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.
Our subject engine is a late 1910 with the “no door” pan. The bushing and the front engine bearing are both covered in multiple layers of black paint. This is a no – no fro the outside of the engine mount bearing, as it is one of the main ground paths for the engine electrical system necessary if you are using battery ignition. Paint on the outside of the crank bushing might make it harder to remove.
We used a fiberglass stripping cup in a high speed angle air motor to remove all the paint from the front bearing and from much of the crank bushing.
Our new crank bushing (center) is flanked on the left by a 1″ socket and on the right by a 11/16″ socket. Not shown is a Grade eight 1/2″ diameter bolt that is 6″ in grip length used to draw out the old bushing.
Oil is placed all over the threads of the bolt and between the nut and the washer, and between the head of the bolt and the washer on the other end. Then a 1/2″ drive breaker bar is used to turn the bolt. At first it barely moves anything. 100 years of rust have secured the bushing very securely. After several turns on the bolt a “pop” is heard as the bushing begins to move.
As the bushing moves forward it becomes necessary to swap the original 1″ socket for a 1″ deep socket. The bushing is moving steadily with only the nut on the end of the bolt against the rear of the bushing. Again all the bolt threads have been oiled, as well as oil on the bushing itself.
The nut bottoms out on the bolt threads before the bushing is all the way out. Perhaps 1/2″ is still in the front pan bearing still. We switch to the slide hammer for the last bit of pulling.
Close up of the slide hammer nose installed so the crank busing can be pulled. Two hits with the slide hammer and it is out.
Our old rusty worn out bushing just before it hits the rubbish bin.
The inside of the hole has rust and pitting. We used a 1″ flapper wheel, 120 grit, to clean the inside of the hole.
The flapper wheel is just the thing for this job.
After a minute or two the inside of the hole is mostly shiny and smooth.
We thoroughly grease both the bushing and the hole.
A brass faced dead blow hammer is used to install the new bushing.
The bushing goes in smoothly. You could also use the bolts and socket to install the bushing if you prefer, but it is much faster and easier with the dead blow hammer.
Our new bushing is installed. We will grease the crank handle upon installation so that perhaps it will last another 100 years before needing replacement.