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JULY 2015

SEPTEMBER 2015


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Today I got started on a project that's been waiting a long time. Storage space is scarce in a roadster, so I'm making a box to fit under the seat behind the fuel tank. I have a lot of galvanized sheet metal, so all I had to buy was some sheet metal screws. I'm making the thing in pieces, which I'll assemble to make sure they fit together, then take apart. Because of the close quarters, I'll put the pieces into the space separately, then assemble them in place.




Sunday, August 2, 2015

Mostly I worked on that box again.  This is one of those projects that gets redesigned as I go, when I find out that the first design isn't going to work. In this case the first version was too wide at the top to fit, and a little too tall at the rear. Making the top part narrower and a little shorter in back wasn't terribly difficult, but it was slow work. I'm afraid screwing the pieces together inside the car will be even slower.


Monday, August 3, 2015


Today I finished my little cargo box and installed it in the car. It will be a good place to carry my oil check tool, headlight wrench and other items I want to keep in the car.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

With the forecast showing a 100% chance of rain by noon, I decided that while it was relatively dry I'd better mow the grass that was getting way too tall in the lane down to the wood lot. After I got it mowed I attacked a mulberry tree that was coming up in the lane. I got all the twigs and small branches trimmed off and dumped in the brush pile just as the first sprinkle arrived, about a quarter after ten. In a day or two, when we're back to dry weather, I'll fire up the chain saw and remove the rest of the tree. Once the rain started I took care of an indoor project that's been awaiting my attention. Since I reinstalled the rebuilt engine in my roadster, I've never been able to move the throttle lever all the way up to the top of the quadrant, where it should be when the car is idling. This is because the caburetor pull rod is about 3/8" too long. I have a rod of the right length somewhere, but I have no idea where it is, so today I made a new one. I painted it and it's drying in the oven overnight, and tomorrow I'll install it.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A nice morning rainstorm a gave all the plants a drink, but it was over by ten. I went to town for some shopping, which included buying a brass nut to replace one I lost off the roadster. It was $1.40! When I got home I went online and bought a package of 25 for about 58 each so I'll have plenty that don't cost a fortune when I need more. My other work on the roadster was installing the throttle rod I made yesterday. It was a perfect fit and works exactly as it's supposed to. In the afternoon things had dried out enough for me to use the clippers and remove some of the little volunteer trees that were in my way behind the shop. Tomorrow I'll fire up the chain saw and get rid of some bigger ones that need to go.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

The centerpiece of today's acitivities was the rest of that tree and vine removal. There are still a couple of low-hanging branches I need to trim from one of the big trees, but the point where I want to cut them is too high for my ladder to reach. I'm going to try an electric saw on a long pole, so when I went to town I bought some U-bolts to attach the saw to the pole. I went to town in the roadster, and found that I made the new shorter throttle rod too short. I had to use the brakes and the low pedal for slowing down way too often, and at one point flooded out. Tomorrow I'll make another rod somewhere between the one that's too short and the one that's too long.




Friday, August 7, 2015

Somewhat lower humdity meant that although there was dew on the grass, it wasn't as sopping wet as in recent days. So my first job of the day was shoving the push mower around the lawn edges I couldn't reach with the tractor mower.  By ten the heat was building and I gave it up in favor of indoor work. I made that throttle rod for the roadster, and it's a much better fit. When I tried it I was pleased to find that now the car will slow down to a normal idle. The disappointment came when I tried to drive into town to pay bills. The car repeatedly lost power and died, and I turned around and headed for home. This intermittent fuel starvation is really aggravating. Tomorrow I'll drain the tank, remove the sediment bulb, and see if I can get it apart. I don't remember ever checking the screen, and I suspect that may be where the problem is. My last adventure of the day was attending a meeting of the township board to push for shade trees in the cemetery. The old, original part of the cemetery has always had trees, but the newer areas are bare except for a few little lollipop trees. Some of my cousins have offered to donate trees, so I want to get the board moving on this before the fall planting season.

