Wednesday, 21 March 2012

May and June 2011

May and June saw me tackle jobs related to the
- Gas Pedal and Linkages
- Engine Overheating Issues 
- Brakes
- Water Pump Repair 
- Rear Wheel problems
- Thinking about replacing the wooden tray

Though it was not planned, for most of the time I had several jobs on the go at any one time. I also managed to answer a few questions I had regarding the specifications and manufacturing year of the jalopy. And you will notice during this time the Jalopy changes from a 26 to 28 model.

When first reviewing these 2  months my notes were very brief, but as I recalled and documented everything that took place I realized I had been a lot more busier than I first thought.



26th May - Gas Pedal Linkage
A 1926 Chevy pickup with only the hand throttle connected, not a desirable setup. As you can imagine, when you are driving one of these old jalopies, you almost need another hand to help steer, adjust the spark, adjust the hand throttle, shift gears and keep it between the white lines. A foot throttle would certainly make life more pleasant.

26th May - Is the Jalopy a 1/2 ton or 1 ton?
I was not sure if I had a 1/2 ton or a 1 ton, so I put a posting on the VCCA site to find out how to tell the difference.

Some of the replies were:

Chevy may not have designated any truck as a 1/2 ton in 1926. They would likely have just called it the "Light Commercial Chassis" or something similar. It would have been very much like the passenger chassis. If you have a 1 ton truck, it will have substantial springs on the rear and heavier wheels/tires as well. Also, a longer wheelbase. Your serial number should answer your question if you can find it.

One of the confusing things to me on the jalopy was the bigger wheels on the back (6 retaining bolts) and small on the front (4 retaining bolts). The tires are 21 inch all around and I suspected somewhere along the line someone may have put either a car front end or just car wheels on her front because the wheels are only 3 1/2" wide. The entire cab is enclosed with door windows and the rear window (no windows on the sides behind the seat like a 5 window later model chevy truck) or some of the "work" trucks I've seen pictured. The headlight buckets are teardrop like on some of the '26 cars and it has cowl lights and a front bumper. The rear fenders have a crease in the metal about 12" above the running boards.
I checked the rear springs and counted 13 layers of the springs. Having nothing to compare with I assumed they would be considered heavy duty. I finally got around to measuring the wheel base and was not too surprised to find that it is 124". Ok, I have a 1 ton, now which type or model?
The eventual outcome was a year ago I thought I was buying a '26, 1/2 ton pickup. Today, without doing a thing, I now own a '28 1 ton LO without front brakes and possibly an unusual rear end. I've come up with a new reference to this old truck (actually a friend did). As the beginning topic, I thought this was originally a 1926. Later it was determined it is really a 1928. So, my friend calls it and I will too, the 1926 + 2. How appropriate. I wonder if I can get that on a license tag????

30th May - Gas Pedal Linkage
I was able to pick up a gas pedal with the rod attached and hook it up with the help of a coat hanger and some...ah...boondoggle, and for the first time since I've had the jalopy, the gas pedal actually worked! I fabricated a piece of coat hanger to complete the linkage and with a little guessing and a lot of luck the darn thing actually worked. The next Saturday night I drove it to a little shindig (using the gas pedal instead of the accelerator on the column), and boy oh boy was it nice to be able to shift, give hand signals, hang on to the steering and dodge the oncoming traffic...all the while with my foot on the pedal. I felt like I was living in the lap of luxury! I remember thinking to myself, " she is going to become my daily driver if this keeps up" What a difference a day working on the jalopy makes.

30th May - Overheating
The next problem to tackle was overheating, which was an inherited problem when I bought the jalopy,  like the gas pedal. I replaced the seal in the water pump, had the radiator re-cored, bought a new radiator cap, replaced all the hoses, new anti-freeze, keep the spark adjustment at full advance when driving or under load...and it still overheated every time I took it out, even just around the block!

31st May - Overheating
I checked the oil for water to make sure there was not a head gasket or cracked head situation. My thinking was that a cracked head would show itself by either leaking water externally or into the oil. This is so frustrating as I just want to drive this young lady so badly!

