Jump to content

How to Sort and Maintain a Prewar car


Recommended Posts

All of this discussion is very good. One of the best words of advice I have read on this forum is these words from “alsancle”:


Trim it down to the few you like best and make your life easier.  Concentrate on being a curator of those.  You will in the end be much happier.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My tip?

 

Drive it! I am not talking just a couple laps around the block. You cannot diagnose or discover all the issues or develop the motivation to fix the faults by keeping it a garage queen.

If your out enjoying your car your more likely to preform preventative measures so you can keep enjoying it.

 

All this of course is predicated on the owner actually knowing how to fix things or take those preventative measures. (something I find sadly lacking today)

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

 

Thats just fine is there is such a thing. I don't know about Pierce or Packard but there was no such thing for the Ghost and PI Rolls. The company sent out "service sheets" to the various service departments - most of which were thrown away long ago. The RROC reprinted the PI service sheets about 30 years ago and it's a treasure trove of information but until then you were entirely on your own figuring out how things worked and how to fix them. I've never seen a brass era "shop manual" and I doubt there ever were any. The same is probably true for most big cars right through the 20s and early 30s.

 

This is the same for machine tools. I can't say how many times I've heard people ask where they can find a shop manual...they just don't exist and never did. There were parts books which are often a big help and the occasional operator's manual. All of the brass car owners manuals I've looked consisted of telling the new owner how to drive and urging him to put oil in it. for any serious repair they are useless.

 

There are Brass Era manuals. You have to be creative though. You need the owners manual and then a set of early mechanics education books. Reading both, having mechanical knowledge and reading between the lines helps.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I collect the Brass era books on repairing cars and automobile engineering. They've been a big help and, of course, I like mechanical problems to begin with. I was thinking of marque specific manuals which seems to be what most people are looking for and which don't exist for the vast majority of early cars.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, edinmass said:

We recently pulled a big Classic out of a barn that had been sitting for almost fifty years. We went through the entire car, except the springs. We serviced the shackles and shocks, did all the steering and front end, including the box. On the first drive I knew right away we made a mistake of not taking the springs apart and cleaning and lubricating them......... a few hundred miles later we did service them. It took a few hundred more miles for them to settle down and feel correct. Interestingly, this is the second time I have had to learn this lesson in the last thirty years. Sometimes springs are frozen solid and don’t even move......I have seen people driving on tours with cars suffering from frozen springs, and the driver had no clue.

 

/Raises hand sheepishly...

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Jeff Perkins / Mn said:

All of this discussion is very good. One of the best words of advice I have read on this forum is these words from “alsancle”:


Trim it down to the few you like best and make your life easier.  Concentrate on being a curator of those.  You will in the end be much happier.

 

I said that?   It does sound smart!

 

I was just talking to a friend this morning about this thread and was basically saying the same thing so maybe it was me.   Best to learn one or two kinds of car you can be an expert on.    There are so many little idiosyncrasies with the different makes and models that  you will never get anywhere with an eclectic collection.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great thread as we sit here this weekend planning on the running gear (brakes, steering, front end, suspension) work on the A roadster this winter. I have a guy picked out and although I wish I had the time, I am just glad he is local and while young, has quickly earned a good reputation.  

 

I agree with Matt's assessment of car conditions in general but will say the raw numbers of "A"s out there yields some very well sorted cars.  (Our goal is to get there...) Cars one can get in and go down the road in with confidence.  I think the Europeans are onto something as they tend to be more focused on sorting and usage.  

 

I wpuld only add be patient if stuff does break, it did on occasion back in the day as well. 🙂

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, alsancle said:

 

I said that?   It does sound smart!

 

I was just talking to a friend this morning about this thread and was basically saying the same thing so maybe it was me.   Best to learn one or two kinds of car you can be an expert on.    There are so many little idiosyncrasies with the different makes and models that  you will never get anywhere with an eclectic collection.

I think this is a really great piece of advice. Makes it more likely for individuals to make the right decisions when repairing and restoring, and allows the choices to be as proper as possible. Not to mention it brings out higher quality work, and more likely for an individual to follow through with a project!

