For those of you that have known us with our 25 Touring, Bessie has always had a lean to the driver's side, even without the driver being in the car. Through the years there have been discussions, changes, fixes all with no result.
We went to the Alamosa, Colorado tour this past summer, had a great time, no problems. Bessie was loaded on the trailer and hauled back to Garland. Upon arrival there was a nice puddle of coolant on the trailer floor, David figured that the old radiator had finally given up. He backed the car off the trailer, drove it around to the back of our property, which includes a really steep grass hill to come in the gate, I noticed coolant pouring out of the bottom of the radiator. With T-Party a little over a month away we decided that it was time to invest in a new radiator.
The old one came off - and when he went to put the brand new one on he noticed that the mounts were not in the proper position. The previous "fabricator" had "modified" the old radiator to fit the mounts. Without enough time to get to the bottom of the problem, David modified the new radiator to work for T-Party, thinking he would make the permanent fix over the winter.
This is a picture of Bessie in College Station during T Party, notice the lean...
The last day of the tour, on the way back to the hotel we made a right turn. David noticed something different with the steering - and he said he thought the driver's side tire had just rubbed the fender! We made it back to the trailer lot, he loaded her up, tied her down and we went in to clean up for the banquet. The next morning we said our goodbyes and headed for home. Once again, we pull up in front of the house, get out of the truck and see the puddle of coolant on the trailer - UNDER THE NEW RADIATOR!
With the fact that the tire had hit the fender, the coolant leaking from the new radiator he figured that "something" had failed with the frame. He made the decision that over the winter he would move the car from the "old" frame to another one that he knew was in good shape - here are the pictures from the old frame to new frame transfer.
Work began at the end of October as it took David a while to find a suitable "new" frame. The one he had in the shed for years for such a project turned out to be bent, as did two others that he was given.
Beginning the tear down process. . .
The "new" frame. . .
David had our two sons and his brother, pictured here on the right come over to help remove the body. He had no idea how awkward and hard that would be! They got it off and set on the dolly's but he knew that putting the body back on was going to have to be done differently!
Removing the new radiator...
She is SO exposed!
Looking at the bottom side of the new radiator you can see where it was resting on the front cross member, causing the dent and a small hole.
Getting the motor ready to move.
Sure makes it easier to work on!
So HERE was the problem! Evidently the frame had been cracked - it finally gave way!
And during the transfer. . .
This is the "new" frame
What's left on the old. . .
Old in the foreground, new in the back - he is about at the halfway point.
Many of you may be curious - where are the fenders and running boards? They seem to have disappeared! Well once again the empty space bedroom came in handy!
Transfer of parts is complete!
And here is the old frame - hauled outside where a good shot could be taken. Yikes!
(Ad for those of you that are curious - in the background of this picture is our 26 Coupe. David had just finished putting another motor in it after our son had been driving it when it broke a crank.
This is the end of part one. . . I'll come back with photos of putting the body back on.
David worked on the moving of the car during November and December. This gave him the opportunity to check everything on the car, bolt by bolt, to fix and update what was needed as the car had been on the road since 2004.
During the 2 months I had heard him talking out loud about how we were going to have to get a party of big guys over to put the body back on the car. He was getting close to time for this to happen.
It's now New Year's Eve, I'm busy in the house packing away decorations and cleaning, David comes in and tells me to bring the camera, I need to take a picture.
I go out to the garage to see this. . .
With the front suspended from the ceiling, the rear held up with the engine hoist he was smiling from ear to ear because "we" were going to put the body back on the car! (yeah right!)
With the use of jack stands and a floor jack he got the body over the chassis, or rather the chassis under the body - and start to slowly lower it. I helped guide the body to clear the gas tank
And when all was said and done - less than 45 minutes later - this is how far off we were
Here is what the rigging looked like from inside the body once it was lowered
Now we were left with this. . .
But that was no problem -
This was after all of the jacks, dolly's etc had been removed, he moved the engine stand to the back to better reposition the body.
As of this evening, January 1st 2013 the T takes up one space in the garage, the Bug is back where it belongs. I will update once the fenders and new luggage trunk are installed.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Great story! I'm glad it will no longer have that "port side" list! Enjoy.
Thank you for posting the photos. Bessie sort of got some major surgery but will be in great shape when it is finished.
One of the advantages of the 1923 and earlier cars is they do not have the apron below the radiator so it is much easier to monitor the front cross member etc. Of course they do not look as streamlined either…. I’m sure you examined the old frame and decided that even if you replaced the front cross member that the frame needed to come out for other repair/straightening and that replacing it was easier than taking it out and making all the repairs. For others that may read this thread in the future – if only the front cross member needs to be replaced that can be done while the body is still on the car. (It might be possible with the engine still in – but you have a lot more room to work with it out – especially if you are going to rivet the replacement cross member back in.) Also – for a driver, the front cross member can be bolted in – our 1915 came that way back in the 1950s and we still have not gotten around to replacing the bolts with rivets. And some folks have even used a grinder to make the bolt heads look more like rivets. For replacing and/or repairing a front cross member folks could do a search and find postings such as: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/118802/138622.html .
Did you notice if there was a pad between the spring and the front cross member? And more importantly was one put back between the new frame and the spring? Part #3823 (originally leather – but now also available in rubber see Lang’s: http://www.modeltford.com/pl.aspx?t=s&v=3823&page=1
Again, thank you so much for sharing the photos and the update. Also the details on how the two of you mounted the body! Great job!. Sounds like Bessie will be running down the road again soon and you will have the spare bedroom back for other projects. What a great way to start the new year!
Hap l9l5 cut off
David read your post and has given me the info to answer you back. The front spring was replaced two years ago, thinking that is why the car leaned. It didn't have a pad then, but a rubber pad was installed with the new spring and is there now. Because of the motor mounts the cracked part of the frame was hidden from view at that time.
We purchased the car in 2003 from a fellow club member - David did have the motor rebuilt and he put it in himself, and painted the car too, but the crack was not visible at that time, the car has been on the road since 2004.
I appreciate your comments and feedback, the reason for posting is so that others can learn from his experience.
Also, my Dad's nickname is Hap, short for Hamilton, it makes me smile when I see your posts.
For anyone looking at replacing a front cross member, I can testify that it's not terribly difficult but it's best done by at least two people. It's good to have one person heat the rivet while the other hammers the masher. I happen to have a 1915 with bolts too, so I plan to install rivets when I pull the engine for some other work. Like Hap, I suppose it may be possible to do the job with the engine still in, but I don't intend to try it.
Neat story, Keep the Pics coming.