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History (1) more question, then I'm shutt'n up and HRP can have it

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 34Larry, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. v8flat44
    Joined: Nov 13, 2017
    Posts: 550


    A buddy of mine blew 1st gear in his 50 Ford and tried to rebuild it. When he was done it wouldn't turn, so he was gonna junk it. An older friend loaned me a Motors Manual so i gave it a shot. Had 5 needles left over, but it turned good & in the car it went. Was still working when he totaled the Ford.
    At 15, i just got lucky...or he did.
    j-jock likes this.
  2. old man hal
    Joined: Jun 21, 2017
    Posts: 92

    old man hal

    When I was 18 I rebuilt a 265 chevy using a Motor Manuel I picked up somewhere. Tore it down, boiled the block, bore .030 over, new cam and lifters,valve job. Put it back together and it ran fine. That Motor Manual taught me everything I needed to know. It had pictures too. That’s how I learned the basics of engines.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    jnaki, alanp561 and Deuces like this.
  3. My Dad and his brothers built rails for some of the local drag racers in Houston when I was a kid (early 80's). They also always had something fun to torment the general public around NW side of Houston (Aldine area) and raced for titles often. So I was watching and learning about cars since I can remember. I was also fortunate enough to be in one of the last classes of our High School (JCHS Dandridge,TN) to have a real auto mechanics class lead by the Great Bill Estes. Mr. Estes and I got along well as he was an old air cooled VW Dragger from the 60's-70's and I was deep into a Squareback at the time (sorry to be OT). We both enjoyed all types of cars, that was just a common interest that we shared. My Dad showed me a lot of Hot Rod trickery, but Mr. Estes really taught me fundamentals that made it all gel. Also, as others have stated, I am still learning all the time!
    lothiandon1940 and Deuces like this.
  4. Piewagn
    Joined: Mar 25, 2009
    Posts: 1,032


    I did my first valve job on the family lawn mower at the age of 9 with guidance from my Pop....
    When I pulled the cord and it started, it was from that point forward that I knew what I was going to do... Wound up a GM Master tech years later. Then gave it all up to be a machinist once the flat rate pay system became obsolete and antiquated.....
    Truckdoctor Andy likes this.
  5. barrnone50
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 537

    from texas

    Oh wow!! 097 cam small block punched out to 301 man I thought we were living the hot rod vibe!! Brings back days
    in the 60S...
  6. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 4,264


    Sometime in my mid 20's. I had been out of trade school for electronics for a few years and was taking apart and putting together $50-$60K equipment. My '81 Camaro needed help...engine was worn. After looking at rebuild costs with the shop doing everything. my dad told me "you work on 50K equipment everyday, You should be able to handle a $1000 motor".

    Only time in the past 35 years I've taken a car to a shop was when it still had a warranty.
  7. j-jock, loudbang, nochop and 2 others like this.
  8. At 72 years old I am forgetting what I have learned over the years.:mad: So now until I get into it do I remember anything.:confused:Getting old is a bitch.:(
    loudbang and olscrounger like this.
  9. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,974


    At 16 to 18 I knew it all and every year sense then I find I know less.
    TrailerTrashToo likes this.
  10. When I had to figure out why the piston needed to be replaced.....about 14 yrs.....and the next piston at 14 yrs and 5 months.....learn and the motor lives.......
  11. The Shift Wizard
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,103

