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Old 02-02-2021, 09:26 PM   #1
700rpm
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Default A question for old guys

For my friends also in their "golden years:Ē How are you coping with the aging process vis-a-vis working on your A? Personally, with arthritis and a sensitive back, I am increasingly reluctant to get under the cars for even something as elemental as checking the fluid level in the trans or doing a full chassis lube job. Major mechanics I would have tackled even just ten years ago, at the tender age of 65, now seem beyond my realistic capabilites. Pull an engine? A tranny? Nope. A rear end? Yikes!

I donít have any grandchildren, inlaws, or step children who can help. My long-time go-to shop has essentially closed down for Covid, but at his age, maybe forever. My former club is populated by a similar aged group, and is not an option.

I wouldnít trust any local auto repair shops (they all think my Ď91 VW is an antique auto and refuse to work on it. I sure wouldnít trust my A to any of them!)
Iíll be 76 in 3 months, and I honestly donít know how Iím going to accomplish the basic maintenance on my Aís that Iíve been doing for the last 50 years.

How about you? If your age is presenting similar problems, what are you doing, or what is your plan?
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Old 02-02-2021, 09:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: A question for old guys

Wait until you get to 85. Getting down and up is a days work. My problem is that I can’t stand for a long time. Our club does a safety check each year and we grease the cars and change oil for some of the older guys. We are planning a tour to a lube shop of some kind and have all the cars serviced. We do have a few younger members that we lean on pretty good.
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Old 02-02-2021, 09:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: A question for old guys

A friend of mine is in a similar situation to you and I. He recruited a middle aged, model A knowledgeable gentleman to do his maintenance. In return he allows his new friend to enjoy the A on an occasional basis. I am the same age as you and due to lack of mobility I have located a qualified A mechanic and pay him to perform required maintenance. You are certainly right about COVID-19 considerations.
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Old 02-02-2021, 11:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: A question for old guys

I'm not there yet, but I think keeping moving is a huge ingredient. I am way more active than many of my peers. When that isn't effective any longer, I'd look for a lift and shop that would be DIY or helper friendly. Or find a well established customer centric shop and see if they'd be willing to let you supervise and educate them... they get the return business every 500 miles.
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Old 02-02-2021, 11:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: A question for old guys

I'm 74 and although it hurts sometimes, I just try to work smarter to compensate. Things like a good neck pillow when under the car. Working at a slower pace, and a prophylactic dose of ibuprofen beforehand does help. Overall i'm very fortunate as to how well i can move. I'm more carefull now, keeping in mind I do not want to have to stop doing the work. I go stir crazy when I can't work. I made the mistake of overdoing things when I was restoring my truck, and I had to quit for a year with rotator cuff issues. Don't want to go there again. He doesn't know it yet, but my son in law will take over when I just can't. Remember, what they say; use it or lose it.
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Old 02-02-2021, 11:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: A question for old guys

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I am 79 and still physically able to do any activity on my vehicles, thank God.
Perhaps I'll sell off the rolling stock as I progressively become impaired and the thrills are gone?
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Old 02-02-2021, 11:51 PM   #7
Mike Peters
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Default Re: A question for old guys

I just turned 73. The bride calls that "young old". Can still work on the cars. Still farm. Last summer i asked a 75 year old neighbor why he's still farming. Without missing a beat, he said, "Because I can". I have macro degeneration in one eye., so I can only see out of one eye. Messes up depth perception. Everyone has a glitch of some kind, but we all carry on. Every day is a blessing.
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Old 02-02-2021, 11:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: A question for old guys

Do like I do...and just get it done without a care. I'm 73 and just built an addition to my shop just so I could have a place to store a model A. No problemo,, just as I was pouring the driveway, my heart went into V-tachy...had to be hit with the paddles while my grandkids watched in horror...that was fun. Then I had three stents placed in my heart the next day...and the drugs for that procedure and heart maintenance caused painful arthritis in my hands, my right thumb is no longer usable. No problemo. Now for some reason, my blood pressure is exploding...no problemo....ah, the golden years....all in the last four months!

I do plan things ahead and work slower, because I have to now. I'm a guy who has to keep busy also, but it hurts a lot more, for sure. I no longer regret spending money on whatever I think I might need cause this is it!

My model A has been a great diversion and I found I could still pull the engine and refit it by myself without too much fuss...but folks, I've gotten slower than honey in the winter time.
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Old 02-03-2021, 01:36 AM   #9
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Default Re: A question for old guys

I am old compared to some people in the antique auto world but not as old as 99% of my club. It scares me to think this when I get to be that age. I love tinkering and it lets me burn off stress. I wonder what it will be like when I turn 75/80?

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Old 02-03-2021, 02:33 AM   #10
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Default Re: A question for old guys

At 40, I admire all of you guys that are still up and doing things at 70+. Gives us "young" guys some hope! Good for you!!!
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Old 02-03-2021, 02:45 AM   #11
Richard in Anaheim CA
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Default Re: A question for old guys

At 84 I get down and under. It's the getting up that is the problem.
I've found younger guys in the club are very helpful if you let them
you would like some help. They actually think they can learn something from us.

My wife Jeanne and I will be married 61 years on Jun 4th. She is having a hard time recovering from her 3rd stroke. Your prayers would be appreciated. They work better than the pills.

