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Projects First flathead project...

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by CaliforniaDreaming, Sep 5, 2021.

  1. Great idea, you'll have fun.

    80 vote(s)
  2. Bad idea, forget it.

    16 vote(s)
  3. Just get a newer car.

    8 vote(s)
  1. I am so glad that you took our guidance and took the time to troubleshoot this.:) It saved you a bunch of coin and preserved the car.:cool:
    RodStRace and A 2 B like this.
  2. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,911


    Sounds like you are making good progress. If you are not an expert carb rebuilder, I would suggest that you send your carburetor to Charlie Schwendler in New York. He is an expert on these things and I guarantee that he will return your carburetor in excellent shape. He is a hobbyist himself and does this for the love of it. I can provide contact information if you would like it.

    Speaking of that, you should probably go to "The Ford Barn" forum; There is a lot of knowledge on these cars there and some of the most knowledgeable 'Flathead Folks" are there and they are very willing to share their experience and advice.

    The "H.A.M.B." is great, but for flathead stuff, you really need to be on "The Ford Barn".
  3. Dangerousdan
    Joined: Apr 12, 2018
    Posts: 276

    from Arizona

    Flatheads forever.
    210superair likes this.
  4. Do a 364, 401 or 425 Nailhead Buick, you'll be ahead of the crowd and won't break down. They run forever as well. JW
  5. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 3,169


    CharlieNY on the Ford Barn for all things flathead carbs and fuel pumps. You won't be sorry.
    RodStRace likes this.
  6. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,315


    Take a look down the carb throat with the engine running at idle. There should be no fuel coming out of the venturi's. Do not accelerate the engine while looking down the carb throat. If there is fuel coming out of the venturi's, the float level is too high or the needle and seat is leaking.

    Now shut the engine off. Look down the carb throat and open the throttle all the way; not too fast. You should see a steady stream of fuel squirt from the accelerator pump passage. You don't want to do this with the engine running as you may have a lean backfire and remove your eyebrows.
    alanp561 likes this.
  7. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 19,182


    Can you please explain this?

    I put a Holley Sniper 2300 EFI on a flathead, with Edelbrock heads, for a customer. Set it up once.

    He has over 5,000 trouble-free miles on it now.

    The most difficult part of the project was making the adapter.

    This was before they had the 2CG and Autolite 1100 replacements.
    joel and Bandit Billy like this.
  8. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 8,167

    Bandit Billy

    Oh, there's a reason! Here's a few hundred of them in my roadster. :cool:
    Flatheads don't have to be slower than SBC's.
  9. Flathead Freddie
    Joined: May 9, 2021
    Posts: 193

    Flathead Freddie

    You may have too much fuel pressure for the needle seat to handle . Change out what's not stock first so get a mechanical pump then you can calibrate your carb unless you wanna blow money on both but start with what's not a part of the original system .
  10. Great logic. That's what I'll do. Just ordered carb and mechanical fuel pump rebuild kits. Hope they get here before the weekend. I'll get a piece of hose to bypass the electric fuel pump too.
    Flathead Freddie likes this.
  11. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 2,552

    oldiron 440

    Here you go, it's in what looks like a fox body. 20210921_170119.jpg
  12. Flathead Freddie
    Joined: May 9, 2021
    Posts: 193

    Flathead Freddie

    That looks like one of those Aussie clown cars must be a Clown-Body
  13. RodStRace
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,752


    Glad to hear the electrical is in good shape. Please still check for any drains.
    In post #37 you show the engine area. Those battery cables are small for a 6V system, as mentioned in a few posts. Get some thicker, multi-strand cables made up. Oversize is okay here! On the generator, make sure the mounting ears on the gen and block are also clean (good ground). If these areas were also restored and painted heavily, it will also not provide a good ground path.

    Sounds like the current carb is not a quick kit away from correct. It may be just something simple like high float level, but it's probably a combo of other, more serious issues like worn threads, worn throttle shaft bores, warped and leaking castings and other problems due to wear and age. There have been fixes for these, from springs and gaskets for the idle screws to bushing the throttle bores and such, but before you set about fixing your carb, check into pro rebuilds that fully address all these and if possible, a new quality solution. Posts before this one are a great start!
    Story time, U.S. Carb in downtown S.D. used to do great basic carb rebuilds in the early eighties. They had a caddy 4-6-8 with adapters to check each carb. A bit strange, but it worked for basic reliability checks. By the early nineties, the product had suffered due to lower demand, most cores requiring more work and trying to keep costs down to match cheap imports which was difficult due to the first two issues. A fellow worker at a muffler shop had to go through 12(!) Carter BBDs from them before getting a good working carb for his truck. The first few he struggled with. After that, I helped him reject the next half dozen for obvious problems before they were even installed. Stuff that shouldn't have passed QC. The shop couldn't make money fixing every issue in the worn out cores, so it became a crap shoot if the one you got was really decent. You can guess how well that worked, shuffling carbs back and forth to find a good one and having your customers be the QC and take the time and money to check the work.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
    Flathead Freddie likes this.
  14. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,911