    The Shift Wizard

    I didn't come from a family background of dudes that worked on cars. I never opened a hood 'til my middle 20s. In '64, I turned 21 and back then it was a right of passage for a young man to march right down to the new car dealer and get a new car and a book of payment coupons. I bought what was probably the first Mustang in town. I thought it was really neat that you could order it built special your way and only wait about a month for them to build it. I sat there in the showroom with the options list and ordered all the wrong things because I didn't have a clue. (ie: I selected a vinyl top and an open rear end. :confused: )
    4 years later I ordered my second new car, an Olds F85, built my way. In the intervening years, I had fallen in with some drag racers and had discovered car magazines so I was well on my way to "having a clue". My first trip to the strip I still had the factory tune and I was a very slow dog in that pack. I wasn't having that so I started doing the things I had been reading about in the mags. ......... Actually, I took a side trip to Mr Norm's in Chicago for one of those new-fangled DYNO TUNES but I got the door slammed in my face because "we don't do Quadrajets, only Holleys". As I said, I wasn't having that so I did it myself........ metering rods for the carb, advance kit for the spark, Hooker Headers, etc. and I was middle of the pack at the strip. But I wasn't having half the cars faster than me so I kept on wrenching until I owned my class at the 3 closest drag strips to me. It was a popular class and there would be about 30 cars in staging at the start of each season but by the end, there would be maybe 3, 4 cars still showing up to get spanked.
  12. OahuEli
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,041

    from Hawaii

    My dad started teaching me about tune ups, brakes etc when I was about ten (mid '60s) and tuning up the wide block 318 was my responsibility after that. Already into Hot Rod magazine and drag racing by then and tinkering with bikes, keeping our piece of crap lawn motor running. My first job was at an Esso gas station, the owners taught me about cams, carbs etc, did minor repairs in the garage, learned a lot.
    On my first car ('56 Old 88) I started learning carbs, replaced blown head gaskets etc but never got into the bottom of a motor till I was trained as a diesel mechanic in the Navy. (Love them 12V-71 Detroits!) First complete overhaul of a gas engine was the 402 in my '70 Chevelle, then the 340 in my '70 Duster. A part time job in an auto parts store while still in the Navy gave me the opportunity to read up on cams, carbs & intakes, clutches, brakes, suspensions etc which really helped when I did the 340.
    After that it was working on and modifying engines, trans etc on my cars and others. Did a lot of overhauls, cams, carbs, clutches, swapped engines, trans etc. Learned the hard way about installing lifters in a Y block ford, :confused: and making sure I kept track of wafer spacers in automatic trans clutch packs:confused::confused:. Street racing taught me its not good to rip 11 teeth off second gear, rebuilding that 4 speed was pricey. My buddy bought a '54 Ford Country Squire that had been sitting in a field and we brought that old girl back to life, too many others to remember.
    Its been fun and educational, scraped a lot of knuckles, said a bad word or 10 and don't regret a second of it.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
    Truckdoctor Andy likes this.
    Joined: Jan 13, 2004
    Posts: 2,757


    When I was real young my dad bought a new 50's AD pickup. I am not sure of the year. It was the only new vehicle he ever bought , It seemed we packed the wheel bearings and adjusted the brakes way to often .The Rods had shims in them and those shims were changed several times.He was fanatical about that truck but as a depression era veteran he was very proud of it .I grew up on a farm and there was always something to fix . I remember rebuilding the head on our windmill a couple or times, welding tin back in the hay elevator when it wore out. Rebuilding the cornpicker every year so it was ready to go.It all was experience , good experience. First car was a 34 Dodge coupe, I replaced the engine and drove the hell out of it.The good old days when you could have $30 in your pockets and cruise the backroads and bring home a decent car. I remember my Dad buying a new set of CeeTee pliers and grinding the end on one handle so he could use it for a screwdriver. It was amazing what you could do with hardly any tools .
    OahuEli likes this.
  14. Around 13 or 14, I grew up on a farm so you start to learn early, I was driving big tractors at 12. :D :)
    lothiandon1940 and OahuEli like this.
  15. monteg0
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 33


    dad gave me a ranchero to tinker on when I was 11 because he changed out the starter solenoid and couldn't get it to do anything after that. (that should give you an idea of how much my old man knows about cars.) I got it running shortly before my 16th birthday, but had to teach myself how the entire electrical system worked by reading old manuals, Chilton's, ect.

    everything else I know I've gleaned from message boards, or by trial and error. I grew up poor, dragging it to the shop wasnt an option, lol
  16. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,890


    The question: At what age did you learn and get full grasp of the workings of an engine and then proceed to learn more about automobiles?

