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Trained Monkey

Picking up the pieces...

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TM

You are correct about the Red Mercer Lhead repro project person's name was Libraire.

I wanted to suggest if you do need to consider a crankcase reproduction or other serious engine work I would direct an inquiry to David Greenlees in Brattleboro, VT. He specializes in Mercer and Locomobile mechanical restoration work. Here are a few images showing his shop and while this was about 15 years ago he did a 1915 Locomobile aluminum crankcase repro job.

He did commendable work on a friends 1911 Cole that had sat in barns from 1924 thru 1995! 71 years of idle is a long period but David corrected an oil pump problem and transmission fault and had it on the road in short order.

He is well respected by many Mercer owners.

Stude8

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Thanks for the advice, I found Mr Greenlees on the web and talked to him this morning. He advised against a reproduction crankcase on the basis of a prohibitive cost. After hearing the pricetag, I am inclined to agree:eek:.

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Stude8...... Thanks for the kind words and the photos.... Just to set the record straight the photo you posted was of the bottom half of new crankcases that I remachined for a 50 HP chain drive Simplex. The second photo shows transmision-differential cases that we have also done for a chain drive 50HP Simplex.

Trained Monkey.....Thanks for the call and good luck.....Your L-Head sounds like an very interesting car and project.

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I got some more pieces today! The body and frame are here and I am about to begin working on it. before I do though I wanted to get the comunity opinion about the scope of the project because a friend indicated that the car might have more apeal if left in the condition it is in and simply reassembled and made to run. Is this the case or would it be a better idea to do a full frame-up restoration? As i dont have any pictures to show at the moment I will say that the sheet metal is in suprisingly good condition but the paint has flaked off in some places and surface rust has settled in in it's place.

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Having visited your car several times while it was still up here, I would suggest you get it running mechanically and then enjoy driving it for a while. That should give you the desire to keep it running should you decide to do a more complete restoration in the future. Even L-heads were stripped of fenders, splash guards & running boards in order to be raced so you could just drive it that way while working out the mechanicals. I hope your father passed along my message to stop by to talk Mercer and compare notes next time you are in state. P.S. I know a highly skilled aerospace welder (including cast aluminum) with extensive experience fixing antique car parts if you need that service.

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21Raceabout,

My father did relay the message, hopefully next time I make a parts run I will have enough time off to visit you and your car.

As for the original topic of this thread (a how to manual) I may have found it! I visited an old highschool buddy who is working on a pulling truck (Think Fryeburg fair style) he had a book from the 30's "Dykes Automobile And Gasoline Engine Encyclopedia (20th edition)". It contained all the detailed information I was looking for, everything from how to pour babbit, to torque settings and such. Aparently it was a general mechanics shop guide and had info for all makes from the timeframe. I was stunned to see maintenance info for T heads and L-heads and even aircraft engines in the same book. He had been loaned the book by an old downeaster friend and couldn't let me borrow it but at least I have a direction to look into now! :) ( Found a few on e-bay and amazon.)

Edited by Trained Monkey (see edit history)

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Dykes manuals are a great "how to" reference for cars of that era. Do you have a copy of the 1959 L-head repair manual?

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T-M Be sure you get the year you saw..... content varied some from addition to addition. Not a lot but some.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the banter of this page- on and off topic both.

Sometimes we just all need to relax a little.... ;)

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There are handheld document scanners on the market that are about 1" in height and width. These would allow scanning without breaking the spine of most books...

If there is a rare book that someone would like to scan I can certainly build one that tapers down from 1" in height to less than 1/4" so it could be slipped into the page and scan away. You would only need to open the book slightly, even less than you need to see the text with your own eyes. Just a thought.

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Eotnak,

Thanks for the offer but the pages I have were already spine broken and photocoppied. No need for such a cool piece of tech.

On a happy note I have sold enough of my scrap motorcycle junk to fund some work on the Mercer. It will be going to a nearby frame repair shop to be matched up and verified square before being sent to a highly recomended sandblasting shop for cleaning. :)

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Could anyone tell me what the possible factory colors for a 21 raceabout were. There are several opinions about which mine was. I have heard bluish grey, and grey. but when I fether sand the outside of the body I come up with the following...

Metal, light green, hunter green, burgundy, light green (brushed on primer) and black.:confused:

under the seat covers inside the body I get...

metal, dark grey, light grey, black :confused:

Is there a book I should know about that would tell me what the paint process was for a Mercer? The only photos I have of the car back in the day are black and white/sepia and it looks white in those. :o

The black and brushed on green are most likely my grandfathers handywork.

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TM -

Per sales catalogs, 22-70 through early Series 5 Raceabouts were yellow, gray, blue or gun-metal (egg shell finish). This would have been body, fenders and frame. Later Hare's Motors catalog offered Raceabout only in Robin's Egg Blue, with black frame and fenders. The other models (Runabout, Sporting, Touring, Limo) also came in other colors like Thistle Green, Goldern Brown & Maroon.

