A Holley Blue Electric Fuel Pump for the 1929 Ford Roadster

October 14th, 2012

Installing a Holley Blue Electric Fuel Pump & Regulator in the 1929 Ford Model A Roadster

Now that the TR4 Triumph fuel tank has been installed in the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod, it is time to think about a fuel delivery system for the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod.
Small block Chevrolet engines are almost all the same. These engines all come with a place to mount an “on engine” manual fuel pump. Engines that are carbureted have an extra lobe on the cam shaft to push a small rod in and out of the manual fuel pump as the engine rotates. Engines that are fuel injected do not have this extra fuel pump lobe on the cam shaft. The engine that I am using in the 1929 Ford roadster hot was originally fuel injected. Therefore, I have no choice but to use an electric fuel pump designed for carbureted engines.

1929 Ford roadster Holley fuel pump installation - picture 1

The electric fuel pump that I decided on was a Holley 110 GPH “Blue” with regulator part #: 12-802-1. Of course, being fugal, I looked around for a used one. Fortunately, I found a used one only a few minutes from home for $50. This was a bit of a deal as the same one on the Holley web site lists for $139. The fellow I bought it from used it on a race car at the local track for a few runs before deciding to get out of the hobby. Since the fuel pump looked cosmetically good, and powered up fine, I bought it. Buying used electric parts can be a bit dicey, but the nice feature about these electric fuel pumps is that service kits are readily available from Holley.
The best location for the electric fuel pump is as close as possible to the fuel tank. These pumps work better pushing fuel rather than pulling fuel. On the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod, the TR4 Triumph fuel tank is located behind the seat. Not wanting the electric fuel pump in the cockpit area of the hot rod, mounting the fuel pump on the chassis was the next thought.

1929 Ford roadster Holley fuel pump installation - picture 5

Before an exact location can be selected on the chassis for mounting the Holley electric fuel pump with regulator, the fuel line needs to be routed through the floor of the hot rod. A fuel filter was mounted directly under the TR4 Triumph fuel tank using a rubber hose connection. Using a short piece of rubber fuel line from the fuel filter with a second short piece of larger rubber hose used as a grommet to protect fuel line from unwanted wear at the section of fuel line that passes through the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod floor.
Using a small piece of 1.5 inch angle iron, a small bracket was made to attach the electric fuel pump to the chassis of the hot rod. As it worked out, the Holley electric fuel pump with regulator could be easily mounted to the rear cross member next to the upper shock mount. Using a threaded insert tool, four 0.25 inch threaded inserts were installed on the rear cross member. To help eliminated noise vibration from the electric fuel pump, a small piece of rubber belting and four rubber grommets were used to attach the fuel pump to the chassis. Another short piece of rubber fuel line passing through the hot rod floor from the fuel filter was used to attach to the fuel pump. This short rubber hose connection will allow for minor and ever so slight movement between the body of the hot rod and the chassis.

1929 Ford roadster Holley fuel pump installation - picture 2 1929 Ford roadster Holley fuel pump installation - picture 3 1929 Ford roadster Holley fuel pump installation - picture 4 1929 Ford roadster Holley fuel pump installation - picture 6 1929 Ford roadster Holley fuel pump installation - picture 7 1929 Ford roadster Holley fuel pump installation - picture 8

Now it’s time to complete the electrical connections. From the Holley website, this fuel pump draws 3 amps and they recommend using a 7.5 amp fuse. I measured the current draw using a direct current (DC) clamp and measured approximately 2.5 amps with no fuel to 3.8 amps with fuel. The 1929 Ford roadster hot rod engine is using a Weiand 8217 electric water pump that draws 4.5 amps. Giving this a bit of thought, I decided to share the fuse for the fuel and water pumps. For this application, I selected a 15 amp fuse which is approximately double the actual current draw for both electric pumps. To turn on both the fuel and water pumps, I used a 12v relay with 30 amps contacts that is controlled by the ignition switch in the hot rod. For safety purposes, I also installed an inertia switch in series with the power feed to the Holley electric fuel pump. The inertia switch came from a 1991 Ford Mustang. The inertia switch contacts will remain closed during normal operation of the hot rod allowing the electric fuel pump to operate. The inertia switch is mounted in the rear of the car in the trunk. If for some unfortunate reason, the car or hot rod is hit, the impact will cause the inertia switch to operate causing its switch contacts to open and turning the power off to the electric fuel pump. This is a highly recommended feature and of course the inertia switch can be reset.
At a later date, I will include complete wiring diagrams and instructions for a DIY wiring of the entire hot rod.

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A Triumph TR4 Fuel Tank for the 1929 Ford Model A Roadster

October 7th, 2012

A Triumph TR4 Fuel Tank for the 1929 Ford Model A Roadster

It has been a bit of time since my last post. Summer just flew by and now we at the start of October in the weekend of the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday. I did manage to attend a few car shows and a couple of automotive swap meets. Even though the weather was great for most of the summer, it seemed that the sky closed in with rain on the major events that I intended to attend. Oh well, there is always next year.

