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Tips submitted by members of The Mile High Model T Ford Club
More Tech Tips to be posted soon
Axel Seals- Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
Dave Huson hint from 2002, on axel seals. This was posted on the Lone Star T’s web site:
Q: I am trying to figure out how to replace the inner seals
( behind the bearings) on my 26
Dave: When you replace your seals DON'T use the type with
the spring steel fingers. If you get
Throw the steel finger grease seals as far as you can and
get some other type. The suppliers are
Transmissions - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
I just finished tearing two more Transmissions Down and as usual at least one of the reverse drums was cracked. Over and Over I find the reverse drums are cracked and therefore unrepairable and not useable. The reason that so many reverse drums are cracked is that so many are using the reverse drum as a brake. Can you imagine what a jerk the reverse drum gets when some one is moving forward and slams the transmission in reverse. I saw some idiot in the forum a while back telling new T owners to alternate using the brake and reverse drum when going down hill. Can you imagine using that method driving down from the top of Trail Ridge down to Estes and what that would do to the transmission. It makes me cringe when I see that kind of advise on the forum especially with reverse drums costing as high as $748.00 in the catalogs.
Welcome back Cotter pin! - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
one that works on many Ts soon learns that the holes drilled through bolts
are not always SQUARE !!! with the slots in the nuts. The worst I find
is the holes in the rear axle are not
Clutch Spring - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
One overlooked thing when rebuilding a Transmission is the large spring in the back of the clutch disk. If your clutch spring is weak your clutch disks will slip and put you in neutral when starting out. A good example is about a week ago I had 10 springs on my spring checker. Most of the springs that you will check have been compressed for 100 years which means many, many springs are weak. The manuals call for 90 pounds, however with modern transmission disks that is NOT ENOUGH. your clutch will slip. Since I will only use Watts Clutches I try to find 110 lbs springs. I will keep springs that are 90 lbs for those that still use the all steel disks. When I checked the 10 springs the other day I ended up throwing 5 in the scrap iron pile. If you don't have a spring checker or know someone that does have one you can check them another way. Before I bought my spring checker I used to use a bathroom scale. I cut a 2 inch square block of wood and put it beside the spring on the scale. I then compressed the spring to the same height as the block of wood and read the scale. Remember you have to zero your scale with the wood and spring on it or you will get a false reading. If you have any doubts about your results or just want to double check your spring, bring it up and I will check it for you.
Placement of the Gas Line Shutoff - Huson’s Hints By Dave HusonI see many install a gas line ELBOW shut off directly into the carburetor. This is silly and should NOT be done because if for any reason you want to remove the carburetor you will have to climb under the car to shut the gas off. It is much better to install an inline shut off about ONE INCH behind the carburetor.
This would be the wrong way
Tight Wrist Pin- Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
I was helping a new to T person with a 26 touring and a 27 roadster. I showed him how to line up the wrist pin notch but neglected to show him how tight a wrist pin should be. (This is important! If the wrist pin is too tight it will bang the piston against the wall and can crack it!)
He finished putting his motor together and discovered it was very tight
so that when cranking it would catch (too loose then too tight) . I went
over the usual things: too tight rod caps, too tight main caps and too
tight pistons. He said
NOTE; I have never bought a new set of pistons that I didn't have a least one pin that is way too TIGHT. You must hone your pistons. Hone them until you can take a piston and slap it in your cupped hand until the PIN DROPS OUT. If the pin won't drop out hone it some more. I often hear guys say you can test the tightness of wrist pins by holding the pistons horizontally and see if the con rods drops down. This is horse manure—you cannot tell that way!!!!!
Installing Spring Hanger Bars- Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
Caution! When installing spring hanger bars on the rear springs on a 26 or 27 touring or sedan you will need the bars that are 1/2 as thick as the other 26/27 models and earlier models. This is because you have the spare tire carrier (goose neck) between the bar and the springs. If you don't have the thin bar you CAN'T SCREW THE NUT ALL THE WAY UP and the cotter keys cannot be installed. This could result in the nuts falling off and releasing the clips.
