Ford Model T - Overlander

Disclaimer: Links on this page pointing to Amazon, eBay and other sites may include affiliate code. If you click them and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission.

modernbeat

I'm Awesome
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
217
Reaction score
719
Location
Dallas, TX
One of the last things to do with the engine is add a fan.
Trying to add better components when we can, I bought a six blade Derale fan. This is an all steel unit that is the right diameter and one of the shallowest depths. Bolted it on to test fitment.

You must be registered for see images attach


And, it failed. It's too thick. It hits the belt behind it. And if I spaced it out enough to clear the belt, it will hit the radiator. There's not much room up there so I bought a new stock fan.

You must be registered for see images attach


Next I addressed the leather mesh package tray. We thought we'd like it. But after building it we thought otherwise and decided to just put a sheet of leather in there, add some drain holes and stitch it to the frame.

Visiting my local Tandy Leather I got some help selecting a rugged looking, but thin enough to work, piece of leather large enough to make the package tray, a boot around the steering column at the firewall and a couple shift boots.

Made a pattern and cut out the package tray.

You must be registered for see images attach


Then, punched 100 holes around the edge to match the holes in the package tray frame and used leather thread to double stitch it. This looked a lot better to us.

You must be registered for see images attach


Dashboard, engine, transmission, fuel system, ignition and linkages are mostly done. It's time to start wiring everything up.
I drew up the main circuits, disregarding any ground wires. As expected, this plan did not survive first contact with the enemy.

You must be registered for see images attach


First, add the battery. We added a couple long studs through the floor under the seat. Welded a couple nuts to a backing plate on the outside and a couple nuts to the inside to keep everything in place. Lined the battery area with a thin piece of foam. Made it red foam so any spillage could be seen.

You must be registered for see images attach


Added the battery, a hold down strap, and a couple wing nuts to clamp it in. Cut the access holes for the wiring in the floor. Added a couple more smaller holes in the upper left and right corners for the tail light wiring. Got a high quality battery from the local "Mister Battery" shop.

You must be registered for see images attach


The first fuse holder I got from the Model T shop was a modern marine fuse holder and looked horrible. So, I found this single fuse holder from a vintage supply shop and ordered a handful. The Model T has everything on one fuse. That's it. It's on the firewall in what we thought would be a visible location, but after finishing the wiring it's hidden behind a few pieces of wire looming.

You must be registered for see images attach


The junction block actually is a Model T part, but it's from one of the later cars with a steel firewall. I chose this one over the wood firewall version because the wood firewall style is held to the firewall by the same screws that hold the wires to the junction block. The steel firewall version has two fastening screws and the wiring screws are isolated from the firewall. In this shot you can see the cloth covered wires, brass terminals and asphalt looming. We did cheat and ended the wires with heat shrink rather than the traditional whipping thread and varnish.

You must be registered for see images attach


Just about every wire in this harness is a single wire with two eye terminals crimped and soldered on. No big splices or connectors. Here are the wires coming through the firewall to the dashboard switch and gauge.

You must be registered for see images attach


We roughed in the wiring for the ignition, fuel pump and temperature gauge so we could fire the engine.

You must be registered for see images attach


First gas in the tank.

You must be registered for see images attach


First oil in the engine-transmission. Poured some in the open transmission to coat the bands and the rest went into the front of the engine to fill the wells in the oil pan so the piston rod scoopers would fling it around and fill the rod bearings.

You must be registered for see images attach


Primed the carb with fuel and got the oil splashed around by disconnecting the ignition, then connected everything up and fired it up for the first time!

xc_hide_links_from_guests_guests_error_hide_media
">
xc_hide_links_from_guests_guests_error_hide_media

We had a vacuum leak in the intake, the timing is way off, the jetting is too lean and the plugs too hot. We got it dialed in a little bit better and got a good idle, got it up to temp and then shut it down since we had the radiator off for this start. We had some minor oil leaks around the side cover and another one near the starter. Both were easily sealed up.

While we're here, there is a shot of the ignition advance linkage. Even though the distributor has a centrifugal advance we can still use the stock Model T controls to set the base advance.

You must be registered for see images attach
 

modernbeat

I'm Awesome
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
217
Reaction score
719
Location
Dallas, TX
Back to the wiring. We have to wire up the brake lights, tail lights, headlights and clean it all up and loom it. This took multiple orders from a handful of supply shops to get everything, and then get some more when the first order and second order wasn't enough to finish things.

