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Old 10-08-2019, 10:40 AM   #1
pjdeb
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Default Reliability

Looking for opinions: I want to make a 1930 A as reliable as possible. I want a driver.

What do up feel provides the best dependability and why? Please prioritize.

completer 12 volt conversion
generator to alternator
electronic distributor
diode version cut out (positive or negative ground, depending on conversion)
electronic voltage regular cur out, 6 volt positive ground
conversion of 2 blade fan
temp gauge
oil press gauge
oil filter
air filter
other

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:59 AM   #2
PC/SR
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Default Re: Reliability

A competent rebuild of the engine. All else flows from there.
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:11 AM   #3
johnbuckley
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Smile Re: Reliability

Top of the list for me is
1) gentle driving - no thrashing
2) regular checking and regular lube
3) have a decent battery
but from your choices I'd go
a) generator to alternator
b) get a good 2 blade fan
and not worry about the rest
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:11 AM   #4
Dick Steinkamp
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Default Re: Reliability

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjdeb View Post
Looking for opinions: I want to make a 1930 A as reliable as possible. I want a driver.

What do up feel provides the best dependability and why? Please prioritize.

completer 12 volt conversion
generator to alternator
electronic distributor
diode version cut out (positive or negative ground, depending on conversion)
electronic voltage regular cur out, 6 volt positive ground
conversion of 2 blade fan
temp gauge
oil press gauge
oil filter
air filter
other

Thanks in advance.
I'm not a purist, but I don't see anything on your list that would make the car appreciably more dependable.

I would insure ALL systems are in top condition. Not only the engine as PC/SR has suggested, but the fuel system, electrical system, suspension, steering, brakes, etc. All need to be examined closely (with help from an expert if necessary) and put into "as new" condition. This will do far more for dependability than replacing distributors, generators, adding gauges, etc.

Just my opinion.
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:39 AM   #5
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Default Re: Reliability

well said, Dick!
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:51 AM   #6
Jim Brierley
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Default Re: Reliability

I agree with all the above. For more driving pleasure, I would add a little power and an overdrive. A 6:1 compression head and downdraft carb will give a surprising increase, and not hurt reliability at all.
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Old 10-08-2019, 12:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Reliability

If the car is running and driving I would first start with steering and brakes. Take it all back to Ford specs or pursue any of the many "upgrade" options. Properly done though, stock brakes and steering will be as good as anything. Somewhat mixed in with steering and brakes is suspension. Need to make sure springs and shocks are doing their job and repair/replace as required.



What kind of shape is your car in currently? Gauges and filters won't make the car any more reliable. What you want is to have a car where you don't have to worry about what a gauge is reading.


As far as electrical reliability, a good generator, good restored distributor with stock points and dedicated grounds would be tops on my list.


My car is almost stock with the exception of a 5.5 head, cast iron brake drums and voltage regulator in the generator. I need to do some rehab on the steering and brakes but once that's done I won't have any reservations about taking the car anywhere.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: Reliability

I agree with Dick. Enjoy.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Reliability

One thing I think people overlook in reliability discussions is that sometimes the most reliable choice is the one that you understand the best, can maintain, have the right tools for, have a spare, etc.

If you replace the distributor with an electronic one, and it works great for a couple years and then dies on the side of the road somewhere, and you can't fix it and you don't have a spare, was that really more reliable than the stock distributor, which might need more TLC but which is easy to repair with basic tools?
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: Reliability

On my roadster , I run a stock generator on twelve volts with a Fun projects voltage regulator , modern starter drive . Pertronix flame thrower coil , original points , brass rear water pump bushing with two seals , balanced aluminum two blade fan , eight fins per inch radiator , temperature gauge, I feel that a temperature gauge is the most important extra gauge to add . Bronze cam timing gear , adjustable lifters with a Winfield super street 3/4 race camshaft . dual updraft model B carburetors . 5.9 BF head and a lighter model B flywheel . I run the original 3.78 gear ratio to maintain low end torque and mid range power . The pep and power to get out of the way is as important as reliability to me . I run a 1.5 inch shorter pitman arm for ease of steering , original brakes with cast iron front brake drums . and probably a few other minor mods that I don't recall off the top of my head at this time .
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:36 PM   #11
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Default Re: Reliability

You emphasize RELIABILITY.
complete 12 volt conversion, No reliability gain, some convenience due to commonness of 12V neg gnd
generator to alternator no reliability gain, does give you some higher current light bulb options
electronic distributor No reliability gain, less repairable on the roadside, upside is no point adjustment or cleaning necessary, more gain towards convenience
diode version cut out (positive or negative ground, depending on conversion)No gain in reliability over stock original, if you have a repro, then yes a diode adds reliability
electronic voltage regular cutout, 6 volt positive groundpossible reliability gain due to longer battery life due to proper charging, possible reliability loss if you try jumping the car, it can destroy a voltage regulator
conversion of 2 blade fanaluminum 2 blade fan is definitely an improvement in reliability over a stock original that is likely rusted on the inside and could lose a blade unexpectedly
temp gauge Not really a reliability gain but will allow you to keep better track of the engine cooling system so if problems develop you can detect the problem and address it before you are sitting roadside with Old Faithful spewing coolant all over
oil press gauge Can't really see much advantage at all as standard oil pressure on an A is pretty close to none
oil filter Convenience mainly, won't have to change oil as often
air filterif you travel gravel/dirt roads much it could be a significant reliability gain in the form of less oil changes and longer engine life
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:42 PM   #12
Patrick L.
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Default Re: Reliability

Reliability ? Just make the car as safe as can be, steering, brakes, etc.

