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The reborn Model A emerges

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 10:11 AM

Here's a shot of the Denver skyline I took out of the VW's window as we traveled to Bert's Model A Center to pick up the car. Notice the lovely weather. Unfortunately Monday has dawned rainy and considerably colder.
Joe Wylie completed the long list of repairs at about 9 PM last night. The lateness of the hour meant nothing, as I know how it goes when working on old cars. Almost nothing goes exactly as planned, though we didn't have too many setbacks to delay things. The worst was probably the mis-made rear brake shoe that had to come back off.
I didn't get pics of all four wheels (missed the RF) but here's the "after" shots to compare with the lube-encrusted rear brake pic posted in an earlier installment.
The quality of Joe's work should be evident. He's cleaned off the muck, glass-beaded most of the parts, and painted them. The only new parts in these pics are the brake shoes, some of the springs (we had to reuse a few old springs, as Bert's was out of a couple of them), and the cotter pins. The red splotches are hi-temp grease. As Joe says, "On a Model A, grease is your friend."
Not sure it is the complete list, but here's what work Joe performed on the car:
He essentially rebuilt the entire braking system: all new shoes, new cross-shaft bushings, all new clevis pins, replaced a couple of worn brake rods with good used parts, turned the front drums (rears didn't need turning), and installed and reamed new rear actuator bushings on both sides. Adjusted brake rods for proper geometry of operation (something most mechanics aren't even aware of!), and adjusted the shoes for proper clearance to the drums.
Replaced front wheel bearings, both sides.
Installed a new leakless, greaseless water pump.
Adjusted the clutch freeplay.
Converted the '28-29 brake light switch to the correct '30-31 unit.
Replaced the badly-rusted battery box with a new repro box and cover clamp and installed cable insulation to prevent shorts.
Rebuilt all four tubular shock absorber links, as most were missing at least one internal ball cup, and adjusted and reinstalled them. 
Tightened the loose rear hood hinge clamp.
Adjusted the front toe-out to the correct toe-in setting.
Replaced a lot of nuts, pins, and other fasteners with the correct parts. In many places on the car, the "cotter pins" were simply pieces of wire.
Changed the oil.
This work has largely transformed the way the car drives. It no longer lunges to one side or the other on bumps. The car brakes smoothly and as straight as an arrow, no pulling to the sides at all, and the good braking power it has now will only improve as the linings get bedded in.
It was only eight miles to the hotel, but the tramlining seems to have disappeared as well.
Needless to say, this car is going to be a lot more pleasant to drive for the remainder of the trip. And more safe. Thanks, Joe!
We had hoped to head out at first light, but between needing a little extra sleep and the ugly weather this Monday morning in Denver, we'll probably wait just a bit to let rush hour taper off. Not sure where we'll be stopping for the night, as we're heading into a pretty sparsely populated area.
Wanted to get a pic of Joe and me shaking hands as he delivered the car, but it was too dark and too late.

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Gregory Wells

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