Cotter Pins: Don’t leave home without them!
Brake Cam Repair Sleeves- Huson’s Hints By Dave HusonYou often find emergency brake cams worn so you cannot spread the brake shoes. An easy fix is to cut a 1/2" conduit 7/8" long. Flatten the conduit then drive it over the cam shaft. Your brake shoes will the spread even further apart than when the cam shaft was new. Ford dealers used to sell these conduits so sometimes you can find some already to mount at swap meets.
Installing Heads- Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
Always before installing your heads, run a bottoming tap
down the bolt hole in the block then blow it out with air. Then put your
head on the black, WITHOUT A HEAD GASKET. Run all your head bolts down.
If even one bolt does not go ALL THE WAY DOWN, you should grind that amount
off the end of the bolt. If even only one bolt does not go all the way
down I grind all the bolts down that much so some day in the future if
I take the head off I won't get the bolts mixed up. Remember if a head
bolt does not go all the way down against the head then you are not putting
any pressure on the head gasket and can start a leak at that spot.
Tightening The Oil Pan - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
Years ago when I first working on Ts I was fortunate in finding a K.R. Wilson pan jig. I found that most pans are bent in some place. One of the most frequent bends is the middle. They are bent like an inverted canoe. In other words, the center of the pan is much higher than the ends. This allows for oil leakage from both ends of the pan. I firmly believe that what causes the pan to become bent like that is from guys starting to tighten the bolts on the pan at the MIDDLE. This causes the pan to bend because of the crankshaft oil gasket in front. I always start the bolts from the far ends and work toward the middle. The pans seem to stay much straighter by doing the ends first and the middle last.
Brake Handle and Pawl- Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
I had a person new to Ts at my place today. I was helping him rebuild
a transmission. We went to town for coffee in one of my 12s. One the way
back we stopped for gas. When we got through gassing up and were getting
ready to go he was standing on the right side of the 12. I asked him to
pull the emergency brake back. He reached in and was pulling the hand
brake back with out releasing the pawl. I yelled at him to stop but it
ALWAYS, ALWAYS SQUEEZE THE BRAKE HANDLE TO RELEASE THE PAWL!!!!
Rim Coating - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
As most of you know original rims were coated with a grey finish. Most
rims have long since lost most or all of the coating. For a long time
I have been having all my rims powder coated. It not only looks like the
original coating but lasts a long time. Also when you mount your tires
on the rim you do not scratch the rim. My powder
Carburetor Bolts - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
Its not always easy to get a socket on the bolts that hold the carburetor
to the intake manifold,
Making A Bolt Holder Tool - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
Back in the Model T Days the garages had a handy tool to hold bolts while
removing the nuts on the six bolts that hold a model T body to the frame.
I was fortunate enough to find one. I believe it was a KR Wilson Tool.
About a month ago I was getting ready to lift a touring body off it’s
frame. When I went to get the frame bolt
Oil Filter Hole - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
Some times a T motor will blow oil out the filler hole. I am not sure
what causes this, but would guess poor or worn out piston rings. When
I bought my Montana 500 race car, it had been raced in 500 races in California,
Colorado and Montana. I completely tore it apart including installing
my own motor and light weight 26
By the way, the top three car motors are torn down after each race. Another
race driver can challenge anything on your racer. I was challenged because
my head lights were not original and would be more aero dynamic. The challenge
was not allowed, and I was able to race. Another time I was caught with
a butterfly shaft filed flat
Tightening Wrist Pins - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
There are many reasons for a knock in a T motor. One that is seldom considered is a too TIGHT wrist pin. I always find at least one pin in a new set of pistons that has a wrist pin that is too tight. I always have to ream at least one wrist pin hole and sometimes more.
