Sunday, August 31, 2014

steering wheel

The steering wheel restoration was a real project.  It took me three times to get it right.  It is a 1947 Ford Deluxe wheel.  The wheel was loaded with cracks, so I took a hacksaw blade and cut each crack to the steal frame work and completely coated the wheel with 2 part epoxy.  I would let it set up over night then spend hours hand sanding, then priming then putting on the base coat only to find I missed a few cracks!!  As any painter knows, you cannot fill a crack with spray paint, so the crack would immediately show up.  I would then strip the wheel to the epoxy and start again.  I did this 3 times !!!
Finally, No cracks and then 3 coats of clear.  the color is PT Cruiser off white. Chased a guy down driving one in a parking lot to get the paint code.
           the horn ring I found in Hersey Pa. three years ago.  It was amazing, the first thing on my list was the horn ring and the first booth I walked up to, there it was hanging right in front of me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fuel line and rebuilt carburetor

                    The fuel is gravity feed from the gas tank to the carburetor.  Starting under the tank I rebuilt the shut off valve and replaced the fuel line to the glass sediment bowl fuel filter mounted outside the firewall .  The sediment bowl is the original one that cleaned up well and I replaced the gasket and screen.  From the filter to the carburetor is a new fuel line.
                      The carburetor is the original Zenith type.  I completely dismantled and soaked all pieces in carburetor cleaner, then blew out all pieces with air and wire brushed all main cast pieces .
I bought a carburetor rebuild kit from Burts Vintage Ford and carefully reassembled after painting the cast pieces.

Shut off valve and new fuel line under gas tank.

                                                    Rebuilding the Zenith carburetor                                        

painting of the main cast parts.

Sentiment bowl, fuel line and carburetor installed.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Radiator Shell

        This post is about the restoration of the stainless steel radiator shell.  I was bound and determined to use a genuine original shell, no matter how much work it needed.  For around $500.00, I could have bought a replica made in Taiwan, but that wasn't going to happen, not on this tractor!
         I spent 3 years searching for one that was in better condition than the original.  The original which was damaged and had many cracks and dents, were caused by "yours truly" as a young boy driving the Model A through the woods and around the fields of our property.
       I finally found a pretty nice one in Denver, Colorado at Burts Vintage Ford while visiting my daughter April who lives in Castle Rock.  I paid $100.00 for it.  It had a few small cracks and many minor dents down the sides.  The cracks I had tig-welded and then I spent 35 hours of lightly pounding out dents, metal filing, fine grit grinding, buffing and high speed bench polishing with 3 different compounds.  It looks great, if I should say so myself.  I'm very happy with it, and most of all, its an original "Oldie but Goodie".

                                                 Beginning of pounding and filing stage

I had to screw down the shroud to a table so I could metal file out the high spots.  Then, lots of careful filing so that I would not scar the stainless.

      Then, I lightly ground and fine sanded the damaged areas.  When this was completed, I was ready for the high speed buffing and polishing.  I used a high speed bench polisher with 3 different compounds.

            Next, I installed the original crank hole door that I transferred from the original tractor shroud.  Believe it or not, I was able to reuse the tiny little copper rivet.  I then painted the bottom as it should be "flat black".

     After the polishing and painting was done, I riveted all new hood welting onto the shroud.

     Here it is, finished and installed.  Looks like new! Very happy how it came out.  The Ford emblem is also original and I reinstalled it at the top center area (as you can see in the picture).  The last step was to put on the new "Flying Quail" radiator cap.  My father was a big fan of hood ornaments and I know would have loved this.  I have old photos of the tractor, taken in the late 40's, which show a Flying Quail radiator cap he once had on the tractor.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

New floor boards for the "Red Flyer"

   I went back to Comries old saw mill in Ledyard and bought more old oakboards the same as I bought for the frame work for the seats. Originally Model A floors were made of plywood.  Henry Ford had a great idea to save a buck, he insisted that the floor boards for all Model A"s be made from the plywood that crated around the Model A 4 cylinder engines for shipment to the next factory.  Of course plywood did not stand up to the weather in a open tractor, so my father built some from pine 3"boards that after 60 years also rotted out.
New oak floor board Photos

                                             This is what the oak boards were made from.

