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pvmw

contemplating a pile of bits

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I'm after some info. From the thread title it might be guessed by an astute reader that I'm contemplating buying the mortal remains of a 1916 Model 25.

Mechanically its all there, but bodily it isn't. My thoughts are to create a light "speedster" style vehicle with two seats, bolster tank and simple body to do some light vintage competition. it won't be my first attempt at body creation, so I'm fairly confident I could do a passable job.

I really want to know what performance I might expect. I know that the engine is approx. 3L and rated at 25bhp AT 1700rpm. It should be much lighter than with the standard body, so should go quite well, but is geared at about 30mph/k revs. The question it comes down to is what will the engine comfortably rev to - two bearing crank and all? I've had a hunt of the web, but there is so much stuff out there that any pointers (tech. details, photographs etc) would be appreciated.

I did try following the thread below titled "Maxwell racers", but it seemed to be a bit of a red herring

Edited by pvmw (see edit history)

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

PVMW, I don't know if I'm qualified to give you any information or not but as you've found already there isn't much available. I've hunted down 8 differentials from this model from as far away as New Zealand. All 8 have either been through a catastrophic failure in the past or about to suffer one in the very near future. This overhardening of the gears is I believe the main reason Maxwells aren't very plentiful today. Even if you are lucky enough to buy one with a decent differential I'd think the rigors of vintage racing would reduce it to scrap in very short order.

The Maxwell race cars didn't share any parts that I know of with their production cars other than the name.

Most engines I've found were in good condition but I don't know if that's because they were rugged or because the differential gave up the ghost before the engine was worn out.

If you have machinist talents or can fund a machinist for long periods you might be able to adapt a more reliable rear axle (Model T?) and still be able to race a make not seen on the race track in almost a century.

Hope I haven't discouraged you but thought you should know that what you found would probably be better used to get one more example back on the show field than to die a short inglorious death on a race track.

Howard Dennis

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Thanks for that, there is useful info there.

If the crown wheel and pinion is a known weak point that's worth knowing. It doesn't put me off completely, as there are people in the UK who will make one-off CWP for a not outrageous price. One of the reasons I asked what sort of revs would be fair on the engine was that I had in the back of my mind the idea of a higher ratio axle. It may also as you suggest be possible to modify something like Model T to fit.

Don't worry about short inglorious death. If I make this work then it'll be a regular competitor. The VSCC in the UK are very keen to see Edwardian cars being used, so it'll have plenty of playmates – the existing cars in my shed might get a bit jealous tho!!!

The photo is great, that is the sort of style I was imagining. The driver looks quite cute as well, but if that is her mother sitting in the passenger seat...........!!!!

I'm going to have a look at the bits, then I'll have a better idea about it. Any more pics like the first would be great, if I'm going to do this I might as well try to get it as close as I can to a proper style.

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PVMW, glad to hear you can solve that gear problem and that I haven't discouraged you. The next problem would be the obsolete Hyatt roller bearings in the differential but that could be modernized by your machinist.

I really wish you luck in this endeavor and please keep us posted on your progress. If you do start this project Please keep me in mind as a buyer of the internals you don't use.

I'm attaching the only other Maxwell speedster pictures I've ever found. They are of a 1914 Maxwell done over a decade ago and I've never been able to find anything else about it.

Howard Dennis

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PVMW, I just found some other pictures I'd forgotten . These came from eBay and claimed to be a factory racer but I've never found any evidence of racers using factory engines and chassis. I thought you might get ideas from them.

Howard Dennis

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Well........

there has been some progress.

I'm reckoning to having it on its wheels within a week or so, at the moment I'm applying paint to the chassis before I fit hubs and wheels.

I have one question someone may be able to help me with. While painting the chassis I kept an eye out for any numbers that might be stamped on it. I didn't find any, tho' there is a number stamped on the front axle (I haven't cleaned the paint off yet but it looks like it might be 52892)

Does anyone know is there is / should be a number stamped anywhere?? There is also a number (I think its 5874-A) on the rear engine bearer.

Do these numbers mean anything to anyone??

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PVMW, here's the page from the 1916 Parts book showing locations of numbers.

Howard Dennis

post-33891-14313824232_thumb.jpg

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PVMW, here's the page from the 1916 Parts book showing locations of numbers.

Howard Dennis

Howard,

thanks very much, that's just what I was after. It wouldn't have thought of looking there. I've scraped off the paint I've just applied, and the chassis number is 10858, engine no. 107687. Is there any record of chassis numbers against date of manufacture that you know of?

All quite encouraging. I'm on a promise of a spare engine and gearbox, which I'll get in a few weeks with any luck, After your earlier warning its a pity there isn't a spare back axle as well!!!!

thanks again, I'll report on progress - when there is any worth reporting on.

Paul

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Paul, First, are you sure you got all the numbers? You list a 5 digit chassis number and a 6 digit engine number. If they are original, they should be fairly close to one another give or take few thousand due to production changes, replacements ,etc. .

I'm attaching a page I got online from a period used car book that has the only list of serial numbers I've been able to find. The specifications listed cover a few years of cars and some will match your car and others won't, such as the wheelbase which is 1918 and later.

