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Projects FlatCab: 1932 Cabriolet, Hot 1941/42 Merc Flathead Build

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Bored&Stroked, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Merry Christmas Dale.......
  2. Runnin shine
    Joined: Apr 12, 2013
    Posts: 3,321

    Runnin shine

    Now that's what I call a Dyno pull!
  3. diiulio
    Joined: Dec 1, 2006
    Posts: 47


    This is a great thread. The pictures and explanation of tolerances, checking, solving problems... awesome. The ride sounds great even if it isn't tuned. Thanks for sharing.
  4. Thanks Carl - that might just be the best XMas card that I've received . . . EVER! LOL!
  5. 777
    Joined: Jul 17, 2008
    Posts: 196

    from Pasadena

    Dale, following everyone else's lead- your attention to detail has to be mentioned first! Nicely crafted. I noticed you mentioned wanting to run 4 carbs but they weren't available pre-war; well, Thickstun's first ever manifold is attached. It was cast in 35 or 6, can't remember off the top of my head anymore. He bought a Davies base and then cast the risers in high school with Radke. They couldn't get it to idle below 1000rpm so they shelved it. Around 39 Belond bought it for his roadster and Hanks tuned it with the help of Jack Henry; the carbs are bored 48s with the brazed up power valves and a 1-1 linkage. She runs like a dream right from idle to nearly 7k again with a big cam 0.264 and 0.272 @ .050, net lift 0.385 smaller displacement though .030 os and 1/8-inch stroke.
    I think we have met at GNRS but I had no idea you were a cam profile geek too; we'll need to talk at Father's Day!

    Attached Files:

  6. Jet96
    Joined: Dec 24, 2012
    Posts: 1,359

    from WY

    That is all very cool!
  7. dentisaurus
    Joined: Dec 11, 2006
    Posts: 395

    from Boston

    brilliant thread, I learned a lot. Thanks for taking the time to cover everything in so much detail
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
    crminal likes this.
  8. Giving the FlatCad it's first Annual Checkup . . .
    The old 39 Box with Zephyr gears finally died a miserable death (earlier this summer) - it so happened that it was the very next day after returning home from an event with Flop in PA. Thankyou HotRod Gods for not locking up the transmission while I was in that group of high-priced race vehicles at the Pittsburgh Race Week event - that would not have made me happy!

    Anyway, since I have a new "new" 39 box all ready to go - with 25T LZ gears and all . . . AND I was going to pull the engine and put a new oil pan on it . . . decided to check the main bearings while I had it out.

    2016-11-06 10.01.03.jpg

    Backing Up: I had the Merc crank offset stroked to 4 1/8" and then I did something I had never done before - had it "nitrided" to harden the journal surfaces. This is the first time I've done that on a Merc crank - was curious to see how the journals looked. Keep in mind, this engine probably has about 200 - 300 miles on it . . . but I've also worked it pretty hard (as is my nature).

    Pulled the center main cap and checked out the bearings - looking really nice. The crank looks fantastic and the bearings only show a bit of polishing on the surface - cool by me. The picture makes it looks like there are score marks - there definitely are not. I'm liking the nitride work so far.

    2016-11-06 11.58.12.jpg 2016-11-06 11.56.20.jpg

    Trans - It is Going to be Ugly Boys! - I drained the fluids and checked the bottom plug . . . not good. Keep in mind, I built this when I was 15 and didn't know much . . . and it survived 3 years of drag racing. Then I just threw it into the FlatCab - because I had it on the floor. The shifter is firmly stuck in 3rd - my guess is the synchro slider is stuck on the inner sleeve . . . from getting fubared on 2nd. Anyway - look at all the nice synchro material in the bottom plug! Yikes! I just hope the 25T cluster and main input shaft are still good . . .

    2016-11-06 09.08.43.jpg

    Time to get it back together for a few more rides before the snow flies!

    louisb, Burkedore and kidcampbell71 like this.
  9. dumprat
    Joined: Dec 27, 2006
    Posts: 3,223

    from b.c.

    Any indications on how all the diy piston coatings are holding up?
    mr. b likes this.
  10. I debated whether or not to pull the heads . . . but with the limited mileage on it, decided to get it back together and put some more miles on it first. I'd like to have at least 2000 miles on it so there is a real test of the coatings. I did check the rod bearings (forgot to take a picture), the coatings are partially worn - but still looking good. My main goal in putting them on the rod bearings was just to help them "float" during initial breakin - and they appeared to be floating/turning on both the crank journal and inside the big-end rod bore . . . so all is well at this early stage.
  11. dumprat
    Joined: Dec 27, 2006
    Posts: 3,223

    from b.c.

