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Old 10-05-2010, 08:32 PM   #1
RichPA
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Hi folks, recently bought a 29 Fordor 3 window, always wanted an A since a buddy let me drive his pickup back in high school.I needed to take up some space in the new garage and I could not pass this up.I've been a mech for over 40 years , the last 28 in Ford dealerships and this brings me back to my roots (carbs, points etc). Its an unrestored driver that needs some fixing.I want to keep it the way it is, just make it safe and reliable. Of course there are questions. The steering is too tight, some one probably tried to take out the slack so I want to try to readjust it. I understand there are 2 different boxes so how can it be identified so I can use the correct procedure? I think the car was built around August of 29 going by the VIN on the title. Also the generator acts funny. Above an idle it is always showing full blast on the amp guage, 25A.Its in the middle at idle,the voltage is 6.2 engine off, 6.4 running above idle.After running the battery down from to much tinkering the gen didnt seem to charge it back up, I had to use a charger. The battery is new, the cables and connections are good. The only thing I dont like is its connected negative ground, but I understand thats ok.Any ideas? Thanks in advance, I'm sure there will be more questions, Rich.
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:51 PM   #2
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Ok, aren't A's positive ground? Or am I just having a brain fart?
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:53 PM   #3
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Since its your first post and you live in PA. are you going to Hershey? See the guy's in the Marc tent and say HELLO..
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:56 PM   #4
Charlie Stephens
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Rich,

If your ammeter is showing 25 amps from a stock generator don't run it that way or you will soon burn it up. By the way, a stock ammeter only goes to 20 amps. If you measured 6.4 volts I would not expect to see 25 amps. I wonder if when it was converted to negative ground they forgot to polarize the generator and what you are seeing is the amps going into a battery that is installed backwards? If they forgot to reverse the leads on the ammeter you may be showing the 25 amps discharge as a charge. Another thing you should be able to do a lot of tinkering without wearing down the battery. If you are running 25 amps your battery should charge up. Go to the web sites for the two national clubs (mafca.com and modelaford.org) and have someone nearby that understands the Model A look at yours.

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Old 10-05-2010, 09:10 PM   #5
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Welcome to the barn Rich. I'm an old guy new to As and in Pa also. You'll like this site. Not much these guys haven't done or dont know about As.
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:38 PM   #6
Jim Parker Toronto
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The later, easier to adjust, steering box has a clamp just above the box on the tube. the earlier one is welded. Welcome and Good luck!
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:20 AM   #7
james hitchcock
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Always good to hear when another A is on the road.
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Old 10-06-2010, 01:38 AM   #8
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Your steering box may have been previously filled with grease instead of the heavy 600W oil. You may even find a grease fitting on the box in place of a fill plug. I am told Ford dealers did this years ago so they could easily fill the box with 600W. This led many people in later years to think grease belongs there. My Vic was like that when I got it and it was difficult to turn the wheel. Over a period of time I was able to force 600W into it and it loosened up

A book you should have is "The Mechanics Handbook, volume one" by Les Andrews. It sells for about $35 and is very comprehensive. You can get one from Bratton's Antique Auto, 800-255-1929. Call them and ask for one of their catalogs, it is free and almost as informative as the handbook.

Good luck with the car.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:30 AM   #9
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Glad to hear you won't be restoring the car. There are way too few original Model A's left, and once restored, it can never be original again.

I would start by joining a club if there is one near you, or get to gether with a knowledgable Model A guy nearby. Also there are at least 5 or so books every Model A owner should have.

1. Owner's manual
2. The Model A Ford as Henry Built It
3. Restoration Guidelines and Judging Standards
4. Service Bulletins
5. Chassis Parts Price

Also check out Marco's, Vince's, and Jim Mason's websites for more information and pictures.

Last edited by Tom Wesenberg; 10-06-2010 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:45 AM   #10
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welcome rich where are you at in pa??
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:48 AM   #11
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Thanks to all. I'm up in the NE corner outside of Hawley.Maybe its a 12 volt ammeter causing an inaccurate reading ? It must be polorized or it wouldnt charge at all.I'm going to try an inductive amp meter and see.
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:14 PM   #12
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Thanks to all. I'm up in the NE corner outside of Hawley.Maybe its a 12 volt ammeter causing an inaccurate reading ? It must be polorized or it wouldnt charge at all.I'm going to try an inductive amp meter and see.
The ammeter measures current and it doesn't mater if it is 6 or 12 volts it will work the same and give an accurate reading. When the engine is not running and you turn on the lights does the ammeter show discharge or charge?

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Old 10-06-2010, 07:36 PM   #13
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Correction- the amp meter is 20 amp max, looks original.Even with the battery fully charged its always pegged above an idle. I does show discharge with the engine off and lights on, so the polarity is ok. Have to wait till the weekend. Thanks again.
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:22 PM   #14
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Correction- the amp meter is 20 amp max, looks original.Even with the battery fully charged its always pegged above an idle. I does show discharge with the engine off and lights on, so the polarity is ok. Have to wait till the weekend. Thanks again.
Don't run it very long like this or the generator will burn out. Remove the cover and make sure the adjustable brush is set to the lowest output, then try it again. Also make sure someone didn't mix up the output and field wires. The field wire goes to the adjustable brush and the output wire goes to the fixed insulated from ground brush.
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:26 PM   #15
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I think you may have a generator that is wired wrong; the field should go to the movable brush and the output to the insulated; if wired in reverse you have no control of the charge rate and it will charge full all the time.

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Old 10-06-2010, 08:28 PM   #16
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Sorry Tom,

Your post showed up when I was typing my answer.

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Old 10-06-2010, 08:30 PM   #17
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There are two styles of generator, the 'powerhouse' and the more traditional looking 'long' style. Remove the back cover from the powerhouse or the sheet metal band from the back of the long style. There is one brush that slides back and forth to adjust the field current, thus the output. With the car running about 1200 rpm and lights OFF you can nudge the adjustment position with a stick or other non-metallic rod. With a fully charged battery set it for 3-4 amps. Now turn on the headlights. If the ampmeter shows discharge and you do a lot of night driving you can nudge it up a little more. The Model A does not have an active mechanical voltage regulator like later cars. The round can on the generator is only a cutout relay, disconnecting the genny when the car is off.

For the stiff steering, there are two styles of box. IMHO only the Gemmer is worth rebuilding, as it is more adjustable while on the car. However I wouldn't start there or suspect the box immediately. Put the front axle up on jack stands so the tires are free and try the steering. On all those grease-able linkage joints (drag link, tie rod) you can pull the cotter pin, unscrew the big plug the pin goes through, and disassemble to inspect and clean/ repack. Very likely the balls are worn out of round. That makes the steering unbelievably stiff. As mentioned, get some good books, start with Les Andrews Vol. 1.
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:44 PM   #18
RichPA
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I'll take the good advice,I didnt think it was right and will fix it.
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:13 AM   #19
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Don't run it very long like this or the generator will burn out.

Very true !!!!

When I first got my '41 De Soto on the road, about 14 years ago, the regulator crumped out on me at night; I thought I could make it home by grounding the field and running home at full-charge.

Hadn't gone about two miles when I smelled that unmistakeable odor of frying electrics. I pulled-over, but it was already too late.

I had fried the field windings.

Fortunately, I had a spare genny, but I still kick myself for "killing" a good generator...

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