Work on our old Victorian home continues, moving my youngest daughter back home for the summer back in June and then back off to a College 4 hours from home just a few weeks ago. I must say the most taxing part of the summer was with the replacement of our shingles on the roof. The 35 year shingles only lasted 12 years! What’s up with that? The roofers that were contracted for the job this summer presented themselves well to get the contract. The job started off well and over the month of July, yes it took a month to re-roof the house, the job become too much for them. These guys were definitely roofers for a reason as my youngest daughter claimed. These fellows at times looked like a safety commercial on what to do to get hurt, with no respect for their equipment, and no pride in their workmanship during their last week of work. Not only that, I suspect the one fellow was afraid of heights!

As a home custom car builder / hot rodder, there are always so many distractions that seem to interfere with the build of the hot rod. I am more determined now than ever to complete this hot rod, as the completion of the build is so near.

Even though I have not posted anything for a while, work on the 1929 Ford Roadster hot rod has continued. Lately, work on the hot rod has been in the evenings, even if it is for an hour, and on rainy days. It’s amazing what can get completed working this way.
Now the time has come to install the fuel tank. Originally I thought of fabricating a stainless steel tank suitable to my application and hot rod build. Then by accident one day searching around on the internet, I came across a Triumph TR4 fuel tank for sale a few hundred miles from my home. The price was right and shipping was reasonable, so why not? For $100 I now have a fuel tank, chrome quick release filler cap, and rubber grommet for the neck of the fuel filler cap. This sure beats using a very expense sheet of stainless steel and countless hours of fabrication. The idea of mounting the fuel tank behind the seat made a bit of sense, not to mention using the top mounted chrome fuel filler cap also from the Triumph TR4 would look nice. Often, many hot rodders mount the fuel tank in the trunk with the fuel cap access in the trunk. No matter how careful you are when filling the fuel tank, there always seems to be the hint of fuel fumes in the car, something I personally do not like.

One of my goals with the build of the Model A Ford roadster is to optimize the use of space within the hot rod. Having a small fuel tank, one slightly over 11 imperial gallons will not be much of a handicap. Just think of all of the conversions while filling up at a gas station! Besides, my 6 foot 4 inch body would need to be stretched out from the small and tight cockpit of the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod. So, frequent fuel stops will not be a problem for me.

1929 Ford roadster fuel tank, installation picture 1 1929 Ford roadster fuel tank, installation picture 2

Installing the fuel tank was one of the more simple things that I have done on the hot rod. Using a bit of 0.75 inch square steel tubing I fabricated a mounting system for the fuel tank. Part of this mounting system is also to provide addition strength to the width of the roadsters body. In some cases, 1928-31 Model A Ford hot rodders use the stock fuel tank in front of the car just behind the firewall. In terms of safety, this might have been okay in the 1930’s when highway speeds were much lower. Just look at how often drivers run stop lights now a days!! Not long ago, that is exactly what happened to a fellow hot rodder, he was t-boned at an intersection by someone running a very red light. His hot rod was totaled in the accident.

1929 Ford roadster fuel tank, installation picture 3 1929 Ford roadster fuel tank, installation picture 4

A consideration later on is to use the stock fuel tank on the 1928-31 Model A Ford as a heating duct and installing a small heater radiator and fan in it. A bit of a creature comfort for those cool nights while cruising the open road. Often, many hot rodders cut away the lower part of the stock fuel tank to allow for electrical and brakes. It all boils down to how you wish to build your hot rod.

The 0.75 inch square steel tubing frame has a shape similar to the perimeter of the Triumph TR4 fuel tank. The tank was mounted upwards with about a 4 inch space between the top of the fuel tank and to the underside of the body panel just in front of the trunk lid. The fuel tank also is also parallel to the back of the seat. Once I have more of the car completed I will weld in additional 0.75 inch square tube braces for additional strength for the bottom of the fuel tank frame. The plan is to place the battery on the passenger side of the fuel tank, and the main electrical panel containing the fuses and relays for the hot rod in front of the fuel tank. For this reason I will need to be careful how the final support braces for the fuel will be placed at the bottom of the fuel tank frame.

1929 Ford roadster fuel tank, installation picture 5 1929 Ford roadster fuel tank, installation picture 6 1929 Ford roadster fuel tank, installation picture 7

As it worked out, the fuel filter fits perfectly underneath the fuel tank with a line going directly to a Holley electric fuel pump and regulator mounted inches away on the frame.
I have included pictures of the battery, electrical panel, location of the fuel filter and electric fuel pump.

Make sure you come back, as I do plan to update the site more frequently with more information on the build of my 1929 Ford Model A roadster hot rod. You can look forward to, mounting the fuel pump, mounting the transmission cooler, the complete wiring of the hot rod which will include keyless starting, machining engine pulleys and brackets, making the rear trunk lid hinges, finding a seat and creating a unique seat hinged mounting system for the seat, fabricating the headers/side pipes and much, much more.

So much to do in a 24 hour day and it’s no wonder time flies!

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Fleetwood Country Cruize-In: Canada’s Largest Outdoor Car Show June 1, 2, & 3, 2012

May 28th, 2012

 

Fleetwood Country Cruize-In: Canada’s Largest Outdoor Car Show June 1, 2, & 3, 2012

Once again, we can look forward to one of the nicest outdoor car shows in this area.  It is now said that this is Canada’s Largest Outdoor Car Show, the annual Fleetwood Country Cruize-In at the Steve Plunkett estate in London, Ontario.   The estate is located at 9282 Elviage Dr. London, Ontario.   This year the show will be on June 1, 2, & 3 2012.

