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Old 09-06-2019, 01:55 PM   #21
alexiskai
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

One thing I found helpful was to keep a list on my phone of all the projects or repairs that I wanted to do, and then I moved items around on the list to group and prioritize them. This helped me think through all the changes I wanted to make related to a particular assembly so that I could do my research, buy parts, keep my budget under control, etc. It also forced me to think through which projects were really the most important and which were, e.g., mostly cosmetic.

Also if a post comes up on Fordbarn that relates to a future project, I'll copy the number of the post (e.g., "#20") and paste it into the list because it works as a link to that post that I can trace back when I'm ready to tackle that project.
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Old 09-06-2019, 04:14 PM   #22
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

Okay,
I think I will get myself an aftermarket shock from Snyders for the bad one on the drivers front. May not match, but may make the car more functional.
If there is no interference with the brake rods, I will probably forgo changing the brake arm forks to a latter date. Thanks for the heads up Dan on the model year changes.
Ranchero50, I am going to soak the frozen shock and see if it will free up. Thanks for the tip.
And to everyone else who gave me their tips and info, thanks for helping me learn more about these cars.
When I get this resolved, I will report back with the results.
Tom L.
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Old 09-06-2019, 04:27 PM   #23
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

Not to hijack the thread, but I was wondering what kind of oil do you put in your shocks? The Manual says use Shock absorber oil, but if i cant find any what would do as a substitute?
Thanks
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Old 09-06-2019, 06:42 PM   #24
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

There were several types and the internal seals can play a part there. The fill plug shapes identified the fluid on some. Glycerin and castor oil were both used back in the day. If you purchase a repro, find out what the manufacturer recommends. Modern hydraulic oils have a lot of different viscosity ratings.
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Old 09-06-2019, 06:58 PM   #25
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

Thought I read somewhere on FB the Snyders tube shocks were stiff, especially on the front. Besides, so the two sides match performance replace both fronts at the same time?
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:08 PM   #26
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

I think he meant he was going to buy an aftermarket hydraulic shock from Snyder's
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:08 PM   #27
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

Closed Cab, I was going to replace the front drivers shock with a reproduction original shock, not a tube shock.
I have read that people have used just about anything in their shocks over the years. From hydralic jack fluid, 30w oil, 90w gear oil, and STP. I guess as long as there is something in there, it is better than nothing. Some of the repro's don't have you add any oil at all. Really confusing.
Now I am thinking about replacing all of the shocks. If the drivers front was toast, the rest of them are probably close behind.
Can anyone tell me how I can identify if I have a real Houdaille shock verses a reproduction? Is there some identifying mark on an original?
Tom L.
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:55 PM   #28
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

Here is a basic guide on genuine shocks.


http://www.fordgarage.com/pages/shockidentification.htm


If they have "Chicago" marked on them they are aftermarket. This is all I know, there may be other similar looking aftermarket shocks.
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:41 AM   #29
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

The Chicago marked repros have a brass body casting. They were made quite a while ago and folks have had both good and bad results with them. There are threads on this board about them.
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:20 PM   #30
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

Went and took a look again at all of the shocks. It now appears that the front right is on its way out too. Found all of the shocks to have no fluid in them.
Most likely they are all bad and I need to acquire a complete set.
Anyone know if I can still buy Stipe shocks? Or, should I give John Holland a call? Would these two choices be the best way to go? Or are some of the sealed repro shocks that do not take any oil be okay?
Dan, here is a picture of the front right tube link. Does this look normal? I confirmed that the brake fork is on backwards and the brake rod barely clears the shock needle valve.
Tom L.
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File Type: jpg 1930 Town Sedan rt ft link.jpg (34.4 KB, 20 views)

Last edited by Dirtrack49; 09-07-2019 at 05:23 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:35 PM   #31
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

Give John a call. a lot of times the shocks are bad enough where they are not rebuildable. When I had mine rebuilt by him, had to ship him eight shocks to get 4 good ones. I had extras that were in a box of stuff I inherited from my father. He will let you know whatever you want to know. There is also a chance that once you ship him your shocks, if he thinks they may be rebuildable via a phone call, they might not be rebuildable once he gets them and opens them up.


He stands by his work, according to him he has never had one returned. I am extremely happy with the ones I have, saved me a ton of money by getting them rebuilt over buying Stipes.


Sometimes Stipes are on long backorder. I do not know the quality of the Snyders, I believe some have had good luck, some have had bad. No one has complained about the Stipes, except for cost. I have no personal experience or personally know of anyone using the Snyders.
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:00 PM   #32
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

The main problem with having the shocks rebuilt, as 30CCPU says, is that the failure rate is high, 50% or higher. You need to have been collecting shocks for a while in order to send enough to get four functional shocks back. If you just send the ones on the car, odds are you'll get 1 or 2 back and still be in the quandary you started in.
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:28 PM   #33
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

I went with Stipe Shocks and had to wait ~6 months to receive them. But I am glad I waited. No problems for the last 4 years. I noticed they are back ordered now. (again) https://www.specialtymotorcams.com/d...shockabsorbers

I believe that the Stipe Shocks are the only 'new' shocks available that are rebuildable. That is a big plus for me as the other shocks available are not rebuildable but cost almost as much.