  

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The old rule was in full force today: Everything takes longer than you think it will. I drained all the gas out of the roadster's tank, removed the sediment bulb, and set about trying to open it up to check the screen. I tried several kinds of wrenches, including even a pipe wrench, and all I was doing was chewing up the flange. So finally I fired up the acetylene torch, turned the flange red, and let it cool. That broke it loose and it turned easily. I had hoped to find the screen at least partially clogged, which would explain the fuel starvation problem, but there wasn't much dirt in it at all. Like Edison, I succeeded in finding one more thing that wasn't the answer.  I spent the rest of the day working on the sediment bulb valve, which had a  broken spring and a bent shaft. You can't buy a new valve without buying the whole new bulb  for $65 plus shipping, so I need to fix this one.  When I went to town this evening I bought a spring for the valve, and I hope to get the thing back together and working tomorrow. Then I can try out some of the suggestions I got from the guys on the Model T forum.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Job one today was mowing around trees and bushes and other hard-to-reach places with the push mower. By 10:30 the exercise was getting pretty steamy, so I did some mowing with the tractor until it started getting tired. After working normally for a half hour or more, it starts losing power. I suspect a valve getting stuck open when it's heated. But I'm not going to tear into it in the middle of mowing season. For now I'll just mow in stages. In the heat of the day I moved into the shop and got back to work on the roadster. I reinstalled the sediment bulb and fuel line, opened the carburetor drain valve, and shot a video of the gas running out. I posted a link to the video on the Model T forum and asked for opinions. I couple of the guys thought the flow looked insufficient, and suggested removing one of the two screens. I'll try that tomorrow and see if it helps.


Monday, August 10, 2015

It was another day blown working on the roadster. First I took advantage of the morning cool to do more trimming with the push mower, but rain arrived and put a stop to that. At that point I went to the shop and applied some of the various suggestions from guys on the Model T forum. After a lot of dealing with fuel supply and being satisfied that enough was reaching the carburetor, and having opened up, cleaned, and adjusted the carb numerous times, I suspected that the problem might be electrical. So I took out the timer's rotor and replaced it with one that I thought looked better, cleaned the brush surface with steel wool, and did the same to the inside of the timer case. When I finished all that I tried starting the car. It started easily on battery. Good. Even better, when I switched to MAG it started easily on magneto. I shut it off and started on MAG again, ten more times. Great! So it was time for another test drive around the block. The car ran fine almost half way around, then reverted to sputtering, bucking, and backfiring. I nursed it along to about a quarter mile from home, then it died. I rolled the car off the road, got a ride home from a passing neighbor, and left the car there to cool down.  After dinner I walked back to the roadster, started it up, and managed to get it home without stalling again. But it still wasn't running right.  This intermittent rough running and loss of power, and especially the backfiring, lead me to suspect ever more strongly that there's some kind of electrical problem. I'll look into that next.



Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cool weather has arrived, with highs under 90 and lower humidity. I took advantage of that and spent the first part of the morning pulling weeds, cutting small trees, and trimming branches along the west drive. After that I started up the Allis and mowed the front lawn. I spent the afternoon doing laundry, shopping, and gassing up the Camry. The price has dropped like a rock in the past month, and I paid $2.199 a gallon. If the slide continues, we may get under $2.



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

In the morning I did more mowing. Just as I finished, the tractor ran out of gas. Most of the day I worked on the roadster, still trying to figure out the hard start/no start. No luck.


Thursday, August 13, 2015


That balky roadster ate up my morning again. It still refuses to run. It starts up for a couple of revolutions, then dies. In the afternoon I refueled for yard work. I was down to only about three gallons of gas in one can. So I poured that into the truck, put all six empty cans in the back, drove down to the casino, and filled the cans and the truck. It's worth the five mile drive because the Oklahoma price is usually at least 10 a gallon cheaper than in town.




