Jump to content

Speedster Builds.............


Recommended Posts

Hey Mike,  You only go around once!  This Nash was kinda forced on me by another old car guy.  Actually, it will probably go away before I even get a start on it.   Whats the latest with your  Mitchell and Wisconsin?  I am anxious to get after the Locomobile before anything else!

Al

PS: age is just a number, some of us have been rode hard and put away wet....and we show it!  Some of us check the oil every day and change it when needed, maybe we will get high miles that way..(and need it).....haha

Edited by alsfarms
spelling (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

You guys beat me by far... I'm lucky to keep up with 1 project. (Though I admit I daydream about lots of others)... but then I realize how long it takes me to get anything done and realize I can't possibly live long enough to finish all of them - and I belong from a family where almost everyone lives into their 90s.... I even have an uncle who is 100.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/7/2017 at 11:11 AM, alsfarms said:

OK, I decided to post a few pictures of the current engine rebuild that is now nearly complete.  The first picture is the "before" the next three are the current status.

Al

IMGP4939.JPG

IMG_20170905_113025200.jpg

IMG_20170905_113031976.jpg

IMG_20170905_113051257.jpg

 

Hi Alan,

 

    Do you have any more pics of the engine stand? I'm still trying to get ideas for a stand for my Seagrave.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Chase,  oops, I forgot to get you pictures of my engine stand, (sorry).  You can see details of the stand in the above pictures.  I would change the locking positions to make them a bit more robust than what you see on my stand.  Make the side arms long enough to easily engage the mounts for your Seagrave.  Establish the height at a comfortable position for you to work on the engine.  Casters are an absolute (use good ones).  My stand (which does not show in the Locomobile pictures) has the width adjustable so you can use it on different width engines , (future projects for you).  You can see how the stand can change rebuild positions.  Make sure that the geometry is correct so you can roll the engine over to allow doing the bottom end work, (the height must be right especially with the length of a big 6 cylinder engine).  My stand is designed so when the engine is upright, the stand wants to stay in that position.  To roll over your big 6, it will take some muscle!  If you need any specific measurements, I can get them for you as well as specific views of the stand that you are fuzzy on.

Al 

Link to post
Share on other sites

No problem Alan,

 

Joe just gave me the SAE specifications from 1920. However, it was noted that the recommendation for the SAE standard was based on data

from 56 companies (both manufacturers and users) and that they were using 58 different types and sizes of radiator caps!

Not much help there if a vehicle dates prior to the standard! All part of the fun!

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello terry and Joe,  From another thread I have been given a good idea on casting other items using silicone patterns.  I may make patterns of an original Delco dual distributor lead nub and make up a new set for this Locomobile and also for the Wisconsin project.  They will both run Delco dual units.

Al

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Alan,

 

Joe and I have been discussing similar stuff back channel and I have been doing some intense research. Did you know way back in 1917 someone was offering a electrically heated bakelite steering wheel? (LOL) With the magneto coupling project winding down my students and I are in search of another project.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a distributor cap I made. I was making the entire distributor but if I was to do this again, I would select a common distributor from maybe the 60s, preferably with a low profile and centrifugal advance weights and make a flat, archaic looking cover for it. With the distributor body painted black and perhaps a new brass "ID Plate" it would disappear into an early engine without looking out of place. This was turned out of a block of linen based phenolic. Locating the connections is the easy part... thought also has to be given to how it is held down and how it is oriented perfectly with the distributor body but I'm certain these can be dealt with.

IMG_0235.JPG

IMG_0236.JPG

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice work Joe!  For everyone that peeks in here,  I am looking for a flat face oil flow indicator gauge so I can verify oil flow on the above Locomobile engine for the first start.  I do not want to burn out bearings due to no oil flow.  Joe, how close are you to assembly of your Mitchell engine?

