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Ford model-T streetrod

5436 Views 111 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  jhn9840
..... This will be a long term post thru the winter and on into the summer as weather permits. .....

This is going to be my next project.
It is a Ford model-T that I had started building into a streetrod and it ended up being put into storage back in the early 1990's.
I pulled it out of storage in the summer of 2021 with the intention of getting it running and selling it to raise money for working on other projects.
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I have since changed my mind about selling it.
However, I no longer want to use the Hemi engine that is in it so I have pulled that out and I have that for sale.
So this is what I'm starting with now.
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And this flathead V-8 is the engine that I'm going to put in it. It is a 1949 to 1953 engine with 1948 or earlier finned aluminum heads on it.
I got this engine from Fred Sibley in Elkhart, Indiana in the late 1970's.
Fred Sibley is well known for building jet powered dragsters and he is in the Drag Racing Hall of Fame.

I haven't checked the identification numbers on this engine yet so I don't know if this is a Ford or a Mercury engine.
If it is a Ford, then it is 239 CID with 110 HP. If it is a Mercury, then it is a 255 CID with 125 HP.
This engine was used in a dragster back in the late 1950's and early 60's. It has a Pro Racing Model intake manifold on it that does not have the boss on the front for mounting the generator onto.
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Ordinarily, I would sell this intake and get one that has a generator mount on it but this has been welded on the side of the fuel pump mount so I wouldn't be able to get much for it.
I could smooth the weld down so it wouldn't be noticeable but I still wouldn't want to sell it because I'm not the one who did the welding and I don't know if it can be trusted to not brake back out later.
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I also have a stock single carb intake manifold off a 60 HP engine that were made from 1937 thru 1940. This is a shorter manifold then on my engine and they really aren't worth very much.
However, the generator mount on the front is the same as the ones used on my engine so I have cut the front off this manifold.
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If you look at the side of the carb mount, you can see a long crack in it so this manifold is scrap anyway.
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The mounting holes on the front of both manifolds are the same so I milled the mounting bosses down on both sides of the front of my manifold.
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This way, I can set the front part of the other manifold on top of the front of my manifold.
I will weld these two parts together but I don't want to do that until I have the engine here so I can bolt both of these pieces together on the engine to help keep it from warping when I do the welding.
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I know ... this seems like a lot of work but these two manifolds aren't worth anything as is and a new one can cost anywhere from $300 to over $1,000 depending on who manufactured it, what style it is and how rare it is.

Besides, this gives me something interesting to play with and when I'm finished, it will look like it came from the factory this way.
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Ray, right above the blue tape in the carb mounting looks like a crack. May not be, but looks that way.
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Ray, right above the blue tape in the carb mounting looks like a crack. May not be, but looks that way.
That's a pencil mark from making measurements.
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Good! Sure looked like a crack though!
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Looks like a fun project. Looking forward to following along.
I worked on a model T build for a customer a quite a few years ago. No gen mounts on the engine so we added a pully to the drive shaft and ran a single wire alternator off from that. Alternator was completely hidden under the car. Worked great for his needs.
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Another great project thanks for sharing
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Part of the edges on the generator mount are broken off.
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So I cut that area off of the manifold.
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Then I machined out a block of aluminum.
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This fits snugly onto the back of generator mount.
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The block of aluminum will be welded onto the front of the manifold.
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And the generator mount will fasten onto it.
I still have to drill and tap the hole in the center for the mounting bolt.
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I had made brass air cleaners for the four carburetors that are on the Hemi engine. When I put the Hemi up for sale, I bought four chrome air cleaners to put on the carbs and kept my custom made brass ones.
This is what one of the brass air cleaners looked like on a carb.
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I have 4 brass air cleaners and only 2 carbs so I'm going to make a pair of custom " T " shape air cleaners.

