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1920 Chalmers Restoration


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  • 2 months later...

Hi Bob,

As a new owner and restorer of a Chalmers I am very impressed with your work and very envious of your new wheels, I would like to get a new set made for my car, could you give me details of your wheelbuilder ? are the metal rims available anywhere ? are decent split rims available also ?

Chalmers020_zps87aa6e11.jpg

Andy

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Hi Bob,

As a new owner and restorer of a Chalmers I am very impressed with your work and very envious of your new wheels, I would like to get a new set made for my car, could you give me details of your wheelbuilder ? are the metal rims available anywhere ? are decent split rims available also ?

Chalmers020_zps87aa6e11.jpg

Andy

Hi Andy,

Thank You, Welcome aboard!

Regarding your question about rim availability for a 1913? Chalmers. It would be best to post that request under "Buy/Sell".

About "My Wheelmaker". That request would have to be made via a private message.

Regards,

Bob

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Hi again Andy,

What do you plan to do about front and rear hubs, & felloes, for your new wheels? When I began on my 1920 restoration, It had 21" steel disc wheels. The car originally came with 24" Kelsey rims, I found the front and rear hubs, and needed rims and felloes. Fortunately other makers of the same period, namely Dodge Bros. used the same 24" rims, felloes, and don't forget the rim bolts and nuts. With all of that material, I sought out a wheelwright, who made the spokes from my patterns. All of that effort took many years, but that was the route I had to go. Regards, Bob

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Hi Bob,

I am looking out for any of the relevant parts to build up to a set of wheels, I understand how long it takes that is why I am starting now while the wheels I have are still usable, do you have any good sources of wheel parts ?

I am also looking for a Splitdorf magneto or parts for one, points, distributor cover, etc.

Andy

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Hi Andy,

In the past, I've been able to find rims, felloes, and related hardware at swap meets. Fortunately, I found the remains of a 1921 Chalmers touring, and from it, was able to salvage hubs, rear drums and other missing items. Stuff is still out there, you just have to keep searching and advertising your needs.

If you can make it to Hershey, in the Fall, that's always a good place to locate hard to find missing items.

My area of interest are Chalmers Cars of the 1920's. I'll keep my eyes open for you.

Lot's of luck.

Regards,

Bob

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  • 2 months later...

I believe that the three main causes leading to the destruction of an automobile, by natural causes, are fire, water, and termites.

My 1920 Chalmers, prior to my ownership, had suffered from all three. In my case, fire caused the most damage. I considered water/rust, second, and termite damage as third. My reasoning for this conclusion was arrived at because, although the fire was limited to the front seat area, it caused serious damage to the Ignition and Lighting Switch Assembly. Very few remnants of that Assembly survived. There was collateral damage to surrounding components, like the front seat structure, instrument panel, and steering wheel, but they are restorable.

With regard to the loss of the Ignition and Lighting Switch Assembly, the only proofof what had previously occupied that location, were two salvageable components, the Housing, containing the fused remains of a casting, and the Wire Tube,[ATTACH=CONFIG]203033[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH=CONFIG]203034[/ATTACH]which had transported six wires running from the Fuse Block on the firewall, to the now missing Ignition and Lighting Switch Assembly.

Hanging from the Wire Tube were five-14 gage, and one-10 gage "fried" wires. Both the Housing and the Wire Tube were found in the rubble on the driver's floor boards

The only references I had, as to what the original Ignition and Lighting Switch looked like, was a photo of the instrument panel, from a 1920 Chalmers advertising brochure, showing the Ignition and Lighting Switch Assembly, as mounted in the car, and how the major components mated together. In addition, my reference material included an illustrated 1916 Chalmers parts manual which shows the 1916 version of the Ignition and Lighting Switch Assembly. This information, though outdated, gave me a design concept, as to the number and type of parts used in the various sub-assemblies which were gone.

I needed more detailed information, and turned to a friend, who had previously restored a 1920 Chalmers 5-passenger Touring, like mine. He had kept detailed notes, records, photos, and most important, spare parts of the Switch Assembly, all of which, he was willing to part with.

My good friend also created a drawing of the entire Switch Assembly, which I am indebted to him for. Without which, I would not have easily been able to replicate parts to restore my Switch Assembly. I still have wires to fabricate, and some minor restoration to do, but the major work is completed on this project.post-53992-143142012968_thumb.jpgI would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my friends, like Ted, who without their support and encouragement, I would not have been able to continue to progress on my challenge to complete my restoration. This is really what AACA, and this hobby is all about!

