The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Antiquated' started by modernbeat, Jan 17, 2023.
This is so dope.
The path is mostly set. Starting in Trinidad, Colorado we're following the Trans-America-Trail to Lake City. Then following the Engineer Pass road over the pass to Odom Point. Then out of the Alpine Loop to the Million Dollar Highway for a few miles to connect to the road to Ophir and Ophir Pass. We rejoin the TAT route through Dove Creek, Colorado and onto Moab. We'll take a side trip to go through Arches National Park, then we deviate from the TAT to run Shafer Trail. Then it's backroads around the Canyonlands down to Bullfrog in the Glen Canyon area. Rejoining the TAT-South route to Kanab, Utah where we take another side trip to Zion National Park. From there it's backroads back to the West end of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, where we might or might not head into Las Vegas for some photo ops. From Vegas it's south along Christmas Tree trail to Laughlin, then west across the Mojave Trail and then backroads to Palmdale. There we have to decide whether we are tired and want to take the highway across the mountains to Agoura Hills/Malibu or to pick our way through the maze of trails and (likely closed) fire roads across the Castaic Lake area to Simi Valley and then to Agoura Hills.
Schedule is somewhat loose. We plan on starting as soon as the passes through Colorado are open. We had hoped for a late May start, but with this years rain and snowfall, I'd guess we'll be lucky to have a clear road before mid-June. We want to go early so the Mojave isn't too hot or too dry. Once the Mojave is dry then there are a couple spots where the sand turns to talcum powder and are easy to get stuck.
Thought I'd read this quick while I was at work. That didn't work.
When I get home, I'm going to reread it, and savor what you guys are doing.
Hats off to you, sir.
I'm glad it's not getting booted, not being an actual hot-rod and stuff.
It's a hot rod compared to what you originally had!
And a heck of an improvement as far as being effective and useful for the trip you have planned.
And the engineering and execution are a pleasure to follow!
Thanks for sharing,
If you can fit this in your trip somewhere I think you would really enjoy it.
This might be the best written build thread I have every seen. Great work on it and the T. Thanks for letting us follow along.
Well, if isn't a hot rod, it most certainly can be a custom.
Awesome job!!! Can't wait to see the finished product and how the trip goes!!!
I built a model TT huckster a few years back and we love driving it / using it but we DO NOT have all your awesome upgrades.. we have aluminum pistons, a model a intake and zeinith carb adapted and a bosh distributor. It also has the "high speed" TT gears... but in a model TT that just means we can go 30 mph instead of topping out at 19 mph.
You can see in the one unfinished shot I cheated and used snow and ice guard under the canvas covering to protect the wood top in bad weather. The TT wheelbase is 125 inches. So a bit longer than your extended 112. I am 6 foot 8 inches tall and am very comfortable with how I set up the seat...
Here are a few shots of it in use and while building it. It is our only vehicle with an 8 foot bed so it gets used to haul big car parts often as well.
Thanks for the reply.
Good luck on your trip. .
Wow! I'm thoroughly impressed with your commitment to this trip and the build because your friend wants to do it in a Model T. Looking forward to the rest of the build and I hope you'll chronicle the entire trip so we can all tag along.
This is one really cool thread. I’m amazed at the progress of this build. I always thought Model T’s were simple. I realize you’re using a lot of custom fabrication but the stock components seem quite complex compared to the automotive world of the 50’s and 60’s which I’m most familiar with.
I can’t wait to read more about it.
This is awesome. My favorite new build thread. Nice job. Looking forward to more.
As an aside, that neat gear reduction starter allows more room around the pedals.
It's hard to see in the greasy mess that the original engine is. But the bulbous cover sticks back from the bellhousing behind the pedals.
The new starter allows the use of the flat blanking plate that is usually used on the non-electric-starter version of the car. This allows more access to the pedals.
Next we built the floorboards. These are removable so you can access the top of the transmission to adjust the bands as they wear.
First the initial wood floorboards on side stringers. The stringers have small brackets with nutserts.
Then we beat these malformed reproduction metal slot covers into shape.
