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Old 07-11-2019, 07:00 PM   #1
Synchro909
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Default What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

In a comment in another thread, it occurred to me that those amongst us who use their As for long distance touring will likely have at some time had to make a makeshift repair just to keep going. What have you done and how successful was it?
I have welded broken wheels - both at the hub and when spokes have pulled off the rim. I've repaired an arcing distributor body, got rid of the shimmy of death by packing the ball on the A frame (under the bell housing) with a piece of denim, I've rewired enough of the car to keep going after a short circuit and countless flats mostly from when we couldn't buy decent tubes - the list goes on.
Here's a similar thread already run here:
https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showt...airs&showall=1
Let's hear your stories.
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

On any of my long trips I have never had a breakdown. However I did break a drive shaft once but was only about 5 miles from home. Could not fix that on the road.
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

Mostly fuel cleaning related. Otherwise the engine sucked a valve seat got towed 125 miles home. I would like to keep it that way....

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Old 07-11-2019, 10:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

Had a flat tire once and a stretched fan belt an other time
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

Broken vacuum line..... whittled a stick to make a plug
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

On one of the fist drives no fuel. Gauge showed enough 1/4 full.
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

Best roadside repair story I have is that a friend of mine and I were heading to the hotel for the New England Meet about 10 years ago. His engine developed a rod knock just a short distance from the hotel. He limped into the repair tent, and dropped the pan and found the babbit on one of the rod caps had cracked and come lose. There was a flea market set up in the parking lot. He walked over and found someone selling connecting rods. He bought one, removed the cap, installed it on his car, and that cap is still on that engine to this day.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:29 AM   #8
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

Like many of y'all, I have done plenty of engine repairs, crankshaft bearing tighten-ings, and rear-end rebuilds in motel parking lots over the years of our family touring with As & Ts, but when you said 'ROADSIDE' repairs, probably the most memorable one for me was on our way home from the Boston to Sacramento GreatRace.

We had already driven some 2,000+ miles and were somewhere in Indiana when the headgasket blew on the Coupe that dad & mom were driving. My family & I were following in our race support vehicle, and I had the trailer packed with 4 cars and all the 'krap' from the cross-country race, so at that time, unloading our '31 Phaeton (which was being carried inside the front of the trailer) did not seem like a great option. Therefore the easiest thing for us to do was to change the head gasket right there on the side of the road.

The pictures are pretty self-explanatory I think, -and in the trailer we had everything including a spare A engine along with a 120v generator and air compressor. As I recall, we were not there much longer than an hour and then we were back on the road. The rest of the trip home was uneventful as I recall, and the Coupe had done well from Sac to there, and the gasket blowing was just one of those freak things that happens ever now and then.


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Old 07-12-2019, 10:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

BRENT
No offense -- but you guys are Nuts!!!
Thanks, really
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:04 AM   #10
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

Had a rear wheel come off one time on a RPU we were towing w/a tow bar. Got the wheel and found the axle key but no nut, suspect it had been removed sometime in the past. Looked the car over and found the nut holding the spare tire bracket to the frame was exactly what we needed.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:20 AM   #11
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

Since 1962, I recall:

>Replacing the ignition points once returning from Cape Cod;
>Replacing ignition coils twice while touring on Long Island;
>Replacing the starter motor once in Virginia;
>Replacing a water pump once in Connecticut;
>Replacing a fan belt once on Long Island;
>Replacing an alternator once on Long Island.


There have been other issues, but my Model "A" was able to limp home. These included a blown head gasket twice, a broken crankshaft pulley, a cracked original fan twice, and a failed wireless distributor plate once.


Only twice since 1962, have my Model "A" cars been unable to make it home on Long Island. In the first incident, the nut retaining the pinion gear on the driveshaft came off and failed the differential in my Coupe, so my brother towed the car home with his '53 Mercury. On the second incident, the left rear wheel came off my Victoria because the axle nut threads were stripped, and only the cotter pin was retaining the nut.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:26 AM   #12
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

A couple of things come to mind, first was I was following a friend in his 4-door when a huge cloud of smoke came from his car. It had lost the pipe plug on the right side of the block. Of course no one in the group had a spare plug so I suggested looking for a zerk fitting with the small ball in it. We found one and it worked perfectly! The second instance was a group of us were on the way to Las Vegas on a Winfield Weekend when my wide-bed started getting a noise in the engine. I eased into Barstow, pulled the pan and found a rod that had pounded out some of the babbitt. Removed several shims and headed for home. Re-used the oil because didn't have enough extra with me. No problems with it for the 150 miles back home. Replaced all the rods, didn't even hurt the crank. I then retarded the spark a little to eliminate any pinging and found it pulled the hills better. You learn something every day!
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Old 07-12-2019, 02:03 PM   #13
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

