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 1926 Model TT Restoration: Engine/Trans Rebuild 
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Got the tow boom re-assembled and ready to load in the bed

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The TT waiting for the tow boom

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RocketScott came by this morning with the big boom truck

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Scott rigged my tow boom for the lift

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Here is Scott working his crane

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Here is a short video of the lift. I had to cut it short in order to climb up in the TT bed and guide the boom into its cradle.



The tow boom dropping into its cradle, The TT has huge transverse leaf springs in the back. They didn’t sag a millimeter when the tow boom was loaded.

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Adding the mounting bolts to secure the tow boom

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Some pics of the new tow truck

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Close up of a luff tackle setup

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A pair of boom trucks

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Happy to report that the boom fit through the garage door with 3 inches of clearance, as planned.

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Many thanks to RocketScott for all his help! Next up is extending the winch shaft, making the winch handle, and finishing the pawl linkage so the winch can be operated from outside the truck.


Last edited by Arisaka on Thu Feb 27, 2020 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:59 pm
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Nice!! :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:

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Thu Feb 27, 2020 3:38 pm
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Good times

It was cool to see it finally come together. It looks perfect

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Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:53 pm
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Jeez, that is looking sharp! Nice work guys!
:bow: RESPECT :pray:

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Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:13 pm
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Damn. I was hoping that the last pic would be of the TT dragging RocketScott's truck down the street. :ROFLMAO:

NICE WORK! That's freaking cool!

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Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:09 pm
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Finished up some details on the Model TT Tow Truck. Things I wanted to get done were:
1. Mount Tool Box
2. Add work lights
3. Add grab hook
4. Build steel box for chains
5. Mount spare tire
6. Build frame to support hand crank
7. Finish pawl linkage
8. Extend hand crank

My dad gave me this old tool,box, which belonged to his dad. It’s well over 100 years old.

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While looking it over I saw that the bottom was broken. It was made of half-inch softwood.

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I replaced the broken boards with half-inch hardwood

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Wiped on some black stain to better match the 100 year old grease stained patina

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The chest also needed some work on the hinges and a new hasp.

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Used some angle iron to mount the tool chest in the bed. Inside the tool chest I carry spare ignition parts, spare fuel pump, tools, fuel line, wire, duct tape and parts to fix whatever else is most likely to break. It’s always something with a Model T.

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Getting back to the tow boom, I saw a pic of an original tow truck that had some work lights on the boom. I thought that looked cool. I picked up a pair of old lights at the Early Bird swap meet in February. $10 for a pair. They were in good shape, except the wiring and contacts were rusted out. I replaced that, and mounted them on a 2 foot piece of angle. Then I bolted the light bar to the boom

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Ran a ground wire to the frame, and a wire to an old switch on the dashboard that used to control the fuel pump. When I changed the fuel pump, I bypassed the switch and wired The fuel pump to the key. I left the switch there to fill the hole in the dash, and it was perfect for the work lights. Got a keyed hot off the coil lead, that was already fuse protected. Fired up the lights and only one worked. Took the other one apart and cleaned up the ground, and got them both to work

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A couple pages back in this thread, member hartcreek suggested adding a hook to the boom to run a secondary chain to the disabled car. That was a great idea, and I already had 20’ of 5/16 chain laying around. So, I ordered up a 5/16” grab hook from amazon. A couple of half-inch holes later and here it is

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I didn’t want that chain sliding around and damaging the wooden bed, so I built a steel box for it by adding a piece of angle iron and making a floor from quarter-inch plate

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I had to move my spare tire because it interfered with the winch. I was going to put it on the other side of the bed, but the chain pan I just built seemed a better choice. So in goes the spare. Since it was handy, I used the chain to padlock down the spare

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Now it was time to build a frame that would support an extended winch handle. By extending the winch handle by 3 feet, it can be cranked while standing beside the truck. This is how it was done back in the day. First job was to to figure out placement and height of the crank shaft.

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Then it was time to get a concept of geometry and how to mount the frame to the truck bed. After messing around for a while, here is what I came up with.

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I set about to duplicate that in steel. Here it is

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Had to drill a 1 1/16” hole for the shaft

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Time to finish the linkage for the pawl, so that can also be operated from outside the bed. Earlier I added linkage from the pawl to a bell crank. Now I need to go from the bell crank to the support frame. Since the pawl linkage is spring loaded to close, I needed some way to keep the pawl open while lowering to the winch. I started by making the linkage in two pieces, joined by a coupler nut. Then I built a small bracket with a keyhole-shaped hole. The coupler nut slides through the large end of the keyhole, and then drops down and locks into the narrow end, keeping the pawl open. Flip it up and the coupler nut slides back through the keyhole and the pawl springs closed. Works slick!