 

Now just to decide what make and series! Do I want to do Packard, or Buick, or Pierce, or Cadillac, or Chrysler, or....

Link to post
Share on other sites

My contribution to this discussion is that one half of the sorting out process is THE OWNER/DRIVER.

 

Matt has good text on his web site about what to expect when operating an old car. I suspect it speaks to his experience of trying to "sort out" a satisfied customer. 

You can have the best Ed Minnie prepared car in the world, but if the driver EXPECTS it to operate like a 21st century car, there is going to be disappointments. 

 

You talk about finding a good prewar mechanic, but you gotta remember that experienced prewar drivers are just as scarce.

Somebody above talked about coming from a background in 1950s & 60s cars. That was me too. I had them, fixed them, know them, BUT when I decided to experience an 'old' car before I die, I ended up with a 1929 Cad and a 1926 Lincoln. You may be comfortable with them but to me it is like trying to learn a foreign language(!)  

 

Now 5 years later and with a lot of help and advice from Ed, I have a Cadillac that I can drive. It will never be the 50 mph car I foolishly thought that it was, but this also a big part of the sorting process that cannot be overlooked. 

 

The Cad operates, now on to the model L 

Thanks Ed. 

Edited by m-mman (see edit history)
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/29/2019 at 3:31 AM, TexRiv_63 said:

I am always amazed at how many people buy an old car and do not do this. It's always the first thing I do, often before I even receive the car! The other trick is actually reading that manual cover-to-cover---more than once!


I agree, the books for my car are far more plentiful than the actual cars are so I’m  very surprised when people don’t have it.

 

My car certainly isn’t back to how it would have driven from the factory but I’ve got all the original systems working again and rewired to make it somewhat less of a fire hazard (the insulator was literally falling off)
 

GM had pretty good documentation (both the cad and Buick) that tell you how to do most stuff and what tasks you should perform at set mileage. Occasionally it will offer crap advice like “remove item” and not tell you you actually needed a special tool. 
 

I also find the reading maintenance books from the time period helpful as terminology has changed as well for some things and they tend to describe things in more detail

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Continuing from my page one post............

 

Craftsmanship:

 

Craftsmanship is the most difficult of the three ingredients to find when it comes to properly sorting a car. Were are going to assume......and I know that NOT a good idea that the person working on you car is talented........above average in mechanical skills in all areas of service and repair. Engine, mechanical, electrical, fuel system, ignition system.......and this person should have years of full time experience in a garage. You just can’t have a decent skill set without spending thousands of hours in the shop..........most people today just can’t seem to make a lifelong career out of working in a garage. Weather it’s a modern dealership or restoration shop, most of the people working on cars find their way into it by accident or necessity. Everyone thinks it’s easier to fix pre war cars than modern computer controlled platforms.......well, having done both extensively I can tell you it isn’t. Fixing pre war cars is hard and difficult work.......most people go on to find other things to do for a career.........let’s face it, fixing cars is dirty, often times can be physically hard and dangerous to ones body, and can become monotonous. Toss in welding, machining, fabricating, and a hundred other talents, it’s just ridiculously difficult to find people today willing to do the work for what most compensation packages pay. The era of working with ones hands in this country is quickly coming to an end. Technical schools have been closing down for forty years now. It seems the pendulum may be starting to swing back the other way...........back in the mid 80’s when I was in high school there were only a select few of  hands on  car guys......and a few years after we left they seemed to be gone. Years after graduation I came across a classmate who was a full time service tech at a local dealership. Back in the school days he couldn’t have fixed a flat tire on a bicycle.....and here he was making a living doing flat rate repair work. I knew he shouldn’t have been doing the job..........his personality and work ethic just wasn’t right for the career. He was the typical “shop hack” we see every day. Slap it together as fast and dirty as possible, push it out the door, and move on to the next job, Well, that’s not any way to fix an old or new car. Most of the people working in shops over the years learn to dislike service and repair work. They do it because they have no other options. You don’t want people like this working on your car! I have been full time in service shops for thirty years of my working life.......and I like it. Yup, got to be crazy, but I ENJOY the challenge of fixing things. What I find most rewarding is fixing things others can’t. I WANT the hard running problems, and look forward to the “non fixable” electrical problems. The more difficult and challenging the better. Of the half dozen car mentors I have had who have taught me to become a decent mechanic, the most important advice I was ever given was very simple and to the point......ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST WORK AND NEVER EVER GIVE UP!   Last year I was working on a 100 point trailer queen. It had been through several owners hands........great looking car, that checked all the boxes. It had a bunch of running and reliability problems. So many it was hard to figure out where to start. Everywhere I looked I could see problems..........so on top of fixing the dam thing I had to worry about causing cosmetic damage. Usually on cars such as this one or two repairs and the car will be mostly ok for the show circuit, and will be fine to pull up for the trophy ramp. (Making a car run acceptable vs correctly is two different things, and most people can’t or won’t pay to make them perfect.)  In this instance the new owner wanted it all....100 points and make a terrific driver out of a notoriously difficult platform. I started sourcing parts before I even started the job.........ignition & fuel parts were difficult and expensive to find........it took me several months to have everything on hand before a I started the job, I spent about fifty hours on the ignition and electrical systems, and about forty five on the carburetors and fuel system. Having put the car “back to new condition” I was able to actually drive it without breaking down.....but it was still a long ways off from perfect. I spent another two weeks full time chasing down all the little pain in the ass things that make it go from running ok, to making it run like it was new. There were dozens of little things I had to fix to make it right. It was taking so long the owner was getting frustrated with me. I would walk away from it for a day or two........just to take a break from the thing. Finally he and i were both at our wits end..........and I just started working  on it full tilt  and never stopped until I i got it perfect. When i finally found the last problem and fixed it, I took a few days off. I was sick and tired of the thing. I felt great I finally fixed the car that a half dozen others couldn’t, but it was a long and difficult journey. The best thing about properly sorting a car is when you finish, it will stay sorted and correct as long as it gets some regular use and exercise. Driving your car is the best thing for it. 
 

