Brooklyn Beer

Advice / input on buying a late 20's - early 30's car

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  Texas - no inspection required - is that still true?

 

folks I have spoken with say a cop needs to come out for about 3 years now to inspect.............

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On ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 2:23 PM, Brooklyn Beer said:

And what type trans was in the later model cars ?  Synchro? Double clutching ?

 My 1931 Franklin has a non synchronized  Warner 3 speed trans. Definitely have to double clutch. I think in 1932 2nd and 3rd gear might have been synchronized in some models . Not 100% sure 

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4 hours ago, mercer09 said:

  Texas - no inspection required - is that still true?

 

folks I have spoken with say a cop needs to come out for about 3 years now to inspect.............

Safety inspection. lights and horn and if car came equipped with it original, they have to work.

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52 minutes ago, 29 franklin said:

 My 1931 Franklin has a non synchronized  Warner 3 speed trans. Definitely have to double clutch. I think in 1932 2nd and 3rd gear might have been synchronized in some models . Not 100% sure 

Some of the 31 warner T-77 4spd near the end of production were synchro between high and intermediate (3rd and 4th). Those were the gears shifted between the most during driving. Later trans added synchro to lower gears when rear axle ratios made the need to down shift more common during normal driving. 

 

Otherwise, if the trans is in good shape,.. and the clutch disc is properly adjusted and not warped and dragging,.. and the engine is not revved too high - like people tend to do with a  modern synchro trans,.. then most warmed up non-synchro trans  will shift without need of double clutching. I do it all the time with the many 22 to 32 Franklins that I get to drive. The only time I have to double clutch is when I need to down shift while the car is moving. 

 

The problem I see a lot with crashing gears  is drivers trying to shift at too high of an rpm, and too quickly - like they would with a modern car. Try shifting at lower rpms when the gear speeds are more closely matched. Those are long stroke motors that have more torque than later short stroke motors of the same CID, so what some people might think is shifting at too low an rpm and lugging the motor, doesn't hurt it. 

 

And shift a bit slower, not fast. Think of it as doing two steps not one. Shift to neutral then shift to the next gear as you keep the clutch pedal down.  Don't try to quickly shove it right from one gear to the next. That momentary pause in neutral is usually  all it needs. 

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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Somewhere I remember reading from some older car guy that before going to first when pulling up to a light or stop sign always go into second first keeping clutch depressed before first.  The same when getting into reverse. Always go to second first from neutral then reverse while keeping clutch depressed. Something about how the gears line up.  Before i sold my 40 Ford 2 ton truck that tranny was a bear to get into gear with double clutching every gear. First was designed so slow I guess to walk next to it and pick lettuce I think. Anyway my father god rest his soul had used these trucks when he was 7-8 years old in Brooklyn in the family business. Had not driven one since 1950. First time he came down and saw it he just had to go for a drive. Told him about double clutching and he asked why?  And god only knows how he did it but he never ground a gear and he never doubled clutched it. Was 60 years since he drove one.

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14 hours ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

Somewhere I remember reading from some older car guy that before going to first when pulling up to a light or stop sign always go into second first keeping clutch depressed before first.  The same when getting into reverse. Always go to second first from neutral then reverse while keeping clutch depressed. Something about how the gears line up.

 

That sounds to me almost like a technique used on synchronized transmissions, not crashboxes. Most older synchronized transmissions have an unsynchronized first gear (and also reverse).

 

Typically on really old cars you did not leave the car in gear at a stoplight. The throwout bearing in the clutch was only intended for intermittent use, and may not have been a bearing at all.

 

Starting out from a stoplight you need to depress the clutch, and then wait until the clutch disc and all the stuff in the transmission stops spinning before you can put the transmission in low gear. Waiting for it to stop can seem like an eternity at a stoplight in modern traffic. An alternate method is to "touch" some synchronized gear like second or third. You don't have to put it all the way in gear (but you can if you want). Touching the synchro stops the rotating parts and then you can go right into low.

 

Touching a synchro doesn't abuse it, but it does use it. On cars where second is the first to wear out I usually touch high.

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14 hours ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

Anyway my father god rest his soul had used these trucks when he was 7-8 years old in Brooklyn in the family business. Had not driven one since 1950. First time he came down and saw it he just had to go for a drive. Told him about double clutching and he asked why?  And god only knows how he did it but he never ground a gear and he never doubled clutched it. Was 60 years since he drove one.

 

That technique is called "floating" the gears, and is used mainly on crashboxes. Once moving, you don't use the clutch much if at all.

 

Double clutching, on the other hand, can be used with either a crashbox or a synchronized transmission. The technique is a little different with synchros, but the theory is exactly the same. If you do it right, the next gear will just slip in with no effort at all because the synchro isn't doing anything. The synchro doesn't even need to work.

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15 minutes ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

I just have to ask why the term for early transmissions are Crash boxes? 

 

Because the gears grind!. There are actually at least 2 kinds of crash boxes.

