first drive

Discuss all things Model T related.
Forum rules
If you need help logging in, or have question about how something works, use the Support forum located here Support Forum
Complete set of Forum Rules Forum Rules
User avatar

Topic author
JamesD
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:10 pm
First Name: James
Last Name: Doell
Location: Altona

first drive

Post by JamesD » Fri Jun 18, 2021 8:59 pm

I got my truck on the road today! first time in high gear and one drive around the block. It starts very well but it seems to run a bit rough on the road. New Champion X plugs, rebuilt coils from Brent Mize, new wires, new timer, it just seems to labour and has quite a bit of vibration. I rebuilt the motor about 20 years ago and it just sat until two years ago when I was able to get back to it. It also seems very stiff when I crank it by hand when it's hot. Is that normal for a freshly rebuilt motor? I'd say I have about three miles on it total. Wondering if it just needs to run in a bit.
IMG_1916.JPEG

User avatar

Steve Jelf
Posts: 4023
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:37 pm
First Name: Steve
Last Name: Jelf
Location: Parkerfield, Kansas
MTFCA Number: 16175
MTFCI Number: 14758
Board Member Since: 2007
Contact:

Re: first drive

Post by Steve Jelf » Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:08 pm

Yes, fresh and stiff go together.

Sometimes the spray needle setting needs to be readjusted while the car is cruising.

Is the ignition timing set correctly?
http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG97.html
The inevitable often happens.
1915 Runabout
1923 Touring

User avatar

Topic author
JamesD
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:10 pm
First Name: James
Last Name: Doell
Location: Altona

Re: first drive

Post by JamesD » Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:22 pm

Thanks Steve. I think the timing is OK. With the spark lever all the way up it doesn't kick back if I crank it. When it's cold I give it about 4 pulls with the choke, turn the key on and one pull will get it started.
I have to say that I've never driven a T before so I really have no idea what is normal. Might be the most terrifying drive I've ever taken since I was learning to drive...I had to concentrate so hard to get all the pedals and levers coordinated I didn't have a chance to adjust the needle while driving. I hit 25 miles/hour according to my phone and it felt like 100! I'll keep taking it for short trips until I get some confidence in it. I'm going to check the timer again and make sure everything is tight.


TXGOAT2
Posts: 608
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:08 pm
First Name: Pat
Last Name: McNallen
Location: Graham, Texas
MTFCA Number: 51486
Board Member Since: 2021

Re: first drive

Post by TXGOAT2 » Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:43 pm

Some vibration and mechanical noise is normal. Remember that nothing on a T is automatic, and you will need to adjust the timing, mixture, and thottle settings frequently as you drive and checking oil, coolant, and lubricating the driveline and chassis often. I'd limit top speed on a new engine to about 20 mph in high gear for a couple of hundred miles. Driving the car and making needed adjustments will become second nature as you gain experience and the engine breaks in. It would be very helpful if you could get some in person advice from an experienced T driver, if any are available in your area. If not, caution, information, and experience will get you by. I hope you have a low traffic or no traffic area available to you to get used to the controls of your T and learn what to expect from the brakes and steering and how to use the transmission to the best advantage.


DHort
Posts: 1331
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:30 pm
First Name: David
Last Name: Hjortnaes
Location: Men Falls, WI
MTFCA Number: 28762
MTFCI Number: 22402

Re: first drive

Post by DHort » Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:37 pm

You can always go to a cemetery or fairgrounds to practice driving. Never had a body complain. That is where my son learned to drive.