As said, the 2 newer blade fan change and an electronic voltage regulator are good changes. But, thats it. These cars are pretty bullet-proof.
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:57 PM   #13
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Default Re: Reliability

Alternator does provide steady voltage,increasing the longevity of all electrical components,bulbs,horns switches and the coil all perform better.

electronic distributor provides a clear constant impulse to the coil,resulting in a consistent spark at the plugs and more importantly mechanical spark advance,insuring an accurate timing no matter what the engine rpm is.This is a great reliability factor over manual spark.Combustion chamber stays cleaner and cooler,leading to longer piston ring and valve life.Spark knock is eliminated,ending one of the main causes of premature center main bearing failure.

Full flow engine oil filter collects debris in suspension of the oil.This greatly reduces engine wear and maintains engine internal cleanliness as opposed to constantly recirculating dirt and debris through engine bearings.

air filter on dirt roads? not necessary if your the lead dog,vital if your in the pack.

raising compression and increasing fuel creates an more efficient burn,meaning better fuel mileage and a cooler running engine.
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:43 PM   #14
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Default Re: Reliability

A couple of things i have done include:
Battery isolator switch
Fuse mounted to the starter
Sealed water pump
1935 16" rims with radials
Counter balanced crankshaft with harmonic balancer, lightened flywheel
v8 clutch
floater engine mounts
Shorter droparm

Things I could suggest:
LED headlight bulbs
Overdrive
New brake drums
Shocks
Depends on how far from original you want to go.. Because then you get the syncro gearboxes and F100 steering boxes etc.

Steve
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:47 PM   #15
Purdy Swoft
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Default Re: Reliability

I do get better gas mileage with dual up draft B carbs and higher compression than I do with a single model A Zenith carburetor on a stock engine . They seem to run cooler with reasonably higher compression .. I agree that an alternator is the best way to go but ..I prefer the generator in most cases for original appearance. I can work on and usually fix generators but not so with alternators . Modern cars use electronic ignition and it is far superior to the model A distributor . I know nothing about electronic ignition and the least problem with it would leave me stranded . I'm only a fairly good shade tree mechanic but I can usually deal with the model A distributor . There is a big reliability advantage with modern distributors . I've got Mallory dual point distributers from the nineties and the only thing that I have had to replace on them so far was condensers . They increase the spark , of course the higher the RPM the higher the increase , to a point . The Mallory distributors have automatic advance but I still like to do the advance myself with an original distributor . I feel that air filters do more harm than good and restrict power . Model A's have survived for over ninety years in many cases without an air filter . An oil filter would add longer engine life . Oil filters are hard to conceal and I just don't like the looks on my model A . Again many model A's have survived over ninety years without one . I've run model A's without an oil filter for nearly 59 years .
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Old 10-08-2019, 05:12 PM   #16
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Default Re: Reliability

After 90 years, I would say that is reliable all in and of itself. Other than that, I suppose it depends on whether you live in a place where your daily driving is going to be confined to regular city and neighborhood streets or freeway or some combination of the two. If you want to enjoy the car as a stock Model A, then I wouldn't drive it like a modern car unless you want to turn it into a modern car that happens to look like a Model A on the outside.


Remember the Model A engines don't last like new cars and they have to be constantly lubed and oil changed if stock.


If you *ARE* going to drive it daily, I think you should put seat belts in it, especially if you have family. A turn signal would not hurt either. Make sure lights and brakes are in the best working order you can muster.


Stock points ignition is pretty damned reliable as is the stock carburetor. I think a generator versus alternator is just as reliable as the other, but whether you go to an alternator might have to do with what kind of headlights you run and the ability for the generator to keep up in the case of Halogen lamps.
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Old 10-08-2019, 05:39 PM   #17
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Default Re: Reliability

The real question is what do you want..A pure stock model a ford properly maintained is reliable.a fully modified touring model A properly maintained is reliable. The two styles are different enough where a fella could own both kinds and be happy.
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:30 PM   #18
Chuck Sea/Tac
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Default Re: Reliability

If you want reliability, then go through everything and do it right. No shortcuts, Jerry rigging, worn out parts, ect. Then you’ll have reliability. It ain’t cheap.
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:37 PM   #19
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: Reliability

There's a different kind of reliability in a properly restored To original A, when you have a problem usually it is something simple that can be fixed alongside the road---- a modern car has different reliability, they go a long ways, but when it dies it has to be towed to a shop---- too many "modern modifications and you have old car that has to be towed
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Old 10-08-2019, 08:52 PM   #20
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Default Re: Reliability

Over a period of many years I have read the stories of long distance trips, sometimes one car, other times a group of cars. In most instances the breakdowns are cars with one or more modifications. The basic cars like Henry made just keep going. My own Model A's have zero modifications and when younger drove many many long trips and got home with no problem. I suggest you tear up that list, keep the car stock and if you want to do some work on it make sure you have good brakes.

A Model A that is stock is your friend, not your enemy!

Model A owner since 1937, 65 year MARC member.
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