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1928 & 1930 Model A Tudors


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I inherited two model A's and have recently began making arrangements to do off frame restorations. I've been reading a lot and have a question about the wooden blocks between the body and frame. Have any material other than wood been used successfully. I want to do a touring restoration and plan on driving them pretty extensively. So I was curious if any sort of plastic or rubber blocks of the same dimensions would work. Just thinking about something that won't rot over the years. Thanks

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I inherited two model A's and have recently began making arrangements to do off frame restorations. I've been reading a lot and have a question about the wooden blocks between the body and frame. Have any material other than wood been used successfully. I want to do a touring restoration and plan on driving them pretty extensively. So I was curious if any sort of plastic or rubber blocks of the same dimensions would work. Just thinking about something that won't rot over the years. Thanks
How long do you plan to live? :D Given the limited time the car will be driven and (I hope) the protected storage the cars will receive, new wooden body blocks should last for many, many years
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I was thinking about ordering a new set and then cnc machining an exact match out of UHMW plastic. That stuff is so strong they make skid plates out of it. I really want to drive the cars a lot. I retire in 7 years and want to take some nice leisurely trips around the country ;). As for the time, well I plan on leaving one to each of my boys so I'm going to try to squeak another 100 years out of them.. lol.

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matter,

I would not spend too much time worrying about the wooden body blocks. There are enough other parts in the car that are made out of wood that you won't be significantly altering the life of the restoration by finding something to replace the wooden body blocks. Often "improvements" turn out not to be an improvement over the original.

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The shiny one with the plate is registered as a '30. The dusty one has the shorter, fatter front end. By the look of the radiator cowling I figured it for a '28. The '30 just needs a clutch and a tune up. It was last on the road in 2007 and when the clutch started slipping my father would just trailer it to the local shows and just drive it the last two miles or so. The other A has been in storage since about 1963. That's the one I want to "restore" first.

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You can't really identify it as 1928 or 1929 by looking at the body. The serial number on the frame rail can be used to date the car. Originally it matched the engine number. The engine number, if it has not been changed, will help date the car. Post the engine number and we can possibly identify the year of the car.

If you are going to restore it, when you lift the body, the frame number will identify it, assuming it is still visible. What really matters is being able to register the car. Depending on what state you are in, that could be easy or difficult if you don't have a title. Legal documentation of the serial number and year for registration is more important than which year it is identified as.

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There are a few minor features to differentiate between the 28(early 29) and the 29. One thing is fluted headlights which don't matter to you as the headlights are wrong. Other things are the drum shaped taillights and red steering wheel. There are also some mechanical differences like the powerhouse generator, the oil pump access cover on the oil pan and the handbrake in front of the shifter. All these things are commonly changed but if you have any of them the car is probably a 28. Otherwise it's a 29.

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Marv,

Some of the early cars had gas tank with dates. Not all of them do. From someone on Fordbarn that I trust, it appears that the earliest recorded firewall date is 5-16-28...the latest date recorded is 9-20-29. The best theory is that the date is the date of the gas tank inspection, which would be before but relatively near the assembly date of the car.

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I checked out the website, so far it seems like a '28. Single barrel tail light, bumpers, have to wait till I'm off of work during the day to crawl around under the hood and check, no lights in the shop yet :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

The frame spreader is mostly used to install an engine in a Model A. That's because it can be tricky to get the bell housing set in perfectly between the motor mounts without it. You might be confusing it with spreading the rear spring to pull the shackles out without the tension. That's when you're removing the rear

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  • 1 month later...

Been working on the 1930. Got fuel and spark, but it just won't fire up. Cleaned all the connections and spins over pretty good. Got a backfire today in the garage that nearly deafened me. At least I know something is firing.

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Have the ignition lever pushed all the way forward, and throttle cracked a little. Just ordered everything from battery cables to rotor and points. Once it's all in I'll go over the timing.

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I still think your 30 is a 31 even though the reg says so. It could very well have been a 31 sold late in 30 and thus registered that way. Some states went by the year the car was first sold and therefore titled them that way. The painted inserts on the radiator shell are a 31 feature. There is always the possibility that someone swapped a 31 shell on the car too.

There's not enough of the car to see in the photo if any other 31 specific details are visible.

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New battery cables (heavier than what was there), new inline fuel filter, new screen filter in carb (original was missing), new points, new cap and cable to coil, and new plugs. Just waiting on a timing wrench to get that set, then hope to get it fired up by next week. Will running it get all the carbon out of the cylinders or will I have to pull the head?

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What is a timing wrench?

On a "A" you remove the timing pin from the timing cover with an ordinary wrench, turn it end for end and stick it back in the hole. Turn the engine with the crank until the pin drops into a hole in the cam gear. Set the points until they are just starting to open and you're done

Addendum.

I just Googled "Timing wrench". I'm sure they are nice, but Model "A" timing has been set a bazillion times without one. 35 bucks seems like a lot of dough for a tool that you might use 2 or three times in a lifetime

Edited by 58Mustang (see edit history)
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They sell a little flat sheet metal wrench used to hold the distributor cam when loosening the cam screw and can turn the cam and hold it in place when retightening the cam screw. There is some play that you want to take out before you set your timing. Those wrenches should only be a coulpe of bucks!

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Well, I figure I'll be using it again on my 28. Any excuse for a new tool. Lol. After I'm done with these two I'm hoping to pick up a few more. There's one for sale less than a half mile from me now. Have to stop in and check it out;)

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I also have the small flat wrench, but need the larger one to turn the engine over to #1 TDC. Then I'll set the cam in the distributor. Also just finished watching the video by Les Andrews, have to check adjustment on the steering column.

Edited by matter (see edit history)
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This is what I used to do ,but you're not supposed to. I'd reach over and push down on the starter rod to crank the engine to a position close to the indent hole on the camshaft. Because there is little compression I was able to grab the fan and turn the engine enough to line up the hole and pin. I'd back the dist. cam up a bit to remove play and set the cam. Then I would turn the key on and with the fan gently reverse the engine enough to close the points. Then I would turn it in the direction of rotation with the pin in the hole and listen for the snap of the spark. If it occured when the pin fell into the hole I knew it was right. Don't push or pull too hard on the fan (if it's original ) 'cause they can break! No real need for a tool to turn the engine,just use the crank!

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I was going to do the timing today but the electric junction box on the firewall fell into about 15 pieces. So spent my time wiring in the new one. Does anyone know the best way to clean carbon out of the cylinders (without removing the heads). Is there something to add to the fuel? Thanks for any advice in advance :)

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There is a way I've cleaned carbon without pulling heads but it requires the engine to run. Do it at your own risk. You pour some water and ATF at the same time into the carburetor while revving up the engine. I'm not sure how well it'll go with an updraft carburetor but it worked good on an old beater with a downdraft carburetor. There were huge amounts of smoke and steam and the engine had a tough time trying to keep running but it seemed to run better after all the smoke cleared.

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Set the timing, made sure everything was good to go, and tried to fire her up. Ran great for a whole hot 5 seconds, then wouldn't fire again.....sigh. Have a friend coming tomorrow to see what I've done wrong :)

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Apparently at some point in the past someone cobbled a pigtail wire from the bottom to the top plate. It was grounding out against the side of the housing. A little black tape and taa daa! Fired up and ran good, skipped a little so I'm going to re-check timing and clean the plugs again. Found an exhaust leak at the manifold (new gasket will sort it out). I've been going over my carb, which is a Zenith when I realized that the float shutoff valve is a Tolletson rather than from a Zenith. Is that a normal substitute or did someone mess that up too?

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