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Old 09-24-2019, 05:28 PM   #1
M2M
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Location: AUSTRALIA/USA/EU/RUSSIA
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Smile My 1st decent drive of Model A and discussion

I've owned my late 31 Tudor for a couple of years but only started driving it this year. I had to learn to use the non-syncro box so my first drives were on flat roads near my house. In July I finally went on a decent drive of 100+ miles, half of which was on a hilly and twisty state highway, and the other half on a mostly uphill section of an 70mph interstate.

It was a good drive and all went well...almost.




A couple of miles from home I heard a rattling sound (water hitting the fan?), then saw steam. Eventually, but not straight away, I pulled into a car park not far from home. The top hose that burst was purchased this year and had only a couple of dozen miles on it before the trip. I was very lucky not to destroy the engine...I lost 90% of the water. I didn't have the thermo-quail that came with the car on the car that would have warned me sooner because I was not able to stop the piece of &%#* spraying water on local test drives prior to the trip (I purchased the supplier thicker gasket and that also didn't help) so I fitted a standard radiator cap. Lucky this happened near home as I walked home got the old radiator hose I took off, drove back in my modern with 3 gallons of water. I really like motometers and on Model Ts there are no issues with them. I guess I'm going to have to fit a temperature gauge; I didn't want to do that.

Obviously, I'm not going to buy new radiator hose kit from a supplier again. Can someone suggest where I can buy a high quality radiator hose? Maybe Napa?

Anyway...

My car is an older restoration (but with very little usage) and is 100% stock I believe (6v, factory carby, no hi-comp head, no o/d, stock gearing).

Although my "restored" car looks good and is usable it became obvious during the long drive it needs work...steering box, front end, brakes are not as they should be . Disappointing but not a surprise. At least I purchased my car at a fair price.

The engine runs strong. The car does 50mph (GPS speed) fairly comfortably even uphill, and can do 55mph without being thrashed to death.

Now it's decision time.

As far as upgrades...a stock A is a big upgrade coming from Model Ts. I was very happy with what my stock car can do. A bit more power and higher gearing to sit on 55-60mph more comfortably would be good but an o/d is not an option. I'm a semi-purist (I'm only okay with 1931 era accessories, and modern changes that are out of sight) so a Mitchell o/d, Weber, radial tyres, 16" wheels, etc. are off the table. Upgrades I feel okay with are Police head, Stipe, Aries and changing the gearing using 5.50x19 bias ply and/or fitting a 3.54 diff. Police head, Stipe, plus Aries would add 10hp (20+% more power) from what I've read.

The toughest question is what to do about the engine and rear axle. They both seem good but are unknowns. I plan use the car as daily driver and to do long trips; I don't like unknowns. If I head to Alaska I want to be reasonably certain the crank, con-rods, babbitt and axles are in great shape. Without tearing things apart is it possible to form an opinion on their condition? Or should I bite the bullet and rebuild everything? What would you do in this situation?
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Last edited by M2M; 09-24-2019 at 06:26 PM.
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