Ford Quadricycle

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terryp

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Thanks, I have sent a message to Dave Dunlavy, but have not received a reply, I'll keep trying. While I've not built my engine yet, I have studied the ignition timing some and I've built quite a few engines (automotive) over the years. I don't know what you are using for an ignition system but typically you fire the spark plug just before the piston reaches top dead center. On an automotive engine the harmonic balancer (which is on the crankshaft) is typically marked so you can use a timing light to check the timing. The timing light is triggered by the No.1 spark plug wire and you can twist the distributor to achieve the desired timing. I assume you are triggering the ignition from some sort of mechanism on the flywheel. You could put a mark on the flywheel and a reference point mark on the frame so that they line up when the piston is at top dead center. You could then use a timing light to check the timing and set it so it fires just before top dead center. There are several economical battery powered timing lights on the market. You need to make sure you are on the correct cylinder based on the rocker arm (distributor arm) position. You may also want to ensure the exhaust valve timing is correct as it will have an impact on combustion which may appear as a timing issue.
Oh, this is fascinating. So many projects, so little time! Anyone planning a trip to Greenfield Village in Dearborn definitely go the weekend after labor day. That is the Old Cars Festival.there will be 900 pre 1932 automobiles inside the village. A must see and still get to tour the museum and machine shops.
 

terryp

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Steve, If I lived that close I would definitely be in the village regularly. As an Illinois native we visited the village regularly, then found the Old Cars Festival and fell in love. We generally attend every couple of years, 2019 will be the next excursion as we now live in Texas. Tough commute! I am an life long old car nut, having restored several and still own a few. Machining has always been a part of the hobby but really took off after retirement. Scale model steam engines seems to be my passion these days. Is your interest in old cars or machinist, or both? Terry
 

vascon2196

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Quadricycle Update: No pics yet sorry...too busy rebuilding/revising our Quadricycle to take pics.

We have a new shop-tech for the department and he has shown nothing but enthusiasm for mechanical engineering and manufacturing. He truly loves machining (manual machining) and asks a million questions because he wants to learn it all. He has stepped up and helped me take the engine apart...fix miscellaneous issues with clearance/interference...repair electrical connections...redesign the ignition timer....rebuild and repair the entire front end. He seemed inspired by the project and wanted nothing more than to see it run.

  • We have drilled and pinned ALL front end linkages which made for a much more robust steering.
  • Covered the electrical wires with split plastic tubing (out theory is the electrical wire was held tight against the steel frame which would short out the circuit every so often)
  • Currently designing and building a new ignition timer (using our shop-techs idea which will be simple and very easy to adjust)
  • Mounted the carb to the front motor bracket onto a robust mounting plate
  • Currently bending copper tubing to connect carb to intake valves (bought a tube cutter, soft copper tubing, but need a tube bender!)
  • We found a compression leak in "cylinder-1" but should be able to make a gasket or permatext for a temporary solution
Learned all about "spring benders" for thin wall copper tubing...very cool.

With our shop tech's genuine enthusiasm and my eagerness to finish the project; we might finally get this Quadricycle replica going.
 

sdewolfe

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  • Currently designing and building a new ignition timer (using our shop-techs idea which will be simple and very easy to adjust)
I was going through the build of the quadricycle and got to page 15, post 300, where you mentioned that you designed an ignition utilizing two Model T coils because you could not figure out the ignition timing of the original quad'.

The reason the timing cannot be deduced from photos is that there is no provision for timing visible. The system is a "make and break" circuit fixed at roughly 10º before TDC. Which means it would have been a wicked hard starter and run only at one "sweet" RPM, loosing power if piston speed exceeded the fixed timing.

Your guys have a handle on the ignition timing so you don't need this information. I just wanted to post it for future reference should anyone want to know how the 1896 Quadricycle spark worked.

Here is a copy and paste of a description of the quadricycle carburetion and ignition taken from a lengthy article about vibrator coils:

Two of the thorniest problems in the development of the internal combustion engine were the issues of carburetion and ignition. The first involved getting the right mixture of highly combustible fuel and air into the cylinders and the second involved igniting it at just the right moment. Henry Ford's first car, the 1896 Quadricycle, took a brute-force direct approach to solving both of these problems. Carburetion was achieved by the expedient of a needle valve that allowed gasoline to drip into the intake manifold at a more or less controlled rate. Once in the manifold, the gas would be swept up and drawn into the cylinders by the air rushing through the manifold on the intake stroke. Once in the cylinders, the air-fuel mixture was compressed and made ready for ignition. Again Ford adopted a direct approach to solving this problem. The mixture was ignited by a technique known as “make and break.” This simple ignition system had been in use in stationary gas engines for a number of years and was later used on several early automobiles. Two electrodes or contacts were attached inside the cylinder head, one insulated and fixed, and the other one moveable and grounded. Electricity from a battery passed first through a simple electrical coil (that both created an electrical resistance and intensified the spark), then through the contacts to the ground and finally back to the battery to complete the circuit. When the two contacts were separated by some mechanical means (in Ford’s case, a bolt attached to the top of the piston would strike the moveable contact just before the piston reached the top of its stroke), a spark occurred that ignited the fuel-air mixture within the cylinder.

This rough but ready solution to the ignition problem had one serious drawback. The timing of the ignition was fixed by the bolt on the piston at about ten degrees before top dead center. The spark could not be retarded for starting the engine nor advanced to increase its speed.*

All in all, Henry Ford's primitive ignition system combined with its equally crude carburetor worked, but it severely restricted the performance and range of operation of the engine on his first car. A better system was needed. Fortunately for Henry Ford, he made the acquaintance of Edward S. Huff and was able to enlist him in Ford's automobile development work.