Not exactly a repair, found out the hard way 1/8 tank of gas does not mean there is over a gallon left in the tank. Soon after I got the A running took it to work , and it died in the road in front of work. So I went inside grabbed a few guys and pushed it into the parking lot. It had gone from 1/8 to 0 on the gas gauge in 5 miles. The only time my A could have left me stranded somewhere, luckily I was in town in front of where I worked.
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:37 PM   #14
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

The centrifugal weight on the Bendix of an Abell starter motor came loose, so the Bendix gear would not throw in to the ring gear.
We needed an anvil to back up the shaft so I could pein the weight back onto the starter shaft. There was an old original Victorian cast iron park bench nearby, so we unbolted one of the heavy ends, turned it upside down on the ground and used the foot as an anvil to back up the shaft while I peined it into place.
Then we reassembled the park bench, started the car and drove it onto the car ferry, which was about to leave for the South Island.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:44 PM   #15
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

[QUOTE=BRENT in 10-uh-C;1776557]

We had already driven some 2,000+ miles and were somewhere in Indiana when the headgasket blew on the Coupe that dad & mom were driving. My family & I were following in our race support vehicle, and I had the trailer packed with 4 cars and all the 'krap' from the cross-country race, so at that time, unloading our '31 Phaeton (which was being carried inside the front of the trailer) did not seem like a great option. Therefore the easiest thing for us to do was to change the head gasket right there on the side of the road.

I've also replaced a head gasket "on the road" on this occassion, quite a crowd gathered as I worked on it including a kid of about 10. As I dismantled things, I laid them out on the running board. As I reassembled the car, the pile of things gradually became smaller and smaller. When I got dowen to only about half a dozen pieces, the kid who had had his head in there watching everything was showing no sign of loosing interest so I thought I would include him. For the last few items, I asked him to hand them to me so he learned what they were and as each part went on, I explained what it did. once everything was on, I asked him whether he thought it would go. He just shrugged his shoulders and didn't know so I went to the driver's seat, turned on the fuel and battery, then pressed the starter. It fired up straight away. A big smile came over his face and all of the adults just turned on their heel and walked away. It was almost like they were as disappointed as surprised that it ran. I have wondered since whether that day, I gave that kid his start in old cars, especially Model As. I've also done coils, points, fan belts etc but they are so much of a non event that I didn't mention them in my first post.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:13 PM   #16
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

at every national meet you see someone doing a major repair.
2012 Marquette MI was my turn.
Clutch disc rivets sheared while on a side trip 50 miles from Marquette, AAA brought us back to the meet.
Alice & I had the engine out in about 2 hours.
Since it was a national, there was a vendor with the disc we needed.
Next morning we put it back together, some friends from FL and GA helped us line everything up to get the engine back in.
Off the road less than 24 hours.
Helps to have a wife willing to get her hands dirty......
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:15 PM   #17
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

We just got back from a 1000+ mile tour in Utah and Arizona and the only problem we had was a failed generator cut out. I keep a spare in my bag of tricks so this was no big deal to fix in the Bryce Canyon Lodge parking lot.

On a tour about 12 years ago I had a distributor fail in a weird sort of way. The upper bushing was so tight that heat from friction melted the rotor and burned the rubbing block off the points. I carry a spare distributor already timed to the engine so after everything cooled down I swapped it out on the side of a busy US highway and we were back on our way.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:40 PM   #18
Chris Haynes
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

At 16 years old with a couple hand tools I replaced my timing gear.
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Old 07-13-2019, 09:45 AM   #19
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

In 1959 I was driving my '30 Tudor home to MA from VA. I was in the Navy and had just finished school and was being assigned to my first ship. I was roaring (about 50mph) up the Wilbur Cross Highway in CT when all of a sudden the front of the car started shaking and steam came out from under the hood. Not good!! Pulled over. The engine seemed to be happy running, but I shut her down. Turns out she had thrown a fan blade. Put a big dent in the hood and sliced the upper radiator hose. As all good Model A drivers should, I had a tool box with me and was able to cut off the opposite blade and tape up the hose with "friction" tape. Filled it up with water at the next exit and continued home with no other problems. These old gals are rugged!!!
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:02 AM   #20
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Default Re: What roadside repairs have you made to keep your A going

Quote:
Alice & I had the engine out in about 2 hours.
How did you lift the engine?
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