I've been working away at this long running 1923 (mostly) Runabout project for as long as I have owned the car, something like ten years now. One thing that bothered me right from the start was a gap between the firewall and the body. The gap tapered from nil at the top to something like .5" at the bottom. Here is a pic taken of the car before I bought it:
The gap is hard to see but it did seem unusually drafty on the toes . . .
Here is another picture showing the wood blocks between the mounting brackets and the firewall a year and a half ago when the motor was being pulled out for two weeks (!) cleaning:
Thanks to some dimensions and suggestions from Hap, I determined the brackets were the correct ones and that the holes in the frame were where they should be. It looks like the body might be mounted too far aft. Too explore this a little bit I mocked up the bits and found that the firewall can pivot on the rear mounts due to larger holes in the front of the frame. OK, that could be useful. Here is what the bits look like now:
Why was the body mounted aft? I'm not sure but suspect it may have something to do with the gas tank being mismounted. The tank does not sit square on the frame and the left hand side is sitting too far aft right next to the body box around it. Could it be that the guy that assembled my car put the gas tank mounting bracket on back to front and that the body just would not slide forward enough? Here are some pics of the tank:
To test this out I loosened the gas tank fixings and removed the fuel line. Now I'm waiting for an unsuspecting visitor to wander by the shop to help me lift the tank out so I can take a look at it. The thing is full of gas and probably weighs 80 lbs. I also started loosening the body bolts which turned out to be tough work as they are hard to get at, tight and pretty well rusted to the nuts. I got three loose and Saturday will work on the rest. The idea is to loosen off the fixings to see if the body might be nudged forward enough to close the gap with the firewall.
Vintage Paul, havin more fun . . .
Check the driver side gas strap to see if it is backward.
Has it ever had rust repaired at the bottom of the cowl?
Jack, you're thinkin along the same lines I wuz. I'll know more once the tank is out where I can get a good look at the brackets.
Don, I don't know the answer to that question. It looks OK from what I can see on the inside but it is obvious that this poor thing was bondoed up pretty good here and there. I'll see if I can shoot some pics of the interior front areas and post them.
So why not just drain the gas out of the tank, ether by the sediment bulb or through the fuel line.
The tank doesn't look likes it's setting in there straight, that's for sure, it should sit in there parallel with the seat box. The only way that could happen is if the brackets are on backwards.
For those who might have a similar problem in the future, the original discussion is located at:
http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/336045.html and is continuing here.
Paul – I’m glad you are making progress. I too would recommend drain the gas. (At our house it would go in the mower or the wife’s car (my VW bug needs higher octane – which a long time ago was regular gas) or even back into the Model T. It potentially could save you some “ouched” fingers and some choice words.
Hap l9l5 cut off
I tried to syphon the gas out a couple of weeks ago to run the modern Dodge which is fuel injected and computerized and can adjust to this now year and a half old Stabilized gas. That turned into a mess on its own. My Oklahoma Credit Card developed an air leak and wouldn't work and I ended up throwing it out. I could go get another line but thought it easier just to pull the tank and put it up on sawhorses where the leaky fuel tap on the bottom can be controlled in a safe way. Dave at Chaffin's is sending the correct valve.
Here is a pick of the leaky valve:
Any ideas on a paint I can use on this tank to stop the rust and make it look purdy? Something that will not melt when it gets the occasional overflow while gassing up?
What does the inside of the tank look like? Maybe you should get a new tank?
I thought we were talking about the body firewall gap
paint he tank with POR. It's gas proof and will stop the rust on the outside,self leveling and looks good.
I'll check the inside of the tank once it is defueled. The way the rest of this project has gone it will need attention too. Hopefully an outside coat of POR will fix things up.
Don - I think the gas tank might have been holding the body too far aft causing the other issues. See the pictures above. We should know for sure this weekend!
por_15 is not gas proof. That's why they make the tank sealer, check with them first. I was the distributor for them in N.C. for years.
I used Rustoleum cold galvanizing paint on the outside of the tank on my TT. It has held up very good. Be sure to let it dry for a long time before you spill any gas on it. Dave
How did Ford finish these tanks at the factory? Possibly the cold galvanizing might simulate the original look?
Paul, they were galvanized from the factory. The cold galvanizing paint looks a bit like the original coating, but looks a bit more like silver paint. It is much more durable than silver paint though. Dave
The gas tank straps do not have to be on backwards for the tank to be mis-placed. The straps will slide around the tank, positioning it fore or aft.
If you'd like to come back to the topic of firewall gap, I'll tell you that you probably have "wood firewall" brackets on a metal low cowl firewall. Wood firewall was on early '23 low cowl, and metal was on later '23 low cowl cars. 1924 went to all metal high cowl.
Put on correct brackets or install a wood firewall, and you'll be all set. Either would be correct.
The body cannot and should not come forward or the hood alignment will be dorked up.
well, I now see that this is the second round of postings under a different title and that the brackets have been verified previously to be correct.
I just rewooded this same same year car and have patched and reinstalled the steel panels with success
Contact me privately and we can discuss that may have happened to get such a poor fit. Your picture of the lower front of the cowl mis-matching the top of the side panel may be a clue.
I'll know a lot more once this tank is out & we can see how the strap is mounted and look inside the drained tank.
On most parts I would attack the peeling paint & rust with a wire wheel. In this case, I'm not feeling that would be a good idea fearing a spark might have unpleasant consequences on any residual gas vapors. Any ideas on how to clean the OUTSIDE of the tank to prepare it for refinishing?
Ford originally had a felt seat across the top of the metal firewall. The '23s and '24s were held to the firewall with 5 rivets. The 1925s were held on with 3. I'm sorry to hear of all your problems. Perhaps if you loosen the body bolts, including the firewall brackets, maybe you could get it to slide forward some. I recently built a '25 roadster from scratch, using all original Ford parts, and didn't have any problems.
Discussion continues at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/341700.html?1360640775 please post there.