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Old 05-29-2014, 08:23 AM   #21
C26Pinelake
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Flags aside. If it is your first A take a knowledgable Model A person with you. Contact your local Model A club president. They love helping new prospective owners ! You could always make a donation to their social club as an expression of appreciation !
Wayne
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:44 AM   #22
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Lots of good advice here already. Since you are apparently looking for a "drive anywhere" Model A to purchase, I have a simple suggestion- Find someone with a "drive anywhere" Model A that can easily and comfortably drive at highway speeds and have them let you drive it around. Then, every Model A that you check out, compare its driveability against your friend's Model A. It would also help to bring that friend with you when you check them out.

As stated above, a properly restored Model A should be able to go 60 MPH and feel solid doing it. The majority of Model As you see around cannot do that. It takes lots of money to make a mediocre Model A into an exceptional one. Model As have a certain feel to them, and an exceptional "drive anywhere" Model A has a very solid feel to it. After you drive one, you will just know.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:02 AM   #23
marc hildebrant
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

When I bought my Model A I tried to research every thing I could think of. In the long run, the best advice is to make sure that you pay less for the car than the seller wants or what others think it's worth.

You will always find something wrong with the car after you buy it, and if you pay somewhat less for it, you will not be disappointed.

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Old 05-29-2014, 10:08 AM   #24
Bruce Lancaster
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

BAD mechanical restoration is a very widespread problem...this is usually supported by owners who believe firmly that all Model A's always vibrated enough to untie your shoes, will disintegrate if run over 25, and left the factory with brakes incapable of stopping in traffic or even within one lane...look at Kevin NJ's post.
Vibrating engine, poor power, low cruising speed are very often from fundamental problems of bad work rather than tuning issues. That means that the freshly rebuilt motor has to be r-rebuilt by someone with decent standards. Cost will be same as starting with a motor that is acknowledged junk...
Get the owner to give you a drive in traffic...and then on highway. His attitudes and actions will say a lot about the mechanics!
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Old 05-29-2014, 10:58 AM   #25
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Be sure to trailer it home on a flat bed. I did some 40 miles and on 1st local trip it just quit moving. The clutch plates broke apart and I hat to trailer it back home. Also go with a friend so you can leave the trailer a few blocks away so you don't loose your negotiating strength. Also if it doesn't have everything you want, don't be concerned about making adds or changes if price is right. After looking 1 1/2 years, I found a Town Sedan in great condition and with good wood and had a wheel well installed and moved the spare and added a right tail light. Lastly, be sure to see it and drive it and don't rely on pictures. Good luck.

Ray in Illinois.
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:11 AM   #26
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

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Look the seller straight in they eyes---"why you sellin'it"?------ "How long has it been for sale"---FADED for sale signs are a dead give away!
Really GOOD cars that are a decent price would already have been sold to a club member or a neighbor!
Almost all cars, with some years on them, will require some repairs. When I've bought a used car, I always do a complete tune up, pack the wheel bearings, change ALL fluids, etc, check brake system complete & anything you can visually inspect. This is necessary, so at least, you can have a starting point for a regular maintenance schedule!
JUST THINK what all this can cost, in money & your hard sweat, even if you can do it YO'SELF!
A friend bought a "READY TO TOUR", BEAUTIFUL BLACK '29 Town Sedan, $3,000.00 & 8 months later, it was "TOUR READY"!
If you are a club member, search for cars for sale, there. You'll hear a thousand stories about it from OTHER members!!!!-----"YEA! it wuz a piece of shit when he got it!-----"Yep, I remember when Ol' Rufus did------jist to git it runnin"---"And when he went through 3 used rear ends, to find a good one"!----And the stories might go ON & ON!!!
And there are "MERCHANTS"?? thet just "turn" Model A's, to make some quick BUCKS!! There's a KAZILLION of them on the INTERNET! iF MOST OF THEM WERE AS good AS ADVERTISED, he'd be keeping it for himself, UNLESS, he wuz DAID BROKE! Sorry if I sound NEGATIVE, I ain't had COFFEE, yet & my pain pill is just BARELY beginn' to "KICK IN & I only had 4 hours sleep! -----Bill W.
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:32 AM   #27
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Quote:
Originally Posted by solidirish View Post
Be sure to trailer it home on a flat bed. I did some 40 miles and on 1st local trip it just quit moving. The clutch plates broke apart and I hat to trailer it back home. Also go with a friend so you can leave the trailer a few blocks away so you don't loose your negotiating strength. Also if it doesn't have everything you want, don't be concerned about making adds or changes if price is right. After looking 1 1/2 years, I found a Town Sedan in great condition and with good wood and had a wheel well installed and moved the spare and added a right tail light. Lastly, be sure to see it and drive it and don't rely on pictures. Good luck.

Ray in Illinois.
That's just how I used to think also, but lately I've been wondering if showing up with a trailer wouldn't show the seller that you are serious and ready to deal, instead of just kick tires.

BTW, 6 weeks ago I went to look at a Studebaker and knew it was a good buy, but I went home to think it over. I finally went back after 2 weeks of thinking about it, but it was sold a couple days earlier. It went back to California, where it first came from. This car was a low mileage original in near mint condition, and those just don't often show up.
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Old 05-29-2014, 02:07 PM   #28
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

You have to inspect the car carefully to see what it needs and what you feel comfortable doing for repairs. I often ask myself, will I loose money if I need to sell it right away. You know Murphy's law, as soon as you buy a car, you find the one you really want.
How very, very true.
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:21 PM   #29
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

When I go look at anything. I take a trailer and cash. I have talked to many guys. Who say I have had a lot interested. But none have come back to buy it. Having cash in hand. Will a lot of time get you a good deal. You can bet that a lot of the times you go look at a car. The person has no idea about the car. They just know its worth something. Just know as much as you can know. And don't take a know it all. That will pick the car to pieces and piss the seller off.
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:53 PM   #30
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

here is my puzzlement about this question: absent some issue such as illness, divorce, and even death, aren't most Model "A"s travelling in the stream of commerce the ones that have NOT been painstakingly restored?

