How to: Keep Your Model T Ford from Marking its Territory

A Model T Ford showroom in 1925 has oil stains all over the floor left by brand new Model T’s.

This issue of Model T Ford Fix will be the first of several installments dealing with ways to lessen the amount of oil leaking from your Model T. In this case I am working on a 1910 touring. The hogshead had multiple leaks from a number of typical spots. We are going to show one method to eliminate leaks from the pedal shafts in this article. We will show you how to make the tooling necessary for the job, as well as performing the modification to the hogshead itself. Let’s go!

This idea was passed to me by a club member in the Lone Star Model T Ford Club. I’ve heard of several other ways to seal the pedal shafts on a Model T, but this is by far the easiest and best method that I have seen.

First you will need to source three National P/N 340849 or equivalent.

We pull one out of the box and measure it. The seal is made to fit a .625″ diameter shaft, the perfect size for Model T Ford pedal shafts. The OD is .875″ and the seal is exactly .100″ thick.

We start with a piece of 3/4″ brass rod stock. We turn it down to .625″ OD. Any time we get to use the lathe it’s a great day!

Then we start a 3/16″ hole in the piece.

We switch to a regular 3/16″ bit and drill the piece thru from end to end. Then we swap it around in the lathe so we can cut the piece full length.

One end of the tool is tapped 1/4″ – 20 NC to accept a screw.

The finished tool. The tool seves two purposes. First it provides a 3/16″ pilot hole so the counterbore can align with the hole for the pedal shafts. Second, the screw / nuts etc. set the depth of the tool. You hold it from the back side so that the washer is up against the case. This sets the pilot so that the brass is .110″ from the outside of the other end of the hole. That way when the counterbore cuts the hole .110″ deep it contacts the brass. You will feel that and hopefully know that the counterbore has gone deep enough. This is also why I had to install a shorter screw when cutting the recess for the seal on the clutch pedal. When using this tool on the clutch location the long screw and two jam nuts are replaced by a shorter screw due to the different depth of that hole.

We picked up this .875″ short aircraft counterbore at the local surplus tool store. It was on the dollar table. We added a screw to replace the missing set screw.

Here’s how the whole tool setup works. The brass tool provides a pilot hole that fits our counterbore’s 3/16″ pilot shaft. The brass piece is held in the center of the hole with one hand while you use the counterbore mounted in a drill held in your other hand.

We take the brake and reverse pedals out, then drill one end of the rivet on the clutch low speed notch. We drive the rivet out with a hammer and punch.

With the rivet out we can pull the clutch pedal and remove all the pedal cams.

With the hogshead clamped in the vise we hold the brass guide tool in one hand and then counterbore a little at a time, checking the depth as we get close to the goal of .105″ deep.

Satisfied with the depth of the counterbore around the brake shaft hole, we move on to the reverse pedal hole.


That didn’t take long! We turn the hogshead around in the vice to work on the clutch pedal hole.

It’s too tight to get the cordless drill to fit in the clutch hole which causes us to mount the counterbore using a mini – chuck with the angle drill motor.

We installed a shorter screw in our brass tool due to the shorter nature of the area being worked on. It takes a few seconds work and we are ready to clean out the hogshead and put everything back together with our new oil seals in place. Note: the side of the oil seal with the wire spring goes towards the inside of the hogshead.

The seals are set into their respective counterbores and the pedal cams are reinstalled.

This is the time to install new band springs if needed. Above are shown (top) a new reproduction band spring from one of the T part vendors, and (bottom) a reproduction band spring that is made properly. New band springs are 2″ long if they are made properly. The too long spring will make it very hard to install the hogshead.

When any object is more than 100 years old it needs to be checked for wear and tear. The band washers and nuts are no exception. The washer in the center (arrow) has been adjusted so many times that the locking bump is almost completely worn away.

The worn washer on the left is the same one referenced in the previous photo. Right after this photo it went in the trash.

When installing the hogshead you can focus on eliminating other sources of leakage by becoming very detail oriented. Here you can see we have laid down a bead of “The Right Stuff” sealant where the felt would normally go. The Right Stuff makes a perfect seal every time if installed on clean dry surfaces.

The gaskets are glued to the engine pan with contact adhesive after carefully trimming them to size. Then a thin bead of “The Right Stuff” is applied . We install the hogshead with a couple bolts, then turn the engine on its nose and install the new re – babbited ball cap. With the ball cap in place all the rest of the hogshead bolts can be installed.

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