When you receive a new set of pistons, you should slap each piston in the palm of your hand . If the wrist pin does not come out then it is TOO TIGHT and will cause the skirt of the bottom of the piston to slap the wall each time it goes around. Another way to test the tightness of a wrist pin is to put the ends of your fingers on the ends of the wrist pin and see if you can move the wrist pin. If you can not move the wrist pin then its TOO TIGHT. If you find one or more of your wrist pins are too tight bring it to my shop. I will put it on my fixture and ream it for you.
NOTE: Old wives tales say that to check for tightness hold the piston and con rod horizontal and see if the con rod drops. Thatís horse manure the con rod can drop and still have a wrist pin that is too tight. Donít test it that way.
How To Balance Con Rods- Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
The other day I was showing a friend how to balance Con Rods. Piston pins have a slot in the middle where a bolt goes through (by). A bolt then tightens (locks) the piston pin in place. The trouble is the slot and the con rod has to be in perfect ALIGNMENT. If you don’t have the slot in the pin lined up with the con rod you will always ruin the threads on the lock bolt. I know that you can force the alignment by forcing the con rod bolt down through the hole BUT IT RUINS THE TRHREADS EVERY TIME. I seldom pull out a wrist pin bolt that has any threads left, because guys force the bolt in place. Does anyone wonder why wrist pins sometimes scar the piston walls of blocks. NOTE: You can easily tell when you have the con rod and wrist pin lined up correctly, just look down the hole. If you can see ANY OF THE WRIST PIN, you must turn or move the wrist pin side ways. IMPORTANT you should be able to turn the WRIST PIN all the way down by FINGERS. If you can’t do that something is wrong, either bad threads or not aligned.
Ways To Ruin your Bands - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
There is a lot of ways to wear out (ruin) Bands. One is
using your bands more than you need to.
If your band spring is slipping inside the ears you will
loose most of the strength of the springs,
Note on some badly worn band ears you will have to install
washer inside both ears.
Oil With Graphite Will Kill Your Magneto- Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
Everyone you talk to has a different idea on what oil to use. I even hear some guys using synthetic oil. I would like to caution guys that are new to model Ts that as I understand many synthetic oils have GRAPHITE in them. If you use one that has GRAPHITE it will kill your magneto big time. Not only will your car not run as well on the mag but WILL NO LONGER START ON MAG. I know that if you are on a long trip in your T and run low on oil and don’t have any extra with you, a stop in the local stop and rob to pick up oil is a must. Most stop and robs don’t carry a large selection of oil. If they don’t have your favorite oil and have to get something else, be sure to READ THE LABEL.
Brass Polish- Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
It seems that everyone has their favorite brass polish, kind of like
favorite oil. I find that all of
My all time favorite polish is FLITZ. It comes from Germany and is difficult
to find in the stores. The place were I did get it went out of business
so I must find a new source. I believe that FLITZ will last longer than
any other polish that I use and is quick to polish tarnished metal.
Huson’s Hints is a recurring column by Dave Huson offering
Tight axle nuts - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
The rear axle nut is the one that holds the wheels on the axles. Many key ways and threads on the axles are destroyed by loose wheel nuts. Loose wheel nuts can also result in loosing a wheel. What I do to insure that my axle nuts are tight is to install the nut, drive 5 miles to town and back and then retighten the nut. Note that after driving 10 miles ALL AXLE NUTS ARE LOOSE. Tightening them the second time avoids the loose nuts. I take many, many rear axles apart, and I find that over 50% have axles that have a ruined key way which can result in crystallization and breakage of the axle.
Note: originally 25 inch or longer wrenches were used to tighten the axle nuts. That was OK when the axles and threads were NEW, but I think you have to be very careful how much force you use on a hundred year old axle these days. I have seen good axles with good threads stripped.