Al 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am still quite far off. I have to finish the rods and pistons (and appropriate bearings), then do the crank and crankcase. When that is far along, I have an oil pump to make so I'd be amazed if I got it done in the next year. There are some other parts to make as well. This is a case where the only original parts will be the jugs, crankcase, crank and flywheel. Everything else was either missing or worn to the point of being nearly worthless. On the good side, this is easily the worst component of the entire car and the most demanding to refurbish. And, I'm striving for a much greater degree of precision than the makers did.

 

If that sounds like a lot, I've already made the valve cages, timing gears, camshaft, cam followers, front hub and half a dozen other parts. Both the pistons and rods are about 1/2 done and would be further along were it not that I want to get my new vertical mill up and running, have to finish the windows fro my house and sawed a small piece off my thumb with the table saw... so it's moving along, just not very fast.

 

j

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you get a chance, show us an update on your window project.  I hope you get that complete before foul weather falls in on you!  Also, you really shouldn't keep shortening your fingers....that's less effective.  That is almost as much fun as having carpal tunnel surgery on both hands last year.  I NEVER want to go through that ordeal again.  The good side is I have all feeling back in my hands and the pain has subsided...finally!  When I get a first run on the Loco engine.  I can turn my attention to fitting the clutch and throw-out bearing assemblies.  The clutch is rebuilt but my throw-out assembly is an all new casting that needs to have some finish machine work and a few small parts built.  Then I need to install all the controls and linkages for the engine, clutch, transmission.  I have yet to determine how I want to fit the driveshaft.  Then the factory cast muffler with built in cut-out.  My steering gear is in nice shape so I do not anticipate a large work load to make it serviceable.  I have considered needle bearings in place of the original brass bushings, that decision can wait.  Your Mitchell should surely be a 40-45 HP engine?

Al

Link to post
Share on other sites

Theoretically, it was 35HP to begin with. With the light pistons and rods, all dynamically balanced,  tight valves, higher compression and improved breathing and exhaust I'm hoping for at least 50... maybe more. It is a light car too.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd love to though I don't know where I'd find one. There are some speed shops in the general area so perhaps one of them has one. The late Franke Cooke had one in his garage to test the RR engines he rebuilt but he's long gone.

 

j

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe and any other speedster sorts that visit here.  If you have a desire to see what the output of your chosen speedster power plant would be, check in with your local farm equipment shop.  We farmers all really like to know what our work horses are putting out.  Your Ag shop or even your state Agricultural Dept. will know where a Dyno is located.  It is nice to know what is going on with our engines.  The Dyno helps to put a proper tune on a diesel engine and is also a very useful tool for gas engines.  I am curious if others have put the ancient engines to a Dyno test to see just how accurate the original HP specifications are.  What are your experiences?

Al

Link to post
Share on other sites

Al, there isn't a awful lot of agriculture going on in Rhode Island... or rather, I should what there is is on a very small scale. I actually have a brother-in-law and a cousin that have what are called "farms" here but, by the standards of nearly anywhere else they'd be market gardens. We do have a Tractor Supply store somewhere and I even remember a tractor sales agency sales agency (if they are still in business). But... the diesel engine angle is excellent. We do have lots of trucking and I think there are one or two diesel engine rebuild shops in my town.

 

j

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Believe it or not, at one time  owned a cranberry bog. There aren't many in RI - the bulk of that goes on in Massachusetts, nearby and closer to the ocean. I think that blueberries and strawberries are cultivated in southern RI, also near the ocean where the winters are milder. Mostly, we had dairy farms. There are still a few but the ones in my area all went away 20 years ago although I have just learned that one of them is starting up again.

 

I'm not doing anything with the stroke. Actually, I'm trying to do only modifications that were possible within the working life of the car... perhaps up to 1915. The exception to that is materials, which I have little control over. Even things like aluminum rods and pistons were known, if largely experimental at the time. I've gotten reprints of several early SAE papers on the subject to keep me in line and rely heavily on the Heldt 1911 automobile engineering textbook.  The alloys mentionen them are largely unavailable now and have been vastly improved in any case so I regard that as a safety factor.

 

jp

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe I agree  - some of the early engineering is quite remarkable. For instance the copper water jackets used by Corbin or the later Franklin cylinders with the copper fins cast intergral with the cylinder casting.

