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Jack Bennett

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  1. My1927 Willys Knight is a brute. The car is macho from the deep throated sound of its sleeve valve engine to it beefy radiator…..his name is Willy. My 1923 Dodge Brothers Roadster is feminine from the curves of her body to the tiny foot pedals, and inability of a normal sized man to get into the car through the drivers door……..Her name is Veronica.
  2. Today I started the journey toward reversing the direction of the speedometer in my 1923 DB Roadster. Thanks to all the helpful input by many AACA subscribers, I have determined that the transmission presently in the car is not the correct transmission, and it is set up with a speedometer drive gear which rotates the speedometer cable in the direction opposite to the one the speedometer operates. Rather than mess with a bunch of adapters, worry about gear ratio mismatches, and all the stuff that stops my car from being fun, I’m replacing the transmission with one equipped with the proper drive gear. Photo number 1 was one of my parts transmissions this morning. Photo number 2 is the transmission after a day of cajoling, and it should be ready to install tomorrow. Hopefully, my speedometer will appreciate the amount of labor this took, and start counting forward, instead of reverse.
  3. My old friend, who’s name is scribed on the tomb of Ramasses as his chief chariot mechanic, continually refers to the air valve assembly on a Stewart carburetor as a “dashpot”, and gives me a look of distain every time I forget what it’s called. For me, “the ball thingy which is sucked up, and drops down in the carburetor” is sufficient. My mental block goes back to the infancy of my mechanical dialogue, and a “dashpot” was a device which used manifold temperature, a small spring and a vacuum tank to adjust engine RPM as it warmed up. We also fail to merge minds on a number of other terms used on the old cars……..but we ultimately agree, and, thanks to him, I now know exactly how a Stewart carburetor and a North East Electric Company starter-generator works. Effective communication is a whole lot of being interested, and a tad of being smart. Maybe, one day, we can discuss the delightful and historically rewarding art of privy diving.
  4. Hi Frank. I speak a couple languages other than the butchered one we call English. Lots of the technical terms used in the languages spoken in developing nations are stolen from more developed countries and then adapted to the characteristics and dialects of the country in which it is to be used. Of course the level of education and colloquialisms have to be included or the average person would have no idea what was being discussed. The Vikings were great navigators, and it is believed that this was not a trait passed at birth. Rather, they had a stone, resembling a gem, which reflected and refracted light in a very certain and predictable way. When held up to the sun, by looking at the way the light passed through the stone, very precise directions, as well as their location on the globe could be ascertained. That was simple because the Vikings knew what a boat was, where they started and where they intended to go. But to explain “up”, down, left, right, forward, reverse, hot, cold, dark, light, smooth, course…..and on forever, to a fish, would be like trying to teach a Viking to use a map, a protractor and a compass. That said, it’s more about getting the job done, whether you know everything there is to know about telling time with a clock, or you take great pleasure teaching someone to use a shadow, sun dial or a clock to tell time, time will get counted, and guys like us will talk about old cars on a forum like this.
  5. Sure wish you’d posted this a few days earlier. Perhaps then I wouldn’t have went out to my junk pile, late the other night, and, while dragging the old transmissions around trying to count the teeth with a small flashlight, the neighbors security lights went on and I heard their patio door slam open. It took a couple of tries to convince them that I was outside, in the rain, in my sweat pants, with a tiny flashlight, dragging old transmissions around and turning them every which way to look inside, because I was trying to count the number of teeth on a speedometer drive gear. I think I did a fair job of convincing them that I wasn’t doing something illegal. But I am 100% sure I heard the security lock on their patio door double lock after it was closed.
  6. Being retired military, I too like statistics and correct descriptive verbiage to express them. Primary though, my comparisons are limited to numbers like .223, .556, .30 and .50 caliber, 9mm, and bigger numbers like 105mm and 9 inch, and are usually accompanied by nouns such as API, HEP, HEAT, WP, HE and other neat stuff to give a better idea of whether or not you should play with it.
