As most of you know, we lost the "Becker Special" on our trip to Bonneville after just 52 miles due to a broken crankshaft..forcing me to press on by myself.
The crank failed just aft of cylinder # 1, but we were lucky as nothing else was damaged.
About 2 months ago, we got started breaking the engine down to get it ready for bead blasting, bearings and a new coat of paint.
So far the block is blasted and currently at the Antique Auto Ranch for new main bearings (I figured we should since it was apart) along with the new crank..
I have also been working on few other little things...
When I did the big Bonneville rebuild on the '26 Roadster, I replaced my generic modern 12v constantly running fuel pump for a period Autopulse Model 500 unit I had acquired a few years before.
The Autopulse pumps were revered for their reliability and durability. Porsche even used them (in tandem) on their famous Model 550 Spyder and the units that raced at LeMans.
They have become quite sought after and aren't easy to come by these days, but I just so happened to find not just one.....but three at a local Swap meet....for just $5 each! Good cores normally fetch around $50 to $100 each...and restored examples can fetch as much as $300 a piece!
So now with a surplus of Autopulse pumps (2 spares for my car) I decided to rebuild one for the "Special" as well. One of those three was actually a 12v model....which is rare, so I ordered up a rebuild kit from Classic and Exotic Services, Inc out of Troy Michigan....
and after a little bead blasting, painting and elbow grease turned this....
More to come as we paint the accessories and receive the finished block!
Thank you for the information on the "autopulse". I have one sitting on the shelf that I used a number of years ago. I will order a rebuild kit for it now.
What model Autopulse do you have? 300, 500 or 550? Do you know if it has rubber bellows or copper?
The only thing that they don't make are the bellows (as a replaceable part). I think the later Model 500s had rubber bellows (I have one that does) as did the 550s. The copper bellows are best for a rebuild standpoint...because we all know what happens to old rubber after 50+ years.
You have to be EXTREMELY careful pulling the bellows out as the copper is very thin and fragile! They are not produced either!
I will post a bit more on them if you like?
I spent my weekend finish welding dressing up parts we built for the Special just before we left on our trip. Also sandblasted the engine pan, hogshead, custom brake and clutch pedals, equaling bar for the Buick brakes we adapted and some small engine parts. Hopefully this weekend I can get everything painted 1934 Packard engine green.
Chris, is the engine being rebuilt with a stock T crank, or a new Scat crank? Are you tweaking anything else while you are in there?
Duh, nevermind. I just missed it in the pics somehow.
What are the dimensions of the copper bellows?
I don't remember off the top of my head, but I will get some measurements for you....think I have my spare 500 with me today.
The new Crank is an "EE"....nice one too
I have a couple small copper bellows. If the sizes match up... The thickness of the copper is important too. These are for high vacuum actuators, but still.
That might just work.....I would love to find a reliable source for spares if possible. I have 2 others (1 parts and one spare for the T) and would love to keep them going too...
I'm the guy that never throws anything away ........except for the Autopulse that I had on my '34 (12 volt too). Figured I'd never find parts for it. So now I know I was on the right track after all. NEVER throw anything away.
How do you like that, here is one "new in box" looks like I may have paid a whole $15.00 for it!!! Beside the power lug it appears to be stamped A9 which of course could really be 6V.
Last year you were on your way to Bonneyville. Are you heading back this year? The Joe Bell head casting is being machined now!!! I have ordered my rule book (i know finally) Does anyone know if I can run wire wheels in the "slow" classes (flathead T block stock cowl)?
It might be possible to make copper bellows using a press and some machined die things but i never tried doing it myself.
Kep, Bellows are usually crimped, then rolled and soldered/welded, at least the ones we use at work for high vacuum. Never tried to make one, though.
I've tossed most all of my Autopulse pumps. It seems that they all fail rather soon. The brass work hardens and cracks. Any rubberish sort of material from the era is likely not compatible with modern fuels.
If you don't want 'em....I'll take 'em!
Good to hear from you again. I was just beginning to wonder what you've been up to.
In that case it might be easier to modify any service replacement bellows that might be available from vacuum pumps for an autopulse.
Its good to be back. last few months have been busy, but I will be keeping everyone up to speed again now as the "Special" comes back together.
The roadster is due for some service too. I need to pull the Chicago and the rear axle out to fix an oil leak between the motor and the Chicago box, I also need to get the rear shocks corrected, the new top and windshield done as well as the Hydraulic brakes rebuilt, modified and fitted.
A Ruckstell with 3:1 gearing is also on the list
I think it is possible to find a currently available bellows to an Autopulse....I would love to find a source for replacements.
Was i reading correctly on another website not devoted to model Ts about how the special had a 2.77:1 axle? If so how is that possible?
Clayton - A Ruckstell (AND) a Chicago?
Yes, Chris has a 2.77:1 axle set. These were made for dirt track racing back in the old days and are pretty rare now. We were going to put them in the "Special", but they are best suited to a light, stripped down racer.
Yes, both a Chicago and a Rucstell because I want to be able to split my shifts on hills and in town with the 3:1 gears.
On the trip to Bonneville, I found that the longer, steeper grades were not climbable in OD and when finally forced to shift down...direct was too slow and would back up traffic. With the Ruckstell, I should be able to leave it in OD and still climb hills without loosing my momentum. Also the 50% half shift on the Ruckstell will be great in town with the 3:1 axle gears.
I also plan to shift the Ruckstell a bit unconventionally....electronically (like a Columbia 2-speed)...mostly because I have no room for another lever and I want to keep it clean.
Clayton, electrically shifting the Ruckstell sounds really cool. What will you use to actuate the shifter on the axle and what will your switch/button controls look like?
What'd be crazy cool is if you could incorporate a flip-top shifter knob on the Chicago with a single button inside to activate the Ruckstell. Something almost like the NOS button in Eleanor from Gone in 60 Seconds. That'd let you keep essentially a safety on it so you don't shift it accidentally, it'd be a really cool place to 'hide' it, and it'd be ergonomic and not force you to move a hand in an already hand-busy control environment.
I'm planning to shift the Ruckstell with a 12v solenoid much like the Columbia 2-speed axles used on the '46 to '48 Fords did. They were actuated by a button on the dash that shifted the Columbia into high. I will modify the shift lock housing to accept the modified solenoid for a nice clean package.
I will most likely do the same as the shift lever is too small to run any wires down, but a great idea!
The Juice brakes will be a neccessity at that point for those grades as well, but period correct hydraulic brakes are hard to do....but I have a complete set of 1924 Lockheed-Wagner 4-wheel brakes for the T that will do nicely. I will also work in a set of small drum brakes (cable actuated) inside the rear brakes for an parking brake and emergencies