Gave everything a coat of paint, and there they are. Looks like they could have been an original 1926 part.
The next task is to rebuild the steering box and relocate the steering column to fit us big guys. That means moving the bottom of the column back on the frame and standing the column up straighter, getting the steering wheel off our thighs and making it more comfortable to drive.
A flashback to what we're working with. That apple size knob on the top of the column is the actual steering gearbox. That's where the reduction happens. So the rest of the shaft moves with the pitman arm. It's weird.
This diagram shows the steering components. The right side is the top. The steering wheel bolts to that little stub that is part of 3517-19. That stub has gears that drive the other three gears that nest in teeth inside the apple, creating a planetary gearbox. One reason I chose a 1926-27 model is that it has 5:1 steering reduction while earlier models have 4:1.
When you remove the steering wheel and stick a strap wrench on the apple, the top half unscrews. Remove all the guts and you find that all the grease that is supposed to be in there has turned to dirt and has to be scraped out.
The top part:
The bottom part:
This is the top of the steering column shaft with the gears removed. It's seen some wear.
I bought a new set of pins for the gears to ride on, and a new set of slightly oversized gears since the housing was a little worn.
Here the pins are already driven into the flange on the top of the steering column.
One of the pins is longer and sticks out the back of the flange into a groove in the bottom of the apple. That creates a steering stop, allowing about 100 degrees of pitman arm movement.
Here all three gears and the stub with it's central gear are installed. We've stuck the early restored steering wheel back on to push the shaft back down in the column.
After pulling the wheel back off and threading the top of the apple back on, then the steering wheel and top nut, that is done. It's a little tight, as the oversize parts were made for more wear than we had. We eventually took all this back apart and hand dressed all the gears to get a better fit and effortless steering without any notchy spots.
I just realized that I have only one photo of moving the bottom of the column and drilling new holes, making a wedge shaped shim, and bolting the bottom of the column back to the frame about three inches further back.
I also have a single photo that shows we cut the notch for the column in the firewall higher and cleaned up the shims necessary to fill the space between the column flange and the firewall.
That modification moved the steering wheel up off our thighs about four inches.
Next is mounting the radiator.
There are something like nine parts per side for the radiator mount. Cups, springs, studs, threaded plates, nuts and cotter pins make up this piece.
First, we put the threaded plate in the frame and threaded a stud through a spring and into a plate. After finding the right height we stuck a cotter pin in the stud.
We stuck the radiator in place and added the second half of the pieces to the top to hold it in double-sprung floating glory.
I swapped the late valance below the radiator for a thin early valance. The late version drops down and covers the entire front of the frame and has a hole to stick the crank through. I wanted to have a sturdy place to be towed from, and swapping to the thin valance exposes the front of the frame and the sturdy crossmember.
And then came the heavy duty hoses and crummy hose clamps. Those clamps will get replaced with Breeze brand clamps.
Somewhere in there we decided to modify how the switch and gauge would mount to the dashboard.
Here's the dashboard. It's a tray to stick stuff while driving. And it stiffens up the wooden firewall and wind wings.
These wooden firewall cars like Express trucks and Station Wagons can use this simple dashboard bracket to hold the switch and gauge.
I have one of those dashboard brackets, but it didn't fit very well with our planned dashboard tray.
So, we noodled it around and decided to shorten the rear section of the bracket and weld it to the tray instead of bolting it to the firewall.
Shortening the rear of the bracket.
Sticking it in place on the tray.
Welded up and painted. And I tried to weave a net as a basket for the tray. It's a leather string. We loved the concept of it, but hated it once done and cut it off. I'll eventually just lace a piece of solid leather in there to form the pocket.
Wow, great thread Modernbeat. Going back to the first page, are the rollers of the Hyatt bearings made of steel strips rolled into a tube, so that if there is too tight a space between the races, they can compress?
Very cool build . Thank You for taking us along the journey.
Yep, that's pretty much how a Hyatt bearing works. It's a non-precision bearing that works well in a non-precision bore.
