Club Mailing Address:

GWC Club
P.O. Box 971
McLean,VA 22101

What to do/not do on a tour

Technical Information

  • Coolant Notes: New type of antifreeze is causing leaks in brass and lead radiators. The following notes are from club members:
    • I'm now use Havoline Conventional antifreeze for older auto and light trucks. This still has silicate, but much lower then the new types.
    • I'm using Prime and Advanced Auto Parts antifreeze coolants. They say "Extended life". Neither say OAT/IAT. They are both green.
    • Try "Conventional GREEN Formula" "PEAK" Antifreeze & Coolant. Its good for "All Makes and Models: 1989 and earlier"
    • CARQUEST makes a house brand antifreeze for older vehicles (ones with copper core/lead solder radiators).
    • Any conventional green antifreeze, whether PG or EG based, would be good to use in older vehicles. Most nationwide parts store chains carry the conventional green Peak antifreeze. The Sierra may be a bit harder to find, usually NAPA is the only retailer that consistently carries that product.
    • Do not use any anti-freeze that is orange, or labeled extended life, or OAT (or H-OAT, N-OAT) these types of anti-freeze can attack lead, copper, Babbitt and traditional seals and gaskets. The only type that should be used in our Model A's or other vintage cars is Traditional Green anti-freeze. There are many brands out there including; Prestone Prime Conventional Green, Peak Green, Sierra, Zerex Traditional, Carquest Conventional Green, Polar Green. Look on the label for the words Green or "safe for older automobiles".
  • Remove a stuck Head:
    • Start the engine and warm it up to operation temp. Turn off the engine and back off the head bolts. Do not take them off. Crank the engine over a few times with the ignition off. Use a sharp putty knife and drive it between the block and head. Apply penetrating oil in the holes made by the putty knife. Clean around the bolt holes and add penetrating oil around the bolts. Keep cranking the engine and using the putty knife and penetrating oil until it pops up. If this does not work try driving a small screw driver between the block and head but be real careful not to damage the block and head. Move around the engine doing this until it pops.
    • A home made tool consisting of two old spark plugs with the porcelain removed and bolts stuck up through the holes in the plugs will provide a pulling force if a piece of angle iron is mounted on top of the studs and the spark plug bolts threaded through matching holes in the angle iron. Tightening the nuts screwed onto the spark plug bolts puts downward pressure on the studs and upward pressure on the head.
  • Spoke spacing on wheels for fine point judging
    • The article by Steve Schmauch is in The Restorer March/April 2012, pp 12-14.
    • To measure the different outer rim spoke spacing in the 30-31 rims a small paper stock card is suggested.
    • The four different spacings between groups of three spokes are: 30 KH mm, 35 KH mm, 38 Ford mm, and 43 mm Ford.
    • The article indicated we should check 5 or 6 of the spaces on each rim as some variation in spacing occurs. Read the gage that exactly fits or best fits multiple spaces on the outer rim to define the manufacturer of the rim. Your 2 options are KH (Kelsey Hayes) or Ford.
    • The 35 mm KH time period of use was 1/30 to 4/31. Other three sizes were used 1/30 to end of Production.
    • This check is only necessary for fine point judging. If you already have a straight set of painted rims, do not worry about this for tours and parades. The difference is hard to see if you have 35 mm and 38 mm spaces between the groups of three spoke sets.(A 3mm difference.) Observing the difference between the 30 and 43 mm spoke sets is easier.
    • A link to a printable gauge is HERE Once printed out, confirm the size is correct as there are variations in different printers.
  • Air Filter
    • Personally I wouldn't run any type of air cleaner. Our roads today are so clean the amount of dust you would suck up in 40 years would never wear out that engine. I think if it was necessary Ford would've put one on there. It's not like air cleaners were not invented back then. And they just didn't see any point in it and still they lasted 80+ years now without one. There are pros and cons to air cleaners on up draft carburetors. If you have fuel leaks air cleaners can trap them and can cause huge fires instead of just letting it drip on the ground. Air cleaners, no matter who made it or what type it is, reduce performance by restricting airflow. There are a few good things like obviously cleaner air in dirty environments, along with collecting air away from exhaust manifold leaks. There's probably more I'm not thinking of. When it comes down to it if you must run an air filter, the carb can be pressure balance to compensate. David at RENNER'S CORNER
  • Clutch Plate Adjustment
  • The club received the following question from a member... and then received the following answers. Posting for all to see.
    I have a pressure plate on my clutch that is out of adjustment and need some assistance.
    All of the 6 pressure plate adjusting bolts have backed out enough so that the clutch will not disengage. The bolts are visible after removing the inspection plate on the top of the bell housing.
    My best guess is to adjust each bolt to the same depth. It is in such a tight space it is difficult to do.
    • You may have to pull the transmission and clutch assembly. There is a torque for those bolts. Someone must have not done that.
    • I'm certain to do it correctly you need to remove the pressure plate from the flywheel. It is best to pull out to use a gauge to get it to the correct height.
    • Haven't done this on a Model A but, did have a problem on a VW clutch where 2 adjusting screws for the fingers backed out. I adjusted the 2 errant ones to the same number of threads exposed and then re-preened metal into the slots on the screws to hold them. If as you say all are way out you will have to adjust them and try then re adjust and try again until you get good clutch movement. Hope this helps.
    • I'm assuming you have tried adjusting the clutch pedal free toe play. If not, this is the first place to go. It should have about one inch toe play (that's free travel before the throw out bearing contacts the pressure plate levers) at the top of the pedal's travel, no more. If there is too much the clutch won't release fully. Since the clutch's fate is iffy at this state any way, you could fudge a little on the clearance to see if it would make a difference. Also inspect the pedal's bushing and the clevis for wear..