 

One kind actually slides the gears, and when shifting the drive teeth of the gears actually crash into each other and grind.

 

The other type is called a "dog box" (still used today in racing). The dog box has some alternating teeth "dogs" on the edge of the gear (not the drive teeth) that engage when the gear is shifted in. These grind just like sliding gears if the RPMs do not match when the gear is shifted.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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15 hours ago, PFitz said:

And shift a bit slower, not fast. Think of it as doing two steps not one. Shift to neutral then shift to the next gear <snip>

 

That part cannot be repeated enough. It is just as valid when floating gears or double clutching as it is in the technique PFitz described. Shifting out of a gear, and shifting into the next gear are two distinct motions.

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When I learned to drive a standard transmission in the mid 1960s my Dad taught me, he said you can't loose or make a noise if you double clutch and learn to hesitate a bit between shifts. Once you stat and "do it" you "get the feel" and it all goes in with no problems. Do my current pre war old cars need this method all the time - NO , but the very small extra motion is a habit I am in and doesn't need to change. Besides as you age it gives you more exercise for your left leg muscles and that can't hurt either😉

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so next questions about the Franklin in comparison to other cars. Brakes.  How tough are they to work on and how often do they need adjusted from just say 20-30 mile a week driving? I am guess no self adjusters from 1929-34?  

 

Generators and output. I see many pictures of Franklins and other cars with add-on fog lights, etc. Was there different output generators for different cars? And would that also include voltage regulators.

 

Drive line.  How are the drive shafts mated to the rear and trans?  Simple U-joints are a more complicated set up?  (My 46 dodge is a pain and thankfully I have not had to touch the 49 Buick)

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1 hour ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

so next questions about the Franklin in comparison to other cars. Brakes.  How tough are they to work on and how often do they need adjusted from just say 20-30 mile a week driving? I am guess no self adjusters from 1929-34?  

 

Generators and output. I see many pictures of Franklins and other cars with add-on fog lights, etc. Was there different output generators for different cars? And would that also include voltage regulators.

 

Drive line.  How are the drive shafts mated to the rear and trans?  Simple U-joints are a more complicated set up?  (My 46 dodge is a pain and thankfully I have not had to touch the 49 Buick)

 If set up correctly it's easy to adjust the shoes for wear without going inside the drum. How often depends on the type of brake lining and how the driver uses the brakes, and where you drive - is it in the City, Kansas country rods, or the Rockies ?  Could be every few hundred, or every ten thousand miles ???? Franklins are not known to be hard on brakes, but some drivers are.

 

Typical Owen Dyneto and 29 and later were the common Delco Remy third brush generators of that era. If the head light reflectors are re-silvered, the wiring and ground connections very good, then extra driving lights aren't need.   

 

Spicer u-joints used up to in 1931 and later the mechanics joints. As long as the joints are properly rebuilt and lubed, they are some of the best made.  

 

Understand one thing about Franklins, they were designed  by many of the top engineers in the auto industry. As such, they are sometimes refered to as "an engineer's car".  many years ago I started out in the hobby working on Hispano Suizas. I've worked on Packards, Pierce-Arrows, early Renault, and many other top makes. I prefer Franklins because they make much more mechanical sense to me. They are lighter for their size and have good power, because it's not being eaten up by a heavy car to get a smooth ride. Because of their special suspensions they ride as smooth, or smoother, than cars weighting far more.    So, that "light weight engineering" that Franklin is famous for improves gas mileage, tire wear, and wear on the drive train, without sacrificing ride comfort and power.

 

And, a little known fact outside the Franklin Club is that The H.H. Franklin Manufacturing Company is credited with over 100 firsts in the auto industry, thanks to all those top engineers they employed. They even had some of the top coachwork designers on staff, such as, Frank DeCausse and Ray Dietrich. They also worked with many other top coach builders of the day so that a customer could order custom coach work right from the Franklin dealers.  Customers could also order custom colors through the dealer on standard models.  And, they  had quite a few customers who knew the reliability of air cooled engines, like Charles Lindbergh, Capt. Harry Hawks, Amelia Earhart, Cannon Ball Baker, and others.    

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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Reading through Franklin manuals how does the fuemer switch work compared to a choke?   I also find interesting they say to add 1 qt medium oil to gas tank for every 10 gallons of gas for first 1000 miles.  Must have been pretty smokey that first 1000 miles ?    What is the proper grade of oil for these motors?  a difference in hot weather VS cooler weather?   What do they consider light machine oil ?  Says to refill the valve oiler every 1000 miles.  Interesting. I am guessing this is easily accessible. Same as engine oil?   What would todays equivalent be for the graphite and in the case of the steering box,  what is liquid grease?

Edited by Brooklyn Beer (see edit history)

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33 minutes ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

Reading through Franklin manuals how does the fuemer switch work compared to a choke?

 

It likely sets the carb on fire with modern, more volatile gasoline. The fuemers are not needed and most Franklins have them disconnected or removed by now.  