Add a little more power to our Ts- Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
We all like to add a little more power to our Ts, especially here in Colorado because of the hills. One way to add power is by milling the heads. I would not recommend milling much more than about 40 thousandths. I milled my 26 Montana 200 racer two hundred thousandths and ran it for 11 years. However, on the last year I was having a great race, passing other Ts. The course was run on Highway 2 starting from North Dakota due West to Missoula Montana 500 miles. On the first lap I was passing other racers and having a ball. Suddenly I began loosing power and another racer came up behind me and passed. Of course I could tell something was wrong. I started running slower and slower. We came to a pit stop. I gassed up and tried to check everything I could think of. When we were flagged out again to continue the race, Ts that I had passed earlier was now passing me. I finally pulled over in a wide spot and stopped. My wife had been following the race with our motor home and trailer. We loaded up the racer and continued on West.
When I got home I traced the problem to a blown head and head gasket. Note: A long time race driver had also milled his head two hundred thousands and also blown his head.
Huson’s Hints is a recurring column by Dave Huson offering technical advice for maintaining your Model T.
Install the Head WITHOUT the Head Gasket - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
When the motor is almost done and its time to install the head, always
remember to put the head on WITHOUT a head gasket. You should then run
ALL the head bolts down. If even one bolt does not go all the way down
and touch the head you will need to grind that amount off. If I grind
even one bolt off then I grind the others off as
Huson’s Hints is a recurring column by Dave Huson offering
Weak Valve Springs - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
One of the many things that can add to a poor running T is weak valve springs. Your springs should test at least 24 lbs. I find pulling many motors apart that about 2 out of 3 springs are throw aways. You can check your springs at home.
Cut a block 2 1/8” square. Put the block and one of the springs
on a bathroom scale and then use a 2 by 2 about 3 foot long to press the
spring to the same height as the block. Then all you have to do is read
the bathroom scale. Of
NOTE; I have a spring checker. If you can’t find one near you I
would be happy to check your springs for you. I have about 100 springs
so if some of yours are throw aways we can make them up.
Valves- Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
Most of the guys that I know are using CHEVY 350 VALVES. They have the same size head and the same degree in the seat. The valve stem is slightly larger so you will have to bore the stem guide. Boring the stem guide is good as many guides are worn and too loose. The material in the 350 valves is very good and will last you the rest of your life. I have put 43,000 miles on my center door with no burning of the valves. Another good thing about the 350 valves is they have better spring washers and retainers. The T valves have a weak little pin that wears and can fail at any time. There is a person on the forum recently that dropped a valve because of the pin. Last but not least the 350 valve stem is the correct size for a Model T motor. Try them you will like them.
More Power for Your T- Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
Everyone likes to add a little more power to their T. One of the ways to add power is valve timing. Most guys time the valves by using a clearance of anywhere from 0.010 to 0.014 inches. If you have a brand new cam then you can use the stock clearance on all 8 valves. But if the cam is used or reground then setting by PISTON TRAVEL is far better. The two settings are:
1. Exhaust Valve opens when the piston reaches 3 3/8’
from the top (5/16” from BDC).
Trust me I have done this with all my Ts that do not have
a new cam. I can usually pull hills
Cracks in the side wall of tires - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
Every once in a while I hear a guy complaining that tires
being made now are no good because
Note: I use the following pressures and never have cracks in the tire walls:
30 X 3 1/2: 65lbs rear and 55 lbs to 60 lbs front
I have an antique 1909 Firestone Manual that states 80
lbs should be used in their tires. I’ll bet
Oil Pan Strenghteners - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
In about, I believe, 1926 Ford started adding OIL PAN STRENGHTENERS to all of their oil pans. I like the idea and install them in all of my Ts. I believe that where the block and hogs head comes together is a weak point in a T motor and certainly strengtheners would help. They are easy to install and only take slightly longer bolts. Give it some thought about placing them on all of you Ts.
Greasing the U-Joint and front bushing- Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
Every once in a while I have guys tell me they have turned the Torque tube upside down so they can grease the U-Joint and front bushing without removing the floor boards. If you do this you must remember to do two things.
