Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Banger Speed Parts

In the days prior to the introduction of the V8 in 1932, the banger was king. People were hopping up these 4 cylinders for every kind of racing you could think of, From circle track to the salt flats, guys were tweaking these little 40hp engines to scoot them up to top speeds of over 100 MPH on the Muroc dry lakes. Companies from all over were producing lots of different speed parts. From simple bolt on intake manifolds that would change the updraft carb to a larger bore down draft carb or a performance aluminum cylinder head that would bump the engines compression from the weak 4.5:1 any where from 5.5:1 to 7:1. The internals were being modified as well, with larger cam shafts, larger cylinders and converting the splash oil system to a pressurised oiling system. Those that really had the need for speed could purchase an overhead valve conversion kit. This would remove the stock cylinder head and intake and exhaust vales from inside the block and place them in an all new cylinder head that would place the valves on top of the piston. This greatly increased the flow of the air in and out of the engine and made significant HP gains. There is record of Joe Mozzetti,s model A roadster going 118.43 mph on the Muroc dry lakes with a 4 cylinder engine equipped with Riley overhead valve conversion.
These old speed parts have become quite rare and pricey. There are manufactures that are remaking them today but are still very pricey.
Here is a link to an article by Hot Rod Magazine that talks a little more about some of the options available to hop up a banger:

This is a short video of a hopped up bannger tearing it up a hill climb event in Europe. Not too shabby for an engine that originally made 40hp.
They sound great when they are winding out. A very unique sound to them.

This next one is equipped with a Miller OHV conversion.
There are lots of options out there to make these things scream. Only down side is they are fairly pricey to build. But they peak the cool meter to its max!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hot Rod podcasts

I thought I would talk briefly about podcasts.
There are a ton of them out there on everything you could possibly want to listen to. So, of course there are a lot of hot rod related podcasts as well.
Having the time to sit down and spend an afternoon listening to some of these isn't a realistic option. Most of us are juggling work and family and can barely find the time to work on our cars let alone find time to waste listening to someone else talk about it. But I thought I would share what my friends and I do with them.
More than a few times a year, we all get up at ridiculous hours and pile in a truck and head to a swap meet. One of us will down load a few episodes of different car related podcasts from Itunes and then we listen to them on the drive down. Its not like we sit cramped in the truck and quietly listen to what these guys have to say. It usually evokes great conversations that help kill the drive. It can be a lot of fun.
Here is a link to a good one we have used.

This is another one hosted by Adam Carolla. Well worth a listen.

See what you can find. There are lots of good ones out there on every subject you can think of. It might make your next road trip a little more interesting.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Model As Past Winter Project

This winter I decided to make a few more changes to the car. I wanted to change the look of the front of the car as well as a little more of a height adjustment. I had been collecting parts to do this for a while. First I wanted to bring the car down two more inches. To do this in the rear of the car it was just as simple as modifying the rear transversely mounted leaf spring. A weekend of tweaking and I had it right where I wanted. The front was going to be a little more involved. I wanted to do this in the same fashion as would have been done in the forties. I managed to find a front axle from a 1936 Ford. It was slightly bent but the king pin holes were in perfect shape, so the bent was fixed by putting it in the press and loading it in the opposite direction of the bend just enough to straighten it out. This is not something I would ever recommend with a suspension part bought today, the quality of the steel was much better in those days.This 1936 front axle would lower the front of the car 2" just by bolting it into place.
The other addition to the front end change was to "split" the front wishbone. From factory, the front axle is located by a one piece radius rod that pivots on a single point mounted to the bottom of the transmission. When removed from the car, it looks like a wishbone. When early hot rodders were lowering their cars and swapping drivetrains, they were limited by this component and its intended mounting location. To get around this, they would "split" the "bones". This entailed cutting off the single pivot ball and drilling and tapping the end of each bar (it is now two pieces) and threading in tie rod ends at the end of the bone, with the use of a bracket mounted to the side rails of the frame, they were able to gain the clearance needed for the new drivetrain as well as have more control of the caster angle of the front axle.
So I found a good 36 wishbone and proceed to "split" it and make brackets for the frame. This way I was able to get the front axle in the exact location I wanted.
Here is the front end of the car striped and ready for the mock up. After I had made all the measurements of the height the car was at, I then stripped the front end and set the frame up to the new ride height that would be achieved with the install of the 1936 front axle.
 Here are the comparisons of the axles I had. The far left is the stock model A axle, it was very tweaked. the two on the left were both the 36 axles I had found, the one was very straight but the king pin holes were worn out, the other had perfect kingpin holes but was bent. A few careful hours in the 20 ton hydraulic press and it was straight as an arrow.