The schedule this year for this incredible event is as follows:

*          Friday June 1st, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, tickets are $59 and doors open at 6pm

*         Saturday June 2nd, the car show opens at 7am and runs till 5pm

*         Saturday evening June 2nd, there will be a dinner show with Paul Revere and the Raiders.  Doors open a 7pm and tickets will be $89.

*          Sunday June 3rd, the car show continues from 7am till 4pm.

We will be treated with a performance by the Square Dancing Tractors “Team Farmall”.  I have recorded part of last year’s performance to give you an idea of the precision and unique driving abilities of these vintage tractors operators performing to a good old square dance routine.

Fast Tube
Fast Tube by Casper

The Amphicar group, or floating motor boat cars as I call them, will be in and out of the ponds located on Steve’s golf course.  Below is a short video to give you an idea of what to expect.

Fast Tube
Fast Tube by Casper

The car show itself has had 3500 cars on display, with celebrity appearances by George Barris the “King of Kustomizers”, and American Graffiti stars, Bo Hopkins and Candy Clark.

Steve Plunkett will also have is personal collection of cars on display for the public to view in two very nicely finished museums.

The poster for this outstanding car show can be found at:

http://www.fleetwoodcountrycruizein.com/2012/2012.html

Fortunately the weather has co-operated for each of the years I have attended.  There have been some dicey moments in past years but the skies and Mother Nature always came through for this charity event.  Hopefully the same will be true for this year’s event.

Last year was the first year the event continued on to Sunday.  As luck would have it, I could not make it to the show on Saturday and attended on Sunday instead.  I was a bit concerned that the car show would be much smaller than on Saturday but was pleasantly surprised and not disappointed for attending on Sunday.  I did a bit of a walking tour with the video recorder of the Fleetwood Country Cruize-In.  If you did not make it to the show or are considering coming for the first time, view the video just to get an idea of what to expect.  This is truly a spectacular show and only 15 minutes’ drive from the home of http://1929fordhotrod.com .  I am looking forward to seeing everyone there.

Fast Tube
Fast Tube by Casper

 

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Installing the 1986 C4 Corvette steering column in the Hot Rod

January 22nd, 2012

 

Installing the 1986 C4 Corvette steering column in the Hot Rod

The build of the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod is progressing well. Now it is time to install / mount the steering column that I removed from the 1986 C4 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible into the 1929 Ford hot rod. The Corvette  is an outstanding car to use as a donor vehicle. So much of the car can be easily used in the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod. It was like the GM Corvette engineers and designers had hot rodders in mind when they designed the Corvette.

Model T Ford steering column & wheel

In my quest of keeping the build cost of the hot rod to a minimum, I made a list of all parts that could be used or would like to use. Many years ago, I came across a deal that I could not resist. It was a Model T Ford steering column with a steering wheel in perfect condition. The Model T steering column was complete but needed to be restored. That was no problem for me. After fitting the Model T Ford steering column inside the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod, and comparing it to the fit of the 1986 C4 Corvette steering column a decision was made. I decided to go with the Corvette steering column as it would go more with my theme of having a C4 Corvette disguised or cloaked as a Model A Ford. What I liked most was that the Corvette steering column has a telescoping and tilt features. Since I am 6 foot 4 inches tall, these features cannot be overlooked, as they will make it easier to get in and out of the hot rod. Not wanting to keep parts that I do not currently need, I sold the Model T Ford steering column for a tidy profit. I’m not sure how this happens all of the time, but I have been extremely lucky with a net gain in the sales of car parts. I believe it’s all due to my honest marketing techniques.

Below are the steps I used to install or mount the 1986 C4 Corvette steering column in the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod.

Step 1: Floor mount brackets for the Corvette steering columns are fabricated using 0.125 inch plate steel. One will be welded to the bottom or the steering column and the other will be mounted on the bottom side of the front floor panel. The bracket mounted to the bottom side of the front floor panel will also have three 0.25 inch threaded inserts attached to it. To attach the threaded inserts, a special tool is required. I have worn out two of these tools using it for various jobs on the hot rod. With the outlet that sold me this threaded insert replacing the tool every time it wears out or breaks, I am finding it difficult to spend more money on a much better one.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 1

Step 2: A new bracket for the upper end of the steering column is made. This bracket will also get welded to the Corvette steering column. I decided to use the original top steering column mounting bracket on the 1928-31 Model A Ford fuel tank.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 2

Step 3: A trial fit of the newly made brackets temporarily mounted to the Corvette steering column is necessary. This will ensure the proper position of the steering column in the 1929 Ford hot rod. As they say, measure twice, cut once.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 3

Step 4: The 1986 C4 Corvette steering column has a few different diameters of metal tubing along the length of the steering column. To tidy this up, I decided to fit a piece of 2.5 inch exhaust tubing over the Corvette steering column. This was a tight fit, and a bit of a job to slip it over the Corvette steering column.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 4

Step 5: The upper and lower steering column bracket are now welded to the Corvette steering column. It is very important to make sure the brackets are in the same position as found in step 3.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 5

Step 6: The newly modified Corvette steering column was cleaned, primed, and sealed. As expected, the steering column fit perfectly in the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 6

Step 7: There are a number of wires that exit the top of the steering column. These look rather unsightly and need to be hidden. I discovered that slicing a section of 1.5 inch square steel tubing would cover the wires. What I was interested in doing was to hide the wires from a line of sight view when standing beside the roadster or while sitting inside the roadster. This worked out much better than expected. I used a 0.25 inch bolt to attach this new wire cover to the steering column.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 7

Step 8: This was the most frustrating part of the entire job. I found that having so much of the steering column dismantled, that the inner shaft inside the column started moving around on me. This movement resulted in several small ball bearings inside the steering column to fall out. Fortunately I found all of the ball bearings. Using a bit of grease to hold the ball bearing in place, and after a few choice words, everything was successfully reassembled. What was most frustrating about all of this was that the manuals I used to disassemble and reassemble the steering column had very poor diagrams of the entire assembly. This also included the official GM Corvette service manual. In the end it all worked out.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 8

In my next post, I will show how I converted the keyed ignition switch, to a keyless, LED backlit engine start switch for only a few dollars and a bit of time.

