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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off .. I want to thank all of you that fallow my postings on my various projects. I enjoy your comments and ideas.
Taking the photos and figuring out what to write up is enjoyable to me and it helps fill in my time by giving me more to do and to think about than just building the things.

This one has some history to it. It is a special project that up until a couple of weeks ago, I had given up any idea of actually building it.

Back some time in the early 80's, I picked up this old model-T tractor conversion. It was really - really - really, rough. The tractor had sat so long that the wheels were buried in the ground and once we got it dug out, I found that the lower third of the steel wheels were mostly rusted away.
The rear wheels had a big gear on them that was driven by a smaller gear on the rear axle so part of those big gears were rusted away also.

There was no engine or transmission so that left the the input shaft on the rear axle open to the weather. Water had gotten in and frozen and cracked the underside of the axle housing in a couple of places.
The frame rails were both rusted thru in a couple of places where it had been welded on so even that wasn't any good.

I had the tractor set out as yard art in front of the house for awhile. After awhile, with the intention of still building an old tractor conversion, I stripped the radiator, firewall and steering column off it and scraped the rest of it.
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Still back in the 80's, I picked up a model-A engine...
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and a little while later, I got hold of a Chevy 4-speed truck transmission with a power takeoff that mounts on the side of it.
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On one of our weekend drives, late 80's or early 90's, we stopped at a second hand shop and they had this flat belt drive assembly hanging up on their back wall. The guy had no idea what it was off from. I offered him half of what the price he had listed on it and he took it ( if I remember right, I think I paid $25 for it ).
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This is and after market accessory that went with some of the model-T tractor conversion kits that were available back in the 20's, 30's & 40's.
It attaches to the front of the model-T to power the belt driven machinery that was used on the farm.
Here is one on a restored model-T tractor conversion.
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Here are the extra parts that came with the model-A engine. The firewall, steering column and the radiator of the old model-T tractor.
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During the 90's, I picked up a bell housing for the engine. Some other parts for the engine, including a new water pump.
A ( Fordson ) toolbox and a model-T truck dash panel. Two old spotlights from the early 20's.
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However, I never managed to find a model-T rear axle and rear wheels for converting a car to a tractor, not one that I could afford anyway.
As time went by, they became even harder to find and, of course, even more expensive when I did run across one.
By the time we moved down to Madison, Indiana in 2015, I had decided that I was never going to be able to build that model-T tractor conversion.

That brings me up to a couple of weeks ago. My son gave me a new set of 16 inch tractor cleat tires to use on the roller and I was looking around trying to find 16 inch wheels for them. There is a tractor junk yard not too far from me and I drove up there to see if he had any wheels.

I had told him about what I was working on and he did have a pair of wheels that I bought. I was telling him about some of the other projects that I've worked on and when I showed him the before and after photos of that Centaur tractor, he asked me if I would be interested in another tractor like that ? We walked over to a line of old rusty tractors, mostly Farmalls and JDs and a few Alis Chalmers. He showed me this old home built tractor that had a big Wisconsin engine and a model-T rear axle in it.
He said that he has had no luck trying to sell it but he doesn't want to scrap it and asked me if I though I could restore it ?

Immediately I started thinking about that model-a engine and all the other parts that are stored up in the loft of my garage. He made me a very reasonable offer and I brought it home with me.

Surprisingly, considering how long this must have been sitting out in the weather, the Wisconsin engine still turned over. So I removed the engine and put it up in the garage and set the rest of the tractor out in front of the house as yard art for awhile.

This tractor came off a farm in South Caroline. The guy's wife is also from South Caroline and she knows the people who own the farm that they got this tractor from.
Wheel Sky Tire Plant Automotive tire

Wheel Tire Plant Automotive tire Vehicle

Here is the old Wisconsin engine. It's 18-1/2 inch tall to the top of the head.
I'm at my 10 photo limit here so I'll show more photos of the tractor on my next post.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Underneath the tractor, there are two frame rails from another model-T with six cultivator tines attached to them. There are two on each side under the center of the tractor ( it is missing some of the cultivator shovels ).

