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Old 07-09-2015, 08:03 PM   #1
31pickup650
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Default 1931 Pickup Journal

Howdy. This is my grandpa's 1931 Model A pickup:



It was sitting in his driveway for quite a while and he wasn't using it. Now that I have a place of my own, the truck joined me here in Ohio (I am originally from California). I shipped it out here with Intercity Lines and would recommend them. They did a great job. Here it is coming off the truck:



It ran a couple years ago, but didn't by the time we shipped it out here so I had to push it into my garage. For barely weighing a ton, it sure felt heavy!



I figured out it wasn't getting any spark and replaced the wire leading from the terminal box to the generator. The coating had worn off and it was grounding itself. After that, it would chug, but wouldn't run when I tried starting it. I cleaned out the carburetor and that did the trick. It still a bit rough. The idle is not the best, but it seems to be running really lean. When i pull the choke in a little bit when its running and warm, it smooths right out. The plugs were all covered in carbon and one had some oil on it. I am replacing those and the gasket between the carburetor and the manifold since that is currently missing and probably causing the lean air/fuel mixture.

I gave it a quick test drive up the driveway:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/n79ezto8jv...%20pm.mp4?dl=0

I might need some help getting the carburetor settings right. I don't have much experience tuning those.
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

Very nice to acquire a great family vehicle! Clean it up and enjoy it. Lots of help here if needed or your area for club members go to www.mafca.com and look under chapters in your state.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

You did the truck a big favor by getting it to run again, now let it return the favor.
Bob
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:00 AM   #4
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Very nice.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

I can't tell for sure from the photos. Does your truck have an all-metal top, or is it fabric in the middle? I ask because I have also have a '31 wide bed pickup - with a soft top.
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

Consider restoring only the mechanicals and wiring. Leave the exterior just the way it is. The patina looks great.
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Old 07-10-2015, 04:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddweave View Post
...I have a '31 wide bed pickup - with a soft top.
Henry made them a dozen(or more) different ways. Mine has the steel top, but has the narrow bed.
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Old 07-10-2015, 05:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddweave View Post
I can't tell for sure from the photos. Does your truck have an all-metal top, or is it fabric in the middle? I ask because I have also have a '31 wide bed pickup - with a soft top.
It has a hard top.
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Old 07-10-2015, 05:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Pmsqrd View Post
Consider restoring only the mechanicals and wiring. Leave the exterior just the way it is. The patina looks great.
That is my current plan. Clean off a bit of the dirt on windows and such, but not much more than that.
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

Nice truck and it is nice that it is staying in the family.

Good to see it back on the road, again.
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:22 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

Nice looking Truck. Nice to have it in the Family and it looks complete.
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:24 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

31pickup650,

What is your name?

You should put a picture of your truck on your avatar.
I finally got around to doing it myself.

to do so:
click on "private messages".
Then over on the left, click on "edit avatar".

Regard, Neil
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Old 07-10-2015, 09:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Mylar LakewoodCA View Post
31pickup650,

What is your name?

You should put a picture of your truck on your avatar.
I finally got around to doing it myself.

to do so:
click on "private messages".
Then over on the left, click on "edit avatar".

Regard, Neil
My name is Noah. I updated my avatar, so now I have a "face."
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Old 07-12-2015, 10:45 AM   #14
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I installed the carburetor to intake manifold gasket and new spark plugs today. This is what the plugs looked like:



I cleaned them off a couple days ago, but decided to replace them to see if that helped at all. Between the new plugs and the gasket, I think it is definitely running smoother. Not as smooth as I'd like, but smoother. I took a video of it idling. It sounds like I am getting a misfire maybe every once in a while. Any ideas? Here's a link to a quick video:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2jptj7fnqm..._7368.MOV?dl=0

I also replaced the fan belt while I was at it. As you can see, it was definitely worn out and I didn't want to risk taking even a quick drive and having it break.



Next steps will be to install the seat belts I ordered and to get the spare engine up on a stand so I can try to get it to turn over.