This is the document where I found the information:

http://www.mtfca.com/coils/Coils.htm

I copied the asterisk too but I did not find whatever it was meant to reference. The remainder of the document is footnoted with numbered references listed at the bottom of the page.

Thank you for posting the build process of your quadricycle. I thoroughly enjoy seeing the photos and reading the reasoning behind build decisions.
 

vascon2196

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Thanks Sdewolfe for the article...so far the ignition and carb has been the most difficult. We abandoned the original carb years ago and bought an ATV carb that works perfectly. We are still using 2 model T coils and 2 spark plugs I bought at Home Depot. Another major pain has been compression. I built 2 intake valves...one worked great with no leaks and the other never worked at all. I had to build 3 more intake valves before it finally held compression! We just noticed a ton of air leaking past the exhaust manifold flange which I'm hoping can be fixed with a gasket. The surfaces between the exhaust manifold and flange should have been ground. We also welded the motor bracket to the ends of the manifold which resulted in irregular surfaces...difficult to make air tight!

Our gear ratio is slightly different than Fords original...we are using 40 teeth and 80 teeth spur gears. No matter which position we put those gears in we can never get the ignition timer to make contact at the same time the exhaust makes contact; too many variables. The flywheel and cranks need to be installed in a certain direction, the gears have to be meshed a certain way, the valve stems are basically our only fixed distance and need to be worked around, the exhaust link can be moved farther or closer, and the ignition push rod can be adjusted. Usually adjustment is helpful but for this its a pain.

I'm currently building the entire engine in SolidWorks and setting up equations to position the timing anywhere I want. Hopefully this will allow us to set the timing perfectly "on the computer" and then replicate it out in the shop. After all this I'm willing to bet we can build an entire new Quadricycle replica in about 3 months, lol.
 

JRD56

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Chris, I have to apologize for my earlier post regarding the ignition. I went back and re-read a lot of your posts and realized your are duplicating the original ignition system. So obviously most of my comments would not apply.

Also, I did hear back from Dave Dunlavy and I now have the the George DeAngelis drawings. So I'm starting to order parts for the engine as that will be my first effort.

I feel you frustration on the ignition timing, intake valve and head leak. However, guys like me will benefit greatly from you posting your dilemmas on this thread. That is one of the real values of a build thread in my opinion. You may want to consider making a head gasket from a sheet of copper or even soft aluminum.

My plan is to use a conventional carb and ignition system initially to get everything working and then work on the drip carb and original ignition.

Best of luck going forward, I'm looking forward to seeing your progress.

Jim
 

FranMello

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So my Quadricycle Club is now an official club at New England Institute of Technology. Our students will be machining and building Henry Ford's first automobile, the Quadricycle.

Here is our first completed part...the Distributor Link.

Only one hundred or so parts to go!

Enjoy.

Will we see you tooling (pun intended) around town when it''s complete?
 

vascon2196

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Students got the engine running! Modified a 2018 carb to work with an 1896 designed engine. These students stepped up and did an amazing job. Going to refine the ignition, add cooling, mount gas tank, add brakes...all on deck.
 

LorenOtto

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So my Quadricycle Club is now an official club at New England Institute of Technology. Our students will be machining and building Henry Ford's first automobile, the Quadricycle.

Here is our first completed part...the Distributor Link.

Only one hundred or so parts to go!

Enjoy.

Off to a good start.
 

vascon2196

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Mechanical Engineering Technology students have been working endlessly on our Ford Quadricycle replica at New England Institute of Technology. We recently machined a new, thicker exhaust valve distributor link, adjusted and mounted the carb, mounted the gas and cooling tanks, currently plumbing the cooling tanks, loc-tite on the timing gear stud because it backed out and seized the engine, need to add oilers to the cylinders still, added a mechanical rocker arm electrical sensor for sparking, testing tomorrow, 11/7/2018.
 

Antonio

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Hi Chris is a wonderful project. It is possible to have the plans of the project. Waiting for greetings from Italy.
 

ChuckP

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I've been thru this entire thread. Great project and I am planning on building this as one of my retirement projects. I read somewhere in the thread that there were Solidworks drawings being produced. Does anyone have information on obtaining them?
 

vascon2196

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I've been thru this entire thread. Great project and I am planning on building this as one of my retirement projects. I read somewhere in the thread that there were Solidworks drawings being produced. Does anyone have information on obtaining them?
Hi Chuck,

Thank you for the kind words...I hope your build goes smoothly for you! Regarding SolidWorks, there were SW plans but I have since removed the link to that website. Partly because we have made so many little changes along the way which makes the original plans incorrect and incomplete. After everything I feel the original plans from Dave Dunlavy should be the go-to plans for this project. They are well drawn plans with a little history behind them. Good luck with your Quadricycle replica!
 

JRD56

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Hi Chris, would you be willing to share the information about the carb you are using. I'm starting on my build ( the engine first) and would like to procure a carb soon. Thanks for all the updates.

Jim
 

vascon2196

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Hi Chris, would you be willing to share the information about the carb you are using. I'm starting on my build ( the engine first) and would like to procure a carb soon. Thanks for all the updates.

Jim
Hi Jim...funny but we actually scrapped the new carb and went back to Ford's original carb design. We could not get the new carb working without it using too much gas. Gas was actually shooting out of the cylinders! We fussed with it too much probably but my students got the original carb working great. Once I have time I will send you a part number for the carb...you may be able to use it...we just could not make it work (safely) with our Quadricycle. Smart move building the engine first...we should have done that.
 
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