 

Notice I haven’t even talked about “how” to fix any one particular system or address common problems on sorting a car? It’s just too much to cover......a lifetime of experience can’t be packaged into a few typed pages. That being said......here is some insight on how to properly approach servicing the car.

 

 

Things to remember when sorting a car.............

 

1: The last ten guys who worked on the car didn’t have any clue what they were doing.

2: The last ten guys probably caused more issues than they fixed. (OK- it’s a certainty.)

3: All the “easy” fixes have been tried, now its time to really dig into it.(Yup, this is going to suck.)

4: You don’t fix a single issue......you go through the entire system. Don’t “spot fix” a problem, make the entire system of the car like new. Example- Ignition system.......fix it all, replace all the normal service items, and check everything. That means the following: Cap, rotor, wires, plugs, properly rebuild the distributor and set it up on a test machine to check advance curve, inspect power wires and grounds, engine timing(that means the timing chain also) check and inspect EVERY SINGLE PART of the system. (Load test the coils and condensers) Almost no one does this thoroughly and correctly.

5: Take your time, this isn’t a speed contest. Good work doesn’t get done in an hour. Embrace the process.

6: Don’t get discouraged.......this isn’t easy. Keep moving forward making everything you touch better.

7: Get help if you need it.......PLEASE.......ask people who know what they are doing....find the expert on the platform.

8: Have fun doing it.......remember this is a hobby and it’s supposed to be fun, yup fixing cars is fun if your in the right “head”.


 

All right , I go on, but I won’t. (Is that applause I hear?)

 

By 1910 cars were decent and reliable for what they were in the day. They didn’t constantly stop, overheat, break down, start hard.....,get the idea? Your car SHOULD be reliable. You should be able to drive it without carrying spare parts and a Snap On truck full of tools. Believe it or not, after all the headaches and hard work, the rewards of driving a well sorted and correct car never stop paying you dividends. When I drive a great car that has absolutely no issues I really enjoy myself......the feeling of satisfaction doesn’t stop. Just yesterday I took a great car out for a spin. A world class automotive masterpiece. I hadn’t really driven it much the last 8-10 months. I had started it regularly and driven it around the block, but hadn’t really taken it for a drive. When last extensively driven it was perfect. The first mile out it went into a death wobble...........then I realized I had not checked the air pressure before I went out......yup, all four tires were soft......they looked fine......but they were WAY down. (Yup, I still make mistakes and forget to check things.) After inflating the tires properly, the car was riding and handeled much better, and was running great........I started pushing it, making it perform.......making sure it was 100 percent.......and another issue popped up. The great thing about properly sorted cars is whenever anything new develops, is almost always an easy fix. In less than an hour the car was back to perfect. Today I’ll take it on a fifty mile drive to be sure it’s bullet proof. The platform? It’s a 1933 AJS.......one of the most difficult and demanding cars you could ever own. I enjoy working on it so much I am almost hoping it needs some more tinkering before ai clean it up and put it back in the showroom. 👍