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Old 07-12-2015, 10:57 AM   #15
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

Noah,

What kind of plugs are those? TT10s?
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Old 07-12-2015, 10:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mshmodela View Post
Noah,

What kind of plugs are those? TT10s?
Yep.
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Old 07-12-2015, 11:05 AM   #17
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

If you're head is original (compression) I found those to be too cold of a plug. If you drive on longer trips they'll likely do fine....

https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6458


I've tried W18 and W16Y...

Also, FWIW, Summit Racing has both for about the best prices..
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Old 07-12-2015, 11:15 AM   #18
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

I like it,and I like your plan to more or less leave it as is...they are only original once....

I haven't even dusted mine after it came out of the barn...interior clean-up, and mechanical repairs, mostly brakes so far.......

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Old 07-12-2015, 11:16 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mshmodela View Post
If you're head is original (compression) I found those to be too cold of a plug. If you drive on longer trips they'll likely do fine....

https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6458


I've tried W18 and W16Y...

Also, FWIW, Summit Racing has both for about the best prices..
Thanks. I will give maybe a step or two hotter a try later on if these get fouled up or I can't get it running smoother. I work only about 10 minutes from Summit. A bit TOO convenient if you ask me...
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Old 07-12-2015, 03:55 PM   #20
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

Try putting some Marvel Mystery Oil in the gas. I usually dump 3-4 ounces in when I add gas, usually about 6 gals just to bring it above 1/2. Won't hurt anything and may help free up a sticky valve(s). FWIW
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Old 07-12-2015, 04:27 PM   #21
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Try putting some Marvel Mystery Oil in the gas. I usually dump 3-4 ounces in when I add gas, usually about 6 gals just to bring it above 1/2. Won't hurt anything and may help free up a sticky valve(s). FWIW
Paul in CT
Does it sound like there might be a sticky valve? When I fill it up, I'll put some in. Seems like it can only help from what I understand. Thanks.
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Old 07-16-2015, 09:46 PM   #22
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Well, I gave it another go today:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ixo5xsg8ka...%20PM.mp4?dl=0

It still isn't running all that smoothly and will die after going from being under load to being in neutral. Second gear doesn't sound great. I am not sure what it should sound like. I know there will be more noise because of the straight cut gears. I tried pulling the pin to check timing, but couldn't feel it get into the little dot on the gear to indicate top dead center. Any tips on that and on anything else to get it to run better? It seems to backfire quite a bit and just in general is running pretty rough. Thanks guys!
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:13 PM   #23
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

I used a combination of the pin and looking in the #1 spark plug hole and watching the piston reach TDC....if you feel the pin slide in...it's pretty subtle...and see the piston at the top of the bore you are good to go...also you can just put your thumb over the spark plug hole and feel for pressure, and then confirm it visually..

For me timing was as much art as science...I set the timing on mine about four separate times and I think the next time it'll be near perfect!

http://www.abarnyard.com/workshop/timing.htm
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Old 07-24-2015, 09:40 PM   #24
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I got the spare engine up onto the stand today. My grandpa had it rebuilt in the '60s and sat in his garage without a head on it since then. I pulled the oil pan to take a loot to see if I could see why it wasn't turning over by hand with the crank. Here are a couple pics:







There seems to be a decent bit of dust in the little bit of oil thats there. What do you guys suggest to do from here? Take everything apart, clean it all, and then reassemble? Try to lube it up and get it to spin? Thanks.
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:14 PM   #25
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