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Mounting the C4 Corvette Vacuum Assisted Power Brake Booster in the Hot Rod

January 12th, 2012

 

Mounting the C4 Corvette Vacuum Assisted Power Brake Booster in the Hot Rod

Well, the festive season of Christmas and the New Year with lots of visiting, good food, and entertaining has come to an end. We only had one major snowfall in our area. For the last few days the weather has been sunny and usually warm. It will be a good feeling getting back into the shop and continue working on the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod. With the shop warm and some great classic rock tunes the environment will be perfect for working on the hot rod.

The frame mount for the C4 Corvette vacuum poer brake booster on the 1929 Ford hot rod.

The time has come to install the C4 Corvette vacuum assisted power brake booster in the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod. When I originally designed the chassis / frame for the hot rod, I decided it would be a great idea if I could incorporate as many of the C4 Corvette parts removed from the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible as possible into the custom build of the custom Model A Ford roadster. Basically my intention was to have a C4 Corvette disguised or cloaked as a Model A Ford. So, it made sense to use the entire braking system including the vacuum assisted power brake booster with the master cylinder. I did decide early on in the chassis / frame design to mount the brake booster and master cylinder on the chassis just underneath the driver’s seat. The power booster is a bit larger in diameter then most aftermarket booster available for custom hot rods. This is not much of a problem, as the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod using the C4 Corvette suspension will have the chassis / frame sitting a safe distance from the road surface. Basically the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod will be a high boy design using modern suspension.

The heim joint used for the C4 Corvette vacuum power brake booster.

The power brake booster and master brake cylinder are a fair distance to the brake pedal assembly. After a considerable amount of thought, I decided to use a 0.75 inch (3/4”) round steel shaft to make this connection. A heim joint was used to connect to the brake pedal assembly. This part was easy. All I needed to do was drill a hole on the metal lathe in the end of the shaft so that I could tap the hole using a 0.375 inch ( 3/8”) NFT tap. The outer diameter of the heim joint was almost the same diameter of the 0.75 inch (3/4”) extension shaft making this end very neat and tidy.

The adapter coupling for the C4 Corvette vacuum power brake booster

The heim joint attached to the pedal assembly

The C4 Corvette vacuum power brake booster with the shaft extension.

Not wanting to modify the shaft coming out of the C4 Corvette vacuum power brake booster, I had to come up with an idea of connecting it easily to the extension shaft. After sleeping on it for a few nights, and just looking around the shop a bit, I realized that some 0.75 inch (3/4”) square tubing could be used as a coupling adapter. A small amount of material was removed from the round extension shaft using the metal lathe so the shaft would fit into the square tubing coupler. Using the MIG welder the square tubing was welded to the round shaft and trimmed up on the metal lathe. To connect the vacuum power brake booster to the coupling and extension shaft a two small shims were use on either side of the brake booster shaft and fitted tightly inside the square tubing. The extension shaft with the newly made adapter was bolted to the brake booster shaft. The newly modified power brake booster with the master brake cylinder was bolted to the chassis and the brake pedal. Of course I needed to get in the hot rod and try the brakes out. As expected everything worked smoothly.

The C4 Corvette vacuum power brake booster mounted to frame / chassis of the 1929 Ford hot rod.

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Merry Christmas – Birds of a Feather Christmas Video

December 25th, 2011
  

Merry Christmas – Birds of a Feather Christmas Video

Today, Christmas morning at the home of 1929fordhotrod.com we were just having some fun with one of our parrots and my daughters’ mechanical toy singing penguin.  Kiwi the birdy is a Caique parrot that is game for just about anything and can be a real clown.

Fast Tube
Fast Tube by Casper

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Designing a brake pedal assembly for the1928 – 31 Model A Ford

December 19th, 2011
 

 

Designing a brake pedal assembly for the 1928 – 31 Model A Ford

Many years ago I started with a couple of vintage Plymouths. One was a 1930 and the other a 1931. Both were four door cars. I bought both of these cars for $3500 as the seller did not want to split them up. Maybe the cars had an attachment to each other, who knows? This seller was bit different. He had so many cars and projects, that one person could not finish them all in ten life times. He told me that he could part these cars out and make a fortune. This guy had lots of ideas and stories but a lack of time or maybe interest. This is the usually pit many car builders fall into. Collect lots of stuff, but never do anything with it because they are too busy collecting stuff!!! The 1930 Plymouth was hanging from the ceiling on chains in his shop so he could pack more cars in the building. I must say there was an interesting collection of cars.

