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Technical Crazy questions: Model T engine

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by sgtlethargic, Sep 30, 2020.

  1. Is there anything that makes the Model T engine inherently inefficient, unreliable, etc?

    What's their rated horsepower? RPM range?

    Are they relatively heavy?

    What would you expect to pay for a complete engine that needs an overhaul? Recently overhauled?

    What did Model Ts have for a clutch and transmission?

    How does the timing control work? Can that be replaced with a regular distributor?

    Is the Model A engine much different in these regards?

    Do T engines sound similar to As?

    Electric starter?
     
  2. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,605

    5window
    Member

    Y'all could try Google, you know. To start you off-20 hp for 475 pounds of weight. You're not going to get a 9000 redline.
     
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  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,862

    squirrel
    Member

    I just got to do a lot of work on a T recently. It's a whole different world.

    Rebuilding the engine and transmission costs several thousand dollars, and would take a while to get someone who can do it, to start to work on yours.

    But there are good used ones about, not too expensive, if you join a Model T club you might be able to find one. I know where there was one last summer, might still be there.

    The engine makes 20 hp, it's a low RPM engine, think under 1800 if you want it to last a while. It's not too heavy as engines go, but HP/LB is really low. It can power a light car at low speeds, by design.

    The ignition system is very clever, and works well if you leave it all as designed, but make sure everything is working properly. There is a magneto that's part of the flywheel, and a timer instead of a distributor, and a coil box with four individual coils. The timing is controlled by the lever on the steering column, but due to how the magneto works, there are really only two or three positions that you normally set it to.

    Early engines did not have a starter or generator, but later ones did.

    The transmission is unique, and takes some getting used to...it has two speeds, plus reverse. It's operated by three pedals, although one of them is just the brake (the car has no normal brakes at the wheels, only parking brakes out back, and they're not very big on most of them).

    The A is quite an improvement, double the HP, but still only 40.... it has a distributor and a water pump and I think an oil pump, the T has none of these. It also uses a normal clutch and 3 speed transmission, and battery ignition instead of magneto.
     
  4. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,605

    5window
    Member


  5. 4ty
    Joined: Dec 11, 2018
    Posts: 100

    4ty

    Model T about 20HP, Model A 40HP. Model T trans totally diff from a Model A.
    Paul in CT
     
  6. Weight? RPM range?
     
  7. T engines are fine in stock T's or buzz saws. Not so much in anything else.
     
  8. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,862

    squirrel
    Member

    The A will rev more, and weighs a bit more....I don't have numbers. didn't play with them much.
     
  9. Well, since my vintage transaxle thread was closed because I mentioned the Pinto 1.6 L engine, I was thinking it'd be cool to shoot for maximum efficiency with an even older engine. I don't need much horsepower. In fact, horsepower at a sweet spot of efficiency would be good. A Falcon 144 might be good, and I'll probably start my quest with my '61 Ranchero. But an even lighter car is better, so I might eventually want a 40-60 hp engine. A Model A engine would be cool, if it'd be a good candidate.
     
  10. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,751

    rusty valley
    Member

    model T 's are good fun. the main negative about the motor is that the motor and transmission share the same oil, so metal content can lead to a shorter life. change oil often.
     
  11. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,148

    51504bat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    4 banger Chevy out of an early '60's Chevy II? If you really want to up the HP find a 140 Mercruiser 4 banger.
     
  12. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,605

    5window
    Member

    A '61 Falcon and a '31 Model A weigh roughly the same, but the Falcon had half again as much HP as the A. I doubt whether a 46-60HP engine would be a very good idea for a car in today's driving conditions unless you were only going to cruise ins or parades. Most HAMBers are trying to figure out how to get more HP in their rides,so trying for less is unique.

    Just for comparison, a well rebuilt Model A engine will cost you about twice what you'd pay for a new Chevy Mouse crate motor.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  13. late 50's mg engine
     
  14. tjm73
    Joined: Feb 17, 2006
    Posts: 3,381

    tjm73
    Member

    You can more than double the power of an A engine by running a stock 239 Flathead.
     