Richard
Anaheim CA
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Old 02-03-2021, 05:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: A question for old guys

700 RPM. I understand your problem. I too am 76. I was very active until about 70, when osteo arthritis got much worse in shoulders. I cannot raise my right arm much above horizontal unless I lift it with my left arm. I can then keep it high enough to work at about head hight with my right hand.
That wouldn't be a problem if on the ground under the car, but I cannot work like that because my shoulders are too painful to allow rolling over and shifting about.
So I bought a 4 post hoist. A 2 post is no good because you have to crouch or kneel to align the lifting arms under the car first.
The hoist has transformed my limited ability. Even to adjust the carpets, put on pedal rubbers,
or do other stuff inside the car I lift it to an easier height so I do not have to bend, because I injured my back many years ago.
I lost the sight completely in my right eye at 12 from an accident, so soldering is a joke unless I hold the wires in position in one of those cheap multi arm pedestals with several crocodile clips on pivoting arms. That way I can ensure the 2 soldered parts are actually touching and joined when I move the iron away!
I have found recently that my back pain is somewhat relieved by 2 paracetamol, but this may be because I never took them before, and if I now take them long term they may cease to work.
Now and then there are simple tricky jobs where a younger person can help, and this is mostly under the dashes of 4 different English sports saloons I have. Head neck and arm contortions makes these too painful.
I have not been able to ride my Harley road King for 5 years because of shoulder pain, and my right bicep is now withered.
A bit of a tale of woe, but I am glad to still be alive and able to drive these wonderful old cars.
I hope this encourages you too, since you are not alone, and with targeted exercise (mainly walking), dieting (I just lost 28 pounds by stopping eating between and after meals etc), paracetamol, sometimes ibuprofen for a change, I am now improving. I can now roll over in bed, which was agony and impossible for the last 2 years.
I can still use a lathe, mill and drill, and exchange these for stuff I cannot do when people come for a quick bit of machining work or advice.
There is hope yet for us all.
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Old 02-03-2021, 07:11 AM   #13
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Default Re: A question for old guys

I'm 61 and still do everything I want. Lady friends enjoy having ne over.
What helps.... 4 post lift,no crawling on the floor. Power winch in front of lift. Winch on traliers.
Good lighting is a must. Fridge and good music in the garage.
Heat located in front of lift! More than 1 floor jack. Engine hoist. No comfortable chairs.
Garage stays a mess,everyday is like Christmas.
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Old 02-03-2021, 07:11 AM   #14
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Default Re: A question for old guys

I am also there. Mid 70s and finding more physical limitations all the time. AS you say big issue is getting under the A. Can't stay under too long without getting dizzy, nauseated, and difficulty standing. My best Model A friend same age and shares same limits. I just learn to know my limits as I age and also learn to increase the appreciation for what I still got. Continued maintenance at a higher level is a bid issue as there are fewer and fewer go to repair people for our A's. Ford Barn has been a great place to continue to share and learn.
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Old 02-03-2021, 08:14 AM   #15
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Default Re: A question for old guys

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard in Anaheim CA View Post
At 84 I get down and under. It's the getting up that is the problem.
I've found younger guys in the club are very helpful if you let them
you would like some help. They actually think they can learn something from us.

My wife Jeanne and I will be married 61 years on Jun 4th. She is having a hard time recovering from her 3rd stroke. Your prayers would be appreciated. They work better than the pills.

Richard
Anaheim CA
my thoughts and prayers are with Jeanne for a quick and complete recovery. God Bless, Wayne
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Old 02-03-2021, 08:16 AM   #16
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Default Re: A question for old guys

I'm 79 and it is getting tough to crawl around under and over the A my suggestion is to get one of the local youths interested in the A teach him all about it and when you depart this orb leave it to him.I'm leaving my granddaughter my A which she loves and will maintain,she grew up with it.
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Old 02-03-2021, 08:26 AM   #17
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Default Re: A question for old guys

At 72 I still do everything, just slower. I can't believe how long it takes to get some things done now. But its like that for everything, not just old cars. It just took 2 months to gut and redo 3 rooms.
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Old 02-03-2021, 08:29 AM   #18
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Default Re: A question for old guys

I thought that I was alone with my new age related problems.

Glad to hear that I am in good company. At least we are on the right side of the ground.

Enjoy.
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Old 02-03-2021, 08:31 AM   #19
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Default Re: A question for old guys

What are the possibilities of your local school having an auto tech course? (Although right now thats probably a moot point with covid as well). If you need help with basic stuff, oil change, lube, grease etc., maybe you could get in contact with the instructor, he could point you in the direction of a student who may want to learn a bit more and help you out one weekend a month. With your knowledge and a young persons hands (and back) it may just work out.
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Old 02-03-2021, 08:46 AM   #20
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Default Re: A question for old guys

I’m 68 and still working on the first Model A I bought at age 15. Just replaced the engine and rebuilt the rear axle in the past 18 months - in my garage with the help of a neighbor - who owns a Model T.

I realized a couple of years ago that I’m starting to get old, so started exercising a lot more - biking and walking for a couple of hours a day, weather permitting. I also was going to the local gym to work out and practice yoga several times a week. No gym now with COVID here, but practice yoga at home - believe it or not, it’s been one of the most helpful things I’ve found to stay agile and balanced.

Jim
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