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Projects Beginning my 1928 chevy speedster

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Josh the Painter, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. Since I joined the forum here for questions and advice I figure I better share what Im building! This is still in very early stages of acquiring everything.
    Bit of a background story but growing my my grandfather owned a shop where he performed almost purely vintage restoration. Fast foward I grew up and followed suit, got into the automotive trade and became a qualified spraypainter. Ive worked in general smash repairs, restoration and am fortunate enough to work for a high end prestige shop. Point of story Im car nuts but I have an appreciation for everything from the first automobiles all the way through to a new Ferrari. But as every year goes by I find myself getting back to my roots so to speak with the bodystyles I saw in Grandads shop as a boy. But at 35 Im still young and not ready to sit through simply restoring a car. I love traditional rods, I love the creativity and personality in them. I also love vintage race cars, which lets face it, were basically custom builds and ( shape aside) basically an early hot rod.
    In February 2019 I dreamt a boat tail speedster. I woke up at 1 am and scribbled details down. The front end/ radiator was definitely 1928 chevrolet and they're a sweet looking radiator. The boat tail bugatti type 35, wire wheels and bicycle guards. Thats about what I got from that dream. However it gave me a plan and the car doesnt have to use traditional parts but must have a period style I.E drums and friction shocks or lever hydraulics , NOT disc brake setups and tubular shocks. And the car needs to be low, with tall wheels. Looking like the caricature advertising of the vintage speedsters.

    So after months of looking in the latter part of 2019 I found and purchased a mostly rust free 1928 Chevy Tourer. Hell all I need is a frame and a radiator and cowl. The car had what looked like a 70s restoration judging by age and condition/ materials used.
    20191109_101802.jpg

    The frames going to need some modification. In true race car style I dont want to use an unmodified frame and fill the area between boat tail and fender so the rear section will need to be cut or pinched in. For anyone not from Aus part of building a hot rod we have to submit a proposal to build, a set of plans to be signed off on plus inpsections for engineering. I had no idea where the frame was going to need modification for the body to be able to draw the plans, so with the chassis stripped down I layed out some 100x 100 box and built a sacraficial frame work for the body from folded 1mm sheet that I put through the shrinker/ stretcher. The tail will change a bit, it's still a bit long and needs to slope a little more on the tail but it allows me to see where to modify the chassis around the rear cockpit.
    20200101_112540.jpg
    20200101_112530.jpg
    I then gave it a dodgy card skin just to see how things were looking, then after a good shed sort and clean I sat the body and framework up on the chassis.
    20200102_073312.jpg
    20200208_133952.jpg
    This framework clearly shows where the chassis needs to be either cut or tucked in within the body. ( note the custom 37 buick bonnet in the background, an up and coming show car Ive been doing body and paint on to debut this year I believe)

    Engine wise I wanted a straight motor. And I wanted some length in the hood. So preferably a straight 8..... yeah not happening, they're just not growing on trees and I dont have the financial means to buy and wreck a good car just for an engine so other options needed considering. Figuring a 6 is going to be my other option I started looking at what's available. I looked at all sorts of 6s from stovebolts to the Australian 202 that was popular in GM Holdens here to late model stuff. These engines just didnt feel right or have the look of the polished showpieces of engines that graced Indianapolis and LeMans. Bugattis and Millers that were as big of a show piece as a race car. One thing I wanted was carbs. Another thing in my mind was the popularity of twin cam heads with racers. So with that in mind and a few months searching I landed on what I feel is a good fit. An inline 6, 1962 Jaguar 3.8 with triple SUs. With the plain styled SUs and twin cam head, once all polished and dress correctly it will suit nicely. With the correct pipes they sound like a Merlin engine and make a racket and at around 240hp its not going to be a slug. Im in the process of pulling the engine down for inspection while waiting on suspension to continue the chassis. What got me is what a big motor they actually are, its huge!
    20200126_175430.jpg
    20200126_072059.jpg
    Also going to have to relocate the oil pump and the carbs will never fit within the engine cowl so I will have to add a scoop or blister on the R/h side.

