13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph and Pics of the bands (new)

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Darin Hull
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13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph and Pics of the bands (new)

Post by Darin Hull » Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:02 am

T’ers,

I’m hoping next year the COVID issue will be such that activities like T club meets may resume because I could use some experience and wisdom to help diagnose some issues. One I’ll try to ask here is about power.

I don’t have a knowledge base of driving Ts... so what seems like an anomaly to me may not be; however, I try to recall what it was like riding in the T when grandpa was driving. I’ve also read MTFCA past posts for years to create a knowledge base from previous discussions. My question is about what seems to be a lack of power at slightly high speeds, > 30 mph.

I’ll make the issue as simple as possible, on a flat country road the 13T will get up to around 30 mph and then struggle to go any faster even with the throttle wide open and spark advanced all the way. I think I’ve got up to 31-32 mph on a flat open road. But above 25 mph is a struggle... that’s truly my easy cruising speed right now in the 13T. I seem to remember running into the low 40s, maybe 45, when grandpa was driving the T down open country roads when I was a small kid. I don’t have a need for speed, that’s not what a T is for, but for safety reasons I’d like to be able to cruise at 35 mph without difficulty.

One potentially important factor is I’m currently running off a 6v battery all the time as my mag isn’t in great working condition... an issue I plan on diagnosing more maybe this winter. I thought maybe the 6v limit was the issue until I saw a RPM/HP chart of a 6v battery and it appears the massive HP drop off is at higher RPMs than associated with 30mph in a T. See attached chart. Now I’m uncertain if that is a factor.

I have a gas tank freshly reconditioned/sealed, only run ethanol free gas since day 1, new sediment bulb, new 1/4” gas line, freshly rebuilt Holley NH carb done by an expert, motorcraft spark plugs with less than 200 miles on them and gaped at 0.03 I believe, rebuilt coils by a well known coil guy (done several years ago but less than 200 miles on them), rebuilt coil box, new wiring, compression a little low but even in all cylinders at 45 psi, and Anderson anco timer with less than 200 miles. Not sure what else to tell y’all but figured this might be a good base of info.

I know this is a much easier issue to diagnose with the T right in front of ya... but this is a great forum and the best resource for many of us. Any suggestions of things to check or consider?

Thank you for your time,
Darin
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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Altair » Mon Nov 09, 2020 2:21 am

I would start with doubling your voltage up to 12 volts, a good mag can put out nearly 30 volts so 12 volts won't hurt anything and may improve your performance. At higher speeds a little more current will be needed to ignite the fuel and you may just gain and additional 5 mph. Small air craft operate on dual mags when one mag is turned off the RPM will drop almost 100 RPM. If departing on only one mag the performance is somewhat restricted, re-establish the dual mags again and performance is improved. You may just need more current.


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Aussie16 » Mon Nov 09, 2020 2:44 am

Seems like you have all the electrics sorted. Have you adjusted the carb mixture at idle or higher RPM's? New carb and fuel line is good but you need to find that sweet spot with the mixture as well. Just a thought!


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by got10carz » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:26 am

I agree with Dave, run it on 12 volts and hang on.


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Norman Kling » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:32 am

David hit the nail on the head. On my first T, I ran on 6 volts for many years because the magneto didn't work. On tours I was one of the slower cars, especially going uphill. Then when I restored another T, I rewound several magneto rings and I installed one in my first T. After that I was one of the faster cars. Same timer and coils, just ran on magneto.
If you are still using gas lights and you crank start your car, you could switch to 12 volts and wouldn't even need a generator. Just charge while parked.
Norm

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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Mark Nunn » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:51 am

I found the same issue with my '26. I've only driven it about 30 miles so far but it hits the plateau at 31 mph (according to my phone's GPS). My car doesn't have a magneto and it runs on 6 volts. Changes in throttle and timing offer no improvements.

This discussion made me think of a test that I could run fairly easily to see if running 12V is really an improvement. I could temporarily add a 12v battery somewhere and connect it to the magneto wire. Once I reach 31 mph on 6V, I could switch to "mag" and see if there is an improvement. Unfortunately, this will have to wait until I finish rebuilding my front suspension and steering. Like everything else, it's completely wore out and currently apart.


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Scott_Conger » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:52 am

12+ volts and a float valve which is not restricted; and the two standard valves sold by dealers (grose and needle) have a greatly restricted hole for the fuel to flow through into the carb. They do not flow fuel nearly as well as the original one did. This restricts top speed and limits the length and steepness of hills that the car will climb.

