JV Puleo

My 1910 Mitchell "parts car" project

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I'm waiting on an adaptor to connect the regulator to my acetylene tank. When it arrives I'll tackle assembling the exhaust manifold. In the meantime, I'm finishing the water connections. I was concerned about the amount of space I'd have between the rear water connection and the downpipe but it looks as if my calculations were better than I'd thought.

 

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These are the brass pieces that will get soldered into the connections. It is a bit tricky because the nut is captured so the parts have to be assembled before they are soldered together. I haven't quite worked out how I'll do that but having more room for the finished piece will be a big help. These aren't finished, I still have to turn the rim to the proper diameter and thickness and trim them so they are all the same length.

 

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I turned the flanges of the water connections to the correct diameter and thickness today. The water tubes on the side of the blocks went quite well...

 

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I had anticipated that would be the hard part... another error. The connections for the top of the blocks presented problems I hadn't anticipated. First, the "T" and the 90-degree elbow are different heights. To remedy this, I trimmed a little off the bottom of the elbow. I had to shorten the flange piece a little but that wasn't the main problem.

 

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Actually, there are two problems... I don't think the 90-degree elbow is really 90-degrees. It's very close, certainly close enough for plumbing work but perhaps a degree or two out. Added to that is something I'd completely forgotten. The blocks aren't actually the same height – another example of Mitchell precision workmanship. I discovered that when I was machining the exhaust and intake ports about two years ago. I also took a very small cut off the tops of the blocks so that the valve cages had a flat surface to seal against. If I remember correctly, one block is about .040 taller than the other one. Combined with the slightly off angle of the elbow, this kept the two halves from lining up perfectly. I'm going to try to bend the elbow up a very small amount. I want to get everything in line and easily assembled before I solder any of the connections. As it is, it does go together but with a little more tension than I'd like. I've ordered some heat block putty to keep from melting any of the soldered connections I've already done and it should work well to allow me to heat the elbow in place without damaging anything else.

 

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Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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There are times when I need to step back and think things through a bit more. On the way home today a method for fixing what I don't like about the upper water tubes came to me. I'll have to make a few more parts but this time I will align them on the engine rather than presuming, mistakenly, that the engine was accurately made. You'd think I would have expected that by now.

Edited by JV Puleo
better syntax (see edit history)
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Well we are waiting to hear about your latest novel idea.  The plumbing pieces are really starting to make for a complete engine.

Al

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I'll show you when the parts arrive. It's easier to illustrate than it is to explain.

 

jp

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Some of the stuff I'm waiting for came in at the end of the day but in the meantime, I've gone on to finish the new intake flanges.

The first step was to bore them out to 2.045. This is all much easier the 2nd' time around because I have parts that fit to measure.

 

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Then it was threaded.

 

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The elbow threaded into the flange. I'll still lap the threads a little but this is almost perfect. I suspect the thread on the elbow has a taper which isn't surprising. Pipe elbows are not designed for that sort of thing and, if I remember correctly, it was screwed on to a piece of pipe to hold it which is not a very precise way to work.

 

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I finished up the intake flanges today. I'd really like to find a way to put a uniform radius on the top and bottom of the flanges but so far I haven't had a good idea how to do that. I could use a belt sander but I'd have to think of some sort of guide to keep the curve uniform.

 

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On the other hand, it's a pretty minor point and perhaps I'm over-thinking it.

The next step is polishing the elbows. Then the entire intake manifold can be assembled.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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for the last few days, I've been working out the last fiddles with the water and exhaust manifolds. When I assembled the water lines I remembered that the rear block is slightly taller than the front block. Combined with different lengths for the connecting pieces, I need to make a new connection for the front block that is about .200 taller than the one in the rear. That's almost done but it's the end of the day and I know if I push it, I'll probably make an error. It is very important that the connections to the water manifold are square with those on the block since these rely on thick, flat rubber gaskets. A very slight angle would probably still work but any more would result in a leak.