User avatar

Steve Jelf
Posts: 4023
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:37 pm
First Name: Steve
Last Name: Jelf
Location: Parkerfield, Kansas
MTFCA Number: 16175
MTFCI Number: 14758
Board Member Since: 2007
Contact:

Re: first drive

Post by Steve Jelf » Sat Jun 19, 2021 12:11 am

You have many miles of country roads around Altona, so finding plenty of low-traffic practice should not be a problem. When new T drivers are concerned about learning to drive a T I like to remind them that many millions of people have done it, and some of them were not the sharpest tool in the shed. :) You'll be fine. For a long time I never drove more than a few miles from home. Then I went to a Model T event 125 miles away. Starting out a little before sunup, every so often I would catch myself feeling tense, and would remind myself to relax. That evening I rolled into my driveway at sundown, after a round trip of 250 miles, feeling perfectly relaxed. You get used to it.
The inevitable often happens.
1915 Runabout
1923 Touring

User avatar

Topic author
JamesD
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:10 pm
First Name: James
Last Name: Doell
Location: Altona

Re: first drive

Post by JamesD » Sat Jun 19, 2021 12:34 am

Good advice on keeping the speed below 20 mph for a while. I'll do that.

Steve you're right, there's plenty of country roads around here to practice on, I'll just keep making the loops bigger as I get used to it. But it's sure different than anything else I've driven!

User avatar

TWrenn
Posts: 1411
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:53 am
First Name: Tim
Last Name: Wrenn
Location: Ohio
MTFCA Number: 30701
MTFCI Number: 24033

Re: first drive

Post by TWrenn » Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:28 am

Keeping your speed below 20 in high gear may be your "vibration" problem. It's possible you're lugging that tight engine.
Grab a pair and speed it up to at least 26-28 mph. Most T's seem to have this "vibration zone" anyway when accelerating out of low into high, usually up through and into 20 mph, so there you have it. As I was told by an expert engine rebuilder too, it'll run
all day just fine at 30. Keep driving and get your confidence up. You'll get there.

User avatar

John.Zibell
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:09 am
First Name: John
Last Name: Zibell
Location: Huntsville, AL
MTFCA Number: 30265
MTFCI Number: 24046

Re: first drive

Post by John.Zibell » Sat Jun 19, 2021 10:48 am

What timer are you using? If an Anderson type you may need to adjust the tabs to get each cylinder firing at the correct point.
1926 Tudor


Norman Kling
Posts: 1639
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:39 pm
First Name: Norman
Last Name: Kling
Location: Alpine California

Re: first drive

Post by Norman Kling » Sat Jun 19, 2021 10:56 am

James,
I have no idea what the terrain is around where you are driving the T. If it is the first time you have driven one, it might be running just fine, however, you are used to faster newer more powerful cars. And the T only has 2 speeds forward, so it will go pretty good in low and then putt in high. If you have hills around you, you might not even be able to drive in high without lugging the engine. If you have anyone in your area who has a Model T, you might want to ask them to drive your car and see how it compares with other Model T's.
There are even variations in the gear ratio of the rear axle. If the gearing is lower than standard, you will have more torque at low speeds, but your top speed will be lower than average T. And if you have higher ratio, you will have faster high speeds on level or down hill, however it will lug going uphill.
Anyway, it might be running fine for a Model T but since you are not used to driving one, it might seem slow to you.
Anyway, good luck. I'm sure you will soon get the hang of it.
Norm


Norman Kling
Posts: 1639
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:39 pm
First Name: Norman
Last Name: Kling
Location: Alpine California

Re: first drive

Post by Norman Kling » Sat Jun 19, 2021 10:57 am

James,
I have no idea what the terrain is around where you are driving the T. If it is the first time you have driven one, it might be running just fine, however, you are used to faster newer more powerful cars. And the T only has 2 speeds forward, so it will go pretty good in low and then putt in high. If you have hills around you, you might not even be able to drive in high without lugging the engine. If you have anyone in your area who has a Model T, you might want to ask them to drive your car and see how it compares with other Model T's.
There are even variations in the gear ratio of the rear axle. If the gearing is lower than standard, you will have more torque at low speeds, but your top speed will be lower than average T. And if you have higher ratio, you will have faster high speeds on level or down hill, however it will lug going uphill.
Anyway, it might be running fine for a Model T but since you are not used to driving one, it might seem slow to you.
Anyway, good luck. I'm sure you will soon get the hang of it.
Norm

