Brooklyn Beer

1931 Shock links and shocks

Recommended Posts

With the 4 post lift finally installed I can get to work on required repairs and also do some in-depth investigations.  I knew these links were bad but not this bad.  These have to be 50 years old and maybe even 70.   The bushing just crumbles and the link themselves about worn 1/2 way through. 

 

I have one really leaky shock and the other side is not looking good either. Not as bad as this one. Question.  On the one that is not leaking yet how are these shocks supposed to behave?  It goes up quite easy and when I pull down it is with quite some resistance.  The super leaker goes up even easier but returns with as nearly the same resistance as the non leaker.   Having never dived into a lever action shock before I have no idea what is normal about them.

 

20191211_190245.jpg

20191211_185519.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They act like a vertical tubular shock turned horizontal.  Spring compresses - shock moves easily.  Spring extends - shock is stiff to control rebound.  Sort of a liquid Stabilator.

 

GH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those are the later Series 15 & 16  Delco Lovejoy design with those knurled end cars. Yes, stiffer on rebound than on jounce. The spring-loaded restriction jets of fronts and rears differ, so make sure the jets and caps go back into the same holes they came out of.

 

Those shock links look like the way they are usually found. You can make new links out of mild steel rod. The rubber bushings are available from Metro Molded Rubber. Both shapes.

 

If they get lost or rusted through, the tough things to find are the special cupped washers with the hex indentation to lock the rod adjusting nuts.

 

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Paul.  I was digging to the bottom of one box I had yet to go through that was filled with pistons and wrist pins and low and behold I found a shock and it turned out to be the correct number.  Even a tag that said "GOOD" on it.  So I changed out the old oil to ISO 36 which I had around and installed.  But i have one question.  What is the distance supposed to be between the shock arm and the axle mount?  The way I found mine seemed to far apart  with the shock arm being on a much different plain then the axle mount.   Image may contain: food

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris,

 1728 is the correct 31 front shock number on that end cap.

 

Because they are mounted outboard of the chassis, the fronts have a shorter arm that curves in front of the shock absorber body. They never line up perfectly with the axle link rod mount, but with the thick rubber washers - two doughnut shaped on the shock lever arm and two cylindrical shaped on the axle mount - they don't need to be perfect.

 

Mounting inboard of the chassis, the rears have a longer, straighter arm. 

 

The two in the top half of the picture are Series 15 rear shocks off Melissa's late 31 production Derham limo. The two in the bottom half are the front shocks.  

 

And I forgot that those later Series 15 Delco Lovejoys are adjustable by turning that square tab with the pointer sticking out. They used those into 1932 when at some point they changed to dash board push/pull cable adjustable rear shocks.

 

Paul

P1010005.JPG

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Paul.  Did not know they could be tuned. I am going to remove the passenger side today and change the fluid in that one to match the fluid in the one I just replaced.  I am guessing turning the screw out softens the ride by allowing faster movement of fluid?

 

Something else I saw while under there is that there is a "stabilizer" (?) aftermarket shock mounted horizontally on the front assembly. I am wondering if that could part of the cause of some of the lean to one side. Was this a common addition to Franklins back in the day or is it just someones "good idea ?"  It looks to be no more then 15 years old.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't remember which way turning the shock adjuster tab does what. But when you have the shock off the car and refilled, clamp it in a vice and try moving the arm up and down while turning the adjuster. You should feel a difference.

 

Not sure what you mean by "front assembly" If you mean a steering dampener mounted on the steering linkage, that's not factory recommended. Some owners did that to try and make up for worn Gemmer steering box, back before their was a source to rebuild the steering boxes properly with new parts. It's a Band-Aid fix and not a cure, such as having the box rebuilt by our machine shop owning member in Maine.

 

Paul 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dutch Kern who was a fairly well known Franklin service/rebuilder fellow from Coopersberg, Pa. would fit the shock absorber type unit to the tie rod etc even after he saw the steering box rebuilt ( this is prior to the lads in Maine having the rebuild service) . I asked why and he told me that he felt it would be less stress on the steering box internals ( mainly the bearings) even though it would perhaps increase the effort to steer the car just a little.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting that Dutch thought that back when the boxes could only be partially rebuilt because there were no new worms and roller follower. The late George Clapp was the rebuilder and he only made new bearings with machined brass bearing cages to replace the original pot metal caged bearings.  He found a shop in Pennsylvania that could regrind the wear out of the hour glass worms, but that still didn't bring the box back into original Gemmer designed geometry.  The problems before were the wear  and stresses on the worm and follower while turning combined with the weak pot metal cage of the bearings distorting and eventually crumbling apart, not wear on the bearing rollers  and races themselves.   

