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Old 03-21-2018, 03:33 PM   #1
Ol' Ron
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Default Who designed he Model T engine

I read some where that the T engine was built by the Dodge brothers for a water pump. I was interested in what other parts Ford used to put the first model T's on the road. Where did he get the in closed axle? and planetary transmission? I realize Ford was a brilliant man, but, this was something totally different than his last projects. I was watching the car that built America, and have read most of the books about him. Be interesting to find out how it all came together. I had a 23/4 T PU, and it was original. It was done by DR David Harvey. Thanks
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Old 03-21-2018, 06:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

The Dodge Brothers made castings and forgings for Ford under contact till about 1914. The engine/transmission/flywheel magneto was designed by H. Ford and a group of his employees the DB were not involved. While the first engines did have a water pump, the engine was never designed as a water pump, it was a car engine from the start. The enclosed rear end was used on his earlier models and the concept of the planetary transmission was used on a number of other makes along with his earlier cars. The big thing was: everything was enclosed, the engine and transmission shared the same oil, had a removable head and built in power supply for the ignition, no clashing of straight cut gears in the transmission. I am not handy with all the names of the people involved.
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Old 03-21-2018, 09:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

Thank you very much, that clears up allot. You can never tell where all these stories come from. I remember recharging the magnets in the flywheel with a bunch of batteries and a compass . Never had one apart, but it ran very well.
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Old 03-22-2018, 01:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

There are a lot of youtube videos of various pre-'T' Ford models such as the A, K, N, and S. The K was a 6 cylinder. All before 1908.
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Old 03-22-2018, 07:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

I was in Hershey back in the 70 's where a fellow had an "N" for sale, I think. It was also a 6 cyl. He said he had allot of transmission trouble with it. I always thought that was a good reason to use the planatory unit.. Be nice to know more about the early cars.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

A 6 cylinder Ford would have been a "K" model - big car !
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

A 6 cylinder non K car was talked about a couple of times on the Model T Ford Club forum, I think it was a N model. It was done as an experiment by Ford(?) so there is at least one kicking around, it could have been the same car. I looked but could not find the string talking about the N.
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Old 03-22-2018, 01:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

an another mistry. I might have been wrong, I just thought it was an "N", He didn't have the original transmission in it, That might e a clue.
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Old 03-22-2018, 04:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

The N was a 4 cylinder car. I thin it was 15 hp. Considering how light the car was, it would go pretty fast (40mph). The Model K was six cylinders and was somewhat of a failure due to the planetary transmission. Planetary trannys worked well in small, light cars, but did not perform well in heavy cars. Ford blamed the failure of the Model K on the six cylinders instead of the planetary transmission. This is the reason Ford Motor Company did not make another six cylinder car until after Henry's death. John
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Old 03-22-2018, 05:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

Ford came out with it's next 6 cyl in 1941.
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Old 03-22-2018, 07:02 PM   #11
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

There is a regular poster over on the Model T Ford Club of Americas forum that does not seem to have any problems with the planatary in his Model K.

Re; The Model K was six cylinders and was somewhat of a failure due to the planetary transmission. Planetary trannys worked well in small, light cars, but did not perform well in heavy cars. Ford blamed the failure of the Model K on the six cylinders instead of the planetary transmission.

The Model K was not a failure, it was a good car and had good sales. The expensive K was not the route H. Ford wanted to go. He wanted a lite car that the masses could buy. When the 32 came out, most cars at the time had 6's so he gave them 2 more in a low price range. At that time Chevrolet was running a 6 and was taking the sales lead.
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Old 03-22-2018, 10:43 PM   #12
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

The 6 cylinder Model K had 405 cu. in. and made 40 HP. One youtube video shows one starting from a dead stop in high gear.
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Old 03-24-2018, 12:58 AM   #13
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

The first 800 or so cars had water pumps.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:41 AM   #14
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

The Model K sold around 900 cars between 1906 and 1909. Hardly a sales success. The cars had numerous design problems including a weak rear axle, frame that twisted too much on rough roads leading to cracked crankcase, and of course the planetary transmission not being as strong as the engine. It was not that the planetary transmission design could not be made strong enough to handle the power. The problem is that the one used in the K was simply not as good as it could have been.

Many cars of that era suffered from poor decisions regarding material selection and design. The Model K was no better or worse than its competition in those regards. Which is why in the end it was not noteworthy for its success (it wasn't successful) and it was not noted for its performance or its reliability either. The K was not too good compared to the NRS or the Model T in terms of performance in class, sales, or reliability. Which is why so few exist today compared to its competition, notably the Packards, Stoddard Daytons and Pierce Arrows and other great cars of the 1906 - 1909 era.
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Old 04-11-2018, 11:27 AM   #15
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

The Model N was a 4 cylinder which preceded the Model R, S and then the T. If you examine the N, R and S engines, you'll see a good resemblance to the T engine.
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Old 04-12-2018, 07:20 AM   #16
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

At the Piquettte Ave plant museum they have all the alphabet cars and also the workshop where the T was developed. There is an interesting prototype T engine that is basically a NRS engine turned backwards to put the flywheel where we now think of it as the right place. Also this was brought about by Henry wanting the left hand drive as the the earlier cars were right hand and the manifolding and carb were on the other side. Very interesting. They also developed the removable head and one piece block crankcase there at this time.
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Old 01-27-2019, 10:03 PM   #17
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

The Model T factory water pump was dropped after the first 800 model ts. Don't let any one tell you that you need a water pump on a model T, that's a myth. If your car overheats then you need a new radiator...it's just that simple. I driven my T on tour in over 100 deg temps w/o a water pump and it never even ran hot. I have an 8+ year old Brassworks radiator.
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Old 01-28-2019, 01:30 AM   #18
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

I have a book in front of me titled "I Invented The Modern Age" that gives some information on the development of the T engine. It basically was an upgrade of the Model N engine and used a one piece block with removeable head instead of separate cylinders bolted to a crankcase. Ford's right hand man Charlie Sorenson figured out how to cast the block in one piece.
As to the efficiency of thermosiphon cooling (no water pump), Dad had a '30's tractor (Farmall F20) without a water pump. I remember looking in the radiator after a hard pull on the corn sheller and was amazed at how fast the water was circulating! At least as fast as if it had a pump!
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Old 01-28-2019, 09:17 PM   #19
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

A great book to read is My Forty Years with Ford by Charles Sorenson. It is not in print anymore, but you can buy and electronic version. Cast Iron Charlie's view of the history of Ford, but it is a good one.
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:51 AM   #20
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Default Re: Who designed he Model T engine

The 6 cylinder car based on the Model N mentioned above, was one of two experimental cars made. It used 3 of the Model N cast-in-pairs cylinders on a special crankcase. It also had the heavy front mounted flywheel with the fan vanes cast into it. This didn't work out well because the brake was on the transmission, like the Model T, so under heavy braking the flywheel inertia had a tendency to twist the crankshaft.


One of the cars sold at a Henry Ford Museum auction in the '60's or '70's and spent some time locally. It was an interesting car and a great piece of rare automotive history.


Best regards,
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