If your problem is fuel starvation, this is the only float valve available today which has the correct throughput and will solve that problem:

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Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Norman Kling » Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:57 am

You could actually install a 12 volt battery and remove the 6 volt. Do not use the lights. The generator will charge a 12 volt battery with a cutout. Not sure with a voltage regulator. If you only use the starter a few times will not damage the starter. Or you could crank start. If it works for you, best to replace the starter with one wound for 12 volts and replace all the light bulbs with 12 volt. Best fix of all would be to fix the magneto. Or you could place a distributor on the car. You can get a 6 volt distributor if you want to keep the 6 volt battery. If you do use a distributor, you could switch back to the coils and timer when you repair the magneto, which would be done when you need to pull the engine and transmission for some other reason.
Norm
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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Rich Bingham » Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:58 am

Perhaps one of our coil/ignition/magneto specialists could hold forth ?
What I've noted "forever" is that starting on battery (12volt even !) when I switch to magneto, RPM increases substantially.
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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Norman Kling » Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:02 am

The magneto is not hard to fix when you have the engine out. Hardest part of the job is pulling the engine and transmission out and disassembling. So that is why I suggest you wait until you need to rebuild the engine and or transmission. A good source of information and illustrated do it yourself instructions are found in the publication by the club "Electrical System"
Norm


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Darin Hull » Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:45 am

Warwick - I adjusted the Holley NH carb at idle and with an open throttle. The procedure followed was in the following instructions: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/holley.pdf
I’m all ears if there’s a better way.

Scott - I didn’t rebuild the carb but went to the expert, Russ Potter. I don’t know which float valve he uses.

David and Steve - I’ve been considering doing just that and only hesitated after seeing the RPM/HP chart I posted. It is an easy potential fix so sounds like my next step.

Norman - I definitely feel I would be one of the slower cars on a tour and will try swapping to 12v until I can get to the mag one day. I don’t have a starter or electrical lights, so no worries on that front. The original 1913 engine is in my garage waiting on a rebuild. There’s currently a 1925 engine in the 13T so a generator is currently present.

Thank you, gentlemen. I just purchased a 6v VR this week... will have to sit on a shelf until I try out the 12v battery potential solution.


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by DickC » Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:15 pm

I have an original 13, (no gen, no starter, etc.) and not a strong mag. I frequently run on 12v battery. I use a computer battery and can run on tour for about 3 days, (80 to 100 miles a day) and then throw another charged battery in it. The beauty of the computer battery is the size and replaces the "hot shot" battery common to T's .


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Darin Hull » Wed Nov 11, 2020 5:26 pm

Dick, you said you use a computer battery? What make and model? Curious what you’re referring to.

Obviously, I don’t need a lead acid or gel battery since I don’t have a starter. Anyone else use a rechargeable 12v battery alternative to a traditional car battery?

Darin


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Wayne Sheldon » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:18 pm

" however, I try to recall what it was like riding in the T when grandpa was driving."
How many years ago was it that you rode with your grandpa?
Most people are not really aware of this, but the gasoline we buy today is almost nothing like we were using thirty to fifty years ago. I could write pages on stories about the transitions, and backgrounds. Suffice to say, that the fuel economy on today's fuels is about twenty-five percent less than the fuels of thirty some years ago in the same cars. When fuel economy goes down? Performance and top speed both also go down a comparable amount.
Back in the '70s and '80s, a large percentage of model T owners would often drive their stock Ts at 40 to 45 mph. Some stock Ts (and I mean full body and fenders, no special cams, no higher compression, factory carburetors etc etc etc) would do 50 mph if asked to. Most model T owners then were used to that, and often drove on freeways often at 45 mph and above!
Today? Most stock model Ts won't do 40 mph. Anything over 35 mph, they struggle.

Fine tuning the ignition and carburetion may help some. But don't expect what grandpa was getting if it was more than thirty years ago.
In the '70s and '80s, I had a stock engine speedster with a light body, no fenders, and a Muncie overdrive. I would often drive it at full throttle for considerable distances, speed 70 mph for sometimes a couple hours. The last T speedster I had, nearly identical mechanically? Would barely do 60 mph.

Using the non-ethanol helps some (if you live where you can get it?). But it still isn't the same as what we used to have.


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Darin Hull » Thu Nov 12, 2020 4:37 am

Wayne,

Those memories are from around 30+ years ago. Also, I use ethanol-free gas every time.