Loose wiring

You must be registered for see images attach


Loomed and tied wiring

You must be registered for see images attach


The tail light wiring is run inside the storage compartment under the bed. We ran it along the top edge to keep it safe. The asphalt loom transitions to a steel jacket as it passes outside the body so gravel thrown up by the rear tires doesn't tear it up.

You must be registered for see images attach


We used two horn buttons. One is for the horn and the other is a starter button that is only hot when the key is turned. These simple buttons are tricky to assemble. One of those things that require four hands. These took a LOT of hand fitting to make work. I'm sure the traditional Model T guys will roast us for this.

You must be registered for see images attach


The wires run down a conduit attached to the bottom of the column.

You must be registered for see images attach


The headlights are a mix of parts. Aside from the LED bulbs we are using, the reflectors and glass are 1926, brackets buckets and bezel are 1927, and the hard to find 90 degree plug is 1919. And true to form, every single part had to be ground, bent, opened up, shaved down, shaped or massaged to get it to fit.

You must be registered for see images attach


Another shot of the completed wiring.

You must be registered for see images attach


And a key I made for future diagnosis.

You must be registered for see images attach


We ran some better ground wires. First the engine to frame.

You must be registered for see images attach


And next the engine/transmission straight to the battery. This pepped up the starter.

You must be registered for see images attach


We started to dial in the transmission bands and fine tune the linkage and found that the clutch was jammed. We could not release the clutch.

You must be registered for see images attach
 

modernbeat

I'm Awesome
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
217
Reaction score
719
Location
Dallas, TX
This meant that we had no neutral, no reverse, no low speed, could not stop while the engine was running and could not shift the auxiliary Warford transmission. Crap.

So, we pulled the radiator and headlights, disassembled half the ancillaries on the engine, and yanked it out.

You must be registered for see images attach


Fixing the clutch requires removing the transmission hogshead and the oil pan. Which will necessitate all new gaskets since we glued them on to prevent leaks. I've been hoarding some nice Fel-Pro gasket kits with cork gaskets. The standard gaskets are paper that requires a lot of varnish and prep to prevent leaks.

You must be registered for see images attach


After removing the clutch we found the pressure plate (part with three dowels) was sticking in the clutch cover (underneath the pressure plate). So we polished the dowels and the holes they ride in so everything slid easily.

You must be registered for see images attach


We took this opportunity to clean up the pan a little more, inspect the oil we drained, and redo some of the gasket materials.

You must be registered for see images attach


Some fine flake in the first oil, but nothing unexpected.

You must be registered for see images attach


We carefully assembled the clutch and set the height of the fingers, making sure we had even pressure all around.

You must be registered for see images attach


We stuck the hogshead and pedals back on the assembled engine to test the clutch, one of us spinning the engine while the other worked the pedals to verify we could get low and reverse gear, and the pressure plate was actually moving.

You must be registered for see images attach


Before the engine went back in we corrected some steering geometry. Since we moved the steering column location the drag link was too short. We chopped the ends off the original drag link, turned them down to fit some thick wall tubing and welded them up.

You must be registered for see images attach


You must be registered for see images attach
 

Erik the Awful

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
8,081
Reaction score
16,846
Location
Choctaw, OK
Visiting my local Tandy Leather
Wow, they still have a store? Is that like the last Blockbuster store that's still open? I remember Tandy Leather being in every mall when I was a kid.

I drew up the main circuits, disregarding any ground wires. As expected, this plan did not survive first contact with the enemy.
Yup. My wiring diagram for my Jaguar is on it's tenth or twelfth version.
 

Pinger

I'm Awesome
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
3,074
Reaction score
6,082
Location
Scotland.
Got so engrossed I forgot to 'like' the posts. So a big fat 'like' for them all here.
The forethought and ingenuity applied to the T is mind boggling and the Saab (for a 2-stroke freak like me) is an absolute gem.
 

HotWheelsBurban

Gotta have 4 doors..... Rawhide, TOTY 2023!
Joined
Sep 18, 2019
Messages
10,059
Reaction score
18,645
Location
Houston, Texas
Wow, they still have a store? Is that like the last Blockbuster store that's still open? I remember Tandy Leather being in every mall when I was a kid.


