Friday, October 2, 2009

2 years in the making: The Old Ford GOES!

I know some wait a life time to get their dreams rolling, so I shouldn't complain. But two years ago my car pretty much went off the road other than short trips to shows around the Detroit area and now it is finally embarking on a long journey!

The '49 Ford that I pretty much refer to as 'the Ford' went off the road in the fall of 2007 to be converted from 6v to 12v. Among other changes: 4 barrel carb switched for 2 Stromberg 97's and a new fuel tank, new Mallory duel point distributor, electric fuel pump and wipers. The car was fairly stock when it came down to it. In fact I went out of my way to switch the wheels and tires back to the stock size around the same time.

I'm no wiring guru. In fact, I'm just the opposite. I can easily screw up wiring so I took it into a Hotrod shop in town to do that for me. Sometimes even the best of the best can make mistakes. After the switches were made, there was a bog in the engine which happened when the car got up to operating temp of 180ยบ. While it was there some of the above mentioned changes occurred as well.

After long periods of trying to tune the engine from both a fuel and ignition stand point, the mechanic kinda threw his arms up at it and suggested that I had some tired rings and pistons. So a year later the engine came out for a full rebuild along with the trans.

The flathead was torn down to a bare block to be built from the ground up. The trans was rebuilt too in the same respect. Months later when it was all fresh and ready to go back in, bigger and better than before (4" Merc crank and 3 5/16" bore, taking this flaty to 275 ci) the bogging still remained.

To make a long story a bit shorter, a new wiring harness was put in along with rebuilt carbs, a different coil was swapped, new solenoid, new keyed ignition, geeze, everything electrical that you can imagine. The last step was to replace the 2nd electrical Mallory distributor that was swapped for the duel point Mallory. When the new distributor showed up in the mail I noticed that the shaft didn't have a hole drilled in it for the distributor gear. I riffled through the paper work to find out what size it needed to be, or if there should have been one in there in the first place and some Chinese dude took a nap when this one came down the line.

Nothing in the paper work says that you need to drill a hole to put it on, but it's obvious that the pin needs to go through a whole to hold it in place. But, there was a cheesy zerox'd half sheet with flathead directions on it. The directions explained that it's required to lop off the long end of the distributor after the gear. At this time I glanced over at the dual point and the borrowed electric mallory distributors and noticed that neither of them had been cut as the directions had stated.

None of my buddies who make there living as mechanics thought this would make a difference since the distributors had the clearance to fit in the timing plate and there wasn't a good explanation as to why this would change things. But at this point there wasn't a good explanation of why the damn car wouldn't run like a bat out of hell!

Last night the new electric Mallory, sans the extra length of shaft was dropped in and timed out properly. It wasn't long before heading down the road where the normal bog would happen at certain RPM's and speeds. After two years of driving around the car I knew exactly how it behaved and where the bog began and ended.

Well, no bog....

We all still don't know if it's an electrical problem with the engine ground interacting with the charge of the distributor or if it's oil pressure building up behind the gear pushing it away from the engine.

Lessons learned:
1) Always read all the instructions
2) Just because experts have years of experience, doesn't mean they don't make mistakes.
3) Don't give up and drop a small block in after 2 years of dicking around trying to get it going.


  1. Looks sweet Keven. When ever you're ready for another post at, let me know...

  2. Can't wait too see ya fly passed me on friday! right before i drop the hammer and blow your doors off brother ... hahah glad the "bog" is history!