Darin


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by John Codman » Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:17 am

When I forget to flip from Battery to magneto on my '27, the top speed is reduced, but not by as much as yours (in the OP) is. I would take a couple of hours and go back to the basics; I would check the compression, take a look at the plugs, check the coils - I'm sure that there are people on this forum that can help you there. I would be sure that the timer is in good shape and not overly oiled, check to be sure that the timer is set up for the correct timing - if it won't advance enough, that could cause the problem that you describe.
I'm not sure that I agree that the cars today get 25% less fuel economy on current fuels then they did on fuels 30 years ago. It is true that cutting gasoline 10% with Ethanol does reduce the energy in a gallon of fuel, but only by about 3% (a gallon of "pure" gasoline contains 116,900 BTUs of heat energy, cut it with 10% Ethanol and the gallon contains 112,840 BTUs). That's not going to drop fuel economy or power by a significant amount unless you run the numbers and find that the 3% drop in fuel economy for the entire US gasoline-powered fleet would total a very large number of gallons.

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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Mark Gregush » Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:45 am

My comment would mirror John's above, on 6 volts my T is not as peppy but it does go over 30 MPH using the 6 volt battery. What condition is the engine in, how is the compression? If the compression is low say under 40-45 you are loosing a lot of power right there. Add into that, dragging bands or parking brakes the available power keeps going down. Even with a stem winder, using a compression gauge with needed adapter to 1/2 pipe thread, you can still get a pretty good idea where it's at. Just be sure to take all the plugs out and open the throttle. As far as battery, 12 volt motorcycle or any of the 12 volt rechargeable ones made for powered toys will work but if you have a 6 volt installed now, find what fits the space.
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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by tiredfarmer » Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:50 pm

I was wondering if there is something clogging up the exhaust.


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Darin Hull » Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:15 am

Answer a few more questions which were asked:

John - My timing was setup well but I will check to see how far it is advancing. My commuter/timer pull rod is rubbing up against the outlet connection pipe. I wonder if that’s limiting the ability of it to advanced the timer enough.

Mark - 45 psi in every cylinder

Leonard - I don’t know how a blockage occurs but if it is relevant... the 13T had a new exhaust pipe, exhaust manifold, and muffler installed less than 200 miles ago.

Today or Saturday, I plan on trying the 12v battery out since that’s an easy step.

Darin


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Ron Patterson » Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:00 am

Darin
A few years ago I wrote an article about what causes the problem you describe.
Here is a link: http://www.funprojects.com/pdf/More%20o ... Timing.pdf
If you read the entire article you will see what happens when running a Model T with a 6 volt battery.
Good luck
Ron Patterson


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Mark Osterman » Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:34 am

I was just thinking about the effect of having the spark set at exactly the right place for the circumstance. I set it one place for starting from a dead stop .. then as I shift from los to high gear .. and then as I accelerate flat out or climb hills. There are times when I’m approaching 40-45 that a very slight adjustment make a really big difference in how much the engine sounds like it’s laboring or performing effortlessly. I wonder how many people out there listen to their engine to find that sweet spot in spark timing.


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Jerry VanOoteghem » Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:12 am

Mark Osterman wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:34 am
I wonder how many people out there listen to their engine to find that sweet spot in spark timing.

Excellent statement. Can also add carb setting and speed to the list. There are certain speeds that my T does not like. Seems to be 38 MPH. Above or below that speed is smooth as silk.

Darin,

Once you reach 30, do you try adjusting your carb or timing "on the fly" to see if you feel any increase in power/speed? As to 6V, I could always go plenty fast on 6V when I was running coils, (with a tired engine). However, I do not deny that 12V can give better performance. Worth a try!

Also, is it possible that you have a vacuum leak between the intake manifold and the engine block? It wouldn't be the first time that a gland ring didn't seat perfectly.


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Darin Hull » Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:15 pm

Ron - I read your article before while researching past MTFCA discussion threads. Loved it. Wouldn’t have guessed 2 milliseconds could make such a difference until finishing up your article. Honestly, didn’t realize how many degrees of rotation occurred in that time frame. Thank you. Also, I bought the parts necessary to test the mag based off a past post from you. I may message you with the results.

Jerry - I have adjusted the carb while driving but at the higher speeds, while attempting to go over 30 mph, have only advanced the spark as much as possible on the quadrant.

Mark - I’m still settling in as a new T driver with less than 200 miles of experience. I will say sound is probably the measuring stick I use the most to determine if the T is acting right; however, being so new it’s hard for me to interpret the sound as to what exactly needs adjusting or attention. That will come with experience but even now I can tell when the T is running along happily. There are such interesting variables I’ve noticed like my T generally runs better once it’s warmed up which makes sense. But an oddity I’ve noticed is it seems to run better on my first drive of the day, like to car shows I’ve gone to. Whereas, the return trip home, which generally happens a few hours later, it seems to struggle to the point I’m concerned about making it home.

