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I thought I'd begin a thread on my 1913 Metz "22" Roadster. The number indicates horsepower of the Metz engine. In fact the roadster body was the only one offered by Metz in '13 (along with a somewhat stripped-down "Special" model). I've owned the car for a couple years, purchasing it in Maryland from a gent whose father bought it for him when he was a teenager. It sports a c1950s restoration which has served to preserve the car. I see no big rust problems (yet).

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The Metz is a friction-drive car like the Sears buggy, the Cartercar and numerous others. All these cars seem to use the same system: a fiberboard wheel pressed against an aluminum drive disc. You can see similar drives on modern snow blowers.

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Anxious to get going, I decided to pull the engine. Though it had decent compression, I discovered the upper radiator hose almost completely clogged by rust. The coolant passages were similarly filled. It was a slow process to remove the head, especially since I failed to see some of the nuts hidden underneath. I doubt it has been off in decades. I decided to have it rebuilt by Jess Miller in West Chester, PA (now in Lincoln University, PA I think). They discovered an interesting repair: a weld in the block around the rear of the crankshaft. Apparently, someone bumped the starting crank on a telephone pole or something... just enough to push the crank out the back! The repair looked pretty good, and we decided it would hold. We put in new .020 oversize pistons adapted by Egge and new valve Model T adjustable lifters to replace the worn originals. One cylinder was sleeved.

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Phil

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

To continue, I painted the engine black. No one seems to know what the original Metz color was, and black looks pretty good. The cars themselves were "dark blue with cream wheels", as the Metz catalog put it. I'll have to find a good dark blue color. In 1913, Cadillac also offered dark blue only, so perhaps a Cadillac collector would know a good fomula. I believe, from photos of original cars, that the chassis was also the same blue. After all, the Metz (at $495) was a bargain-priced car and, like the Ford T, a one-color scheme is cost-effective.

Last week, I began some body work, stripping off the fenders and bringing them along with the disassembled hood pieces to the metal stripper. I use Redi-Strip in Alentown, PA. This is a cavernous warehouse that must have housed a railroad car facility at one time. I've had several other cars stripped there, and they truly take off all the paint; also all the aluminum, lead, rubber and anything else non-steel. The results can be shocking because you never know what lurks under the Bondo and fiberglass. I brought one fender from a 1921 car which looked decent but, after all the patches and rust were washed off, you could read a newspaper through it! This process, which uses heat and chemicals, really starts you off fresh: no rust or other junk is left on the body. We'll see what happens...

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I believe

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A Little Metz History

Charles Metz had been in the car business since the 1890s, then left to become a technical editor of a motorcycle journal. He returned with a bang in 1909 to resue the remains of his former firm by selling the parts off in kit form. After about 14 payments of $25, you had yourself an air-cooled 2-cylinder roadster. His 4-cylinder assembled cars, beginning about 1912, sold for even less than the kits, and they all used friction drive. Metz's engine designer had worked for Ford, and it showed. The 4-cylinder, water-cooled Metz engine can be mistaken for the Model T version. There are a few differences, however: an oil pump, a 2-piece block, and no transmission attached. Anyway, a lot of Ford parts fit the Metz including pistons (with a little machining), valves, head gasket (with one hole alteration) and other things.

Metz HQ is still in Waltham, Mass. where the cars were made. The Waltham Museum has several Metz cars, and hosts occasional Metz get-togethers. I attended one in 2008, and photographed the Metz factory. Yes, it was still there in Waltham. Unfortunately, it is no more.

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Metz had a good run. He won the final 1913 Glidden Tour, bought a mansion overlooking his new factory; even dabbed in the aircraft business. Alas, the business finally died in 1921 with a 6-cylinder assembled car (shaft drive). Metz moved to California and opened a cabinet shop, living into the mid-'thirties.

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Charles's son Walter in one of the 1913 Glidden Tour cars. Walter lived right into the 1960s.

Phil

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Phil:

Are you sure that the friction wheel "Tire" is in fact fiber; and not really old hardend & dried-out rubber ?

Those friction drive "Tire" wheels do not last very long at all~~~

The slower you drive the more the friction drive "Tire" wears~~~

Stock-up on those friction "Tires"

Dad had a friend years ago with a car that had a similar crude drive system~~~

His friction drive was a rubber "Tire" that ran on the aluminum dive disc .

Moving the drive "Tire" in or out from the center of the aluminum drive disc gave you some variable speed control !

He always carried several spare replacment rubber friction "tire" wheels .

Does this drive system not also remind you of the Seeburg Coin Piano power transmssion drive system ?

I am glad you started this thread~~~

It will be great to watch your restoration progress on this unusual & rare early auto !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)

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Yes, the drive wheel is fiber, though I'm not exactly sure what fiberboard is made of. In fact, there is still a company that makes them: Paper Pulleys in Tennessee. Cost for a Metz fiber drive wheel: $300. Cost in 1913: $3.50.