If anyone has another serial number list please feel free to post it here.

Howard Dennis

post-33891-143138242727_thumb.jpg

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Paul, First, are you sure you got all the numbers? You list a 5 digit chassis number and a 6 digit engine number. If they are original, they should be fairly close to one another give or take few thousand due to production changes, replacements ,etc. .

Howard Dennis

You are absolutely right. A couple of fresh batteries in the torch and scrub with a wire brush and the chassis number is 108588, I'd expect engine numbers to be higher than chassis, which makes it likely the engine isn't the original - but that is hardly surprising after 95 years.

The back axle is fitted, and I tried re-attaching the torque tube last night. Not a successful mating, far too much into mesh, so it looks like someone has been there before me and things are going to have to be dismantled and re-assembled correctly. Ah well, things were going too well. With your previous warning about axles in my ears I'm going to be careful to get it right and give it the best chance possible.

Paul

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Paul, glad you found your missing number and it reminded me I forgot to include this link to a 1916 Parts book I copied and put online at the Maxwell Messenger site and they put it here:

1916 Maxwell Parts Price List

If you go to the Maxwell Messenger site I think there is an owners manual and some other information you might need.

http://www.maxwell-messenger.info/tech_pgs/index.htm

Howard Dennis

Edited by hddennis (see edit history)

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Wow!! Overwhelmed with information, I've got some reading to do.

Back to my current problems.........

Remembering your comment about rear axles I took it apart this evening - and ouch. The crown wheel is not good, there are chunks of the outside of the edge of the teeth missing and several appear to have been "repaired" with weld. However, no problem is insoluble.

Being straight cut I don't see a problem with having a new CWP made, but that raises another question.... . I had hoped to get it going to see what the gearing was like before replacing bits, but if I'm going to make one should I consider higher gearing? Its going to have the minimum of bodywork - rather like the photos of the speedster you found me - so if its light do you think it could use a higher top gear?

As I'm unlikely to ever find one in the UK I can have a drive of, I'm going to have to ask anyone who has experience of one. So, can you give me any idea of what the current top speed is, and whether it could pull a higher top. I reckon the engine would probably be capable of 3k revs, but can you tell me what sort of revs it runs out of puff at?

cheers

Paul

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Paul, here's where I'm going to hope other owners will chime in and help you out.My car is all apart for the exact reason you just mentioned. I've never driven it. I originally thought I'd put a Model T Ford rear axle under it but an old time Maxwell owner said that would actually slow the car down. Our Maxwells have a rather high speed ratio (3.58 to1) compared to other cars of this era. A friend in New Zealand recently finished his Towncar restoration and says the car drives very well with "long legs" so I'm assuming he means it is faster than he thought it would be.

Maxwell owners are not a very tight knit group and I don't know how well you'll do but if you were able to get a set of gears made over there and the cost wasn't astronomical I'd think there would be a demand over here as most people I've talked to in recent years all have questionable rear axle components in their cars. Maybe an order of multiple sets would help bring the cost down? Just a thought or maybe wishful thinking?

Howard Dennis

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hi Howard,

its turning into a long evening, downloading all the pages of handbooks etc you pointed me at.

I know from experience that a CWP for my Frazer Nash, which is spiral bevel, is about £400 - but the club has them made in some numbers. As the Maxwell is straight cut I don't expect it'll be too hard to find a gear cutting company who'll make me one. One-off prices will be quite a lot more, but it should still be viable and modern design knowledge and materials should mean they are stronger.

The comment about "long legs" is encouraging as well, I'd thought it looked quite high geared - I think it works out at about 25mph/k revs in top and I'd think the engine should rev to 3k or so. 75 mph should be enough with those brakes!!!

It sounds like there might be some other owners out there who might be interested in CWPs. I have contacts in the old car restoration community in the UK and I'll start asking around tomorrow, but if you can pass the message on to any other owners you know it might bring prices down to get several sets made.

Also, If anyone else seeing this is interested please get in touch

cheers

Paul

Edited by pvmw (see edit history)

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Paul, Glad your enjoying the info I mentioned. Did you get my private email requesting your contact info?

I'm hoping we can get something going on affordable gears for these cars. I've purchased the contents of most of the 10 differentials I've managed to find over the last three years and barely have enough to assemble 1 with questionable future durability so I know this a major problem facing all owners. The next bug I need to put in your ear is how are your bearings as they are pretty much obsolete. After three years and 10 differentials I just got what may have been the last NOS carrier bearings available from New Zealand.

Howard Dennis

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Paul, Glad your enjoying the info I mentioned. Did you get my private email requesting your contact info?

I'm hoping we can get something going on affordable gears for these cars. I've purchased the contents of most of the 10 differentials I've managed to find over the last three years and barely have enough to assemble 1 with questionable future durability so I know this a major problem facing all owners. The next bug I need to put in your ear is how are your bearings as they are pretty much obsolete. After three years and 10 differentials I just got what may have been the last NOS carrier bearings available from New Zealand.

Howard Dennis

Hi Howard,

I got the e-mails thanks, you should have a reply by now.