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
  • Like 8
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ed,

 

I might also add people fixing problems that don't exist. Last year at the museum we went completely through an ignition system - cap, rotor, condenser, wires,

plugs, coil  - the whole works. When we were done it just purred. Then this Fall someone decided to "fix" a a problem

it never had. The result was a frustrating no-start situation during a major event and a lot of people fiddling with a lot of stuff. - it hasn't run right since!

 

Now we need to start  all over again. Urrgggh!

 

Things like hiding fuel pumps in vacuum tanks and trying to boost oil pressure to modern levels just add a whole lot more stuff to go wrong.  You are correct

when you state that automobiles by 1910 were reliable  - yes they were indeed! Most issues centered on early electrical systems, poor fuel and tires.

 

Granted there were some products that were simply cheap and poorly engineered just as today.

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Terry.......I just love the crowd who's motto is....."I fixed it till it broke!"  Installing hardended valve seats on a pre war car is one of may favorite things people do to spend money, and ruin their car........It's just one of a handfull of common issues.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Sharps45-70 said:

Now just to decide what make and series! Do I want to do Packard, or Buick, or Pierce, or Cadillac, or Chrysler, or....

 

This makes me think of another thread topic I've always been interested in.   What kind of car guy do you self identify as and why? 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Terry.......I just love the crowd who's motto is....."I fixed it till it broke!"  Installing hardended valve seats on a pre war car is one of may favorite things people do to spend money, and ruin their car........It's just one of a handfull of common issues.

Agree on the hardened seats - most people never drive enough, matched to metallergy of a head, matched to ...  - I had the Auburn engine apart at 49K miles from its prior rebuild and wear was negligible. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

I was polishing screw heads yesterday - for the whole day - black hole of time, but you just do it and do it right. 

 

Thats what the neighbors kid does for me..........25 bucks per hour cash! And they still don’t show up.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, edinmass said:

The platform? It’s a 1933 AJS.......one of the most difficult and demanding cars you could ever own. I enjoy working on it so much I am almost hoping it needs some more tinkering before  I clean it up and put it back in the showroom. 👍

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

I would tell you about the only thing more challenging that a PII is a PIII and a PI is right up there too - matched to a bunch of stuff that when restoring you have zero parts availability matched to everything being worn, beat to hell and .... You do as you have and just apply experience matched to time and/or you still do same matched to surrounding yourself with fabulous people that have seen and dealt with it all. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I upgraded a "restored" 1936 Auburn 852 Supercharged Phaeton - it coughed and died about 30 seconds off the trailer and it only took a second to figure out car was not safe.  I had heard the stories that it never finished car club events and  being a tow truck queen, though the dealer sent me a video of their driving it though the neighborhood and up onto the highway for a few miles, and then back to the garage - sidenote: it really did not matter as  friends wanted a tour car and I was going through it for them regardless.  What did we find:  The car had 8 lock washers on it - they were on the back axle and the nuts were not tight., the car was assembled from the junk drawer of the workbench, every wire on the new wiring harness had a crimped on end as they had spun (again a lack of lock washer issue), the rod bolts were just snugged, the supercharger had a square bearing, the transmission was improperly assembled, the Columbia had sucked the fluid from the back axle and near destroyed it (which I did not think was even possible), and ....  

 

All said though, it was a pretty pleasurable project as car had never seen a speck of rust from new, 90% of whatever project they did was well enough done, and ...