1st June - Water Pump
I wondering if it would be an improvement to have a four-blade fan on the jalopy or should I stick with a two-blade? Will give it some thought and ask for advice on the VCCA site.

3rd June - Brakes
You see, I have this '26 truck. On the occassions I've taken a short drive, some of the most exciting moments have not been in the driving part and waiving at the neighbors, and smiling, but STOPPING! Holy cow now that is some kinda excitement. I know I'm used to modern hydraulic brakes and all but it seems to me that either I'm weak or them there brakes are not doing their job. Is this normal and more importantly, is there a fix. Hopefully, "them's NOT the brakes".

4th June - Brakes
I'm beginning to understand the purpose of the horse now. As you approach the intersection at speeds of 20 mph or more, you throw the horse out and he back pedals until you stop!

Seriously, I am afraid I am going to have to do some more research on the real braking situation. That is, I will need to research the yellow pages of the telephone book and find someone that speaks brakes, this is jargon I don't understand unfortunately. Maybe they will take pity on me and let me watch so that I can learn something. Soft brakes, hard brakes, oh my! I can see my next message to VCCA..."Hey fellas anybody know where I can fine a new rear end (the truck I mean), a set of inner and outer brakes, axle, and might as well throw in a rear bumper!!!"

On the bright side, I am meeting with a local antique car club for the first time today and will ask for someone to recommend a good brake man. I hope there aren't any red lights or stop signs between here and there.

4th June - Overheating
Flushed out the block and head as best as I could with the garden hose. I then emptied the radiator, refilled with a mixture of muriatic acid with water, started the engine and ran it for about 5 minutes and drained. When the engine cooled I repeated the process and flushed out the system with clean water. I refilled the radiator and let it sit over night. The next day I drained, opened both hoses and did a continuous flush and started the engine for a few minutes...then, closed petcock and reinstalled hoses. The next day I drained the water and replaced it with 50/50 antifreeze. I went for a ride in the neighborhood for about 6-7 miles at a fairly slow speed. When I got home, the radiator overflowed and released less than or about one cup of antifreeze and then stopped, which I later found was the cooling system finding its normal level.

I drove the truck a short distance, just a few miles, parked it for awhile and then drove back home. Guess what? Not a single drop from the radiator. Tomorrow I will go for a longer ride and more time in the saddle to see how she holds up. As long as I avoid stop signs and redlights (reference the next post about brakes), I should do just fine.

6th June - Brakes
I am going so slow that snails and land tortoises are circling around me like flies around a chuckwagon. I am sure the regular vehicles are cussing at me but the old gal (truck) is 84 and she can't move much faster than that. Besides, I don't want her to fall and break a hip!!!

6th June - New Horizons
The more I know the less I realize I know. Wow, such diversity but boy is this fun. Maybe I'll never know exactly but heck, every time I walk into the garage...there's this big green and black truck just staring right back at me. And the best part is that she is all mine. '26 rocks beyond words.

Last night was my first outing with a local antique car club curbside meeting at a local burger joint. When I drove up it was like I was in a people magnet. So many people thanked me for bringing her (the truck [AND my wife), that I started getting a bit embarrassed. So many questions and so much interest. Is this what it is going to like every time I drive it outside the neighborhood? WHAT FUN

20th June - Rear Wheel
Don't know about you, but I hate when this happens. I'm walking down the driveway and see a bolt laying on the ground! YIKES, I pick it up and notice immediately that it is a stovebolt with a round head. It of course came from the jalopy. I started looking her over to see where she was missing a bolt. I finally discovered the "missing link" was the driver's-side rear wheel. It is one of the six bolts at the hub.

24th June - Water Pump
I will be fitting a four-blade fan to the jalopy It came in the mail yesterday. Got my fingers and toes crossed.