Hi Noah,
I dont want to offend you, but you have mentioned the choke however not a word about the GAV function.
Are you aware that by turning the choke lever you can adjust the mixture? Full clockwise will be lean, most cars will not run in this position but will be happy at about half to one turn counter clockwise.
Please don't take offence if you were aware of this little gadget.
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:34 PM   #26
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Hi Noah,
I dont want to offend you, but you have mentioned the choke however not a word about the GAV function.
Are you aware that by turning the choke lever you can adjust the mixture? Full clockwise will be lean, most cars will not run in this position but will be happy at about half to one turn counter clockwise.
Please don't take offence if you were aware of this little gadget.
Regards
Chris
Yes, I am aware. No offense taken . Turning the knob doesn't seem to make a difference. I have a Model B carb and from what I can see, mine doesn't actually turn anything at the carb when you turn the knob in the cab. I have tried turning the place where the choke connects to the carburetor and it doesn't budge. Not sure if there is something wrong there or if the Model B carburetor is slightly different than the A.
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:10 AM   #27
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

Yep, I have no knowledge of the B at all and I think It might very well be different.
I found it strange the you never mentioned turning the nob before, but I realise now.
Have a great weekend.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:56 AM   #28
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Yep, I have no knowledge of the B at all and I think It might very well be different.
I found it strange the you never mentioned turning the nob before, but I realise now.
Have a great weekend.
Regards
Chris
Cape Town
Thanks for the help. Hopefully someone with knowledge of the B carburetor can help. That way I know if it is supposed to be turning and just isn't or if it simply doesn't turn.
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:27 AM   #29
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I took the Model A for its first test drive today. It went roughly how I expected it. I replaced all the seals inside the carburetor and the manifold gasket. It definitely seemed to help. It didn't stall when I went from revving the engine to not putting any throttle in. While driving, it backfired pretty badly under load. The radiator boiled over after about a mile when I turned around. There was a lot of dirt that came out so I guess another flush or two might be in order. Would the timing being out be enough to cause it to backfire that badly? I tried checking it myself, but I couldn't feel the pin going in on the cam gear. I am going to have a friend turn the engine while I feel for it. As for the radiator, I am planning on doing the flush with vinegar, based on what I've read, and then using distilled water with Water Wetter once it's all clean. It also still seems to be running a bit lean. A quick pull on the choke seems to help when it is about to stall. When I had the carburetor apart, I checked to see if turning the choke control valve makes any adjustment on the carb. The place that it attaches to on the carb doesn't twist at all. I guess this is the way it is on the Model B carb? Thanks.

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Old 08-02-2015, 11:47 AM   #30
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

try using a stubby phillups head screw driver to feel for the timing gear detent.
On your list of things to check I would see if your intake and exhaust manifold are leaking. also the gasket between the carb and the intake.
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Old 08-02-2015, 12:00 PM   #31
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Quote:
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try using a stubby phillups head screw driver to feel for the timing gear detent.
On your list of things to check I would see if your intake and exhaust manifold are leaking. also the gasket between the carb and the intake.
Bob
Bob, I just replaced those gaskets so hopefully the new ones aren't leaking. I will try the screw driver trick. Thanks!
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Old 08-02-2015, 12:46 PM   #32
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

I'm able to turn the engine by hand using the fan belt...that way you can feel for the detent and turn the engine....it is not much of a hole...very shallow..
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Old 08-02-2015, 12:52 PM   #33
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I'm able to turn the engine by hand using the fan belt...that way you can feel for the detent and turn the engine....it is not much of a hole...very shallow..
Yeah, it's just hard to really focus on feeling it while turning. I can turn it not problem.
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:16 PM   #34
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Take the plugs out and get someone to turn the crank. Take the cap off the dist. and when the rotor gets near the #1 contact is when you want to be ready to feel the indent. That is if it's anywhere near timed correctly

If you find the indent find Purdy Swofts method of timing.

Sewall Tyler
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:28 PM   #35
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Should have included Tom Wesenberg's method of timing also. He has pictures

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Old 09-29-2015, 04:11 PM   #36
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I got the timing set correctly with the help from another forum member. In the process, I learned that the needle that controls the air/fuel mixture was seized up. It was stuck in the leanest setting which would explain why the engine was still running lean after replacing gaskets and checking for air leaks. The engine runs a lot smoother now and I will be taking it for a test drive this weekend. The concern I have now is that the radiator is still clogged up even after flushing it. I will investigate that more this week before test driving it.


