|Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The old defunct gas pipe I unearthed last fall has been lying in the yard ever since. With mowing season coming on, it needed to be out of the way. So one of today's little chores was cutting it into smaller, easier-to-handle pieces. Another piece of business was a visit by an appraiser to look over my new Fordor sedan. I'm having it appraised so I can get insurance and get it registered.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
After a week or more of early summer, today brought a return to normal early April. A little rain overnight was followed by an overcast morning and a day cool enough for me to wear a coat and a wool cap. I spent the day inside and devoted a lot of it to Model T research. But my first research of the day was looking at the 1940 census just released online. I found my folks at 1363 Gulf Avenue in Wilmington, and learned that my dad earned $35 a week as an assistant stillman at the refinery. The neighbor who worked as a cook at the cafe next door (and his wife) lived on $18 a week. Sometimes when we see the low prices of things in those years we forget how low the wages were.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
There are lots of things to do, but tax day is coming soon and I haven't done mine, so this was my day to start rounding up all the papers and downloading the forms to fill out. I'll use the online services to do the figuring, but I'll file on paper. Last year I tried to file online and somehow it didn't work. By the time I found out about that it was past the deadline, and I ended up paying a penalty for being late. Not this year. Maybe I'll try the electronic thing next year and see if they've got the bugs out.
Friday, April 6, 2012
This was going to be the day to register my new Model T Fordor. But the rules have changed. Now I have to take it to the Winfield PD on a Tuesday or Thursday between eleven and one to have it inspected before it can be registered. After my wasted trip to the courthouse I spent the rest of the day working on taxes.
April 9, 2012
This was mowing day. First I went to town and bought a new battery for the mowing tractor. Then I installed the battery, changed the oil, greased the fittings, and mowed. But first, of course, I had to take a hike along the road and pick up all the trash thrown from passing cars by worthless trash. I got well over half the mowing done today, and should finish tomorrow if weather permits.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Last year I sent $10 to the Arbor Day Foundation which, as the name suggests, promotes tree planting. In addition to selling trees at very low prices, they send ten "free" flowering trees when planting season comes. The package includes two Sargent Crabapple, two Washington Hawthorn, two White Dogwood, two Golden Raintree, and two Eastern Redbud. The raintree and the redbud are rather superfluous, because those sprout up like weeds all over the place here. That's OK. I'll find a place for them. The ten trees arrived last week, so this morning my first project was figuring out where to plant them before they dry out and die. All of them will go along the lane down to my woodlot. The less desirable trees that are in the way will become firewood. While looking for good places to plant these trees I was reminded that I have a lot of trimming to do this spring and summer. Next winter I'll have more firewood than I can use, if I can just find the time to get it all cut. But today, the old rule still applies: everything takes longer than you think it will. Planting ten seedlings took almost all day. I made metal ID tags to put by each one so I'll recognize them when I'm clearing bush, then I took iron stakes to mark the places. I planted all ten along the east end of the lane to the woodlot. Next was time out from planting to mow the lane. With the lane mowed, the next chore was to braze the split bottom of my two gallon watering can. Finally, with the watering can repaired, I made five trips down the lane with water for all the newly planted seedlings. So that's how I spent my day.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Brrrrr! After a couple of weeks of unusually warm weather, in the past few days we've reverted to a normal April. After a little light rain during the night, today was cloudy with a few brief shots of sun durng the afternoon, and cool all day. We never even made it up to 60º. I got back to the non-startng sedan. I decided to take the carburetor off the sedan and try it on the touring to see if it works there. But I forgot I had the timer off to work in it. Once I got the timer back on, I tried starting and found that the battery was too weak to turn the starter. So I have a charger on the battery, and I'll try it again tomorrow.