    Ok cool. Thanks.
  12. Runnin shine
    Joined: Apr 12, 2013
    Posts: 3,321

    Runnin shine

    When will the engine finally see a Dyno and carb swaps? I've been waiting.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    revkev6 and kidcampbell71 like this.
  13. Just Getting the Engine/Trans Ready to Go Back In . . .

    1) 32 Trans Mount Modifications: Given that I've added 'sealing caps' to the main shafts of the transmission, I needed to modify the mount to clearance for them:
    2016-11-12 15.15.13.jpg 2016-11-12 15.15.01.jpg

    2) 2nd Gear Positive Stop: I also modified the 39 shifter top - added a positive stop for the 2nd gear shift rail/rod. This prevents going past the true shift point - is a good thing to add. I tapped the top and cut down a grade 8 bolt to exactly touch the shift rail at the right place, then used red locktite to hold it. Had to shave the top of the bolt down - so it clears the transmission mount.

    2016-11-12 17.13.47.jpg 2016-11-12 17.14.02.jpg

    3) Modify the Oil Pickup - Correct Pan Location: I bought a new pickup from Speedway and I just plain FORGOT to validate how close it came to the bottom of the pan. Well - I put the pan on and then I noticed it was about an 1" off the bottom - way too far. I like to have the pickup screen about 1/4" to 3/8" off the bottom. Off came the pan and then I massaged the tube to get it in the right place.

    2016-11-09 13.45.33.jpg

    4) Oil Pan Back On: It is bit of a pain in the rear to put the pan on - as you have to get the 100% full-flow oil line through the side at the same time you're trying to get the pan to clear the pickup. I like looking at the new oil pan and paint - too bad one really can't see if in the car. LOL

    2016-11-12 14.12.28.jpg
    2016-11-12 14.12.46.jpg

    Okay - time to get this back in the chassis and up and running in the next few days . . . stay tuned!

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
    Jet96 likes this.
  14. nice work as always Dale......
  15. HiHelix
    Joined: Dec 20, 2015
    Posts: 381


    "Backing Up: I had the Merc crank offset stroked to 4 1/8" and then I did something I had never done before - had it "nitrided" to harden the journal surfaces. This is the first time I've done that on a Merc crank - was curious to see how the journals looked. Keep in mind, this engine probably has about 200 - 300 miles on it . . . but I've also worked it pretty hard (as is my nature)."

    The term is actually ION Nitriding. It is a plasma supported thermochemical case hardening process. It is more commonly used on work steels in dies and tooling.
  16. Well is she running like a bat out of hell once more?????????????
  17. Runnin shine
    Joined: Apr 12, 2013
    Posts: 3,321

    Runnin shine

  18. akoutlaw
    Joined: May 13, 2010
    Posts: 987


    Dale; In remembrance of Three Window Larry I think that a "Patiently Waiting" is due about now! ;)
    Outback likes this.
  19. Yea it didn't happen without pictures;)
  20. inquiring minds want to know........
  21. Okay, okay . . . was in Mexico drinking drinks with umbrellas in them . . . having bad thoughts about good women, etc.. LOL

    Just put the fenders on this evening - tried to start it . . . battery (only 2.5 yours old) won't hold a charge. CRAP! So, going to Batteries Plus in the AM - time to buy another. Just pisses me off that this battery only lasted 2.5 years - and that is with excellent care, a battery minder on it, always disconnected when not using, etc.. Arrrrrrrrrrrgh, there goes another $100 . . . BUT, this sucker is going down the road tomorrow, I don't give a shit HOW cold it is!

    Be right back to yah . . .
    Drewfus and Runnin shine like this.
  22. That really sucks Dale ....... guess I should be happy, got 15 years on a Optima red top in the 36, with just a cheap HF battery minder on it......but then 15 years ago I think they were made better.........
  23. New Magneto Drive Plate:
    The angle drive for the magneto put the edge of the magneto cap - really close to the fan belt. When I originally built the engine, I "punted" and ground the edge off the cap to gain some clearance. Also, I had to "tilt" the generator/fan assembly off to the Driver's side - to move the belt away from the cap. This has bothered me for a year - time to solve the real issue.

    Move the Mag Out! - Well, what it really needed was to space the magneto out about 1/2" more - which brings the edge of the cap away from the belt and gives me a little bit more room. This will still allow the fan to miss the magneto - with a tight fit, both directions.

    Cap - with 'Performance Mods':

    Cap copy.jpg

    Long Cam Button with a Slot and Tang: Another thing I wanted to "fix" - was to get rid of the cam button that is used when running a flat-nose style 59AB camshaft in a 42 block - with a distributor/magneto that is like the early 'Diver's Helmet' style of setup. The early distributors usually needed a spacer/button to take up the distance to the slot on the cam (or a long nose cam). Well, now that I've spaced the magneto out another 1/2", will need an even longer button (which nobody makes) - and I'm sure as heck not going to have TWO of them in there. Also, I don't like the chances for the button to flop around and timing to change (as there is nothing to center it).

