Any recommendations on a good Model T engine rebuilder in California? I appreciate any help.
Larry Blair (Tin Shed) in Santa Fe Springs is great (altho I hear he may be backed up a bit). Used to use him when I lived up there and was very happy. He's very good, honest, and reasonable. His address is in the Vintage Ford magazine:
8949 Santa Fe Springs Rd. #B
Whittier, CA 90606
I plan to have one done by driving it to Eric Barrit in Auburn. Or else ship it to Ron Miller in Ohio.
There might be a guy in Turlock who also does babbit & rebuilds too.
Dan, you didn't say wher in Ca. you are. If you have to ship it you might as well send it to Ohio.
I had the engine in my 15 rebuilt by Baechler Machine 281 E. St. Charles St. San Andreas, Ca. 95249 (209)-754-4646. The owner is Willie Baechler. His work was very good. He fixed several deck cracks with out charging extra and fully assembled the engine to short block state when I was expecting to get unassembled but machined parts. I highly recommend him.
Dan MacEachern in Alameda does super work, including modifications. He posts here, too.
Katzorke Machine Works in Carson City Nevada is as good as it gets. His phone, as printed in Vintage Ford, is (775)883 3326. His website is: http://web.mac.com/katzorke. He did two of mine and they both are great. He also has a pan straightening fixture, and can handle anything Model T. His turn around time is quick.
Does anyone know if David Daigh in Durham, CA still is rebuilding T engines? He did three for me years ago and he was considered the best around at that time, at least in the circles I run with. That was before Erik and Ed.
I have visted Eriks place in Auburn and was impressed by his tools and fixtures. He has certainly thought throught the troublesome areas and designed ways to machine around them, eg a fixture for truing the crank flange in the block.
I have also visited Eds place in Carson City. He has a remarkable collection of working K R Wilson tools and uses them in the tried and true methods.
As a matter of course, I tear down an engine after I get it back from the rebuilder. With Daighs engines, I found everything done expertly well. Eg placing the rods and pistons on an alignment jig, I found each pistons with less than .002" tilt. That's not easy to achieve.
Taking apart a rebuilt engine to inspect it is not the smartest thing you can do. It's insulting first of all, if you have that little faith in someone, don't hire them. Your a nightmare for us. You're Mr. Fiddles, can't leave well enough alone. You fiddle with everything, then you "fix or improve it" until it won't work at all anymore. If your so good that you can judge others work, why don't you just do the job yourself?
I don't know how others do it, but for example - I build the transmission piece by piece on the finished block, checking for run-out as I go. If you pull off the transmission and just slap it back on where you think it was, you destroy the work I did. You'll probably never get it back exactly where I put it. It will bolt back on, but you may be a few thou off from where I put it. Put it on 180 out and you will probably create huge alignment and vibration problems in an engine that was perfect when it left here.
After tearing down and putting one of these engines together, do you blame the builder for problems you create? A spec of dirt accidentally gets in the bearings, or a misplaced shim. You also destroy all the seals and gaskets in the process of being too curious.
One other thing I do here for long distance customers is photograph each build. I do this to keep the owner in the loop and for scrap books. The photos show what was done so you don't have to destroy my work just to see what's inside.
I agree with Tim to a point.
In most cases leave it alone! There are exceptions.
I had a model A done to short block without valves in Santa Rosa, Ca.
When I got it home I noticed a lot of gringing dust in the bottom end.
Then I saw metal shavings still in a rod dip.
I decided to take it apart and clean it & check bearing clearances.
It had .004" on the mains and .008" on each rod!
It was a mess, I had to get another crank and have it turned to about .008" on the mains. Finding a good std. crank was fun.
I had the rod juornals turned to an odd size and that left it with no rod clearance. Ever had a crank journal turned .001"?
I had to have the rods reamed a thousandth. That wasn't cheap and I still had to scrape some out of each one to get the engine to turn.
Good thing I didn't just put it in the car and start it when I first got it back.
At first I took it back to the shop but after 3 weeks of nothing I went and got it and fixed it myself. No refund ofcourse.