1934 Plymouth brake pedal used in the 1929 Ford hot rod

A few weeks later I sold the 1931 Plymouth for $3200. Now I was into one car for only $300. The 1930 Plymouth had numerous parts I did not need for the hot rod build so they were all sold via eBay and local advertising. The fellow I bought the cars from was bang on about selling parts from these cars. I guess he didn’t have the time or interest to do what I did.

The vintage Plymouth brake pedal breaks

More money just rolling in and I really haven’t started the build yet. Over time I realize the 1930 Plymouth was not for me and I sold it and finally ended up with the 1929 Ford roadster body. In the process, I bought and sold several cars and kept parts I thought I would need for my build. I did keep a brake / clutch pedal assembly from the 1930 Plymouth and another one from a 1934 Plymouth.

Designing the new brake pedal for the 1929 Ford hot rod.

When I designed and built the chassis / frame for the 1929 Ford hot rod, I welded a bracket onto the side of the chassis / frame for the 1930 Plymouth brake / clutch assembly to bolt to. Now it came time to install the brakes. Everything fit as it should except the brake pedal needed a few adjustments. It needed to be shortened slightly. I cut it at the bend and removed what I needed to, and re-welded it with the addition of a gusset for additional strength. Of course I thought it would be a great idea to sit in the roadster on a milk crate and give the brake pedal a try. Just a big kid at heart!! Well that didn’t work out so well and maybe a hidden blessing. One of the brake pedal parts broke along the keyway slot were it attached to the shaft. This could have been deadly if the car was out on the road. I even attempted to repair this part and it broke again. It was then I decided to design and build my own brake pedal assembly. There would be nothing worse than driving a car you cannot stop.

The new brake pedal taking shape for the 1929 Ford hot rod.

Using the slightly altered original pedal as a template, I traced a pattern onto 3/8 inch steel plate. This was then cut out on the metal band saw and the edges sanded smooth on the 1 inch belt sander. A small shaft collar was then welded to the pivot point of the brake pedal. I reused the shaft form the vintage brake pedal assembly in my new design. At the time, I did not have a lathe or milling machine so I needed to use my imagination to fit pieces together with materials I already had.

The first fitting of the new pedal on the 1929 Ford hot rod.

Now I traced the base plate onto 0.25 inch steel plate so my new brake pedal assembly would match the bracket already welded to the chassis / frame of my 1929 Ford hot rod. Using some scraps left over from the lower control arms mounts for the lower control arm I made the mount for the brake pedal shaft. A couple of bronze bushings and grease fittings were added to minimize wear of the rotating parts.
Everything was assembled and bolted to the 1929 Ford hot rod for a trial fit. I noticed a minor adjustment would be required on the lower part of the brake pedal. Once this adjustment was made, the new brake pedal assembly was primed and sealed.

The completed new pedal assembly.

The last thing I needed to do was fabricate a new brake pedal pad. Again I traced the original vintage pedal onto 3/8 inch steel plate. A small mounting bracket was added so the pad can be bolted to the pedal. The face of the brake pedal pad will eventually have a piece of ribbed aluminum attached to it to give it a more finished look.

The new brake pedal pad for the 1929 Ford hot rod. The new brake pedal installed on the 1929 Ford hot rod.

Oh, I forgot to mention. The brake pedal parts from both the 1930 and 1934 Plymouths were sold shortly after completing the one I designed and built. I tend sell or give away anything I do not see a future use for as I do not want to be a collector of stuff that I will never use.

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A different idea for 1928 – 31 Model A Ford floors

December 12th, 2011

 

A different idea for 1928 – 31 Model A Ford floors

The original floors for many vintage automobiles were made of wood.  This was okay 80 years ago.  The 1928-31 Model A Ford used a combination of steel floor pans and some wood up front.  The Brookville Roadster 1928-29 Ford roadster body is equipped with very nice steel floor pans and was set up for a rumble seat.  Having designed a custom frame / chassis for my 1929 Ford roadster hot rod forced me to remove the entire metal floor.  Using a C4 Corvette suspension for the chassis / frame on the 1929 Ford hot rod required a narrower frame / chassis width in the rear.  My chassis / frame sits inside of the roadsters body rails at the rear of the hot rod.  The original Henry Ford design has the entire body sitting on top of the 1928-31 Model A chassis / frame.  This was a good design for the time, as the body also provided strength to the lightly made ladder style chassis / frame.  Part of my body modifications necessitated the rear floor cross member to be removed and moved a few inches towards the front of the car.  Because of this modification the rear floor pan could not be re-used easily.  I did consider making new metal floor pans but did not like the 0.5 inch difference between the height of the floor and the roadsters body frame rails and floor cross members.  Wanting a nice flat floor even with the top of the roadsters body frame and floor cross members I thought plywood would work but would seal them with fiber glass.  Below are a few pictures of this messy process.

1928-31 Model A Ford floor: moving the rear floor crossmember - view 1 1928-31 Model A Ford floor: moving the rear floor crossmember - view 2

Step 1: After giving this a bit of thought, and having done a fair bit of drywall work in all of the houses I have owned, it made sense to trim the edges of the new 0.5 inch plywood floor cut outs with metal drywall j-mold.  It fits perfectly over the plywood edges to seal and provide a nicely finished edge.  Small nails were used to tack each piece in place.

