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Projects A Speedster Comes Out of the Weeds—Build Thread

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ClarkH, Dec 25, 2015.

  1. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 734

    ClarkH
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Ha! You joke, Bob, but I may end up approaching an ornamental ironworks outfit near my brother's shop. Not that far off from a farrier.

    Yeah, that's kinda the idea. Seems to me those are usually two parallel hoopes tied together, with four mount points. Trying to figure out where I might mount a second hoop. Maybe the crossmember. Like a lot of things, I'm making this up as I go along, so suggestions welcome.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
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  2. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 13,836

    Squablow
    Member

    I really want one of those Fatman steering wheels for my T, if the center wasn't messed up, would it bolt right onto a Model A steering shaft? Also, what's the going rate for a decent one? I'd be very curious to know.

    Also, just a thought, but stock Model A Ford rear bumper brackets could be turned upside down and mounted so they step up from the frame instead of down, and the stock bumpers have a nice curve in them on each end, could cut and weld a set into a V shape and mount that on the rear. Not sure if that's the look you're going for but it's a thought.

    I like the look of your windshield posts too, good angle and good period-looking stands. Those little half-moon ones are kinda racy looking but are about useless, I think a proper windshield like the one you're building is a good idea.

    Did you see the Mercury body for a T that sold on eBay a few weeks ago? Can't be too many getting bought and sold regularly.
     
  3. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 13,836

    Squablow
    Member

  4. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 734

    ClarkH
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Fatman wheels were made for different cars, including Ford for sure. I'm pretty sure mine fit a Ford orginially, before it got chewed up. The Nevilles--the kind that slide up--seem to be the most desirable. Never seen one at a swap meet. Ebay rate when I was looking about 5 years ago was $300-$400 (but you could get them for less if you're cheap like me and buy one that's screwed up). Seems like now they're more like $500 and up. Spencers--the kind that swing sideways--come up relatively often; they look good and are cheaper. I picked one up at the Puyallup Swap Meet for $200 thinking my brother could use it; didn't work out, so I sold it for $350 at the Portland Swap Meet a few months later. So I guess that's the range.

    Holy cow!!! Somebody got a deal. Man, looks like it even has the original drop axel. Mislisting it as a "Model T" probably cost the seller at least two-thirds of value, I think. A friend sent me a link to one recently, I think it was in Kansas (Hmm, same one?). It was listed at $10K, and looked to be in worse shape in the ad I saw. Thanks for calling this to my attention. I'll pass it along to Jarvis. He's always on the lookout for obscure Mercury information.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
  5. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 13,836

    Squablow
    Member

    I kinda thought that was a deal, I didn't notice it until after the auction had ended, otherwise I might have mentioned it earlier. Maybe you guys can get in touch with the new owner by contacting the seller, maybe the new owner will join up and post a build thread or something.
     
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  6. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 13,836

    Squablow
    Member

    And thanks for the info on the steering wheels. That gives me a good baseline to work off of, I would like to find one but I wasn't sure what was a deal and what would be too much to pay if I did find one.
     
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  7. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 734

    ClarkH
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Transmission and Rear Spring
    And now after all of today's updates I’ve come full circle to the current ’39 trans installation project. Spent some time last night making a bracket for the parking brake handle. I’m extending it backward to get the handle out from under the cowl, since this cowl is much deeper than a Model A.
    trans+emb-adaptor.jpg
    Current hold-up is the flywheel. There was a delay at the machine shop: I wound up borrowing a crankshaft from the IHPP to give them something to chuck it up with.

    While everything’s pulled apart, I’m going to remove a few springs from the rear spring pack. It’s currently a sedan set up and too stiff. I’m thinking take it down to 5 leaves, which I understand is roadster configuration. My brother says go to 4, because the tail of this car is so light. Looking for input here. Any thoughts, one way or the other?
     