  7. Thanks for the links Tom. I have decided that I will remove the transmission, which is both incorrect, and noisy as all get out, from the car and just build another one which has the right pitch and direction of rotation of the Speedo drive gear. The car appears to have a completely rebuilt clutch but it doesn’t have adjustment, is grabby and makes a whole lot of noise…and I think it’s a more permanent fix to change the whole transmission than put a bandage on it to change direction. These gizmos are cool, but I gather they are more intended to change the path of the cable, e.g. add a 90 degree turn or change the gear ratio to match a new speedo to a old car. Thanks again…….I will post a update as my project advances or regresses to a point of total satisfaction, or irrevocable defeat.
  8. Thanks for the information mike6024. However, information regarding a problem with these old cars, which have been loved to death by a lot of people, over the past 100 years is on par with learning how a parachute works, only to remember you forgot to bring yours, right after you’ve jumped from the plane. In the case of my 1923 Dodge Roadster, I am finding that it has been fixed so many times, by so many different people, they forgot what it was they were fixing, and started doing some really stupid stuff instead. On the Dodge Brothers Club forum there is a toggle which directs you to a page called “confidential information”. It does say everything one needs to know about these old cars, and that is that nobody knows anything about these old cars, and covers their lack of knowledge with the intelligent sounding label “confidential”. Actually, the whole collection of “confidential documents” have nothing to do with maintenance…..rather they are nothing more than directives given to dealers regarding marketing pointers to sell the cars. And they aren’t even worth the time it takes to open the page to find this out. Back to my old Dodge……..I am finding out that innovation, so far as things done when “fixing” these old cars is limitless, and is in no way connected to mechanical aptitude or abilities. You are absolutely correct in your descriptions of gear types, and rest assured that these, as well as hundreds of “confidential” gear types have been used on these cars. And then the human element, coupled with a bit of innovation and necessity are included, and you have a situation such as mine. I have determined that the transmission installed in my old Dodge was probably a nice looking repaint picked up at Hershey, or some other swap meet in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, or on Easter Island. They needed a neat looking cover, and bought, or traded for one which could be cleaned up pretty well. Then, when it was discovered that the cover didn’t fit the case because the shift lever and tower were in the wrong place, they reinvented the floorboards to fit the new cover. And then it was discovered that the driven speedometer gear, with the proper tooth count and pitch, didn’t fit the cover because the case into which the shaft was mounted, and upon which to gear was attached, was too short to allow threads to attach the cable to extend through the thicker mounting surface on the new cover. So, the driven gear assembly, with a longer shaft, but different tooth count and pitch was bastardized, the fine tooth, one direction gear was removed, and the coarse, opposite direction heat was pounded onto the longer shaft. It fit, but it was the wrong direction, and the driven gear which would have worked with the proper transmission drive gear was destroyed in the process. And then he died………and all the junk was thrown into 15 gallon plastic containers, and left for 45 years in the basement of his house. And then I added ineptitude to insanity, and, without the understanding that, not only gears with both directions and a few different gear tooth counts and pitch were used when the cars were manufactured, hundreds of innovative, “necessity being the mother of invention” improvements and modifications have been made which makes any information regarding what the part looked like in 1923 totally useless. yesterday I removed the transmission cover again, removed the coarse driven gear from its bunged up shaft, and using a couple of other driven gear mounts, made one which is the proper length, pitch and thread count to match the (forgetting that the drive gear in the wrong transmission was the original problem) related the cover to the transmission, AND, IT WORKED PERFECTLY! And exactly as it had before I removed the cover to correct the problem of a 100 year old speedometer working in reverse. It was exactly like it was before I started……albeit, it didn’t destroy the driven gear this time, but it still works in reverse. I have a couple of other transmissions with the gear which will mate with the drum type speedometer driven gears I can now fabricate, and that is my solution……….I will change the transmission, and the proper driven gear can come along for the ride.
  9. My attitude while working on a machine that has already lived a long life, and may have died a number of deaths before my resurrection attempt, is that it’s 99% about the trip, and .01% about the destination. I would look with envy at the thousands of professionally restored DB Roadsters out there, and feel really bad that I I didn’t possess the inventory of skills necessary to take a rusty, rotted, rat eaten, recluse of a car and reconstruct it into a machine which was originally put together by a bunch of farmers, using hand tools and tractor maintenance techniques, 100 years ago. But, I also realize that these cars will once again be relegated to the refuse pile, and either rust away in a field, or be hidden away in some barn for another 100 years regardless of how much effort I apply towards restoring it to a condition better than new. What it is all about is gaining a identity and associating it with a object which excites and incites good memories….rather than those associated with the complexities of life today. My old car are the invitation and permission to talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere about the folks who owned/drove a similar car 50 years ago (tears optional), their first car, and the part it played in their lives, and the irreplaceable glitter in a kids eyes when they can sit behind the steering wheel of a 100 year old car for a photo with dad. It’s all about what the cars do for our daily lives during their resurrection, and not necessarily about how much paint and fabric was used during their restoration.