These are the parts that I'm going to use to make the air cleaners for the flathead.
The aluminum tube will be cut in half to form the top cross tube of the " T " for each air cleaner.
The two aluminum tubes will then be machined out so that a brass air cleaner will fit on each end of the tube.
The two round chunks of aluminum are the centers that I cut out of the blocks of aluminum that were used to make the rear wheel adapters for the tractor that I just finished.
These will be the center down tube for each air cleaner.
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First the center has to be cut out of each of the round blocks.
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Here is one with the center cut out of it to form a thick aluminum ring.
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The ring is chucked up in the lathe and the center is machined out to the inside diameter of the top opening of the carb.
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Then a counter bore is machined out to the outside diameter of the carb.
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Checking to make sure that the Stromburg 97 carb fits nicely.
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The ring is then gripped on the inside diameter and the outside is turned down.
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The rear axle is a 9 inch Ford with positraction.
I wanted the looks of the old style quick change rear axle but I didn't want the gear noise or the problem of expensive and hard to find parts.
So I made a oval ring out of sheet metal that is welded it to the back of the axle housing and bolted a Frankland quick change rear cover to it.
This way I have the dependability of the Ford axle with the looks of the old style quick change rear end.
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The fenders are for a 1915 Ford. They were special order from Rootlieb and they are 3 inch wider than stock so they cover the wider tires.
This is what they looked like when I bought them in the early 90's but they have over 30 years of sitting in storage on them now.
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I built the chassis frame out of 2x3 inch box steel. The lower control arms for the rear axle are 2x2 steel and they have a sway bar mounted on them.
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The two gas tanks are made out of aluminum with baffles inside to keep the fuel from sloshing around a lot.
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They both have an aluminum heat shield with about 1/2 to 3/4 inch air space between the shield and the tanks.
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Here are the two tanks. I took advantage of any extra space under the frame rails so I could get as much capacity as possible. The larger tubes at the bottom are the fill tubes and the smaller tubes at the top are the air vent tubes.
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Here you can see how the tanks fit on the sides of the frame.
You can also see the two upper control arms for the rear axle. They are mounted at an angle to keep the axle from moving sideways.
The finned round canister on the right side in front of the axle is where the fuel goes in. Both tanks are connected to this round canister by 1-1/2 inch diameter tubes so the fuel level stays the same in both tanks.
This is also the lowest point in the fuel tanks and the hose for the electric fuel pump comes off the bottom of this canister.
The fuel filter is mounted on the left side under the upper cross frame ( chrome can with red top ).
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The tube coming out of the top of the round canister is connected to the fill tube that is behind this door in the left side of the turtle deck. The air vent tubes are also connected to the fill neck tube and vented thru the gas cap.
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Last summer I built the dash for the model-T.
Starting with forming a piece of sheet metal to form the dash.
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Then the holes are cut into it for the gauges, switches and heater controls.
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The switches and heater controls are out of a 1953 Ford.
There are two stamped backing plates that go behind the dash with particular size and shaped holes for locating the individual control switches and cables.
Seen from the back side, there is a hole in the center of each one for a dash light socket and bulb.
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I've cut a hole for a glove box and made a door for it.
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1/4 inch square steel rods are formed to fit the contour and welded to the inside of the door. Then a piece of sheet metal is welded on top of them. This makes the door thicker and gives it strength. Door stop brackets from another car are mounted in place on this door.
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Then a glove box latch is added.
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Here is the finished dash getting the wiring installed.
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This is how the gauges look with the dash lights on.
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And the dash installed in the car.
When I first started building the car over 30 years ago, I made the steering column so it would swing over toward the center to make it easier to get in and out of it.
This is with the column locked in the driving position.
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Pushing up on a brass button under the left side of the dash releases the lock and the column can be pushed over to the right.
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I had left off with finishing machining the two bottom tubes of the air cleaners that will fit onto the top of the carburetors.
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Next, I chucked the top tubes up in the lathe and started turning down the outside.
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This is cut down until the base of the brass air cleaner fits onto it.
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Both ends are turned down and the steel brackets are fastened onto each end. These have a threaded hole in the center for the top of the brass air cleaners to screw into.
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The bottom of the steel brackets are fastened on with counter sunk screws. The screws holding the other end stick up above the machined surface. They fit into the milled notch on the inside of the brass air cleaner so the it can't rotate.
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A hole saw is used in the drill press to rough out the hole in the top tube.
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Then the hole is finished machined on the mill.
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The two bottom tubes are clamped together and a hole is cut into the center between them.
This forms a " U " shaped cut on the ends of both of the tubes that matches the inside diameter of the top tube.
The bottom tubes are fit into the center hole in the top tubes and welded on the inside.
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Here are the finished air cleaners for the two carbs on the flathead engine.
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Those turned out really nice! I like the contrast between the two metals.
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My intake manifold has the carburetors spread wide apart so both carbs are sitting over the intake ports on the engine.
This is a good design for a high performance engine but it isn't so good for a street driven car.
With this carb placement, both carbs have to be run together at all times and they both need to be synchronized with each other so one isn't running richer then the other one.