I've managed to build the torque tube and axle in such a way that I only have one Hyatt bearing in the car instead of the five that are usually there. Although tough, once worn they can cut a groove in the axle or driveshaft. And the modern reproductions are built incorrectly. Of all the parts that Model T guys hoard, good Hyatt bearings are at the top of that list.
And the four bearings that I eliminated:
#1 - Pinion end of driveshaft inside torque tube - replaced with an adjustable holder and standard roller bearing.
#2 and #3 - Left and right axle ends - replaced with safety hubs, full floating on roller bearings
#4 - Left inner axle - Since the axle has a Ruckstel 2-speed rear end, the inner axle rides in a roller bearing narrower than the Hyatt bearing to make room for the planetary gears.
And #5, the right inner axle bearing, is still a Hyatt. I chose the best I had from the existing axle under the car and a spare axle that it came with.
The Hyatt bearings aren't the only rare bearing in the car. The Warford transmission has an obsolete bearing in it that has been out of production for 50+ years and whatever stock was left has dried up. Trying to salvage one out of an old Warford is a losing battle, as these transmissions are typically beat up and worn out. But the builder has found another application that's he's salvaging them from, where they are normally in good condition. And he's tight lipped about it, so don't ask me where one could be sourced!
Wow.....thanks for the thread.
Awesome on every level. Thanks for your excellent coverage! I know it takes time.
I know that I`m late to the party,but brother is this a swell thread.One of the best if not the best I have ever read.Thanks for posting.
Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
We're beginning to catch up to present day.
Mounted the coil. I chose one that did not require a ballast resistor to make the wiring easier.
We made up a set of spark plug wires from vintage style wires and terminals. The boots I bought from the restoration shop were too hard and too small to fit on the coil. So I bought another set of Taylor boots to replace the crappy boots.
The distributor is a sorta high-end air cooled VW distributor that has both vacuum and mechanical advance, and comes with a Pertronix built into it. As a backup I've got a rebuilt German made Bosch 009 with points and a condenser.
We had modified a stock intake manifold to mount a downdraft carburetor and chose a reproduction dual runner exhaust manifold. We also ditched the finicky mounting spacers that the dual manifold came with and welded up a set of staggered mounting ears. All these pieces were Jet-Hot ceramic coated.
The manifolds are usually held on with bolts. But we swapped those out for studs and nuts. Here are the studs with lock nuts to keep them from backing out if the mounting nuts are removed.
The Model T brake kit I bought is well known for including ALL the parts necessary to install it. And, yes, they were very through. But the reservoir they included was the standard Wilwood plastic reservoir. And at the time I thought the reservoir would be mounted on the firewall, and I couldn't have that. So I bought one of these reproduction '40s English style reservoir.
It came with the wrong size nipple. And the rubber hose it came with was pretty low quality. So I replaced the nipple with the right size and replaced the hose with brake fluid appropriate red hose.
We mounted the reservoir under the front seat and ran the hose through a hole in the floor to the master cylinder.
We started working on the foot throttle. I bought this aftermarket throttle a couple years ago figuring it might be useful. Photo is cropped out of a photo from the seller where he laid out about fifty parts for sale.
I disassembled the throttle to figure out how to use it, and decided to place it to the left of the floorboards. Though it's an odd position, it was the most natural place to put it as anywhere else is too hard to get to.
We rough cut a slot, wider on the bottom and narrower at the top to accommodate the swing of the throttle lever. Shortened the rod and relocated the pedal to the middle.
Finished the foot throttle looks like this. We'll clean up the slot and add a throttle cable later.
We had originally thought about adding a coolant temperature gauge sensor to the upper water neck, but that part didn't have a good spot to add the sensor. And it would be hanging out in plain sight, looking ugly. So we pulled the radiator out and drilled a hole in it for a bung. I bought an NPT reducer at the hardware store and turned the threads off the outside.
I had the local radiator shop clean out the filings and braze in the bung and I screwed in the sensor.
As the engine started coming together we were dissatisfied with the air cleaner we had originally made. It's a small K&N filter adapted to a hot-rod housing and an adapter for the Holley 1904 carb. I think this is the first I've mentioned the carb. We knew we wanted to use a downdraft carb. We considered a few different carbs including the VW Solex carbs, Ford Stromberg 94 or 97 carbs, but decided on the much more sophisticated Holley 1904. I chose one with a tiny venturi that was originally made for a 144ci Ford Falcon.