    By the time the Visible V8 Model Motor came out, we had already taken apart a real 4 cylinder motor, cleaned everything up and had it running in a couple of weeks. Prior to that, my brother and I took apart my mom’s 2 cycle lawnmower engine, after we read that porting and polishing the head and exhaust would give it a lot more horsepower. We even made a cool exhaust by using curved fittings and longer plumbing pipe. What a sound that made. We thought it was faster… But, in our spare time, it was fun putting that visible motor together without any glue as we could take it apart over and over.

    But, as far as your actual question, the full grasp never came to us in a specific class or instruction. We read everything that the old hot rod magazines put out. If I did not read the tech article, my brother poured over it and when we did some engine work, he explained it to me. At first, I was the “go-fer” but, as time wore on, I learned by watching and listening. What a concept… listening to an older brother…

    Our grasp came as a “to do” thing. The automotive class in high school was trying to tell the new students what the motor does and the lectures were for all of us, despite our background. We just wanted to build stuff for our cars. The teacher knew some of us and decided to do some early “individualized education,” as he kept the “newbies” in their desks going over the “how to stuff.” While he let the guys that knew most of the fine points of engines do projects and work on cars.


    Once the methodology of engines was absorbed, then the fine tune aspects of the hot rods came into play. It was fun being allowed to do what we wanted to do for a grade. The experiments continued at home with a lot of trial and errors until we got it right. My brother was a stickler for doing the stuff the correct way or at least his way. I eventually found out that he was an avid reader and absorbed almost everything. He was a great student of most everything written in magazines and books, school or otherwise.

    Tech articles were his thing. I liked the hot rod features and drag racing articles. But, I liked the Studebaker Golden Hawk. When there was an article in Hot Rod Magazine, I poured over it for days. That probably gave me plenty of things to absorb, but killed the continued reading of future tech articles, as the interest waned quickly.

    So, thank you brother, for allowing me to get the fine points of what we were doing or what you taught me along the way. It would have been fun to continue to do stuff in hot rodding and drag racing, but our time had come and gone in 12 seconds.
    monteg0 likes this.
  17. Yes it is Mark, but it sure beat's the alternative. HRP
    loudbang and lothiandon1940 like this.
  18. Some days I wonder!:rolleyes:
    loudbang likes this.
  19. What happened to the good old days when they used leeches? :D

    I sat in the recliner at the skin cancer clinic for a hour today, getting cut & burnt today, this crap has turned into some of my normal routine, the only saving grace is my doctor is a young attractive female and I got tickled when she ask me to remove my trousers.

    Getting old ain't for sissies, but you can take it, your a tough old bird. HRP
  20. I love getting up in the middle of the night to pee!:mad: How attractive was that female?:rolleyes:
    loudbang and Blue One like this.
  21. I had a 58 Impala that was way faster than it should have been so I took Auto Mechanics in college to try and find out why. I learned about cam shafts and air fuel mixture as well as air flow. Lots of learning on cylinder heads and the combination of it all working together. This statement is the key to making lots of power!! "combination of it all working together"
    I was 18
    loudbang and jnaki like this.
  22. S10_Man
    Joined: Oct 29, 2018
    Posts: 18


    My dad bought a 61 Dodge Seneca with a slant 6 engine. I would occasionally look under the hood at the engine, a big lump of mystery. I understood that it had 6 cylinders, and looking at the freeze plug holes, wondered if the factory would somehow use those holes to add extra rods and pistons to make a V8! Boy, I was dumb as a box of rocks. Later, an uncle gave me a Clinton two cycle to play with, and I slowly began to learn about engines. I've since worked on many hot rods and learned from each of them. I still marvel at the advances that have been made with all types of engines, though the new engines are more difficult to modify to get more power from. We live in an amazing time!
    loudbang likes this.
  23. Hombre
    Joined: Aug 22, 2008
    Posts: 1,032


