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Ford model-T streetrod

5454 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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I got this flathead engine in the late 70's and this is the first time that I have looked inside it.
I am very surprised at how clean it is.
The cylinder walls have absolutely no ridge or even any scratches on any of them and there is no carbon buildup on top of the valves.
This engine defiantly doesn't have many hours of run time on it.

There is a little surface rust on some of the cylinder walls but not much.
I'll run a hone thru the cylinders just enough to clean them up, put in new rings, rod barrings and gaskets and she'll be ready to run.
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This has an old Ford Motor Co dual point distributor.
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These little metal covers are something that I've never seen before.
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They fit down over the points.
I have no idea what the advantage of having them would be but they are interesting.
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Now that I have the engine, I can finish up the intake manifold.
The intake is bolted down to the block and I'm pre-heating both the intake and the front of the block before I even start the welding.
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First thing is to weld a plug into the hole in the front of the intake where the oil fill tube was.
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Then the front section from the 60 HP intake is bolted down on top of twin carb intake and welded in place.
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This is as far as I got today before the welding gas ran out.
Taking into consideration how old these two manifolds are and that they are both well used, the welds are turning out to be much cleaner than I had expected.
Hopefully, I have been able to keep the contaminates flowing up to the top so that when I start to sand the welds down, there will be clean metal exposed.
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Picked up a new tank of Argon gas this morning and finished welding the generator mount to the front of the manifold.
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Looking thru Ebay today and found this interesting item that just got listed.
It's an old Navarro flathead V8 intake that is very similar in design to what I'm building.
The listing price is $1,999.99 OBO.
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It has a separate top unit.
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Searching the internet, I ran across an article on flathead intake manifolds that was in a 2011 issue of Hot Rod magazine:
This is the information about the Navarro " Dog Bone " intake.

When World War II ended, anticipating a career as a civilian, Navarro realized he knew more about machine work and hot rods than anything else. Before he was discharged from the Army Air Force, he designed his own dual manifold, loosely based on the stocker on his '42 Ford, a car he'd bought seven days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Barney's first 2x2, a low-rise affair with a "dog bone" shaped removable heat riser, resulted from an experience he'd had crossing the mountains in New Mexico in winter, using the tall, high-rise prewar Weiand manifold. Both carburetors had iced up and his car slowed to 35 mph, painfully strangling itself.
Navarro decided to improve on that design. "Remember," he told me, "the firing order on a Flathead alters from bank to bank, except for cylinders one and two, which fire sequentially. Every time it fires you have exhaust on one side or the other, so it (my design) kept the carburetors warm. For summer use, you simply took out the long center stud and replaced the dog bone with a little finned cover. Unfortunately for Navarro, it wasn't very popular (though it's a $750-plus collectors' item today if you're lucky enough to find one, especially if the original "dog bone" attachment is intact).
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The adapter for mating a Chevy engine to a 49-53 flathead transmission arrived today.
This is the transmission side and you can tell that this is designed to bolt to a Chevy engine by the location of the countersunk holes.
The two top center holes and the two bottom side holes for the Chevy bolt pattern are counter bored on this side.
The two top side holes are drilled out so longer bolts can go thru them and thread into the Chevy block.
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It was very simple to make this so it bolted onto the back of the flathead engine.
I just countersunk four of the Ford transmission mounting holes.
Then I welded up the countersunk holes for the top two Chevy bolt pattern.
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These two holes are drilled out and Helicoil threads were installed.
The adapter is bolted to the engine with flathead Allen bolts.
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A small block of aluminum is welded onto each side of the transmission, just above the two bottom mounting holes.
With the transmission bolted up to the engine, I drilled thru the two lower transmission mounting holes on the engine and on thru the aluminum blocks that were welded onto the Chevy transmission.
These two holes on the transmission have Helicoil threads installed in them.
The original Chevy mounting holes under the two new threaded holes each have an aluminum plug pressed into them.
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The Chevy transmission is bolted onto the the flathead engine.
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I used longer bolts on the two top side Chevy mounting holes so the smooth part of the bolts got thru the transmission and the adapter plate.
These bolts are fasten with a nut on the front side and I cut the excess thread off the bolts.
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The two bottom side mounting holes each have an Allen bolt going thru the engine block from the front and threaded into the transmission.
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These two bolts go all the way thru the Helicoil threads on both sides.
This makes the two lower mounting points very strong.
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The welds are smoothed down on the intake manifold. Then I lightly sand blasted it with only 40 pounds air pressure and coated it with four coats of Rust-Oleum clear.
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The manifold is looking really nice. Your skills and ideas always blow me away. That's why I always follow your projects. Thanks for sharing.
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I will never understand how men over 50 have the patience to build an engine this precariously. Or restore a whole car. It takes so much time and money that it's just hard for me to find it feasible for me to ever in my lifetime build an engine from the ground up fixing every minuscule problem in such a way that you would never be able to spot that something had been mended even if you were told where to look. You people truly amaze me.
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These are the cowl lamps that I'm going to use. I believe they are off a 1920's or 30's Chrysler.
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I have removed the curved trim piece from the mounting studs, cleaned them up and put new stainless wire conduit on them. They are now wired for 12 volt and have LED bulbs in them.
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Mounted on the car.
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Once the car is painted, the rubber grommets will be fit into the holes.
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The lights are designed so they angle down so they will not be shining straight into oncoming traffic.
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View of the back of the lights.
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I'm going to have these operate as full time running lights so they will be on when the key is turned on.
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The left is brightness of the running light and the right is the brightness of the turn signal.
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Set some parts up on the block just to get an idea of how it's going to look.
I'm going to polish the finned heads up some before it all goes together.
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Started working on getting the wood fitted inside to build it up to where the upholstery level is.
The top, middle and bottom curved pieces of wood are fastened in place.
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Working on the upright pieces.
The ones on the passengers side are going to be the hardest to do because of the cable for the windshield wipers going up that side. so naturally, I'm working on that side first.