Phil

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MISSING METZ PARTS

Every old car has something missing (at least the ones I buy do). My Metz is missing the top, the pan covering the bottom of the engine, the two chain guards, and the windshield (it's not much of a "shield", being only a light iron framework covered in leatherette and celluloid). The windshield I got with the car was cobbled from some hardware store iron bars; not very good. I got lucky in finding Jason at Metalmenderz who is restoring a Metz like mine. Jason mostly does hot rods and custom body work, but he agreed to copy some of the Metz parts he has to fit my car. I've already gotten the engine pan (that covers the bottom of the engine), and he will soon copy the windshield as well. John Boorinakis, also in California, agreed last week to make me a set of top irons. I had some measurements taken from another car, and that was all he needed.

A part often missing on the Metz are the chain covers. The car has a double chain drive with removable fiberboard/sheet metal covers to protect the chains. Metz claimed the chains "run in oil", but I'm not sure if these covers actually hold oil. However, they serve the useful job of warding off wearing debris. Former owners found these guards a pain to remove for maintenance, so they often get lost as mine did. I'm hoping to find someone who can lend me one so I can copy it. If anyone knows of one currently detached, let me know. I'd like to make a measured drawing so others may make them as well.

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(left) Rear view of Metz chain guard. (right)A Metz engine pan. Note coil spring

attachment.

Phil

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I wonder if that mag would bolt right on a Model T with minimal fitting? Repair of internal mags is such a hassle.

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The Ford T has a unique "low tension" magneto design; quite different than the Metz which has a standard Bosch DU4 high-tension magneto. The Metz starts using the magneto, but the Ford uses dry cell batteries and a coil. I believe you could switch the Ford T to a high tension magneto, but there is no bracket for it as the Ford magneto is, as you say, inside the transmission housing. The Ford is more complex, perhaps, but quite dependable. Why switch something that works fine?

It's interesting that the Metz magneto has no timing adjustment to advance or retard the spark. You just set it at a "medium" spark and hope for the best. Some Metz owners substitute a Bosch magneto with adjustable spark for touring. It's the same size as the non-adjustable model and can be easily switched.

Phil

Edited by MochetVelo (see edit history)

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I removed the Metz steering rack and pinion today. The pinion gear took a while to pull, as I didn't have a gear puller that fit. I finally broke down and bought a 3-jaw #103 Posi-Lock puller from Sears. As it turned out, the 2-jaw model would have fit better, but this one did the job. I soon discovered why the steering wheel had about 30-degrees of free play: the "rack" gear that the pinion turns is attached to the drag link (steering linkage) with a key on its shaft. The key was completely missing. This meant that the Metz had no real connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels! It apparently worked only by the tightness of the fit. The last owner must have driven very little or led a charmed life!

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Phil

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Why switch something that works fine?

My thought was for those whose magnetos don't work fine. As similar as the Metz is I was just curious it it might be an easy bolt-on thing. I know many people whose engines and transmissions are in fine condition, but it's a major undertaking (and expense) to have to disassemble the whole thing just to get to the mag when it needs work and I thought it might make an easy bolt-on fix until it came apart for something else.

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The fiction wheel in my dad's Sears is original. He's been driving it for 40 years. It's 100 years old. I would say that's pretty good durability.

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We lifted the body off the chassis today, making this a genuine "body off" restoration. For some reason, Metz used about 20 bolts to hold on the one-seat body. It would seem to me that 6 would have done the job. Anyway, it wasn't heavy; just took several hours to find all the inaccessible connectors. I'm still seeking even a tiny spot of the original blue finish, but have found none. The last re-paint (perhaps 50 years ago?) must have been preceded by a thorough stripping. Most of the chassis nuts are square, which makes me think them original. I plan to strip the body with Citristrip, a stripper without methylene chloride and the scent of orange Jello.

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Phil

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Finally, everything removed from the chassis and nothing left but two steel rails and a couple braces. I'm hoping I can replace all the various parts in their correct location as there are about 30 holes on each side.

Stripping off paint can reveal some interesting (or horrifying) things. In this case, more interesting. The chassis/cowl section and seat frame look quite different; the cowl seeming quite fresh and clean; the seat showing signs of previous paint, sanding and oxidation. My first thought was that the cowl section was replaced, but it's a very nice job; no Bondo, all the correct-looking wire edging and beading. I'm resting with the opinion that I won't have to do much to it.

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Dis-assembly revealed the workings of the friction-drive transmission. In the photo below, you can see the large aluminum drive disc contacting the fiber friction wheel (seen from above). The "clutch" pedal pulls the aluminum disc away from the fiber wheel to allow the fiber wheel to move left and right. The closer the fiber wheel is to the center of the aluminum disc, the lower the "gear". Move the fiber wheel to the opposite side of the always-spinning disc, and you go in reverse. In the photo, the aluminum disc is pivoted on the chassis at the top.