 

I can also tell you about the gasoline tank falling out of the 1936 Cadillac 75 Series Town Cabriolet or the 100 point perfect painted radiator that was totally clogged (and the collapsed pistons as a result), and the list goes on and on.

 

Tight folks - ever size bolt has a torque for it (and that is what a torque wrench is for) and the balance of hardware has a "feel" for just right - perfect paint is great, but ...

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/28/2019 at 8:22 AM, alsancle said:

Agreed on all counts Ed.   One important point that might be lost in your long winded manifesto is that you really only learn from doing.

 

A side issue is that I've never understood people that watch someone else do something and then think they can estimate that task's time, repeat that task better themselves, etc.   It blows my mind every time when somebody that hasn't actually done the work (pick anything in life) seems to be an expert.

 

 

Thank you for the flashback to my home remodeling/carpentry days! "My husband could do it, but he doesn't have the tools", "It's a small job, shouldn't take too long" " We just listed the house, need a few things fixed." Bob 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ed is right, nothing beats spending time under the hood to really learn about your car.

I was lucky enough to spend my entire childhood wrenching on my two pre-war cars with my dad and my grandfather.

My grandfather was a machinist and he could just 'feel' when something wasn't right, a talent one of my uncles says skipped his generation and ended up with me.

Not sure I agree with his assessment but I think I do OK when it comes to being under the hood and figuring things out.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, deaddds said:

So as a knucklehead novice with the late teen- twenties stuff, what does it take to pull leaf springs out, apart, lube with, reassemble? Dangerous process or fairly easy?

Clamp spring tightly with vise grips, c clamp, whatever. Remove center bolt and replace with a long threaded rod. Tighten up threaded rod, remove clamps and loosen nuts. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, deaddds said:

So as a knucklehead novice with the late teen- twenties stuff, what does it take to pull leaf springs out, apart, lube with, reassemble? Dangerous process or fairly easy?

There is a tool that will spread the leaves apart to allow lube to be applied. The proper way is to remove them, carefully take them apart, grind any worn areas. Show car vs driver paint application will differ. Use REAL spring bolts, your local spring shop will have them. Bob 

Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, deaddds said:

Lube type? Axle grease or lithium or ?

 

I'm sure the experts here will have something to say about this but here is what Eaton has to say about greasing springs on pre and post 50's cars.

 

https://www.eatondetroitspring.com/greasebetweenleaves/

 

And here is an old thread from this site that has a short discussion on lubing spring packs.

 

https://forums.aaca.org/topic/149550-leaf-springs-to-grease-or-not-to-grease/

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

Back in the day, spring grease was special and had a high percentage of graphite. You can still get it from Penrite (via restorationstuff.com if you happen to be in the US). Some will tell you it is a bad idea to use it due to corrosion, but believe me if you don't, you will also get a bunch of corrosion, and wear too.

 

Using plastic liners between the leaves and not using graphite is probably better if you can fit them in there. All this assumes springs that were intended to be lubricated when new.

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

The late Harold Sharon warned against lubricating brass car springs saying that the interleaf tension had a shock absorbing effect. I don't always agree with Harold but this seems to make sense as long as the springs have been disassembled and cleaned and then painted...but, I confess I don't know. I plan to fit Hartford friction shocks to my car so I'm not sure the tension he was talking about is necessary.

 

 

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

Interestingly I have never met an expert on automotive spring suspension. So I never have had the chance to get into details with someone who really knows what they are talking about in this area. Whenever there is a question and I can’t get what I consider true, correct, unbiased engineering information, I always do the same thing.......put it back exactly as it was from the factory. The stock results are usually the best solution for today, as they were when they manufactured them.  Most expensive cars had springs lubricated with a grease and graphite combination, and then wrapped in canvas, with either leather or metal covers. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the most important things I've learned while sorting out various cars is that you have to forget what you think you know. We tend to assume that after 60 or 80 or 100 years, we're smarter than the guys who built these cars. We have access to tech that they didn't. Therefore, anything we know today is better than what they knew then. When we see something on an old car and we don't understand why it was built that way, we assume that the guys who built it just didn't know what we know today and did it wrong. And then we set about trying to "correct" or "improve" their work using all our accumulated knowledge and tech. We are often surprised when it fails.