  8. Roadster is originally 7. I believe coupe is 8. Truck and sedan 10. I wouldnt go less then 5. I've mocked up just about every combination in my truck and in a coupe. The coupe I would have tried at 5 but i think 6 would habe been the magic number on that one. Four was way to soft for my taste. My truck 5 was way to soft. I settled on 7 with a reverse eye main. It's still capable of hauling a engine in the bed with 7. I think 5 is good for how light your car is.
     
  9. We could also put a t spring in it. Im' gonna try a t spring on the cragar roadster.
     
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  10. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,576

    indyjps
    Member

    I lost track of this thread, happy I found it again. Thoroughly impressed with this build and cant wait to see more.

    Youre doing well on the skirt extensions. Any consideration to just remake them to suit, the originals are rough enough you may be time and effort ahead.
     
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  11. Andyman
    Joined: Oct 15, 2006
    Posts: 6

    Andyman
    Member

    I am going to redo the skirts on my Mercury. Between extra holes and moving the body back on the chassis it is just less work.
     

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  12. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 734

    ClarkH
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks guys. Yeah, have to agree. after my success on the front extenions, I'm contemplating redoing the skirts entirely. Lots of warping in the old ones that won't come out. Holes too.

    Andyman: that is a great looking Mercury you have there. Thanks for posting the picture.
     
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  13. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,617

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    On the rear bumper, could you make it in two halves, tapered to a point and welded together? It would take away from the "roundness" of the tail though. A setup like an early KK midget would be cool, to me, just don't overdo it with a bunch of bracing like an Alfater had.
     
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  14. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 734

    ClarkH
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve checked in, and anybody following closely can probably guess why. I mean, what kind of idiot launches three major upgrades simultaneously? I tell ya, for a while there I felt like I should be doing guest posts on @Johnny Sparkle’s “How not to build a hotrod” thread.

    I'll start with the transmission upgrade. For the record, this '39 trans conversion is NOT a simple bolt-in operation. To be fair, I’m not using a modern Cling’s kit. I’m using a period Ansen adaptor that came with only a portion of its original brackets. Any instructions it might have once had were used long ago to wipe oil off a dipstick. I expect the Cling’s kit (with instructions) is a far superior experience, and the woes listed below won’t apply.

    Things started fine. Installed the lightened flywheel (thanks @Hitchhiker) and new clutch from Mac’s. The clutch was in serious need of balancing—the machine shop ended up welding a large nut on it to make it right. Afterward they informed me it was a metric nut. I feel this is wrong. :oops:

    Adaptor and trans went in fine, but then troubles began. First, the universal joint housing wouldn’t fit. Hunted around online and learned you can’t reuse the Model A universal clamshell, you need one off a V8. Solved that with a late-night visit to Hitchhiker. Two of the pieces I needed where on either side of his garage, the third was in his yard. Man, he is overrun with early Ford parts.

    OK, got that in and reinstalled the rear end, so far so good. Now, my car has a Float-a-Motor—it’s a kit that adds rubber bushings to the two rear engine mounts. There’s also a third part that braces the transmission to the frame cross-member—as near as I can tell this isn’t so much for support, but to prevent the back of the trans from dipping and causing clutch chatter.

    Well it turns out the Model A universal housing is wider than the V8 housing. So my existing Float-a-Motor rear bracket no longer fit. It’s a delicate little aluminum thing and I couldn't see any way of adapting it. I searched online but could not find a V8 version anywhere--new, used or even just mentioned. I know they exist because Hitchhiker has one in the hoard (of course he does), but he’s already earmarked it for the roadster he’s building for @Wallingford Noah.

    So I would up making one. Shown is the elegant original on the right, and my ugly bruiser on the left.
    trans-brackets.jpg
    It'll do.
    trans-bracket installed.jpg

    OK, next I installed the pedals and bracket, and when that went well I proceeded to re-install the master cylinder. Clunk. Master cylinder bracket is hitting something. Turns out to be the upper bracket I made to add support to the pedal shaft.

    So out it come my homemade adaptor, and this…
    Fitting.jpg

    gets cut down to this…

    bracket-trimmed-outside.jpg

    It was looking a little flimsy after cutting, so I added a gusset on the inside.