    Side Note: Harman-Collins Magneto Drive Plates: I pondered using one of these setups (which is really for timing adjustment on a HC magneto) - but, with the longer button you use with them - they just center in the aluminum plate (no real bearing) - and I'd have to make a new spud anyway. I'll save it for a HC mag in the future.

    So, I drew up the plate in CAD, but didn't have access to a CNC milling machine to make a "one off", so time to use my old school mill and lathe . . . the good ole' "traditional way". Takes a lot longer - but the results are the same.

    1) Let the Chips Fly: Here I'm using a 3/4" plate of aluminum, which I'll then machine for a precise flange to fit into the timing cover - and a receiver on the front side to precisely center the mag drive.

    AluminumPlate-Mill copy.jpg

    2) Plate - All Done: Here is the plate with the mag drive receiver, flange on the back and bolt holes.

    Plate-FrontSide copy.jpg Plate-BackSide copy.jpg

    3) How About a Dang Sealed Roller Bearing: Decided to put a nice roller bearing in the middle and press fit the new magneto drive spud into it. This will give the spud something to run in, keep timing accurate and hopefully last awhile.

    Plate-Finished-Back copy.jpg Plate-Finished-Front copy.jpg

    4) Drive Shaft: I had to turn down the offset magneto drive shaft to fit within the roller bearing - not a big deal.

    DriveShaft copy.jpg

    5) Studs: I used studs in the timing cover - makes it a LOT easier to put the two gaskets, the new plate and the magneto on (everything is held in place on the studs) - glad I thought of that at the last moment. This picture is without the 'drive spud' - you can see the slot in the end of the roller cam.

    PlateOnEngine copy.jpg

    6) Final Pictures:

    Mag-Drive-Mounted copy.jpg MagMounted4 copy.jpg MagMounted1 copy.jpg

    Glad I took the time to "fix" stuff like this - cause if I don't do it now, then who knows when . . .

  24. Magneto Testing:
    The Vertex magneto is NOS - has only been in the car for about 6 months. Decided that since I had it out, might as well spin it up on my "Frankenstein" magneto test machine. I want to make sure it is in good working order and that the total degrees of advance are where they should be (8 degrees in the mag, 16 on the crank -- then I add about 8-10 more of initial advance . . . for a total of 24-26).

    This was something that I made up as a 'clone' of what Joe Hunt showed me in his shop in Torrance, CA - when I was 16 years old. He had a machine with spark plugs mounted on it - that he could vary the air gap on - this made it possible to put some load on the mag and ensure that it worked. He was a cool ignition 'mentor' to me - taught me a lot of good things back in the day.

    I've set the air gap at about 3/8" - then I can rotate the handle and move the tungsten electrodes away from the plugs. This mag isn't really high performance (as it is for gas on the street), but with some of my hopped up mags for Alky - can open up the gap quite a bit. I also test all my OHV MSD type stuff on it - prior to installation in a race car.

    Here yah go . . . on YouTube.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  25. Plugging One Heat Riser:
    I decided I wanted to plug just ONE heat riser into the manifold (for a little better sound), but leave the other side open to get some heat up into the manifold cross-over. Made a tapered aluminum plug and hammered it into the block - should work.

    2016-11-19 20.16.03.jpg
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  26. Ceramic Carb Coatings:
    This was an experiment that I wanted to try on this engine. I'm into coatings on pistons, valves, etc. - decided to try them on the carbs. I used a slight nickle colored bake-on ceramic coating (had to pre-clean, bake, sand blast the outsides, etc - before application). Lots of prep and masking work and two cycles in the oven.

    The coatings have been on over a year and the nice thing about them is that fuel doesn't bother them. The following picture is how they looked when I took the carbs off the manifold. I then just took a tooth-brush and some lacquer thinner to clean them up (didn't take the 'after' picture). The bases have a satin black ceramic coating - along with all the linkage and fuel/accel pump mechanisms/arms.

    Here is a carb - after a year, with some gas stains on it (like every other damn Stromberg I've ever ran!):

    2016-11-19 19.25.03.jpg
    Drewfus and kidcampbell71 like this.
  27. It is an inspiration to watch your work
  28. Dale the mag plate is cool beans. The bearing is a great addition. Glad to see your back from Mexico. We were all starting to get worried. Have you ripped up the street yet today. You say it's cold out over there so just kick on the fladcab heater and let's see some video.:D I should be sending you some video of hypersonic Rollin the streets here real soon. ;)
  29. akoutlaw
    Joined: May 13, 2010
    Posts: 987


    Dale, I look forward to your tech threads. Keep em coming. The video was cool. Thanks. Bill
  30. That carb coating is top shelf! Did you do this at home?

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