 

I've had a chance to have seven Gemmers rebuilt by Pratt. With the new, fully rebuilt boxes by Pratt, combined by having new King pins installed with the extra step that Franklin specified, the Gemmers do not deserve the complaints that we've heard over the years by those that don't know what they were like in original condition. Franklin did not build cars that were hard to steer!!!!  That came later when wear, sorta repairs, and poor adjustments were inflicted on them.

 

Pratt found the factory that still had the original Gemmer tooling and got them to make new, original Gemmer spec parts. Then he set up a special  jig so that once the boxes are completely rebuilt he can  adjust the boxes to a closer tolerance then can be done by the wrench method in the owners manual without risk of over tightening that causes binding and worm, roller and bearing contact surfaces damage.  Having all new parts that bring it back to original design specs, the steering effort is actually much easier.

 

It may sound like BS, but getting the WHOLE steering system back to original specs, not only is it easier steering,.... it's one finger against the steering wheel spoke light  steering. And that's why Franklin designed "light weight air cooling"  cars that are that large, but have so much less weight on the front wheels of cars of a comparably sized car of  their day. 

 

To know what a Franklin was capable of from the factory is to love them. 

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

So is Mr Pratt still rebuilding the gear boxes?

Chris.

You can contact him and ask, by using the Club roster, or the Club "Members only"  website email address.

 

Paul 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When you deal with the steering box and then align the car properly matched to also needing new or good king pins and new or good spring bushings the car will handle beautifully.   My advice though is one thing at a time and get some more hours on it before making any additional rebuilding decisions. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great advice by all.  And I have the valve cage and lifter tube gasket job lurking over my shoulder which is going to be a learning experience for sure. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not a difficult job, just time consuming. You have all that's needed, plus the instructions how to do it. Just work slowly and carefully and it'll turn out fine.

 

The only tough parts are loosening and retightening the pushrod tube top nut to the underside of the valve cages. That's not an easy place to get to.  Rather than try to reach in under the exhaust manifold,  I use a 7/8 inch crowfoot wrench to reach in from above. One that I welded to a 6 inch socket extension bar and then ground with extra side clearance so it will turn the nut a bit further.  For the 1930 and earlier cages that have a lock nut inside the cage, I cut out part of a 7/8 inch box wrench, and then heated and bent the handle so it can reach in under the rocker arms.

Pix below.

 

One other tool that makes the job easier when you get to adjusting the valve clearance, is a wide blade screwdriver with the center of the blade ground back so that it has points at each corner to keep it in the slot of the rocker arm adjusting screw head while the engine is running. Pix attached.

 

Paul

P1010118.JPG

P1010120.JPG

Push rod tube wrench 1.jpg

Push rod tube wrench 2.jpg

DSCN8010.JPG

DSCN8011.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am continually amazed by all the Franklin expertise shared on this and the HHFC site. Thanks to all of you, from those who are trying to learn.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am still rebuilding boxes. BUT I only have about 6 kits left and do not plan on getting any more. I do know that there are many kits out there that people bought" just in case "they needed them so there are more out there .  I am looking at the 34000 kits and may go that way by the end of next year.

Look me up on the web page and send me an e-mail.

Dick

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

Anymore tools that would come in handy I should make ?

If you need me to rebuild the flexible hub of the cooling fan, these tools will help you get it off the crankshaft.

 

The first tool gets the hand crank snout off.

The big 3/4 inch drive socket gets the large hex nut behind the crank snout off, without chewing it up with a hammer and chisel to get it off,  like some I see.

The autoparts store steering wheel puller, and two long hardware store 5/16 bolts, pull the cooling fan off the crankshaft snout.

 

If you know any plumbers,... :D.....  you can make a crank snout puller out of iron pipe - cut two slots in it to grab the snout pins and bore a hole though the other end of the pipe to put a bar through. Wack the bar counter clockwise with a hammer and it should come loose.

 

Paul

 

 

Cooling fan removal tools..JPG

P1010003.JPG

DSCN0323.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I know any plumbers.  Ha.  I will pass the picture along to the shop welders to see what they can make when bored.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, PFitz said:

It's not a difficult job, just time consuming. You have all that's needed, plus the instructions how to do it. Just work slowly and carefully and it'll turn out fine.

 

Push rod tube wrench 2.jpg

Sidenote, top part is pretty straight forward (actually most of the project is), though be careful with the 6 bolts at the block the hold the bridge piece down for the rocker arms - if you break one there is a whole lot of extra not so fun work you have to do to repair. 

  • 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