We have lost something by moving away from trades and crafts and embracing mass production on a phenomenal scale. Things don't seem to have a soul anymore.

 

One has to wonder how much improvement many of these brass era automobiles went through. I remember reading how one family at least - come winter when they would lay-up the automobile till spring, would just about completely disassemble it and re-build it in preparation for the coming season. I always wondered how wide spread that practice was and how many "tweeked" things just bit.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

That actually a very good question and not one I think we can easily find an answer to. There are a few things we need to keep in mind. First, brass cars became obsolete VERY fast. Depreciation was approximately 50% per year and I suspect life expectancy was less than 5 years. Look at any photo known to have been taken around 1915–1916 and see if you can find a 1909-1910 car in it. The same is true right up to WWII... a photo taken in 1936 practically never has a 1930 car in it.

 

Yet we know that some survived... we still have them. I think they are all (or nearly all) anomalies. They were saved for some unconventional reason or simply because it was too much trouble to junk them. Some must have been used off road as farm vehicles. My 1910 REO was being used to harvest cranberries until after WWII. It was completely worn out, but perfectly adequate to carry berry boxes out of the bog. Many of the really magnificent cars were made into trucks... but even then, they were worthless when their useful life was over. Actually, I SUSPECT that the survivors we have nearly all belonged to people who, at least at the beginning, took reasonably good care of them. I also suspect that many were in the hands of people who didn't throw things away readily, even if they didn't have an immediate use for them. I sympathize with that... I'm that way myself.

 

Also, I don't think they got used much. There was a question about what constitutes "low mileage." I suspect virtually all surviving brass cars have relatively little mileage on them... heck, Mike W has a 1902 Crestmobile his grandfather bought in the 30s... to date I think it has less than 400 miles on it.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Terry Joe and others,  It is my opinion that given the development during the brass era was vibrant and very innovative.  Elementary, in some forms, but dynamic.  It would have been a fun trip, if we could step back in time and see the evolution of technology first hand.  Steam, electric, gas, diesel engines.  Then the vast array of transmissions and final drives.  Carburetor, starters, magnetos, metallurgy, and etc.  "T" head, "F" head, valve in head, valve in block, sleeve valve, atmospheric valve, etc.  Wheels, tires, controls, body style, trimming, paints all evolved.  Joe, I hear your  thoughts on obsolescence.  I actually think that idea was a bit more regional.  In rural areas, like most of Utah in the early 1900's, not much spare money was available  to fuel fast replacement of an asset like the automobile.  Cars were a huge investment.  Most cars would cost more than the house folks lived in.  The family automobile  would be run until mostly worn out, then it would be relegated to farm use use, then modified for other uses again.  Finally, the frame of a car would be lastly modified to be a hay wagon and serve for another generation.  Some of these last hay wagons are still in active use here in my area.  My Locomobile ran as a Baby Tonneau until the teens, then modified to be a dirt track racer, then parked in the 1920's where it was left undisturbed until the scrap drives of WW2.  Sadly, the engine, trans, radiator all went into patriotic service.   When I took possession of the car, in the early 1970's, I determined that I would not even consider restoration until I could find the big pieces then missing.  My labor of love was just beginning.  I did not put any time frame for completion on the project.  Over time I did locate all the missing pieces as well as to work out arrangements to get new castings for those other items still missing.  By hunting and being patient, with the Locomobile, I found a very real interest in early speed cars, hence my American-LaFrance special.  While hunting for other bits and pieces, I have been fortunate to run across and procure enough pieces for the Special.   My Special, as I have mentioned before, is loosely based on and  patterned after the early Simplex / Stutz speed cars.  One last thought that is always a driving force for what we all enjoy, history.  I have an early news paper clipping from 1910 that tells of a local stage business that ran between the rail road station in one town and the county seat 40 miles away.  The stage, among other big cars, ran a Thomas Flyer!  I have never been lucky enough to run across any remains so I suppose that it eventually ended up being one of the known Thomas Flyers (or could have been).    So much for the ramble.....