The front axle is home made ( I think ), and designed with a high arch so that the tractor can straddle a crop row with the cultivator shovels digging into the dirt on either side of it.
However, there is a steel bar running straight across between the two frame rails for the cultivators that kind of defeats the purpose of having the high arch front axle.
Looking thru to the back of the tractor, you can also see a trailer hitch hanging down under it.
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At the back, there is another high arch bracket connecting the two cultivator frame rails together with a cultivator tine lined up behind each rear tire.
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The Wisconsin engine was bolted to the two pieces of steel channels running crosswise on the frame. The engine was connected to the transmission with a V-belt.
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The belt tensioner pulley is a model-T fan mount.
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It is operated by a rod going back to the clutch pedal.
The transmission has the shifting arms on the side with two rods connected to them.
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Those rods connect to these two levers on the side of the steering column for shifting the transmission.
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The transmission is off an old car with an open driveshaft. The model-T rear axle had a closed driveshaft and it has been converted to an open driveshaft to connect to the transmission.
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I also think the rear hubs are actually the front hubs off the same car that the transmission came from. The hubs have six lugbolts so they may be GM ( I believe Oldsmobile first had and open driveshaft in 1940 ) ?
The model-T rear axle has been narrowed and the rear hubs are driven by a chain.

Taking into consideration how long ago this was built, I am impressed by the construction. They even made chain guards for the rear.
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So .. moving on, I took the model-A engine and parts down to the car wash to clean them off.
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The engine is mounted on my ( home made ) engine stand and ready to be taken apart and re-built.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This engine had a shaft with a sprocket on it bolted to the back of the crankshaft and was used as a stationary engine to power something. Because of that, it has a mechanical driven governor that is driven off the timing gear in the front.
I don't know how it works or how to adjust it yet, but it is a handy thing to have on a tractor that will have a flat belt pulley to drive farm machinery.
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I found this information on the internet.
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Got the head and manifolds off and it is obvious that this has been a home for little creatures for awhile.
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Surprisingly, the cylinders look really good. There are marks on the cylinder walls where the rings had been sitting in that one position for a long time but I can't see or feel any ridges or scratches in the cylinders.
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Pulling the oil pan, the underside looks good. I can't feel any slop in the rods.
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A little time spent with a putty knife, an air hose and the shop vacuum and it looks much better.
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As you can see, a couple of the valves are stuck open.
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The pistons came out without any problem at all and I quickly figured out why the cylinders are in such good condition. ...
The pistons are .070 over size so this has been board out and new pistons put in at some time in its life.
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Obviously, when they put in the new pistons, they did not do the valves. All of them have slop in the valve guides and one of them is corroded away so much that it broke off when I started fussing with it.

So .. the good part is that I will only need to hone the cylinders and put in new rings. The bad part is that I'm going to have to replace all of the valves and the valve guides.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
While I'm waiting for parts, I've set the engine up on it's end so I can start to figure out what I need to do to make the Chevy transmission fit on to it.
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Picking the transmission up by the tail end.
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The Ford bellhousing is bolted onto the engine and the transmission is set down on top of it.
The input shaft housing on the transmission is a little larger diameter than the hole in the bellhousing so the mounting surface of the transmission is held up about 3/16 inch from the surface of the bellhousing.