I had been watching swap meets and ebay for some time looking for a better air cleaner. We figured that it would involve some fabrication, as all the good looking old filters were oil-bath or maze style filters and we wanted to use a replaceable element. I found this 1934 Plymouth air cleaner on Ebay. It was going to be too tall, but we had plans that would fix that.
We cut the air cleaner apart and trial fit a few different diameter and height filters, and figured out how tall we could go under the hood.
We kept part of the maze and used it to locate and seal the filter element.
Funny story, we measured the interior space to find the best filter element to use. I had a half dozen on hand and some were the right diameter, but they were all too short. We were under a little bit of a time crunch to find the element as Craig, Jeff's Baja Racer Mechanic stepdad was in town helping with some of the fabrication on the filter housing and would be leaving soon. I searched the catalogs to find the filter I wanted and the only filter that was close was a hard to find Mahle/MANN filter. It's a hard to find filter. Wix didn't have a crossover and the major retailers said it would be about 60-90 days before the filter was available. In desperation I searched Ebay for one (and some spares). And wonder of wonders, there was an listing for one. I was just about to pull the trigger and buy it when I noticed it was located in Dallas. GREAT! I'll contact the seller and go pick it up the next day instead of shipping it so we would have it in time to finish the filter housing. When I went to contact the seller I saw it was JEFF! He was selling some oddball SAAB filters he didn't need and just so happened to have exactly the right part we needed stashed in the garage. I messaged him to give that element to Craig so he could finish the housing.
The element in the housing.
And the final housing.
That photo above also shows a brace from the intake manifold to the head that also provides a mount for the throttle cable and throttle return springs. That throttle linkage is trick, as there is a throttle cable from the foot throttle and a throttle rod from the steering wheel controls. They can be used in tandem.
We also made up a fuel line. It's metal from the carb to the firewall and down to the frame, where it transitions to rubber line.
Very cool build . Thank You for sharing Your build
One of the last things to do with the engine is add a fan.
Trying to add better components when we can, I bought a six blade Derale fan. This is an all steel unit that is the right diameter and one of the shallowest depths. Bolted it on to test fitment.
And, it failed. It's too thick. It hits the belt behind it. And if I spaced it out enough to clear the belt, it will hit the radiator. There's not much room up there so I bought a new stock fan.
Next I addressed the leather mesh package tray. We thought we'd like it. But after building it we thought otherwise and decided to just put a sheet of leather in there, add some drain holes and stitch it to the frame.
Visiting my local Tandy Leather I got some help selecting a rugged looking, but thin enough to work, piece of leather large enough to make the package tray, a boot around the steering column at the firewall and a couple shift boots.
Made a pattern and cut out the package tray.
Then, punched 100 holes around the edge to match the holes in the package tray frame and used leather thread to double stitch it. This looked a lot better to us.
Dashboard, engine, transmission, fuel system, ignition and linkages are mostly done. It's time to start wiring everything up.
I drew up the main circuits, disregarding any ground wires. As expected, this plan did not survive first contact with the enemy.
First, add the battery. We added a couple long studs through the floor under the seat. Welded a couple nuts to a backing plate on the outside and a couple nuts to the inside to keep everything in place. Lined the battery area with a thin piece of foam. Made it red foam so any spillage could be seen.
Added the battery, a hold down strap, and a couple wing nuts to clamp it in. Cut the access holes for the wiring in the floor. Added a couple more smaller holes in the upper left and right corners for the tail light wiring. Got a high quality battery from the local "Mister Battery" shop.
The first fuse holder I got from the Model T shop was a modern marine fuse holder and looked horrible. So, I found this single fuse holder from a vintage supply shop and ordered a handful. The Model T has everything on one fuse. That's it. It's on the firewall in what we thought would be a visible location, but after finishing the wiring it's hidden behind a few pieces of wire looming.
