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Harry P.

How to start a Model T

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Ok... how many of you guys actually know how to start up (and drive) a Model T?

I knew it involved a crank, but I didn't know all the steps you had to go through to start one. Heck, I didn't even know they had an ignition key! And I wasn't sure how the pedals worked (they do not work like a modern car!).

I found this video while looking for something alse. It's really interesting. Watch the whole thing, you'll learn something... :D

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Cheers for posting. My grandfather has a model t that still runs. Needs to be restored through.

Ben

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Harry, I can actually say I have worked on a couple of Ford Model T's . ONE THING TO REMEMBER : NEVER EVER EVER Wrap you're thumb around the starter crank!

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Luckily for me a Model A is much easier to start (it has a starter) but you still have to know what you're doing. :)

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Harry, I can actually say I have worked on a couple of Ford Model T's . ONE THING TO REMEMBER : NEVER EVER EVER Wrap you're thumb around the starter crank!

Yeah, that crank could do some damage if you weren't careful!

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Later versions of the Model T could be purchased with an optional electric starter.

Definitely the way to go.....

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I learned to drive a T 20 years ago on an 1912 model thanks to a very kind 80 year old man that was very happy to find someone interested in his hobby car. You never know what can happen when you start a conversation.

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I have been told that if the spark was not set right it could break

a man's arm.I do not know if this is true or not.

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I have been told that if the spark was not set right it could break

a man's arm.I do not know if this is true or not.

Yes, the cylinders could potentially over-pressurize if the spark wasn't timed properly. That exact problem is what prompted Charles Kettering to develop the electric starter in 1912.

Charlie Larkin

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There is a Farmall F 20 on my parents farm. Like Ed said and my Dad said. "Don't put your thumb around the crank" If it kicks, it could break your thumb.

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Many years ago my Dad who was born in 1917 told me as a teen that starting a T could break your arm. He was a teenager before he rode in a car a model T. l was 18 when he died at 66 and loved all his stories about the old times. Thanks Harry..

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There is a Farmall F 20 on my parents farm. Like Ed said and my Dad said. "Don't put your thumb around the crank" If it kicks, it could break your thumb.

I hear ya about the Farmall.

Mr Grandfather had a Farmall Cub.I would crank start it by hand.

It beat my arm and hand once or twice.

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Great thread Harry and some first rate stories.

It make me think we need to live today as they did back then.

It was a simple life but it was a hard life too.

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Luckily for me a Model A is much easier to start (it has a starter) but you still have to know what you're doing. :)

However, every Model A Ford came factory-equipped with a removable hand crank--just in case the battery was too run down to use the starter. The starting procedure for the Model A is very much like for the T, incidently (I started all three of my Model A's every so often, on the crank, usually just to show off--they always started on the first flip of the crank, even in the coldest of weather!

Art

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Thank you very much for showing this Harry.

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I've heard that early VW Beetles had a crank pulley designed to facilitate wrapping a rope around it to start the engine by hand, sorta like starting a lawn mower.

Any of you guys who are VW nuts, can you confirm this?

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That was a very informative video. Thanks for posting.

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Many years ago in Special Interest Autos magazine there was an article about starting and driving a Model T Ford.I've never owned a T but I learned all about the experience from that article.

As far as VWs go-the very early cars have a specially shaped crank pulley bolt head designed to engage a specially shaped hand crank.A buddy of mine has a '51 Beetle with this feature.

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If you put your thumb over it can get broken. :lol: Do you guys even watch these videos ? :o

Edited by Greg Myers

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If you put your thumb over it can get broken. :lol: Do you guys even watch these videos ? :o

Apparently <_< not .........................

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Harry, I can actually say I have worked on a couple of Ford Model T's . ONE THING TO REMEMBER : NEVER EVER EVER Wrap you're thumb around the starter crank!

Actually,

There are at least four warnings about cranking a Model T Ford that I can think of, all involving the crank itself:

First, always assume that the engine may attempt to literally start backwards! For this reason, ALWAYS use your left hand on the crank (Model T crankshaft turns to the left as you face the front of the car, and using your left hand to turn the crank ensures that if the engine "kicks backward" the crank will kick your hand (in conjunction with your pulling up on the crank) out of the arc of the crank itself and out of danger of your wrist of being struck by the crank.

For this reason, NEVER wrap your left thumb around the handle of the crank--if the engine does kick back, with your thumb wrapped around the handle it can either break your thumb, or pull your left arm down into the arc of the crank causing it to strike your wrist and break it badly. My dad lived all his adult life with a slightly crooked left wrist, caused by a Model T crank hitting it when he was about 12 or 13.

Second, ALWAYS check to see that the spark advance lever (the lever on the left side of the steering column below the steering wheel) is all the way up, which retards the spark timing as far as it will go--however, with wear, and the inevitable loosening up of the fairly complex mechanical linkage between this lever and the spark timer which is all the way up at the right front of the engine, the spark lever can appear to be fully retarded, but any sloppiness in the linkage can make this a false sense of security!.

Third, ALWAYS check to see that the throttle lever (on the right side of the steering column) is all the way up, which means that the throttle is closed to idle, or perhaps only the slightest bit open--too much throttle when starting can exacerbate any kicking back, or also cause the engine to "speed" as it starts, which can "grab" the crank, making it spin right along with the crankshaft.

Fourth, and this relates back to the first warning! NEVER, EVER push down on the crank, as if you are "winding" up the engine. This puts your hand and arm completely in the "arc" of the crank handle, and should the engine start and the crank not disengage, the crank will strike your arm, causing more than a simple fracture.

All that aside, Model T crankshafts didn't have much in the way of thrust bearings (in order to keep the crankshaft from developing "run out"), and as the engine got a bit worn in the bottom end, the crankshaft often would slip to the rear a bit too much, which moved the flywheel with its series of magnets (Model T used magneto ignition, and the magnets were on the front face of the flywheel, acting against coils inside the flywheel housing, enough that the magnetic field was too far from the coils to generate electricity. While of course, the correct fix was to have new bearings poured, in the "field", T owners learned to jack up one rear wheel so that it could spin freely, then put the car in gear by releasing the parking brake handle all the way forward. That had the effect of pushing the crankshaft back into its proper position, and the flywheel close enough to the flywheel housing for the magneto system to work correctly. Once started, the owner had to put the transmission back into neutral before lowering the jack, lest the car leap forward!

Art

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