I bought one such critter that actually had the timing retarded to conceal bearing knocks. When we retimed it, it sound like a threshing machine going over barbed wire.
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Old 05-29-2014, 06:17 PM   #31
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Using a friend, leaving the trailer a few blocks away and having all cash (which I forgot to say) got the deal done on a beautiful coupe for 10k instead of the 12k asking price.
Ray in Illinois
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Old 05-29-2014, 06:40 PM   #32
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Does it have all the original shocks and links? Charles
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:02 PM   #33
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Does it have all the original shocks and links?

that's it?
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:32 PM   #34
Bruce,Upstate NY
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

I'm amazed at the number of "restorers" that don't rebush the rear brake cross shafts.
A clue.
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Old 05-30-2014, 05:15 AM   #35
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Regarding getting a title bear in mind that a number of northeastern states do not title older cars (20 years or older in VT), so if you are looking at a car from one of those states check with your DMV to see what needs to be done to get a title. They should have a procedure to follow when you buy a car from a non-title state.
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Old 05-30-2014, 06:40 AM   #36
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

When pulling 4 carefully checked compression tests, what percentage of the high and low should they be? 5%~~10% for a driver quality stock engine?

What is the basement on compression numbers (on a stock head, pistons). At what low figure do you walk away?

If you get wobbly compression numbers on 1 or 2 cylinder - walk away??

What if you get seriously high compression numbers? Wrong rings, too tightly seated valves?

I ask because I'm bringing my tools to look a Tudor for a friend who is willing to pay now for something he doesn't have to pay a lot for later, and compression is key.

Charging, fluids, rust(less), brakes, timing, multimeter reads throughout the electrical system, upholstery paint are easy to see, but I feel like i need a degree in electro cardiology to read the cylinders on % match and high vs. low.

I'm sure someone's done a complete treatise on this somewhere on the web, i just don't know how to find it!

Thanks.
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:34 AM   #37
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

If you are thinking about this, join a local chapter and listen to people who have cars. Decide what you want to do with the car. Daily driver, restoration project etc. Then do you want an open car or closed. If you plan on doing a lot of driving a sedan is a good choice. If you plan on driving down to the donut shop on the weekend a roadster is always good. But getting connected to local folks that have Model As will help. You might find one for sale right there.
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Old 05-30-2014, 10:23 AM   #38
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Compression test:
1. no such thing as too high (can't happen anyway)
2. be sure ALL plugs are out and throttle wide open. Crank with ignition off. Crank for 6 full revolutions of motor or until needle on gauge stops climbing.
3. You will prolly get readings somewhere between 50 and 75 psi. It is really hard to give a precise number that is too low. If much below 50 it will prolly be smoking a lot. You can't always see the smoke unless you use this trick: The buyer has the seller drive the car and the buyer follows behind. If the car puffs blue smoke everytime it is shifted, the rings are getting worn. A little puff is OK. But if a big puff, and compression below 45-50, beware.
4. Look at the plugs when you take them out: are they sooty? (too rich) oily wet (bad rings). It is possible the owner pulled the plugs and had them cleaned. So be sure to drive the car for about an hour then pull the plugs and look again.
5. The single most important factor on a compression test is: the lowest reading and highest reading should be within 10%. Example: if the highest cyl reads 60 psi then the lowest cyl should be 54 psi.
If you get more than 10% variation then the rings are worn, the motor is worn, everything is worn, and the cyls. are not all doing the same amount of work=red flag. Find a different car.
Be aware that there is something out there called smokeless oil. If this has been put in the crankcase, all bets are off about following the car looking for puffs of blue smoke. You will now really have to rely on what the plugs show and compression shows

Another trick is to take a screwdriver and ground out one spark plug at a time at idle. Listen for a change in engine sound. If little or no difference in sound/rpm, then you have found a weak cylinder=walk away
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Old 05-30-2014, 10:26 AM   #39
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Your biggest mistake could be that you make an emotional buy. For me it was a life time dream to own a 1931 Slant Windshield Cabriolet. After watching eBay Motors for 3 yrs., there it was, 200 miles from my house in 2011 for $13500 delivered to my house. It was pretty much complete but the wood subframe was rotted out on the passenger side from the door to the rear and in other places. I almost ripped the back pocket off of my pants getting my wallet out. I didn't even try negotiate a lower price. I did have my wife with me and we drove it and she liked it. Very important. I did use it around town that summer before I started dismantling it.

Before you buy, study the market, know what the going prices are. Pick high volume body styles so that you will have plenty of parts out there to chose from. If you like it, buy it and don't worry about saving that last $1000 on a better deal that may never come. After all we into this hobby to have fun. Good luck. Ed
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Old 05-30-2014, 10:34 AM   #40
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Default Re: Purchasing an A...red flags

Ed said it all....'If you like it buy it and don't wait for a deal down the road trying to save a thousand dollars...............'

Look what just happened to Tom Wesenberg and that Studebaker------------------
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