Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Some more cleaning and sorting

Well today the startor motor was deliveried back to me after a little overhaul and it was reinstalled straight back onto the motor afterwork tonight before I misplace it somewhere and then I unscrewed the old original fuel vacuum tank and disconnected it off the firewall along with the pipes and started to pull it apart carefully as I went.
The lower pipes which connect near the lower section of the tank and the shutoff tap was completely blocked up with crap and the cork gasket was all there, in one peice but very brittle, this I will replace and use as a template to cut a new gasket myself.
I got the air compressor working and blew out all the rubbish that was blocking the pipes and cleaned everything up with some W40, the inside of the vacuum tank was relatively good for its age and will clean up fine but still needs a fair bit of elbow grease.
I have to now look up some techincal info on the internet for the vac tank and its more detailed bits just to see what the hell is going on when it is all working.
My next thing will be to remove the fuel tank and give it a good hot water pressure clean out then blow it with compressed air and then let it hang in the shed for a few weeks to dry out, this is what i do with my old BMW bike tank once a year and it is like new on the inside after 30 years..
Hopefully my new spark plugs and carbie refresh kit from the USA will be here soon...Waiting! Waiting!.
Cheers for now


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Now here's a little cute ute

I was woken early Sunday morning with the rain pouring down on the verandah tin roof, "Oh shit" I thought as the local swap meet was on early this morning in Trafalgar as over the last couple of years rain has done it's very best to cancel this event and this looked like another one to be called off, so I dozed back off to sleep for a while but come 6.30am the rain had stopped, the sun came out and it got muggy quickly, so at 9am I was in my old Toyota ute for the short trip over to the recreation reserve where a large amount of people had gathered and it looked like I great turnout of all sorts of vehicles and stall holders but it was this little very original 1920's-1930's Ford ute that caught my eye straightaway, left hand drive, surface rust paintwork with signage still on the door... Now I have heard about this vehicle on the grape vine and the story is a local bloke imported it from New York City a few years back in "as is" condition and with it lined up along side all the shiny restored cars it was by far the nicest in my opinion.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

We towed him home...

With a fuel blockage and a stubborn starter motor playing up a good friend of mine "Fordy" and I hooked Monty up to his 4x4 and we slowly towed him home to my place after a couple of beers on Friday night before darkness set in which is all of about 500meters down the road and around the corner from the old "Fowler & Sons" workshop and bloody hell did we did get a few funny looks along the way and also the flat spots in the tyres from sitting all those years did make for a rather bumpy slow ride...
Then we pushed him backwards down the driveway and near the shed where Lisa my wife was hanging out the washing and surprised us both with a "Yes and what have we got here fellas" which was all in good fun and then quickly out came the camera for a few shots. After another beer and a few more long hard stares with a bit of bullshit chat thrown in about him it was soon time to bring out some tools as the startor motor had to be removed which it was soon after dinner and the carby taken off and cleaned out, the spark plugs pulled out and cleaned (there were 4 different brands installed) with new ones ordered and new spark plug leads installed, I also ordered a new "carby fresh kit" due to the leaking carby bowl gasket as the old one was just so brittle but what do you expect after 80 years so I think it is due for a few new bits and peices.
After all of this and with night closing in I rolled him into the garage, locked the door, walked around to the water tank and with a big glob of citrus cleaner in my hands I gave then a good wash and walked back inside with a smile on my face.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Just trying to be an "Arty" photographer with the glare!

I stopped for a break so I took this one, always have the camera handy now

Over the workshop pit he went!

With the motor now looking a treat and all clean, although alot more elbow grease is still needed in there as you can't get 80 years of crap off a motor in one afternoon but small steps are all that is needed and he will soon be running alot better.
So this Sunday morning I rolled Monty over the workshop truck service pit so that I could get down in there switch on the pit lights and have a good look up under him, bloody hell and what did I see.... there was 80years worth of dried baked on mud everywhere about 1/4" thick, on the diff, on the brake drums (this model was the first Chev to have 4 wheel drum brakes), right along the chassis rails everywhere, you couldn't see a nut or bolt head, and even all the linkages where like a solid blob of mud, but he did come from off a farm so I had to expect some dirt.....So straight for the big air compressor switch I walked, flicked it on, grabed the face mask, put on my hat and got back down in there where I stayed for 2 and a half hours until I emerged covered in a black, greasey, dusty film.
I got it all off and the air compressor was the way to go as once you got a bite into the mud the rest just kept breaking away to reveal everything beneath it, a dirty job but very rewarding and surprisingly very little rust once again, just mild surface rust......
Anyway another few hours of fun was had and I think Monty is now about 1/2 a ton lighter....

