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My 1910 Mitchell "parts car" project


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Well...at least the "ought" to be easier next time. I say ought because so often it doesn't work out that way. I was hit in the face by a lock ring mounting tires on a 1905 Cadillac once - it cost me some teeth. The doctor told me at the time that I'd eventually loose a lot more...and that is finally coming to pass. So, please be careful...(actually, I know you are).

 

I'd be happy to have a garage...it wouldn't even have to be air conditioned!

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Joe....I suffered a lock ring failure today.....only partial. Was properly prepared, and had 100 percent controlled conditions.........almost sxxt myself, went home and slept for an hour.......and went back again. Never say die.......nothing ever beats me.........just proves I’m insane. My better half kept reminding me not to drink and do tires. I NEVER drink and service cars.......but it’s tempting. I didn’t drink for years....kept dry for well over 15, and never had more than two a week for decades. I have turned over a new leaf........Crown Royal is a friend......takes the edge off at the end of the day. Don’t abuse it.......but ai like it ten times more than I use to. Been pounding on the White so hard.......It’s become a regular after work is finished, Fortunately it will be running and mostly over in a few days.......,,and then I will be back to “my normal” which would scare the hell out of most people. 😎

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, edinmass said:

...nothing ever beats me...😎

 

I've used my version of that expression many times – "no machine ever beats me". Some of them do fight back and more than once I've had to back off and come at the problem a different way but, in the end, I've always prevailed.

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11 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

 

I've used my version of that expression many times – "no machine ever beats me". Some of them do fight back and more than once I've had to back off and come at the problem a different way but, in the end, I've always prevailed.


 

“Endeavor to persevere.......”

 

I have  been beaten down a bunch of times......just got to pick yourself up......fixing stuff can be terribly difficult. Never say die.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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These big pieces of metal will be the gear blanks for Ed's White. I still have to decide on the order of machining operations and I'll probably have to put my big chuck on the lathe. It weighs a lot so when I have to use it I like to plan the job carefully to avoid having to take it off and put it back on.

 

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But before I start on that, I finished up the die holder I was making...drilling holes for the set screws and handle.

 

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The arbor in the center of the tool is a piece of 1" bar, drilled and threaded 1/2-20 on one end and screwed on to a 3MT drill arbor. I bought a 4MT arbor for this but in my haste failed to notice that it was threaded 1/2-24 rather than 1/2-20. It really makes little difference.

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Joe......your saw is from Athol Mass, a factory and neighborhood well known to me. They made great products for years.....If I’m not mistaken they are still in business. Small town America mill town. It’s on one of the great back roads we drive out early cars on. Little traffic, few driveways, lots of places to stop for a picnic. We regularly had a basket lunch there several times a year. This is the lake just behind the Mill building.

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That saw is, as far as I know, the only machine tool Starrett ever made. It was patented in 1917 and it appears it was only made for a short time. I paid $75 for it on a front lawn in Central Falls, RI. Since I got it, I've seem mention of one other and I'm told that the Starrett Company, which is very much still in business, doesn't have one in their museum. I have one or two of their mics but I generally prefer Brown & Sharpe - entirely for personal reasons. My late uncle (the father of the cousins who gave me the motorcycles) was a long time B&S man and a friend of Henry & Peggy Sharpe - who were also his neighbors. It was my cousin George, the gentleman who owned the motorcycles, who introduced me to the Sharpes.

 

The saw was the first machine I overhauled when I set up this shop. It had been outside in the weather for close to 15 years and was rusted solid. Nevertheless, every bolt came out - a tribute to early 20th century manufacturing.

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I agree B&S is a better tool...........they were always top of the line......and Henry Leland the “master of precision “ spent some time there in the 1880’s. 

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Yes...that's another reason to prefer them. When Leland left to start Leland & Falconer the Sharpe family invested a sum of money, I think it was $5,000, in his new company so it's clear he left to start up on his own with their blessing.

 

Leland sent his son, Wilfred, to B&S to be trained in precision manufacturing as well.

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One of the things the automotive historians overlook is that Henry Leland began his career at the Springfield Armory during the Civil War. It is arguable that, at the time, the armory was the most advanced precision mass production factory in the world. When the British Government was setting up the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock they sent a purchasing commission to the US to buy machines. Most of the machines at Enfield, at least at the beginning, were American. One of them, a lock mortising machine built by the Ames Manufacturing Company,  was still in use in 1900. It was on display at the Science Museum in London several years ago and the tooling still attached for it was for the bolt-action Lee-Metford rifle.