Friday, August 14, 2015

In the morning I did more tree trimming along the west drive.  I cut off  little trees that were inconveniently placed, and poisoned the stumps, and trimmed  off branches that were sticking out into the drive, and  made space for the redbuds to grow and spread. They'll make a nice flowering display in the spring. In the afternoon I got into the shop and worked on a pair of carburetors. All I really did was put them on the 1923 touring to see if they worked. The car started right up on the first pull of the crank both times, so the carbs are OK. That eliminates the carburetor as a reason for the roadster's failure to start. When I went to town for groceries I also did some futile shopping for a fuel shut-off valve for the touring. As usual, nobody had anything that even came close to what I want, so that will be another online search.



Saturday, August 15, 2015

Disgusted. I worked on the roadster all morning and into the afternoon. Eventually I got it to start easily. I went for a test drive. The car ran well for about a mile and a half, then died. There was a little over a gallon of fuel in the tank, and I hoped that the low pressure from the low gas level was the problem. A passing neighbor gave me a ride home to get a can of gas. I poured in the whole five gallons. It made no difference. The car wouldn't even cough. I got another ride home, hitched up the trailer, and spent most of the rest of the afternoon loading up the roadster and bringing it home. Disgusted.

Sunday, August 16. 2015

I mowed a little, and shopped a little, but today's main job was unloading the roadster and getting it into the shop. That was an opportuity for some video practice.


Monday, August 17, 2015

With rain in the forecast for tomorrow, I thought it best to empty the big load of yard trimmings in the truck before the road to the brush pile gets wet and soft. I got in a little more mowing too, before the tractor got tired and lost power. But the main job of the day was window frames. I need two for the southwest upstairs bedroom, and I got one made and ready to install. I might have got started on the other one, but my old drill died and I had to go to town for a new one. I want to get those frames done and the windows installed so the precious adorable kitties can't get into the house and climb up on the kitchen table and counters.



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Working indoors on a wet day, my main project was rigging up a tree saw. I'm always very careful, but when trimming high branches I don't like climbing a ladder with a running chain saw. For a long time I've wanted a better way. So today I mounted an electric chain saw on a ten foot section of antenna mast, ran the cord down the inside of the mast, and installed a switch at the bottom. If tomorrow afternoon is dry enough, I'll try it out.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015


This morning
I took the gas tank out of the roadster. I had drained out most of the gas, but some was still in the tank. When I turned the tank over and sloshed out the remaing gas, a lot of dirt came with it. If that was the only thing wrong, I'd flush out the tank, seal the inside, and put it back in the car. But tilting the tank produced the sound of something sliding inside. A baffle had come loose. I'm not about to cut the tank open and try to fix that. I hate to spend the $160, but when I'm in Iowa I'll stop at Birdhaven and pick up a new tank. My other main job of the day was a bit of yard work to try out my "new" tree saw. It worked very nicely, and I shot some video. I'll get a couple more shots tomorrow and post the full thing for all the world to see.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

I'm always careful using a chain saw, but I've never been comfortable running one perched up on a ladder when I trim trees. For years I've been wanting a rig like the one I assembled Tuesday and tried out yesterday. This morning I finished the video. This thing is going to make tree trimming considerably easier. Today I took time off from other projects to get ready to leave. In the morning I'm off to an auction in Iowa, so I decided to pack and gas up the car today so I won't get a late start.



Birdhaven, Colfax Iowa

Friday, August 21, 2015

Travel day. I spent the day driving to Iowa for an auction. I stopped at Birdhaven Antique auto Parts in Colfax to buy a new gas tank for the roadster, then stopped to gas up and eat dinner in West Des Moines. Now I'm using the free wi-fi at the McDonald's in Carroll. In the morning I'll drive over to Lanesboro and see if I can snag any fabulous bargains at the auction.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

As planned, I spent the day at the auction, then traveling. I'll take the time for more of a report when I get home.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Yesterday's auction was a pleasant day in the country, and I got to visit with some of the guys from the Model T forum, but it wasn't a very productive day for finding what I wanted. I did buy some things, mostly parts I'll be able to use later or sell to pay for someting I want. It was not a large sale. It started at ten and was over by three, and I was on the road home.  Stopping to eat at Buffet City in West Des Moines I found they have some dishes you don't normally see in Chinese buffets. I loved the baked spinach. Absolutely delicious. I drove an hour or so, slept in an Iowa rest area, then drove home today with a couple of stops. The first was a long stop in the Kansas City area to visit my cousin Ernie and his wife Ann who live in Liberty.
The second was a short stop in Iola at Model T Haven to buy the rim I hadn't found at the auction. I got a very nice one, reasonably priced at $45.


