Model A Ford Club of America
Sacramento, California Chapter

My Best Week Ever

I had the best week ever at my grandpa’s house. When I found out that I would be working on a 1930 Model A Roadster, I got really excited! The first day me and Grandpa worked on the car, we took the lug nuts that were connected to the tires off with a star wrench, and then I took the tires off. Then my grandpa taught me how to take cotter pins out with pliers. At first it was really hard, but then I got the hang of it. The next day, I took out all the rest of the cotter pins connected to the bolts. After I finished that, I took the bolts off with a 9/16 wrench. The next thing I did that day was take off the brake lines [rode], then the brake drums, and then I took off the bearings [and backing plates]. The next time we worked on the car, I took the brake drums [backing plates]. The next time we worked on the car, I took the brake drums [backing plates] outside and sandblasted them so they were smooth enough to paint. Then Grandpa taught me how the brakes work. First, there are brake pads [shoes] that when you push the pedal they move out. When they move out, they push on the wheel causing the wheel to stop. Then Grandpa had some of his friends come over and help him take the outer shell [body] off the frame [after removing the hood, radiator, and engine with a little help from Grandpa]. The next thing I did that day was to take four bolts off the front springs and four off the back springs. I took the springs off the frame after that. The last two days, I took the frame outside and the springs outside and then I sandblasted them. This got rid of all the old paint and rust. After I sandblasted the springs and frame, I painted them black [by hand with a 2 inch brush]. Then we had to put everything back on the car and Grandpa took it to the storage yard. I can’t wait for another fun week next summer with Grandpa! By Cameron Cox – Age 10 (in 2011) with inserts by Grandpa AKA Mr Couch the Capitol A’sTechnical Seminar
guy.Reprinted from the March/April 2011 Restorer.

More From Cameron
My Best Week Ever - Year 2
Coming up to grandma and grandpas is always so much fun. I love to work on the car right when I get there. This time when I came though, I worked on the brakes. The brakes were in REALLY bad shape. There were dead spiders and cobwebs and all sorts of things inside the brake drums and a lot of the stuff was not aligned correctly and I didn’t have a lot of time to fix it all, so I unpacked my bags and went right to work.

The first thing I did was take off the brake drums on all four sides of my special 1930 model A roadster, I had to clean up (off) all of the rust with some wire brushes first before I could do anything else though. It was long and tedious work and getting in the grooves was hard to do, but Grandpa has all the right tools for any job so it made it really easy. I also took a look in the inside of the brake drum. The springs were on their last legs, so we had to replace them. Taking off some of the bolts was really hard and I needed grandpas help on those. I also had to take out a lot of cotter pins so I could get to everything and fix them. Luckily, I am an expert at taking out cotter pins after I took out all of the ones on the frame. There were a lot of things to be fixed and replaced. I cleaned some of the parts in one of my grandpas special cleaning liquid. When I was done with those., they looked good as new. The tricky part was that I was not used to putting cotter pins back on because I hadn’t done that before, but grandpa had me taught in no time and I was ready to reassemble the brakes. The bolts now slid on easy and were nice and snug unlike before. The brake drums were bad so we had to order new ones. They were perfectly aligned and I put in like all of the other parts, now everything fit together perfectly and I was ready to move on to the next step.

The next step was to take off the brake shoes. There were two shoes to every drum and there were four drums. Taking them off was the easy part. Replacing was the hard part. There are 8 rivets to every brake lining and they didn’t come off very easily. It was slow hard work and swinging the big hammer was hard causing breaks every now and then. Grandpa had a special tool to take them off though that went on the rivet so I could hit it out easier. The (old) brake linings were not usable and were very slick. So we ordered new linings, touching them on the front side with greasy hands was a big no no, so I had to be careful. Now, I had to put new rivets back in! I had to go through the same process over again. The good part was that they were way easier to put on and take off. With a little cleaning here and there on the brake shoes, I was ready to move onto the next step.