    I remember very well the "First Time" I was 10 years old and we had this 1949 F1 farm truck with a flathead in it. My old man much like HRP's could have cared less about any car other than it got him from one place to the other. One of the water pumps went out on that old flathead and the old man had bought a rebuilt one in town. It sat in the barn on the bench for a few days and finally I thought I would have at it.Only tools we had were an ancient set of Model A and T open end wrenches ( if you know what those are you also are old) I removed all of the bolts ( at least all that I could see) and that damn pump would not even budge. I hit it with a hammer, poked it with a stick finally got a big old pry bar and it will still not come off. Finally with a much longer pry bar and a much bigger hammer I broke that water pump housing into about 4 dozen pieces, damn now I can see that other bolt. You know the one flathead guys? Yea the one in side the hose housing, what saddest ever thought that one up. Got my butte beat for breaking that old pump because it cost the old man the $.50 core deposit.
    j-jock and loudbang like this.
  24. Seems like I jumped 3 times.
    Out of the Womb, into the crib, out to the garage. By age 10 (5th grade) I successfully scratch built a mini bike from scrounged junk. There were earlier attempts that weren’t successful. Age 12 was my first cam swap with dad behind (not in front of ) me. There’s a few earlier ones where my dad was out front.
    He gave me that car when I turned 13. He said you work in this and by the time you get your license you’ll have a very nice car. Rebuilt every system on it and did the body and paint then a year later stretched a new convertible top when I was 16 or 17
    Hombre and loudbang like this.
  25. Chavezk21
    Joined: Jan 3, 2013
    Posts: 627


    I was 9 or 10. My dad had an Exxon station and had decided to rebuild the 283 in his 55 Cameo. I remember cleaning the ring grooves of the pistons with a broken ring, then knurling the skirts with a center punch and hammer. once that engine was re-ringed, re-bearinged, and honed. I helped put it back together. I thought it was so cool how he had punched the holes in the cardboard for the pushrods, and cut x's to put the lifters in order. that pickup was a great runner til he traded it for 2 65 Chevy pickups one a Napco 4x4 the other a 2 wheel drive. Before this I had been passing him wrenches from the time I could read numbers.
    31Vicky with a hemi likes this.
  26. I can sympathize with your story, but I don't have any excuse for my story of shame. I was in my 30s, with lots of wrenching experience, and needed an airport car, (defined as a POS that will start after sitting abandoned for weeks at a time).
    I bought a VW that was a dirty, filthy mess but had only been rolled once. Its saving grace was that it was ugly, but not rusted. The engine needed an overhaul, and I had already done many US designed, so I had no fear about redoing something as simple as a VW engine.
    Pride cometh before the fall.
    During the teardown, the engine was so caked with tar and dirt, that even though I had cleaned it as well as I could I missed undoing a nut that holds the two case halves together. The nut was buried under some tar in the corner where the case butts to the bellhousing. I scraped, pulled prodded, and could not split the case, nor could I find the reason that it wouldn't come apart. I finally got pissed off enough that I fixed one side of the case to the boat trailer, and attached the other side to the boat winch. I cranked the boat winch until I heard something make a cracking noise, and felt something whiz by my ear. I got the case split, but that was when I found that I had missed removing one nut. I was embarrassed, but none of my car type buddies ever found out about the mistake.
    Fortunately, the damage done was annoying but not fatal. Because I had a lathe, I rounded out the hole and made a washer that plugged the hole and allowed the case to be bolted together with the same offending nut.
    The rest of the rebuild was easy, and the engine worked flawlessly.
    My wife was a witness to my adventure, and has never let the super jock mechanic, welder, machinist, ever forget the faux pas. Whenever I am working on one of her machines, and am in any way critical about how she broke it, she is quick to subtly remind me of this event to demonstrate that I am not perfect either.
    There is one advantage to having several short marriages, rather than one long one.
    Hombre likes this.

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