Tech Tips



A handy item to keep under your Model ‘A’ Seat

by Bob Toms


This is a simple device that will help you diagnose trouble in your electrical system and, in some cases, offer a temporary solution to get you home: a simple length of wire, about 500mm (20 inches) long, with alligator clips attached to each end. An easy do-it-your-self item! · Connected across the terminals of the junction box, it can bypass a faulty ammeter.

· Use a longer bolt in the distributor terminal of the condenser. Connect this to the red coil wire using the by-pass wire and you can energize a defective ignition switch or faulty armored cable.

· If the cut-out contacts fail to close, you can by-pass the cut-out to charge the battery. · If the cut-out is stuck closed, the by-pass wire can be used to ground the generator output terminal.

· It can be used to test resistance (or voltage loss) in the horn and lighting circuits by by-passing switches and connectors.

· For that matter, it can be used to test contacts and wires hidden in body work or in con-duits.




Thank you to Andre Millar, in South Australia’s Model A Torque. 


Technical Notes: Points to Ponder

#2 on the Model ‘A’

 by Lynn Sondena, Sandy, Oregon


Model A engines like “hot” spark plugs.


   • To locate exhaust system leaks, squirt a small amount of kerosene into the air intake of the carburetor while the engine is running. Leaks will be visible from the black smoke appearing at the leak.

     • Use zinc chromate primer, it helps to prevent rust.

     • Torque spark plugs 34 to 38 pounds.

     • Backlash is the play between the teeth of two gears which are engaged.

​     • Advanced spark is igniting the fuel mixture before Top Dead Center.

     • Retarded spark is igniting the fuel mixture after T.D.C.

     • Zenith float level adjustment is done by adding or subtracting washers underneath the       float valve.

     • Did you know that the float valve fiber gasket is the same size as the distributor shaft         sleeve fiber washer? Snyder’s number A-12181 or Mac’s #A-12194.

     • A front-end shimmy is usually caused by loose tie rod ends, or drag link ends. It can also          be worn ball studs on the steering arms and pitman arm. 


Volcano View May 2013 



Tips from  Down Under

Found  in a  newsletter  from New  Zealand,

Canterbury  Chapter Brake  Rod AntiRattlers


Correct installation: Disconnect rear  rod  clevises,  loosen locking nuts,  and remove  clevises;  slide  anti-rattlers over  rods  so  that  they  are  pushing against donuts toward rear  of  car,  bolt  to  bracket on radius  rods;  reinstall  clevises and locking nuts.  


Fronts are different  -  anti-rattlers  slide  on  from  eye end  of brake rods,  so  disconnect  from  cross-shaft  arm at  center of  car,  slide  anti-rattler on,  bolt  to  bracket;  reconnect  rod  at center.  You  may  have to enlarge the  openings  in  the front  anti-rattlers so they  will  slide  over  the  eyes.


Oil Loss:  A quart of  oil is 36,500 drops  of  oil.  A  normal engine  in  the  ‘60s used  1/1100 of  a drop  on  every  power  stroke (1  quart  every  1000  miles  was  normal  back  then)  and  if an  engine drips  one  drop  every  50  feet,  and  it  doesn’t  matter how  fast  you’re  going,  (think about  it)  the engine  will  lose  1 quart in  300 miles.  They  used this to illustrate  that a  drop was  actually  much higher  consumption than a  burn!


Burning  Points:  Loose  connection somewhere  between  cutout and  battery,  causing  voltage to  go  berserk and  burn points.  Check connections at: cutout,  junction box,  ammeter,  added  fuse holder,  (if any).  Remove both  forward  3/8”  nuts  on  junction block  and tighten both of  the  3/8” nuts inside  the  box.  Be  sure  ground system  is  good by  clipping  test  light to  gearshift,  put  point to middle  of  +  battery  post,  step  on  starter  with key  off.  No light  =  good grounding.  Light  on = poor  ground connection  somewhere.  Feel each  connection for  being HOT!  Loose  connection = HEAT.  In  regard  to  the condenser.  The job  of the condenser is  to  take  the brunt  of power from the  coil when  the  points break to keep  the  points from  sparking/burning.  In modern  times  in every  other application  other than  automotive we call  them  capacitors.


Painting Fuel Gauge  Figures  :  Has the  black paint  in  the  fuel level markings  disappeared?


1.  Clean  the  curved sector  with  the  markings really  well.


2.  With a  tiny  brush or  toothpick,  fill the  letters with fuel-proof paint.  I use a  glossy  black epoxy  spray  paint.  It  will  take 2  or  3  coats.  Do  no  worry  about  putting  on  a  bit  too  much.


3.  When  the  paint  is  really  dry,  wet-sand the  sector  with something  like  600  grit paper  to  remove all  the  overflow  paint. Gas  Tank  Welting:  One piece  goes  from  one side  of the  tank,  all  the way  to  the  other side, starting and ending at  the  rear  edge  of  the  hood.  At  the  sides,  it runs between the  cowl  and  the tank,  and  in  the  center,  between the  tank and that strip that runs right  under  the  windshield. There  are  various tricks for  getting the  welting  to stay  in  place.  You will  need to pre-cut holes or  slots for  the  bolts that  hold the  filler  strip and tank to the  dash  rail.  You will also  need  to make some notches  in  the flat  part  of  the  welting  to  help  it  go  around  the corners.  The last inch or so,  where it  passes  under  the  cowl  band,  has  the core removed,  and  it  serves  as  an  antisqueak  under  the  front top corner  of  the  cowl.


Gearbox  Shielded Bearings:  Main  drive  gear and  main  splined  shaft  cannot  be  perfectly shielded  and shielding may  not  be  a  smart  thing.  Ford  designed  parts  to  take  advantage  of function.  The front  bearing  does  not  matter  much.  It  faces  up  and  there is  the throw-out  bearing sleeve  preventing  oil  from  going anywhere.  The   rear  bearing is  open  to  the  U-joint. The  grease forms a  packing and the  oil that  leaks past  will  get into  the  U-joint and then back  to  the  speedo gear and  the drive shaft  bearing.  So  why  seal  the rear bearing.


Script  ‘A’  News, December 2020    


Grease  your  Speedometer Cable

How long  has  it  been  since you  lubricated  your speedometer cable? Lubrication  of the speedometer  cable must rate  among  the  most overlooked,  and definitely  the messiest,  maintenance item  on  the Model  ‘A’  Ford.  


While driving,  the speedometer cable rubs  against  the speedometer cable housing,  creating hot  spots  where it rubs.  A  good  lubricant  reduces  the friction,  increasing speedometer  cable life and reducing  noise.  White  lithium or  black molly  are  good  lubricants.  


Harley  Davison also makes  a  good  speedo-cable lubricant. To lubricate  the  cable,  remove  it from  the housing,  and apply  grease  to  the  length of  the  cable  as you put the  cable  back  into the  housing.  You  only  need to  disconnect  one  end of  the speedometer  cable  housing to accomplish this task,  and if  working  over  your  head  is not a problem,  disconnecting  the  speedometer  housing from  the  drive  assembly  on  the  torque  tube will  allow access to the  speedometer  cable  and  leave  your instrument panel untouched.


By Jim McPherson - Aiken A's


Model A Ford Restorer's Club
Niagara Frontier Region

Model A Ford Restorer's Club
Niagara Frontier Region



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