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Ames manufacturing was a blade manufacturer......as a I am sure you know. It evolved into the Stephens Duryea company, that has evolved into Savage Stephens, and now......Savage firearms. The original automobile manufacturing building is owned by relatives on my mothers side. They were collectors of early cars, and had lots of single cylinder cars, and steamers. I always wanted a US Civil War officers sword.....(Ames).....just never knew what to pay for one. Some of their stuff was very nice. Growing up in Indian Orchard, a neighborhood of Springfield.......where the Springfield Indian Motorcycle name and the Hendee brothers originated .............we often would pull up the property markers on house lots to play cowboys and Indians........the defect Springfield rifle barrels were tossed out for free at the armory for many years......so the surveyors being frugal would use gun barrels to use a “pins set” on plans. Uniquely, in Hampden county, GBF is a common marker on plot plans and mortage documents to this day.......it stands for “Gun Barrel Found”.

 

Of course, Springfield was the center of machine technology for the entire hemisphere for years.....and the Blanchard lathe is the machine of legend. A city that built the first cars, airplanes, trains, and countless other items.........all gone now. 

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If you'd like a good Ames officer's sword I ought to be able to get you one...there's one in the office right now that belongs to a friend but it's the incredibly rare M1840 Officers' saber. The standard Civil War Infantry Officers' sword (which I like better myself) is fairly common. Like the teens and 20s cars, the market is pretty dead right now so good examples are readily available. Let me know if you'd like me to look...

 

Ames is best known for their swords and sabers but they were major manufacturers of artillery and machine tools. The armory never had a foundry. Just about all it's casting work was done by Ames...You must know the story of the fence around the armory grounds - cast by Ames from captured Confederate artillery.

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This is great learning about Ames Manufacturing. As butchers, we used Russell/Green River skinning knifes originally made just north of the Ames facilities then later in Southbridge. The Russell skinning knifes were far superior to any other blade we found. My grandfather started using them back around 1920’ and we continued up until we closed the doors in 90’. The Russell SS 6’ skinner with rosewood handle was the best we ever used but by 90’ had been discontinued and almost impossible to buy. Today’s blades don’t seem to hold the edge that the Russells did nor do they feel as balanced in the hand. The green river beechwood handled skinner (also from the Russell plant)was a heavier bladed knife that always seemed too tip heavy. Today the closest thing available is when a small batch of Forschner SS 6” rosewood handled skinner knifes are made, shipped to Smoky Mountain Knife Works, and are available for purchase. Even the abattoir supply houses no longer carry them it seems.

The knife pictured in the add is a “sticking” knife, used for bleeding out the cow. It appears to have their standard beach wood handle. The sticking knife handles had more rivets and square butts to prevent the handles from coming loose and the butt of the butchers hand from sliding up the knife during the sticking process. If either happened, fingers were almost always the casualty. Back in early times of butchering, the cattle were stuck live where as today they are stunned first, most often with a captive bolt stunning gun. It was quite dangerous to be a butcher back as recently as the 60’s. Ok, sorry for going off thread, back to the Mitchell!

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Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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I've heard Green River knives mentioned many times but I'd no idea they were locally made. I think they used what was called, at the time, "cast steel." It was a fairly mild steel, easy to work and it would hold an edge. It's called cast steel because it was made in crucibles and the metal was poured into molds...the process goes back to the mid-18th century but it was never mastered in the US. There was no US-made steel in commercial quantities until after the Civil War with the invention of the Bessemer converter. Green River's skinning knives were favorites of the buffalo hunters in the 19th century so they have been around a very long time. The stainless steel knives much touted today are nowhere near as good.

 

I started on the water pump gear for the White today and I think I've worked out the best series of steps. The first step, oddly enough, is the little piece that screws into the front. We will need two of these (because I'm making two gears) and I've thought of a way to use this as a holding fixture so that the gear can be gripped easily and concentrically from both ends.

 

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They are not the same size as the original part because we have to make some changes to accommodate my machines. The dimensions we are changing are inconsequential but the original piece was threaded 7/8-13 - a size that is so unusual that I can find no reference to it even in my 1919 Chandler & Farquar catalog...much less the tap I would need for the threaded hole. This one is threaded 13/16-16 because the hole needed for the tap is 3/4", the same size as the shaft. Keep in mind that the original car was built by a company with hundreds of skilled workmen and the latest and best in machine tools. To replicate their work is a major challenge under any circumstances and it is often necessary to make small changes to the design to make it possible.