I want to be able to run mostly on just one primary carb with the other one kicking in when the engine is running at higher RPMs, like a 4-barral carb operates.
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In order to do that, I need to make a plenum chamber that both carbs would dump into so the gas and air are mixed evenly before it goes on into the main intake manifold.
There are several intake manifolds on the market that are designed this way but because I'm working with what I have, I have to build my own.

I have a piece of 1x4 rectangle aluminum tube that I'm going to use for the plenum chamber.
I've machined down a block of aluminum so it will fit snugly inside the rectangle for the end cap.
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Both end caps are fit in place and the holes are drilled for bolting this onto the top of the intake manifold.
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The plenum chamber is turned over and an old carburetor base is bolted onto one end. This is used as a jig for drilling out the two port holes in each end.
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Here's what it looks like with the port holes drilled and the end caps removed.

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Using a ball nose end mill, I'm roughing out the port hole area in one of the end caps.
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This is smoothed down more with a Dremel tool to form a radiused surface at the end of the plenum chamber.
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Here's how it looks inside with the end cap fit back in place.
This gives a rounded surface that helps to direct the air - fuel mixture down into the port holes rather than just have a flat squared off surface at the ends.
This plenum chamber will be bolted back onto the manifold later and the end caps will be welded on.
Now I can place the two carburetors closer together when I mount them on top of the plenum chamber and hook them up with progressive linkage.

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This is the end cap for the other end.
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The plenum chamber with both end caps on.
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I have an old Almquist intake manifold like this for mounting two carbs on a single carb intake.
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It's small enough that I was able to put it up on my small mill in my train room to mill the bottom off.
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The plenum chamber is to wide to fit on my small mill so it had to be set up on the big mill out in the un-heated garage to cut a hole in the center of it.
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The Almquist manifold fits snugly into the hole.
It's going to be to cold to work out in the garage for awhile but at least I was able to get this much done so far.
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Look at what I got today. ....
Rebuilt original Ford Holley 94 carbs set up for dual carb intake.

These are from Wolf Enterprises in San Antonio, Florida.
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The collection of parts for this project is getting bigger.
This is the progressive linkage for my two carbs.
This linkage will allow the engine to run of one carb most of the of the time.
The other carb will start to open up at 65 percent throttle and both carbs will be open 100 percent at full throttle.
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Had some warm weather so I was able to get a little more done on the intake manifold.
This is actually my second try.

On the first plenum box, I had drilled the two 1-13/64 dia. fuel port holes in each end.
When I went to weld the end caps on, there wasn't enough material between the fuel port holes and the end caps to maintain a good weld.
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So I got another piece of 1x4 inch aluminum tube to make a new plenum chamber.
Again, a hole is milled into the top of the plenum so the duel carb manifold fits into it.
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The open ends of the bottom of the duel carb manifold are filled in with pieces of aluminum.
This re-forms a center outlet on the manifold.
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I used pieces of the aluminum running board to do this so the inside has the ribs in it to help direct the air flow.
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This manifold is then welded in place on the inside of the plenum.
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The plenum is then bolted onto the flathead intake and I've started welding the two end caps on, up to where the bolts are.
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The bolts are removed one at a time and that area is finish welded.
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The plenum is removed and turned over to finish welding along the underside of it.
The welding on the left end cap is completed and I'm getting ready to do the last weld on the right end cap.
I use the torch to heat up the end cap each time to make it easier to weld the 1 inch thick cap to the 1/8 thickness of the plenum tube.
These welds will be smoothed down flat and once that is done, then I can re-drill the two large fuel port holes on each end.
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I machined out a plate to fill the hole in the bottom and it has the ribs on it to help with air flow.
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The welds are smoothed down and the two fuel port holes are drilled into each end.
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Then I polished the plenum chamber and duel carb manifold.
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The filler plate for the bottom is fastened to another aluminum plate that is 3/8 inch wider all the way around.
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This is then fit onto the bottom and fastened down with #2-56 stainless screws.
RTV sealant is used for the gasket and the screws are coated with Lock tight.
Once the RTV has dried, I'll trim off the excess.
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How it will look with the carbs and air cleaners on.
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