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Old 10-03-2015, 08:40 AM   #37
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I got to go for another test drive tonight. It was successful! I drove for a couple of miles and was cruising along at about 40-45 mph. It was definitely a lot of fun. I do have one a question about shifting. I was coasting down a long hill in neutral to play it safe with the engine on this first time out and then wanted to get into third gear. I could't get it to go in. It was just grinding. I tried rev matching, but maybe didn't give it enough revs. Any tips? Thanks.

https://youtu.be/UnLQyrT_RhM

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Old 10-03-2015, 10:08 AM   #38
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

Coasting is unsafe and illegal. You'll need some more practice to find the right engine speed for shifting. You need to rev the engine (usually more than you think) with your foot off the clutch, then push the clutch in and shift to third. If you try to go from neutral with the engine at idle at 40 MPH, then you need to rev the engine to about 2000 RPM.

Remember, as soon as you push the clutch in, the tranny input shaft will start slowing down, so it's better to slightly over rev the engine instead of under rev it.
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Old 10-03-2015, 10:52 AM   #39
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Default Re: 1931 Pickup Journal

Noah, if you wish, I could come out and see how you're shifting etc...I might be able to show you a few pointers..
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:12 AM   #40
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I wasn't aware that is illegal. I had no problems downshifting at slower speeds, I just was afraid to rev the engine that high. I do a lot of rev matching and heel toe downshifting in my other car for autocross and track days. I have a tach on that one though! Thanks for the help guys.


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Old 10-03-2015, 11:22 AM   #41
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Noah, if you wish, I could come out and see how you're shifting etc...I might be able to show you a few pointers..

Yeah we could maybe meet up to even just talk model a stuff.


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Old 10-04-2015, 09:58 AM   #42
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Love your truck. What is its name?
I'm with the others: do the safety work and drive it as it is. Grampa will be happy seeing it on the road again.
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:47 AM   #43
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Hi Noah,

Sounds like you got the carb figured out and she runs well. To take full advantage of the B carb at some point you will need to either bore out an A intake or get a B manifold. The B carb has a larger throat than an A carb. If I remember correctly it is the one with the vacuum port at the back of the manifold. There are two different ones and one will line up with the A choke rod and one won't. You have a great truck and I am glad you are keeping it in the family.

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Old 10-07-2015, 08:45 AM   #44
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Love your truck. What is its name?
I'm with the others: do the safety work and drive it as it is. Grampa will be happy seeing it on the road again.

Thanks. Truck doesn't have a name, we all just refer to it "The Model A." He and my mom, aunts, and uncles are all very pleased. I am going to have to find the pictures of them in the truck as kids.


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Old 10-07-2015, 01:46 PM   #45
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That is my current plan. Clean off a bit of the dirt on windows and such, but not much more than that.
I, personally, would scrub it up REALLY, REALLY, REALLY good, EVERY INCH of it, with T.S.P. & water & scrub brushes. It will still have PLENTY of PATINA
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Old 10-07-2015, 02:05 PM   #46
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Hi Noah,

Sounds like you got the carb figured out and she runs well. To take full advantage of the B carb at some point you will need to either bore out an A intake or get a B manifold. The B carb has a larger throat than an A carb. If I remember correctly it is the one with the vacuum port at the back of the manifold. There are two different ones and one will line up with the A choke rod and one won't. You have a great truck and I am glad you are keeping it in the family.

Mike
I had a B carb on my huckster. I found it did use more gas than my coupe. I did not have the larger throat bored out of the intake port so maybe that is why did not give good mileage. I finally took it off and put on one of my rebuilt A carbs and now the huckster runs great.

I think the stats say just using the B carb it adds a HP or so while if you bore out your intake port, you can get additional HP's.

Good luck with your pickup. BTW did you change the oil before you started running it around? May want to do that because the oil may contain a lot of stuff that doesn't do your engine much good.
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Old 10-07-2015, 06:09 PM   #47
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I had a B carb on my huckster. I found it did use more gas than my coupe. I did not have the larger throat bored out of the intake port so maybe that is why did not give good mileage. I finally took it off and put on one of my rebuilt A carbs and now the huckster runs great.