 

They were needed to get the gas to vaporize back when these cars were running on 57 octane gas - which was more like kerosene than we think of as gasoline. By 1930 higher octane gas became available that was easier to get started without need of flooding gasoline onto electric heating coils to boil it to vapor. In 1931 Franklin stopped servicing fuemers and sold a block-off kit to remove the fuemer and cover up the mounting hole instead. By 32 they were not on the carbs. 

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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51 minutes ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

Is there a diagram that shows some detail of the walking beam and valve system

 In the members area of the Club website, you can download copies of the operators manuals and parts books for each year. The back half  of each operators  manual covers all the  maintenance, adjustments,  and repairs.

 

Also, the parts books show the drawing numbers, which Franklin used as the part number, too. You can use that parts book drawing number to look up the blue print in the drawings file section of the members section. There's over 20,000 Franklin factory drawings  in that section. You can search by part name or by inputting the drawing(part) number in the search box on that page.

 

Word of caution, if you use the common, more modern names for some parts, such as "rocker arms",  you won't find the part. You have to know the engineer's term, as you did with "walking beam", that is used for the name of the part in the parts books and on the drawings, or the search engine can't find it.  

 

Paul 

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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Brakes - keep in mind you are dealing with a 75+ year old car, Brooklyn - compare how your Dodge or Buick stop compared to your modern car that has disc brakes. You may need a little extra space and time to slow down compared to how fast you are going. The series ll cars used a transmission mounted brake band  in connection with the driveshaft etc. Works very well , but compared to the 1928-34 Franklin 4 wheel drum brakes , the series 11 brake seems a bit less effective - and is so as far as timing to stop goes. I am not implying that the series 11 doesn't stop, they do, and do well and are a great car to drive. you just have to respect the era and ability that the car had when new. To many comparisons to newer cars. Brass era cars stopped well when compared to other brass era cars not to a 1940 era car.

In the decades I owned my Franklin I had the opportunity to drive many different years and models of Franklins from 1904 to 1934. All great driving ( very very easy to steer) cars but you have to have a mindset of what you are driving and the technology available and in use at the time. Once you have the brakes done, inspection perhaps twice a year to see if they need adjustment ( think how much you use it) is fine. With the cars with hydraulic brakes just check the fluid level. All general maintenance activity.

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How was it the club came across all this factory material?  That is one incredible find. Normally when a factory closes the stuff ends up as trash unless someone has the foresight to take it home.  Even then it is not ever nearly as complete as this.  

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Many years ago, by luck, one of the founders of the Club met someone who had salvaged the engineering drawings from the factory after it closed. 

 

That member then sold copies to members for quite a few years. Then when he was getting on in years he donated the files to the Club so that it could continue selling copies to those that needed them.

 

A few years ago, the Club converted them into computer files so that the members could have direct access without paying to have copies made.  

 

Unfortunately some drawings did get thrown out before they could be saved. That 20K plus is only part of all the drawings.  There are many thousands of drawings missing.  At least one whole section in the 80,000 sequence, which is parts such as transmissions, is missing.

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)

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Sounds like what happened when Rheingold closed in Brooklyn.  We use to bring the security guard a danish and coffee in the morning (1979-80) and get free run of the old plant.  What was left behind could not be brought out in 10 tractor trailers, all going back to the 1890's.  Not just paper either. We saved as much as we could. A lot of it is my bar I built off the house.

bab bar 004.JPG

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As far a s I can remember the Franklin company assets ( ie rights to build cars etc) were sold to a fellow/company in Ohio who had a tendency in the early 1950s to buy defunct automobile companies , the Franklin files (blueprints)  Paul mentions were eventually  bought by one of the founders of the Franklin club and he kept them for decades , as he got older and before his demise the files went to the Franklin club. We are all fortunate that these still exist and are available. they are indeed incredible period factual information used at the factory to build the cars. All professional engineering drawings. I had the pleasure of knowing for many years the chief draftsman for the Franklin company , Leo Gerst, who was responsible for a good quantity of their creation . In the early 1970s many of the Franklin employees still were alive and were invited to the annual Franklin club meet in August and the club bought them lunch. The stories they had to tell were amazing. I helped organize those annual luncheons with one of the former employees who kept in touch with as many of the fellows he worked with as possible. I interviewed all of them as well as corresponded with them to record their memories. I still have all that correspondence. I hope this winter to read through it all again and put it into context with recorded facts of the era and then do several stories about this.

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As a sidenote:  RE Franklin: There is a drops per-minute test in the shop manual or owner's manual for the weight of the gear oil for the transmissions - we asked one of the oil companies back in time for a recommended product that met that test for use in the 1930 Franklin transmission and upon installation that was the end of the need for double clutching - all be it if you missed a shift you still had to pull the car to the side of the road and restart (I packed the extra in the car when I sold it, and do not recall what it was, though perhaps this is something someone wants to start investigating as it was a pretty sweet deal).   By the way, the issue seems to be common with pretty much every car make pre-syncromesh transmission.

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)

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