    OK, all good. I re-install the pedals and re-install the master cylinder. But now I realize the pedals don’t align. Clutch and brake are half an inch to the left of their corresponding connections on the throw out bearing shaft and master cylinder. WTF? I’m pretty damn sure Model A’s weren’t smaller in the days of Ansen Automotive, so what gives?

    Looking back, I think that was my Johnny Sparkle moment. I remember asking myself, why exactly did you remove a perfectly functional transmission when you have so many other things needing attention? Are syncros and beveled gears really worth putting everything else on hold? I felt like hitting things with hammers.

    Anyway, I pondered for a while, convinced I was overlooking something. I wasn’t. Turns out, like I said at the outset, this isn’t a bolt-in operation.

    Easiest solution was to grind the barrel of the brake pedal so that both pedals moved to the right. Crude but effective.

    Pedal-grinding.jpg

    This removed the backstop tab from the brake pedal, but that doesn’t matter because the adaptor doesn’t have a provision for it anyway. For now I figure I can screw a bump stop to the wooden floor.

    I should add that this was one of those deals where it was impossible to get decent measurements, so it was a grind-test-grind-test operation. Which doesn’t sound like a big deal until you realize that the shaft on this old pedal bracket is so long that you don’t have room to slide the pedals off and on with the thing installed. So every grind-and-test meant removing the assembly, grinding the pedal, re-installing the assembly and testing. Then repeat ad nauseum.

    OK, finally got that done and got the pedals attached one last time. Or so I thought. Go to test the clutch. Clunk. Pedal jams on the floor braces. How is this possible? After all that grinding, the pedal is in the same spot now, isn't it?

    Uh, no it isn’t. It's in the same spot on the left-right axis, but maybe not in the same spot on the forward-aft axis? Or the up-down axis? I don’t know.

    So once again, I pondered for a while, convinced I was overlooking something. Once again, I wasn’t. Like I said at the outset, this isn’t a bolt in operation.

    Out came the assembly again and out came my oxy-acc set-up. Hello Rosebud! I’ve bent these pedals before, I'll do it again, dammit. Last time, I did the bending carefully with a jig and measurements. This time I was so pissed off I just eyeballed it. Got it right in one try. Something finally went my way! While I was at it, I put a bend in the gearshift so it will clear the dash. Hated to blue up the nice chrome shifter that the trans came with, but it will be covered by a boot.

    So that’s where I am with the transmission at the moment. Everything is in place and appears--appears--to be operational. She goes in and out of gear. The M/C is aligned and ready for bleeding. Fingers crossed.

    Still have to deal with some binding on the emergency brake connection, the result of me moving it back six inches. No big deal. Also have to varnish all the new cuts and holes in the plywood floor before I button everything up. Even less of a deal.

    So again, at the end of the day, a Cling's kit would have been a lot smoother. But despite my grousing, I figure it was worth it. Because as @cactus1 noted way back on Christmas Eve, that Ansen adaptor really is the cat’s pajamas!

    All for now. Apologies that this is far more words than pics. I’ll follow up with more and better pics soon.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  15. Thor1
    Joined: Jun 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,184

    Thor1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Clark,

    That was a great write-up! I appreciate your perseverance and tenacity. Go man, go!

    Steve
     
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  16. Oh man! If it were easy erreyone would do it, ha! Good job!
     
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  17. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 12,945

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Soon it will all be a turn of the key and riding into the sunset sniffing the fresh air.....soon...Darn burps n farts...
    Hopefully the next hurdles are step overs...;)
     
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  18. I enjoyed your writeup .
    Thanks Terry aka dirt t
     
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  19. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 1,821

    31Apickup
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The metric nut is killing it for me! Nice write up
     
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  20. Oilguy
    Joined: Jun 28, 2011
    Posts: 342

    Oilguy
    Member

    Loved the Dog House. Remember the murals painted on the walls? "All roads lead to the Dog House".
     
