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Old 05-30-2008, 09:58 AM   #1
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My latest project

Well ive mentioned in several threads about my 29 model AA truck figured i might as well make one lump post.

WEll last year i decided i wanted to get my great grandpas model AA truck running and driving again. (the AA version of the model A is the heavy duty version/commercial version of that era, in todays terms it would be like a dump truck or delivery truck, there was also a semi cab version too) I asked my grandpa about it and he said i could have it. Its been sitting in the woods for the last 50-60 years so as u can imagine weather has taken its toll on it.


so i cut the trees outa it, we hooked it up to a 3 pt hitch on my grandpas tractor and lifted the front end up (leaf spring collapsed so it was barely hanging on) and wheeled it up like a tow truck

all you heard when it was getting pulled out was 2 loud pops (rear brakes releasing from the drums) and then silence, it just eerily rolled along, no grinding, scraping, or other odd noises besides the diesel engine of the tractor
video here

so once it was up in the yard we started clearing off all the old junk that was thrown on the bed

while lifting up 3 pieces of barn roof i saw a what i thought was a all white kitten, that is until it turned its head and showed em its snout and teeth. dropped that pile faster than i could blink! (baby opossum, can be very mean)
so we got it into a box and walked back down to where the truck was picking up pieces along the way that had bounced off.
more pics of the truck




came up all the way from that tree line

soo where would one start on a project like this?
figured might as well start on the engine stuff, first thing i did was get the starter working (no pun intended, easy to get off and takes a while)
starter with its switch on top, battery cable connects to the switch, you push down on a short lever and it contacts the starter, no key starting!!)

pulling the engine was another issue, i originally just wanted the engine but the input shaft had got stuck on the clutch disk and all that big mess (mice had gotten in there and filled it up with nuts and grass) so out came the engine and tranny together

combination between engine and tranny was about 500 lbs

picture of the tranny, clutch, brake, accelerator pedal, shifter (3 speed with reverse) and emergency brake lever (short lever in front of the shifter)

once i got it home i made a stand outa 2X4's and make a cart (all the black junk on the ground around ti are the nuts grass and dirt from the bell housing)

kept working on the engine only to discover a mouse had made a nest in cyl #1 and ruined the piston head. Also discovered ti has been bored .125 over (just from wear, not for performance) and thats the max it could go. also the mice had corroded 2 of the valves in half.

so i found out theres a local model A shop in my town that sells good used parts and new repro parts. he had a good engine block that had good pistons, valves, etc for less than what it would cost to get all that done to my engine.
(after i had painted it its original color)

once i put new rings on the pistons and seated the valves it was time to reassemble. took some time to do the carb and distributor and waterpump but heres the finished product:




got it all hooked up and running Dec 9th 2007

then it was on to the transmission
when i opened up the top part(took off the shifter assembly) it had quite a bit of old 600W oil in there thus preserving the gears to what u see

and heres what it looks like finished up



once that was done i got the steering box and shaft off the truck and started fixing that up (picture of the box with steering shaft removed)

picture of the worm thats on the end of the shaft

and a pic of the finished upper part of the housing where the steering wheel would go.(left lever is throttle position(for starting and fast idle) and the other is spark advance, faster you go further you move the lever down) it has to be in the fully up (retarded) position to start otherwise it backfires and can rip your arm off if your crank starting or bend the starter shaft if electric.

right now I'm working on the front axle, brakes, and steering components,

heres what i saw when i got one of the drums off


just spider webs, dust, and some original gloss black paint! shoes are still good too!!!

shouldn't take too much to get that all squared away.

now here are just some random pics
fuel gauge, just a float with F 3/4 1/2 1/4 and 0 stamped into the guage

steering wheel

setup for the engine test stand

distributor

oil pump

u joint

picture of the worm gear drive rear end

interior pic


now heres a little piece of history, this is a WW2 ration card stating how many miles my great grandpa was allowed to drive it, how many gallons of fuel, and load capacity, and his purpose of driving it (agriculture use, used to take grain from the farm to the main silos)


heres a picture of a picture my mom drew back in the 60's of the truck, really neat cuz its like a time capsule and amazed at how much it didn't change really. Its one truck but 2 different views, one side one front.


so all in all, the main parts of the truck, all the heavy iron stuff survived really well, the sheet metal kinda went to hell and back but i think i can work with it to make something until i can find.afford all new/good used stuff.
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:19 AM   #2
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That is incredibly cool. I'm surprised at how good condition some parts of it are, and I'm surprised at how much of the 1929 technology looks similar to modern technology. I like your redneck cherry picker, I was thinking if I have to pull the engine from my Buick I'd do it exactly that way too.

I hope I can express this sincerely so that you don't think I'm being sarcastic: I wish I could be as cool as you.
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:48 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
That is incredibly cool. I'm surprised at how good condition some parts of it are, and I'm surprised at how much of the 1929 technology looks similar to modern technology. I like your redneck cherry picker, I was thinking if I have to pull the engine from my Buick I'd do it exactly that way too.