As you can see, the bellhousing is a lot longer than the transmission input shaft.
I place a piece of 3/16 inch thick steel across the surface where the clutch disk will set. Then I measure up to see how much I'll have to cut off the end of the bellhousing.
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Making a new pilot bushing to fit the Chevy input shaft to the ford crankshaft.
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This is fit down into the end of the crankshaft.
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The Chevy clutch disk is set in place, using the Chevy input shaft to line it up on center. Then the model-A pressure plate is bolted down to hold it in place.
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This locates the clutch disk on center and ready to locate the transmission once I get the bellhousing cut down.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The transmission mounting flange is cut off the back of the bellhousing with a saws-all.
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It is then clamped up on the mill to start cutting the surface so it is level all around.
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I can almost reach to the center to clean up the whole surface in two setups.
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The bellhousing is set back onto the engine and a straight edge is used to judge the depth of the cut so far.
My son is making the adapter plate out of 1/2 inch thick steel that the Chevy transmission will bolt to.
The bellhousing will be cut down to about where the white line is marked on it but I'm waiting until I get the adapter plate before I cut any more off the bellhousing.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Remember how the engine, transmission and power take-off were all rusty and partly covered with old caked on grease ?
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I've started cleaning some of the parts up.
The gear on the power-takeoff didn't slide in and out of position very well. I sprayed everything down with Brake Away penetrating oil and let it sit for a few days. Everything works smoothly now.
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I have set up a table to put the cleaned and primed parts on. The manifold is painted with high temp header paint.
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Working with old stuff like this, I am often surprised at how some part that looks really nasty on the outside, turns out o be really good on the inside. That turned out to be the case with this old transmission.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have this small driveshaft off something ? It has a sliding yoke on the right end that has both a 1 inch and a 3/4 inch diameter shaft with a keyway in them.
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The U-joint mounting flange is removed from the left end of the driveshaft.
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I want to fasten this mounting flange to the center of the brake drum on the back of the transmission but I'll need a spacer to clear the bolt in the center that holds the drum onto the transmission.
I have already pressed the studs out of the drum.
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This piece of aluminum is just big enough diameter to clear the studs in the drum.
I have turned it down to leave a lip that fits into the counter-bore in the center of the drum.
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Then I turn it around and machine a counter-bore that the U-joint flange fits into.
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The holes are drilled out and counter-board in the spacer so it fits over the studs and can be bolted down.
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I've had to notch out four places around the U-joint flange to clear the nuts on the studs. The first hole is drilled and tapped for the studs to fasten the U-joint flange in place.
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The finished U-joint flange is mounted to the drum.
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I'm going to take just the end piece with the sliding joint and it will be mounted onto the flange on the drum.
This gives me one end of a driveshaft with either a 1 inch or 3/4 inch shaft that should be easy enough to adapt to the model-T rear axle.
This is the length of the shaft when closed.
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And the length when fully open.
Gas Metal Engineering Composite material Auto part

2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I made up a cardboard pattern of the front of the transmission for the adapter plate and gave it to my son.
He is an engineer for a company that manufactures all sorts of suspension and running gear parts for the ATV market.
He had the adapter plate cut out of 1/2 inch steel on their laser cutting machine.
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The transmission input shaft is fastened to a piece of wood so it is the same length as it would be when bolted to the front of the transmission.
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The adapter plate is set on top of the cutoff bellhousing and the input shaft is set in place so I can gauge how much still needs to be machined off the bellhousing. The bottom edge of the blue tape is the depth of the input shaft when it is bottomed out on the crankshaft.
I also mark the bellhousing where the bottom edge of the adapter plate will be.
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The bellhousing is set back up on the mill and it is lined up the the line for the bottom edge of the adapter plate.
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The bellhousing is cut along this edge mark and to the depth of the finished depth.
Water Tap Liquid Fluid Sink

The rest of the surface of the bellhousing is then machined off and I put the bellhousing back on the engine.
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The adapter plate is set in place.
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And the input shaft is set in place.
You can see here how the bottom edge of the adapter plate rest up against the step in the bellhousing. This way, the weight of the transmission when it is bolted to the adapter plate will be supported by the cast iron bellhousing itself and not just by the welds.
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The input shaft now has about .100 clearance from bottoming out on the crankshaft.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Over the years I have made several transmission adapters but they have all been for automatic transmissions.
Those are simple. all you have to do is mate the starter flex plate and torque converter to the end of the crankshaft and make a plate to bolt to the back of the engine so the transmission can bolt to it.