    Suspension Ive decided to play with quad quarter ellipticals in honour of the Miller race cars, no all wheel drive or DeDion tubes however. Springs are on their way from Posies. My Grandfather scolded me for the planned springs. " they were rubbish , rode terribly, overlanders used those and cracked frames, you'll have to reinforce the frame, they walked away from that idea after a few years...." so some good advice on chassis reinforcement but even if they dont ride great, its not what the cars about, its about being a throwback to the traditional builds and people who ultimately see the car can go away with some history.
    Other parts Ive aquired a SoCal 47" drilled I beam ( as popular opinion of friends was a race car must have a drilled axle ) and 37 up ford spindles and repro lincoln drums. Brakes themselves I had bought a set of 40 ford hydraulic brakes but unfortunately were missing some hardware such as Ebrake levers. Once again telling my grandfather about my predicament of parts I got 'Oh there's a set of those in the back shed, just grab what you want' . So with new shoes and wheel cylinders and springs ready Im currently spending my lunch breaks sandblasting backing plates to have fully reconditioned brakes sitting there ready to go. I also bought offenhauser friction shocks but theyre a little on the small side so may end up chasing Andre Hartford shocks. 20200211_163830.jpg
    20200206_173641.jpg
    20200206_173726.jpg

    Couple of other things in development such as sorting out hubs with a 5 on 4 1/4 pattern to suit the 34 chev wires I have. Hopefully my build so far is of interest to a few guys, its keeping my brain ticking over thats for sure!
    Cheers,
    Josh
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
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  2. Stueeee
    Joined: Oct 21, 2015
    Posts: 212

    Stueeee
    Member
    from Kent, UK

    That's an interesting project. As well as the other mods, I'd think about boxing the chassis if I had all that torque from a Jag XK motor. I'm fitting Armstrong lever arm dampers from the rear of an MGB all round on my '28 Chevy; they don't look too modern IMO. And there isn't a massive change in the damping effect in damp weather which seems to have been my experience with Hartfords when the friction discs expand when wet.
     
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  3. Mikko_
    Joined: Aug 3, 2018
    Posts: 144

    Mikko_
    Member
    from Sweden

    I'll subscribe, boat tails have a certain appeal to them.
     
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  4. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 5,722

    anthony myrick
    Member

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  5. Ahh something not mentioned and as you just did, part of our engineering here requires rods must have a boxed chassis and run a K or X member if any factory cross members are removed so good advice and it will be happening.
    As for friction shocks and wet weather I'm going to be in trouble in an open top getting rained on, however the lever arm dampeners were a point of discussion for my Grandfather and I last weekend, at 87 hes still got it! He has quite a few dampeners laying around and was suggesting run them inboard the frame as theyre much better than friction shocks, and run the friction shocks on the outer for the appearance if that's what I want. He has a 32 chev he's building and they have the lever arms tucked into the chassis. Makes a bit hard to tuck them into a boxed chassis but could no doubt work something out!
    Cheers,
    Josh
     
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  6. panheadguy
    Joined: Jan 8, 2005
    Posts: 987

    panheadguy
    Member
    from S.E. WI

    I'm to watch this progress
     
  7. cederholm
    Joined: May 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,621

    cederholm
    Member

    Oooooo Ahhhhh, I like!

    ~ Carl
     
  8. hillbilly4008
    Joined: Feb 13, 2009
    Posts: 2,905

    hillbilly4008
    Member
    from Rome NY

    Great to see another speedster build starting!

    My quick thoughts and observations
    - where I'm from that car deserved to be restored. I'd imagine where you live cars don't rust and cave in upon themselves
    - have you ever seen an underslung frame? Flip that sucker over, get free lowering
    - I'm confused about the i-beam axle. If it were me I'd stick with the parallel leaf setup.
    - the rear of the frame could stay stock, but with covers coming off the boat tail. I can't describe it, I'll try and find some pics
    - that engine looks bad ass

    Good luck with your build
     
  9. hillbilly4008
    Joined: Feb 13, 2009
    Posts: 2,905

    hillbilly4008
    Member
    from Rome NY

    These are the skirts i was referring to
    IMG_0085.JPG
    Here's a couple quick pics i found searching "underslung"
    115605-5a3289805bd6221407cde7d4298b6262.jpg
    Larry_chen_hotrod_homecoming_spotlight-12.jpg
     