The junction block actually is a Model T part, but it's from one of the later cars with a steel firewall. I chose this one over the wood firewall version because the wood firewall style is held to the firewall by the same screws that hold the wires to the junction block. The steel firewall version has two fastening screws and the wiring screws are isolated from the firewall. In this shot you can see the cloth covered wires, brass terminals and asphalt looming. We did cheat and ended the wires with heat shrink rather than the traditional whipping thread and varnish.
Just about every wire in this harness is a single wire with two eye terminals crimped and soldered on. No big splices or connectors. Here are the wires coming through the firewall to the dashboard switch and gauge.
We roughed in the wiring for the ignition, fuel pump and temperature gauge so we could fire the engine.
First gas in the tank.
First oil in the engine-transmission. Poured some in the open transmission to coat the bands and the rest went into the front of the engine to fill the wells in the oil pan so the piston rod scoopers would fling it around and fill the rod bearings.
Primed the carb with fuel and got the oil splashed around by disconnecting the ignition, then connected everything up and fired it up for the first time!
We had a vacuum leak in the intake, the timing is way off, the jetting is too lean and the plugs too hot. We got it dialed in a little bit better and got a good idle, got it up to temp and then shut it down since we had the radiator off for this start. We had some minor oil leaks around the side cover and another one near the starter. Both were easily sealed up.
While we're here, there is a shot of the ignition advance linkage. Even though the distributor has a centrifugal advance we can still use the stock Model T controls to set the base advance.
Back to the wiring. We have to wire up the brake lights, tail lights, headlights and clean it all up and loom it. This took multiple orders from a handful of supply shops to get everything, and then get some more when the first order and second order wasn't enough to finish things.
Loomed and tied wiring
The tail light wiring is run inside the storage compartment under the bed. We ran it along the top edge to keep it safe. The asphalt loom transitions to a steel jacket as it passes outside the body so gravel thrown up by the rear tires doesn't tear it up.
We used two horn buttons. One is for the horn and the other is a starter button that is only hot when the key is turned. These simple buttons are tricky to assemble. One of those things that require four hands. These took a LOT of hand fitting to make work. I'm sure the traditional Model T guys will roast us for this.
The wires run down a conduit attached to the bottom of the column.
The headlights are a mix of parts. Aside from the LED bulbs we are using, the reflectors and glass are 1926, brackets buckets and bezel are 1927, and the hard to find 90 degree plug is 1919. And true to form, every single part had to be ground, bent, opened up, shaved down, shaped or massaged to get it to fit.
Another shot of the completed wiring.
And a key I made for future diagnosis.
We ran some better ground wires. First the engine to frame.
And next the engine/transmission straight to the battery. This pepped up the starter.
We started to dial in the transmission bands and fine tune the linkage and found that the clutch was jammed. We could not release the clutch.
This meant that we had no neutral, no reverse, no low speed, could not stop while the engine was running and could not shift the auxiliary Warford transmission. Crap.
So, we pulled the radiator and headlights, disassembled half the ancillaries on the engine, and yanked it out.
Fixing the clutch requires removing the transmission hogshead and the oil pan. Which will necessitate all new gaskets since we glued them on to prevent leaks. I've been hoarding some nice Fel-Pro gasket kits with cork gaskets. The standard gaskets are paper that requires a lot of varnish and prep to prevent leaks.
After removing the clutch we found the pressure plate (part with three dowels) was sticking in the clutch cover (underneath the pressure plate). So we polished the dowels and the holes they ride in so everything slid easily.
We took this opportunity to clean up the pan a little more, inspect the oil we drained, and redo some of the gasket materials.
Some fine flake in the first oil, but nothing unexpected.
We carefully assembled the clutch and set the height of the fingers, making sure we had even pressure all around.
We stuck the hogshead and pedals back on the assembled engine to test the clutch, one of us spinning the engine while the other worked the pedals to verify we could get low and reverse gear, and the pressure plate was actually moving.
Before the engine went back in we corrected some steering geometry. Since we moved the steering column location the drag link was too short. We chopped the ends off the original drag link, turned them down to fit some thick wall tubing and welded them up.