                The boards came out great after I cut them to size and drilled out for the shifter
                  hole.  Its amazing how 70 year old wood will come back to life if its been kept dry.
Next I made templates out of cardboard for all 3 sections. This was the top section marking clutch, brake and gas pedal cut outs. 

I braced the 3 sections the same way the old ones were made.
I made sure I signed and dated the back side before I put on 3 coats of Marine Polyurethane. 

            Top section installed and holes were correct.  Installed new steering column inclosure brackets and made sure I put in the gray cloth padding that you can see up in the left corner.  That is so no engine fumes come into the cab.  Ha,Ha, right ..its a tractor.  padding protects the paint and wood from scratches, so I put it in anyways.                                                                                                                                                                                         
                              The finished floor boards match up with the seats and rear frame work.



Thursday, February 13, 2014

New dash Board

For the first time since I've owned the tractor everything on the dash works like it did in 1930.  I replaced everything even the courtesy light, really need a courtesy light on a tractor right?   When I was a kid, the ignition switch was splicing two wires together, a smashed ammeter and I had to guess how much gas was in the tank because the gas gauge was shellacked to the bottom of the gas tank and wouldn't move.  Finally the speedometer, of course it doesn't work because of the added transmission and La Salle rear end, so I took it apart cleaned it up , replaced the glass lens then I  permanently set the mileage to 12-4-12,  my Dad's birthday-December 4, 1912.

upper dash panel

The upper panel above the dash was in pretty good shape.  After I had it sand blasted, I only found a couple of dents and was able to hammer them out and metal file smooth.  Next, prime, water sand, paint and clear coat.  I was able to use the original brass oval head machine screws to mount it.  The screws cleaned up great on the wire wheel.  Installing this panel sure finished off the cowl and dash area.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Building of wooden frame and old ammo box seats.

   The framework I made from old oak planks that I bought from an old saw mill in Ledyard .  The wood is as old as the tractor.  I would like to mention an interesting point.  Back in the 1940's when my father built the tractor, he went to that same old saw mill and bought from the owner the LaSalle rear end and transmission that is now in the tractor.  60 years later I'm there buying wood for the same tractor.  The planks looked great after I cut them to size, drilled for bolts, carefully sanded not to remove old saw blade marks and the "old look".  Lots of charm still in the wood!  I then sealed and put on three coats of marine polyurethane.                                                                                                                            
                                                       how they looked from saw mill.
                                                             cut and sanded to size

                       The planks were all installed (except the back one is missing in photo) exactly where my father bolted them down. the only difference, he used carriage bolts and I used bolts with nuts and washers and I countersunk each so the heads were all flush.

                       after everything was fitted, I disassembled and sealed and polyurethaned.
                                              now onto the wooden ammo box seats.

        The seats were old wooden ammo boxes.  If you go back to the first photo of the blog with my father on the red flyer you will see he is sitting on a ammo box.  It was very important to me to find two old boxes to use.
        I found two real nice ones in my Uncle Lester's garage which he had collected from
 my fathers store "Campbell's Hardware and Sporting Goods".  My father had a large gun store above the sporting goods store in Norwich Connecticut from the late 1940's till the 1980's.

       I completely tore them down very carefully not to split the old wood.                                                 Next I had to cut 3 inches off their height so I could fit my legs under the steering wheel.

         I was very happy how they came out.  One is a Winchester box and the other a Remington box. I built inner frames so the lids would be flush and removable(for storage ) and rugged enough to hold my weight. If you notice I made sure I left the price of a box of shotgun shells my father put on with a grease pencil.  Marked down from .98 cents to .89 cents per box.  What a price!   In the 1960's my father was the biggest Remington gun dealer in Connecticut.   I can't imagine if he was alive today how upset he would be with this country and especially this state doing all they can to make life miserable for gun enthusiast's, hunters and collectors.
 After the wood frame was reinstalled, I refinished the boxes carefully not to remove any original printing and screwed them down only after I sat behind the wheel to make sure I could reach the pedals comfortably .  Yea, we are going for comfort thats for sure :)  May need to take a boat cushion when I head to the tractor shows next spring.

Note, my fathers store name and address still on the lids.
I collected original Model A Ford tools and grease gun and will display under the drivers seat.