User avatar

TRDxB2
Posts: 2078
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:56 pm
First Name: Frank
Last Name: Brandi
Location: Moline IL
Board Member Since: 2018

Re: first drive

Post by TRDxB2 » Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:28 am

Thought I'd shed some light on the terrain question. Altona is a village in Knox County, Illinois. The population was 531 at the 2010 census. In the mid-west the land is mostly flat with ravines (we go down hill before we go up hill). The steep hills are around the major river valleys. The dark green areas outside the town are the ravines, most are relatively shallow. There aren't many roads outside of the town, but it looks like getting to a "country road" may require a bit of highway driving to get to one. Looking at the map detail, the road (S. Station St) goes to the Cemetery and continues on to what looks like a nice practice area if its a blacktop road vs macadam (tar&gravel).
Attachments
altona.png
The past is a great place and I don't want to erase it or to regret it, but I don't want to be its prisoner either.
Mick Jagger

User avatar

Oldav8tor
Posts: 1121
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:39 am
First Name: Tim
Last Name: Juhl
Location: Thumb of Michigan
MTFCA Number: 50297
MTFCI Number: 24810

Re: first drive

Post by Oldav8tor » Sat Jun 19, 2021 12:29 pm

Do you have a transmission oil screen? If the engine is fresh from overhaul you'll find it collects metal to the magnet and fuzz from the bands which if allowed to collect for too long can plug the screen. Clean it frequently during break-in. You should also change the oil more frequently in the beginning.

The sensations of driving a T are nothing like a modern car. Noises, vibrations, etc., may sometimes seem alarming but a little investigation may show they are harmless. As time passes you will become in tune with your car so that you recognize changes that may point to a problem. Pretty soon it will become second nature.....enjoy!
1917 Touring
1946 Aeronca Champ
1952 Willys M38a1 Jeep
1953 Ford Jubilee Tractor


Norman Kling
Posts: 1639
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:39 pm
First Name: Norman
Last Name: Kling
Location: Alpine California

Re: first drive

Post by Norman Kling » Sat Jun 19, 2021 12:38 pm

From the post by TRD it looks like that would be ideal country to drive a T. You should be able to get it up to about 15 in low in just a minute or two from starting out. Then let up on the gas while you let the pedal out into high, then give it some gas until it gets up to speed. You will find that when you get going a bit faster, you can advance the spark and it will run a bit easier. If you are running on magneto, you will find that starting with the spark lever all the way up, then after it starts pull it down about 1/4 way down and it will suddenly pick up speed. Then about 1/2 or 3/4 way down it will pick up more speed. There are about 3 and sometimes 4 places on the spark quadrant where the engine will suddenly pick up speed. When running on fast idle, you will be able to find these points on the quadrant. It helps for a new driver, to put a smear of white paint on the quadrant at each of those points, then you will be able to find them. After you get to be a seasoned driver, you can tell where they are by the feel of the car.
When you are driving the car, you will find a smoother start out at low speed with the lever about 1/2 way down, and as you pick up speed pull it down to the next point and finally if you are going about 35 to 40 you can pull it down farther. As you slow down, you then move the lever up a bit. Soon you will find the place where it runs smoothest and fastest for each position of the throttle.
The reason for this change in the spark position is that as the engine picks up speed, the piston will be moving faster and you need to advance the spark so that the highest point of ignition comes as the piston is going down, but when the engine is moving slower, the spark should come a bit later or it will try to run the engine backward and you will lose power. Anyway, those things are done automatically by the newer cars, but on the T it is done manually.
If you are running the engine on battery, the spark advances a bit with each notch of movement on the lever. So depending on whether you are using magneto or battery, you will move the lever a bit differently, but you still need to do it manually.
They run better with more speed and power on magneto, so if yours is working, use it.
Norm

User avatar

Topic author
JamesD
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:10 pm
First Name: James
Last Name: Doell
Location: Altona

Re: first drive

Post by JamesD » Sat Jun 19, 2021 8:26 pm

Thanks for all the advice. I'm running a roller timer and the mag is working. I took it for another spin today and it ran pretty good except it started surging at the end. I think I may have fiddled to much with the needle and it was running rich. when I got back I adjusted it leaner and it ran better again. I did notice that it seemed happy with the spark down about 1/3 of the way. I don't think I would try to hit 15 mph in low, that seems like I'd be over revving the engine but I shift it when it feels right and it seems to shift into high and then putts along fairly nicely.