April 12, 2012
After an overnight charge, the battery in the touring had plenty of juice to turn the starter. I tried starting the car, but all I could get was an occasional cough. I took out the spark plugs and laid them on top of the engine with the wires attached. With the ignition switch on, I pulled the crank and watched the plugs. All of them fired with good spark, indicating that the problem isn't in the ignition. So the other most likely cause of the trouble would be a fuel problem. That led me to spending the rest of the day working on a carburetor. The Holley NH carburetor has passages drilled in it which are closed with brass plugs. So I spent most of the day drilling out the plugs, cleaning the passages, and installing allen screws to close the drilled openings. Cleaning is done with a piece of bronze wound guitar string. That's rough enough to act as a file and dislodge dirt in the passage, but it's too soft to enlarge the passage. The allen screws will be easier to remove for future cleanings than brass plugs. I ended the day with passages cleaned and allen screws installed to plug three openings. There's one more opening waiting for me to buy one more screw. Then I'll be ready to put the carburetor back in the car and give it a try.
April 16, 2012
So this was the day for automotive detective work. I knew the carburetor was good, and I got good spark from the ignition system when I checked it last week, so the next thing to check was compression. There wasn't any. I took off the valve cover and turned the crank. Nothing moved. So the next thing to do was take off the timing gear cover and have a look at the gears. The chewed up fiber cam shaft gear explains it all. I'll need to clean all the fiber debris out of the engine when I replace the gear. I could get a new nylon gear for $80, or a new aluminum one for $50, or a new bronze one for $70. Or I can use the new steel one that was in a pile of stuff I bought at Friday's auction for $11. The nylon and aluminum gears are supposed to be quieter than steel, but I think I prefer the gear I already have that will be most likely to survive turning a generator. If it's a little noisier, that's OK. A Model T is supposed to be noisy, and inexpensive.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Break time. I took a day off from the Fordor to concentrate on the touring. Because the front wheel bearings were shot, I've been waiting to use it until I could have some new wheels ready for it to use the new bearings. Then I realized that I have two new front wheels that I finished a couple of years ago for my TT project. Today I put the new bearings in those wheels and put the wheels on the touring. This afternoon I drove the car into town to pay a bill and do some shopping. I didn't spend time taking any pictures, but it was a perfect spring day for a drive.
April 19, 2012
This was tool-making day. I made jaws for the puller that would fit and it took out the old timing gear in a few seconds. The wrench for removing the timing gear nut was another story. That took a lot of welding, grinding, and filing. Nobody will ever accuse me of being a great welder, but the thing turned out OK. I had a half dozen 1" sockets, so I used one of those to make it a socket tool. I ended the day trying it out, and it did the job exactly as intended. With all that done, I can move on the the next part of the project: cleaning all the shredded fiber from the old gear out of the engine and installing the new timing gear. Here's a picture showing the part of the wrench I made yesterday, and below you see the finished tool and me using it. Like the puller, it did the job in a few seconds.
April 24, 2012
Yard work and more yard work. Job one was planting that sweet gum seedling east of the house and the free red maple that came with it down in the wood lot. The maple is for decoration, not firewood. There are plenty of other trees for fuel, esecially the ones that are in troublesome locations. With the tree planting done, I moved on to moving dirt. There's a pile in the back yard that was left over from installing the new gas line last fall. Now that the ditch has settled in several places, I can use that pile to fill in the settled places. When I started moving dirt I noticed the squealing wheel on my wheelbarrow, so I took it off and greased it. It's probably the first time that's been done in seventy years. The grease job did make the thing roll a little easier. I worked on filling low places until three, and made a pretty good dent in the dirt pile. While I was out there I spotted Miss Kitty carrying a kitten across the yard. I didn't see where she took it, so I'll have to keep an eye out to see if I can spot where she has them stashed. When she started getting huge this spring I made sure she didn't get in the house. I didn't want her to have them in my sock drawer or some other inconvenient place. We've already been through that kind of adventure. After three I graduated to indoor chores like ordering a wheel bearing and packing a camshaft in oil.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Back to school! This morning I went to the community college and signed up to take a machine shop course next fall. "Fall" is an odd term in this case, as the class begins on August 17. It's an eight week course, though, so actual fall will be here before it's over. I want to learn machine work so I can make some of my own parts, especially for rebuilding carburetors. There are some models for which almost no new parts are available. When I got back from town I wasted WAY too much time online, then I did a little bit on the crippled Fordor. It was a very little bit. I put a pan under the car and drained the oil. I'll let it drip overnight, then I'll start cleaning shredded fiber timing gear debris out of the engine.