  10. Thanks Bud……A lucky day of working on these old cars is one which lets you eat supper with nearly the same quantity of blood you had at the start of the day. These cars are no more than a hobby, and the learning curve of their peevish problems is what keeps it interesting. Earlier in my life I built control line (RC had not been invented) model planes. Some of these highly detailed creations took a year or more to finish, and, for a kid on a almost nothing budget, very costly. And then comes the big day at the ball field, and a crowd has gathered to watch your beautiful P-51 Mustang roar and soar as I do loops and dives, with the tiny gas engine screaming. A slip of the finger while spin starting the engine can result in a rather nasty cut from the razor sharp prop. This is kept interesting because the blood from the cut mixes with the fuel being sprayed from the engine, and when blown about in the prop wash, creates a crimson rainbow with beautiful flickering colors. But, it’s all about flying, and cuts grow less painful when that beautiful airplane gains speed, and in a rush of smoke and blown dust, lifts from the ground for the first time since it was mere balsa wood, silk span paper, glue, and lots of model dope (paint). It’s a wonderful day, the sun is warm and the breeze is blowing. And, that does make the remainder of the day bearable after having to pick up the mangled, barely recognizable pieces of my beautiful model which crashed mere seconds after the wheels left the ground. And thus begins the education of a kid who finally decides to get a old Dodge and, using a lot of wood, glue and paint, assemble it into a beautiful machine capable of soaring along the highways at biways at a break neck speed of 35 MPH……if only the speedometer would keep working.
  11. Thanks Robert, but I believe I have painfully discovered that the only thing consistent with these old cars is the expectation of them being inconsistent. I found that there are, most certainly, two different gear ratios and the direction of rotation of the speedometer drive/driven gears used in the DB cars of this age. Rather than checking your parts book, which I certainly appreciate the offer, stop by my garage and I’ll show you at least two of the vastly different speedometer set-up’s used just in this model year. And, since I have exposed the crimes, and there is nothing to solve other than to ask the question why……we’ll have time to drink a cold beer or two and watch the sun set over Mount Rainier.
  12. You are looking at the photos correctly. The gear with the course teeth is the gear in the transmission which is now installed in the car. It was this gear which chewed up the teeth on the driven gear, also out of this transmission. The gear with the fine teeth are the gear(s) in the other two parts transmissions I have. And, it appears that the driven gear I installed in the transmission should actually be mated with the fine teeth gears, which or opposite in direction, and not the course tooth gear in my go-to transmission. I have posted another photo, this one taken from the maintenance book on this car, and it shows the speedometer drive gear, in the transmission, as having the same direction teeth as the one presently in the cars transmission. So, apparently, the other two transmissions are from a different year of Dodge Bros. car, as we have established the three other transmission covers I have, to be. And, maybe the transmission and its speedometer drive gear are the ones taken from the car while it was being stripped for restoration. If that is the case, and I can find a driven gear, of the same pitch and direction, maybe this will salve the problem with my speedometer……..and then the distributer will probably melt or the rear end will fall off……but that’s a day in the life of the father of a spoiled brat.
  13. Of course that last sentence was tongue in cheek. My handle on the situation may as well be attached with chewing gum in a hot shower. I have three transmissions, two with high gear ratio speedometer drive gears going one direction. I have a third transmission with a low gear ration going in the opposite direction of either the speedometer (?) or the other speedometer drive gears. This is nearing the point where I retreat to my wood work shop, cut a dowel pin the same diameter as the hole in the transmission cover, where the speedometer driven gear would mount, drive that dowel in that hole, replace my floorboards, and call it done.