I got to drive "Monty" around the yard...Fun Experience!!

Well today before I started to degrease the engine I opened the workshop door and with the sun out for just a short time I had my first drive, the starter motor is causing a good few problems which will be sorted out in good time and we finally got "Monty" going again and with the tyres now pumped up it was time to venture outside.
Off we went around the yard, 1st gear and then into 2nd sorry but there was no room for the 3rd and final gear and then around I went again but this time on the second lap when I went to turn the wooden steering wheel a peice of it broke off in my hand and then another, where's power steering when ya need there you go, I final got to drive him after 40 yrs of wondering and now I am looking for a new wooden Chev steering wheel amougst some another things.
Anyway I backed him in the workshop and rolled up my sleeves for a  few hours of cleaning.
Tomorrow I am going to roll it over the service pit in the workshop and attack the underside of it and blow all the 80yr old dried mud off  the brakes and chassis and spray it up with some W40 and get some grease into all the grease nibbles....

Have a look at the video attached

Well I degreased it 4 times and look what I found

This weekend my son Codi and I had planned to have a weekend away camping on the old BMW bike up to "Sheep yard flats" right at the foot of Mount Buller in Victoria and catch up with some other fellas who all ride older style 70's & early 80's BMW bikes but the weather turned out really wet and we called it off, so it was to the shed I went for about 4 hours and scrubbed up the motor on "Monty".
I think there was 82 years of grimes on that motor and after 4 lots of degreaser and high pressure air I got it looking really nice to a point where you could see all the brass/copper little oil pipes with their nuts and thread all shiney around the botton of the engine, the engine block itself was a deep darkish green/grey colour and I also found the engine number stamped on the side of the block....

The 4 hours went so quickly, I got covered in grease, dirt and had a great time but my next purchase is a good pair of  blue overalls as Lisa was not to please with the dirty clothes......
This photo was taken after the 3rd round of degreaser had been completed....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Leukaemia Foundations "Light the Night" walk in memory of dad

On September 15th 2010 family and friends caught a bus down to Melbourne and we gathered in the Treasury Gardens along with about 5000 others to take part in the Leukaemia Foundations "Light the Night" fundraising walk which our team "The Wayne Fowler Crew" was doing in memory of dad and also other suffers of this cruel disease.
It was an extremely emotional night for us all as when darkness fell everyone then lit up their coloured balloons and all 5000 people walked through the gardens in a long line of glowing colour, it was a sight to see and we will be returning next year to take part in this event and also to keep dad's candle burning, he would be smiling indeed..
"The Wayne Fowler Crew" raised over $22,000 for the walk and it was a great effort from family, friends, & business contacts.

About a month after dad passed away I get an email from a good friend of ours who lives in Ohio USA as they had just had their annual cancer appeal walk for the district and their family had walked in memory of dad.
They had organised a lantern with dads name on it (have a look closely at the photo), we were all very touched by this and once again we thank them so much for their effort and also their support towards our family at the time


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just scraping a few items together!!

Well today I went back to the local tyre dealer to pick up the Chevy wheel that needed a new tube put in it, "Brownie" put a 21" motorcycle tube in it just to get me up and running so that I can drive it out of the shed.
The trouble with using motorcycle tubes is that the air valve is shorter than the original one and you have to take the whole wheel off the rim to blow air into it due to the 1920's rim set-up...but it will do for now!!

He will try and track down some new proper tubes and new 21" "cheese cutter" tyres as well but said my best bet would be to hunt around the "vintage car club" scene and ask some questions...I have contacts there so all will be done soon...

Next a 6 volt battery which I also tracked down today on the phone, I had a 12 volt in it yesterday but the coil was getting way to hot to quickly which is not good but OK between quick starts if you are careful, with the 6 volt it can stay in there on the trickle charger and all will be good to start at the drop of a hat.....

It is all just a bit of fun and I am really enjoying myself but then this is the easy part, all the hard stuff is still to come and don't I know that.......Cheers

Video of the "Start Up" - He run so smooth

I quick video of Trevor who is the local "old engines" guru and myself starting up Monty on Tuesday 9th November, I forgot to roll the camera in all the excitement but got there shortly after..BUGGAR IT!!
Anyway it run like a dream.....Have a listen

"Monty" only a few months ago in the workshop

Dad with some of his old Mercedes Benz trucks

It's not best photo of dad but this was just how he was, old work clothes, "Fletcher Jones" jeans  and always surrounded by his trucks. This was taken the day "Fowler & Sons" had their big auction in the workshop and sold up 50 years of equipment,  I walked with him outside just prior to the trucks going under the hammer outside in the yard and he was upset and teary, but he soon got over that as his beloved cranes brought triple the money than what he thought they would, dad walked off smiling after that.

