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Question for my A Model friends


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Yesterday I was told by an older gentleman that I needed to take the air cleaner off my model a. He said they weren't designed to have them. He explained the carb would run richer with the air cleaner in place. And, since there weren't that many dirt roads around here the filter wasn't really cleaning anything anyway. Comments ?

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When I stopped at Bert's in Denver on my trip to drive my Oregon-purchased Model A back to Atlanta in late 2014, I was advised by a very experienced Model A guy to ditch the Air Maze cleaner that was on my car. I did so the next day and did notice an improvement in the way the car ran on the rest of the trip.

If you wish to run an air cleaner, there are people who can 'air balance'  your carb to allow for the restriction the air cleaner causes.

 

Most of the air cleaners for Model A don't filter much out of the incoming airstream; just the larger chunks.

You asked and that's my opinion.

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Yes, they told you correctly. A Model A Ford will run better without any air cleaner... just like it was originally designed. 

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Posted (edited)

My Pontiac has a flame arrestor instead of an air cleaner.  I tried an air filter and found it running rich and having less power.  I reverted to the arrestor and have driven it as my daily driver 400,000 miles since in 59 years.  It now is .040" os pistons, the crank mains are .005" us and the rods are .010" us. I don't believe the lack of an air filter has hurt the engine at all.

Funny, I thought the flame arrestor was just a stone deflector until very recently.

Edited by Tinindian (see edit history)
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We know it's true, but it's hard to fathom, that the Model A did not come with an air cleaner of some sort. Back in 1928, when they first came out, the roads across America were mostly unpaved and dirt. I can't imagine how much dirt was inhaled thru the carburetor. If you ever pull the oil pan from a Model A, you can find a lot of in in the form of sludge. I once tried to drain the oil from a Model A motor and nothing came out even though the dipstick showed about an inch of what looked like tar. I poked a screwdriver into the drain bung and the oil came out like molasses. When I got the pan down I used a 1" putty knife to scrape out all the junk.

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So, do you think the sludge in the crankcase was due to the absence of an air cleaner??? More than likely, due to non-detergent oil rather than an air cleaner....

 

 

Frank

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I am assuming your car has been running fine with the air cleaner. Why remove it?  Are you fouling plugs? Running a little rich is not going to hurt anything like running lean could. If it ain't broke don't fix based on someone's opinion. The  mesh air cleaners are not seriously restricting air flow either. I have one on mine.

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I ran my "A' for 16 years without an air cleaner with no problems! If a design lasts for 70 or more years why change it!

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They are a potential fire hazard.  If the float bowl ever spills over the fuel goes straight down to the filter which will absorb gas.  Being right beside the exhaust down pipe from the manifold they have been known to catch fire, and with the fuel tank right above it things can get exciting in a hurry.

  I’ve never thought that a little dirt reduction to the engine was worth the risk of losing the car to a fire.

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Run a period air maze and it is meant as a flame arrestor not to filter out dirt - most pre-early=30's cars are that way - the roads were largely dirt then and the cars survived until today. Today, you have nice roads and drive even less than they did then. 

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old ford, I do think that a lot of the sludge in a Model A engine that has no air cleaner or filter is caused by dirt inhaled into the carb. All that sediment get's encapsulated in the oil and over the years turns to "muck". 

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Weren't the "air cleaners" like the Air Maze actually marketed as "flame arrestors?" We ran an Air Maze on our '30 roadster for decades without any issues, but then again, we never ran without it so I don't know whether there would have been a difference had we removed it.

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1 hour ago, Steve_Mack_CT said:

If your concerned about a flame arrestor you could just run the elbow.  I don't use mine and both As I have had seem to prefer it.  

Fire is fire no matter what direction you point it 

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I run an Air-Maze on my '31 "A" roadster.  I coat the wire mesh with K&N air filter oil in a spray can.  When I do clean the mesh there is a fair presence of dirt coming off.  In my opinion:  "any filter is better then no filter".  So I also run an oil filter too even though Ford did not put them on Model-A's when they were new.  There has been plenty of discussions about filters on the FordBarn website.  Do a search in the Model-A section.  It will be very informative.

 

Captain Harley😉

 

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I run a Model A Air Maze on my 1926 Model T and do just as Captain Harley does. I spray a light mist of K&N oil on it after cleaning. When applying the K&N oil, I wipe off the excess then lightly blow with compressed air. If one holds the filter up to the light, you will see the oil does not completely block off the screen grids. I have not noticed any loss in performance. At the first cleaning, I found a fair amount of dirt/dust was trapped and prevented from entering the engine. I do occasionally travel on dirt roads. 

 

Captain Harley, What are the advantages of running that Simmons intake manifold on your “A”?

 

 

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AzBob,

 

The Simmons "Swan Manifold" has no real advantage over the stock "A" factory manifold that I can find.  However, it sure looks neat, is a great conversation starter and is from actually "back-in-the-day".

And not some new repop accessory.  I also have some Simmons carburetors  and a Simmons high compression head that I will run (hopefully) some day.

 

Captain Harley😉

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On 5/24/2020 at 8:12 AM, 46 woodie said:

old ford, I do think that a lot of the sludge in a Model A engine that has no air cleaner or filter is caused by dirt inhaled into the carb. All that sediment get's encapsulated in the oil and over the years turns to "muck". 

 

Curious on how you think dirt from the intake would be getting into the crankcase. . . Only path I could see would be getting past the rings and I suspect that most dirt can't to that. At least not until the cylinder bores or rings are badly worn.

 

Which brings up why I believe that intake air filters are used: To keep dirt, which is an abrasive, from wearing out the rings and cylinders.

 

Crankcase ventilation systems are what reduce the sludge build up. Well, that and better (detergent) oil and running the oil hot enough to assure evaporation of cylinder blow by gasses (unburned hydrocarbons and water vapor). On my slightly newer car the intake for the crankcase vent is a wire mesh air filter inside the filler cap. More recent cars pull some air from the filtered intake for the feed to the crankcase ventilation system.

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Good Morning...Dave Renner at Renner's Corner 734-428-8424 can provide revised jets for A and B Carburetors that are re-bored to take in to consideration having a filter on the carburetor.  Then your A will run the same with a filter as it would with the original jets without a filter...a clean engine is a happy engine...

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  • 1 month later...

Today you can have a carburetor rebuilt to run an air filter. It uses different jetting. But putting an air filter on an original style carb only causes problems. I remove them and it always improves starting and performance. I took about a dozen air filter units to Hershey a few years ago and sold them for "make offer".

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A late 20's/early 30's Air Maze is a flame arrestor and is "open" enough in metal screen mesh that I seriously doubt it restricts air flow or makes your car run noticeably rich to be a problem (and rich is fine as I would rather have rich then running too hot, burnt vales, or ....).  Now, where I see the Air Maze being an issue is that it basically has a cap on the end when it hangs straight down and I suppose when the bolt through it is tight that if you flood the car it can build up a little puddle of gas in the lid for the air maze and that could flash fire.   Everything I have had with an Air Maze (ie not Model A Fords, but such as the RR PI) have a drain in the bottom of the carburetor inlet neck to channel raw gasoline to the pavement and I would never dream of running the RRPI without the filter on as upon starting car you leaned it out and then found the magic richness - and it would shoot quite a flame.  

 

If you run a modern paper filter on your Ford - it will restrict air flow and that is where you will need to make changes. 

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