The piece of wood going up along side the rear window needs to have a notch cut into it at and angle for the cable to fit into.
I'm using the small mill in my train room to mill out the notch because it is easier to reach both control handles for cutting at an angle on the small mill than it is on the bigger mill out in the garage.
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the upright pieces of wood are in place on the passengers side.
You can see the red wiper control cable behind them.
The upright pieces are placed where the flat area of the cab meets the curved area.
View from the side.
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View from the front.
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I'm putting seat belts with the shoulder straps in the car.
For the mount for the upper attachment of the shoulder strap, I first use a 1 inch hole saw to cut thru the sheet metal of the body.
Then I use a 3/4 inch hole saw to cut thru the square steel tube that the framework of the body is built from and the wood filler strip on the inside of it.
This leaves the cut edge of the square tube fully exposed for welding.
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A 7/16-20 hole is threaded into a piece of 3/4 inch steel rod.
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This is fit into the hole so the back side of the steel rod is countersunk past the sheet metal.
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Then it is welded in place.
The weld is ground down and the area is primed.
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The upper mount for the shoulder strap can now bolt to the steel rod.
This end of the rod extends 1/4 inch in past the wood filler strip.
I am planning on putting a wood interior in this car using the .190 inch thick sanded birch plywood so the shoulder strap mount will stick out a little past the plywood.
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the window regulators are very stiff so I'm working on freeing them up.
They are a very unique design.

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Wow! After all these years it still works. Maybe they should have kept that design because the new designs don't last nearly as long.
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The edge of the doors and the door jambs are painted a matte black finish.
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The seat base is painted charcoal gray.
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These Ford cars from the 20's were often called " Tall T's " and sometimes they were called " phone booths ".
I remember back in the 60's, some guy took a phone booth and built a model-T car out of it.
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You know you're working on a tall car when you have to build scaffolding around it to work on the roof.
The top boards are screwed down to the two wood riser blocks and the everything is tied together with ratchet straps so nothing moves while I'm standing on them.
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The piece of aluminum for the crank adapter came in so I started working on that.
The one side is faced off and a counterbore is machined into it so it will fit over the end of the crankshaft.
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Then it is turned around and a boss is turned down for the Chevy flex plate to fit onto. A counterbore is cut into the center for the torque converter to fit into.
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Checking the fit on the torque converter.
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And on the flex plate.
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The adapter is put back on the lathe and a hole is bored thru the center.
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This bored hole in the adapter is the same size as the pilot hole in the Ford flywheel.
The flywheel is set on top of the adapter and a pin is pushed down thru it and into the adapter to line the two parts up.
Then the four mounting holes are marked in the adapter with a center punch.
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With the mounting holes marked on the adapter, I can now drill them out.
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This is the finished adapter plate to mount the Chevy flex plate to the flathead crank.
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There are a couple of problems with the transmission adapter plate.
With it being a full round plate, it makes it hard to reach the bolts that hold the torque converter to the flex plate.
I also decided not to use that Dodge starter. It is really big and the starter bendix hangs out the side past the side of the bellhousing. Also, the exhaust header would have to be removed to get the starter in or out.
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Since the Chevy automatic transmission only has mounting holes on the top half of the bell housing, the solution is to cut the bottom half off the transmission adapter.
The four bolts that fasten the flex plat on are 1-1/4 inch long grade-8 bolts and they go all the way thru the adapter and thread into the crankshaft flange.
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I'm going to use one of the newer, mini high torque starters that GM is using now.
I have brought the bendix gear out and it is held in that position by a piece of wood jammed into the hole in the bottom.
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The starter is set in place and shimmed up with blocks of wood.
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I made a cardboard template for the spacer between the block and the starter.
Then I cut that spacer out of 1 inch thick aluminum.
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The two mounting holes for the starter are drilled into it and have helicoil threads installed.
Two other holes are drilled and counter board for 5/16 allen head bolts.
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The starter is bolted to the spacer block and lined up on the engine.
Then the spacer block is welded to the transmission adapter.
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Two holes are drilled up into the block thru the 5/16 holes and tapped.
Two 5/16 allen bolts are screwed up into the engine block to help support the spacer.
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The starter is mounted using a shim to get the correct clearance for the flex plate.
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Getting ready to pull the pistons out so I can get new rings and rod bearings and I have finely figured out that it is a Mercury block.

The Ford engine has 3.1875 bore and 3.750 stroke for 100 HP stock.
The Mercury has the same bore as the Ford but a longer 4.00 stroke for 110 HP stock.
Checking my engine, I can see that it is going to have a bit more HP than a stock engine.
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The inside is nice and clean also.
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