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Old 01-14-2021, 06:28 AM   #1
Tribalmonkey
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Question My First Model A - Questions

I got my first Model A a couple of weeks ago. Itís a 1930 coupe. It seems to run pretty good with some initial Internet research and tinkering. I am really excited about the car. However, I need help from the expertise on this site to set my expectations.

It accelerates smooth but I have significant vibrations on deceleration. Is this normal? How much is too much? Any standard remedies? I have mech brakes that I have adjusted but I still feel like they are weak and sketchy. I live in a hilly area and feel like I have to stand on them to stop going down steep hills. Does this sound right?

Downshifting. Man.... ??? enough said on that.

Appreciate your comments, suggestions, and recommendations.
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Old 01-14-2021, 07:12 AM   #2
Jacksonlll
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

You just can't jump in and start driving it in hill country without checking over a lot of things. Look for a Model A club near you and join it. There is a lot of help out there. Get the red Les Andrews book. Concentrate on the brakes first. It takes us all day to adjust those brakes. Not easy to get them right. They can be made to stop very well. Model A's do shake, but it should not be worse on decel. Check everything on the car. Engine mounts, wiring, all fasteners, fuel, trans and rear end, etc.
It will be fun getting all parts working right. Just stick to it and keep asking questions.
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Old 01-14-2021, 07:51 AM   #3
Tribalmonkey
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

Jacksonlll - Thanks for the quick reply. Great advice. I have the Les Andrews books and they are super helpful. I have been working on the car for a couple of weeks and doing lots of research. So far I haven’t found an active model a club near me. I’m in Frederick, MD. Until then I have you guys, right? This will be my third time adjusting the brakes. I’m sure I am getting better each time. I’m still going through the car and sorting things out.
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Old 01-14-2021, 08:05 AM   #4
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

Nice looking car. I get up to your area on occasion to visit my son who goes to school at The Mount in Emitsburg.
I can see where good brakes would be pretty important when you take a drive up into Catoctin park and the surrounding areas. Big hills and very pretty country.
Take your time and go through the brakes to give everything a look over and replace any worn components. Have you pulled the hubs off to take a look at the condition of the pads and drums?
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Old 01-14-2021, 08:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

Tribalmonkey, that's a great looking coupe.
Continue with your learning. Les books are, as mentioned, an excellent source of info.
There is lots of videos online as well.

Yes, get those brakes setup properly. I go through every piece and insure things are in good operating condition.
You probably do not have any history of what has/has not been done to the car so you start by checking everything. You might be surprised at what you find!

Have fun!
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Old 01-14-2021, 08:07 AM   #6
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

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There is a club in Hagerstown, Hub City and another in Baltimore, the Greater Baltimore Club. I am sure both would welcome you with open arms. The Baltimore club is meeting on line, so easy to participate.
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Old 01-14-2021, 08:21 AM   #7
Chuck Dempsey
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Sharp car! Welcome to the Barn......
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Old 01-14-2021, 08:24 AM   #8
moasew
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

You may or not be aware that BEFORE you have to apply Model A Ford brakes to quickly you want to use the engine to do the initial braking by NOT depressing the clutch too soon. This is more important than a modern car. My Dad was adamant at showing me this when I was nearing driving age.

Obviously encountering steep hills the engine braking wouldn't last long but at least let the engine do what it can before resorting to brakes only.

But as this forum has pointed out mechanical brakes are very good when adjusted properly. I wouldn't change to hydraulic brakes unless you were planning A LOT of driving.
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Old 01-14-2021, 09:11 AM   #9
Tribalmonkey
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

Thanks for the warm welcome and recommendations! I would like to keep the mechanical brakes I just need to get them dialed in. I have had the hubs off. I believe the pads are in acceptable condition. I did have some problems with the rear brakes and figured out that the ‘cams’ on the pivot were in backwards causing the brakes to go straight to lock up and then less brakes as I pressed more. I got that worked out. Great tip on the engine compression braking. I will look into the Model A clubs mentioned above. None seem to be very close to me. Maybe the Hagerstown one... The online option would work. If anyone is near Frederick, MD I would really appreciate someone with experience actually looking at the car and helping sort things out.
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Old 01-14-2021, 09:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