1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- step 1

Step 2:  I decided to use a gray colour pigment made for polyester resin to match the grey primer I have been using on the car.  Now it is very important to mix the correct amount of catalyst with the amount of resin to be used.  Another consideration is the ambient air temperature in the shop.  This means if your shop is very warm you can use less catalyst and if it is on the cool side of things, more catalyst is required.   Not enough catalyst will be a disaster as the resin will not ever harden.  Too much catalyst will cause the resin to set too fast and get very hot.  Only mix enough resin for a time period you can handle.  The resin is expensive and you do not want a waste any product. I used plastic bowls from the dollar store to mix up the resin.  Using a permanent marker, I marked out a 4 ounce and 8 ounce points.  From the local farm supplier or even the drug store, purchase several small syringes.  These are great for getting the exact measure of catalyst.  I used 2 teaspoons or about 6 cc of catalyst for 8 ounces of resin or gel coat.  When I did this, my shop temperature was about 65 degrees f.  From the dollar store I also purchased heavy duty rubber gloves, several paint brushes, and small paint rollers.  For clean-up I used lacquer thinner.   Do this in a well-ventilated area and wear safety glasses.  I do not clean my rubber gloves or mixing bowls.  Once the resin hardens, the hardened resin just peels off the gloves and breaks away from the plastic bowls.  When applying the resin to the fibre glass matt, make sure you work out all of the air bubbles to maximize adhesion to the plywood.  This is a very messy and smelly process that cannot be rushed.

1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- step 2 1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- step 2-2

Step 3:  Once all of the floor boards had the fiber glass matt applied with a good coat of resin, I started to paint on the gel coat.  Again, I used a colour pigment in the gel coat and used the same amount of catalyst as I did for the resin. Several coats of gel coat were applied.  Eventually, I will sand the bottom side of the floor panels smooth for an even finish. All edges were sanded smooth on my stationary 6 inch belt sander.  The entire process to seal the wooden floor panels took several nights out in the shop. 

1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- step 3 1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- step 3-3

All of the panels fit into my 1929 Ford roadster without any problems.  These will all get screwed down with a heat shield and rubber padding applied to the interior to reduce noise and heat.  These floor panels will be extremely strong and well-sealed from the elements.  A similar technique is use to make light weight but very sturdy cedar strip canoes.

1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- front view 1928-31 Model A Ford floor: a different idea -- back view
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GM Type II Power Steering pump for the 1929 Ford hot rod

December 6th, 2011


 

GM Type II Power Steering pump for the 1929 Ford hot rod

The weather here for the last week has been terrible.  Last week we had 70mm or almost 3 inches of rain.  Many homes had flooded basements.  I was lucky, no problems with my home or shop.  Yesterday started again with rain and ended with a bit of snow.  Winter is here.  What a great excuse to work indoors.  I am still working out a few things with the website since the unfortunate mishap in October resulting in the website being down for almost a month.  So much to do!  Only if the days were a little longer!  Oh well, there is always tomorrow, so this is what keeps life exciting.  No helping elves here.

As I started to build the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod, I realized that having power steering might not be an option for this build.  Using the stock 1928 -31 Model A Ford wheelbase of 103.5 inches seemed like a good idea when I first designed and built my custom hot rod chassis / frame using the C4 Corvette suspension.  This created minor problems for me later on in the build for my hot rod.  Not wanting to cut or modify the Brookville Roadsters firewall for the 1929 Ford roadster was important to me.  I am 6 feet 4 inches tall, and require a reasonable amount of leg room.  This meant that the engine needed to be mounted towards the front of the hot rod.  That was not a big deal but moved the engine very close to the radiator.  As I was designing this custom hot rod chassis / frame, I was hoping to mount the coil over shocks inboard, in front of the engine for a clean suspension look on my open wheeled hot rod.  With the stock wheel base, there was not enough room for inboard suspension.  Secondly, using an electric water pump on the SBC 350 cubic inch engine also created additional minor issues.  Not having the space between the radiator and the front of the engine, I needed to mount the alternator and power steering pump lower on the engine.  I am using the mounting holes on both sides of the timing case cover on the lower front of the engine.  With this requirement, many of the pulleys, stock and aftermarket had an offset that would have the belts very close to the radiator and too far from the engine.  As a result I was not able to fit a power steering pump on the engine.  I felt this was not a big issue as the1928 – 31 Model A Ford roadster hot rod using a SBC engine will not be very heavy, and would not create steering problems using a manual steering rack.

This past summer, I decided to fabricate my own aluminum V belt pulley on an old Logan metal lathe I purchased a few years ago.  Using 1 inch thick and 6 inch square aluminum I created a decent looking pulley without any problems.  I must say this was a bit of a learning process.  The engine pulley I designed would just mount directly to the front of the SBC engine on the harmonic balancer.  This pulley will drive the alternator that will be mounted on the lower left side of the engine.  This worked out perfectly.  Now I realized that just maybe power steering would become a reality.

