Sign in to follow this  
Mike "Hubbie" Stearns

Restoration project 1928 Boyer Gramm Special fire truck

Recommended Posts

Hello to all.  I'm a newbie here and have enjoyed reading all the forums, what great info. I'm in the process restoring a 1928 Boyer Gramm Special fire truck. I first started by removing removing it from a learning center in June 2017 where it had been since 1995. kids played on it and acted like real firemen. It was up on jack stands. 2 of the 4 tires were flat. I was able to put a lot 30 psi of air in 3 of 4 tires. The 4th had a broken off valve core. It took about 10 of us to get it out the door and onto a rollback. It then was hauled to the fire department I'm on and unloaded. I've been a volunteer firemen for 29 years now. The engine was free. I pulled the plugs and started with navel mystery oil in the cylinders. In September, I pulled it home with the help of my daughter Maggie and a friend. Mags and I cleaned out a bay in the garage to put it and it just fit. It's about 7' wide and 24' long and weight about 6 tons. It took about a month to the radiator to hold water. It had a crack in the lower tank. Fortunely Mgs is a welder at a weld shop and was able to weld up. Well after hand cranking for months, I hooked a battery (6 volt)  and started cranking with no plugs. Cleaned carb and added some gas th the tank after removing toys from it. Installed the plugs and hit the starter button and the starter would hardly turn it over. Time to pull the starter and see what's going on. Cleaned and lubed up. Reinstalled and the same thing. What else could it be?  Well I do have copies of the build sheets from Boyer and it did say the battery was 8 volts. A quick call to my brother, and he told me to check the coil and see voltage it had on it if any. 12v was on it so the next day after work I stopped and picked up a battery, cables and a starter solenoid. After hooking everything up, I hit the button and it turned over great. Another problem solved. Turned the ignition switch on and hir the button again. The look on my face must have been priceless when it fired up. The kids did a number on the dash gauges so I hooked up a oil pressure gauge and fired again. You guessed it, no oil pressure. Time to pull the pan and see what's going on. The engine is a Contental 15 H straight 6 flathead. After cleaning the pan and oil filter housing of sludge. The sludge was about an inch and a half deep. Reinstalled the pan and 5 gals of oil and tried again. No luck, no oil pressure. Pulled again. Pulled oil pump apart and looks good. Found a pin on the oil pump drive shaft had broken. Replaced and put it all back together. Fired up and 30 psi oil pressure. Next is filling cooling system and check for leaks. Started and water poured out the exhaust. Shut down and checked to see where it's coming from. After a compression test, number 2 cylinder is dead. Pulled the head and found a crack down the cylinder about 2.5" long and across to exhaust valve. After a couple of calls to friends and J and M Machine, the engine lost the water pump and got too hot. Another set back. Continental engine used a aluminum oil pan and crankcase with a cast iron Blockand head. It's gotten too cold in the garage to work anymore this year so it will have to wait till spring and warmer times. Meanwhile it's time to do some reasearch. I'm also a member of spaamfaa. The pictures make it look good, but it has 5 coats of paint on it and very little rust. A friend of mine is going to do the body work and painting. The first picture is after it came to the fire department and the rest are when it was at the learning center

image.jpeg

image.jpg

image.jpg

image.jpg

image.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since it got warm enough to work in the garage, I've got the blocked separated and to the machine shop. Like all machine shops, they are covered up. At least it's there and is in line for repair. Meanwhile, I got the rest of the engine pulled so I can degrease it and the frame. I've spent a lot of time this year outside and not much time working on the truck. Degreasing the frame (from the front bumper to the fire pump took a lot of time. Pulled apart the front springs to clean. All the spring and King pins look great. Won't have to replace any of them. Got frame primed and sanded. Just mother nature would cooperate with me, too high humidity to paint the frame. Been working on stripping paint from front fenders while I'm waiting on the weather. Talked to the machine shop and he said it was his winter project and would let me know when he was going to start. I helped my brother strip paint on his 54 ford truck and now remember how I hate stripping paint. Woo hoo, Finally got the frame painted and it looks great.  Even my body man thinks so. It's been many years since I used a spray gun and I purchased a hvlp gun. It's was like riding a bike, you just never forget. Again is gotten too cold to work in my garage so will be waiting for next spring. Meanwhile I have the cowl assembly in the wood shop so I can replace some of the wood. Hoping to have it done and ready to put back on next spring. 

image.jpeg

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a quick update. Got a call from the machine shop earlier this week. After a quick chat over the phone, I stopped by. He had planned on pinning the crack. After he had cleaned it, it is worst than he thought. As you can see in the picture, the crack goes around the inside under the valve seat. There are 2 of these cracks and several other smaller ones as well. He recommends it be welded. So now I'm going to have to look for someone that can do this or try to find another block. Either way, it's going to be a challenge. Mike

image.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do NOT weld that block. From the looks of it it will need sleeves also. Firetruck engines usualy are not very expensive. I would try for a good engine first, then stitch that one. I would NOT take it to just anybody or any machine shop, I would take it to a guy who does sticking full time. Best bet it to take your time, figure out your options, and then proceed. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the block does need sleeved and new valve guides and seats. With that said, I'm just looking at my options. I've found a company that specializes in welding it by furnace welding and can do the machine work also. It's about a 2 day round trip. Been looking for a metal stitcher company and a replacement block. The ladder is going to be quite hard to find. There isn't much info available for 1928 continental engines on the web. I really need to locate a cross reference book since it seems that some forklifts used them. Thanks for your input, Mike 

  • Like 1

Share this post


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
Sign in to follow this