Bill's List



Bill Gents Tips - Getting High in a Hurry

As it's not much fun to be crawling up a hill in low gear when other folks are zipping up in high, I thought folks might be interested in what we did to old Lizzie that helped her run so well in our Hill Climb June 1 (see Hill Climb Results). I say "we", because there were a lot of of people involved: "St. Fred" Houston, my wife, Marsue, two sons, a daughter-in-law, three grandsons, and some very good advice from wizards Tom Carnegie and Ken Kopsky.

First, we weren't interested in going really fast; for us, touring at 25 or 30 MPH and enjoying the view is more fun than 45 or 50, when I start to worry about being able to stop in a reasonable distance. Also, as the sign in Fred's garage says "Speed Costs Money", so we kept this in mind and didn't spend much.

Here, is what we did:

1) Coils: used a fresh set of coils from Ron (Coilman) Patterson . Wish I had some hard data on this, but good coils do make a difference. If you want to do this yourself, there are good instructions available from a number of sources.

2) Band adjustment: before installation, made sure they were as round as possible by trying them on a drum and removing gaps with a Precision Adjusting Tool (3# Hammer). Then adjusted so pedals were as close as possible to the floorboards plus a safety factor to minimize drag. (We use the old-style Kevlar linings, scored apx. 1/32" deep at 1/2" intervals to allow better lubrication and reduce chatter)

3) Tire Pressure: Ran 50 psi in 4.00/4.50x21" tires. Recommended is 35 psi. The ride is a little rougher, but well-lubed springs will make this scarcely noticeable.

4) Oil: Ran with 3 qts of 5w-30 oil (lower petcock). I've heard this minimizes torque and horsepower loss from flinging excess oil around by the flywheel assembly.  Will check this vs 4 qts (upper petcock) when we do some runs on the local chassis dyno shortly. 

5) Weight: Reduced weight by removing spare tire and mount, all tools, rear seat cushion, and all other non-essentials. Also ran with less than 2 gal gas.

6) Fan: Disconnected the fan. Radiator was of the flat-tube type, and had recently been flushed. Ran straight water, and didn't overheat. Air temperature about 80 deg.

7) Cam:  Used stock cam. Timed valves by piston position: intakes open 1/16"after TDC, exhausts open 9/16" before BDC. Notice now that exhausts were supposed to 5/16" before BDC. Maybe that's why the exhaust was so loud? Min. clearance was .010".

8) Ignition: Ran on 12 volts with pretty worn New Day copy timer, Magneto had been removed. Have the unproven notion that removing the mag may make for better acceleration and hill-climbing performance because of less weight and rotary inertia.

9) Shaft Alignment:  Houstonized the transmission at the Model T Garage to eliminate power-robbing tail-shaft runout. Adjusted the hogshead so mounting surface for 4th main cap on it and the crankcase were in the same plane to keep 4th main cap bearing from dragging.  With engine in vertical position, made sure 4th main cap was not dragging, then installed gasket, clamped in place and pinned to hogshead with two 1/4" roll-pins.

10) Rear Axle: After the rear axle left thrust washer failed last fall, took the rear end to the Fred's, and installed a needle-bearing washer and a set or good used axle bearings. This was an easy job, thanks to Fred's instruction and help - what a Guy!

11) Head: Installed a Waukesha-Ricardo Cylinder Head. This made a Big Difference. We're trying to come up with some alterations to the standard high head to improve performance at lower cost than that of accessory heads.

12) Driving:  Per Tom Carnegie, shifted from low to high, allowed the left pedal to "snap" out. This eliminated the problem we'd had earlier of some slippage when shifting. Clutch is original type with a good spring, set at 2" length.