1986 C4 Corvette power steering pump

A couple of years ago, I attempted to mount a GM type II power steering pump to the front of the engine in the 1929 Ford hot rod.  The power steering pump that I saved from the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible could not be used.  These pumps require reverse rotation when compared to engine rotation.  Rotation of the pump can be determined very easily.  When looking at the pump pulley, if there are no ribs in the pulley, the pump will need to turn opposite to the engine.  On the 1986 Corvette the power steering pump receives its drive from the back or smooth side of the serpentine belt.  Power steering pumps with ribbed pulleys will turn in the same direction as the engine.  So off I went to the wrecking yard and started looking at GM type II power steering pumps.  I found one with a neat little reservoir tank attached to the pump.  This just might work, as it was all very small and compact.  After a considerable amount of fiddling, and fitting, using a variety of engine pulleys, I realize that power steering was not an option anymore.  At the time, my friend Jim wanted to add power steering to his 1937 Chevrolet and bought the pump from me.  Jim bought a nice aluminum pulley and bracket for this power steering pump.  Unfortunately, Jim was not able to stop a very minor oil leak between the pump and the reservoir tank.  Not liking the oil leak he abandoned the pump and decided to try the old style GM power steering pump with the built in reservoir tank.

This is my first power steering pump bracket for the GM type II power steering pump.

Now that it looked like I had more room on the front of the engine since I fabricated my own engine pulley, I thought I would give the power steering a second look.  I asked Jim if he still had the pump and he did.   So another road trip was in order to pick it up in my new Ford F150 ECO boost 4 x 4 truck.  This will be another story / post later on. 

Determining the correct location of the power steering pump on the 1929 Ford hot rod.

The evolution of the power steering pump bracket

Now this time, I had a custom made aluminum power steering bracket to work with from Jim.  Mounting the pump and bracket to the right lower side of the engine started to look pretty good.  There was one problem; the pump was about 0.5 inches out of alignment with the second aluminum engine pulley I made.  Removing the 0.5 inch of material from the custom made bracket was not an option and would destroy the bracket.  Now, I thought just maybe I could fabricate my own bracket using scraps of aluminum in the shop.  Using a 1 inch aluminum block, and some 0.5 inch and 0.25 inch aluminum plate, a design was starting to come together.  Using my metal cutting band saw, 1 inch belt / 5 inch disk sander, I was able to create a power steering bracket that worked perfectly on the 1929 Ford hot rod.  Now during this process, I was really wishing I had a milling machine to use for this bracket.  On the down side, the machine shop that pressed the aluminum pulley on the power steering pump for Jim may have ruined the pump.  I noticed a slight deformation on the back side of the pump and will not know if this will be an issue till I get everything connected and go for a run.  I suspect that they used a press to install the pulley instead of using a bolt to press the pulley on the shaft of the pump.  A very minor issue if at all.

The original power steering reservoir for the GM type II power steering pump.

The power steering pump reservoir tank would not fit onto the pump as I have the pump oriented slightly different then the intended use it had.  No problem, I could make an adapter to facilitate an externally mounted reservoir tank similar to what is used on the 1986 C4 Corvette.  Carefully measuring the opening on the power steering pump I used the existing reservoir tank inlet as a model.  I then machined from 1 inch aluminum round stock on my old Logan metal lathe an adapter.  This adapter will be pressed into the power steering pump and has threaded inlet.  I will be using a NPT brass nipple for a rubber hose.  A short rubber hose or even a stainless steel braided hose will be used to attach the remote reservoir tank to the power steering pump.  I might machine the reservoir tank later on using the metal lathe unless I find something pre-made at a swap meet.  Unfortunately, I sold the power steering reservoir tank for the 1986 Corvette on eBay.  It would have been perfect for my application.  

Power steering reservoir adapter for the type II GM power steering pump.

A few weeks later and after having the power steering pump bracket made, another friend gave me a lead for some machine shop equipment which included a Bridgeport style milling machine and a metal lathe.  My curiosity got the best of me, so I took a look at the equipment.  Thinking I could only afford the metal lathe I gave the fellow a deposit for the lathe.  It was so much better than the Logan metal lathe that I had.  I did tell him I was interested in the mill but needed a bit of time to come up with the funds.  The deal was so good I mentioned it to my wife that night.  Of course I do not usually make big purchases before discussing them with her so needless to say, she was not impressed.  After considerable discussion she agreed that I should purchase the equipment.  Over the years, my wife has just been shaking her head in amazement with my hobby.  Having a hobby that is traditionally very expensive has not been the case for me.  Money going out and money coming back again always with a very respectable financially gain.  To date, the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod and most of the equipment I have purchase has been totally financed by my wheeling and dealing.  Since then, I sold my old Logan metal lathe for a profit, along with some other equipment I did not have much use for.  Now I have a good 12 inch by 36 inch metal lathe and a very nice milling machine with X, Y, and Z digital readouts, power feeds, and a variable frequency drive for speed control.  A considerable amount of tooling came with both machines.  I never thought this would happen so soon, a dream of a lifetime.  Now I will be able to fabricate another and more refined power steering pump bracket, not to mention numerous other parts for my 1929 Ford hot rod.  In a later post, I will show the equipment I have acquired over time making the build of my hot rod much easier, especially when I like the challenge of fabricating many of my own parts.  Of course purchasing this equipment caused a bit of a hot rod building distraction.  Now I needed to add a dedicated machine room to my shop.  A sealed room is needed.  One that is free from wood dust as I also have a complete wood shop, and the general dirt of welding, grinding, and so on.  This is a good distraction.   

The powering steering pump installed on the small block 350 cubic inch Chev engine

In the case with power steering for my build of the 1929 Ford hot rod, the morale of the story is to never give up.  Sometimes you just need a break from something, and come back to it later on.  A solution is always around the corner.

