1931 Ford Model T - The Budget Beater, Part 4
Part 4: Getting Motorvated and Ready for the Road
From the February, 2009 issue of Rod & Custom
By Jim Rizzo
This installment of the Budget Beater comes to you from the road (Albuquerque, NM, to be exact). Yep, at this point in time the Beater's together, not totally finished, but in the midst of its shakedown run--Americruise '04.
Now, a nearly 5,000-mile-round-trip test run may seem a bit extreme, but what the heck. Life's supposed to be an adventure and I can't think of a better way to work the bugs out of a freshly built hot rod than a road trip!
So far I've run into a couple of minor hiccups: a slight oil leak caused by excessive blow-by (I didn't use a PCV valve) and one broken bolt on the front Panhard bar (must have got a cheap Grade 2 bolt mixed in by mistake). With those two minor aggravations handled, the rest of the first day on the road came off without a hitch. That is, of course, if you discount the fact that it must have been about a 120 degrees between Barstow and Kingman. Anyway, this morning we head out to New Mexico. I'll let you know how everything goes in an upcoming story or two, but for now let's get back and take a peek at some more of the beater as it goes together.
Though I'd originally planned...
Though I'd originally planned on using the Olds motor Dan Kahn has been chronicling as the powerplant for the pickup, some production setbacks caused me to rethink my plans. Luckily for me, my close friend Archie Green of Archie's Automotive in Ontario, CA, came to my rescue yet again. Archie had a good, running SBC and a TH400 sitting under his workbench, just waiting for a home. A quick bath and minor freshening were all they needed, and within hours my motorvation quandary was solved.
The motor and trans were lowered...
The motor and trans were lowered into place and mocked into position. Then I proceeded to fab up a pair of motor and trans mounts to hold everything in place.
As it's the "Budget Beater,"...
As it's the "Budget Beater," I of course decided that a little bit of my time was better spent than a little bit of my budget, so I fabbed up my mounts rather than buying 'em. A piece of 3/8-inch plate, a couple lengths of 1 1/4-inch-diameter tubing, and a section of 2x4 rectangular tubing fit the bill nicely.
Since the engine had been...
Since the engine had been mocked into position, all I had to do was build the mounts to fit. The mounting plates were made using a cardboard template, the angles and length of the tubing figured out, and the rectangular section of tubing split to form two L-shaped pieces to fit the assembly to the frame.
Since I'd done other cars...
Since I'd done other cars with solid engine mounts, I wasn't adverse to the idea of a bit of rockin' and rollin'. I figured that their design would use the weight of the engine to exert outward pressure on the framerails, leaving the L-shaped pads to the chore of locating the engine. I drilled mounting holes through the pads and into the frame, pulled off the mounts, enlarged the holes in the frame, welded nuts into the top wall, reinstalled the mounts, and ran 1/2-inch bolts through each to hold everything into place.
Once the engine and trans...
Once the engine and trans were in position, I was able to move on to the installation of my Chassis Engineering pedal assembly. Since my original plan was to use the Olds motor backed by a four-speed, I'd ordered a two-pedal assembly, but with my change of plans I modified the assembly (using a spacer) to eliminate the clutch pedal portion.
Lucky for me, the pedal assembly...
Lucky for me, the pedal assembly came with clear and simple installation instructions, as do all Chassis Engineering products. I started by measuring the location of the assembly and marking the rail where it would be located.
Here you can see the marked...
Here you can see the marked location of the pivot nut hole to be drilled into the side of the rail. The nut in the rail supplies an anchor for the pivot bolt on which the pedals rotate.
The next step was to locate...
The next step was to locate and weld the bracket assembly to the rail and attach the pedal(s). As I said earlier, I used only one pedal, so I used a spacer to take the place of the clutch pedal--so far it's worked just fine.
Here you can see the one pedal...
Here you can see the one pedal poking up from the framerail. You'll notice that I've trimmed off the top pedal portion--this was done so I could graft an early '53 GMC truck pedal to it for a more traditional look.
Once my pedal-and-bracket...
Once my pedal-and-bracket assembly was in place, I dropped the body back on the frame and began locating and installing the column and steering shafts. Originally I'd planned on using the VW bus column and box that came with the initial pile of parts, but to no avail. I took the easy way out and ordered up a Mullins column, drop, and wheel to use instead (I'd make up the cost elsewhere in the budget). In order to make sure everything was located correctly, I made a temporary seat. When it comes to steering, location guesswork is not the way to go, unless you don't mind a vehicle that's only comfortable for short distances.
I used a 4-inch Mullins column...
I used a 4-inch Mullins column drop along with a 26-inch Mullins hot rod column to fit the rather small confines of the roadster. Preplanning their location and angle ahead of time allowed for maximum use of minimum space and the most comfortable driving position possible.
As the bottom of the column...
As the bottom of the column exited the cab directly where the toe board met the recessed firewall, I was unable to use the nice lower column mount from Mullins (oh well, there's always the next project). Instead, I cut my hole and welded a right-angle tab to the board and used a 2-inch muffler clamp to attach the column firmly to the car.
Once the column was located...
Once the column was located and secured, it was time to figure out what I'd need for shafts and joints. A length of 3/4-inch double-D shaft, three joints, and a shaft support (because I used that extra joint) were needed. I first mocked everything up using, get this, 1/2-inch PVC sprinkler pipe and duct tape in place of the shaft and joints. It worked perfectly and allowed me to complete the job in one try.
As I said earlier, because...
As I said earlier, because I used more than two Borgeson joints in the setup, a shaft support was required. This prevents the shaft assembly from "looping" and becoming useless. Borgeson makes this nifty, cut-to-length support that works well in nearly any situation. I just measured the length required, trimmed it, and welded it to the framerail.
Here's a shot of the lower...
Here's a shot of the lower section of shaft, the center joint, and the support before installation. With the second section of shaft firmly encased in the support and between the center joint and the steering box, everything becomes stable.
With these portions of the...
With these portions of the assembly completed, my pooch Cleo is ready to do some cruisin'. Sorry, kiddo, we've still got a bit of work to do. See ya next month.
120 S. Plum Ave., Dept. CRM
Borgeson Universal Co./Mullins
187 Commercial Blvd., Dept. R&C
P.O. Box 70