I have to set you guys straight on Altona...it's a town of about 4000 people in Manitoba Canada, not Illinois! however the terrain looks similar. Flat as a table top and lots of gravel and dirt roads around. I'd have to drive 35 miles west to find a hill. I live on the edge of town so I can drive 1/2 a mile down my road and be in the country.


Scott_Conger
Posts: 3213
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: first drive

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:20 pm

James

you seem to be grasping details quite well. To that subject, I doubt that very many folks suggesting 15MPH in low gear really do that very often themselves. That is about 1400 RPM and mighty fast for a new T engine. At that RPM, you are way past the torque peak and are approaching HP peak...neither of which is necessary to get into high gear. In fact at that RPM, you may have to wait long enough for RPM to drop to get a smooth shift into high, that you'll lose back a lot of speed that you prematurely used up the engine on. Also as originally spec'd by the factory, a maximum speed of 20MPH for quite awhile was recommended for break in. That speed equates very closely to 800 RPM in high gear...a sober and sedate engine speed and plenty fast for a beginner. Myself, I rarely get to the middle of an intersection from a dead stop still in low gear, typically by then, I am in high gear with a light throttle until the engine obviously will take more. And it will very quickly, without lugging the engine or creating any other drama.

Good luck and good for you in getting your car on the road.
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


Art M
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:57 pm
First Name: Art
Last Name: Mirtes
Location: Huron, Ohio
Board Member Since: 2016

Re: first drive

Post by Art M » Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:17 pm

On a level road, I shift from low to high at about 12 mph. The car doesn't like to operate in high gear under 10 mile per hour. Rear axle gearing is standard. 11/ 40 teeth.

User avatar

Steve Jelf
Posts: 4023
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:37 pm
First Name: Steve
Last Name: Jelf
Location: Parkerfield, Kansas
MTFCA Number: 16175
MTFCI Number: 14758
Board Member Since: 2007
Contact:

Re: first drive

Post by Steve Jelf » Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:41 pm

Altona is a village in Knox County, Illinois.

There's also an Altona in Manitoba. It's pretty flat too. :D
The inevitable often happens.
1915 Runabout
1923 Touring

User avatar

Topic author
JamesD
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:10 pm
First Name: James
Last Name: Doell
Location: Altona

Re: first drive

Post by JamesD » Sun Jun 20, 2021 12:10 pm

that's the one!

User avatar

Ed Fuller
Posts: 322
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:06 pm
First Name: Ed
Last Name: Fuller
Location: New Jersey
Board Member Since: 2012

Re: first drive

Post by Ed Fuller » Sun Jun 20, 2021 1:09 pm

James,

Listen to Scott Conger, he is giving great advice for how long to stay in low gear.

“Myself, I rarely get to the middle of an intersection from a dead stop still in low gear, typically by then, I am in high gear with a light throttle until the engine obviously will take more. ”


TXGOAT2
Posts: 608
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:08 pm
First Name: Pat
Last Name: McNallen
Location: Graham, Texas
MTFCA Number: 51486
Board Member Since: 2021

Re: first drive

Post by TXGOAT2 » Sun Jun 20, 2021 2:20 pm

At low speeds in high gear use light throttle and late timing. As the car picks up speed, add more throttle and move the spark lever down. Adjust procedure for hills, mud, grades, etc. A Model T engine with a stock or near-stock cam and equal compression on all 4 cylinders and an ignition system and carburetor in good order will deliver nice, smooth torque at low speeds. At low rpm, the engine's volumetric efficiency is high. Cylinders can get a good charge of fuel and air even at light throttle settings.

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic