Repairing Block and Cylinder Head Cracks on the Model T Ford

A friend has had this lovely 1910 touring since about 1960. If you look closely at the lower part of the engine block just forward of the intake manifold you can see where water constantly drips between #2 exhaust valve lifter and #3 exhaust valve lifter, staining the block.

Our friend owns this beautiful 1910 touring. Its open valve engine has a water leak from the center of the block where the water jacket has rusted through and cracked. If it was a later block with enclosed valves this would cause water in the oil. Since this is an early block, it mostly causes a big mess.

We decided this was a perfect defect to repair with fairly easy methods. Read below to see what we did to repair this common problem.

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Replacing the Timer Wiring Harness

The East Side Service Station in Breckenridge, Texas had a very easy to remember phone number. Just dial 444!

Our 1917 runabout had a problem. It just wasn’t puttering properly. We looked things over and eventually found out what the problem was. The wiring harness was the original one. It was badly frayed at the connections around the coil box. One of the wires from the timer to the coil, #4 cylinder to be precise, was broken at the terminal. The only reason that #4 fired intermittently was that the insulation was holding the wire close enough that it occasionally touched the terminal! We put in the order to get a new harness from Langs.

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Installing a High Compression Cylinder Head

After WWI the British introduced these nifty Model T vans. We wonder why this body style never came to the USA – it would have been popular. From a British advertisement, about 1924.

Our 1917 runabout has served us well on several tours in the past few years. It is smooth and reliable. Still, we wished that it had a bit more power on some of the steeper hills. This edition we find out the easiest way to get more horsepower and torque from any Model T Ford. We install an aluminum high compression cylinder head.

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Rebuilding a Marvel Carburetor for Model T Ford

A Marvel carburetor in use on a Model T Ford.

The Marvel Carburetor Company started as somewhat of an afterthought. Burt Pierce of Batesville, Indiana was a friend and mentor to another pioneer in early automotive carburetors, George Schebler. Batesville is a sleepy little town about halfway between Cincinnati, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. Schebler was working on a carburetor design that incorporated a spring loaded air valve that opened automatically as engine demand increased. Meanwhile Burt Pierce was working on a carburetor design of his own that used a hanging air control valve. As things developed over time, both men received patents on their carburetor designs and both became successful. Schebler found a partner, Frank Wheeler, and formed the Wheeler Schebler carburetor company in Indianapolis, Indiana. These carburetors became common on Stutz, Overland, and countless other brass era cars and motorcycles. Meanwhile Marvel carburetors became common on cars produced by General Motors.

By 1912 the Marvel company bought out Wheeler and Schebler. The Marvel Schebler company moved to Flint Michigan in 1912 to be closer to production of the General Motors cars and trucks that used the majority of its products. Wheeler Schebler continued as a brand, while Marvel and Schebler also continued to be a separate carburetor brands of the combined companies. By the mid teens there were both Schebler and Marvel accessory carburetors for the Model T Ford being built, and in the 1920’s a Wheeler Schebler carburetor as well. In this article we will rebuilt a crusty old Marvel carburetor of this era and bring it back to life.

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Replacing the Fuel Line on your Model T Ford

A shiny new 1920 Model T Ford Center Door comes home for the first time.

The other day I went out to the garage with plans to go for a drive in one of the Model T’s. I was immediately confronted by a heavy gasoline smell. The first thought was to open the garage door to vent the vapors. Next I looked under the 1914 to see a drip pan under the car holding a considerable amount of fuel. Fortunately there was no fire! I had tried a newly rebuilt carburetor the day prior, and the fuel line evidently had cracked some time during or after my drive around the neighborhood testing the carburetor. The copper fuel line, of undetermined age, had failed as they always do. Time to make a new one from steel that won’t fail unexpectedly.

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