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  21. wizzard23
    Joined: Dec 12, 2009
    Posts: 730

    wizzard23
    Member

     
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  22. wizzard23
    Joined: Dec 12, 2009
    Posts: 730

    wizzard23
    Member

    Enjoyed this thread a lot!
     
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  23. SR100
    Joined: Nov 26, 2013
    Posts: 606

    SR100
    Member

    And Nick Nickerson (or was that Dick Dickerson) on the organ. Great times.
     
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  24. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 734

    ClarkH
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Well guys, two steps forward, one big step back. I’ll start with my minor successes.

    While I had the trans and diff out, I took the opportunity to remove 4 rear leaf springs, leaving me with 5. The car sat down nice—lower than I expected, actually.
    lower3.jpg
    lower2.jpg
    There’s now only a 2-inch rake, front to rear measured at the wheels. But I have leaves to spare in the front spring, so this can be improved.

    Meanwhile, as I mentioned before, this cowl is much deeper than a Model A, which makes it very difficult to access the parking brake lever. In making a new parking brake mount for the 39 trans, I extended its position as far as I could, putting it 5 inches closer to the driver. Here it is (still some work to do on that plywood floor--you can see the unvarnished plug I made to fill the hole where the handle used to be).
    embrakeposition.jpg
    It’s still under the dash a bit, but that that will be resolved by this super-cool vintage extension, yet another find in the vast @Hitchhiker hoard.
    embrakeextension.jpg
    The new position meant the actuator rod (underneath) was too long, and the changed angle would cause the rod to bind. Solved both problems with a tap and die and a stainless marine stanchion, both estate sale finds.
    embrakeassembly.jpg
    embraketapping.jpg
    embrakeinstalled.jpg
    The stanchion was one of several I got cheap from the estate of a local unlimited hydroplane guy. (I just missed out on getting his Miss Bardahl team jacket. Damn!) I’m telling myself the stanchion is off a hydro, although sailboat is more likely. Nice thing about it is that it’s a turnbuckle—one end regular thread one end reverse thread—making it easy to adjust.

    Don't know if you can see it, but I mounted the handle at a slight angle, so it kind of pulls toward the driver and is less likely to bash the passenger’s knee.

    So now, with everything transmission related essentially buttoned up, it was time to move on the really fun part: installing the Winfield head.
    w-head.jpg
    Well, you know how it goes. You’re stepping high and all’s right with the world, and then…
    bustedstud.jpg
    Frigging busted stud. That took the wind out of my sails.

    Anyway, I soaked it in Kroil for a while, and then yesterday I put it through several heat-and-cool cycles with oxy/acc. Melted some wax in on the last cycle.

    Today the patient is prepped for surgery and I’m going at it with the reverse drill bits.
    brokenstud2.jpg
    stud-extractor-kit.jpg
    Wish me luck! I’ll let you know how it goes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
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  26. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 734

    ClarkH
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks man. One hour in, and all I've suceeded in doing with the drill is polish the top of the broken stud. I'm heading out to Ballard Industrial for die-grinder bits.
     
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  27. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,702

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Drill a pilot hole first with a cobalt bit.
     
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  28. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 12,945

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Easy outs...nail biting just hearing those words...drilling hardened materials...as Blues said something harder than what your removing...I hope its out already...with a hole drilled right thru that shiny spot...
     
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  29. Loose Ctrl
    Joined: Dec 21, 2014
    Posts: 43

    Loose Ctrl
    Member
    from Upstate,SC

    Weld a nut on it that's just a shade smaller than the stud. The heat from welding should also aide in backing it out. I quit using easy outs as a child. :D
     
  30. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 734

    ClarkH
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'm hoping you're right about the pilot hole. But this thing is shrugging off cobalt bits. I think I need to move on to carbide.

    I hear you, Stogy. Trust me, the only things in that kit I would use here are the reverse drills. I've seen broken easy outs make a bad situation worse.

    I'm pretty sure my 110 Mig won't get sufficient penetration. But I do have a neighbor with a TIG. So that's a fallback. It would be a little tricky, because the stud is actually broken below surface, 1/16th of an inch or so.
     

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