Why did you not put an Eskimo water pump on it. I had one on mine when I drove from Oak Cliff to Arlington State College in the late 50's early 60's worked great for me never boiled over. Frank
It doesn't look like it needs one.
And it's hard to get -good- data on how water pumps actually work on these engines. Most Model-T people that use water pumps add them to their old worn out engines with plugged up or damaged radiators to keep them limping along. And they work in that instance.
It's hard to find someone with a new performance engine, and new performance radiator that has needed a water pump.
I know a handful of guys that actually race their Model-T engines. Hard core racing, not just exhibition style sand drags. Engines with ridiculous compression, very high revs, full pressure oil systems, some with OHV conversions, and not one of them use a water pump.
Any more updates on this one? @modernbeat
Small update. We tidied up the wiring and started dialing in the engine. But, the ignition kept cutting out. Turned out the on-off portion of the ignition switch wasn't making constant contact. This worn out ignition switch was causing misfires.
New switches aren't really available. The originals were made by a half dozen different suppliers and they are all slightly different. Reproduction repair parts are available for a couple versions. And apparently it's pretty easy to open up the switch and repair the guts.
So, I went into the switch. Turns out that three of the six tabs that hold it closed were snapped off. We got the cardboard "circuit board" out and sanded down the grooves to level the traces. Cleaned up all the contacts and put some spring into the brass switch plate.
Holding all the parts together everything seemed tor work just great. But during the final assembly two of the three tabs snapped. And the remaining one tab wouldn't hold the switch together. Damn. Now I've got to get a new switch.
Just as I needed it, this early 1919 switch manufactured by Clum came up on Ebay. This is arguably the absolute best quality switch ever put in a Model T. Everything on it is heavy duty. It's got cast parts instead of stamped parts. It also has an accessory dash light and a great condition amp meter. The problem (there's always a problem) is that it didn't come with a key! And there is some question among Model T scholars whether these early switches used "Ford style" keys or "Clum style" keys. So, it was going to be a a treasure hunt finding some keys.
At this point we were in a hurry. We wanted to get some miles on the Model T before our helper, Craig, left and went back home to California. So I fired the parts cannon and bought a half dozen Ford and Clum keys based on the ignition tumbler number visible in the Ebay photos.
Turned out this switch took a Ford #63 key. These early keys are numbered. And it's popular to collect all the keys.
Next, we did a better job on adapting the temperature gauge. The wraps of tape we used to temporarily hold the gauge in the original switch panel was not going to cut it. And eventually a custom gauge will be used. But for now we'll use a Stewart Warner Heavy Duty gauge.
You can buy an adapter ring that is used to add a smaller 1926-27 amp gauge to the larger 1925 and earlier switch panel. But, it doesn't work with a modern gauge. By opening it up and installing it backwards I was able to use an adapter ring to install the modern gauge.
And, it fits in the early switch panel pretty well.
The switch panel wired up and installed in the dashboard.
Next on the list are some spotlights. We bought three or four of these spotlights that clamp onto the windshield frame. They are all in bad shape. First, take them all apart and see what is in good condition, what is broken, and what can be repaired.
Rewired the lights with some fabric covered wire and sourced some bright 12v versions of the antique bulbs. At this point we are waiting for some cotton conduit to finish the wiring. It's coming from the UK. Apparently those guys love veteran and antique cars over there.
I also bolted on the license plate. I bought a pair of these right after buying the Model T. And designed the recesses in the tailgate to be the right size to hold it.
Took a 16 mile, 50 minute drive to do some errands.
A couple of things rattled apart. Rear axle shift linkage and a windshield support both came loose. Of course we didn't bring any tools on a shakedown drive. To tightened up the nuts as much as we could with fingers and kept driving.
This is the very first time it moved under it's own power after the rebuild.
Found a couple leaks. The valve cover plate was leaking. We've since tried a better cork gasket and failed. Then tried a foam gasket that failed. Now it's sealed up with RTV.
Since then we've been taking it on more drives. Here it is at our local Saturday night drive-in meet.
Next on the list is to build the roof and canvas canopy sides.
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