Hopefully, T clubs can start meeting regularly next year and swap meets will be back. Having some folks stand around the 13T and share their collective wisdom will be great to listen to and absorb.

It’s an enjoyable frustration trying to get the T running the way I want it. I’m not there yet but the pursuit of that sweet spot is providing an invaluable education.

Tomorrow, I’ll try 12 volts and some other suggestions I received. I haven’t given up on the mag yet but that’s currently one of many running projects.

I’ll update y’all,
Darin


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph

Post by Darin Hull » Sat Nov 14, 2020 1:25 pm

I swung by the local parts store and picked up a lawn/garden 12v battery since this was for an experiment. Disconnected the mag wire from the post to the coil box, since I’m not currently using it, and wired the 12v battery to the coil box on the mag’s old side. I left the 6v on the battery side. Then went out for a spin...

Night and day difference. Instead of cruising at 25 mph and slowly getting to 30 mph, if at all; I could easily get to 30 mph and cruise at 35 mph. Now, it didn’t race up to 35 mph but it would get there. Also, climbing hills was just as noticeable a difference.

With my setup, I could easily switch between 12v and 6v. If I was cruising at 35 mph and switched back to 6v, it was like putting a brake on. Even with the 12v, the 13T didn’t really want to get over 35 mph on a level road.

I know there’s more a lot work to do to get the T operating where I want it... but that’s part of the fun. Until I get the mag going, this was a good step in the right direction.

Thank you for the feedback,
Darin
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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph (Progress made!)

Post by Dan Haynes » Sat Nov 14, 2020 3:37 pm

Hi, Darin -
Do you know what the band linings are?
When you are seated in the car and press the pedals, how far are they from the bottom of the pedal slot in the floorboards when they are bottomed out?

Model Ts like quite a lot of room there. The pedals can safely go to within an inch - maybe a little less - of the floorboard. Keep the bands as loose as they can be without hitting the floorboard or slipping. In the case of the clutch pedal, the limit is when the link goes over-center and holds the pedal down. If that hasn't happened to you yet, you'll hate it when it does.

If the linings are super bullet-proof linings like Kevlar, they should be set up extra loose. The Kevlar doesn't wear like cotton and a sloppy-loose adjustment of Kevlar will stay effective for thousands of miles. No matter what your linings are, make it a habit to adjust then a little at a time rather than a bunch all at once. It's a temptation to make them a little snug to gain more miles between adjustments, but honestly, you will only succeed in shortening the distance 'til you need to reline them.

Kevlar is the worst culprit, if they are tight, they will drag and heat up and bind and the car will struggle harder and harder to keep going. If your drums don't explode, you're lucky, you lived another day and you can just slack off the adjustments.

Keep them as loose as possible without slipping. You'll go faster, dive deeper and come up drier.
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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph (Progress made!)

Post by Mark Osterman » Sat Nov 14, 2020 3:51 pm

Imagine how much better it would run with a good functioning magneto putting out the volts!


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Mag Test

Post by Darin Hull » Sat Nov 14, 2020 4:11 pm

Mark,

Completely agree! I tested the mag today and sent an email to Ron Patterson.

The 1156 bulb got successively brighter with each increase in RPM; however, I believe there is a mag issue.

Slow idle - 5 VAC
Fast idle - 7 VAC
Engine opened about half throttle - 8 VAC

Thinking those values are a little low. I wonder if it having low values, if my interpretation is correct, the mag would be a good candidate for the flash charging procedure.

Darin


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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph (Progress made!)

Post by Darin Hull » Sat Nov 14, 2020 4:23 pm

Dan,

I don’t know what the band linings my grandpa installed were; however, I will tell ya he had a set of Scandinavia linings in his parts box. I know that doesn’t mean that’s what he has in there but it seems to me a lot of folks become creatures of habit with their T with things like linings.

As far as my pedals, I’ll post pics. But my clutch pedal basically can touch the top of the slot with solid pressure. The reverse maybe an inch away and the brake pedal creates a steep angle but maybe an inch or so.
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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph (Progress made!) and (just added) Mag test result

Post by RajoRacer » Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:49 pm

Your magneto output is quite insufficient.