Thank You,

Bob

e[ATTACH=CONFIG]203031[/ATTACH]

post-53992-143142012936_thumb.jpg

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Ignition and Lighting Switch Assembly (continued)

I realized that the photo which showed the fused Switch Assembly remains, within the Housing had "vaporized", so I've resubmitted it. Sorry about thatpost-53992-143142021554_thumb.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

After completing the restoration of my Chalmers ignition switch assembly, I decided that I needed a key to operate it, as one had not been included in the purchase. I had little information regarding what the original key looked like, nor who manufactured it. My friend Ted, who had supplied me with the isometric drawing of the assembly, had included a "tracing" of a key, which he identified as "Ignition Key". The only other reference I had of a key was a photo of the key used in the 1917 Chalmers illustrated parts manual. That key bore a similar resemblance to the tracing "Ignition Key".

I needed further proof that the two keys were the same. I got that proof, when a key "For Sale" showed up on Ebay. The seller had done his homework, and had researched that the key he was selling, was used by Chalmers from 1917 through 1921. The key was made by Briggs and Stratton, and it's identity was Coil Switch Key # C-2. Unfortunately, the key was missing it's tip (duly noted by the seller). So I decided to pass on it, and make my own key. I used my parts manual photo, which I scaled up to the correct size, and copied it (using the switch assembly key opening area size as a guide). I glued the copy to a sheet of .063 thick copper. After it set overnight, I rough cut it out on my band saw, and hand filed the rest of the part.

I feel much better now. Not having the Key, was one of the more important "Missing Parts" that I had to deal with, but this was one instance, where all of the pieces fell into place easily. This might be one of those turnkey operations?post-53992-143142181988_thumb.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

A major part of the restoration process of my Chalmers, involves research and documentation. I will be including some of the documentation involved in the restoration of the four wheels, and the spare rim, used on the 1920, 5-passenger touring. The original 24" Kelsey wood spoke wheels had long been discarded, before I purchased the car. The only parts which I was able to salvage, were the rear brake drums. (Actually, I had to modify a spare 1923 rear drum, by plugging and relocating the existing mounting holes. This required making a fixture, to insure the '23 drum would be compatible with the 1920 mounting configuration.) For the front wheels, only the hubs were salvageable, from a 1921 Chalmers parts car. This entire process has taken a long time, and I only recently acquired the last 24" Kelsey rim, needed to complete the wheel package.

Researching to obtain parts, necessary to assemble new wheels is documented in: "1920 Chalmers Restoration- Wheels" dated 9/23/2012 #17.[ATTACH=CONFIG]215335[/ATTACH]To help me locate parts, primarily at swap meets, I carry, in addition to a tape measure, a 6 inch scale (ruler), and a very thick book, which I have assembled, containing many pages of photos, sketches, templates, and drawings, which repesent the parts and materials, that I require to complete my restoration.

In my case, the book never gets smaller, instead it increases in size, as I never delete a page when I find that missing part. (I can always use spares.) Except for the extra weight involved in carrying the "Big Book", having this information at my fingertips, allows me to be looking at a "find" in question, and at the same time, be thumbing through the alphabetical index, and be comparing the part with the data, checking critical dimensions, and verifying that I have the correct part, before purchasing it.

Below is a sample of a template (Full Size) which is contained in my Book, used to identify and measure a Kelsey #210 Rim. This tool was provided by a friend to assist me in locating the 5 rims which I needed. To Be Continued.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]215337[/ATTACH]

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Other advantages to my Book or "Log", is to track dates, places of travel, and costs involved, in my search for those elusive parts.

Before I used my Big Book technique, I discovered how many of the car parts that showed up at swap meets, seemed to be exactly what I needed. I would purchase the parts, take them home, and I'd compare them to what should have mated with the widget, I was trying to restore, only to discover that only similarity between the parts, was their common degree of rust.

Another invaluable piece of equipment in my inventory, is my digital camera, which I carry with me to all car events. I use it daily to record my "before" and "during" restoration events. When my restoration is completed, I will have a digital record of just about every piece that went into the car, how it was made, it's location, and how it functions. Other parts requiring additional detailing, are being recorded on layouts, as well as mechanical and electrical drawings. When the occasion arises to determine, for instance, whether wooden body parts, when installed, will interface properly, patterns are made, to insure compatibility. Once the pattern meets all of the original part's form and function, a prototype part is fabricated.

