberg 81s on an Evans intake.

Beyond that, who knows? Maybe by then I’ll have acquired the Rajo Model A head I’ve always wanted. Alternately, I’ve also got a ’28 Chevrolet head bumping around here that I can’t bear to part with.

Until then, a set of aluminum pistons and a few mild bolt-ons will suffice. The original intake manifold and Kingston L4 will be set aside and replaced with a “straight-through” Holley NH and an aftermarket high-volume intake manifold. The straight-through NH was a short-lived version of the common Model T carburetor that flows slightly better than the norm and the high-volume intake is a necessity to take advantage of its potential.

Read on

How I plan to make my 1921 Ford Model T more capable, starting with chassis and brake upgrades – David Conwill @Hemmings

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It’s weird to think I own a car that is 99 years old. Of course, if we do things correctly, it will be like owning a car that’s only 86. That’s right: I’m updating my 1921 Ford Model T touring car with the best of 1934 technology, or at least “the best” insofar as updating a Model T is concerned.

One of the wheels just before I shipped it out to Clayton. It’s 19 inches, as used on a 1930 or ’31 Chevrolet. The 1932 Ford Model B hubcap fits like it was made for it.

I could get into an extended explanation of why people modified Model Ts extensively once their ubiquity was established, and I could tell you all about my belief that performing period-correct modifications makes the Model T far more usable on 21st-century roads without sacrificing its historical character.

Let’s save that for another time, though. Let’s discuss the how.I sat down on Saturday, November 28, for what ended up being a three-hour conversation with Clayton Paddison about the modifications planned for my T. Clayton has been a good friend of mine for probably 10 years now.

This is a kit to install external-contracting Rocky Mountain brakes on a 1926-’27 Ford rear axle. The bands (which will be re-lined with an improved friction material) grab the outside of the 11-inch parking-brake drums. The kit was manufactured in the 1990s and never installed.

His jaw-dropping 1927 roadster is, for many, the quintessential modern gow job (defined briefly as an early-1930s style hot rod). Clayton has a full-time job and as also runs Paddison Pre-War and Model T.

He’s also dad to three. When he offered to devote some of his precious time to shepherding the heavy lifting on my Model T build, I gratefully took him up. I’m a lot better with a pen or a camera than I am with fabricating.Earlier this year, Clayton spotted a great deal on a touring car locally and suggested I jump on it as a shortcut to having a T sooner than my original plan to build from parts.

 I was able to make it happen, but almost to our dismay, what appeared initially to be an older restoration seems to mostly be an original. We amended our initial, rather aggressive plans for modification in favor of something more suited to preserving the surviving originality of my car. The new plan, I feel, makes for a car that will be capable of any driving I may want from it and still has the early ’30s gow-job feeling I want to experience

Read on

Cleveland museum recalls car shopping 100 years ago – Larry Edsall @ClassicCars.com

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(Editor’s note: The Western Reserve Historical Society, which includes the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, recently published the following article in its newsletter and we’ve been granted permission to share it with our readers.)

What better way to usher in the coming year than with the purchase of a brand new car? Hypothetically, let’s say you are shopping for a new Ford, for example. Now, to have some fun, let’s say you were shopping for a new Ford exactly 100 years ago. What would be on offer, and what would the experience for today’s consumer be like? Let’s listen in on the conversation between ‘C,’ the customer, and ‘D,’ the dealer.

‘D’: ‘Good morning little lady, what can we do for you?’

‘C’: (With a slight frown), ‘I’m interested in buying a new car, and I see you’ve got plenty on hand.’

‘D’: ‘Sure do Miss, fresh off the assembly line in Detroit. We’ve got whatever you need; a Sedan, a Coupe, a Roadster Pickup, a Runabout, and a top-of-the-line Touring, all courtesy of Mr. Henry Ford.’

‘C’: ‘Are these the famous Model T’s I’ve heard so much about?’

