Steering Gear Column

On the two tooth sector steering gear, the column is adjustable for the spark and throttle rod control arm. Many times I have heard and read articles on bending these small fragile arms. If your control linkage rod seems too short or long, loosen the bolt on the collar located towards the bottom of the steering column. Now you can rotate the column in either direction as needed to change the linage, so the spark advance and retard is in the range of the distributor body slot. Make sure this slot has not been altered. This is very important on the timing of your “A”. If adjusted properly, the distributor arm will move the full width of the slot, with no bend or work freely. NOTE: The seven tooth sector is not adjustable. This is why the idea of bending is necessary, but has been carried on to the two tooth sector.

This tech tip was originally provided by Bob McBride and printed in the August 2000 “A” Quail Call.

Model A Clutch

Clutch Lining – Grease on the clutch lining is almost impossible to get out, there really isn’t a good cleaner available to remove it.  If grease becomes badly embedded, it is most advisable to replace the lining  A short term, emergency cure is to plug the opening in the bottom of the housing and pour in a gallon of hot water and detergent; idle the engine for two minutes with the clutch disengaged and then drain.

Clutch Chatter – If grease is allowed to get on the friction facings of the clutch it will begin to chatter during engagement and sometimes slip at high speeds.  To remedy this, remove the clutch and install a new set of clutch disc facings.  Also check the rear motor mounts for looseness if the clutch chatters.  Motor mounts should be uniformly tight.

Clutch Wear – Two indications of clutch wear are:  Engine races, but the car does not pick up speed and the clutch pedal adjustment has been used up.  Premature clutch wear may be due to:  Riding the clutch, lack of pedal travel clearance, racing the engine, and slipping the clutch when starting.

Pedal Movement – The correct free-play for the clutch pedal is approximately ¾” for the early multiple disc clutch and one inch for the single disc clutch.  This is the movement which takes place before the pedal starts to disengage the clutch.  (See page 464 in the Service Bulletins.)

Adjusting the Clutch Pedal – The clutch pedal clearance can be adjusted by tightening or loosening the release arm rod.  This is accomplished by removing the cotter pin from the clevis pin, then removing the clevis pin; this allows the adjusting rod to be turned.  Turning the rod OUT increases the movement of the clutch pedal, screwing the rod IN decreases the movement. (See page 218 in the Service Bulletins.)

This tech tip was originally printed in the Jan/Feb. 2001 “A” Quail Call.

Vapor Lock

When hot weather sets in, a lot of A’s can experience vapor lock.  Especially when pulling away from a stop.  It is annoying to say the least.

Some have resorted to clipping on clothes pins the entire length of the gas line, or rubber hoses as insulators for a solution.  This sometimes helps a little.  But when vapor lock happens, these things aren’t always available.  Gas additives like Marvel Mystery Oil or kerosene are also common fixes.

One thing that has worked is high octane gas.  It has an additive included to prevent fuel line freeze up and vapor lock.  The nice thing is that it is always available.

This article was printed in the August 2006 issue of the “A” Quail Call.

High Speed Gears or Overdrive

You might ask high speed gears or overdrive?  Both are a good way for engine relief and less stressful driving on your Model A.  Most A drivers are not interested in driving faster but in dropping engine rpm for less wear and less noise for more enjoyable cruising speeds.  Before going this route, it must be understood if your car can handle the upgrade.  Are your brakes sufficient and will your engine pull the gear change?

It’s not going to help changing gears, if you have a tired engine.  A well-tuned engine with a high compression head is needed to pull the higher ratio.  Without it you will notice no difference in performance.

A 3.78 ratio is standard in most A’s.  Changing to a 3.54 ratio is an 11%increase.  The new 3.27 ratio is a 27% increase.  Most overdrive units are a 27% increase as well.

Some questions I receive are:  Do you have trouble on hills and starting from a dead stop?  I have had a 3.27 since 2001 and have not experienced any problems with hills or even mountains.  If on major hills I do downshift, I am able to go 30 mph in second gear without over revving the engine.  Pulling away from a dead stop is easy because low gear is so low a lot of people don’t even use first gear under normal driving conditions.

Below is a chart to help gauge the difference in ratios and tire size.  Most pickups use 4:11/1 gear ratios, so I include it.  Normal cruising speeds seem to be at 2,000 rpms.  Ford rated the horsepower at 2,600 rpms.

MPH @ 2000 RPM

RATIO                  28” TIRES            29” TIRES            30” TIRES            31” TIRES

4.11/1                   40.28                 41.73                     43.17                    44.60

3.78/1                   43.80                 45.37                     46.93                    48.50

3.54/1                   46.77                 48.45                     50.08                    51.78

3.27/1                  50.64                  52.44                     54.23                    56.06

MPH @ 2500 RPM

RATIO                  28” TIRES            29” TIRES            30” TIRES            31” TIRES

4.11/1                50.41                     52.21                    54.01                   55.81

3.78/1                54.81                     56.77                    58.73                   60.69

3.54/1                58.53                     60.62                    62.71                   64.80

3.27/1                63.36                     65.87                    67.86                   70.15

This article was printed in the March/April 2006 issue of the “A” Quail Call by AJ Pennington.

Checking Oil In Your Crankcase

When checking for oil in your crankcase, use a 3/32 drill or punch and measure from the tip of your oil dip stick up ¾” and then punch or drill a hole.  This hole or mark will indicate there are 3 quarts of oil in the pan.  Measure 1 1/8” from the first hole and punch or drill the second hole, this will indicate 5 quarts.

You will notice the holes or punch marks you’ve made are well above the L & F markings on the dipstick.  If you have number stamps, stamp a “3” between L and the hole, and a “5” between F and the hole.  This will give you a quick reading of oil in the pan.

This article was published in the September 2005 issue of the “A” Quail Call by Tom Easley.

Timing Your “A”

What is good timing?  How much advance should be used?  How can I tell if it’s right?  Questions we all hear.

Most old timers and some motor heads can tell by listening to the idle how well a car is timed.  But the best way is with timing light.  Nu-Rex makes a very simple unit that can be purchased through Snyder’s or Bratton’s to install on your “A”.  Easy instructions are included.

Many times I find “A’s” running too far advanced.  An easy way to tell is when you are driving on an open road with the spark retarded until you feel a loss of power.  Then advance slowly while feeling power regain.  When you reach a point where you feel no difference—stop.  That’s enough advance.

Most distributors can be advanced as much as 30 degrees.  Therefore running 0 to 30 advance is, in my opinion, too much.  I never run more than 25 and prefer 20 to 22 advanced.  I also like to set my timing at 5 degrees retard at full retard.  It’s important to run enough advance to avoid overheating and carbon buildup.  Always recheck your timing when replacing points as that does affect it.

This article was published in the September 2005 issue of the “A” Quail Call by AJ Pennington.