This adapter is much more difficult.
I have the bellhousing cut down so the transmission input shaft sits at the right depth now. everything is lined up on center and I have secured the steel adapter plate to the bellhousing with four, counter sunk allen screws.
These not only hold the adapter plate in place while I finish doing other machine work, it will keep it secured later when I weld the adapter plate to the bellhousing.
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I have to use a Chevy clutch disk to fit the transmission and I have to use the Ford pressure plate to fit the flywheel.
At this point, I'm ready to figure out where the Chevy clutch throw-out arm is going to go.
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The hole for the throw-out arm is cut into the side of the bellhousing.
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The rounded pin that the throw-out arm pivots on is mounted onto the back of the adapter plate and welded in place.
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Checking the fit.
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The throw-out bearing poses a big problem.
This is a model-A throw-out bearing and a Chevy throw-out bearing.
The model-A bearing is a lot bigger diameter than the Chevy and the slide housing is a lot longer with a lot bigger bore and uses a completely different throw-out arm than the Chevy.
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So I need to mate the larger model-A throw-out bearing onto the smaller Chevy slide housing.
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To do that, I've machined out a brass adapter collar.
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This fits onto the Chevy slide housing and is held in place with the spring ring just like the original bearing was.
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Then the model-A bearing is pressed onto it like it is on the model-A slide housing.
Now I have a model-A throw-out bearing that is the correct length to fit onto the Chevy transmission.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
At this point, the input shaft is assembled back onto the front of the transmission.
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Now the adapter plate can be centered on the transmission so the location of the mounting holes can be marked.
The plate is put up on the drill press and the mounting holes are drilled and taped.
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The adapter plate is bolted back onto the bellhousing with the countersunk allen screws and then the transmission is bolted to it.
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The adapter plate and the bellhousing are welded together on the inside. This way, none of the welds are showing on the outside.
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The welds are cleaned and primed.
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And finely painted to help keep them from rusting.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Snyder's Antique Auto Parts sells this slick little tool for removing the valve guides from the block.
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With the valve spring removed from underneath, the tool is set down under the valve.
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The instructions on the package show that you can tap the valve guide out with the heal of your fist.
Well .. that might have worked 60 years ago but I had to use a hammer to get them out. Still, it didn't take much force to get the valve guides to move.
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The valve guide drops out from below.
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The guides themselves are made in two pieces and they split apart once they are out of the block.
The valve is then lifted out from the top.
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I used my die grinder to get down inside the pockets and clean them up.
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Then I took the block outside and cleaned it off good.
I'm ready now to grind the valve seats in the block.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Luckily, my son has this old hand operated valve grinding set for grinding the valve seats in the block.
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It consist of arbors that have bearings inside with a hex head on one end and a thread on the other end.
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The grinding stone is screwed onto it and the arbor then fits onto these guide pins.
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The guide pins come in different sizes to fit into different size valve guide bushings.
With this engine not having the valve guide bushings in it, I had to make up a brass sleeve to fit down into the block with the guide pin resting in it.
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The arbor is spun with the hand held electric motor.
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Here is the first finished valve seat.
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My brass sleeve fits nicely into the four intake valve guide holes. These were the ones where the valve guides came out the easiest. I had to use more force to get the valve guides out of the exhaust ports and my brass sleeve doesn't fit into them.
I'm using a hand reamer to clean these holes out just enough so my brass sleeve fits into them. This will also make the fit more uniform when I go to install the new valve guides.
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The valve seats are all ground smooth. Each valve will be hand lapped into the seat to finish the valve grind job.
I have sprayed the block with Eastwood's Oxisolv to remove the light surface rust that is already starting to form after I had cleaned the block.
It leaves that white coating on it to prevent rusting.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm replacing the solid lifters with a set of adjustable lifters.
I have also put steel sleeves into the exhaust ports. The sleeves they sell are split so they can adjust to any difference in the diameter of the holes.
I make my own sleeves that are solid all the way around and machined to fit snugly into each hole.
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The new valves are extra long and even with the lifters adjusted all the way down, the end of the valves still need to be ground down a little.
I clamped a V-block onto the belt sander at 90 degrees to the belt.
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Holding the valve in the V-block with two fingers, I can then push the end of the valve into the sanding belt, rotating it as I do this.
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This leaves a nice flat " swirly " finish on the end of the valve.
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These lifters have a center lock nut between the head and the body of the lifter.
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The valve is installed in the block with the spring and the valve keeper in place.
Then three wrenches are needed to hold the lifter body, adjust the head of the lifter and tighten the lock nut.
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I use a go - nogo feeler gauge to set the clearance.
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This is the valve closed.
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And this is the valve open.
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All of the valves are installed and the clearance set on each one.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I'm sure all of you have seen pistons installed in and engine at one time or another so I'm not going to bother with taking photos of that.
So, with the pistons all in and everything tightened down, it's time to start putting the engine back together starting with the timing gear cover.