Monday, August 24, 2015

The centerpiece of today's action was sandblasting. My main subject was the rim I bought yesterday. Then, having more sand in the blaster, I did an exhaust manifold. It's slightly warped out of alignment,  but should be an easy fix. In the afternoon I prepped and primed the rim, and I should be able to get it packed and shipped to the wheelwright tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Well, I did get that rim packed and ready to go, but making the crate, packing, and scheduling the pickup took too long for it to go today, so it will be on its way to Ohio tomorrow. When that was done I unloaded some of the stuff I brought home from Saturday's auction. I didn't finish that because I took time to sort as I put things away. I have too much auction plunder that I unloaded fast with the idea of sorting it later. Somehow I haven't got around to it, so I have lots of sorting to do. I might as well do it when I unload so I don't have to deal with it later.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

This was sediment bulb day. The one in my roadster has an outlet so chewed up from attempts to remove it that a wrench is useless on it. So I built it up with new brass and took it to the machine shop at the juco to mill it. Finding that I hadn't added enough new brass, and that some of what I did add didn't stick, I brought it home and added more. I was doing all this with the thought that I had no other sediment bulb. But then I remembered another tank in the barn. The sediment bulb from that one has the valve handle broken off, but the outlet is OK. To get the outlet off I had to turn it red, but it looks like a good one. I'm soaking it in carburetor cleaner overnight to be sure the screen as as clean as possible, and hope to have everything together tomorrow and the new tank installed in the car.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Well, maybe tomorrow I can get that tank in. I spent most of the morning unloading last weekend's auction haul and sorting. Then in the afternoon I did laundry. Those two things took up most of my day.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Today I installed the new tank. It took longer than it should have, with time out to shorten bolts that were too long, repair mashed threads, and other little snags, but I got it in. I started up the car several times, on both battery and magneto, and let it run at idle for over fifteen minutes with no problem. The real test will be tomorrow when I take it out for an actual drive. I'll be ready to declare victory if I can drive three miles without any troubles
.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Victory! I drove around the block (two miles) with no trouble. So I drove around two blocks (another three miles). Again, no problems. So I drove the car into town to buy apples and fill the tank. That made fifteen miles of driving today with no more coughing or sputtering. All is not yet perfect. Even when the engine is warm, it takes two or three pulls of the crank to start on MAG. But as long as it starts fairly easily and runs well, I'm happy with it for now.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Back to the house. Today I made the other window frame for the upstairs west wall, and nailed in most of the 1" shims that will hold the new sheet rock. A few more of those, and then the outside boards on the window frames, and I'll put in the windows and be finished with the outside of this wall. Then I'll get busy on the upstairs back wall. I still hope to finish the upstairs outside this year, then get to work on the inside.


Monday, August 31, 2015


Change of plan. For the last week or two I've been finding bits of deteriorated plastic sheeting scattered about the yard. I knew the source. Time and weather do not wait. The sheeting I had nailed up as a temporary cover on the upstairs east wall had reached its inevitable falling-apart stage. Do I buy new sheeting and put it up? Or do I save those few dollars and invest that time to shingle the wall and have done with it? I went with the latter choice. I took down the old plastic and got started on the shingling. The slowest parts of the job will be the bottom rows and the top, where I have to cut the shingles to fit the angle of the roof. In between, the shingling will be a little quicker. But I will have to take time to install new window frames. The old windows are fine, but some of the wood in the framing is in poor enough shape to be replaced. I hope I can finish this job in a couple of weeks. We shall see.

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