  14. Hi Laser. I scrolled through the thirty or so responses to your introduction, and the most noticeable thing is the absence of any response from you. Being young was a affliction most of us wisened people had to endure. But, we survived and now belong to a society which uses communication as a tool for enlightenment. Please post whatever it is you own, in the qualified car category, anything you hope to do, in the qualified car category, and anything else permissible within forum rules……but post something. You won’t be young forever, and aging with people like those who frequent this forum takes practice. Do it in style and start letting us know who you are and what you drive…..now!
  15. Probably the most used color in old/classic car restoration is green. No, that’s not the color most used for engine paint, or even for that snappy, old looking simulated tweed upholstery. It is the color of money spent on paying a professional to do something, because it should look “original” and Lordy, doing upholstery, body work, electrical, wood work, paint, glass work, replacing worn or missing rubber….and on forever, has little to do with being able to restore a 114 year old car to its “original” condition. Too many people get into old car restoration because it wakes up memories of the years when they HAD to do their own mechanical repairs, and banging out a dent was always worth two or three relooks to admire the handiwork. Then comes the remembrance that sewing upholstery or doing rotted floor boards is better left to the professional. And then comes the chrome work and custom paint….oops, forgot to mention that there was no garages or paved roads in 1921, and the car being restored to its “original” condition was a abandoned rust bucket which had been parted out decades ago….but it is now our job to restore it to a rolling show piece. Too bad that so many of these old cars will never see the road again because of the age, amount of money available, and limited time left to live or the people who start the restoration. My cars are done within my limitations, and the only one I have to please when I sew up the top or do the upholstery is me…..and my little mix breed dog. I had a friend post to his Facebook page a comment about a encounter he, and his children, had with a elderly couple, and their immaculately restored Model T’s in a local grocery store parking lot. The post begin by saying what beautiful cars relics were, and how his kids were so anxious to look at them. However, during their period of admiration, the older man returned and immediately ordered the father to get his kids away from his car. For shame…..these cars are rolling history, and a major part of the admiration for the car is directed toward the owner as appreciation for making the car available to share with others who love its history. My 1927 Willys Knight was no more than a rusty tin shell when I bought it. It had sat abandoned in a grain silo for 30 years, had been ravaged by hungry rats, the top tattered and missing, and then sat abandoned outside for another 30 years after the GGF died, the GF inherited, and started restoration of the car, and then he died. The Grand daughter brought the car to Washington State in 2012, and quickly abandoned it also. And then I bought it. Since that time the $9.99 each fax velour blankets and road kill upholstery I done the interior upholstery in has heard the laughter of a hundred kids who enjoys riding in it, and the expressed admiration of their parents for me providing the memorable experience. My 1923 Dodge Roadster can expect to have several butts seek comfort on her seats, be a learning lab for youngsters who are interested in a vacuum fuel tank or how external contracting, mechanical brakes work…….and I will love every minute of it. Probably the best way to own a un-driven, totally, and professionally restored car is just watch the local paper, read the obituaries, and go to the estate sale……lots of old cars are passed from person to person this way.
  16. Chock blocks and a come along anchored to the trailer hitch. Cables snapping are to be avoided when possible. For no reason other than the pure fun of it, I like Dandy Dave’s suggestion to unleash that puppy into a open field, and let her run wild until saddle broken and totally passive.