 

Case in point: I had a guy in my showroom a few weeks ago who said, "I always convert all my cars to Pertronix. I don't want that unreliable old points crap in there leaving me stranded." I pointed out to him that points will often continue to work in failure mode but a Pertronix unit will completely and totally stop working in a microsecond puff of smoke and leave you paralyzed. He was completely unable to process what I was saying. The only solution for him was a modern upgrade--after all, we're smarter than those guys back then, right?

 

The same goes for things like the aforementioned hardened valve seats, 8- and 12-volt conversions, and other "solutions" to "problems" that are really just someone not understanding how something works. In many cases, their solution is simply changing it into something they do understand. Repair shops are notorious for this. I recently had a '56 Olds with a fresh Jetaway transmission in it that leaked all over the new owner's floor and it shifted incredibly harsh. He took it to a shop in Florida where they told him the Jetaway was junk even when it was new and that it couldn't be fixed and that it would never work properly. Oh, and they'd happily put a 700R4 in it for $7000 and that he should ask me to pay that bill since I sold him the car. I told him to find another shop that understood vintage transmissions--when he did, they found a leaking fitting from the cooler line and the shift linkage was misadjusted. Fixed, good as new, working properly, charged him $150.

 

One shop understood the problem and one shop only thought they knew what the problem was and decided they could out-smart the Oldsmobile engineers (and me, but that's a different subject).
 

My point is that the guys who built our cars, regardless of age, were probably very smart guys. They were keen to the cutting-edge technology of their time and understood how things worked. They were working at the top of their fields and a lot of money was involved, so they didn't have the opportunity to make junk. It is important for us not to try to outsmart them, because whatever they did, they did for a good reason.

 

Always start there. 

 

Resist the temptation to "improve" a design because you think you see something they may have missed. Ignore the guy at the local car show who talks like he knows all the answers and just because it's on YouTube doesn't mean that guy's an expert. If there's a part on there that seems superfluous, it's not. I promise that however weird something looks, the factory didn't make a mistake; it's that way on purpose. If they had to spend money to put it on the car, then it was necessary (God, I'm so sick of seeing GM automatic transmissions with missing torque converter covers on the bottom--it's there for a reason, you idiots!). Most of all, if you don't know the right information, find out before you start trying to reverse-engineer something and make everything worse.

 

If you want your car to work properly, the only way to make that happen is to put back to it the way it was designed to work. Do it their way, even if you don't really understand exactly why they did it.

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

I REALLY think the owners whom buy their car as if they were picking out a costume are the ones with the most troubles, no matter what era.

 

image.png.7ec0cbcb0fa83358c0da4f5d7b62377f.png

 

Prior to the maturity of the internet I always thought the best place to advertise a car was the New York Times or L A Times classified, centers for image and money, good market.

 

Real conversation:

"How much would it cost to braze the ends of the Bijur pipes closed to stop from dripping on my floor?"

"About $15,000 to $20,000"

"That seems like a lot for just stopping a little drip."

 

The two most dangerous words in the English language "I thought". Think of what happened right before you heard them.

Bernie

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

The late Harold Sharon warned against lubricating brass car springs saying that the interleaf tension had a shock absorbing effect. I don't always agree with Harold but this seems to make sense as long as the springs have been disassembled and cleaned and then painted...but, I confess I don't know. I plan to fit Hartford friction shocks to my car so I'm not sure the tension he was talking about is necessary.

 

 

There are probably differences between earlier brass cars to the early 20's to the big classics in the late 20's and 30's.  Also differences between the engineers at different manufacturers as well.  Here is a direct copy from the 1920 Cadillac Type 61 Shop Manual that was given to the mechanics and service departments for Cadillac.  This is their guidance on Spring lubrication and also from troubleshooting on the ride of the car.  The troubleshooting section points you to the lubrication as well as replacement if the lubrication doesn't work.  The Type 61 was the big Cadillac with the V8 engine.  I was lucky enough to find this shop manual and it is excellent.  I have two V8 Cole's from the early 20's that are similar to the Cadillac and a Cole shop or service manual is not known to exist.  A lot of what you see out there today is from people applying modern knowledge to fixing and how they would do it. I try to go by the recommendations of what I can find from original materials.  