Al

Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve,  Did you mention whether you are going to be adding an auxiliary trans of some sort to your Model T speedster?  I have a Muncie, (three speed and reverse, probably out of a TT truck) saved for my last Model T project, but have not yet decided if I will be using it.  My brother has a T speedster with a hopped up 1926 engine and a Warford transmission.  The Warford transmission has added a whole new dimension to driving and enjoying his car.

Al

Link to post
Share on other sites

Al, Terry, Joe,

It is very sad to me to see the lack of quality, craftsmanship and pride in all aspects of things today. We own/operate several new pieces of equipment in our business. Mostly tractors and loaders. $200,000 new tractor with leaking window seals and a pinched fuel line at 25 hours run time. Then a bad flare on the steel main hydraulic feed line at 40 hours. Dealer mechanic said he sees these issues time and time again on new tractors. 3 days ago about 9:30 at night all the fields lights went out. Ended up being a melted down relay. Mechanic said this is common also. All this has made my appreciation for the equipment from the brass era and the men who built and designed them that much greater. The demand for welders, carpenters, pipe fitters and so on in my area is great. The journeymen are retiring out and the youth of this country don't want to work let alone get dirty. I have a good friend in our town that is in quality control at an automotive parts vending plant. He tells me all the time of parts that are not up to spec being shipped hoping the assembly plant will go ahead and use them. This country has become a disposable society in many ways I feel. 

 Well. I will get off my soap box now but I bet most of you know exactly where I am coming from.

Marc

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

For all the complaints about this sort of thing, I am not convinced anything has really changed. Al's Locomobile was an extremely well made car and I suspect that attention was paid to details. My Mitchell, which has almost the same displacement but cost half as much (if not less) is quite a different proposition. I confess that my desire to own a really good, i.e., well made, brass car drives me to make a lot of replacement parts and to insist to myself that they be measurably better than the originals. This is not really re-engineering, it is simply far more attention to small details in making the parts. I have the time and tools, but that isn't the norm in the old car world. The average enthusiast is stuck either living with the problems or paying someone to do the work. I think this is what makes serious refurbishment (notice I did not say "restoration") of early cars in poor condition such a daunting endeavor. Effectively, it is only realistic if the car itself is exceptional or if the person doing the work is more interested in the process than the product. It is very different from the problems faced by people restoring the cars of even the late teens and twenties unless they are working with a really obscure make and, even there, the really obscure cars often used bought-in parts that were shared with other makes. This was true with pre-WWI cars as well but we just don't see "1910 parts cars" any more. What were parts cars are now being restored.

 

As to the rural aspect that Al describes, I am certain this is correct but in the years before WWI, most cars were still beyond the means of the average family. I think the average annual income in 1905 was around $300 and it didn't skyrocket after that. Thus, most of the surviving cars were originally sold in fairly urban areas where money was concentrated. Some, perhaps many, migrated to rural areas as they depreciated, which happened very rapidly but even these were usually mid to lower priced vehicles. A car like Al's Locomobile was probably an exception but I'll bet there weren't may others in the neighborhood even in 1915.

 

Probably the vast majority of pre-WWI cars were sold to what we would call professionals – doctors, lawyers, accountants etc. For them, incomes up around $2,000 to $4,000 were fairly common but a $1,205 would still be a major expenditure. There were many articles in papers and magazines of the period warning against the common practice of re-mortgaging homes to buy automobiles.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I can attest that not very many "big" cars ever made it to my rural area.  The Locomobile came as my Great-Grand-Dad ran the first automobile dealership in this area between about 1908 and 1932.  This area was a Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet with a sprinkling of Nash, Buick, Studebaker.  The good part about we building an early speedster, is using what we can find to build something we want that is derived to fit an earlier era., (and our personal tastes).  If I wanted to drive a fast shifting, tire burning car, it sure would not be an early speedster.  Muscle cars from the late 50's early 70's fit that bill.  I do have a soft spot for later era muscle cars but that interest is certainly not like an early speedster...at all!  Here is a question for you fellows.  How many have tried to make a fast shift on a brass era car, with a big heavy clutch, side frame shifter and low revving engine.  It is very different from a 283 Chev. Corvette and a BW T-10.  Early technology makes a man out of you.....hahaha.