I haven't paid much attention to that part and as soon as I picked it up, I knew that I had another problem. That boss on the inside with the hole in it is suppose to hold the spring loaded plunger that rides against the end of the camshaft to keep it from sliding forward.
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This is what that plunger looks like and I realize now that there wasn't one in there when I pulled the cover off.
A new timing gear has been put on this engine at one time and they forgot to put the plunger back in when they put the cover back on.
I can order one at $3.99 for the plunger and $12.76 for shipping and I wouldn't get it until Tuesday - at the earliest.
Naturally, this style of plunger is very old technology and the instructions for it says to be sure to grease it really good or it will make a nasty noise when you first start the engine.
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Now days, there would be a hardened ball that would ride against the end of the cam with the spring putting pressure on it.
So I decided to up-date this old engine and I came up with a 5/8 diameter ball bearing and a spring just the right size.
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There is already a chamfered hole in the center of the camshaft for the ball to ride on.
You can see here how good a condition the fiber cam gear is and you can tell that it has been changed because there are marks on the left side of the nut where they used a hammer and chisel to tighten the nut.
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With the spring and ball set into the cover, I held it up to the engine and you can see that there is about a 3/16 wide gap for compressing the spring.
That should be just the right amount of pressure on the camshaft.
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The rope seal is fit into the cover and it is bolted on.
This leaves quite a bit of the rope seal sticking up that needs to be trimmed off.
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The ends of the rope seal need to be trimmed off so you leave a little of it sticking out, both on this cover and on the oil pan, so the ends will be compressed together when the pan is bolted on.
I use a washer that is about .100 thick and I've trimmed it to form a U-shape.
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This is placed around the rope seal and then the ends can be trimmed off evenly with a razor blade.
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This leaves a nice even amount of the rope seal sticking out.
A light coating of grease is spread on the pulley shaft so there isn't a dry surface rubbing against the rope seal.
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The rope seal on the oil pan is trimmed the same way and the pan is bolted onto the block.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I was in Walmart this morning and they had a " dark " hunter green paint.
This is a much closer match to the original Ford model-A engine color.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Here it is.
A 1965 Chevy truck transmission with granny gear and power takeoff, mated to a 1931 Ford model-A engine.
Tomorrow the yard art comes into the garage so I can start working on it.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Hauled the tractor into the garage today.
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Then I put it up on stands to make it easier to work on and stripped it down to the frame and axles.
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Here is the pile of parts that were removed. Some of them will be re-used and some of them will not.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Both rear wheels were locked up on the tractor. Today I cut the drive chains off and removed the model-T rear axle.
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Here is the rear axle on the lift cart. It turns freely when I turn the driveshaft and the pinion gears inside work properly when I hold one axle or the other while turning the drive shaft.
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I was very pleased to find out that both rear hubs spin freely. It was the rusted drive chains that had everything locked up.
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The front axle is removed from the frame.
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The steering arms and the axle spindles are removed. I can tell right now that this axle will not support the weight of the model-A engine.
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The back of the axle has a bar welded to it to keep the axle from moving forward or backward.
This part would probably work fine but I would feel much more comfortable with longer radius arms on each side that are mounted farther back on the frame. So I'm going to change that.
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The size of the webbing of the axle is strong enough but there a weak area right in the center where the hole goes thru for the mounting bolt.
This area definitely needs to be beefed up.
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2,543 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Is that a homemade chassis? Can't remember now if you said it was.
The frame is off a Ford model-T with the boxed part at the back that the hubs are bolted to added to it.
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