 

 

IMG_0152.thumb.jpg.1c114ad05c63f96779206ec1299dcbfe.jpgIMG_0151.jpg

Edited by kfle (see edit history)
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

For Model A folk a lot of great technical advice exists, but my favorite is the very complete restorers guide (I believe the context of the word restore is a little different here, as in restore to service) written in period by Victor Page.  It is really comprehensive, as I imagine the Cadillac manual must be.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Last week I  removed the rear spring on my 1913 T runabout, inspected, cleaned, and painted it with “Slip Plate”. I noticed an improved ride (yes, on a T!) so tomorrow I will do the same to the front spring. One does not need a spring spreader for a T, just a big ol’ C-clamp. At the same time I did disassemble the spring shackles, clean them and install new oil caps. I did use new spring boots as 37hd45 mentioned.

 

 

 

5FA6BCC4-19C4-4B5C-B1A6-E445B7C9EA3E.jpeg

Edited by Jeff Perkins / Mn (see edit history)
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

On my 1912 Staver quite a few suspension parts had no bushings. Just malleable iron castings with steel pin connections. It is a mid market assembled car that I feel scrimped on some basic engineering to meet a $2000.00 sales price target. . I am fitting bronze bushings and pins with screw down greasers. Like what more upmarket cars of the period used. 

Hartford shocks were standard on the full elliptic rear springs but from what I have seen in all the Staver photos I can find not installed on the front springs except on the race cars. I am fitting them to my front axle as well. The very compliant rear springs no doubt need them , but it seems wrong to have the front undampened. Still not sure what to do about the drive shaft universal, it

is a very unusual, obsolete design. Pretty sure I am going to have to substitute a newer type. I doubt anything even close has been available for close to 100 years. It lives inside a leather gaiter so a newer u joint wont be unsightly.  I need to cast a new pair of steering box housing halves. I am going to use bronze rather than cast malleable iron. Bronze is something I can do myself, malleable  iron I would have to farm out. I have a teens Pierce box for a run down on how it should be done but the mounting is completely wrong.   Improvements ?

 

Greg

 

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

Still not sure what to do about the drive shaft universal, it

is a very unusual, obsolete design. Pretty sure I am going to have to substitute a newer type. I doubt anything even close has been available for close to 100 years.

 

I have a similar problem on a 1913 Studebaker. The problem is compounded because the car has a transaxle in the back, and the driveshaft runs at engine speed. Needle-bearing based u-joints wont last in an application like that. Does your car have the transmission right behind the motor, or is it in the back?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The transmission is a separate unit with a very short connecting shaft  between the clutch and the trans. Sliding block style joint here . No need for a u joint because both the engine and the trans are mounted to a  fairly substantial subframe  which maintains alignment . Then the universal joint at the rear of the trans to the torque tube. I have the u joint stored away out in my shed. Its a weird one in design  and worn out plus badly rusted away. An interesting artifact but beyond restoring. Unfortunately the inner yoke also incorporates a square slip yoke for the driveshaft 

so it is difficult to substitute something newer.  

Greg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, kfle said:

There are probably differences between earlier brass cars to the early 20's to the big classics in the late 20's and 30's.  Also differences between the engineers at different manufacturers as well.  Here is a direct copy from the 1920 Cadillac Type 61 Shop Manual that was given to the mechanics and service departments for Cadillac.  This is their guidance on Spring lubrication and also from troubleshooting on the ride of the car.  The troubleshooting section points you to the lubrication as well as replacement if the lubrication doesn't work.  The Type 61 was the big Cadillac with the V8 engine.  I was lucky enough to find this shop manual and it is excellent.  I have two V8 Cole's from the early 20's that are similar to the Cadillac and a Cole shop or service manual is not known to exist.  A lot of what you see out there today is from people applying modern knowledge to fixing and how they would do it. I try to go by the recommendations of what I can find from original materials.  

 

 

IMG_0152.thumb.jpg.1c114ad05c63f96779206ec1299dcbfe.jpgIMG_0151.jpg


 

The v63 book is actually an updated type 61 book so has more “modern” processes 

  • Like 1
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...