Read on

How I plan to upgrade the engine, transmission, rear axle, and driveline on my 1921 Ford Model T – David Conwill @Hemmings

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‘ve been nattering about this project for a few years now, as the plans have morphed based on my resources. Last month, I unveiled the first installment in a series of articles discussing, in depth, the recipe I’ve worked out with my friend Clayton Paddison to turn a well-preserved 1921 Ford Model T touring car into something capable of running on modern roads without hanging an orange triangle on the back.

The blueprint we’ve laid out uses 1920s and ’30s technology to expand the capabilities of the Model T’s 1900s design in much the same way a driver in that era might have done so. The previous installment dealt with the chassis and brakes. This month, I want to explain our plans for the powertrain: engine, transmission, rear axle, and driveline.

Engine

The engine on a hot rod should never be an afterthought, yet on my car it’s getting only mild attention. That’s because it’s an original, 99-year-old (June 1921) engine that still runs well.

I know that if I were to start hotting it up, it would quickly collapse under the strain. On a pre-1927 Model T engine (engines stayed in production through December 1941), the biggest weakness is the “bent-paperclip” crankshaft.Eventually, when the reservoir of fun tickets has refilled, I will build the “big” engine—starting with a 1926-’27 block and EE-series crank and capped off with a pair of Stromberg 81s on an Evans intake. Beyond that, who knows? Maybe by then I’ll have acquired the Rajo Model A head I’ve always wanted.

Alternately, I’ve also got a ’28 Chevrolet head bumping around here that I can’t bear to part with.Until then, a set of aluminum pistons and a few mild bolt-ons will suffice. The original intake manifold and Kingston L4 will be set aside and replaced with a “straight-through” Holley NH and an aftermarket high-volume intake manifold.

The straight-through NH was a short-lived version of the common Model T carburetor that flows slightly better than the norm and the high-volume intake is a necessity to take advantage of its potential.Bigger, one-piece valves and a high-lift camshaft will further the performance enhancements, permitting more mixture into the cylinders.

To make sure that charge is properly tumbled and squeezed, I’ve also sent Clayton an aluminum “Z” Head which has about 6:1 compression (stock was 4.5:1—gas wasn’t great in the ’20s—and the practical maximum for an L-head engine is around 7 or 7.5:1, but that’s awful hard on the bottom end of a stockish T engine) and the efficient combustion chambers advocated by the great Harry Ricardo.

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Find of the Day: If you buy this 1925 Ford Model T speedster, please don’t mess it up – David Conwill @Hemmings

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I’m serious. This 1925 Ford Model T for sale on Hemmings.com is perfect as is, and I don’t say that lightly. Modifying a car is a highly personal endeavor and ultimately only the designer must be pleased.

Very rarely do I come across an already modified vehicle where I wouldn’t be tempted to change something.There are a lot of Model T speedsters out there. Just removing the body and driving a T that way could be considered the speedster treatment—it certainly strips off a lot of weight.

Not all speedsters are beautiful, but some are incredible—Bugattis built of tractor parts. Others are in between.

This car isn’t a Bugatti, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s long and low and looks fast even as it stands still.

The retention of the fenders and hood add a very civilized air to what is otherwise a pretty bare-bones affair. The kicked-out front axle (on what appears to be a 1926-’27 chassis, 21-inch wheels included; the most fully developed Model T) extends the wheelbase somewhat and really improves the looks as well.

It’s worth mentioning that while the description says the car has four-wheel drum brakes, there aren’t any front brakes, just a speedometer drive. There are aftermarket brakes visible on the rear, however.

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Hand fettled parts; for when a machine shop isn’t available – David Conwill @Hemmings

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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.

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October 1, 1908: Pass Me? Not a Chance — Reblog from Wretched Richard’s Almanac

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Automobiles had been around for decades as we entered the 20th century but they were scarce and rather pricey. That was about to change. On October 1, 1908, a new sort of vehicle hit the streets. Known variously as the Tin Lizzie, Leaping Lena or the Flivver, the Ford Model T was the people’s car, […]

October 1, 1908: Pass Me? Not a Chance — Wretched Richard’s Almanac