Aaron, sounds like you hired the wrong person and then made things worse before making them better. You had reason to take it apart - the debris.
I can't believe you ruined a good standard crank, instead of just opening up the babbitt 0.008" - or just pulling out a couple shims to close the gaps.
Have no fear Tim, I would no more take your engine apart than I would my brand new television.
I apperciate the time you took to document every step of this engine build by picture with me and putting up with the endless questions I had to ask.
The pride in workmanship shows in the detail on the outside and it shows from the detail in the pictures of the inside too.
I will break my engine in EXACTLY as you suggest. I won't just pour oil in it and take it for a flat out, long diatance, drive like that guy did to the twin of my engine you built.
Tim, I am indeed competent to judge the work of others and if I had all the necessary tooling, would do all the work myself. I have been rebulding motors all my life (63 this coming February) and still do the lions share of the work. If I could trust the work of others I wouldn't do it at all, but anyone who does mechanical work on a T knows you can't always trust others to do the job right. I could tell you countless stories about how things were screwed up by professional engine rebuilders like yourself. Eg front cam bearing with .012" slop, rods not aligned, misaligned third cam bearing, cylinder rebores not parallel to the crank centerline, valve spring tension not up to spec, valves not seating properly. Lke I say,
I do most all my own engine work. I have always done my own transmissions and the last three I achieved less than .002" final run out on the tailshaft. I'll put my work next to yours any day of the week and twice on Sundays.
So don't be so damn critical of others. You know, I gave you some slack when you started posting, but anymore I am getting tired of your caustic remarks. I didn't jump your bones when you screwed up that front cam bearing if you recall. You need to learn some socializing skills.
Aaron, I think I might know the guy in Santa Rosa you speak of. I had to rebuild an engine for a friend he did some time back. It was a mess.
"I didn't jump your bones when you screwed up that front cam bearing if you recall."
That's the second time (at least) that you have pointed out what a saint you are and how you didn't criticize me on the cam bearing thread.
So lets have at it.
The cam bearing in that engine was cut short on the rear end to clear the first lobe and stop near the end of the actual journal. The bearing is locked in place in the block by a pin and can't move. The front of the bearing was not touched, and rode on the face of the cam flange as intended. Ford spec says a few thou (004?) clearance, yes - but does not reference the short cam journal that ends well before the lobe starts.
Add this too: The cam is locked in place by a pin in the front of the Bosch front plate on that engine. It can't move forward or backwards with this setup. The helical gears by nature push the cam back to the block and the engine spins. This also holds it in place even if it didn't have the front plate distributor on it. Unless your running the engine backwards it can't go anywhere even if it's cut 1" too short.
Here's the thread:
I will say that I overshot the recommended clearance on that bearing and it didn't amount to a hill of beans. I have been following Ford specs since, just because it seems like the right thing to do.
Richard, so confident in yourself with no trust in others at all. As for me, I continue to learn something new daily and keep an open mind. If I need an expert, I do research and hire the right person for the job. I let them do what they do best, and I don't destroy what they did with the intention of finding flaws. Maybe you should try looking for what they did right, and having a little faith in others while I'm taking my social skills lessons.
As for "jumping my bones" - sorry dude, I don't find you attractive.
First, it wasn't me who called you on the cam bearing. I remember the discussion. In fact, it was me that stuck up for you on that occasion.
Now before you continue your ranting, look to see who starts this mess. Your pattern is pretty typical. Someone makes an innocent post, you ridicule the person, the person responds in kind and then you are the offended one. You could avoid much of the ill will directed toward your posts if you would learn to disagree without getting nasty. Like I said, I gave you encouragement in the beginning when you and Coilman had that go around, remember that one. Well now you've alienated me.
"The helical gears by nature push the cam back to the block and the engine spins. This also holds it in place even if it didn't have the front plate distributor on it. Unless your running the engine backwards it can't go anywhere even if it's cut 1" too short."
Dunno about the Bosch front plate, but the cam will try to move fore and aft at any steady engine speed due to uneven load from the valve springs pushing on the lobes. I had one that wore itself up to .040" before I put a retainer in the A-K front plate.