In some very few instances, an original wooden part has survived intact, and is functional. That part, after being checked for fire damage, or termite infestation, is cleaned with linseed oil, tagged, logged, and held for installation.

Below is a page out of my Book, showing an example of some of the documentation I created to assist me in locating the hardware, required to complete my wheel restoration

post-53992-143142204034_thumb.jpg

Again, I wish to thank the many friends that I have acquired, since I began this journey of car collecting/restoration. Without whose help, I would still be lacking both parts, data, and most of all, lasting friendships.

The End.

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Thanks for the praise John, but I have to admit. Those bolt drawings, along with the felloes, were "cut and paste" creations. I'm getting lazy in my senior years. Have to save my energy now, making and finding parts. Only use my drafting board when I really have to.

Bob

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Hi again!

Reviewing my Research and Documentation article, above, I noticed that Attachment 215335 has disappeared. I will now attempt to make it reappear:

post-53992-143142213313_thumb.jpg

The Big Book

P.S.:

My "Big Book", yesterday, at a swap meet, saved me from buying another Chalmers tail light. (I already have four). The price the guy wanted for it, kept me from buying it.

Bob

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As part of the research and documentation involved in my restoration process, I would like to review the steps I took, to replicate two pieces of the wooden "sill" (lower body structure) of my 1920 Chalmers. These two parts, which I named "Support-Rear Touring Section", see drawing below (Item 12), constitute a small segment of the total number of parts, which make up the body assembly manufactured by the C.R. Wilson Body Co. of Detroit, Michigan. These "Supports" are located at the farthest aft point, on either side, at the sill level, and are transversally connected by the end member of the touring body of all Chalmers cars, manufactured from 1920 through 1923.

post-53992-143142218815_thumb.jpg

Item 12 Support-Rear Touring Section.

To replicate these parts, I used the fragile remains of the original left hand part. (Item 10-1), and created the drawing, from which I fabricated a tool (Item 10-2), which was used insure form, fit, and function. Once I was satisfied, after minor adjustments, I then created the left and right hand parts. (10-3 & 10-4).

To Be Continued.

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The Plan View below shows the left and right "Supports" installed, and their aft location with respect to the car's chassis, and the eventual location of the rear seat. The two small rectangular hard wood blocks at 90 degree angle, and at the aft end of the supports, each provide "hard points" for bolt and nut tie-down to the chassis. To complete my sill structure, I still have to replicate the transverse "end member". Very little remains of that part, however, I now have enough points to be able to "connect the dots", and thereby finish the sill level foundation of the body structure. I'll probably call that part, "THE END". To Be Continued.

post-53992-143142218972_thumb.jpg

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Thought I would include a plan view photo of the tonneau (rear) area of the original 1920 Chalmers 5-passenger touring car, which is parked alongside the same year and model car being restored. This view gives one a snapshot of the "was" condition, as it presently exists, in that same location.

As parts get removed for restoration, or replication, depending upon their condition, will determine whether that part gets reinstalled or discarded.

P.S. Nothing will be discarded until the restoration has been completed!

To Be Continued:

post-53992-143142224556_thumb.jpg

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Nice woodwork on those pieces that you made! I love to work with wood....I just don't have any wood framed cars anymore since I sold my 1929 Chrysler roadster. I REALLY wanted to do that car, but you know how project priorities change sometimes.

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Nice woodwork on those pieces that you made! I love to work with wood....I just don't have any wood framed cars anymore since I sold my 1929 Chrysler roadster. I REALLY wanted to do that car, but you know how project priorities change sometimes.

Thanks John,

I really enjoy woodworking also. I have two other Chalmers cars of the 1920's, which require restoration, so I keep pretty busy.

Bob

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  • 1 month later...

Transverse Member -Aft Body

As you can see from the photo below, of the tonneau section of the 1920 Chalmers, very little of original wooden structure remained in this area, especially that of the Transverse Member.

That lower member was designed to nest with, and share a common contour, with the lower portion of the vertical sheet metal aft upright, center portion of the touring body.

I decided to use the sheet metal contour as the pattern for the mating wooden Transverse Member. That was the easy part. I raised the touring aft body, placed a sheet of plywood underneath, and traced a line on the fore and aft side of the part, thereby establishing the contour. I did the same thing on the left and right side of the tonneau, to establish an accurate width, and a corresponding centerline. I also used the two aft chassis hard point "tie-down" locations, to establish the correct fore-aft and inboard-outboard locations of the body, with respect to the chassis. Using the plywood template, I was able to transfer all of the data, to create an accurate, full size drawing of that portion of the tonneau area. It took a little more effort, and time, than just "connecting the dots", as I had previously envisioned. With all of this data, I will now be able to create the end sill Transverse Member, thereby compleating the sill portion of the wooden body structure of the 1920 Chalmers touring.post-53992-143142297479_thumb.jpg

post-53992-143142297508_thumb.jpg

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  • 3 months later...