At least you have one of the 3 or 4 best supply houses for Model A parts just down the road in Mt. Airy. Brattons will have the parts you need and can answer a lot of questions.
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Old 01-14-2021, 09:30 AM   #11
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

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At least you have one of the 3 or 4 best supply houses for Model A parts just down the road in Mt. Airy. Brattons will have the parts you need and can answer a lot of questions.
Agreed, you're literally 20 minutes from a massive parts supplier and repair shop. You should have no problems getting assistance.
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Old 01-14-2021, 09:30 AM   #12
Tribalmonkey
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MickeyT - Yes! I just discovered them... pretty awesome!
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Old 01-14-2021, 09:57 AM   #13
ArtimusGordon
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

A small note. Model A’s have STEEL DRUMS unless they have been changed to CAST IRON. If they are steel, then my experience is that the LONGER you have the brakes applied the drums will heat up and your brake effort will become harder to stop. On occasion I have had to also use the emergency brake to stop at the bottom of a long hill. NOT FUN. If I have time I will down shift a let the engine help slow the car down. Nice car and WELCOME to Ford Barn! Join a club and get ready for fun and help with problems. �� ��
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Old 01-14-2021, 10:10 AM   #14
Ernie Vitucci
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

Good Morning...Paul@paulshinn.com has some very good videos that you can watch regarding maintenance and adjustments on Model 'A's. He is really into them and he is maybe 50! Enjoy your car...Bratton's is one of the very best...Walt is great. Ernie in Arizona...ps...learn all the old roads in your area...the ones people used before the freeways...we run them all the time in Arizona...at 40 miles an hour, you can look at the flowers and not go off the road....join a local club and the two national clubs...they have great magazines and good web sites...Model A Ford Club of America and the Model A Restorers Club of America...
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Old 01-14-2021, 12:09 PM   #15
Tribalmonkey
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

ArtimusGordon - Thanks. Yes, sounds like I will eventually be moving to cast iron drums.

Ernie Vitucci - I have watched some of Paul’s videos. He is pretty awesome. Looking forward to cruising around on my local back roads.

Question as far as the Model A clubs go - I plan to make this Model A a traditional late 1940’s hot rod. Will I be shunned by these clubs?
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Old 01-14-2021, 01:23 PM   #16
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

What changes do you plan to make to make it a 40's hot rod?
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:01 PM   #17
wwirz
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tribalmonkey View Post
Jacksonlll - Thanks for the quick reply. Great advice. I have the Les Andrews books and they are super helpful. I have been working on the car for a couple of weeks and doing lots of research. So far I haven’t found an active model a club near me. I’m in Frederick, MD. Until then I have you guys, right? This will be my third time adjusting the brakes. I’m sure I am getting better each time. I’m still going through the car and sorting things out.
There is a nice video on YOUTUBE on how to adjust the brakes. I have not had to do it on mine yet but I know I will visit this video again You can find this video easily on YOUTUBE.
You will need to make that special wood cutout to adjust the brakes properly....this is also shown on the video. This video is by Paul Shinn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zk-0tIAfWQ
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:06 PM   #18
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

Everyone has a opinion but concentrating on your vibrations; does your car shake? does the steering wheel shake? You may be chasing a front end issue. Do the brakes pulse during deceleration? The steel drums that came on Model A's are mostly junk by now. Cast iron drums behave much better and fade slower. You can find images to show the difference between steel and cast iron. If the cams were installed incorrectly in the rears, I would bet that all four corners should be looked at for proper assembly and operation. The cool thing about mechanical brakes is, you can actuate them with the drums off to verify operation. You cannot do this with hydraulics, at least not more than once. Even new cast iron drums will likely need to be trued up since different suppliers machine and ship them differently.
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:56 PM   #19
Ernie Vitucci
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Default Re: My First Model A - Questions

Good afternoon...Your new coupe is extremely nice...too nice to turn into a 'late 40's Hot Rod'...in my humble opinion...it would be best to keep it looking stock...think about higher compression head, alternator rather than generator...if you wish a hot rod...purchase one that has already gone down that road to some extent...then you are not taking a nice original car off the road...lots of hot rod Model 'A' around...many that people started on and never finished...they are cheep to purchase as they are usually in the way and the wife wants it gone! Ernie in Arizona
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Old 01-14-2021, 06:42 PM   #20
Jacksonlll
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Please don’t turn your car into a rod.
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