Personally, I like both of you guys and really appreciate what you know and what you share, so thank you!
I like the feisty dialogs that occur now and then on this discussion group.... it adds pizazz and fires it up by demonstrating the passion every one has, so don't stop!...
So, thanks Tim for your input and Thanks Richard for yours! You guys are great. Keep the passion. I learned long ago that if you put 40 people in a room and ask a question, you will get 40 different answers!
By the way, that is one of the reasons I ask basically the same question now and then... the other reason is that I probably forgot asking it before!!
"but the cam will try to move fore and aft at any steady engine speed due to uneven load from the valve springs pushing on the lobes."
-Huh? the valve springs push the cam forward? I don't get it.
If the thrust surface on the rear of the front cam bearing wasn't necessary, Ford wouldn't have put it there. It wears, doesn't it? If it wears, it means that the cam moves forward.
Try turning a cam without its gear by hand. It will go in fits and jumps. When that happens with the gears engaged...
Pretty basic logic.
There is no thrust surface on the rear end of the front cam bearing, only the front.
My take on the valves moving the cam front to back is this. I doubt it. Pushing up and down won't make it move forward or backward unless your cam lobes aren't true and parallel to the shaft.
I thought it was pretty much accepted that the cam moves forward and rearward when the engine is running, but I could be wrong. I figured the reason for setting the clearance at .004" was so the cam was captured in the bearing and wouldn't bang around. The rear of the first bearing does take the thrust of the elongated front lobe of the camshaft. Remember the discussion of the problem with the earlier style front bearing, the one with the notch. Some complained that the first lobe of the camshaft would enter the notch when turning, causing a knock and other problems. Unless the camshaft were moving forward that would not occur. The fact that Ford changed to a later style from bearing is evidence it did in fact occur regularly enough to require modification.
The rear surface of the front cam bearing is a thrust surface. If not, that 0.004" clearance specification would not be important. Many folks fear using reground camshafts because the radius of the base circle is reduced, often significantly, and this reduces the "full circle" thrust area between the cam and the bearing and relies on the lobe to take the thrust and this is undesirable at best.
If the rear face of the front bearing isn't supposed to take the forward thrust, what does?
I would think that if a rear thrust surface were required, Ford would have added a second flange and radius to match the front. The crank gear pulling on the helical cam gear keeps rearward force on the cam. If you reversed the engine, it would pull forward and need that rear thrust surface.
I could be wrong, but you have to admit it's an interesting discussion either way.
Tim, I didn't screw it up worse, and I didn't ruin a good crank. I figured taking shimms out may work but it leaves the clearance on the sides where the rod and cap meet pretty loose.
I got a crank that had not bee turned but was rough and had it turned to something between std and .010". I think .008. I don't remember. The crankthat was 2 small for the new mains went in another engine.
The place in Santa Rosa was Tadies, or someting like that. The guy that did the work had been doing T babbit for 50 years.
I wanted it balanced because that's why we tore it down in the first place. I shook like helll. He did not balance it and it still shakes worse than any of the other 20 or so model A cars and trucks that I work on.
Now I just have the crank done at Hayward at Ed's and have the babbit done wherever I can and have Stirtz bore the block and provide the pistons and balance evrything.
I put it together and do the valve seats myself.
I do the cambearings on later stuff too.
I've been building and rebuilding engines of all types (except rotory) since 1954.
That includes Jag, MB, BMW a few dozen model A and flathead V8 Ford & Cad ahundred or so VW air cooled and a few diesles. Never did a Rolls.
The helical gear only pushes the cam rearward when the engine is driving the cam - meaning when the cam is opening a valve. When the cam lobe goes over center and that valve begins to close, the camshaft is driving the engine and the camshaft will move forward. This is what Ralph Ricks was trying to explain in a post above. This is especially true at low engine speeds where there is almost zero flywheel effect in the cam gear, even if it is heavy bronze.
IMO, the radius has nothing to do with thrust, but more to do with stress between the gear hub and the camshaft and manufacturing processes.
Seth, the cam driving the crank is a little hard to swallow. Even if it is the case, there are 7 more valves in play to complicate your theory.
