Do I have a broken crankshaft?

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NorthSouth
Posts: 129
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:18 pm
First Name: Steven
Last Name: Chase
Location: Sausalito
MTFCA Number: 50392

Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by NorthSouth » Tue May 07, 2019 4:45 pm

Hello Fellow MTFCA members,

I think that my 1924 Touring (w/ 27 engine and drivetrain) broke its crankshaft on the National Tour in Buellton CA last week. It made a horrible solid-metal-on-solid-metal sound while cruising in high gear. I immediately pulled over. The engine had already shut itself down. I pulled the spark plugs and am able to turn the crank handle easily with the clutch peddle all the way up and rear wheels on the pavement. Through the spark-plug ports, with a flashlight, I can see all 4 valves operate when turning the crank handle. Also, when I attempted to restart it just after it broke, the starter turned (making that same horrible sound) but the fan did not turn. For these reasons, I think that the crankshaft is broken in two. Do you agree? Or, does someone think these symptoms might be something less severe?

Question #2:
If it is the crankshaft, the guy who sold my dad and me this car a couple of weeks ago will help me fix this issue. However, the car is 500 miles away from this Sacramento machinist-mechanic. Ideally, I would transport just the engine in my 4 cylinder Honda Element. I do not own a bigger tow vehicle. My father says to take the entire car to him. Do any of you agree with him? Do I really need to do this? It sure would be a lot simpler to just drive up there with the engine in the back of the Element.

I will be grateful for any guidance you might offer. Mostly on the first question but on the second too if you have an opinion.
Cheers,
Steven


Tom Hicks
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Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by Tom Hicks » Tue May 07, 2019 4:54 pm

Maybe you could remove the inspection plate from the bottom of the oil pan and take a close look.
Technology, the solution to all of our problems... and the cause of most of them.

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George House
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Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by George House » Tue May 07, 2019 5:31 pm

Yes. You broke your crankshaft. Hand cranking simply turns the crank gear that turns the cam gear that operate all the valves. Do what Tom says and follow dad’s advice. Take the entire car to the mechanic. Buy another $35 very questionable 95 year old crankshaft or a $1500 SCAT crank and have fun with your T the rest of your life.
I’d Rather Suffer Much In Good Company Than To Live Comfortably With Delicate Men..


Allan
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Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by Allan » Tue May 07, 2019 8:27 pm

Steven, if the fellow you bought the car from is willing to help, be gracious in accepting that help, but do not necessarily hold him responsible. It is the nature of the beast.
I totally rebuilt the engine and transmission in my 1917 shooting brake when restoring the car. I used an original crankshaft, crack tested and ground just .010" on main and rods journals. About the only thing better would have been to start with an EE crankshaft. After a total balance of all components, it still managed to break within a few thousand Km. The replacement has fared much better.
That said, if you are not confident in his abilities/expertise, seek advice from a reputable T model rebuilder who should be able to give you a rundown on what steps he should be taking.

Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.


Erik Barrett
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Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by Erik Barrett » Wed May 08, 2019 2:38 am

Steven bought this car from me at the Bakersfield swap meet. It is a car I bought from an estate a couple years ago. We put in a Stipe cam and high compression flathead, along with a few other things. Well, the crank let go. Steven called me and let me know without any negativity or attitude whatsoever. He understands that all T cranks will break at some point. My response was I promised him he had bought a reliable car. So I am going to fix the problem. Steven and I are going to build the engine back up with a Scat crank and get this T back on tour. Plan on seeing us on the road.
Fordially, Erik


Aussie16
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Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by Aussie16 » Wed May 08, 2019 3:14 am

Great Stuff Eric. Wonderful of you to assist with the rebuild and also very positive from the new owner to accept that old cars fail. New T owner/drivers can also be at fault and may have inadvertantly contributed to the breakage with not quite enough driving experience. Look froward to seeing the new owner learn and be part of the rebuild.


Norman Kling
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Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by Norman Kling » Wed May 08, 2019 11:04 am

If you don't have a truck and trailer to haul the car north, I'm sure someone in the club will come to your assistance. Your dad is well known in the club and has many friends. I would suspect that he also taught you how to drive the car, so I don't think it is a problem caused by a new driver. Usually broken crank is caused by many years of twisting which just like bending a piece of wire will weaken it and it will eventually break. My grandpa used to own Model T's many years ago and told of a trip across the country in 1926. One of the adventures along the way was a broken crankshaft. This is not a new problem with Model T's.

You are fortunate to have bought the car from someone who is willing to make good on it. Even if you have to rent a truck to deliver it north, it will be worth your expense and effort to have him fix the engine.
How is Lee doing?
Norm


otrcman
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Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by otrcman » Wed May 08, 2019 2:55 pm

Erik & Steven, you're both a class act. Your example of a gentlemanly transaction after the sale is something that we should all look up to.

Dick


Erik Barrett
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Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by Erik Barrett » Wed May 08, 2019 5:58 pm

The way I feel business should be done. The car was a strong runner, going to be even better now.


wayne sheldon
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Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by wayne sheldon » Wed May 08, 2019 6:32 pm

In a hobby where there is a rather high percentage of exceptionally wonderful, hard working, and helpful people, Erik B is one of the BEST!

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Topic author
NorthSouth
Posts: 129
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:18 pm
First Name: Steven
Last Name: Chase
Location: Sausalito
MTFCA Number: 50392

Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by NorthSouth » Wed May 08, 2019 7:11 pm

Hello Everyone,

I posted this crankshaft question from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a location where Larry Smith thinks I will probably get shot.

All of your replies are inspiring. Thank you very much for taking the time to comment. After reading all nine of them it looks like I will be buying a new Scat crankshaft down south and taking it and the "whole" T up north. Erik and I will attend to it there. I look forward to this experience with him. Hopefully, it won't distract him too much away from his other commitments. So, now that this has been decided, I should probably get back to my sandy tequila sunrise and to ducking the bullets so that I can make that June 3rd Golden Gate Tour in Marin County, CA.

Cheers,
Steven, ...Son of Lee


otrcman
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Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by otrcman » Wed May 08, 2019 7:26 pm

I don't know if this is an appropriate question for this thread, but has anyone ever heard of a SCAT crank breaking ?

Dick


Erik Barrett
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Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by Erik Barrett » Wed May 08, 2019 8:01 pm

I know of two. One failed due to improper installation. The other one was horribly abused in a race car. We forgot to turn down the rev limiter and our dyno tuner hit second gear at well over 6000 RPM. Not kidding. Not qualified for warranty. We got a new one and the block survived for a few more races.


Kerry
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Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by Kerry » Wed May 08, 2019 8:24 pm

Last year the count was up to 3, the third one the owner or the person who posted about it, couldn't or wouldn't elaborate on why it happened.


Nv Bob
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Re: Do I have a broken crankshaft?

Post by Nv Bob » Thu May 09, 2019 12:00 am

I have driven this car and passed for 14 that was for sale as well
Erik is great T guy rather see T's on the road his shop is amazing
This what makes the hobby great

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