I think the stats say just using the B carb it adds a HP or so while if you bore out your intake port, you can get additional HP's.

Good luck with your pickup. BTW did you change the oil before you started running it around? May want to do that because the oil may contain a lot of stuff that doesn't do your engine much good.

I think you're right. A shop had some dyno numbers with the various combinations, but the B carb didn't look like it really have any gains. I changed the oil before running it. The oil pan and rear main seals are leaking pretty badly so I will drop the pan and really clean it out and change the oil again this winter.


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Old 10-07-2015, 09:37 PM   #48
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I remember Daddy turning the engine off and coasting every chance he had to save gas during the war.

Sewall
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Old 10-11-2015, 05:39 PM   #49
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I figured out that the bulbs are blown and that's why I lost the headlights during the last drive.




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Old 10-12-2015, 06:11 AM   #50
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I figured out that the bulbs are blown and that's why I lost the headlights during the last drive.




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You either reached the advertised 1000 hour use, or more likely had a voltage spike from a bad connection, if you use an unregulated generator. If you use an alternator, it's recommended to make sure the alternator is already kinked in and charging before you turn on the lights.
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Old 10-12-2015, 07:19 AM   #51
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You either reached the advertised 1000 hour use, or more likely had a voltage spike from a bad connection, if you use an unregulated generator. If you use an alternator, it's recommended to make sure the alternator is already kinked in and charging before you turn on the lights.

I am not sure if I have an unregulated generator or not. Should I replace the bulbs and see how it goes or is there a good way to test the connections to see if there is a bad connection? They worked fine for a while and then blew when I was taking it for its first real test drive with the lights on. Sounds like it could be a spike because of that and what you said. Thanks.


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Old 10-12-2015, 07:22 AM   #52
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Another topic, I have been trying to flush out the radiator and it comes out looking like this:



I have distilled vinegar in there now and already did that flush once. I got it nice and hot yesterday with the vinegar in there and will maybe get another shot at driving today. Would you recommended continuing to flush or just pulling the radiator to take it somewhere to get cleaned? I haven't flow tested it yet.


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Old 06-11-2016, 12:46 PM   #53
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I have been doing some work on the truck recently. I replaced the tires that had a date code from 1943 with some fresh Goodyears:





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Old 06-11-2016, 12:50 PM   #54
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I replaced the spark plugs with some hotter ones. I went with Champion W16Y I bought on
After taking it for a spin, I still had bad overheating problems. I pulled the radiator to swap the spare I have that is in better shape. I am going to take it to a radiator shop to make sure its completely clean before installing it. There was a thick brown sludge that came out of the one I removed.





"New" is on the right.

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Old 06-11-2016, 01:14 PM   #55
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Flush the block before you reinstall a radiator. the vinegar loosened up alot of stuff you never want in the radiator. If you are going to run straight water add soluble oil (napa carries it) to lube the waterpump, and maybe napa cool to retard rust.
There is another school of thought to use antifreeze.
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Old 06-11-2016, 02:53 PM   #56
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Flush the block before you reinstall a radiator. the vinegar loosened up alot of stuff you never want in the radiator. If you are going to run straight water add soluble oil (napa carries it) to lube the waterpump, and maybe napa cool to retard rust.
There is another school of thought to use antifreeze.
Bob


What's the best way to flush the block? I have to imagine it's as bad in there as it was in the radiator. I was going to run distilled water with Redline Water Wetter.


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Old 06-11-2016, 11:37 PM   #57
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I rigged up some pvc fittings to clamp to the outlet so I could run water from a hose into the block and also have an air line coupler so i could push the water out the block inlet. I used a long piece of radiator hose on the inlet(drivers side of the block) to run it into a pan under the car. I then would strain the captured discharge and filter it thru a funnel with an old t shirt to see what was coming out.
I also reversed the setup to try and flush out the head and got more stuff that way.
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Old 06-12-2016, 12:32 AM   #58
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What's the best way to flush the block? I have to imagine it's as bad in there as it was in the radiator. I was going to run distilled water with Redline Water Wetter.


