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1923 Model T Help


Guest tomv
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I have my dad's 1923 roadster that hasn't been started in probably 20 years.

Looking for advice om what I need to do to get it running.

Any help would be appreciated.

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You should clean the gas tank out, change any oil in the engine and do a thorough inspection of the mechanicals. You will need a new battery and good cables with the negative side to a good clean ground on the chassis. Make sure it turns freely with the hand crank with the plugs out and a shot of fresh oil in the cylinders, If there are knocks or apparent trouble now is the time to investigate. (stuck valves, Animal nests,& etc.). Make sure there are no mouse nests in the muffler. Make sure to grease & oil the chassis and rear axle. Check plugs and re-gap if needed. It is easier to start if you jack up one rear tire, chock the other just in case. make sure to retard the spark when starting it. Have fun!

Edited by JFranklin (see edit history)
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Model Ts are pretty simple and chances are that if it ran fine 20 years ago, it will run fine again. Do exactly what JFranklin suggests. Some other notes if you are not familiar with Model Ts: the engine/transmission use the same crankcase and oil source, the capacity is four-five quarts and it gets filled through the oil cap on the right side of the engine behind the fan. Underneath the transmission are two petcocks, open the top one and fill the engine with oil until it begins to run out of the top petcock. Stop filling and close petcock. Since this car has been sitting for awhile, I would recommend 30W non-detergent oil which is available at most autoparts stores. The radiator has a capacity of about 2 gallons-if you fill the radiator to the top, it will just come out the overflow, so it only needs to be filled to about 1 inch over the core line. The rear end uses 600w oil-the real thick stuff. The upper steering box, rear axle and driveshaft grease cups, lower steering bracket, front wheel bearings take any standard heavy duty automotive grease. The tires should inflate to 50-60 psi if they are the 30x3 1/2" type, 32 psi if they are 21". You might also want to take the timer off, clean it with some kerosene or other light, liquid cleaner (brake cleaner works great) and put a light coating of light oil on it if it is the metal type. If it is the plastic (bakelite) type, just clean it (this type, called the New Day timer doesn't take a lubricant). When you start the car, put the spark (left) lever to the top, once it is running pull it down. Open the throttle (right) about 1/4 to 1/2 down and push it up once it is running. The carburetor should probably be cleaned out (just use a spray carburetor cleaner and re-assemble, assuming there is nothing wrong with it). There is a large T-handle adjustment that comes out of the top of the carburetor, gently turn it down with your hand until it bottoms out, and then open it about two turns. Use this position to start the car cold and when it gets warm, turn it down until the engine runs at its best (most run best around 1 to 1/2 turns open).

Also, I would recommend the Model T Ford Club of America's Forum (Model T Ford Club of America) They have posted a more detailed sheet about taking a Model T out of mothballs and you can find it on this forum. Good luck and have fun. I think I'll take my T out for a spin this afternoon!

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Thank you for the replies. This is Great Information!

The car seems simple, but I'm not very familiar with it.

I have joined The Model T Ford club of America, and have been looking for a local chapter near me.

Thanks again to both of you for taking the time to reply. I appreciate the advice.

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