Al      

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe, that is an interesting point you make or suggest, that early on people were encouraged for NOT mortgaging the family house for the purpose of buying an automobile.  That notion is  good fiscal advice even today, we are accustomed to carrying too much debt load, on a personal as well as a national level.  I try to run my antique auto hobby fiscally smart, If I don't have it (money) I do not buy it.  That may be why my speedster project is a tad slow in progressing. 

Al

Edited by alsfarms
spelling (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I am in complete agreement with that. When I finally paid my house off I swore I would never borrow money again... I even told a banker (who was trying to sell me an equity loan) that "If I can't afford it, I don't buy it" so I think we must be on the same page there. This is also why I will never own a new car.

 

That said, nearly all of the early automobile companies were badly under capitalized. The demand for cars was so strong, up to about 1910, that almost anything that called itself a car could readily be sold and it was all "cash and carry." Automobile financing wasn't invented until the 20s with GMAC. Around 1910 the market for expensive cars was temporarily saturated and, in order to keep going, many companies had to drastically reduce their prices. I suspect that was the problem with Mitchell. In 1908 their 4-cylinder car cost $2,500... in 1910 it was $1,300. The money had to come from somewhere so everything on the car was made as cheaply as possible. Thankfully, there was nothing they could do about most of the major parts, like the blocks, crankcase and rear axle. I think if pot metal was available, they would have used it everywhere. As it is, they used Babbit for practically all of the bushings where any decent mechanic at the time would have know that bronze was the correct material. Remember, at the same time these cars were being built, machine tools that are still in regular use today were being built. I know, because I use them.  But... they were selling cars into a market where almost no one even knew how to drive. More than half of the 1910 Mitchell "owner's handbook" is devoted to telling the buyer how to work the machine. I remember reading a very salient comment (I think by the late Ralph Stein) that the wife of the average car buyer,  if she owned a sewing machine, probably knew more about mechanics and lubrication than he did.

 

Prior to 1910–1911, cars could be assembled using proprietary parts purchased on 90 day terms. If the car could be assembled and sold in that time frame or less, the suppliers were paid off from the sales. This worked well enough, but as soon as sales slowed, lots of "makers" couldn't keep up and folded.

 

If you get a chance, look for a book titled "America Adopts the Automobile". I believe it was originally a doctoral dissertation, later published as a book. It is not a "car book" in the marque-specific detailed sense but it is the best overall view of the early car industry I've read and has the added advantage of not being written by a car enthusiast but rather someone who was approaching the subject from a detached, academic point of view. The author is James J. Flink and it was published by the MIT Press in 1970.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe,  That is a very interesting read.  Especially where the author suggested that most housewives probably know more about mechanics that the man of the house did!  I would venture a guess that a good portion of early automobiles were bought used in my area.  I have the original sales contract for a 1922 Dodge Bros. touring car bought new by my grand-dad in 1927.  I think the total cost was $240. dollars.  I still have the remains of that car as well as the original title, license, and sales agreement.   That grand-dad never purchased a new car and this Dodge was the last car he purchased.  My mother said he just didn't think he needed another car and was happy to do things the old way.   Joe, how are the wheels on your Mitchell?  Are they 25-26 or27"?

Al 

Link to post
Share on other sites

27" - it really excellent condition. There is no reason to replace them. In fact, there are traces of original paint and pin striping on them.

I have 4 37x5 tires - old but good enough for my purposes as they aren't cracked and that size is huge overkill for a car as light as the Mitchell. I'd like to find at least 2 more for the spares.