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Here's a thread on flushing the engine and radiator. See my pictures in #25. That's the only way I'd backflush.

https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showth...ator+sump+pump
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Old 06-12-2016, 04:03 AM   #59
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Rube Goldberg back flushing contraption. Interesting to note difference in results after adding air to back flushing procedure. I had flushed this engine for several hours just using water and water looked fairly clean. Third photo shows results after first blow with air pressure.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Back Flusher (1) Cropped.jpg (138.5 KB, 26 views)
File Type: jpg Back Flusher (2) Cropped.jpg (129.4 KB, 27 views)
File Type: jpg Results Cropped.jpg (113.2 KB, 26 views)
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Old 06-12-2016, 07:00 AM   #60
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What Bill shows in the pan is also what my sump pump drove out of the block and radiator times 3. That's why I would recommend a filter in the top hose, at least for several miles until you are sure you have trapped the junk before it plugs the tubes.
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Old 06-12-2016, 09:39 AM   #61
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Before you go further you really really need to drop the oil pan and clean it out . I think you will be astounded at what you have been pumping around the engine . Also clean out the valve chest ,debris in there can block the 3 holes which supply the main bearings with oil . I know the oil looked lovely clear and golden when you checked it but all the goop,water,acids etc etc were settled out just around the oil pump pickup . Check "You Tube " there is a post on what a oil pan looked like after a long standing engine was fired up .

John in damp mild Suffolk County England .
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Old 06-12-2016, 07:28 PM   #62
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Before you go further you really really need to drop the oil pan and clean it out . I think you will be astounded at what you have been pumping around the engine . Also clean out the valve chest ,debris in there can block the 3 holes which supply the main bearings with oil . I know the oil looked lovely clear and golden when you checked it but all the goop,water,acids etc etc were settled out just around the oil pump pickup . Check "You Tube " there is a post on what a oil pan looked like after a long standing engine was fired up .

John in damp mild Suffolk County England .
John, I changed the oil and need to replace the pan gasket and will be cleaning the pan when I do that. I have seen that video and it is crazy!






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Old 06-12-2016, 07:31 PM   #63
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I gave a quick flush with just a hose and bucket while I work on another contraption. Got a lot of murky water and debris. Ran the hose through the upper hose until the water ran clear. Then continued for a couple more minutes. This is some of the debris:




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Old 06-13-2016, 12:12 PM   #64
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It is good you changed the oil but only if you drop the pan now . Most likely you used a modern multi grade which does contain a detergent element . This detergent will break down all the carbon deposits inside the engine and in effect clean the engine internals . The down side is that this crud is now in suspension in your oil ,not good .When you drop the pan you will need to pop out the dipper tray . Various tricks to do this ,the barners will tell you how !!!

John in still no weather today Suffolk County England /
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:46 PM   #65
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It is good you changed the oil but only if you drop the pan now . Most likely you used a modern multi grade which does contain a detergent element . This detergent will break down all the carbon deposits inside the engine and in effect clean the engine internals . The down side is that this crud is now in suspension in your oil ,not good .When you drop the pan you will need to pop out the dipper tray . Various tricks to do this ,the barners will tell you how !!!

John in still no weather today Suffolk County England /
John, I used used 30 weight non-detergent oil for that reason. I plan to do the pan pretty soon. It will be before I start driving it again and after getting the fuel and radiator all sorted.
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:41 PM   #66
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You did good !!! . Years ago my late mother in law killed her beloved pre war sedan by putting the then new Shell "X 100" oil in her engine (the garage man did it) I had told her not to put this oil in as disaster would follow ,turned the oil into black soup and wiped out the beaings . I never had the heart to say "I told you so " !!!

John in same weather Suffolk County England
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