1. You must remove (grind) 0.50 from the front of the torque
tube because the tube is not level
2. You must drill a 3/4” hole in the ball cap so the hole will line up with the grease cup.
(Huson’s Hints is a recurring column by Dave Huson offering technical advice for maintaining your Model T.)
Loose Con Rod - Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
I was sorry to hear the other day that one of my friends had a loose con rod in one of his Ts and had filed off 6 thousands off the cap to tighten it back up. Of course this did two things to ruin the cap.
1) The cap and con rod will never be a circle again.
2) If anyone tries to rebabbit the rod and cap the babbit will be too thin in the cap.
NOTE: Most good rebabbit places will NOT REBABBIT a cap
that has been filed. There are plenty of
There are many things that cause a carburetor to leak. One of the most
often is a leaking float filling full of gas. I do many, many carburetors
and I always check the floats before sending them out or putting them
on one of my cars. I have a large electric pot that roasts can be cooked
in. I keep it full of water and when I want to check the floats for leaks
I turn the heat on and heat the water until just before its boiling. I
then use a needle nose pliers to dunk the float below the surface of the
water. If there is a leak you will see hundreds and hundreds of air bubbles
coming out of the float. It looks like when you fill up an inner tube
with air and hold it under the water.
Brake Drum- Huson’s Hints By Dave Huson
I constantly see in the Ford Forum that you should alternate the brake
drum with the reverse drum going down a long hill. I don’t know
Rain and front windshields By Rick J.
Yes, Rick was up from Texas visiting his folks. We were talking about
various tours we went on and got around to talking about driving in the
rain and how the front windshields leak like a sieve. Rick mentioned that
leaking was not a problem for him. He uses a roll of the blue painters
tape to seal the cracks on the windshield. When he gets back home he just
peels the tape off. There is no gooey residue left behind with the painters
tape. This is great news for the ladies who are usually holding the rag
or towel and mopping up the running water.
A few weeks ago after assembling the engine on my 24 Coupe, I discovered a major oil leak coming from the junction of the corner of the hogs head and the engine. Doc Murch and I knew that it was either coming from the hogs head or the pan gasket somewhere near the corner of the junction of the two. Based on where the leak appeared It could be either one. We tried to isolate the leak but none of our methods worked.
Doc mentioned our plight to Rick H. Rick suggested that we pressurize the pan through the oil fill inlet with a vacuum sweeper and check for the leak with soapy water and then apply a vacuum to the pan to draw in a sealant at the site of the leak. With a little black tape and a similar sized hose we were able to get a good seal with the hose and were able to get a good pressure and vacuum in the pan. After cleaning the leak area with acetone, the sealant was applied and did draw in under vacuum.
This method works very well for isolating and repairing small leaks. Try it you'll like it. Thanks Rick for a great tip.
Tech Tip by Bob M. (as told to him by Ron J.)Try some STP gas additive in the rear end axles. The car will run quieter and decrease wear. Do not over fill. Do not use the engine oil as it will cause the bands to work poorly.
Always use Neoprene axle seals in the outer bearing area of the rear axles.
Glyptol Tip by Paul W.I recently read an email from Dave H. about Glyptol, a paint as old as the hills, for many applications in the automotive field. Dave uses it as a field coil sealer. It was primarily
designed as an interior engine sealer. That's what I use it for. It seals porous blocks that oil won't accumulate on the interior, and covers the oil pan so that oil will circulate more freely. It is applied with a regular paint brush, or can be purchased as a spray.
It is not cheap at $50.00 quart for the paint or the 12.75 oz. spray can. I have only seen it
advertised in the Eastwood catalog. The part number for the paint is 46001ZP and 46000Z for the spray. Their phone number is 1-800-345-1178. Try it, you will love it.
Here are a few websites that have Tech tips and tutorials.
Montana Cross Country T Association