 

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With the exhaust manifold, I was bothered by the fact that the two ends didn't seem to align perfectly with the tube. There was a small gap at the rear end piece. After thinking about it overnight, I lined it up on the engine. made a couple of aluminum ends to fit into the counterbores for the end caps and pulled the two parts together with a piece of threaded rod. Now it lines up perfectly but the rear flange is off. I then decided to see if they were actually level... they weren't. I put it on the table of the mill and bolted it down so that the rear flange was flat.

 

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This lifted the front flange about .075 to .080. This would explain why the pieces didn't align correctly so first I'll try reducing the thickness of the rear flange. I'd anticipated something like this although it would have been nice if everything worked perfectly.

 

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Realistically, you can't assemble half a dozen pieces with welded connections and expect them to come out perfectly flush and lever. This was why I made the exhaust flanges a bit thicker than was really necessary. If thinning out the rear flange doesn't correct the misalignment problem I'll simply make a new rear flange. This is a lot easier now that I have all the fixtures and the complete manifold to work with but you can see why working on a car that was not precisely made, to begin with, can be a real headache. When this is done, I will probably fly-cut the surfaces of the flanges a few thousandths. I'll have to make a special fixture to do that – something I was trying to avoid but if it's necessary, it's just another job. Ten years from now I probably won't even remember how much time it took.

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JV, that is fairly close. It won't need the removal of a lot of metal to square it up. Or the addition of metal to the other end. (Sorry, my thinking immediately includes the use of welders).  Personally, I cheat and work the other way around. Starting with the flanges bolted to the head, and working outward, tacking with the welder and getting the flows right. It is really interesting watching how a good machinist goes about achieving the same result. Great work, and you are almost there with the exhaust manifold. It looks a treat with those cooling fins.

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Hello joe   ,are the cylinders finished,I believe your going to make your own rods and pistons,I’m only asking because if you have to deck the cylinders or machine any surfaces will that change the dimensions on the manifold, by the way great work as always,please make a video when it’s time for the first start up,    Dave

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Thanks for the encouragement...

 

The cylinders are finished. The intake and exhaust flanges were machined in a fixture I made to simulate the top of the crankcase which is why I'm so certain they are flat and true. A straight edge across them shows no light.

 

I haven't a clue as to how to make a video, nor do I have anything to make one with but I may well do that. I imagine my two or three local friends who share some interest in this project will want to be there so one of them probably has that sort of stuff. In any case, that is a long way off. I haven't even started on the chassis yet although I'm inclined to think it will be a cake-walk compared to the engine. Another problem is that I don't even have a garage. The car is dismantled in my shop but when it is back together I have no place to keep it so I'll have to build a garage too.

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Today I finished up the new piece for the water connections. The copper tubing now slips down effortlessly over the two brass pieces with the nuts tightened up so I can be certain that the rubber o-ring gaskets will seal properly.

 

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Then on to the exhaust manifold. In light of what I discovered about the difference in height, I thought it was worth the effort to try to rescue the rear flange. The first thing I did was tune a ring about .200 thick to use on the fixture. That was designed for a flange .375 thick and there are only about 3 threads to engage the flange. I needed to mount the flange enough forward to reface it without touching the fixture. I also discovered that the 3-jaw chuck I set up for the dividing head was just the thing for this job.

 

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With the ring to push the flange out, I refaced it until it was about .300 thick.

 

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That worked well but now the tube that connects to the body of the manifold is slightly proud of the surface. Nevertheless, when I assembled the pieces and tried them on the engine, all four bolts went in so this "fix" eliminated about 99% of the problem.

 

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It looks as if I'll have to make a fixture to hold the manifold while I resurface the faces of the flanges. Fortunately, I already have the materials. I had planned to make this some time ago but hesitated because I wasn't sure I'd need it. This will make both faces absolutely flat and parallel with each other.

 

Today's last step was to take both flanges off and redrill the holes to 7/16". The larger holes are to allow for the expansion of the manifold when it gets hot without putting undue pressure on the bolts or the flanges on the blocks.

 

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Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)

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I put the manifold back together and put it on the engine with a gasket to compensate for the slightly proud exhaust tube. All for bolts went in so I'm ready to braze the center tube in place except I'm still waiting for an acetylene regulator to replace the one I bought 40 years ago. In the meantime, I started on the fixture to hold the manifold while face the exhaust flanges. I don't know if I've ever shown this process so I might as well explain it.