      It seems unlikely that the adjusting nuts on the levers have backed out. They are all firmly staked in place and can be difficult to loosen, even when the pressure plate is out and on the work bench. If you were able to loosen the nuts, adjusting them equally and taking measurements would be tricky. One or more repeated adjustments would be required to eventually get them all equal, to within .002. The measurement would be 3/4" from the lever to the top surface of the pressure plate

      The clutch is covered by articles from Les Andrews in his Model A Ford Mechanic's Handbook and Vol. 9 of the series How To Restore Your Model A.
    • All six have BACKED OUT so that the clutch does not engage? It sounds more like the clutch disk is just plain worn out. When the pressure plate bolts are "backed out", you cannot RELEASE the clutch. Not only that, they have lock nuts that prevent them from moving. How is the pedal play here, is there an inch of free play in the clutch pedal?
    • First, something about how a clutch mechanism works... When the clutch is at rest, the pressure plate is against the disk and all six fingers are approximately parallel to the flywheel face. They will point slightly toward the flywheel if the disk is new, and as the disk wears, they will move toward the throw-out bearing. The throw-out bearing is retracted and NOT touching the fingers when at rest. Pushing the clutch pedal down moves the throw-out bearing forward until it touches the fingers, this is the free-play in the pedal. Pushing further pushes the fingers toward the flywheel and lifts the pressure plate. As the clutch disk wears, the pressure plate moves closer to the flywheel and the fingers move in the opposite direction toward the throw-out bearing as already described: when they touch, the pedal must be adjusted to put free-play back in. Eventually, the disk will wear to the point that the fingers touch the throw out bearing when it is retracted as far as possible, the disk is worn out and must be replaced. The pressure plate is factory adjusted to cause this to happen before the disk facing is totally worn away; this is why the adjustment should not be changed. Changing it may result in burning up the disk and tearing up the flywheel face if the disk is in fact worn out.

      Now, if the pressure plate assembly is out of adjustment, usually because somebody has messed with it, this is what I once did to fix one. The evidence of "messing with it"; some fingers touch the throw-out bearing before others did. If the fingers all touch at the same time, it has probably not been altered, don't mess with it.

      Take out the floorboards.
      Remove the access plate.
      Rotate the engine until one arm is directly under the window.
      Tighten up the pedal adjustment until you see the arm that is visible is parallel to the flywheel face.
      Hold the lock screw and tighten the adjustment until you can feel the pressure plate lift off the clutch disk, then loosen until it touches again. If you look carefully, when the plate touches the disk, you will see the arm start to move away from the throw-out bearing. You want it to just touch it at this point.
      Rotate the engine to the next lever and repeat.
      Do this for all six levers.
      Now adjust the clutch pedal for the one inch of free play. If you cannot get the right adjustment, the clutch disk is worn out and you must replace it.
      This should be treated as a temporary fix. When convenient, the disk and pressure plate should be replaced to re-established a known condition and prevent damage.

      Again, if the pressure plate adjustment has not been changed, leave it alone! A worn out disk needs to be replaced before it tears up the flywheel face and before it slips bad enough to overheat and burn up.
  • Towing
  • A club member asking about towing with a dolly and the following were the results:
    • If it were me, I would spend the extra $ and use a trailer.
      1. trailer is a lot safer, a four wheel trailer will have brakes and braking lights.
      2. Less risk of being rear ended.
      3. Think about the wear on your differential and rear wheel bearings
      4. With a trailer you can drive faster, You shouldn't expect to tow a Model A at any speed other than you normally drive it at.
      5. In my opinion, with a trailer it is a lot easier to maneuver at gas and rest stops, especially if you get into a situation where you have to back up.
      6. The tie-down on a Tow Dolly is via the front wheels only , if you had to make a sudden stop, that is a lot of momentum stress on the Model A front end given the single axle spring.
      7. You should also consider the chance of road debris, a trailer offers more protection.
    • You can tow your Model A on a tow dolly but must compensate for the transmission gears continuing to spin even though the transmission is in neutral and the engine turned off. Most of the gears continue to spin but the one that splashes lubricant over the other gears remains motionless because the engine is not running. Some people run the engine until everything is warm, perhaps driving around a little, then load it on the dolly. When you shut off the engine after loading, the lubrication in the transmission stops. After about 100 miles all the lubricant has drained away from the gears, so you must stop and run the engine for a while. If you are going to start the engine while the car is on the tow dolly, find a place where the road is sloping downward at about the same angle as the car is when on the dolly on level ground. Do not go over 50 mph read:
  • Illustrated Model A" Body Style Codes
  • Build a Distributor Holder
  • Battery Maintenance
  • Do it yourself wheel straightening
  • Model A Engine Number Date Lookup
  • Suggested Tool Kit
  • Trailering
  • Tudor Sedans
  • Parts Diagrams: