JV Puleo

My 1910 Mitchell "parts car" project

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1 hour ago, alsfarms said:

We are sure an interesting lot aren't we!  My problem is I like all antiquities, whether it be the house I live in, the cars I work on, the guns I collect and shoot, the shop equipment I choose to have in my shop and none the less a share of the farm equipment I choose to use.  I am still hopeful that I am not falling into the deep abyss that is called "hoarding", heaven forbid that notion.  I keep telling myself that there is a method to my madness, but sometimes, even I, am not sure what that method is!  Joe, keep up on your several genuine interests, the future is made better by people like you doing your small part whether it be having a good influence on your brother hobbyists or writing a book. 

Al

I really enjoy all the antiques posting here. A wealth of knowledge I’m afraid will mostly be lost in days to come.

 

6 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

Al...who decided that having a lot of something you like is a sickness? It was probably some brain dead reality TV producer who smokes pot and can't compose a coherent paragraph. There is a great deal to learn from have a lot of something. It's only that  way you can compare things...

About 30 years ago I worked on a book on the American Eagle Hilted Sword with the late EA Mowbray. Mr. M had about 400 of them and a huge amount of what we were able to deduce was the result of making comparisons over a long period of time. If you had a collection of 20, or 30 or even 50 you would never have been able to draw the conclusions that were obvious from having hundreds to work with.

One would think that the maker made progress and innovations with every sword made. So much technology back then was from individuals striving to perfect their craft. While each had a style which when looking at multiples can be seen, each item could have subtle changes as the maker perfected his craft. Even with my 32’ Olds I’ve learned the same things were going on. With at least two frame changes and three hood changes within the manufacturing year, if one doesn’t speak with many other Olds owners, or only owns one car, one can only think that their particular car is the only way they were made. A lot of the enjoyment of restoring my Olds was the forensics I did on my own and with the help of others. It taught me a lot about the car and Olds innovations.

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Hey Joe,

Your point is well taken, however, my point is that I have a few friends that simply lost control and also lost friends, wife and family.  A few years ago, I visited a friend in Oklahoma who had lost control of his hobby, lost all that should have had value and was living in the corner of a quansut hut among his stuff.  This much I know, I certainly have my share and seem to have my eye open for the next piece all the time, but I do try to keep a balance.  As I said before.....sometimes I am not sure I know what that best balance is.

Back on subject, I am studying my 9" South-bend with the idea that I would sure like to be able to fit collets in my headstock as you have done and use so frequently.  To remove error I use the four jaw chuck a lot and am good at dialing it in, however, it would be great to simply install a piece and start the machining process and know that it will stay much more repeatable.

Al

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I should add "who says new is intrinsically better?" As often as not it is just cheaper. Were pot-metal carburetors better than bronze or aluminum ones? They may have been from a design standpoint but the use of pot metal was a cost saving feature, not an improvement. The same rubric applies to many items in everyday life.

 

 

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You are right, I suppose that is why we have turned into a "throw away" society.  As a matter of fact, almost all parts of our so called modern life, we are throw away.  HA, except for a few of us that savor the past!

Al

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Believe it or not, I finished the backing plate for the dividing head.

First, I drilled the holes for the attaching cap screws.

 

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I failed to notice that while there was room for the holes there wasn't room for the heads of the cap screws. So I set it up on the rotary table...

 

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And made a little centering tool... 1/2" to go in the tool holder and .315 to fit the hole.

 

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And counterbored the holes 1/2" to get clearance for the heads.

 

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So far, so good. it screwed together just fine.

 

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Then I turned the rotary table up and milled the remains of the old mounting holes into slots for a hook spanner.

 

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Last, I set the rotary table down and clamped the piece up expecting the threaded holding fixture to be extremely tight. It came right out with very little effort.

 

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There it is... my advice is that if you are looking for a dividing head, buy one that has a chuck.

 

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Tomorrow I'll see if I can drill and thread the holes in the timing adjuster... so at least I'm back to making car parts.

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8 hours ago, alsfarms said:

I am studying my 9" South-bend with the idea that I would sure like to be able to fit collets in my headstock as you have done and use so frequently.  To remove error I use the four jaw chuck a lot and am good at dialing it in, however, it would be great to simply install a piece and start the machining process and know that it will stay much more repeatable.

 

I don't know too much about South Bend but I'm guessing that the fixtures to use collets are readily available. My only reservation would be that they are probably small collets.

 

[EDIT] The South Bend 9 used a 3C collet. I don't know what the largest size is but I suspect around 3/4". I tend to use the sizes from 3/4" to 1" most of the time - I don't think I've ever put those smaller than 1/4" in the machine and I may have used the 1/4" once in five years. I also don't think you can get square and hex versions - at least not as cheaply as 5C. What size is your big lathe?

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I finally got to use the dividing head today although I had to stop and try to remember how to set it up. I've only used it 4 or 5 times.

Drilling the 18 holes.

 

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I reamed these holes 1/4" which leaves no room for a little play.

 

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Then I did the 20 holes and threaded them.

 

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It goes together but it is a tiny bit tight. I think I should enlarge the 1/4" holes a tiny bit so I'm leaving the setup alone and looking for a .255 reamer. I may have one so I'll have to ransack the reamer drawer before I order one.

 

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I found a .257 so I think I'll use that. It occurred to me that the hole size isn't as critical as I'd originally thought since both shafts will have to align perfectly in any case.

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The slightly oversize reamer made a world of difference. I tried it in 4 or 5 positions and it screwed together easily in all of them and the shaft in the center didn't bind at all. I don't often use the word "perfect" in regard to my own work but this comes as close as I've ever managed.

 

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So I cleaned the dividing head up and put it away. Ill leave the chuck on it as using collets with it has always been a "work around" to compensate for not having a chuck.

 

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Finishing that left me wondering what to do next. I am perilously close to having to dismantle the engine and start machining the crankcase... but first I played around with the mag, removing the half a coupling that was on it.

 

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This is a Bosch ZF4. Based on the serial number it was made in 1912 so it's well withing the range of years I'm working with. What I don't know is how it was wired since it pre-dates the introduction of the impulse starter and I don't know how you'd connect a battery - its something else I'll have to figure out. [Edit] In looking at the ZF4 manual it states it was intended for cars with a bore up to 80mm. I've never been able to get an informed opinion what the difference was between a mag like this and the next size larger. I actually have a bigger 4 cylinder mag (I think it's a D4) but it's actually too big to fit on the engine... I've come to the conclusion that looking for an answer on the internet just leaves me with more questions.

 

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Then, because I couldn't think of anything else, I decided to re-make the front bearing holder for the camshaft. The original has a Babbitt lining and is awfully heavy for what it does. I'm trying to save as much weight as possible, especially as I have increased the size of a few parts. Overall, with the aluminum rods and pistons, I think I will be reducing the weight of the engine by at least 30 lbs. - maybe more but every bit counts.

 

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(The original piece is in the foreground.)

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I may have found a period answer to my magneto issues... except I don't know enough about electricity to sort it out. Here are two pages from a 1914 issue of Motor Age showing the wiring for a Bosch NU4 mag. The manual that came with the ZR4 - which is what I have - shows the same wiring diagram and specifically states that it can be wired with the "vibrating coil" for cars that do not have an electric starter. Everything is quite straight forward except I don't understand the coil. All the cols I'm familiar with have a third connection for the distributor so what is this one doing? Is it a big condenser? The magneto manual also says it works with either 6 or 12 volt systems.

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Joe, would the hit and miss guys have a clue to your questions? I have the name of a guy who’s very good with the old marine engines dating way back. 

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They might. The mag I'm thinking of using is a ZR4 and it was used mostly on marine engines and heavy duty stationary engines. apparently it was severely over built so non-automotive folks may well have a better idea how it worked. I did find a Popular Science article on making one - or what may be one - It's just a trembler coil with the secondary circuit short circuited. But, I'd like to get it right and I don't want to go down the road reliant on 100 year old electrical components so some modern, easily replaced part is very much needed.

 

jp

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Joe,

I might be able to help you. I am finding it difficult to read about the system on the copy you have posted. I have tried increasing the size, but that didn't help. Can you post a better copy?

Mike

 

PS: My guess is that the vibrating coil is acting similar to a 'trembler coil' like I have on the Crestmobile and that model T Fords have.

Edited by Mike Macartney
Added a bit more (see edit history)

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I’ll look for his info. He’s located in Taunton MA.

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Thanks guys. I'll send the original jpeg from home - right now I'm in the office.

If I can sort this out it simplifies quite a bit. The mag I have was introduced in 1911 and doesn't have the same connections as the Bosch DU series so it must have used this system for crank starting, since it also pre-dates the impulse starter. I think I have some Model T coils - new ones in the plastic cases, but they have been in a drawer in my basement for 30 years.

jp

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I've found more... this appears to be a really good system that would make using a high tension magneto without an impulse coupling a breeze. I wonder why no one has ever pursued it. I know I've seen the switches for it... I've even had a couple and were the great Bills Auto Parts still around I could probably find one in a couple of hours. The parts were Bosch VD Ed. 1 and VD Ed. 2. I'll even bet there are some NOS examples out there but I've no idea where to look.

 

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After that big lump of aluminum bar was drilled and reamed to 1-1/4" I mounted it on a mandrel and turned the small end.

 

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This end fits into the crankcase. I made it about .004 undersize so it will slip in easily. The four mounting bolts should hold it secure and I can't be certain that the Mitchell-Lewis people actually bored the hole straight so a tiny amount of wiggle room is probably wanted.

 

I then pressed it off the mandrel and turned it around.

 

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And turned the other end. The housing that encloses the timing gears clamps around this. It's about .050 long because when I have the timing gears in hand I'll have to fit them and I'm thinking of shortening this about .070 to accommodate a thrust bearing.

 

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Then I set up the original piece in the dividing head to locate the holes. The dividing head is much easier to use in the drill press. A B&S dividing head has a 1"40 gear reduction so 10 thurns of the handle is 90 degrees.

 

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Then the holes were drilled and counterbored.

 

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And I realized that I've reached something of a milestone. This is the end of the parts I can make for the upper half of the engine (though some will have to be fitted later). It is now time to start on the crankcase so I started stripping it and putting the parts away.

 

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I continued stripping the engine down this morning and noticed something. This is the intake port that I thought I'd have to bore out. The scribed line was taken from the flange before the actual intake elbow was screwed in.

 

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But when I look at the inside diameter of the intake manifold it doesn't look as if I have the problem I'd thought.

 

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With the jugs removed I have to make plates to take their place. for lack of a better name I think of them as "torsion plates." The idea is to do all the crankcase machining with them bolted in place to replicate the stress the case isl under when the jugs are in place. These crankcases are a lot more flexible than you'd think and if you don't do this you run the risk of having the line boring not line up when the engine is assembled.

 

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I also worked on the water pump hold down. This casting was literally the first part I made, 7-1/2 years ago. I knew virtually nothing about making patterns and made it round because I couldn't think of another way to do it. I'd never do it the same way today but I may as well use it.

 

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Drilled and reamed to get clearance for a boring bar.

 

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Then I had to mark the middle because the idea was to mill away one side.

 

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It goes on the larger of the two saddles.

 

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Set up in the mill. The little piece of gasket material is there because the sides aren't perfectly parallel. I didn't think it would work but I lucked out this time.

 

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With half the piece milled away. The hole in the center and the surfaces on the ends will be done at the boring stage, after it is attached so it's mechanically straight.

 

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This is roughly what it will look like. I don't actually have a lot of things to do to the crankcase but they all demand an unusually high degree of precision - which is why I've put this off so long. I've learned a lot in the last 7 years.

 

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Wonderful job as always. Seems like you're really picking up the pace lately.

 

Do you know if the flatness of the plates matches the flatness of the jugs?  I'm not sure what the tolerance would need to be but obviously if they are significantly off that would be an issue.

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No. Neither surface is scraped, at best it was planed but I'm hesitant to change them. As to the plates, their surface is probably as flat as the jugs. I may put a gasket between the case and the blocks - probably annealed copper. There are many measurements that still need to be taken like the exact height of the pistons etc... since I never had the engine assembled or complete there has been a fair amount of guesswork combined with the provision for later adjustment. What doesn't show is that I've been thinking about how to solve the crankcase problems for years so I'm not guite diving in with my eyes closed. I think align boring these two caps and then the camshaft hole to accommodate a center cam bearing are the most challenging part of the job. I still don't know how the device that advances the boring bar works...

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2 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

 I still don't know how the device that advances the boring bar works...