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Everything seems in quite good condition. Some say that Metz has a good survival rate because they never worked right and were quickly pushed to the back of the barn. I hope to put the lie to that idea!

Phil

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Phil:

What more, other than what you already mentioned above, must be done to your engine itself ?

Have you in-fact tried to actually start & run the repaired/restored engine ?

Have you inspected it for other unusual wear ?

I find thae fact that t is very similar to a model "T" interesting.

It's a wonder old Henry Ford did not try to shut Metz down !

You mentioned it actually has an oil pump !

Where does it actually supply the pressurized oil ?

Just to the mains & crank + rods ?

As you stated earlier~~~

This friction drive transmission is almost exactly like my modern crafsman snowthrower !

When do you expect your Metz project to be finished ?

Will you tour your finished Metz ?

In France or Europe?

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)

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The engine is now rebuilt, but as yet untested. It had rather light wear, so I think it will be OK. I think Ford had bigger fish to fry than to sue Metz. Even though there are similarities to the Model T, their engines are definitely different. Plus, Ford made more cars in a week than Metz did in a year.

I doubt I'll drive it in Europe; a hundred miles on a tour would be reward enough!

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I used to belong to the Delaware Valley Model A club(MARC) in Northeast Philadelphia. They had a long time member named Al Irvine who owned a Metz as well as a few Model As and Ts. I always thought it was an adapted T engine in there. Al has been gone for 10 or more years,is it possible that your car came from him?

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I don't think my car belonged to Mr. Irvine. The last owner (in Maryland) had it since about 1978, and the owner before that claimed to have bought it new. That would have made him an old guy!

Phil

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I've driven my dad's Sears quite a bit. The two-cylinder engine tops out at about 1200 rpm, and has an enormous flywheel that stores quite a bit of kinetic energy. The Sears' "clutch" pedal is opposite of what you describe, in that the driver steps on it to engage the driven disc, and therefore has to keep his foot on it to keep the car moving.

I'd love to drive a Metz to see how the friction system works with a four-cylinder engine that can rev a little more freely, and with a more conventional clutch pedal. I've always thought they were neat little cars.

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Thanks, Rick. The "Metz Executive Mansion" exists today. Charles Metz purchased the 1806 "Gore Place" in 1911, moving his family in one half, and the Metz offices in the other. The Metz factory was not far away. He stayed there until the company was dissolved in 1921. I see no mention of Metz on the home's web site.

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Steve... The Metz clutch works like the Sears, I think. Pressing down holds the two friction discs together (=go). You need not hold it, as there is a ratchet on the pedal arm. Tapping the top of the pedal with your toe disengages the ratchet, and a heavy coil spring separates the two discs. You must be careful not to instinctively "jam down" the clutch in an emergency stop or you'll be in trouble!

Phil

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This mystery involves the countershaft bearings (see illustration below). This is the shaft that the friction wheel (2417) turns. Each end of this shaft has a chain sprocket (3416) which drives the larger sprockets on the two rear wheels. This shaft also has the differential (2413). Anyway, each end of the shaft has a ball bearing (2438) which I found no way to lubricate. The sides of these bearings seemed tightly installed, so I thought they might be replacements. "FAFNIR" was stamped on the sides, so I searched that company name. They were founded in 1911 in New Britain, Connecticut. Seemed like they were, indeed, originals. I then checked to lube chart in the Metz Owner Manual. It depicted grease cups (424) on each bearing which matched threaded holes directly above my bearings into which no grease cups were installed. These must be the missing lube points! I probed inside these tapped holes and seemed to see a hole for the grease flow, but I couldn't poke through it. Finally, I pressed out the bearings and made another odd discovery: there are no grease holes... and the ball-bearings are sealed on all sides. Seems like these bearings were replaced many years back. They look old, but they weren't as old as the car. I searched "Fafnir 9109PP" on eBay, the marks on the bearing side. Bingo... there were some NOS bearings for sale! Oddly, they are metric (45mm x 75mm X 16mm wide). Did the last restorer adapt the shaft for this metric sizing? Anyway, I purchased the NOS bearings with the thought that I should replace them while the car is apart.

It is interesting to discover not only the design of the original maker, but also that of the old-time restorers. Hopefully, the new sealed bearings will make a more dependable car without affecting originality.

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The Metz Countershaft Assembly

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Metz 22 Lube Chart

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The ball bearing removed from its housing.

Phil

Edited by MochetVelo (see edit history)

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Phil:

You can always pop-off one of the new replacment bearing side shields and add the missing grease cup lube assembly .

Brass grease cup units can easily be found today~~~

FInd out what size thread is in the grease cup assembly mounting hole.

If you don't actually use these new grease cup units, and instead depend on the lube installed at the bearing factory at least the car would now look correct as compared to your Metz manual.

Is Fafnir bearing Co still in business today ?

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)

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