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  10. Thanks mate. I bought the car sight unseen and when it arrived I thought the same thing, it deserved to be restored. I did consider it, however once I did the figures and thought it over I figured by the time I chased missing parts, everything needed total restoration, engine was seized and good examples I see sell here for only about 20k so I figured it wasn't worth it. What I did do however was get in touch with gents from the local veteran chevrolet club and they have been buying parts not needed to put to use on their restorations. Most everything has sold. If the parts helped to save another car Im happy with that.

    First off how sweet is that green! Underslung was an option. Ultimately I want the build to represent a race car, not a street use boat tail ( as lovely as they are) hence the plans to tuck the frame rather than cover it.

    The I beam axle, we are only allowed to use certain axles from a couple of manufacturers and not allowed to modify originals by drilling for example. So the suspension being Miller inspired will run quad qtr elipticals off the front and rear section of the frame to fixed brackets on the front I beam or rear axle. Im not aware of anyone running this setup here so it should be quite different. Its going to be a challenge working out setting castor. The difference with the millers was they ran the qtr ellipticals to a DeDion Tube which would be a well superior setup but to follow suit is getting complicated. Heres examples for reference.
    Cheers,
    Josh
    miller_fwd_frontspring.jpg
    miller_pdp_14.jpg
    derby_drive2_web.jpg
    miller_fwd_exposed_tank.jpg
     
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  11. Desmodromic
    Joined: Sep 25, 2010
    Posts: 571

    Desmodromic
    Member

    As I mentioned in your other thread, we seem to have related likes in cars. I'm collecting pieces & parts to build a similar "tribute" racer, as influenced by late 20's early 30's Indy/"Big Car" single seaters (like No. 2 below). I have all the main components. No intent to drive on public roadways. Will use a narrowed c1930 Chevy chassis, front parallel leaf semi-elliptics mounted outside the rails, Hupmobile tube front axle, maybe cross-spring, or quarter elliptics in back, small Toyota (OT) pickup rear end, to match the 6x5.5" bolt pattern of 18" Chevy wires. Front wheels may be 17" Plymouth wires, which (I think) match the Hup 5 lug pattern. Or I'll use Chev 6 lugs if it appears easy to adapt the Chev hubs to the Hup spindles (or Chevy spindles to the Hup axle). No front brakes, so not the head-aches you're having!

    Engine will be a Jaguar 3.4, 3.8, or 4.2 (but with the early smooth cam covers). I have triple Weber as well as triple SU inductions, but I think people tend to associate them with with postwar sports cars (although they both go back at least to the early 30's). So I'm thinking of using 3 1954 Corvette 6 cyl side-draught Carter YHs, or 3 side-draught Linkerts (which were aftermarket Harley carbs, have brass bodies, which would look pretty cool polished.)

    Transmission (OT) will be something I found at a swap meet that is used in some oval track race series. (So I'm told; I've never seen one, before or since.) It is a two speed; the back is readily removable (need to drop driveshaft) and has standard quick change gears therein. Has late model GM bolt pattern, so need to make/buy an adaptor.

    The red car I just snapped a picture of from the March issue of the British mag "Classic & Sportscar". It's a Rajo Model T, owned and raced by a chap from Queensland, bought decades ago for £13!


    20200317_222102.jpg 20200317_222718.jpg

    (OT -- my all-time favorite singing group is the "Seekers"; from Oz. You're a lot younger than I, maybe you're not familiar with them. I have no particular connection to Australia, but I get goosebumps when I hear Judith Durham et al sing "I am Australian.")
     
  12. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,165

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    Mmmmm, Judith. One out of ~ 5 of the best female singers in the world. :) .
    Marcus...
     
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  13. Hahaha I had to laugh, we were playing the Seekers at home only tonight so your timing is uncanny. The only band in Australia to out sell The Beatles at the time. When I was young they televised The Seekers 25th anniversary concert here on television, my grandparents recorded it on VHS and played it constantly for weeks so the music was pretty well inbeded in my mind. We have young kids so the oldies are good for them. We were walking through Ikea when my son was just 3 and 'I want to hold your hand' was playing on the radio. The look of the face of a female staff member was priceless when I asked him "who sings this"? He quickly responded with "The Beatles ". The female staff member grinned from ear to ear and stated " thats impressive", before moving along.