It's no theory. It's reality. There aren't but two valves at a time that are open, so there's no point in dragging the other six into this discussion.
The cam moves forward in operation. Just accept it and move on.
It may not move the crank, but it pushes against it, trying to move it.
That's why some engines have to be locked up to get the timimg belt lined up right, the lifter on the ramp of the cam is moving the cam which turns the cam gear against the crank gear which turns the crank which tips over the glass of water which runs down the chute into another cup that gets heavy and compresses the framis valve to release the furnortner rod.
ROFL!! You Baaad!
Now who here doesn't know what Arron is talking about?? (Hint: Initals are R. G.)
Tim - As I've said before, I'm no engineer, and Seth is. However, I recall a problem that Pontiac engineers ran into with the very first Pontiac Tempests! Yeah, I know; this is a Model T Ford forum, but bear with me; I leading up to a point, if I can explain it, and I think it might help justify what Seth is saying. Pontiac took a shortcut with the first Tempest; instead of designing a whole new 4-cylinder engine for their new "compact" car (a new concept at that time) they just cut their existing V8 engine in half, and just used the one bank of 4 cylinders for an engine. Well, long story short, it might have worked except for one major oversight. The camshaft on a 4 cyl. engine, at certain critical speeds, actually pulsates due to the force of the valve springs. This does not happen on a 6 cyl. engine or a V8; the force needed to drive the camshaft on a 6 cyl or an 8 cyl engine is more of a steady load. But on the Tempest 4 cylinder, the engineers used the existing timing CHAIN that the V8 used, and at those certain critical speeds or RPM's, that timing chain actually "whipped" due to the pulsating action of the camshaft. This whipping action of the timing chain actually over time, caused the timing chain to stretch, and as the 4 cyl engine was built just like the V8, with no tensioning idler or device to keep the timing chain tight (the V8 didn't need it due to the steady load from twice as many valve springs as the 4 cyl engine) the timing chain actually stretched enough (and whipped enough) to begin hitting the stamped sheet metal timing chain cover with the damndest clatter you ever heard. One of the biggest "goofs" that Detroit engineers ever made! Maybe a few guys on this forum old enough like me will remember how horrible those first 4 cyl Pontiac Tempests sounded with all that clattering! Anyway, that problem, to me, is an example of what Seth is talking about. For what it's worth,.....harold
Question. What causes the cam to move forward when using spur gears? On cams using the earlier style timing gears, and front bearing, I often notice wear on the minor thrust surface of the front lobe, ie the small area opposite the lobe. Its this wear plus the corresponding area on the back of the front bearing that allows the lobe to enter the notch. So its evident that the cam is moving forward even with the spur cut gears. What causes this?
My father-in-law bought a year-old Tempest convertible for his son. I never knew what caused that awful clatter until now. The used car dealer had some weak excuse for it, and I wasn't really involved. Dunno how long he kept that car, or if he ever had it fixed.
If the cam isn't loading the gear opposite of the thrust direction when the valves are closing, what causes the cam gear rattle? It's pretty obvious that when the valves are opening the thrust is one way and when they are closing the thrust is the other. Just go flip a block upside down and watch it.
Load, then no load, then load, then no load = rattle. It doesn't have to mean that the cam is driving the crank. A Loose gear will rattle too.
I'm still wondering why forward and rearward cam movement occurs with straight cut gears. I understand the effect using spiral cut gears. Is it simply that the cam moves randomly for an aft in operation since only front bearing is holding it in postion and any play in the side to side clearance allows movement back and forth?
With straight cut gears there is no force holding it back. Maybe vibration, gravity, worn cam lobes no longer perpendicular to the shaft.
Rattle in the timing gears could never be caused by load, then no load, then load. It could only be caused by load in one direction changing to load in the other direction. The inertia of the cam gear, regardless of how small it is would keep the gear teeth engaged if load, no load, load was the case and there would not only never be any noise from the cam drive gears regardless of backlash, there would also never be any wear on the "unloaded" gear teeth.
But there is. And it is because the camshaft does try to drive the crank when the cam lobes go over center.
Here is the thread.