Pop up the floorboards & unscrew the band cover (after you remove the coilbox key!) - take a photo of the lining ends and someone here should be able to identify the type. From the photo you posted, it seems your low pedal is getting a bit too close to the floorboard UNLESS the lining is Kevlar.

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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph (Progress made!) and (just added) Mag test result

Post by George House » Sat Nov 14, 2020 6:48 pm

A quick and dirty diagnosis is to remove the mag terminal on top of the tranny cover to see if there’s lint or junk (wire ?) on its spring. This will limit mag output. While that mag terminal is out, replace it with a front main accy Oiler mag terminal - if grandpa hadn’t already....If you enjoy Model T driving; the faster you go, the less time of enjoyment you’ll have. Safety: Do you have an accy under-the-axle front wishbone? A good friend of mine wanted to ‘go fast’ in his ‘15 touring and eased off the pavement, flipped the T and was killed. Also, steering and service brakes become more questionable the faster you go. Be careful and successful in your improvements...Think positive but test negative
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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph (Progress made!) and (just added) Mag test result

Post by Wayne Sheldon » Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:13 pm

I don't know from memory, but in the photo it looks like the metal pieces on the floorboards may be placed incorrectly? The pedals due to positioning do not fit evenly, even though the slots on the metal pieces are made evenly. You should have a bit more slot above the low pedal. It should be able (with very loose adjustment) for the pedal itself to hit the floorboard. As it is, the arm hits the end of the slot with a good inch of travel not used.
Perhaps the long slots go on the upper board, and the shorter slots go on the lower board? I am not sure about that, so hopefully someone with a better car than I can elucidate us.


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Darin Hull
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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph (Progress made!) and (just added) Mag test result

Post by Darin Hull » Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:49 pm

Steve - I’ll send a pic probably Tuesday when I have a break from work next.

George - I’m very concerned with the safety issues. The issue with speed is I want to ensure the T is performing properly... I know it’s not when I could barely get over 25 mph. So I don’t want to run like a scalded dog, simply want to know the T is in proper condition. Terrible story about the fatality T rollover.

Wayne - I have no idea about the pedal positioning. All I know is when I push them, the correct things happen. Would love to learn if someone has input on the pics I submitted.

Darin


Norman Kling
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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph (Progress made!) and (just added) Mag test result

Post by Norman Kling » Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:04 am

As to the slots in the floorboard. Sometimes the pedal shafts can become bent from use over the years and also some reproduction pedals such as Rocky Mountain Brake pedals can be slightly different than the original pedals. Another thing is when the cams on the side of the transmission or inside for the low gear become worn, the pedal must be pushed farther in order to move to the side and compress the bands. This could cause scraping on the sides of the slots.
It would be good if you can find a local club and perhaps someone who lives in your area to become a mentor on how to drive and how to adjust the T. Usually slowness is caused by either ignition or fuel problems. Sometimes by low compression if the rings and or valves need work or replacements. Someone who can drive your car and listen to it run and is knowledgeable with Model T's would be a good friend to have. Some day, you can pass it on to other new owners. The Model T is not as fast as newer cars, and the top speeds are much lower. They also slow down on hills so even a slight grade could affect your top speeds. If you lived near me, I would come out and check your car. The speed of a T can even vary with the load. Sedans are heavier than Tourings and Tourings are heavier than Roadsters. It can vary with added passengers. I have a hill I can climb in high near my home and I use it as a test to see how my car is running. On that same hill if I add 1 passenger it will barely pull in high and if more than 1, I need Ruckstell or Low. It would even help if you could drive another stock T and let the other driver drive yours so you can compare.
Norm


Phillip
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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph (Progress made!) and (just added) Mag test result

Post by Phillip » Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:11 am

Scott
Do you have a part number and supplier for the Full Flow Float Valve with Lead Washer? I think it would help my 27 roadster pickup.

Thanks
Phillip


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Darin Hull
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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph and Pics of the bands

Post by Darin Hull » Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:52 pm

I was able to get some pics of the bands today to help determine what type they are. Do they look like the Scandinavian type?
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55DFC78F-3B82-4E65-896E-068C04D38188.jpeg
B44CDA78-AC9F-40AA-A633-7336C72B1345.jpeg

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Steve Jelf
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Re: 13T - Lack of Power Above 30 mph and Pics of the bands (new)

Post by Steve Jelf » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:58 pm

Do you have a part number and supplier for the Full Flow Float Valve with Lead Washer?

I don't know if there's a part number, but Scott is the supplier. :D
The inevitable often happens.
1915 Runabout
1923 Touring

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