  15. Foreign cars don't fly here.
     
  16. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,712

    woodiewagon46
    Member
    from New York

    One of the biggest issues with both the T and A motors is the poured, rod and main bearings. Not too many shops do that kind of work anymore. The Model A engine would be the better choice, modified with inserted bearings, balanced crank, lightened and balanced flywheel, modern ignition etc. The drawback is that all these modifications cost a bunch. It's not uncommon to be in the $7500 range for such modifications. If you have a fat checkbook you can get an overhead conversion for both engines.
     
  17. I don't. It looks like these engines are cost prohibitive.
     
  18. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,297

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Model T was state of the art for a cheap car in 1908, the first year they were produced. Low RPM, low compression, low efficiency, low octane fuel (50 octane or less - will run on a good grade of kerosene if you warm it up first). No oil pressure, splash lubrication. I believe engine life between overhauls was about 20,000 miles or less. The newest one passed its Best Before date when Herbert Hoover was President and Babe Ruth was Sultan of the Swat.
    Transmission is a 2 speed planetary like a Powerglide but without the torque converter. Controlled by pedals on the floor. Throttle and spark advance by 2 levers on the steering wheel. Simple to drive but completely different from any other car. The first ones were hand crank started, later an optional electric starter was fitted.
    They are a great way to get into the antique car hobby and there are thousands of them still around. Top speed, about 45MPH happy cruising speed 20 - 25 MPH. 30 MPH is burning up the roads.

    There are guys who waste thousands hopping them up, to raise HP from 20 to 40 or 50, and get a speed of 60 or 70 MPH. You could do as well for less money with the motor from a riding lawn mower.
    Model A is a much more modern design, state of the art for a cheap car of 1928. Likewise not worth bothering with as a hop up unless you are an old nut with money to burn. But twice as good as a Model T.
     
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  19. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,751

    rusty valley
    Member

    my friend who is 90 now, started building a mid engine, independent rear suspension, like a vw, model t for a hill climb racer. he is a retired machinist, made the differential and shafts etc. using mostly model t parts. started on it about 5 years ago when his other racer, which was king shit for many years, got beat. pissed him off! anyway, he's old, life is gaining on him too fast and now the project is just sitting there and will not get done. anyone with interest send me a pm and i will put you in touch with him.
     
  20. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,587

    Beanscoot
    Member

    The Model T's compression ratio of 4:1 results in a very poor inherent efficiency.
     
  21. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 4,974

    lippy
    Member
    from Ks

    Best car ever built for the time. Period.
     
  22. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,142

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    They could get over 20 miles per gallon, so that was pretty good? "If I listened to my customers, they would have wanted faster horses."
     
  23. Dang!
     
  24. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,862

    squirrel
    Member

    It's a pretty neat engine. They got away with a whole bunch of stuff that we know now, could never work.

    remove engine5.jpg
     
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  25. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,605

    5window
    Member

    Right, you could sell that MG engine cheaply to the OP, then drop in a 215 Olds/Buick-period correct British -American hot rod.
     
  26. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 4,974

    lippy
    Member
    from Ks

    When my option was to ride a horse, and don't get me wrong a lot of horses pulled model T's out of mudholes it was only because there were no roads. LOL
     
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  27. SR100
    Joined: Nov 26, 2013
    Posts: 827

    SR100
    Member

    llllll
    The T is splash/dipper lubricated. If driven uphill for a significant time, the front dipper won't be able to get any oil and the rod will burn its babbit. There are workarounds, but...
    Their N.A.C.C. (National Automotive Chamber of Commerce) rating was 23.1hp.
    There were aftermarket distributors available in the 20s, American Bosch made one. Adapting a modern distributor would take machining.
    The A was a much more mainstream car: distributor, water pump, clutch and (non-synchro) gearbox, etc.
    If you aren't interested in (or at least willing to live with) the idiosyncrasies of the T: planetary gearbox, magneto/coils ignition etc, you're better off with an A.
     
  28. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 4,233

    Budget36
    Member

    You made a post earlier in which I replied. Made me think you may not be too very far from me. I know a shop that has done quite a few insert bearing mods on Model A engines. I don’t know for sure if they have done or can do T engines, if you want the info PM me.
     
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  29. no55mad
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 1,859

    no55mad
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    This 1922 T has been converted to 12 volt and has a distributor and electric starter. Fun to put around town but not the best at higher speed with crazy drivers wanting you to get out of their way. IMG_0322.JPG IMG_0665.JPG IMG_0670.JPG
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
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