 

The clamps will be made from these 4-1/2" square blocks of 1" aluminum. The actual measurements of the blocks aren't critical. What is critical is the distance between the table of the milling machine and the faces of the flanges. The best way to make sure both clamps are identical in this regard is to make them together. I started by plotting where the holes will be.

 

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With that done, I marked it for four screws that will hold the blocks together but not interfere with anything else. I used the little angle plate to make certain the bottom of the two pieces was flush and then drilled a #7 hole to be threaded 1/4-20 and a countersink to make certain the flat head cap screws will seat below the surface. The trick is to drill the hole then remove the top piece and thread the hole. When that is done, the top piece goes back in the drill press and is drilled out to 1/4". The two blocks are then attached to each other while sitting on a surface plate to make sure the bottoms are flush. With that done, I repeat the procedure for the 2nd hole. Once two screws are in place, the remaining two holes can be drilled at the same time.

 

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All four holes line up perfectly as long as the blocks go back together the same way.

 

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Those four screws should stay in place until all of the critical operations are completed. Next, I'll drill a hole in the center to make room for the boring head and the holes for the clamping bolts. This way, when the clamps are finished everything will align perfectly.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)

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The next step was to locate and drill holes for the clamping bolts. These are 5/16 holes, the drill size for a 3/8-16 tap.

 

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Then a 1" hole in the center. This is to allow room for the boring bar.

 

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And two additional holes for the slot the hold-downs will engage.

 

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The center hole was now bored to 2-7/8"

 

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With that done, I faced the bottom of the blocks. The critical element here is that the bottom of both blocks be the identical distance from the hole the manifold will fit into. I also milled the sides so they are square with the bottom.

 

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Then it was time to cut the two pieces apart.

 

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And faced the edges to eliminate the saw cuts. This isn't really necessary but it does make a more finished piece.

 

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I put the top block back n the drill press and drilled the holes out to 3/8". I also counterbored them slightly.

 

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The bottom piece then went in the drill where I drilled the holes through, which wasn't possible originally because the drill was too short. With that done, I threaded the lower holes.

 

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Now it was ok to take the 1/4-20 flat head cap screws out and separate the pieces.

 

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The last step was to mill the slot. I did these one-at-the-time because it's not a critical measurement and I don't have an end mill with a long enough length of cut to do them together.

 

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And there they are holding the manifold. Of course, they will get clamped to the table for the face cutting operation. All this should explain why I  put off this job until it was clear I had to do it. I have the best part of two days in making these. I finished up the day by making four studs to attach the manifold... I had planned to make special bolts but it occurred to me that with studs it will be much easier to attach the manifold. Besides, I have a little box of heavy brass nuts I bought for another job and couldn't use because there wasn't room for them.

 

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Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I guess it had to happen sooner or later - today was the day my luck ran out on this project... I started by brazing the tube in. I wasn't pleased with the way it came out. The two connections to the manifold weren't perfectly parallel and I don't have any idea why as I'd clamped them together while the manifold was attached to the block. However, it looked as if I could correct it by face milling the flanges so I set them up in the mill using leveling the thin flange.

 

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I added pair of hold downs to this setup - the little hold downs on the aluminum blocks are nowhere near rigid enough. I was about half done - still not entirely pleased with the result when the entire setup slipped., pretty much destroying the flanges.

 

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So, now I have to think of a way to fix this. I have an idea and I'll start on it tomorrow. In fact, I have the material to make two more flanges but before that, I want to give this some thought. This is the inevitable result of trying to do things you've never done before. Errors to happen... for now, I'd better quit and go home and finish the laundry.

 

 

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Don't get upset.  It can be repaired easy enough.  You can build the flange back up with weld, then mill it close to the flange mounting area, then take light cuts from flange to flange with a cutter to make them flat.

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I think I'm too old (or have had too many plans go wrong in my life) to get upset about things like this. It was niggling me though, so I went back to the shop and took the end piece off the tube. It took quite some time to get it hot enough - proof in itself that the braze joint can take the heat. I almost gave up but, in the end, it did come off. I'll probably make two new flanges since I have the materials...especially as I've never learned how to weld. I have a favorite Talumdic saying that I always repeat at times like this - that "every misfortune is an opportunity." With any luck, the finished piece will be even better for this setback.