Looking at the sun/planet gears though the available holes they look OK, so I'm tempted not to disturb the diff. cage. I saw your earlier posting about front wheel bearings, and the moment I saw the Hyatt roller bearings I knew they weren't going to come off the shelf. At the moment they look OK - they are big enough after all.

Compared to the CWP I don't think bearings will be to much of a problem. With the fronts, it depends whats worn. The fact they are cup and ball (a la bicycle) makes having them made possible I think. I've already had a friend with a machine shop turn me up a similar outer cup for a 1921 Rover I have. Alternatively, and a better solution, would be to machine out th inside of the hub to take a pair of modern thrust races, and if necessary turn down or sleeve the stub axle to fit. I think I'd prefer to sweat a sleeve on it if necessary rather than reduce the diameter. At least the lack of front wheel brakes means the loading on the bearings/hub is minimal

If those big Hyatt rollers need replacing, then a bit of thought will be needed, but I'm sure things could be modified to take modern bearings again. As an aside, I think the Model T uses Hyatt roller bearings, I assume you've looked and they are different?

I'll follow up on you contact, and I'll let you know how I get on with bits

cheers

Paul

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Paul, it sounds like you may have gotten lucky and are able to reuse your Hyatts. All 10 of mine were chewed to pieces by gear debris but proved what an ingenious design as they would roll over and consume almost anything and still keep rolling. Later bearings not using this wrapped spring steel technology would shatter and self destruct long before these Hyatts quit. Later day Model T owners are finding out about this when they replace their old Hyatts with the modern solid roller replacements that fail and take the axle with them!

Keep us posted on your progress and let us know of any solutions you come up with.

Howard Dennis

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I was the originator of this thread, but I've had a change of identity on the forum as my previous logon was a works address that is no longer used so I can't logon and alter my setting - hence the new account.

 

What else is there to do when lockdown means you can't get out to play?  Its been a long time but finally guilt about the Maxwell project sitting in the corner of the shed (and that everything else is working and can't be broken 'cos I'm not allowed to use it) means I've dusted it down and applied myself.  I'm shocked when I see the date of my previous postings, have I really had it 10 years?  Gulp!  Anyway, it really is time to get on with it.

 

There had been progress in the past.  I had a new CWP made by a specialist gear cutting outfit - not actually as expensive as I expected.  The hubs have been modified to take Sankey artillery wheels (several reasons;  I had no wheels, making replacement wooden wheels would be exorbitant - as are the BE tyres, I plan to use it for a bit of competition with the VSCC so it needs sound wheels), a new flywheel as the ring gear was completely shot with new clutch lining.  Engine has been apart and checked (there's a story there, see below), I made a 2 seater raceabout body.  Then I tried to get it running, and after several months without success I got discouraged and it got pushed into a corner of the shed and ignored it.

 

However....... with nothing else to do I revisited it.  I have two original carbs., but from various posts and from looking at them I decided they would have to go.  It was suggested (on here I think) that a Model A Ford carb. might suit.  I got hold of one - and discovered it couldn't be fitted as it fouled the rear of the magneto.  Fortunately I had a another magneto about 1cm shorter.  That almost allowed it to fit, and a bit of judicious filing of the float bowl and one of the mag terminal screws mean I have 2mm clearance.  The downside is that I have to remove the carb. to access the magneto.  Next problem, and one of the reasons I gave up, is that the starter motor (definite proof that size doesn't equal performance!) can only crank the engine over at about 1 rev/second. Nothing like fast enough to get a decent spark.  However, I have had Austin 7s over the years, they are normally 6V and the standard mod to make them usable is to modify them to 12V.  It does the starter no harm so I reasoned that if I (temporarily) used 24V that might get it cranking over at a decent speed.  Forget "temporary|", it fired up instantly.  Proof is here;

https://youtu.be/KYPGntg03JQ

 

To describe that as a breakthrough would be an understatement!!  There is now an unexpected surge of enthusiasm to get on with it. 

 

Oh yes, the engine....................

It was claimed to have been rebuilt in the past, but I thought I'd just take the head off and have a look.  New pistons, a good sign.  Then, lets drop the sump - just for a look.  Nice and clean, but...  what is a sock doing in there?  Honestly!  Black, gents, in good condition (a bit oily) and even my size but only one so not a lot of use.  It can't have got in via the oil filler so it must have been left there by whoever did the rebuild.  Is there someone out there wondering why he only has one sock?  Hm!  Lets look  further, so I got a torch and looked up the bores.  Not sure quite what I was seeing, but it didn't look quite right - so head off and pull out a piston.  This is what I found;

 

55228845_maxwellrod.thumb.jpg.1576ae0e45ab5ccb6d206b663323c66b.jpg

 

It would appear that when someone replaced the pistons, they couldn't find any with the correct crown height - so they decided to shorten the rod by getting it hot and putting it in a press. To be fair, it was done with skill as they were true in every dimension - but would you risk it?  I wouldn't, so I sourced a set of new Model B ford rods.  Slight mods needed to gudgeon pin etc but they actually fitted.

 

 

 

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