I’m new here and wanted to say hello and tell you where I’m at with my Model T, which was
running when parked in the garage, around 1981.
Before dad got it, the magnetos were replaced with an Argentine Jeep distributor but the all the magneto parts came with it. The front spring, where it mounts to the axle has been turned around (does this make sense?) lowering the front end slightly to improve handling, if I remember correctly.
It does have an electric starter and the gas cap has a tire valve soldered to it so the passenger can pressurize the gas tank with a tire pump in order to make it up steep grades without going in reverse.
The original upholstery is still protected by period seat covers tacked over.
It came with a gas heater “Southwind”, IIRC) probably not original—dad took it out because we though it was a fire hazard.
Sadly the car wasn’t on jack stands so the tires are, of course, ruined.
I’m thinking first I’ll pull the spark plugs and see if the motor is free, maybe run some kerosene though the cylinders to free it up, drain the old oil and give her fresh fluids, hook up a new battery, add fresh gas and see if she’ll turn over.
I still have dad’s Floyd Clymer’s Model T restoration books to guide me----I just have to find them.
Any thoughts or suggestions would be mightily appreciated
Sounds like a neat project! My first suggestion would be to get a copy of the Ford service manual and read through it to become familiar with the systems.
There is also some good stuff here:
Don Booth on the MTFCA forum is the guru on Fordors, he has redone several in the past.
Mark is giving you some great advice - the Ford shop manual is very useful and well worth the cost of ownership.
My Fordor has an aluminum body. The fenders, aprons, hood and radiator shell are steel, though.
That’s pretty typical of 1923 - 24 Fordors. I would even go as far as to say it’s expected.
Today I discovered my dad’s collection of Model T books which I hope will prevent me from making mistakes working on his T.
Wait it’s two model Ts now as I found a basket case----frame, axles, springs, wheels and engine
It’s funny how this stuff happens!
Here’s what I have:
The Model T Ford Owner, by Murray Fahnestock
The Ford Owner’s Handbook of Repair and Maintenance Models T and A,
by Floyd Clymer
Model T Ford Service, by Ford Motor Company (reprint)
Model T Ford Service Bulletin Essentials, published by Post Era Books
Model T Ford Restoration Handbook, Clymer Publications
Henry’s Wonderful Model T 1908-1927, by Floyd Clymer
Is this enough info to get started? Any other publications you’d care to recommend? I know the basket case T is going to be a real handful!
That’s a great collection of books. I would say that you have everything that you need except perhaps a link to Langs: Lang’s Model T Parts
I need to get the Fordor where I can move her around so tires are in order.
The spare doesn’t look good so I figure four tires and tubes to start. I won’t be sure how the flaps are until I start installing the tires.
I did order some inner tubes, so now I have to figure out what I want to do about tires. Used tires will certainly work for rolling the car around the garage but eventually I need some good tires. Wards are within my budget—what’s the verdict?
I think the Wards tires are dandy. There are several good choices. It might be a good idea to call around and see what is really in stock and where. Shipping can be a lot of money. You might check with Summit Racing, they stock T tires and have free shipping.
Thanks for the tip.
So far I haven’t come across any dealers on the West coast so free shipping definitely helps!
Correction—I happened across Chaffin’s Garage in Corona, CA
They look to have a lot of T stuff, including tires.
Lots of tire distributors on the left coast including Lucas in Long Beach Lucas Tire
Also don’t forget about Summit Racing - they have free shipping on any order over $100.
I looked, but haven’t found any 30x3-1/2 tires listed on Summit Racing’s site.
I’ll have to call them Monday.
Long Beach is closer than Corona for me, so there’s that.
Chaffin’s site says they drop ship their tires directly from the manufacturer.
Do tires age out? I found a set of Model T tires up in the rafters of the garage which my dad must have stored up there for at least 40 years. From what I could tell, three look barely used but the bottom one looks pretty bad. I could probably use them for rolling the T around the garage but if they’re not roadworthy I’d rather not waste time bringing them down and mounting them on rims.
I will eventually have to bring them down anyway as all that weight can’t be doing the rafters any good, I’ll wait for the weather to cool off first as it’s routinely over 120 degrees up there in the Summer. Any black widow spiders up there have likely cooked!
Tires do age, mostly they are affected by ozone and sunlight. You are in a bad place for ozone.
I’ve heard putting kerosene in the cylinders will help loosen rings, but I’d imagine that would necessitate an oil change.
No problem with that unless the old oil has gummed up to were it won’t drain freely.
I think I’d like to get the engine running a short time first to warm up the block and help the old oil run out…
An old motorcycle mechanic told me to just pour oil in the cylinders and left it sit overnight to free the rings (if they are stuck)
Unfortunately he didn’t tell me what kind of oil----regular motor oil? Top cylinder oil?
What oil should I use?
Dad always ran non-detergent Quaker State because he read that detergent oil has additives that cause problems with the T magneto.
Like the tires in the rafters, the Quaker State Oil I found in the garage is over 30 years old. Does refined oil deteriorate with age?
Detergent oil causes no problems with the magneto or anything else. It’s stupid old wives tales at best.
Basically any kind of oil would be fine in the cylinders whether they are stuck or not. It’s a good idea to do this on any engine that has been sitting for a long time. Lubrication will help dry rings move on the cylider walls until the splash of oil starts.
Thanks! That helps a lot.
Welcome to the affliction! Model T Fords are addictive, fun, interesting, and you can meet so many wonderful people in this hobby!
Chaffin’s Garage is the go-to source for West coasters for model T parts! They never seem to get the recognition that Easterners give Eastern suppliers, however the Chaffin family has been a mainstay of the model T hobby for over fifty years! They are good people.
General consensus is that old tires might be very unsafe. And that may very well be true. However, some of us actually prefer older tires PROVIDED THEY ARE IN GOOD and PLIABLE CONDITION! Tires thirty to fifty years ago were much better made, and stronger than most tires manufactured for model Ts in the past over twenty years. It becomes an assessment issue and judgement call.
Good luck and enjoy the journey!
Thank you! Slowly I’m making a list of resources, Chaffin’s looks to have a very thorough selection