 Here you can see split bone. It bolts to the front axle and locates it in the correct location. On the rear of the bones, I had welded in machined threaded bungs to accept the 1940 Ford tie rod ends. The tie rod ends allow the bones to pivot up and down as the suspension travels. Using the floor jack, and an angle finder on the axle, I was able to get the front end set up with my desired 6 deg of caster. Now I could measure and make my brackets to mount to the frame and hold the bones in place.
 Here I was determining the angle that the bones would have to be to clear the pitman arm off the steering box.
 With the bracket cut I was able to mount it all up.
 With the front end back in place and waiting to get new bushings reamed for the spindles, I started the next project. That was the installation of a 1932 Ford grill. Very different from the stock A grill and a look I really prefer. This was a common modification in the forties as it was necessary for the newer modern flathead V8 that was normally installed in the older model As. The stock 4cyl radiator would not be able to handle the heat from the V8 so a newer radiator and grill shell would have been necessary.

 After mocking the grill shell and insert over the new 32 radiator I had installed previously, it was time to get it painted. My good friend came through and did a perfect match and spray for me.
 With the spindles back from the machine shop, the front brakes went back together and the car was ready for the summer again.

 I finished it just in time for a cruise with some of my best friends for my 40th birthday party.
This is how the car is sitting as of now. This winter the plan is for the engine and drive train swap.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The 3" Hair Cut

After cruising it for a summer, we were enjoying the car but a traditional hot rod needs a hair cut, so as soon as the weather turned to rain, we started mapping out the chop. Deciding on the amount to chop was the hardest part. A Tudor sedan has a roof line that is 1" higher than a coupe. A coupe looks great with a 3" chop but with the longer roof lines of the sedan, I wasn't sure. After siting in a friends 31 Sedan with a 3" chop I made my decision. So with out any delay, the interior got gutted and braced so that when the roof was removed it didn't collapse into itself. A week of careful measurements and re-measuring and triple checking and it was time to take the saw to it. Check it out.
Here you can see some of the bracing to hold the body in place when the roof is removed.
 Measure twice- Cut once!

 All ready to start cutting
 It looks a little different with the roof clean off. We cut the top line first and completely removed the roof. Them we cut the second line and placed the roof back on the car. A few pie cuts here and there and by the end of the night, we had the roof and doors tacked back together and all in place.

 Then came the pain stacking hours of spot welding the entire thing back together. You have to take your time here and do one spot weld and then move to another spot on the car or you can get the metal to hot and warp it, which means more body work, and I don't like body work.
 Here my friend Shane is teaching my son how to hammer and dolly the body after it was all welded and ground down. Then it was time for body work and paint and my friends body shop.
We only painted the top part of the car that had been chopped. His color match turned out darn near perfect. From one picture to the next it looks easy but there were two full weekends of body work, primering and painting to get it to this point.
 Here is all together the first time it was back on the road again. There was a lot of work that I am not showing that was very time consuming, like chopping the windshield frame and installing all new wood inside the car. All the windows had to be remade smaller and I had them made in safety glass as the original windows were still plate glass, scary it you get in an accident.
As far as chops go, the model A is one of the easiest to accomplish as it is so square, but it was still a lot of work. The next time I chop one, I would like to try and wedge it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Getting the A on the road for the summer

So with the fenders removed, car lowered and brakes upgraded. It was time to pick so wheels and tires. I decided to go with the early wide five wheels and luckily my friend was willing to sell me his rare wide five spider caps to go along with them. For tires I wanted to go with the traditional "big and little" look. This meant smaller tires in the front than the rear. So I decided on a 7.50X16 in the rear and a 6.00X16 up front. I knew I wanted reproduced Firestone tires from Coker. https://cokertire.com/ I was going to go with a black wall tire, but my son convinced me to opt for wide white walls, I think he made the right choice.
It is often thought that white wall tires were a sign of having money as they would be more expensive but it is the opposite. Rubber for tire in the day, was made from rubber trees which was naturally white. Having a black wall tire was actually more costly to make and therefore purchase.
The new tires arrived from Coker.
 The goal was to have the car on the road for the summer and what better break in road trip than Deuce Days 2013. Below is a picture of the disaster that my garage turned into as I pulled an all nighter to get it ready to get to the ferry.