Last edited by Ruth; 09-07-2019 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 12:05 PM   #34
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

Stipes parts are all machined steel so they are very good quality but you pay for that. Volume 2 of the MARC restoration book series has a very good run down on rebuilding the shocks. The folks that do this work have likley made their own tools to work on these units. Removing the cover with a pipe wrench is going to leave marks. The body and the rotating wing shaft parts were a very close fit and final fitting was a lap fit on a lot of them so any damage like corrosion can make for internal leakage between these parts. This is why the failure rate is high. The Stipe shocks are made by a man with experience in cam grinding and likely a lot of other machining specialties so his are likely a pretty good fit between the affected parts. The other reproductions just depend on the equipment and knowledge of those that are doing the machining and assembly.

For years, the Bell 47 helicopters used Houdaille rotating dampers on their main rotor stabilizer bar control system. We would hang a specific size weight on the arm and time how long it took for the weight to cycle the damper from the full up position to the full down position. They had a adjustable control needle valve similar to the old auto dampers to set the cycle speed to the correct value. Houdaille likely did the same thing back in the day. They set them for right and left but is hard to tell whether you have a right or a left on an old model A unless you take them apart and see where the valving was set. They could tell back then by the way the arms were installed. Now days you don't know on and old crusty antique.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 09-08-2019 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:43 PM   #35
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by rotorwrench View Post
They set them for right and left but is hard to tell whether you have a right or a left on an old model A unless you take them apart and see where the valving was set. They could tell back then by the way the arms were installed. Now days you don't know on and old crusty antique.
It should be relatively easy to tell since the arms only go on one way, shouldn't it?
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Old 09-08-2019, 02:05 PM   #36
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

Tom,
Yes, that arm and link look fine, the camera angle on the earlier photo made it look like it was bent. Other than that, as you say, only the lever is wrong.
-DAN
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:27 PM   #37
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

Thanks everyone for all of your help. Looks like I will be calling Stipe and John Holland tomorrow and find out what I can do about either a new set, or rebuilds. If that goes nowhere, I will most likely have to decide on what's available from the other vendors.
Now I am wondering about the entire suspension in the front. I took a look at the position of the front axle in comparison to my front apron, and the axle is at about the same level or slightly higher than the apron. Thinking I might need a new spring also. Who knows, if I get to taking everything apart what I will eventually find. So much for the fully restored A. Well I have to admit, the paint and interior look great. Lots of nice black paint on some old parts too.
Tom L.
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:06 PM   #38
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Y-Blockhead View Post
It should be relatively easy to tell since the arms only go on one way, shouldn't it?
That is if no one has ever messed with them before and mixed & matched parts. Some were marked but Houde Engineering wasn't the only manufacture of them. Right front works for left rear etc but its been a lot of water under the bridge.
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:34 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Dirtrack49 View Post
I took a look at the position of the front axle in comparison to my front apron, and the axle is at about the same level or slightly higher than the apron. Thinking I might need a new spring also.
Rule of thumb is that, assuming the shackles are properly greased, the clearance between the bottom of the front spring shackles and the top of the front axle should be at least 1/4". This provides enough clearance that, in normal operation, the shackles won't contact the axle. If it's less than 1/4" then the spring may be worn out. If the shackles are resting on the axle then they're definitely worn out.
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Old 09-14-2019, 08:14 AM   #40
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Default Re: Houdaille Shock Problem

Some shock notes from taking a bunch apart.

Generally if you see rust in the chamber through the fill hole the shock is bad. All the ones with rust in the chamber had pitting in the wing area.

So the shock works by having really tight machining between the body and the wing. It is unlikely that you can get them to interchange. Honestly it is surprising the number of internal variations.

So any with play at the shaft are bad. You will need to do extensive work to save it. End of story.

It takes some work to get them apart. I tap around the cover, expanding it, to break it free. I use heat to burn away the rubber seal. I made a tool to grab the cover. The inner nut is an odd size. I bought a deep impact socket and borrowed a 3/4" air impact and put it in my 200lb vice. A couple did not free up and I did a couple of heat and drop in water cycles. I did not heat it up red. To get the fragile valve out I did heat the end of the shaft. Mostly to burn out the packing and do some heat cycles. Unless it was a bad wing then I heated the crap out of it as the valve is the hard part to save.

Once apart you can see how much play you have. If you have any pitting then the shock is not going to work, it is done. If you have nice chambers then you have to look at the play in the wing to sides. In good ones they are really tight, good luck on finding ones that good. What I have found is nice chambers and a bit of looseness (couple of thou maybe) will work but you are going to have to experiment with thicker oils.

So a few years ago I got the weight and dimensions of the KRW testing tool. I had been told that good shock is really stiff. That is when you put the original arm on the shock and close the valve it should be really hard one way and a bit looser the other way. I have done a few shocks to that standard ages ago and the cars handled great.
So I was going through my shocks and had some that were that good. I made up a loose copy of the KRW tool. I forget the time but in the Service Bulletins they list the times. Like 15 seconds to do an arc of so many degrees. Well the good shock took only like 5 seconds. So the real standard is much higher then what you might think.

Oil, yes oil. Ford changed to oil for the shocks and this was reprinted into one of the national magazines way back. I have scan of the article some place. So when I used what is close to a factory oil some shocks that were fairly tight had very little resistance. A guy a work had some thicker motorcycle shock oil and I tried that and it made some difference but not enough. At some point I need to revisit the who oil thing but I have to buy some thicker oils.
My hypothesis is that you need to have more than one viscosity shock oil. Each shock will need a oil the allows the best time for the play in the wing. From what I can see there might be a wide variation for sub thou differences. I have a nice selection of fairly tight shocks and they each were giving much different times for the same oil.

So does anyone know which rubber seals work on original shocks? That is another problem as the ones I had laying around were not doing so good.
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