Our car was originally painted (I think) a bluish-green with red leather upholstery. This suggests to me that the factory also accepted special orders as these were not advertised colors. Our car was subsequently painted red, dark blue, black then cream. Is currently yellow. The correct shade of yellow is a hot topic amongst Mercer folk, other than to say every owner will claim theirs is the correct shade. Stan has an old fender with some remnants of yellow paint he says matches Penn DOT yellow. Fred has told me a darker shade is more correct. There are some original color adverts for the Sporting and Touring which show the gray as being rather light and the blue as dark, almost navy blue. The gun-metal is a darker gray with a tinge of blue.

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Also have a magazine ad from the Automobile Trade Journal for the Valentine Company which boasts that they made paints and varnish for Mercer. I have some books on painting and color varnishing cars of that era. This was often done by brush painting or dipping, but you will probably use lacquer (not as durable) or modern urethane. Avoid paints that are intentionally formulated to "orange peel" to hide flaws in the body or enamels that can't be buffed.

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does anyone have a wrench for the inner bearing seals? or designs for an "easy" to make replacement for the correct tool? Is there a trick to removing them? I have gone through several failed attempts at making a wrench for them.

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It has been 17 years now since I pulled the rear bearings on a 1920 Series 5 Raceabout and used the tool in the attached sketch I drew up. My notes ay it was an OTC #1929 for 1946-80 GM 1/2-3/4 ton trucks. Similar to Snap-On #7090-A.

Don't know what you are exactly working on and whether it is same as the 1920 Mercer axle.

Stude8

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Stude 8,

Not quite what i needed but I am pretty sure I will be needing to have that one too. Right now i am dissassembling the front of my 21 raceabout for inspection/ restoration.

To be more specific about the tool I am after...the part i am trying to remove is #10171 and 10172 on page 70 of the series 5 parts List. The machinists tell me not to use pipe to make a t handle socket (what i had planned) but to use plate metal of some sort as to better hold the 4 tabs of the bronze(?) piece. If you have plans for a known-to-work tool for this I would be very thankfull.

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Unfortunately I live over 400 miles from where the 20 Mercer resides so I can't inspect the items you have the question about. I don't have any notes about what you describe, but making a multi tab tool to insert in the bronze ring slots you want to remove shouldn't be a difficult task grinding a piece of metal tube or "Pipe" to do the job. Just use care and accuracy for fit and try not to exert too much force on the target part that could damage it.

Stude8

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I found some copies of pages from older OTC and SnapOn catalogs of the spanner nut wrenches they marketed back in 1970's when we needed one to work on the 1920 Mercer rear axle bearings and seals.

Can't say they are still available but you can see if any are the exact size you need and then hunt for used wrenches at Hershey maybe.

Stude8

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I got the old ones out finnaly, the right hand side looks like it was put on with a cold chissel and I ended up using a cold chisel to get the left hand one out due to a bit of buggered thread on the hub. I am going to be having some new ones cast locally. If anyone is interested in having a few made the foundry is charging $40 each to pour the metal I am planning on turning over the patterns in about a week or so. PM me if you would be interested in getting a few spares made for your cars.

Unrelated question: I have 8 Rudge wheel nuts (round with "pin" holes, no ears) that need to be re-plated but 4 say "US PATS" on them and 4 do not, I presume this to mean 4 are older than their siblings. Which 4 are more correct to my 1921 Raceabout? I also have 3 or 4 that have thin pointed ears, any clues as to what vehicle they go to? (these are in very abused condition)

I would also like any advice on where to go for plating work in the north-east.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the banter of this page- on and off topic both.

Sometimes we just all need to relax a little.... ;)

I concur mercer09. Had the older fellows not wandered from the topic I would probably not have found this thread. And the off topic tangential info has been of great interest to me. Thanks old fellas.

And of course, thanks young fella, TM, for initiating the thread.

I'll use this opportunity if I may to off-topically advise that I am searching for an early '20s Stutz Delco light/ignition system dashboard switch. The switch with the two levers, with one lever controlling the lights and the other three position lever controlling the two distributor/coil ignition systems.

Help in procuring one of these switches would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

Jim Scammell

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Stude8,

Thanks for the drawing I am sure it will help in the next few days when i go to re-assemble the rear axle.

Here is a photo of the "inner bearing retaining nut(s)" in question and the tool I made to remove/ install them. No drawing to go by since I only needed the one. :)

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At long last a digital photo of the car...

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by the licence plate (still attached to the bracket in my garage) and the background, I have to assume this photo was taken by my grandfather the day he bought the car from Otto Johnson. If anyone has more photos of the car I would love to see them. I know they are out there because Stan Smith gave me one that he had bought on ebay that shows it with a 1932 New York license plate.

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Stans photo shows me that the car has not had the right side oil pump for a very long time and that the top and drum head and cowl lights were on it since some time before 32.

Mr Libaire told me that he may have some, because his father and my grandfather were friends back in the early days of the SCCA.

Any further info on the car or photos would be greatly appreciated.

Eric

Edited by Trained Monkey
second photo (see edit history)

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