I hope I can express this sincerely so that you don't think I'm being sarcastic: I wish I could be as cool as you.
haha thanks, yea im suprised at how much technology hasnt changed... heck they used drum brakes way up until the mid 70's, sure they evolved to hydrolic (these are just solid shafts that get pulled when brakes applied)

used cable ran spedometers from then till mid 90's lol.

yea the engine "lift" is jst a 2 ton comealong with a sturdy A frame, heck my grandpa was saying when they had to lift an engien out they just used a tree o the barn rafters with a block and tackle( pulley system)

they also had high low beam headlights and a single brake/tailight.
they also had a single hand operated wiper vacum operated one was an option and it ran off the engine vacum, if it dropped to much the wiper stopped working...
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:10 PM   #4
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Hydraulic drum brakes are still on brand new vehicles to this day.

I remember my dad telling me about the vacuum operated wipers on the trucks he drove when he was in the Marines. He said when you needed them the most, they didn't work, and he'd tell me about the crazy stuff they did to see and just for fun, blasting whole convoys through toolbooths at 80mph and such...
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:17 PM   #5
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Cool, again! Thanks for sharing!

The more technology "changes", the more that the basics still rule. Always fun to see how the more things change, they more they are similar to things from long ago.
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:56 PM   #6
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Hydraulic drum brakes are still on brand new vehicles to this day.

I remember my dad telling me about the vacuum operated wipers on the trucks he drove when he was in the Marines. He said when you needed them the most, they didn't work, and he'd tell me about the crazy stuff they did to see and just for fun, blasting whole convoys through toolbooths at 80mph and such...
yea i knew on the rear but i meant drum brakes all around

yea its true, technology may change but the basics are still there...
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:32 PM   #7
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Awesome project. Looks like you're doing a great job so far. That truck will be loads of fun! I like seeing the engine out of the truck. Not a whole lotta stuff hanging off it like today's trucks!
Which is exactly what makes old cars and trucks better in my opinion. Back in the 60s sports cars came with very small engine and no creature comforts whatsoever. Now you can barely find any car without power windows/seats/mirrors/whatever.
Anyway, good luck to you!
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Old 05-31-2008, 12:31 AM   #8
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Awesome project. Looks like you're doing a great job so far. That truck will be loads of fun! I like seeing the engine out of the truck. Not a whole lotta stuff hanging off it like today's trucks!
Which is exactly what makes old cars and trucks better in my opinion. Back in the 60s sports cars came with very small engine and no creature comforts whatsoever. Now you can barely find any car without power windows/seats/mirrors/whatever.
Anyway, good luck to you!
Jeremy B
tell me about it, im gonan be a dlealers worst nightmare when i buy my first new car...

manual tranny (a true manual, none of this clutchless shifting crap)
no power anything
no fancy voice recognition or whatever just the generic cheap radio that comes in cars
no AC
no powersteering (depends on car)

if i cant get non power i will demand a lifetime warranty on all motors/actuators/linkages/tracks/whatever is not used in a manual window system lol


oh yes i forgot to tell you some of the specs of the "performance" side of it

36HP 4 cyl engine (will look up the redline and torque#'s, redline is like 2300 rpm around there)

3speed manual with a dual high (meaning underdrive) so really 6 gears, its kinda like on a 10 speed bicycle where you got the sprockets on the wheel itself( the 3 speed) then you got the 2 sprockets on the pedals (the dual high)

cruising speed of 35-40 mph (regular model A has a cruise speed of 45-50mph, they will go 60+ but not safe due to bad handling and not the best braking system in the world, also getting near redline)

my truck has a 1.5 ton load capacity, kinda scary if you think about it...

truck weighs close to 2 tons

the reason why the frame and such are in that good of shape is ford used a special type of steel that is kinda like galvanized steel of today where it will rust/corrode a bit but wont rust thru, i THINK it was vandilum steel. mostly why so many model A's are still driving around.

The model A only lasted between 1928 -1931, over that 4 year span henry sold more than 5 MILLION model A's and AA's
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Old 05-31-2008, 05:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VetteOwner View Post
tell me about it, im gonan be a dlealers worst nightmare when i buy my first new car...

manual tranny (a true manual, none of this clutchless shifting crap)
no power anything
no fancy voice recognition or whatever just the generic cheap radio that comes in cars
no AC
Up to this point you describe a base model Jeep Patriot. Not much bull**** in it. Radio plays mp3 cds and has an aux-in but is otherwise no frills. I'm pretty sure no AC. No power windows/locks/mirrors. It's cheap, efficient, practical basic transportion with a lifetime powertrain warranty. Quite impressive, really, and I almost chose it but the VW was more fun, had more features, and fits me better.

Those "clutchless shifting" gearboxes, which actually do have a traditional clutch but it's operated by the computer instead of your foot, should be better for fuel economy. You get a manual transmission with 8 to 100 ms shifts, no rev-matching required, no getting off the gas pedal between shifts. It has all the FE advantages of a traditional manual plus a few more.

The rest of the stuff, as you well know, you won't find.
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Old 05-31-2008, 06:14 AM   #10
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In 2002, my dad managed to find a kia rio with no options. No power steering, no radio, no anything. He paid $7500 brand new and is still driving it. My girlfriend has a 2003 Civic dx with power steering but no power anything else. So I guess if you look hard enough, you might still be able to find a basic new car for driving in and not reclining in. I think cars like the Honda fit and the Yaris might be some of the most basic offered today.
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