There are a lot of rods on the brake system. Each and every rod helps your model a stop. Even the emergency brake rods help stop your car when you need them. They were in pretty bad shape though so I cleaned them up. I got a piece of sandpaper and rolled it in a circle and sanded each and every one until they look brand new. Grandpa also has this special tool that helped me out. It was a sander that had a wheel attached to it. It spun so fast that it took all of the unnecessary bumps off the brake rod. When I was done with the sanding machine, they were really super smooth and ready to be used again. I painted them with a special black paint and my brakes were clean and ready to function once again.

My Best Week Ever - Year 3
I had an excellent time at Grandpas house this year. When I got there I unpacked and went straight to the car I am working on which is a 1930 roadster. The first thing I did was take the engine out of the car and put it on the engine stand so I could work on it. After it was taken out, I took off all of the bolts that connected the clutch disc and the flywheel. I cleaned and sandpapered off all of the grooves until it looked brand new and painted them with the special green ford paint. Then my Grandpa told me what the in take and exhaust valves are. There are 4 intake and 4 exhaust valves, each one connecting to one for each cylinder. When the fuel is all burned up and used after they are taken in by the intake valves the go out the exhaust and through the muffler. Then I took the 14 bolts off the bell housing (oil pan) using a really cool air ratchet, but before I could do that I had to get a long pipe and stick it on the long ratchet. My Grandpa told me I would have a lot more leverage with and sure enough, the bolts came right off (with a little help from my grandpa). I took off the bell housing (,flywheel and the pan) and took a look inside the engine.

The pistons were brand new! The last owner of this roadster must of worked on the engine before he put it up. There were still a lot of things that I had to do, like check the valves clearance with a feeler gauge and a LOT of other stuff. The first thing I did out of the list of things to do was check the clearance I had between the bearings with plastigage. Plastigage works by when it gets smashed between something, the little green piece of paper (plastic) spreads out and that shows how much clearance I have. It had to have 0.001-0.0015 of an inch of clearance. So to do this I took off the bearings on each of the # of bearings with a ratchet.. Then I put in the plastigage and torque all of the bolts to 50 pounds with a special tool called a torque wrench. Took off the bolts again and see how much clearance I had. To check I took the wrapper with the measurements on it, measured it and then experimented until I had the right size. Then I had to torque them to 50 pounds AGAIN. My arms were very sore after torqing (torquing) all of these bolts together (again) so I took some time off and had Grandpa tell me how the engine works.

First the camshaft (crankshaft - camshaft lifts the valves)) turns the whole system ,including the brand new pistons, which is the rpm on the meter. The more revolutions it makes per minute, the higher the meter goes. Then the fuel goes through the intake valves and out the outtake (exhaust) valves going into the pistons. The pistons use the fuel and then make your car go forward. Then we checked if the valves would pop up and down but sadly numbers 5 and 8 didn’t work so I took them out and cleaned them in a special tank that has kerosene in it, put it back in an they worked perfectly. There was still one thing to check on them. I used a feeler gauge to see how much clearance there was between the valves and the lifters. It had to be .012-.014 for them to work. After me and the feeler gauge were done tweaking them and making them the right clearance, Grandpa would turn the camshaft (crankshaft) and see if the valves lifted at the right time. Sure enough after all of our hard work they pushed in and out. So when these valves lift in and out, gas comes in and gets burned up by the pistons, the pistons then give power to wheels and then the wheels turn, (after a few tiny explosions in the pistons).

Now I have to disassemble and clean all the parts in the engine. They were all pretty fine. My favorite was cleaning the gears (in the transmission). I also liked playing with the gears to see how they work. To clean these parts, I used this special tank of cleaning fluid my grandpa has. It works perfectly and rubs the grease right off! Putting back together was a little hard though, we had to replace a few bolts here and there, but it came together good. It was hard twisting the engine on the engine stand over and over again, but in the end, it was all worth it. When I looked at all of my hard work, it was awesome. My special ford green engine was finished! I was already looking forward to next year. (We installed the engine and transmission in the car and borrowed the carburetor and starter from my old pickup and started Cameron’s engine. His eyes got as big as saucers and his grin was from ear to ear. Makes it ALL worth it. Ben)

March/April 2011 Restorer