    Im quite impressed by your plans. Correct me if Im wrong but Im sure the early cars were 2 seaters but regulations changed to one seat only from memory. The single seaters were grand, only for the fact of wanting to be able to take a passenger for their own experience was my choice to be a 2 seater and I found the Bugatti the most pleasing shape for me astheticly.

    Ill have to do some research on the carbs your talking about as I'm not familiar. I tend to agree with what your saying about the SUs being associated with post war spirts car. Luckily for me only the right circles of people even know what they are here so I shouldn't have too many issues and they have a vintage feel where the webbers, still in high use through the 70s and 80s, give a too modern interpretation for my liking. If you can use a brass bodied carb however, now thats cool!

    The transmission I plan to simply run a 5 speed, mostly a T5 for ease of availability and conversion parts. When you talk about the 2 speed you picked up, is it a powerglide?
    And Im guessing it's a Toyota Hilux diff your using and I think that will hold up just fine, the turbo mazda boys give them a thrashing here.

    It seems like you have your thoughts mostly sorted for your wheel and hub setups, so as you say you dont have to have my headache. Ill solve the problem one way or another. When making the new wheel bands apparently we have an option to make the wheels a larger diameter so we will see. The quarter ellipticals are going to sit this frame low, so I will be relying on the wheels and tyres for some height.

    I managed to pick up a book on Harry Miller and his race cars this week which is very inspirational.
    20200312_053417.jpg

    Ive been working on my restoration of the Juice brakes. Backing plates I had 3 fronts and 2 rears. 3 have come out of the molasses ready to have a final clean and move towards paint. Of the fronts I used the 2 better looking backing plates as one had a broken tag for retaining the brake shoe. When stripping everything seems someone had already modified one of the backing plates to suit something else, it had a ring welded in and a smaller bolt pattern drilled. So we robbed the tag off of that backing plate and repaired the other one. In the molasses she went today.
    20200318_055815.jpg
    20200318_055843.jpg
    Heres the modified one with the ring welded in.

    20200318_065459.jpg

    And the repaired backing plate against a cleaned one, yes these were this rusty. Go molasses!
    20200318_065442.jpg

    Cheers,
    Josh
     
  14. Desmodromic
    Joined: Sep 25, 2010
    Posts: 571

    Desmodromic
    Member

    Cool carburetors for Jaguar:

    Linkerts--

    CarbAssembly1.jpg 20200318_102844.jpg

    Carter YHs --

    Triple-carburetors.jpg 20200318_102651.jpg

    SU Twin Choke (ever heard of these?) --

    20200318_102748.jpg
     
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  15. Nailhead A-V8
    Joined: Jun 11, 2012
    Posts: 880

    Nailhead A-V8
    Member

    modified to use with Model A spindles ...its a piston ring[​IMG]
     
  16. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,787

    carbking
    Member

    S.U.'s have been around for more than 100 years; anyone who associates them only with post-war cars doesn't know their automobile history, oh, wait a minute................which war?

    I love your project! But REALLY looking forward to your first post AFTER adjusting the valves in that engine ;)

    Not suggesting any of these (expense) but if you are looking for 1920's look; Stromberg and Zenith both produced really good (for the period) solid brass carburetors. Detroit Lubricator in the late teens early twenties, produced a couple that, while they didn't externally look a lot like the S.U.'s, were an engineering (internally) ripoff.

    The Carter YH was introduced in 1952, so definitely post-war. Great carb!

    Watching this thread!

    Jon.
     
  17. Thanks for posting Desmodromic. Those twin choke SUs, no Ive never seen those before. The configuration remindeds me of a weber, they look great. What were they used on/ for?