 

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When the gears are done these will be modified to closely match the original part.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I remember a comment made by the late Frank Cooke, who had a well equipped shop that included his own dyno, about a particularly obnoxious customer that went something like "RR had one of best factories in the world and I'm rebuilding them in an old Buick dealership with antique machines." He could do it, too but you can't do it fast and it takes a lot of thought.

 

It's not a coincidence that the RR of America plant was just down the street from the Springfield Armory. At the end of WWI, when the armory was laying off workers trained to their standards, RR picked up a good number of them.

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Funny how small the world is.......right behind the Russell’s factory, On the green river, is a fantastic swimming hole.....one of the best in New England. I have used the parking lot at the old factory many times to go swimming, with my dog in the photo above. The Green and Deerfield rivers are one of our areas best kept secrets. Now with all the kayaks being sold, they are no longer deserted oasis’s of solitude and peace. That said, it’s still a great spot to see Eagles and Peregrine Falcon’s fishing for perch and shad ten feet away from you while you are swimming. Joe......I hate to ask......how much do I have to give for a decent Ames blade from the Civil War?

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Back in the late 70’s I was a old car nut of 10-12 years old. We did HCCA and Steam tours......and every Saturday morning before I went to work with my father at our Kawasaki, Ossa, Hodak,Rupp, and Rokon dealership, we would eat breakfast with many of the original Springfield Rolls works employees. Over time, I would hang around Ed Lake’s Rolls repair shop, I learned to pour babbitt, tune ignition systems and carburetors, scrape and line bore main bearings, and play around with Ghost, P1’s and P2’s and on occasional PIII or a Hispano 6 liter. They smoked  like chimneys, were very serious about their work, and were entertaining for a “young lad that hasn’t had his first shave” according to the group. They treated me well, and enjoyed the fact that I was Intrested in good motor cars. They taught me so much, it’s hard to remember. I distinctly recall that to measure a crankshaft properly, it takes more than an hour. Any faster, and you were a hack. Always make notes, always do your best work, and always have fun and enjoy the job. They were true old school craftsman, and would tolerate almost anything except a stupid question. The lesson of the day.....shut up, look, and listen. Write down your questions and ask them when it was time for a smoke.........the smoke breaks were terrible......the cheapest tobacco, and coffee that was as black as oil. No sugar, no cream, and of course.......empty the spittoon once a week. They were as interesting as the cars, and I remained friends with all of them till they went to the great reward. 

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23 hours ago, edinmass said:

...how much do I have to give for a decent Ames blade from the Civil War?

A foot officers sword...I'd guess between $800 and $1200 with a good scabbard. A good light cavalry saber is probably half that. Those continued in service until officially replaced in 1913. In fact, Ames made about 8,000 new scabbards for CW sabers around 1905! I really should know all this off the to of my head because I edited the magnum opus on the subject but I may be off by a year or two. Were I looking for a good CW sword I'd follow the auctions. As often as not, that's where the dealers get them but they also dump some of their questionable stuff that way so, just like cars, you do have to know the subject. That said, I don't think it's as problematic as cars. Like all real antiques, restoration is heavily frowned on and the general run-of-the mill (but otherwise good) CW officers sword isn't worth enough to attract fakers. Inscriptions are very commonly faked - just don't buy an inscribed sword. Aside from copies of over-the-top presentation swords, inscriptions are always added to otherwise original items.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I was supposed to be helping at my cousin's house today but the threatened rain put that off. Of course, it only rained for a few minutes and mildly at that. I've gotten to paying very little attention to weather forecasts. With an extra shop day at my disposal I spent most of the day tidying up. We have an insurance inspection next week and my friend Stuart, who owns the building, is always afraid they will freak out over the machine shop in the basement. They didn't the last time but you never know. So, on the odd chance anyone is interested to see what it looks like, I took a few pictures...after I'd straightened up a bit. You can get a good idea how crowded it is.

 

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The Mitchell chassis is in the back corner of the bottom photo - you can just see the radiator. I'm going to have a problem when it comes to working on that because with the wheels on it won't fit through the door...but that is a bridge I'll cross when the time comes.

 

When I got sick of cleaning I did a little on the White water pump gear, mounting the big chuck...

 

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Drilled 3/8" and faced off...