    I assure you that Charlie Schwendler is still in business and doing carburetors for the serious hobbyists. You should at least talk to him, and I am sure that he will advise you of the proper course to take.
    Guy Patterson likes this.
  15. Connected with Charlie. He says the rebuild kit is a place to start then go from there. It arrives tomorrow. Looking at all the evidence, apparently a previous owner had installed the in-line electric pump as a flow though primer pump mostly meant to be switched off except for starting and vapor lock. I was probably running it too much not knowing what it's purpose was. With some luck, could have a pretty driveable car by the end of the weekend. Then, in a perfect world, I could drive it to Del Mar and back for the Good Guys show in October.
    warhorseracing and Budget36 like this.
  16. I have to admire your attitude shift.;) From a wide eyed young dreamer to a down to earth back to basics young man.:cool:
    alchemy likes this.
  17. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,728

    Atwater Mike

    I like your '41 Special Business Coupe better than... my '47 Super DeLuxe four door sedan, (no rust, 2 previous owners, straight body with all the trim, left rear fender dented (easy fix for me)
    Your Coupe is lovely.
  18. Definitely seeking advice to get to the basics; got a lot; still have LOTS of ideas but taking it slow and focusing on keeping it simple. Not really a young man (not sure I'd want to be one again anyway, I kind of like it here) except in heart.

    Thanks for the complement; no doubt we'll each find our own satisfaction in our projects. It's nice to have the history like you do knowing that you have have only two previous owners
    warhorseracing likes this.
  19. @CaliforniaDreaming There is nothing wrong with the "Street sleeper" look of a hot rod. My '51 sports dual carbs on an Ofenhauser intake, dual exhaust, headers, some suspension upgrades, wrapped in a shiny all chrome trimmed body.:D I like that look and always have.:cool: By young I mean your join date. Although you may still be younger than most.:rolleyes:
  20. Ashcraft
    Joined: Feb 4, 2010
    Posts: 44

    from Colorado

    Thanks for starting this thread. I just got my coupe less than two weeks ago and the knowledge in this thread is invaluable. My first car was a 1951 Ford, 239, and 6 volt. But that was over 50 years ago (mid-sixties). Learning lots of good stuff here. My 40 has a 1953 Merc flathead.
    warhorseracing likes this.
  21. Nice car! I think that it will be a better choice to keep it more of an original car. Go ahead and hop up the engine but keep the running gear with the original three speed (if you want better highway speeds get a Columbia or Mitchell) stay away from too many "updates" no fuel injection, no disc brakes and no A/C. Enjoy the old car experience for what it is. when set up properly these cars are very comfortable and easy to drive, they need no help from modern stuff. These of course are just my opinions but driving my '53 and '39 in basic stock configuration with a hopped up Flatty is an absolute joy for me. Very reliable and well mannered. All that being said, it is your car so do as you please. Cheers!
  22. The Flatheads in my '53 and '39, both running points and twin 97 carburetors. They run very strong and stone cold reliable. Both cars capable of better than 100 miles per and stop very well with stock hydronic drum brakes, keep them adjusted and drive ahead of your car.
    new engine.jpg 242055178_10227045459909438_7602224950335104438_n.jpg
  23. Thanks for more great ideas. Didn't get to spend too much time on the project this weekend. Thought I'd deduced that my electric fuel pump was just a priming pump and with my carb "tuning" and new priming procedure I'd be off to the cruise-in with no more troubles. NOT!!!

    Car won't run without the 4-5 psi electric fuel pump. Yes, that's too much pressure but with the electric pump off, the mechanical pump won't pull enough fuel through the electric pump to keep it running. Either it's not a flow through pump or there's something wrong with the mechanical pump. The pump is a Facet 6V pos ground pump that's been discontinued. Can't get an accurate description of the pump, and whether or not it't flow-through, for love or money.

    With the car running and the electric fuel pump running to keep the car running, pretty soon fuel spews through the float bowl cover gasket. Thought I was going to have a fire.

    Bought a piece of fuel hose at the auto parts store to bypass the electric fuel pump. Didn't have time to install it. Thinking through how to install it without getting gas everywhere and getting a big air bubble in the fuel line. Of course that might not fix it.