    I tried pretty hard to find a triple carbied engine, the triples sell for good $$ here and new one seem to be about $4500 with manifold.
    On a side story my step father helped me pick up and unload the engine and had to comment when he was living in England in his younger years, they had nothing but problems with SUs and binned them for replacement with webbers. From what I read the SUs are great when reco'd and setup. My carb experience has been all later 2 and 4 barrels, holleys, carter afb's, fair bit with Quadrajets. So im looking foward to the learning process and experience with the SUs.
    Cheers,
    Josh
     
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  18. Well I guess thats a clever way of adapting them. Thanks for letting us know!
    Cheers,
    Josh
     
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  19. Those Carter Yh's do look the part thats for sure.

    Ive heard stories of shimming and adjusting the Jag valves, you think you get it right then by the time your back around to recheck nothing is right. I take it you have had some experience here?
    Unless your familar with older vintage and veteran cars, a lot of people think of SUs on Jags and Austin Healeys etc from the 60s so hence the post war reputation.
    Cheers,
    Josh
     
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  20. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,787

    carbking
    Member

    In a different lifetime, before I was bitten by the "buy American" bug, I had a number of worn-out Jaguar XK-120's. Found their cost to be WAY above my pay scale; so sold them. I probably still have a few baby food jars with various Jaguar valve shims, but absolutely no idea where they might be.

    During the same lifetime, the Harley dudes kept me completely sold out of the Jaguar and Triumph S.U. carbs to replace the Linkerts. At that time you couldn't give away a Linkert. Due to the interest in restoration of the Harleys, and the fact that so many that were replaced 50 years ago, the Linkerts are probably in demand and costly today. Have been out of that market for some 40 years.

    Never had issues with the Jaguar and Triumph S.U.'s. The MG folks had major issues, as the cooling systems on British cars confounded many American enthusiasts with their Smith moving baffle thermostat. The Smiths would be replaced with something else, the engine would overheat, and the S.U.'s would warp from the heat.

    I still have nightmares about replacing a lower radiator hose on an XK-120. 8 hours after I started the job was finished, and both arms resembled hamburger!

    And while not H.A.M.B. friendly, if I were independently wealthy and thus could collect cars; two of the vehicles I would own would be a Jaguar XK-SS, and a 1961 E-type fixed head coupe. That "bug bite" might deteriorate slightly ;)

    Looking forward to more progress on your project.

    Jon.
     
  21. Desmodromic
    Joined: Sep 25, 2010
    Posts: 571

    Desmodromic
    Member

    I have an E-Type triple SU set-up, but I'm thinking of using a modified twin carb manifold from a sedan, which is more compact. I figure on milling off the carb side, including the carb attachment flanges, and fabricate a new aluminum side with flanges for three Carters or Linkerts. I'd tig (well, not me, somebody more talented!) this on to the manifold, smooth and polish the welds so it looks like an original casting. Could just fabricate a new manifold, but not easy for a Jaguar, which has integral cooling water passages.

    I have an extra Jag manifold with dual downdraught single barrel carbs if you could use it. The carbs are surely too small; they're for a 2.4 liter. Not sure if larger carbs could be fitted. Also, the manifold fits the early head, not the later "straight port" head.

    Another thought I had was to use 3 updraught carbs, e.g., Model A. I'd guess
    this style could be found made of brass. Since I don't have these carbs, I haven't tried to mock this up. The distributor might be in the way.

    Last valve job I did on a Jag --
    ● Pulled head; removed cams, valves and tappets.
    ●Ground and lapped valves, reassembled with "dime shaped" shims of measured thickness that I was sure were too thin.
    ● Measured clearances between all tappets and cam lobes.
    ● Calculated from above what thickness shim was required at each valve.
    ●Pulled cams and tappets; replaced all shims with those of correct thickness, which were machined to size on a magnetic bench grinder.
    ● Reinstalled cams and checked clearances; all perfect!
    ● Refit head to engine.
    ● WHILE REPLACING FRONT CRANK SEAL, TURNED THE CRANK OVER, BUT FORGOT TO CONNECT CAM CHAINS -- BENT VALVES!!!

    By the way, I see rebuilt Linkerts on Ebay for around $750 each!
     