 

My grandfather only owned 2 cars in his lifetime and was my only grandparent who learned to drive. He was born in 1883 but didn't drive until the early 30s when he bought a 28 or 29 Chevy. His 2nd car was a 34 Chevy. He gave that to my uncle to drive to his first posting as a newly commissioned officer at the beginning of WWII. It as already up on blocks for lack of gas and he died very shortly thereafter. The man who owned the local corner shop, Hiram Berger, collected ration coupons from the neighbors so that my mother and grandmother could take his ashes to the other end of the state where his family was customarily buried. Those were very different days.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a few Depression and WW2 stories that are not to different from yours.  I wonder how our youth could or would survive if conditions were ever to be like those days again?  Are your 27" wheels Firestone or Goodyear?

Al

Link to post
Share on other sites

That above picture is not awful good.  Attached will be a couple that show the radiator better and also my original battery box for the Speedster running board, then a few pictures of the headlamps and shifter pieces.

Al

DSC01662.JPG

DSC01663.JPG

DSC01664.JPG

DSC01665.JPG

DSC01668.JPG

DSC01669.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm jealous of your radiator!

If I can't find one for my car, I'm prepared to make a "cartridge core"... but it will be a lot of work so I'd rather find a good one.

Any chance you could take a closeup photograph of the plate on the battery box? I'd like to make one. I can probably copy the type or get very close. (I was a typesetter for many years).

I think the wheels are have Firestone reversible rims but I confess to not being all that familiar with the differences. All 3 of the brass cars I've owned had the same wheels and rims and those are the only ones I've changed tires on except a 1-cylinder Cadillac that had clincher rims.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Mercedes radiator is made up of approx 16k individually soldered tubes.  The solder is on the outside,  the water passes between the tubes and the air through the tubes.   I know someone that made one by hand so it is very possible, just time consuming.   There are a couple of companies doing it right now but the cost is something like 50k all in.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe,  I will see what I can get from you regarding the tag on my battery box.  Do you want measurements from the box and lid along with  the picture of the tag?  I may also build another box to go on the running board of the Locomobile.  The box I have is one of the few that actually still have the correct battery box tag on it.  Most battery boxes are converted tool boxes.

Al

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am curious about the 16,000 tubes... I don't think it is that many. I've calculated it by height and width based on an 8mm thin wall tube with the ends swedged hexagonal. It is really a very simple design. I got the idea of making one, if necessary, from the fact that it was patented by Carl Maybach in 1898 or '99 at a point when there was no such thing as specialized "radiator making" machinery. It had to have been made with the machines available at the time. In its original form, the tubes weren't swedged. they were held in a screen, not quite touching each other, and the solder filled the spaces on the ends. The swedged ends came later, probably around 1903. They were stronger and the entire thing was easier to make... the tubes were more or less "self alinging" and the finished construction stronger. They can be made as a solid block and the corners cut off to accommodate the tanks. The tricky part for most people would be swedging the tubes. In period, there were automatic machines to make them. It is said (and it may be an apocryphal story) that RR of America modified a cartridge making machine bought as surplus after WWI to make them. I rather doubt that because these radiators were in use long before then.

 

In any case... with tubes 8mm in diameter and the block 24" wide and 26" tall, you'd need 6,328 tubes and that is without including the swedged ends and including the corners that would be cut off. I've designed a little machine to swedge the tubes, one at the time. It would be a tedious job but if you're only doing it once or twice and not for profit, it makes sense. I will say that if someone wants to pay a huge amount for one, I might make another!

 

EDIT: I think the baffles are there on the square tube radiators to keep the rows straight. With square tube, if they went a tiny bit crooked it would be obvious where with the hexagonal tubes it is nowhere near as noticable. It would be a cold day in hell that I'd pay even 5,000 for a radiator, much less 10 times that amount.

 

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Alsancle, I did not know how the Mercedes radiators were built, that method you suggest is very time and skill intensive.  Talk about old world craftsmanship, that method is high on the list.  Both my Locomobile and this Speedster project have the older square cellular design that incorporates the horizontal baffles.  I would have a very hard time putting 50K into a radiator unless the end product would justify the means. (sadly my pockets are not that deep anyway)

Al

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...