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My 100 year old car has a backward speedometer


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15 minutes ago, Frank DuVal said:

My point exactly! Hence CW and CCW (as used in TMs) to get the idea across to others with no confusion. All old guys know what a clock face is, most a sundial too.😁

Yes, lots of colloquialisms and other languages in this hobby: what is the boot of a car, the carb, the dizzy, brake guide plate (a recent item on another forum had people scratching their head, but it was the term in the shop manual), drag link, paraffin, etc all confusing to some people.

 

15 minutes ago, Frank DuVal said:

My point exactly! Hence CW and CCW (as used in TMs) to get the idea across to others with no confusion. All old guys know what a clock face is, most a sundial too.😁

Yes, lots of colloquialisms and other languages in this hobby: what is the boot of a car, the carb, the dizzy, brake guide plate (a recent item on another forum had people scratching their head, but it was the term in the shop manual), drag link, paraffin, etc all confusing to some people.

My old friend, who’s name is scribed on the tomb of Ramasses as his chief chariot mechanic, continually refers to the air valve assembly on a Stewart carburetor as a “dashpot”, and gives me a look of distain every time I forget what it’s called. For me, “the ball thingy which is sucked up, and drops down in the carburetor” is sufficient. My mental block goes back to the infancy of my mechanical dialogue, and a “dashpot” was a device which used manifold temperature, a small spring and a vacuum tank to adjust engine RPM as it warmed up. We also fail to merge minds on a number of other terms used on the old cars……..but we ultimately agree, and, thanks to him, I now know exactly how a Stewart carburetor and a North East Electric Company starter-generator works. Effective communication is a whole lot of being interested, and a tad of being smart. Maybe, one day, we can discuss the delightful and historically rewarding art of privy diving.

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6 hours ago, Jack Bennett said:

Being retired military, I too like statistics and correct descriptive verbiage to express them. Primary though, my comparisons are limited to numbers like .223, .556, .30 and .50 caliber, 9mm, and bigger numbers like 105mm and 9 inch, and are usually accompanied by nouns such as API, HEP, HEAT, WP, HE and other neat stuff to give a better idea of whether or not you should play with it.

Thanks for the service! I've not had the opportunity to play with the big numbers. I guess once one retires it is only a question of legality....

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6 hours ago, Jack Bennett said:

Being retired military, I too like statistics and correct descriptive verbiage to express them. Primary though, my comparisons are limited to numbers like .223, .556, .30 and .50 caliber, 9mm, and bigger numbers like 105mm and 9 inch, and are usually accompanied by nouns such as API, HEP, HEAT, WP, HE and other neat stuff to give a better idea of whether or not you should play with it.

Thanks for the service! I've not had the opportunity to play with the big numbers. I guess once one retires it is only a question of legality....

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On 7/25/2021 at 9:01 AM, Jack Bennett said:

It is beyond imagination that a 1923 Dodge Brothers Roadster has a speedometer which reads backwards. Over the months I have had to change the transmission top and remake my floor boards because, the transmission pieces, from which I built the transmission, and the shards of floorboards I used as patterns are for a car other than the Dodge Roadster, which they have been buried with for at least the past 50 years. Yesterday I took the car out for the longest drive since it was restored to a outpatient level of treatment. I had tested the speedometer prior to installing it a few months ago, and, albeit, it still has a 1976 rebuilt tag on it by Reynolds Repairs, in Danvers, Mass, I put a few miles on it with my drill while testing it. So, during my drive I was happy to see the little 10th of a mile dial happily ticking off the numbers. I suppose it was someplace around 99984 miles on the odometer, instead the 00016, it should have read, I noticed that the little 10th of a mile indicator was eating miles, rather than adding them. It was actually reading 9-8-7-6-5…..well, I think you’ve got it….instead of 5-6-7-8-9…….anyway, good for trade in value, but a real mind numbing thing so far as distance travelled. Roger Hadley, the Technical Advisor for the Dodge Brothers Club said the reversed speedometer gears was a consequence of the changing and merging of companies which manufactured the speedometers in the years crossing over from late 1922 to early 1923. After he researched it on his computer, and naming off the 100’s of speedometers used in the cars, none of which matched mine, he finally gave up, said he’d need some more time, and suggested that I check the speed shops for a speedometer cable direction reversing adapter. This took a few minutes of computer searching to figure out that such a animal is available for a electronic speedometer, but, appears not to have been invented for a 1923 Dodge Brothers Roadster ……yet. My speedometer is made by the North East Electric Company, type 3850, has a left to right rotation, and the speedometer drive cable in my car rotates right to left, or, in other words, erases miles rather than adds them. Roger said he thinks Stewart-Warner makes a speedometer which will replace the one I now have………Any suggestions, comments, criticism, religious recommendations, life style changes or other productive solutions to this situation.🤔

Today I started the journey toward reversing the direction of the speedometer in my 1923 DB Roadster. Thanks to all the helpful input by many AACA subscribers, I have determined that the transmission presently in the car is not the correct transmission, and it is set up with a speedometer drive gear which rotates the speedometer cable in the direction opposite to the one the speedometer operates. Rather than mess with a bunch of adapters, worry about gear ratio mismatches, and all the stuff that stops my car from being fun, I’m replacing the transmission with one equipped with the proper drive gear. Photo number 1 was one of my parts transmissions this morning. Photo number 2 is the transmission after a day of cajoling, and it should be ready to install tomorrow. Hopefully, my speedometer will appreciate the amount of labor this took, and start counting forward, instead of reverse.