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  22. Desmodromic
    Joined: Sep 25, 2010
    Posts: 571

    Desmodromic
    Member

    I haven't the foggiest idea what twin choke SUs were used on! Stranger yet (to me), how about these SU downdraughts?

    20200318_213507.jpg
     
  23. Thats a sad story on your experience with the Jag head. Its the big problem with an interference engine I guess and an easy mistake. Its amazing what a work of art the Jag engines are internally compared to the Aussie and American engines that Im used to. Glycol coated inners, locking plates on bolts, castleated nuts on rod ends etc etc, basically aircraft grade engineering.
    One question I do need answered is if I need to re sleeve the 3.8. Theres a lip on top of the cylinder walls so while a hone and set of pistons can fix this, my understanding is the 3.8 had cooling jackets behind the sleeve that need cleaning when rebuilding so should be removed and re sleeved.

    Those down draughts are sweet, Ill tell you what I love most about that picture I would like to incorporate is the copper fuel lines. Im trying to decide on a block colour and I see bare alloy blocks on lots of the early race cars so Im thinking detail will be to paint the block i an aluminium/ silver ceramic paint like Cerakote, and polish everything else, polished copper fuel lines, make a valley cover to hide the plug wires, use cloth wrapped plug wires . It should potentially be pretty cool.
    Cheers,
    Josh
     
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  24. Thanks Jon
    The Jag xk-ss, what a work of art. Good to see Jaguar finally finish the production run a few years ago. From memory McQueen had one did he not? And speaking of E types we had a 2+2 coupe with twin carbed 4.2 in British Racing Green in at work only last week. Such a stunning car.

    And thanks for the history lesson, I was not familiar with the Smiths thermostat so that gives me some research to do!
    Cheers,
    Josh
     
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  25. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,428

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Subscribed!

    @Josh the Painter .....excellent writing skills and a plethora of talent !!

    Also appreciate the knowledgeable contributions by @Desmodromic and @carbking

    Excellent thread......really looking forward to updates....

    Ray
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2020
  26. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,787

    carbking
    Member

    Josh - a number of British engines (probably not all) used the Smiths thermostat.

    The thermostat bypass on these engines was huge in diameter (at least by American V-8 standards).

    The Smiths thermostat had an outer ring attached to the thermostat valve. The ring moved with the valve. So when the thermostat was open, the ring slid over the bypass. If the Smiths were replaced with a Stant (only brand I remember) from your FLAPS without the ring; the thermostat would open; but the bypass would also remain open. So cool water would just circulate through the bypass, without entering the engine. The engine would overheat very quickly.

    You can Google Smiths thermostat and see images of the ring.

    Jon.
     
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  27. Hi Ray,
    Thanks for the kind words. Glad to have you along for the ride!
    Cheers,
    Josh
     
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  28. Thanks Jon,
    Ok, so looking at pictures and following your explanation, the bypass was open when cold and as the thermostat opened it pulled the sleeve up to block the bypass?

    The Holden V8s here can be notorious for cavitation with some of the aftermarket waterpumps, even with the small bypass they run. I found at times the only way to fix the problem was to A. Get a better pump or B. Drill two small holes in the thermostat to help equalise the pressure and I found that helped immensely when bleeding the radiator so I performed that modification religiously after that.

    Cheers,
    Josh
     
  29. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,787

    carbking
    Member

    Exactly.

    Jon.
     
  30. Desmodromic
    Joined: Sep 25, 2010
    Posts: 571

    Desmodromic
    Member

    Sad Story No.2 -- I found a beautiful XK150 S Roadster for a friend ($1500, to give you an idea of how long ago). Oil pressure was a little low, so he decided to check, and replace if needed, the rod bearings, and dismantle the oil pump for inspection. He snipped off the ends of the cotter pins to remove them. After reassembly, oil pressure was far worse. Turns out one of the snipped cotter pin ends somehow got into the pump, severely scoring it.

    By the way, I'm not a historian, but I did just check it out. You are correct, Indy cars were required to be 2-seaters (as they had been years earlier), from 1930 to 1937. This was accompanied by the so-called "junk formula", promoting the use of auto mfrs. large stock block engines. This was to cut costs, and to have less esoteric cars, that fans could better relate to.
     
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