Now that I have a bit of a rhythm, you can expect to see more regular posts / information on the build of my 1929 Ford roadster hot rod.  This is definitely a unique build.  So make sure you add 1929fordhotrod.com to your favourites and subscribe to a feed at the top right of this page.

 

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1928-31 Model A Ford Halogen Headlight Conversion

November 23rd, 2011
  

1928-31 Model A Ford Halogen Headlight Conversion

Several years ago, I purchased at a local automotive swap meet / flea market, a pair of vintage 1928-31 Model A Ford headlights.  Back in 1928, headlights used low light intensity incandescent light bulbs.  This was fine for the day when vehicles didn’t travel very fast or were not in great numbers on our highways.  Now it is best to be seen when you are driving not only at night time but during the day.  So for safety sake, I would suggest using modern light bulbs in your custom car or hot rod.  Headlights now offer improved lighting distances for night driving, and great visibility for being seen on the highway when driving in the day time.  One of my main objectives in the build of my 1929 Model A Ford roadster is to use as many of the modern day safety features in the hot rod as possible.

Original 1928-31 Model A Ford headlight used for the halogen bulb conversion.

As with most things when building a custom car or hot rod, you can buy whatever your heart desires as long as you have the funds.  Another one of my goals in the hot rod is to complete the build as cheaply as possible.  Now with that said, there is the time element.  Whenever you forego the option of buying something and decide to fabricate it yourself, the time to finish the hot rod increases.  For me, it is the challenge to create, fabricate, and develop as much as I possibly can.  This is what will make my 1929 Ford hot rod roadster very unique from all of the others.  Now let’s get to the actual headlight conversion.

Original 1928-31 Model A Ford headlight reflector.

Over the last number of years, I have bought and sold many cars, either in a complete form or parted them to pay for the 1929 Ford hot rod project.  One of these cars was a 1991 Ford Mustang.  I sold many parts from this car, kept several, including the headlights with the intention of converting the old Model A Ford headlights to halogen lighting.  These sat around in the shop for a couple of years before I actually got around to this.  Now that I am very close to having the 1929 Ford hot rod on the road, headlights are important.

mustang-headlight-parts

The first step in my conversion process was to cut out the section that was used to contain and hold the halogen light bulbs.  I used air cut off saw for this.  Of course the friction from the cut off wheel created a bit of heat in the plastic head lamp housing resulting in the plastic to melt around the cut.  This was not a problem for me, as I was intending to mount this roughed out bulb socket from the head lamp into my metal lathe and round it up.  I suppose you could use the drill press and a two inch hole saw for this provided you had a safe way to hold the head lamp housing securely while drilling.

9004xl bulb modifications for 1928-31 Model A Ford Headlights

With the socket removed and turned round on the lathe, place the socket on the Model A Ford head light reflector.  Using a pencil trace the socket outline.  The Model A Ford headlight reflectors that came with my vintage headlight, were not in great shape.  These were perfect for my experiment.  One reflector was all dented and the other had no silver on it.  This conversion will be the proto type for a much better set of reflectors later on. 

Modifications for 1928-31 Model A Ford Headlight reflectors to accept halogen bulbs.

Before I could enlarge the hole in the Model A Ford reflectors, the original headlight sockets needed to be removed.  Using a pair of pliers, the sockets twisted off without any problems.  The die grinder fitted with a variety to burrs. The socket hole was enlarged to the required diameter.  To finish this step off, a larger grinding wheel in the die grinder was used to perfect the shape and diameter.  I did notice that one of the Model A Ford reflectors had very brittle metal causing larger pieces to be torn away rather that ground away.  This was a bit hair raising.  The other reflector was easy to enlarge and did not have the same problem.  I’m not sure why this happened as both reflectors were made of brass?

Completed modifications for 1928-31 Model A Ford Headlight reflectors to accept halogen bulbs.

The modified 1991 Ford Mustang headlight sockets were then attached to the Model A Ford reflectors using only two #6 by 32, half inches screws.

The 1928-31 Model A Ford halogen bulb conversion is complete.

In order for the halogen light bulbs to fit inside the vintage Ford headlights, the back side of the halogen bulb needed to be trimmed.  The rear plastic portion of the bulb shielding the electrical terminal /plug needed to be trimmed even with the electrical terminals on the bulb.  This is also necessary to allow soldering of wires to the terminals.  With the terminals exposed, they now needed to be bent back 90 degrees.  The original wiring plugs for the halogen light bulb was 16 awg, so I soldered new 16 awg wires to the halogen light bulb terminals.  The wires are about 12 inches long.  A plug will be made later on to attach the headlights to the hot rod.

1928-31 Model A Ford halogen conversion using old worn out vintage headlight reflectors.

Five minute epoxy was use to seal the terminals and the newly soldered wire connections on the bulb.

As an in term measure, I decided to paint the Model A Ford reflectors with a high heat silver paint that had decent reflective properties.   These newly modified reflectors using halogen bulb will do till I replace the reflectors later on.  As luck would have it, I found in the workshop two identical stainless steel mixing bowls that would make perfect reflectors in the Model A Ford headlights.  As a future post, I will have a video, showing the entire process of making new headlight reflectors using parts from an old Ford Explorer and the stainless steel mixing bowls.  Both of these conversions will only cost me my time and no out of pocket expense.  I do intend to sell the first set I converted in the next while.  These would be perfect for a daily driver or rat rod.

 

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