My New Project a 1920-23 Model T




About: I am 14 and enjoy pretty much everything old. my talents are baseball and annoying people with cool but useless facts. other than that I am a normal teenage homeschooler that owns a model T.

here is my newest project. a model t he hasn't been out of the trailer since I got him ( his name is henry) but I know the engine isn't seized. there is no water in the radiator and he has a crank on the front. the guy I got him from was about 2/3 the way through restoring him so he is all nice and painted and the engine has been taken apart and cleaned I cant wait till I get the time to take him out. the windshield piece is original the wood support running the length of the truck is original and most all the metal pieces like the fenders and the metal support running from the engine all the way back is also original . I would appreciate any advice that would be given.

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Step 1: Finding the Year

we struggled with this a little and still are not certain of the year. we think its is around 20-23 because the frame has no serial # which they started putting on in 1924.the engine serial # is the one in the photo. we think the # before the 6 is possible a 3 or 5 and before that we couldn't see.

Step 2: Getting Him Started

here are some pictures now that its out of the trailer. so far I have taken the starter out and kind of tested it. so before I said it did work but we tried again and it doesn't. the carburetor also needs to be re-built so eventually I will do that. right now its just sitting in our workshop waiting for parts.

Step 3: Starting

we got the carburetor and replaced that. the problem with the starter was we didn't have a good ground, so we fixed that. after all this we put some gas in the tank and turned it over a few times and he started right up. the next day we took him out of the workshop and started him up again to drive. the only other problem we ran into was an oil leak at the front end. after that is fixed we will enter him in parades and things like that.

Step 4: Driving

ok so we can start him up with ease now. the first time I drove him we found an oil leak where the starter meets the transmission and the cover for the shaft. we put gaskets in and ABRACADABRA ALAKAZAM! no more leak. the next time I drove him (the most recent) he overheated due to operator error. the trouble I had is I have no experience driving a model t so I will explain what I have to do so the reader understands what is so difficult.

to go forward you have to push the hand brake forward, which takes it out of neutral, then push the "clutch" in to be in first/slow. to shift you let the "clutch" out to be in second/fast. to brake you push the clutch in halfway and apply the brake which doesn't exactly stop you quickly. to go back you push in the clutch halfway and press the reverse petal.

sounds simple right? wrong. while doing this you constantly have to adjust the throttle and spark retard level. if the spark is too early the engine will overheat. too late and the engine will overheat. you have to find the spot where the engine runs smoothly. it also changes on different terrain like going up a hill. you have to retard the spark.

I think for the most part this all will come with driving more and more. tips from other model t owners would be much appreciated.

Step 5:

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    10 Discussions

    Awesome Model T! I am a Model T owner as well and I got mine just a couple months ago. Mine is a Model T Touring. Hope you have a great time restoring your car!!

    3 replies
    The Awesome Inventorljm911

    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks!! My model T is about 80% original (all except the radiator, the backseat, it has turning signals, and the convertible roof).


    5 years ago

    I suggest planning on redoing all the wood. Henry Ford used the pallets he had parts shipped in for his cars (how's that for "green") so he didn't have to but wood. He then could pass down the savings making them cheaper. Often pallets even then was the reject wood. I'm a hot rodder so I don't tend to restore but I would Google online message boards and forums dealing with just model ts or prewar cars. Those groups will know all the little tricks and easy routes to take. Good luck.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    thank you sir, and the wood looks good on this one. the car was kept in the garage for 10 years for those 10 years it really was well kept. i am interested to see what happens and as the restoration moves forward i will post more


    Reply 5 years ago

    If you try to use that hand crank watch out. They like to kick back and break an arm, jaw, or knock out teeth.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Find your nearest Model T club, they are out there, and there are people who can walk you through all the idiosyncrasies of T's like retarding the spark to make sure you don't break body parts or dislocate a shoulder crank starting, how the transmission works (pedals, high and low range and reverse through various combinations) and the thrills of a panic stop with cable brakes on only the rear wheels. Stops are something to be planned for with T's. The clubs have great information on resources for restoration parts (you can *almost* build a T with restoration parts alone) and plenty of advice when you need it. You have a unique piece of automotive history to explore and play with! Enjoy!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This looks like a great project! Good luck on it as you go.

    When you get it done, you ought to create full instructable to document the process, and show off the steps you took to complete it. Be sure to take lots of photos!

    This might get better feedback from people if you posted this in the forums. Just a tip! :)