Myself in the back & my son Codi sitting beside dad in 1999

This was the last time the Chev was out & about, cruising the laneway....

Dad aged 15 after he fixed up this motorcycle

The story goes something like this,  Dads older brother was good motorcycle rider in his day when he was a young bloke and always "go'in like buggery", then one day while racing back down the narrow "Thorpdale hill" road he shot over the edge somewhere like a rocket and landed down in the scrub, he was fine and the bike quickly recovered then placed towards the back of their fathers workshop where it stayed much to the delight of old Monty Fowler for some time.
Then dad clapped his eyes on it and quitely over a period of time straightened it out and got it running again, Monty was not to pleased I was told.
Anyway I just love the sign on the front "The Wild One"...
Cheers Grant

Stuart giving the thumbs up!!

Photo of Dad and my brother Stuart 1969

The original "Fowler & Sons" workshop in the background across the road from our house, this was pulled down in 2009

The Beginning - How we came to this point....

It's something that just happens in life, it probably already has happened to you, if not then it will and you cannot escape it. one day everything changes so quickly...
Our family exprienced a roller-coaster ride on the "Leukaemia Express" from May until 14th July 2010 when my father Wayne Fowler a very active, fit and only at the age of 71years was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of AML Leukaema, dad lasted just 6 weeks & life changed so quickly for us all, as dad was very activite, eat healthy, enjoyed people, looked forward to his yearly month long camping & fishing trips up north in the "Gulf Country" of Australia with his brothers and best mate George, 30 trips in total I think they done over the years, yes dad sudden illness was a big shock to family, friends and also the local township where he lived for all his 71 yrs.
Dad worked with his brother "Digger" in their own business "Fowler & Sons" shifting & relocating entire buildings & houses across Victoria and also hiring out a fleet of cranes for more than 50 years up until they both retired and sold up the business in 1997. It was during these earlier years that dad came across an old Chev sitting out under a lovely big shady tree in a farmers paddock near the small township of " Hill End" 30kms north of Trafalgar towards Mount Baw Baw but the Chev was minus the front axle, dad got talking to the owner about the Chev, "I've ripped out the front axle & wheels and put it over there under that old farm trailer to use for the hay", well they both came to an agreement, dad would replace the farm trailer axle with one that he had back in the workshop and put the original axle and wheels back under "Monty", dad returned to the farm a few days later with the help of his dad & his brother Digger to switch the axles over and bring the Chev back into Trafalgar on the back of the truck where it would find its new home in the old workshop of "Fowler & Sons" Kitchener Street Trafalgar, I was 3 at the time and my brother 5 years of age....
One thing I can tell you is that mum was none to happy to see it being taken off the back of the truck and driven into the shed, it cost dad 60pounds in total to claim his name to the Chev, mum was not to pleased.
Over the past forty years Dad and uncle Digger worked very long hours, away for weeks shifting and relocating buildings, what spare time dad did get was mostly on a Sunday and he would use this time to enjoy himself with mum & us kids in the garden and his large veggie patch, while always keeping a close eye on the workshop directly across the road from our house as work always came first, dad loved his job and lived for the business so the old Chev just sat there collecting dust in the workshop. Dad never wanted to sell it, he had a good few offers but always said "No sorry, I won't be selling it day"....

As a kid I was always playing in & roaming about the old workshop, getting covered in grease and years of old thick dust which seemed to of blanketed everything, climbing up in the old timber loft was an adventure where I would then climb all over the unused truck tyres which were lined up a long rows to reach the large timber air vents that run along the full length of the workshop wall where I would  stare down out our house and call out a bit of cheek to a passerby, knowing that if things got a bit heated I had dad directly under me repairing a truck or welding up some sort of machinery, he would be there for backup, but things never got that far...
For years we played around the workshop and the Chev was always parked in the same spot, jacked up on timber blocks as the workshop had a hard packed dirt floor and sitting directly beside the big old bench saw and arc welder but "Monty" did have some sort of purpose at "Fowler & Sons" and that was to store all the large heavy canvas building tarps inside & on top of him to a point where you couldn't  see a car at all from 10 feet away and when you are a little kid trying for the life of you to move some of these tarps, balancing with one foot while standing on the large black running boards of the car just to have a peek inside it was impossible, god knows I tried it many times but the best I could always see was the old wooden steering wheel & a row of dusty unreadable dials on the dashboard which I would quickly give it a few turns, make some loud engine noises and jump back down again, often in time with dads voice who had just walked around the corner to grab some more welding rods only to catch me out, "Hey what are you doing muscles, get down from there!"