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Posted (edited)

6C22C7B3-6596-4357-81AC-2988B50CF6CC.jpeg.c237c09d4dfcf758b9aaa5db53caa835.jpegOne disappointing thing about these forums is the rapidity people jump in, and out again. I wish the OP would post the manner and method a problem was solved, and add a bit of informative closure to the post.

Today I closed up the situation on my 1923 Dodge Bros. Roadster with the speedometer reading in reverse, and a loud grinding sound coming from the clutch.

The problem with the speedometer turned out to be the speedometer drive gear, installed on the transmission main shaft, was the incorrect pitch and direction for this car. So, I gathered the parts, built a transmission with pedals and main shaft to match this car, and successfully installed it today.

The flywheel mounted to the engine was grossly out of balance, and this caused the vibration and noise. I replaced the flywheel with a well balanced one, and solved that problem. 
The speedometer now works properly and the grinding noise is gone. And, changing the brake and clutch pedals was a really good move toward the car feeling more like a Roadster, and less like a toy.

Edited by Jack Bennett (see edit history)
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I sure enjoy reading your updates and am pleased to hear that things are looking much better for you! Dodge built some very good automobiles for those days, and a lot of hobbyists favor them over other cars of the era.

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2 hours ago, wayne sheldon said:

I sure enjoy reading your updates and am pleased to hear that things are looking much better for you! Dodge built some very good automobiles for those days, and a lot of hobbyists favor them over other cars of 

2 hours ago, wayne sheldon said:

I sure enjoy reading your updates and am pleased to hear that things are looking much better for you! Dodge built some very good automobiles for those days, and a lot of hobbyists favor them over other cars of the era.

Thanks Wayne. It is a interesting car, and it seems to be the perfect project for a retired guy. If having some problem to work out is a goal of buying one of these old cars, the Dodge was a excellent choice. I was under the car, replacing the drive shaft after installing the transmission, and I noticed fuel leaking from the newly installed gas line. Oh well, I’ll see what the problem is tomorrow, right now. I have a drive shaft to install. Then comes the wet back and soggy trouser legs…..and the water pump has started leaking…..no problem, I order the packing by the foot, and I’ll do that day after tomorrow……but that oil leak wasn’t beneath the engine a while ago………and-on-and-on. The one conclusion I’ve reached about owning a old Dodge…..if you are bothered by a demanding, peevish and ungrateful kid…..buy a Ford.

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1 hour ago, Jack Bennett said:

The one conclusion I’ve reached about owning a old Dodge…..if you are bothered by a demanding, peevish and ungrateful kid…..buy a Ford.

As I recall people who owned Model T's knew how to work on them also. If they didn't there was a Mom and Pop service station just down the road that could get it going again. It would be a few years after your car before the automobile really started to become reliable for the long haul. 

You have a neat looking car there. 

 

 

Edited by Fossil (see edit history)
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That IS a nice looking car! I have had nearly a dozen model Ts over the past fifty years. Five speedsters (I insist my speedsters be rebuilt in era correct materials and methods, using era accessories and era modifications!), as well as a center-door sedan, a coupe, two trucks, and my two current brass era projects, one which is a 1915 runabout. I never went out for trophies of any kind. However, I won one that I cherish on an Endurance Run, for 'Hard Luck, Most trouble, yet completing the Run'! I had sold my previous racing car (very era correct!), and very shortly before the Run, my son and I decided to throw together the car I had been working on for about a year. The Endurance Run was a two day event, with a check in and safety check the first day. We literally started the engine for the first time late the night before the check in. The total test drive was the fifty feet to load the car onto the trailer. After a short night's sleep, we trailered about four hours down to the check in. 

A few minor tweaks to pass the safety check, and the next morning at sunup we were off! We got about five miles before the fuel line plugged up (minor debris in the long-dry gasoline tank)! A couple miles later and the vacuum tank fouled up (you should know about vacuum tanks, Dodge used them!). Model Ts don't usually use them, however this one had the gasoline tank too far back to rely upon Ford's simple gravity feed, and a vacuum tank is one of the authentic era ways to fix that. A few miles later, one of those "tweaks" to pass the safety check resulted in a short in the electrical system, which tried to set the car on fire! We had our fire extinguisher, but did not need it, a quick yank of the burning wire and smother the small fire with a clean rag took care of that. We had a short piece of wire (I always carry a few feet), and had the car ready to run again in about fifteen minutes. A few miles after that, a set screw inside the Muncie overdrive transmission (another genuine era accessory!) fell loose, causing problems with shifting and a serious risk of blowing the transmission.

I probably would have routinely checked the set screw during putting the car together, but it had come out of a running model T, and we were in such a rush to make the Run we took that chance! We drained the gear grease into a plastic bag, fished the set screw out of the bottom, reassembled and safety wired it like it should have been. Put the grease from the bag back into the transmission, put the top together, and were on our way again.

The only person to complete that Run after us, was a longtime good friend that had elected to follow us that last seventy or so miles. We crossed the finish lime as the sun was setting, the cleanup crew was just finishing sweeping up, and everybody else had gone home!

 

I wouldn't want every major tour or Endurance Run to be like that. However, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of that day!

 

Parked on the sidewalk, next to where it quit, working on the vacuum tank.

 

 

Copy of Endurance Run 037 (2).jpg

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Edited by wayne sheldon
I hate leaving typos! (see edit history)
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