 

 

 

The stock is 3" in diameter, the nearest size I could get that was larger than the OD of the gear (which is slightly less than 2-7/8"). This will get drill and reamed to .7495, counterbored 1" deep to a diameter of 1-1/2" and threaded for the piece I made yesterday.

 

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The Mitchell chassis is in the back corner of the bottom photo - you can just see the radiator. I'm going to have a problem when it comes to working on that because with the wheels on it won't fit through the door...but that is a bridge I'll cross when the time comes.

 

Thats OK Joe, 

 

I have a friend who years ago built-up a model T with his Dad in their basement. They had just enough room to drive it five feet forward and five feet in reverse.

Then there is my friend who is building-up a 19 ton Lombard steam log hauler in his two car garage. I think he will need to bring the chainsaw out for this one.

It was so cramped I couldn't get decent photos.

 

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Edited by Terry Harper (see edit history)
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I've been in a perpetual state of distraction for the past few days but this afternoon I did get back to the lathe to make a little progress on the gear for the White water pump.

 

Drilled to 47/64

 

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Then reamed to 7.495 - .0005 under 3/4"

 

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Then set up for the counterbore.

 

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I'm off tomorrow, going to look at a car with a friend but I'm hoping to be back to this on Wednesday.

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After just about a week of pressing distractions I finally got back to the shop today. First up, I counterbored the gear blank for the White water pump.

 

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I took it out to slightly under 1-1/2" then used this counterbore to give it a perfectly flat bottom. I'm making this hole a little smaller than it is on the original part, partly because the old part has a tapered bore and also because I actually have the tool for this. The only important measurement is that the hole be large enough to accept a deep socket to screw in the projection.

 

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Then the hole was tapped.

 

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And the projection screwed in tight.

 

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You'll notice that I'm doing all this without moving the work piece. That is important because when I'm done, all of these parts will be mechanically concentric. The last step was to turn the end of the projection down to 3/4". This will give me a perfectly concentric surface so I can grip the gear blank from the big end. The projection itself is both longer and larger in diameter than it will be when finished but for now it is serving as a tool. When everything else is done, I can turn it down to the finished size.

 

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The last step was to take it out of the chuck, turn it around and face the other end. The overall length is 4.125 where the finished length will be 3.950...the added material is there so it can be trimmed on either end to the exact size.

 

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That's one down and one to go. I'm making two of these. Ed wants two of them and by doing this, if something does go wrong, I will not have to start again from the beginning. In any case, it's one of my quirks that I always think that if I make an extra I won't need it. If I don't, I certainly will.

 

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Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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There is quite a lot to be said for going about this work calmly. I'm often a nervous wreck (though I do my best to never let it show) but for some reason I've found this job relaxing. I suspect a big part of that is that Ed has made it clear he'd rather have it right than have it fast. It's also reassuring that we're making the whole part and not modifying an original and unreplaceable original part. I have the same feeling about my own work but it's astounding how many people think they can have it both ways...unless the job is so "cookie-cutter" that it requires no thought whatsoever, you can't.

 

In the midst of all this I've finally gotten some reliable information about the "Indian" I inherited. It isn't really an Indian but rather a re-badged Royal Enfield sold around 1959. The exact date is still in question until I confirm the engine and frame numbers but oddly enough I'm more pleased that it isn't the rare Clymer/Enfield/Indian since the parts I need for it are pretty much all readily available or other, generic parts will readily work. I don't want another super challenging restoration, at least until the Mitchell is up and running but a 1950s English motorcycle should be easy and, like the water pump shaft, a bit relaxing.

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7 minutes ago, edinmass said:

It’s interesting how we relax using a skill set. I find fixing modern automobile electrical systems a fun challenge and relaxing.......many people think it’s insane. 

 

I might be inclined to think it's insane...but every time I've had to work on them it was either because I'd broken down somewhere or I had to get to work in he next few hours. On my first "mechanic" job I worked with a gentleman named Don Dugal... the best mechanic I've ever worked with. We had a really knotty electrical problem with some new Volvos (this would have been in the early 70s) so Don got the wiring diagram, which looked to me like a mass of colored spaghetti. He just looked it over for a few minutes and went directly to the problem and fixed it. "How did you do that" I asked  incredulously. "I was a radar repairman in the Air Force" was his answer.

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I'm back in the shop this week. I did a major clean up for the insurance inspection and the inspector never bothered to look in the shop - which is fine with me. The fact is, that as little as I like cleaning the place, I very much like working in a reasonably neat environment and I know I do better work when the place looks more professional.