Dad did however bring "Monty" out into the sunlight on 3 occasions that I can remember over those 40 odd years and it was always with laughter and a bit of fun from the other blokes in the workshop who would quickly be lining up for a ride and a quick few laps around the workshop yard and then back in the workshop he would go and park it up against the old rusted corrugated iron wall making way for the dust to start gathering and laying down another 10 years worth of thickness on it until next time the same routine is played out for a bit of light entertainment...

So that brings us up to this present day, November 9th 2010, nearly 5 months since dad past away and I want to bring "Monty" out from the darken workshop and do what dad probably would of wanted to do all those years ago but just didn't have the spare time to do it and I think about this a lot while looking back over his life and the last thing that dad would of wanted to do after having spent all week driving trucks, cranes and then fixing and repairing them late into the night over in the workshop so that they could be back out on the road for work the next morning at 6am to earn a dollar while already haved working a 12hr day out on the job up to his knees in mud or crawling under buildings, I am pretty sure that the last thing he would of felt like doing was restoring a bloody old car in his spare time, as it was not through his lack of ability or mechanical knowledge either, but he did not want to part with it just the same...

Lets just clear one thing up, the name "Monty" how and why?.I have only just started calling the car this over the last month to my wife & kids and the name as stuck, dad didn't call it anything, "Monty" was dads father name "Monty Fowler" and dad was "Montague Wayne Fowler" so I thought why the hell not, it's very fitting and beside he looks like an old "Monty".... 

Monty is a 1928 Chevrolet - National Tourer with only 10,400 original miles on the speedo, mechanical it is "all there", only a little rust in the rear body, but some woodwork and the interior is shot to bits, but I have time on my hands and a willingness to learn and also a little dream burning away in the back of my head to turn it into a roadworthy, drivable, cute little "Sunday" car that it is......We'll just wait and see.

Yesterday, Tuesday 9th November, I organized a mate to come around to dads workshop and have a go at cranking it over, I tried the weekend before but I'm just a bit hesitant in case I burnt or shorted something out with not knowing what and how to start it but before this happened  Uncle Digger who by the way had owned one of these when he was a young fella to roar around the Gippsland hills in to get to all the dances told me that the mileage was correct and that it is mechanically "all there" and would turnover easily, he was correct
Trevor arrived with his toolbox, tested this and that with his electrical gauge and you know some blokes are just a natural with machinery and the way Trevor made his way around an engine block with his head burried right down in amougst layers of grease he reminded me of dad as he rigged up a gravity fed fuel line to bypass the "autovac" fuel system which uncle digger had warned me was trouble, we sorted out the dials on the dials and switchs on the dash which was all very simple when you have someone thats knows what they are doing.

After about 30 minutes Trevor calls out "Kick it in the guts now Grant", so with me behind the old wooden steering wheel with my bum squshed down on the old metal spring bench seat and looking thru the dusty front windscreen I braced myself as I pressed my left foot down on the starter button,  it wound over, fired up and jumped to life straight away, we both roared laughing as Trevor looked up from under the bonnet,  old "Monty" sat there purring and was idling away so sweetly. We both could not believe how strong and responsive the little 4 cylinder engine was, there was no smoke blowing and as we had the back wheels jacked up off the ground they were turning slowly so Trevor got in and went through all 3 gears, "the gearbox feels nice and tight" he called out, it was just lovely to hear the Chev running again after all these years but this time it will not be parked back up on blocks in the darken workshop, "dad it is staying out of there"
I will keep dads word, mechanically it will be kept running nicely and always on the battery charger so that I can push the starter button anytime and it will "fire up", body wise kept as it is "original" and in a state of "patina", the interior well time will tell but reupholstered in an old looking leather finish which I'm not to sure how to achieve this but there are many cluey people around the Gippsland area with vintage vehicles of all types so the contacts are easy to find as over the years I have signwritten and pinstriped many old restored trucks and I am always bumping into these people.

This will be a long term hobby but please do drop by from time to time to have a read or call by the workshop fo a chat anythime.

Grant Fowler