Chalmers Clock Repair- A Team Effort

Ordinarily, If someone asked me the time of day, I wouldn't respond by explaining how the clock works. But now I own a Chalmers mechanical clock, that didn't work when I bought it. Now it's ticking away, thanks to the help of Gary, who is also a member of our local clock repair class.

The clock was manufactured by Phinney- Walker, around 1912, based upon patent dates shown on the clock. I wasn't able to determine much information regarding Phinney-Walker, but another clock maker, Waltham, was also making clocks for Chalmers, during that period. Waltham's ad in a 1917 issue of "Motor Age", stated that "Chalmers wanted the best automobile clock!" Not having a Waltham to compare my Phinney-Walker with, I cannot comment on who was best. I can however list the parts which needed replacement on my clock.post-53992-143142440571_thumb.jpg

post-53992-143142440521_thumb.jpg

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The second hand (see photo), and it's base were missing, and Gary fabricated a new hand, from the class "Goodie Box". I painted the hand white.. A new main spring had to be purchased, cut to the correct length, and modified to accept the existing barrel hook attachment. Eight* new bushings had to be replaced. When the hair spring failed, it was fortunate that we were able to replace it from a second Phinney-Walker mechanism of the same vintage, which Eric, our instructor's son located.

When my 1920 Chalmers 5-passenger touring is completed, I may not have "the best automobile clock", but it will be running, thanks to the help of my classmates, and it will also say "Chalmers" on it.

*Nine new bushings. Our instructor, Pat was correct. She said we needed another, when the clock stopprd running after 15 minutes.

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Chalmers Clock Repair- A Team Effort, Continued.

Attached is a copy of the Waltham Clock Ad, circa 1917. I will follow up with a photo of the completed clock, when I finish putting all of pieces together, and install same at my clock class next week.

I wish to thank all the members of my class for their support and encouragement, which made possible the successful completion of this project.

post-53992-143142440638_thumb.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Re: 1920 Chalmers Restoration, Chalmers Clock Repair

"Spring Break" lasted longer than I had anticipated, interrupting clock class meetings for three weeks, thereby delaying the completion of my Chalmers/Phinney-Walker clock. As soon as I get the clock together and ticking, I will post photos of the completed package.

Sorry for the delay,

Bob

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  • 8 months later...

As I indicated back on April 28th, 2014, "As soon as I get the Phinney-Walker clock back together, and ticking, I will post photos of the completed package."

Unfortunately, that almost happened. We did get the clock, back together, with the modifications previously noted. The clock performed for a period of time, and then stopped. After careful examination, it was noted that the spring barrel was not parallel to it's base, (see photo)and was in contact with it. Upon careful inspection of our second, (spare) Phinney-Walker mechanism, which Eric had located, we discovered that the Manufacturer, had an inherant design flaw with this particular type of clock. Their solution, to resolve this problem, was to remove material from the spring barrel's base, by machining. We took the same approach, and Gary, machined the base, as Phinney-Walker had done, many years ago. I'm sorry to say, the fix did not work for us, and can only speculate, the impact, for that clock model, to the Manufacturer. Gary has recently contacted a Chalmers owner, who is familiar with Phinney-Walker products, and that gentlman has referred us to an automobile clock repair person, who is supposedly knowledgable, regarding Phinney-Walker clocks.

Stay tuned.post-53992-143142936248_thumb.jpg

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  • 5 years later...

Hi Bob, I have recently acquired a 1917 Chalmers 35A from the States which needs some love and attention and have been reading your tale of creativity and engineering on your Chalmers but your last post was January 2015, have you been sidetracked, I hope that you are well and still continuing the good work. Alastair.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/26/2020 at 3:49 PM, kiwi carman said:

Hi Bob, I have recently acquired a 1917 Chalmers 35A from the States which needs some love and attention and have been reading your tale of creativity and engineering on your Chalmers but your last post was January 2015, have you been sidetracked, I hope that you are well and still continuing the good work. Alastair.

He has not logged onto the site for ~3.5 years

https://forums.aaca.org/profile/87643-bobd735/

Last visited  October 25, 2016

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