 This shot was taken right before we loaded a duffel bag in the back along with the kids and headed for the ferry. It was also the first time I had driven it since rolling it in the garage 7 months ago.
 We made our ferry reservations by minutes due to a fueling issue that arose but managed to limb it to Victoria and fix it there. We then drove it like this for the summer. With big plans for the next winter hibernation in the garage.
Stay tuned. Next comes the Chop.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

My students projects

I thought I might mix it up a bit in this next post and showcase a little bit of what the students of my Automotive Foundation class have been up. The last four weeks we have been studying brake systems. As the students have learned there is a lot more to doing a proper brake job than just installing new pads or shoes. The brakes on a vehicle are one of the most important safety features, failure of any of these components can lead to dangerous situations.
Installing new pads onto a rotor that is excessively grooved will cause reduced braking and heat dissipation until the flat surface of the new pad seats into the grooves of the old rotor. Not a very safe situation.
Here the job is being done right. He is installing a new set of brake pads on to the freshly machined rotors of his VW Golf. The smooth flat surface that was machined into the rotor creates the perfect finish for his new brake pads to bed into and properly seat.
Another student had brought in his Dodge Viper to repair the left rear tire that is slowly losing air pressure. Upon inspection he found a piece of metal protruding through the tire and required a plug/patch. He removed the tire from the extremely wide aftermarket wheel only to find that the tire had gone flat too many times on him and the inside of the tire sidewall was damaged beyond repair. Patching the hole and reusing this tire would have created a dangerous situation as the side wall of the tire could have blown out at any time. Not something you would want to happen to any ones vehicle, especially a car with this much horsepower.
 Here you can see the rim of the Viper on the tire machine after the tire was removed. It is not your everyday rim size, it is 20" in diameter and I believe around 12" wide. It took an hour to get the tire dismounted from the rim without doing any damage.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Brakes and a ride height adjustment

My next step was to get some real brakes into this thing. From factory, the Model A was equipped with mechanical brakes! The brake pedal was mounted to a lever that would push onto metal rods that would force the brake shoes into the brake drums and slow the car down. A friend of mine used to call them retarders as they only slowed you down and he didn't consider them brakes. LOL One trip around the block with the factory brakes and I new there was no way i was leaving those in this thing.
In 1939 Ford finally made the switch to hydraulic brakes. There were two different versions available, all Fords had a leading/trailing brake design. They work okay and are a good upgrade but the Lincolns of the same era had a Bendix designed duo-servo self energizing brake that could put out way more stopping force to the wheels. These are a much rarer option to find but there are a few companies that reproduce this style of brake for my application. So being that I am planing on running a much faster power plant in the old car soon, I decided to order a set of Lincoln Bendix brakes for the front and back of the car.

This just a pic of the backing plate mounted with the new brake line run to the rear and the wheel cylinder mounted.
 Being that the car never had hydraulic brakes, it never had a master cylinder for converting mechanical pressure to hydraulic pressure, so I had to get creative and find a way to mount a master from a 1940 Ford and hook it to the brake pedal. This shot is from underneath the car. I had to mount a push rod from the original brake pedal (it is designed to pull) to a lever to create a pushing motion on the master cylinder piston. There is very little room under that side of the frame so I mounted it to the cross member. It worked very well.
When it came time to choosing wheels for the car, I was going to go with the very traditional 1940 Ford solid wheels with hubcaps. But a friend of mine was selling a set of 1936 wide five wheels from his 1936 Cabriolet that he is building. They are a very different look so I bought them from him and then had to find some good brake drums. Have a look at the bolt pattern on that drum. The term "Wide five" comes from the bolt pattern that Ford used from 1936-1939. It is a five lug pattern with a 10.25" width between the lugs. Its huge. Unfortunately they are not reproduced and finding good useable drums was a bit of a hassle, but I scrounged the swap meets and eventually found some good ones and some extras I have stashed just incase. :)

 Once the brakes were set up, it was time for a height adjustment. I ordered some lowering springs for the front and the back from a company called "Posies" http://www.posiesrodsandcustoms.com/ They custom make lowering springs for most hot rods and customs. They had the main leaf eye reversed and they lowered the car a total of 3" after some adjustments.