The Model T Ford Battery Charging System by Ron Patterson

The Model T Ford battery charging capability is a subsystem of the Ford FA Starting and Lighting System designed by Mr. Fred Allison at the Ford Motor Company electrical engineering department and introduced in late 1918 for use on Model T Ford cars and trucks.

Many people have trouble with the charging system on their Model T and need help repairing it. Here is an electrical (not physical) schematic diagram and technical description of how it works.

Above is a Model T Ford generator rebuilt by Ron Patterson equipped with a Fun Projects voltage regulator in place of the factory cutout.

Continue reading “The Model T Ford Battery Charging System by Ron Patterson”

Repairing the Model T Ford Rear Spring

The suspension of any Model T Ford consists of a transverse leaf spring mounted above each of the axles. It is a pretty simple arrangement, which Henry Ford called his “three point” suspension system. This was superior to the common semi – elliptical setup used on most cars of the day because it allowed a Model T’s suspension to pivot significantly on the fore / aft axis, allowing the car to have both traction and control over very uneven terrain. Roads in the days of the Model T Ford were generally bad, unpaved, muddy, and full of deep ruts.

The rear leaf springs used on the Model T evolved over the years as most parts of the car did. Here is a brief (but not comprehensive) overview of the rear spring changes over the production run.

1909 – 1912

Eight  leaves (all body styles except runabout / torpedo / roadster)

Seven leaves – roadster, runabout, torpedo. End bushings either brass or bronze.

All springs were “taper leaf” design. This was a carry over from springs designed for horse drawn carriages. All but the main two leaves were ground both on a radius and to a graceful end for appearance sake.

Springs were clamped at each end with a bolt securing each the clamps. Several clamp designs were used depending on the spring manufacturer.

1913 – 1917

Springs continued in the same general design but were less carefully ground and somewhat less dainty appearing because they were not ground as much. End bushings were changed to less expensive and better wearing steel. In 1916 model year the spring oilers were deleted from the spring shackle, and a hole drilled through each main leaf and bushing to allow oil to be added (it never was by most owners).

1918 – 27

The taper leaf design was eliminated in favor of leafs that were simply cut off on the ends. A 9 leaf spring was added for sedans. Runabout springs became 6 leaf in 1920. Beginning in 1925 the new Roadster Pickup body style also used the 9 leaf spring.

In this issue of Model T Ford Fix we disassemble the rear leaf spring and rebuild it for best handling and ride quality.

Continue reading “Repairing the Model T Ford Rear Spring”

Replacing a Model T Ford Crank Bushing Sleeve T3903

The earliest Model T’s did not come equipped with a starter, so the hand crank was or is the only way to start the engine other than push starting. The fellow above is displaying risky form. You should never wrap a thumb around the crank while cranking, and all pressure on the crank must be upwards.

The crank bushing wears out from constant use. Very seldom did anyone bother to lube the crank bushings. And with the bushing on the front of the car, mostly exposed to the elements, water gets in and causes rust. At some point the Model T mechanic will need to replace a crank bushing for one or all of these reasons. Let’s take a look at how it is done.

Continue reading “Replacing a Model T Ford Crank Bushing Sleeve T3903”

Fixing a 1915 Model T Round Fellow Wheel

The Model T Ford continued to evolve from the day the first Model T was built in the fall of 1908 until the last Model T rolled off the assembly line in 1927. Very few parts were unchanged for the entire production run of the Model T. Not to be classified as a part that went unchanged were the wheels. The first Model T Fords had very frail looking and fairly complex wheels. The wheels used in 1909 model year had a “teardrop” shape for the spokes, with the pointy end of the teardrop facing the hubcap side of the wheel. They were built with non – demountable rims in 30 X 3 size on the front and 30 X 3 1/2 on the rear.

While the size of the wheels was the same in 1915, the wheels had become much more burly in construction, as well as being easier to manufacture. 1915 wheels had  a round profile to the spokes, with neither a front nor a rear side. This simplified manufacture, and made the wheels stronger, albeit somewhat heavier.

Even though 1915 wheels are sturdier than 1909 wheels, they still fail occasionally, especially after 100 + years of use and abuse.  We will take a look at how to fix a common problem with Model T wheels, a broken or loose rivet.

Continue reading “Fixing a 1915 Model T Round Fellow Wheel”

Repairing a New Day Timer

One of the most common aftermarket timers for the Model T Ford was – and is – the New Day. Made from a very hard Bakelite type material with copper contacts and a bronze wiper style brush, the New Day was popular because it needed virtually no maintenance. The original old New Day timers are one of the best aftermarket timers that you can find. Often they are found for sale at swap meets for less than $10. My advice is to buy any good ones that you see. On eBay they tend to command $40 – $50 in good shape with a usable brush.

In more recent times there have been attempts to manufacture the New Day timer for sale by the Model T parts trade. Results have been mixed as we shall see. In any case, occasionally there are defects related to wear and age that can be corrected to salvage a defective New Day timer and make it into a usable one. This installment of Model T Ford Fix will show you just how to do that.

Continue reading “Repairing a New Day Timer”