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To get back on track, I made two more flanges. This time, rather than turning them on a mandrel I made an aluminum ring to go behind the piece. This allowed me to turn it in the 4-jaw chuck. The ring was faced and cut off a piece of tubing using the cut-off tool so the two ends are very close to parallel. It's just long enough to allow the workpiece to be gripped and indicated. This worked really well and I wish I'd thought of it sooner.

 

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Then they were threaded to match the threading gage/turning fixture I'd made earlier.

 

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I did these one at the time to ensure that the threads were really concentric with the holes.

 

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I also spent some time cleaning the old braze off the fluted tube and the front end of the manifold. This involved heating it until the braze melted and aggressively wire brushing it. It was tedious but reasonably successful.

 

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In order to make sure the two flanges are about the same thickness when finished, I counterbored the rear flange. It appears that the rear tube connecting the manifold to the block is slightly longer. Why I don't know. I did make an effort to make them identical. The difference isn't great and may be a result of the welding but it left one flange noticeably thinner than the other if I didn't do this.

 

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Then I drilled the holes for the mounting bolts. For this, I made a plug in the minor diameter of the threads and lined the new flange up with one of the original ones that did fit. The piece of 1/2 x 1-1/2 steel under the flange will be made into a spanner.

 

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All this went relatively smoothly. The holes were drilled to 3/8" to match the lozenge turning fixture. when they are done, I'll open them up to 7/16" but if the pieces all align with 3/8" holes I know that the 7/16" holes will be perfectly aligned. The last step was to try the entire assembly on the engine.

 

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This time I am not going to rely on the threaded rod to hold the pieces together. With the flanges snugged down, I will braze as much of the manifold as I can reach on the engine. Only then will I take it off and do the back. If I do three or flutes at the time and let it cool in between, it shouldn't shift at all (I hope!).

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I confess I've been struggling with this job. I finally got the front end brazed to the fluted tube. It was not as easy as I'd anticipated, at least getting it to look like a neat job. This time I brazed the first four flutes with everything bolted to the engine. That was clearly what was needed to make sure it remained in line. Then the other flutes were brazed, three or four at the time allowing it to cool in between and working on the opposite side so I wouldn't disturb the joint opposite. Cleaning up the flutes and filing off the extra braze was time-consumingIMG_0819.thumb.JPG.3c1ea4990be8612efcf84be20a963069.JPG.

 

But, in the end, it looks pretty good - perhaps not as perfect as I'd like but it now bolts to the engine properly. Because the flanges are threaded on, I was able to adjust the rear one so that they are both parallel with each other and meet the flanges on the block squarely. They probably aren't perfect and I would like to fly cut them. I screwed the flanges on using locktite on the threads so they won't move and fitted the entire thing to the engine.

 

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With the flanges reasonably secure, today I took it to the welder to have them welded to the output tubes. If I fly cut them, I need them to be absolutely solid. I would like them to be a bit thinner - these are a little more than 3/8" thick and I'm looking for about .300. When everything is together, I will probably pickel the piece in a dilute solution of muriatic acid to clean off all the flux, rust etc and give it a uniform color and surface. Then it will go to be ceramic coated.

Edited by JV Puleo
typo (see edit history)
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It is all in the challenge. This was a dismantled, incomplete fairly pedestrian car. Realistically, it is a nearly impossible job. If I can, I'll bring it back to life, hopefully without many of the design flaws and shoddy workmanship that originally distinguished it, and I will enjoy driving it. I have very little interest in later cars and practically no interest in cars made after the 20s. It is all a matter of what intrigues you.

 

NOTE: This was in answer to a now deleted post.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)

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Good for you, well said. Some people in this 'throw away' society don't seem to understand our hobby. Just yesterday, somebody said to me "Why do you mess about with old cars, why not buy a new one and spend your time going on holidays". They just couldn't see how I get so much pleasure out of restoring old cars and motorcycles.

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