Yup. My wiring diagram for my Jaguar is on it's tenth or twelfth version.
Tandy's headquarters is in Fort Worth, Texas I think? IIRC they had a mega store there, never been, but I remember seeing it in the last catalogs.
 

modernbeat

I'm Awesome
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
217
Reaction score
719
Location
Dallas, TX
Small update. We tidied up the wiring and started dialing in the engine. But, the ignition kept cutting out. Turned out the on-off portion of the ignition switch wasn't making constant contact. This worn out ignition switch was causing misfires.

You must be registered for see images attach


New switches aren't really available. The originals were made by a half dozen different suppliers and they are all slightly different. Reproduction repair parts are available for a couple versions. And apparently it's pretty easy to open up the switch and repair the guts.

So, I went into the switch. Turns out that three of the six tabs that hold it closed were snapped off. We got the cardboard "circuit board" out and sanded down the grooves to level the traces. Cleaned up all the contacts and put some spring into the brass switch plate.

You must be registered for see images attach


Holding all the parts together everything seemed tor work just great. But during the final assembly two of the three tabs snapped. And the remaining one tab wouldn't hold the switch together. Damn. Now I've got to get a new switch.

Just as I needed it, this early 1919 switch manufactured by Clum came up on Ebay. This is arguably the absolute best quality switch ever put in a Model T. Everything on it is heavy duty. It's got cast parts instead of stamped parts. It also has an accessory dash light and a great condition amp meter. The problem (there's always a problem) is that it didn't come with a key! And there is some question among Model T scholars whether these early switches used "Ford style" keys or "Clum style" keys. So, it was going to be a a treasure hunt finding some keys.

You must be registered for see images attach


At this point we were in a hurry. We wanted to get some miles on the Model T before our helper, Craig, left and went back home to California. So I fired the parts cannon and bought a half dozen Ford and Clum keys based on the ignition tumbler number visible in the Ebay photos.

Turned out this switch took a Ford #63 key. These early keys are numbered. And it's popular to collect all the keys.

You must be registered for see images attach


Next, we did a better job on adapting the temperature gauge. The wraps of tape we used to temporarily hold the gauge in the original switch panel was not going to cut it. And eventually a custom gauge will be used. But for now we'll use a Stewart Warner Heavy Duty gauge.

You can buy an adapter ring that is used to add a smaller 1926-27 amp gauge to the larger 1925 and earlier switch panel. But, it doesn't work with a modern gauge. By opening it up and installing it backwards I was able to use an adapter ring to install the modern gauge.

You must be registered for see images attach


You must be registered for see images attach


And, it fits in the early switch panel pretty well.

You must be registered for see images attach


The switch panel wired up and installed in the dashboard.

You must be registered for see images attach


You must be registered for see images attach


Next on the list are some spotlights. We bought three or four of these spotlights that clamp onto the windshield frame. They are all in bad shape. First, take them all apart and see what is in good condition, what is broken, and what can be repaired.

You must be registered for see images attach


Rewired the lights with some fabric covered wire and sourced some bright 12v versions of the antique bulbs. At this point we are waiting for some cotton conduit to finish the wiring. It's coming from the UK. Apparently those guys love veteran and antique cars over there.

You must be registered for see images attach


I also bolted on the license plate. I bought a pair of these right after buying the Model T. And designed the recesses in the tailgate to be the right size to hold it.

You must be registered for see images attach


FIRST DRIVE!
Took a 16 mile, 50 minute drive to do some errands.

You must be registered for see images attach


A couple of things rattled apart. Rear axle shift linkage and a windshield support both came loose. Of course we didn't bring any tools on a shakedown drive. To tightened up the nuts as much as we could with fingers and kept driving.

This is the very first time it moved under it's own power after the rebuild.
xc_hide_links_from_guests_guests_error_hide_media

Found a couple leaks. The valve cover plate was leaking. We've since tried a better cork gasket and failed. Then tried a foam gasket that failed. Now it's sealed up with RTV.

You must be registered for see images attach


Since then we've been taking it on more drives. Here it is at our local Saturday night drive-in meet.

You must be registered for see images attach


Next on the list is to build the roof and canvas canopy sides.
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
64,885
Messages
1,402,312
Members
52,676
Latest member
88_sally
Top