As part of future proofing the Model A, picked up an unfinished engine project, first task is to review what we have and what we need in terms of parts and effort
The block looks in good shape and appears to be a 30 and has been bored and sleeved back to standard. Babbitt looks OK, crankshaft looks in good shape subject to measurement. Camshaft and timing gear will most likely be replaced. May look at a slightly hotter camshaft during the build. The engine also came with two oil pumps and some other duplicate parts which will be reviewed, along with a nice restored oil pan.
Whilst looking at the engine number I noticed that the 1, 6.9 looked a little odd. This is explained by the text on the right (Source Steve Plucker)
The main cap babbitt also looks OK with the exception of the rear main which has some damage. An additional main cap with decent has been supplied so will need to take a call later down the line
The original pistons are still on the rod and the babbitt also looks OK. New pistons and rings have been provided.
A good number of other new parts were part of the haul. Valves and guides, adjustable tappets, valve springs, head studs, babbitt shims, oil drain pipe to name but a few.
Upon examination it would appear that at least some of the engine components have their origin in Argentina, further investigation to be carried out!
On the way to the recent Pangbourne College car show the Sport Coupe lost all electrical power, this was a first after 10 years of ownership.
Checked all the usual like battery and other connections with nothing obvious found.
Decided to remove the dash as the ignition switch was a suspect. To remove the dash the speedo cable needed to be disconnected from the gearbox. To allow access to the cable bracket the floor needed to be lifted and supported with the “special tool”
Don’t really like the replacement reproduction ignition switch, but it does the job
After putting the car back together and testing the issue reoccurred. Tested the kill switch which was all OK.
A little bit baffled as there are only a few things that could cause the issue. Luckily it reoccurred. Bridged out the kill switch which made no difference and confirmed the earlier diagnosis. I then moved the safety fuse and the power was back!
The safety use was removed, The fuse holder was then sprayed with contact cleaner and the fuse and holder given a clean up with abrasive. Then the fuse was reinstalled. Let’s see what happens next time out!
Now the transmission has arrived, time to check on all the parts and things in general including test fitting the adaptor. The gearbox is in really good condition having been stripped and the bearings and other parts renewed. All the replaced parts were supplied as evidence of the work carried out.
Parts for the conversion gathered so far
V8 to Model A Transmission Adaptor
Clutch arm (may need to change)
Release bearing and carrier
Need to source the kit as per below minus the adaptor as mentioned previously
This will allow for the relocation, of the handbrake, radius rods and pedals.
Attended the annual show at Popham, always a good one and it’s the first time I’ve managed to take the Sport Coupe as circumstances always conspired against in the past
As you can see in the photo we came upon a couple of Austin Sevens, and due to the horrible Model A gearing we were constantly in between 2/3 gears for a few miles!
Ended up parked next to a nice GT40 🙂
The weather wasn’t the best a little cold with intermittent showers.
Despite this the show field was pretty full with a good varied selection of vehicles. As always here at Automotive American we feature vehicles from the other side of the pond or connected in some way.
Pretty good selection of Model T/A/B based stuff, including John Cochran’s very original Tudor sporting his recently added trunk and rack.
The standout car of the day for me was the 1931 movie used Willys Knight 87. This is a really stunning vehicle!
Very clean DeLorean attracted the usual attention.
Interesting 1990 Crown Victoria LTD Police Car, really tidy and complete example. Nice to see a 90s Crown Vic, not many in the UK.
Some of the rest from the show field
Finishing off with a couple of vintage planes that arrived on the day. These I believe are Pietenpol Air Campers
To add to the limited instrumentation of the Model A oil pressure and vacuum gauges are a useful addition.
The oil gauge is a new unit from O’Neil Vintage Ford as is the gauge mount which fits under the existing dashboard
The vacuum gauge is a vintage Feeney & Johnson unit from eBay at a very reasonable price
The gauges were then test fitted into the mounting
A good fit!
On to the installation
First job is to remove the oil gallery plug (seen better days!) Was a bit concerned that this might be difficult to remove, however no issues with the removal.
The fittings provided with the gauge were then checked and Permatex sealer applied to block fitting and PTFE tape to the pipe fitting. The pipe end was a little rough, so a clean up with a file was required. The two fittings and pipe were then installed. Applied a bit of a bend to the pipe to ensure clearance with the throttle linkage.
The capillary pipe was then run through the firewall via the wiring grommet and then routed in the wiring clips
Again the end of the pipe needed a adjustment with a file once again. Another point to note is that the fitting at the gauge end cannot be fitted unless the gauge is removed from the mounting. Again sealer and PTFE were used to avoid leaks
The vacuum gauge was a more simple affair, just a matter of teeing into the vacuum wiper pipe under the dash and then securing the gauges.
On initial start up, both readings are good. Need to bear in mind that the 1929 Model has a non pressurised oiling system, so the reading on the gauge relates to the oil flow into the valve chest, however a good indicator of circulation. The vacuum reading at idle is well within specification.
Oil pressure reading warm is acceptable for this engine. Had a slight leak at the gauge end after testing, easily fixed by tightening.
It’s the weekend again and back to the mirror conundrum.
I worked out the grub screw thread using a thread gauge and ordered some shorter screws. The originals are 6mm x 6.5mm. So decided to try 6mm x 6mm and 6mm x 5mm. However upon trying both options the door still wouldn’t clear the mirror.
So back to the bracket and see how we go
As can be seen above the screws are proud and causing the issue
So the best option appeared to be to grind one of the original screws down to a correct level as it appears 6mm x 5mm are about the shortest available. To make things easier the screw was inserted into a nut and locked with another screw to allow an easier grinding operation.
Once the grinding was done and the threads cleaned up it was time to fit them to the bracket.
This now allowed the screws to be tightened with the right clearance to allow the door to shut.
Next step is to fit the arm and once again check the door for closure
As you can see there is a bit of paint damage from where a mirror was previously fitted, this will be touched in when the weather warms up a bit.
The fit was good, so the mirror head was attached and initially adjusted
Looks pretty good with the two mirrors and will help safety wise.
Finally bit the bullet and carried out a compression test on the Model A
Bought the compression tester from Amazon, can’t beat that for value, please click my affiliate link below (all helps :))
However the Model A needs an adaptor to fit the cylinder head as you can see below
First step removing the spark plugs
Once the plugs were removed the adapter to match the compression tester to the cylinder head was fitted. (purchased from O’Neill Vintage Ford here)
Time to start the test
On to the results
As you can see the results are very even, which other than a reasonable base figure is really the desired result. The Simmons Super Power Head will increase the compression ratio above the standard 4.22:1, and offers a claimed 5.5:1. So a higher figure is to be expected if the engine is in good heath.
After increasing the value of the Model A (at current prices :)) by adding fuel, it was time to head off for a run, taking advantage of the nice weather and the fact that the roads haven’t been salted as yet
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