    Have a mechanical fuel pump rebuild kit on the way but the fuel pump is shiny and looks almost new so probably not the problem.

    Thought maybe a fuel filter problem but this car appears not to have one. No glass bowl and therefore no screen.

    By the way, found that the charging wire on the generator was not even finger tight; it was just attached by one or two threads and flopping around. Tightened it up.

    Now that I've figured out how to stop flooding the engine, this car really wants to run. I don't think I have any battery, charging, starter or ignition problems; just major fuel problems. BTW, the gas smells like paint thinner and is probably old but one thing at a time. Even with the old gas, the engine really wants to run.

    I assume that at some point in the recent past this car was pretty driveable with that electric fuel pump installed for a purpose. For the life of me, I can't figure out what could have changed to make it so awful now.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021
  24. Bet that Merc is going to be really sweet!
  25. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 6,616


    Dadgum, that is one pretty coupe! You did good! Once you get it all sorted out to where you can drive it wherever you like without worry, gonna be hard to get the smile off your face!
    I had a '47 Ford coupe with flathead and 6v system. Fun cars!
    Nostalgia Sid dropped the axle on my '40 coupe 2" and you might consider contacting him if you want to drop the front just a couple. Here's his website He is also on the HAMB
    Blacktop 150 June 13 2015 019.JPG
    warhorseracing likes this.
  26. Shamus
    Joined: Jul 20, 2005
    Posts: 1,217

    from NC

    Look at my Roadster, seems U want a similar drive train. Very reliable so far, finished in 2014. Easily keeps up with traffic, 65/70mph & has never over heated. A blast to drive.

    I should add that it now has an electric fuel pump as it needs a little assistance after not being driven for a while. I did have a mild custom '51 sedan that I sold a couple of months ago that still had the original flathead that was stock except for a Petronix conversion to the distributor, a 12 volt Chev alternator, new wiring harness & the before mentioned electric fuel pump. it was very under powered compared to my roadster & not near as much fun.

    Last edited: Sep 30, 2021
    Lawrence D likes this.
  27. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 7,560


    I just was on the FordBarn. I saw a thread (didn’t read it though) but question was along the lines of “where do you get your through-flow electric pumps from”.
    Could it be you have the wrong/incorrect electric pump?
    Even if you do, maybe just put a good regulator on it?
  28. Weekend report:

    1. The connecting hose for the electric fuel pump was 5/8" so that's what what I got more of to bypass it. Even with a couple of golf tee's plugging the lines while working, got a lot of gas on the garage floor. When installing the hose, had to screw on the hose clamps REALLY tight to keep it from leaking. Read later that the steel fuel line is 1/2", not 5/8" like the hose that was there and the new hose I bought. That would explain it.
    2. No fuel to carb with electric pump bypassed. Not surprised. Even though the mechanical fuel pump looks new inside and out, it seems not to pump any fuel at all. I hold my finger over the inlet and pump the lever but nothing. Don't know if this is a valid test or not. Don't think this thing is even capable of sucking the Mountain Dew out of a 7-11 Big Burp.
    3. Thought ahead and ordered a fuel pump rebuild kit. Took the pump apart and found that the check valves in the pump are press fit and can't be replaced, unlike the YouTube video I watched. Found a post by Charlie NY over on Ford Barn with this situation; basically a throwaway fuel pump. I wasn't going to put a good diaphragm from the rebuild kit into the cheap pump just to see if it worked without being able to install the new check valves too. Might have just had to turn around and throw out the old pump an hour later and not get a refund on the rebuild kit.
    4. I know the electric fuel pump works, so just to get on the road, I ordered a pressure regulator and fuel pressure gauge. I'll use my known working fuel pump to deliver fuel to the carb at the correct pressure. I'll see how it goes and maybe order a new, better, mechanical fuel pump later. In any case, it won't be a bad thing to have a pressure regulator and a fuel pressure gauge.
    5. I still have the carb rebuild kit ready to go but after dinking around with the fuel pump didn't have time to use it. Also kind of wanted to fix the fuel pump situation before moving on to the next thing.
    6. Read about Holly 94 power valve seating issues and see that the carb kit has the correct fat gasket but not a machined power valve like Charlie NY's. Ordered a power valve from him this morning.
    7. Looking at oil level again, it's about a quart high and smells like gas. Also bought new oil and a drain pan for next weekend.
    8. Be interesting to see what I find when I take the carb apart, the gas in the oil came from somewhere.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2021
  29. Yup! I'm working my way to a drive train like that. Very nice!
  30. Saw the thread and agree with you. Ordered the parts last night to install a regulator this coming weekend.

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