  17. Hi Mike6024…..well, they were for at least the amount of time it took to turn them to burnt toast.🤓
  18. You win the genius prize of the day. Bloo. Now that I have the phots, side by side, to compare, I got a OMG minute when I noticed that the transmission drive gear isn’t only different in the tooth count and spacing, they are different in direction of rotation also. So, it is a compounded problem by not only a mismatch of drive and driven gear teeth, it is a problem created by a right hand twist driver trying to drive a left hand twist driven gear. I think I have a handle on the situation and can now convince my old Dodge to add, not consume, miles, and move forward at a known and appreciative speed.👏
  19. To begin with, I need to say how much it s appreciated that you, and every other AACA subscriber has responded so rapidly, and readily to my speedometer dilemma. I am serious about things that worry my cars, and anyone who shares those concerns is considered a good friend. So, here goes…..I post to the AACA forum for a couple of reasons. First off, I too am learning about the aches and pains experienced by these old relics, and I feel a level of kinship by being able to give them a little longer life. There is no skill base tappable which exceeds those talents and skills possessed by you folks, who also share a kinship with your machines. I have always believed that, if you wanted to learn stupid stuff, tap the idiot brain stem. But, if you were really interested in learning information of value, soar with the eagles who were experts in their chosen crafts. Secondly, by writing, I am my most avid reader, and the best way to remember anything is to write it down. I do not expect anyone on this forum to be able to solve any or all questions asked of them. And, as in my case, repeated writing of the problem gave me the information and stimulus to discover what was causing it. I bought my 1923 Dodge Bros. Roadster as a failed restoration by two previous people, and, literally, it was little more than a trailer load of nuts, bolts, brackets and gizmos. Only through tenacity, and a lot of help from folks like you, it now has a seat to sit on and can be rolled instead of carried. But this progress has not came without set backs and disappointments, and the latest speedometer fiasco was part of a ongoing learning curve. The transmission was sitting on the frame, and connected to the engine, but was missing the cover, and the cover provided didn’t fit properly. From the parts transmissions I had gleaned with the car I built a cover, and obtained the correct shift lever and emergency brake handle to fit the car. However, the speedometer drive gears on all the covers were either frozen or rusted beyond serviceable repair. So, I contacted a local friend, who is a collector of Dodge memorabilia, and obtained one in good condition. It fit the cover perfectly, and was promptly installed into the transmission. Then the demons reared their heads and imposed a difference between the drive gear on the transmission main shaft, and the teeth on the drive gear installed in the transmission cover……and then comes the problem. The three transmissions appear outwardly to be exact replicas of each other. The internal story is very different, and as shown in the photos, the width and number of tracks on the worm gear installed in the car is different than either of the other two. And the spacing of the drive gear teeth on the cover is different also. Long story short….the drive gear I installed on the new cover was a mismatch in teeth spacing, and tooth count, from the gear installed to the main shaft of the transmission. The drive gear installed to the cover wasn’t only spinning backward, it was destroying itself in the process. Tomorrow I will either talk to Rodger ((Dodger) Hadley about the choices of buying a cover installed drive gear that matches the tooth count and track width of the one now in the car, or rebuilding one of the other transmissions and buying a cover installed gear to match the narrower tracks and one less tooth count.
  20. The odd sound you aren’t hearing is me scratching my head. The speedometer, when mounted in the dashboard counted the odometer down, not up. And the speed jumped around, bouncing from 0 to 5 MPH and back to zero. When the speedometer has subtracted 16 miles from the 9999 miles it originally showed, I guessed it was working backwards. So, I disconnected the cable from the speedometer, left the other end attached to the transmission. Then I drove the car forward, observing the cable, from my place on the seat, while it was pointing toward the, now exposed, opening at the bottom of the speedometer. The cable rotated in a direction, as observed from the top, in a direction beginning at the passenger door and ending at the steering wheel…..or counter the direction a needle would move on a speedometer with a pointer, rather than a wheel. Upon returning home I removed the speedometer from the dash board and, using a spare speedometer drive cable and electric drill, powered the speedometer up. When the drill rotated from the left to the right…..or in the direction the needle on a pointer type speedometer would move, the speedometer registered both speed (up to 65 MPH, and logged the odometer mileage as added distance, rather than subtracting it. I then took a spare speedometer drive gear, removed from one of the spare transmission covers provided with the car, and went to the two spare transmissions, also provided with the car. When mated with the transmission drive gear on the spare transmission, the cover drive gear would be turned in the same direction as the speedometer properly worked…..left to right. I too suppose that fate has sent me three oddball transmissions and three oddball speedometers, and provided a oddball car to put them in. Were this the case I would call it “providence”, but I would rather believe there is someone, somewhere, who has had this problem, and it will be resolved.
  21. Thanks for the response, and, I really appreciate the human side you’ve revealed by admitting you are learning a hobby, and enjoy writing about it. To answer your question though…..No, the worm gear, which drives the gear which spins the speedometer cable is a permanent part of the transmission main shaft. Even reversing the gear, if that is possible since it is a worm gear, would not change the direction the gear it drives rotates. The gear which turns the speedometer cable is mounted to the transmission cover and it is impossible (well, maybe some people could) to install either upside down or backwards. I suppose there is a speedometer drive gear, which installs inside the transmission, which has a twist opposite to the one I have, but I’ve never seen one. Thanks again for your response…..it makes viewing the forum worthwhile.
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