25th June - Water Pump
I came home from work and swapped my two-blade fan to a four-blade. There is only about one inch clearance even after getting it into place. I had quite a time getting the bolts back in and tightening them. I pulled one of the bolts I put in last night and found two more the same size, plus lock washers up in the shop. I am in the process right now of trying to get four bolts in the fan. It's only about 99 degrees in the garage today but no sweat I'll get to the wheels next!
Problem! How about three bolts out of four? I believe the 4th one may be broken off and is filling the hole. I do not have the radiator pulled so I am trying to start the bolt between the radiator and where the blade attaches. I've tried starting a bolt which will not start, and then sticking a small allen wrench into the hole and nothing will penetrate it. Will three bolts hold, don't think so.

25th June - Rear Wheel
All week I've been discussing "pulling" the rear wheel on the VCCA site. I've tried buying a wheel puller on ebay, borrowing one, stealing one or talking one of my mates from down-under to drive over and give me a hand. In the end a wheel puller was not required.

I jacked up the left rear and took off the hubcap, cotter pin and unscrewed the axle nut. I grabbed hold of the outer part of the tire on both sides, gave it a wiggle and it moved! Just a tad mind you but it did move. Kept wiggling left and right. After a few minutes I could see that it was coming, slow but sure.

First thing I noticed after it broke free and came off, was how heavy the damn thing was. I also noticed was that over half to 3/4 of the spokes were loose. I put the bolt into the wheel, put the nut on it and rotated and tightened all of the nuts until I had them all tight. Probably half were loose!!! This is where advice probably saved my butt. If I had not been convinced by others to pull the wheel I might have had a real accident with skid marks all over the State of Florida.

26th June - Water Pump
The hood and radiator are on the garage floor and the fan pulley is pulled. True enough, there is one bolt sheared off. Tomorrow (Monday) I am going to take it to a shop and have it drilled and removed. I have a drill press but I don't want to take the chance of stuffing it up. It will take me longer to drive to the machine shop than it will for them to drill it out I am sure.

Funny how these things happen for a reason but while draining the radiator and taking the bolts out from under the radiator, I discovered one bolt was missing a nut. Think about this, I might not have noticed the missing nut if people had not talked me into removing the fan pulley to drill out the broken bolt.
I may have a real problem though. As I pulled the pulley off the hub shaft, it seemed to pull out about one inch (that much play). I can easily slide it back in and out, is this normal or do I have another problem back there? Found out later it is not normal and not good.

27th June - Water Pump
Took the fan belt pulley off the water pump shaft. The shaft moves in and out of the water pump housing (not the whole water pump) about an inch. The pulley didn't just slip off into my hand, it took considerable effort to "tap" it off. In fact I had a friend helping me and he did the tapping. We of course took the allen screw out of the pulley before we began tapping. I found out later that I should have used a puller for removing the pulley. Just goes to show you are always learning about these old jalopies.During the process I asked my friend if we should be using a puller? It seems like my life as of late revolves around wheel pullers!

After getting some advice on the net I am going to remove the water pump and replace the shaft and anything else that needs repair.

27th June - Water Pump
No trip to the machine shop today. I'll remove the water pump this afternoon take it to the machine shop tomorrow to get the broken bolt removed.

29th June - Water Pump
I pulled the water pump off the jalopy and took it to a machine shop. They were able to remove the broken bolt and created a nice new thread. They also checked the water pump and made sure it looked, felt and moved okay, then they pressed the pulley back on the shaft. We checked the packing and it was topped off. There is absolutely no play in the shaft or pulley and it turns marvelously. I am ready to reinstall everything and in the next day or two take her for a spin.

30th June - Water Pump
BTW, the 26 + 2 is back together! Last night a friend hooked up my amp meter and the dome light. While he was doing that, I reinstalled the water pump, new 4-blade fan, put the radiator back on and low and behold it started right up and purred like a kitten. Weather permitting, I would like to take a spin in the neighborhood to check it all out...and see if she will still stop after pulling the driver-side rear wheel to replace a bolt and nut that had fallen off. Cross your fingers, toes and eyes for me. Hopefully there will be no skid marks to report tomorrow morning


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