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Last job was to extend the crank handle. The winch had a 1” x 1” nub to attach to.

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I bought a 12” chunk of square tube with quarter-inch wall and a 1” x 1” inside measurement. I cut off a piece and slipped it over the winch nub. Into the other end went a 3 foot section of 1” diameter round bar. Both ends were cross drilled to lock everything together

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The round bar extends out through the mounting frame

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After shortening the shaft by 10 inches, I added a bearing to make the shaft turn easily, and then another piece of the square tube

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For the handle I’m using a big old Proto 3/4” drive ratchet. Using a ratchet handle was another suggestion from member hartcreek. I added an extension, and then an adapter to size the ratchet up to 1”

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That wraps,up the tow truck conversion. Next job is to do some work on the engine. New valves, cam and head going in.


Last edited by Arisaka on Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.



Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:23 pm
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Wow. Things have come a long way! Everything looks great. Maybe just because it's most recent, I really dig that old wood tool locker. Nice work restoring that. Having something that cool, and old, AND with a family connection is about the neatest thing going. Goosebumps stuff right there. Thanks for sharing.


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Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:59 pm
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If you did not put in a switch for the electric fuel pump you better get one in. There will come a time when you are working on it that you will want the ignition on but not the fuel pump.


Mon Mar 23, 2020 1:45 am
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hartcreek wrote:
If you did not put in a switch for the electric fuel pump you better get one in. There will come a time when you are working on it that you will want the ignition on but not the fuel pump.

No doubt, but I figured I would just pull the power lead at the pump


Mon Mar 23, 2020 9:27 am
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That really cool I don't care who you are.

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Mon Mar 23, 2020 9:34 am
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This is so cool!!!

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Mon Mar 23, 2020 9:48 am
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I was wondering about the winch crank extension and pawl arrangement. The included edit did not disappoint! Fantastic engineering and implementation. :bow:

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I always thought growing old would take a lot longer.....

So, when does that "Old enough to know better" shit kick in???
I've learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.


Mon Mar 23, 2020 9:50 am
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Thank you guys! I can’t wait for my first tow!


Mon Mar 23, 2020 10:00 am
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I knew the engine was tired. Cylinder compression was 25 psi vs a spec of 50 psi. In a Model T this is usually because the valves aren’t sealing. The fix is a valve job which entails cleaning up the seats and reaming or over sizing the valve guides, along with new valves and springs. I don’t have those speciaity tools so I trailered the truck up to my buddy’s house for the work. Here is the first look inside the top end

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Some of the valves are a bit hammered into the block. May or may not require inserts, which is a whole other can of worms, involving pulling the engine/trans. At that point, you may as well go for an entire rebuild. So I have my fingers crossed that the valves will clean up and I won’t need seats.

Since the top and front of the engine are already off, and the valves pulled, it’s a good time to upgrade the cam to improve engine breathing. I bought a 270 cam and sent it up with the truck to be installed. Fitting bearings to the cam takes a fair amount of work and experience, and takes several hours even for an experienced Model T mechanic. Finally, I have a high compression head on hand to replace the stock head. This will increase compression ratio from about 3.5:1 up to 6:1. Back in the day, Model T engines were “detuned” to a low compression ratio due to the poor octane values of gasoline. With today’s gas, you can safely go up to 6:1 with no other changes. But if you go up to 8:1, you have to build up the bottom end.

With any luck, I will have new set of valves, cam and head that will really boost my current horsepower and torque. In stock form, a strong T engine puts out about 20 hp. My engine, with its poor compression probably puts out less than15 hp. With the improvements planned, I should be well above the 20 hp factory spec. Something like 26 hp is typical for a 6:1 head and stock cam. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s about double what I have now! The boosted horsepower won’t make the TT won’t go much faster, as it’s top speed is limited by its low gearing. What I am really going for is better driveability, especially much-improved hill climbing ability. Right now I have to drop into low range to climb a bigger hill. This lower gearing means I am also slowing down to about 5 mpg. With more power I can climb those same hills in a higher gear, at a blazing speed of 10-15 mph!

So stay tuned and I will let you know how bad it gets.


Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:09 pm
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Update: Engine has aluminum pistons, so it has been rebuilt at least once in its past. Stock T pistons were steel. I’m pretty sure my dad put those aluminum pistons in. I do know he did a fair amount of engine work on the old girl. Don’t remember him getting the block re-babbitted though.


Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:39 pm
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