 

I would think it would advance carefully... ;)

 

I guess if you set the jugs down on the plates and they don't rock around it is probably good enough.  If the jugs were planed then maybe you could run the plates on a planar/surface grinder.  I can't remember if you have either of those (I know I don't).  Probably even just an end mill would be sufficient.   How well do the jugs fit to the casting?  I'm not 100% sure I even know what I'm talking about here but it did jump into my head whilst reading your post. 

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I have both although I still have to put the motor on the planer. I did think of surface grinding the plates but I'm not convinced it will make a difference. I was thinking of scraping the crankcase just before attaching the blocks but I've never scraped before so I'd have to practice on something else first. I do have a surface plate that is probably large enough to use as the flat surface and I have a long straight edge but I suspect its too narrow (It was made for doing lathe ways.) I have milled the top of a crankcase with a wide facing mill but in that case I had to remove .035 to eliminate some welds. This case is probably as flat as it was when it was new but, as you know, I'm not overly impressed with the engine work the Mitchell-Lewis company did. I have to plan the next steps carefully because I'll be drilling the crankcase and putting in some brass inserts for attaching bolts. I want to have everything in hand first so each insert can be put in without disturbing the setup.

 

I will also have to make a boring bar and tooling to center it as well as figure out how to attach the boring bar advance mechanism to the bar I'll be making. The boring bar I have is 1.25 in diameter, too big for boring the saddles, so there will be a certain amount of experimentation going on. It was partly because I knew this was going to be challenging that I put it off until I had a lot more experience.

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I milled the sides of the water pump clamp down using the base as the register point. In as much as I can measure, the sides are now perpendicular to the base.

 

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It is just about the right size...of course given Mitchell precision, the saddle is wider on one side than the other but not by much.

The engine stand was given to me by a friend who was the auto shop teacher at a local High School. When they closed down the department (because, of course, no one needs to know that stuff any more) they threw it in the dumpster. My 3-jaw chuck, small 4-jaw and 3/4 Jacobs chuck came from the same dumpster.

 

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Most of the day was spent thinking about how to go about the next steps and looking to see if I already had what I'll need. Not to surprisingly, I had more than I'd thought and didn't have what I thought I did have. I'll have to order some materials but not too much. I also put this "dummy" cam shaft in. It is 1" bar with a long keyway. This will be part of the setup to line bore the saddles. In the middle you can see what's left of the cheesy Mitchell center cam bearing. Rather than make a real bearing they used a spring loaded piece to press down on the cam against Babbitt "half bearing." Making something to replace this will be a real challenge... even if I wanted to keep it, it would be a major problem because pouring Babbitt into an oil soaked aluminum case is not a good idea and it would still have to be bored. I have an idea but I am certain it will change before I make anything. When all the machine work is done I plan to have the case vapor degreased.

 

 

I also plan to bore out the old main bearings and make bronze shells that can be Babbitted.

 

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Ah, now were getting to the heart of the engine! I've been looking forward to this part of the build. That's an odd looking camshaft set-up. It looks as though they were relying to some degree on valve spring pressure to keep the shaft located in it's centre bearing. Are there any machined faces under there that would accept a bearing cap? 

 

Hopefully you have access to a proper line boring machine. Or perhaps you have previous experience in this field. I attempted my first home-made boring bar job recently, and it was a little tricky to get it right. I certainly cannot offer guidance, as I am a complete novice in this field. 

 

But if I may mention two unexpected pitfalls which I did not anticipate when thinking it through. One was the shape of the single HSS cutting tool. Too much rake in the grind, and the cutter will dig into the alloy bearing surface. The small amount of flex in the 36 mm bar, combined with the necessary clearance in the home made bushings supporting it, allowed the cutter to dig in if you went too hard or attempted more than .003"-.005' each cut. Just barely enough back-rake to give clearance seemed to work best. The other problem was that I needed more clearance for the scurf to flow out of the bearing. And more scurf clearance on the boring bar increases the possibility of flex. So it was a slow job.  I tapped a stud into the end of the bar in order to drive it with a cordless drill, and then controlled the feed with my other hand against the other end of the bar. I final-finished with a brake cylinder hone on an extension bar.  Primitive and agricultural, no doubt, but the camshaft now has a nice feel, with close to my target clearance of .003" in each of the four bearings. Hopefully it will hold up OK.

 

Good luck with yours, JV. It seems to have a lot of camshaft spanning between bearings. Is the shaft only one inch, or is that just the size of the test set-up?

 

Edited by Bush Mechanic
clarification (see edit history)
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