 

I finished the counter bore and projection on the 2nd gear blank...You'll notice I put red Dychem on one of them. This is because the projections will not interchange perfectly for the purpose of turning them so if I have to take them out at some point I can easily put them back in the same holes. Threads are self-centering but can never be absolutely perfect unless they stop at exactly the same place. When the parts are finished, the tiny amount they will differ will be unimportant but for machining purposes we want them to be dead on.

 

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I then turned the first one down to the finished OD of the gear. I had to experiment with a few lathe bits to get the best possible finish. This is not the final one and I forgot to take a picture of the finished piece. I hit the OD dead on...accurate to the half-thousandth which is satisfying if not actually important. The OD of the gear does not touch the mating gear so accuracy to a thousandth or two is just fine.

 

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Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Wonder of wonders, I got a whole day in the shop with only minimal interruptions. I turned the other gear blank to the OD of the gear...

 

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and then went on to turning down the end. It goes from 2.8715 to 1.375 and has to end on a perfectly flat surface. Also, the finish is very important. The original was ground but I don't have a cylindrical grinder. I don't know why White did that, it isn't necessary if the finish of the turned part is smooth enough. I suspect that the material the gear was made from was not conducive to getting a smooth turned surface...or they hardened the gear and it was ground to eliminate any warping that resulted from the heat treating. In any case, we have many more materials to choose from than they did so a readily machinable material that is appropriate for gears is not an issue.

 

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I used a tool that would give me the finish I wanted and decided to do this in fairly small cuts so it did take some time. Here it is half-way...

 

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And finished...

 

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It looks as if I'm temporarily in the water pump business because these were dropped off this morning. One is leaking badly, the other leaking a little. These are from the 1920, V59 Cadillac a friend bought a few months ago. He'd given it to his cousin to rebuild the water pumps but apparently the "old timer" (his description) he was relying on to do it was unavailable. Actually, you would have to be pretty old to have any experience with a 100 year old water pump. Since this type was gone by the mid to late 20s I've my reservations about anyone claims to be able to do it based on more recent experience. In any case, I did say that if they ran into a problem I'd be glad to help and, lo and behold, they did. I do think it is very creditable of the mechanic involved to admit it was beyond his comfort level. So many would just hack their way through and ruin them.

 

They have been greased with the wrong type of grease and have modern drains...all that will have to be addressed.

 

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Here's a question for Ed...these have the early Cadillac thermostatic controls mounted on top. I don't know what I'll find when I open them up but I'm guessing they aren't readily, or easily, repairable. I was thinking of gutting the housings and putting in a pair of in-line thermostats and I'm wondering if that sounds practical or is there a better solution. The owner has zero interest in showing it something out of place won't bother him but, of course, I'd want to make it as unobtrusive as possible. I am also going to suggest we do the Evapo-Rust treatment to the block...I shook some rust scale out of the pumps already. The car has a new radiator that a previous owner paid a lot of money for. It is running and it isn't overheating but it seems prudent to get the rust flakes out before they come loose and clog the radiator. It has had very few miles on it since the radiator was installed...in such a ham-fisted manner that we'll have to pull it off and line it up correctly. Like the White, this is a completely unrestored car, not as spectacular as the White but still remarkable. It looks to have been given a rough paint job in the 50s (the fenders may have the original paint on them) and someone stretched black vinyl over the leather seats.

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The thought just occurred to me that I may be able to put a modern thermostat inside the old housings...that might be an even more elegant way to go about it.

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That’s about five years earlier than any Cadillac pump I have ever done. My 1914 Caddy pump was totally different. They are so dirty it’s hard to see what’s there......looks similar to the later ones. Bushings, shaft, and packings..........We usually machine the pump and install modern seals, but you may not have enough material to work with. I think disassembling them, cleaning, and posting photos, a simple solution will occur. Sometimes staying stock is the best move......not always, but sometimes finances and time dictate the repair. Evapo rust is a fantastic idea......did it to the White.........regardless of what I can see or determine. An ounce of prevention is worth ten pounds of cure. Also, the freeze plugs on those engines if the brass plugs have been replaced with steel are famous for rotting out.

 

Also, make sure the grease cups have the ball valve is them, or they will leak after the pump becomes water tight.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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I need to get more done on the White before I look at these. I suspect it's just what you say, bushings, shaft and packing. I have a lifetime supply of string packing so unless it's easy to do I'm just going to leave them as is regarding that. I suspect they have bronze impellers but if they are aluminum and eaten away I'll make some...

 

jp

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