Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wooden Spoke Wheels To Come Apart - 1928 Chevrolet


It came to our attention on the weekend, well actually I had noticed it a few weeks back and that there was a slight "ticking" noise coming from the from right front wheel when I hung the ears out into the wind and had a good listen, but being the green novice that I am I thought it was a brake issue, but it was not to be.

When I pointed this out to Ray as we returned to the resto shed he grabbed the rubber mallet off the workbench and proceeded to lightly tap each of the wooden spokes on the right front wheel and sure enough one was quite loose, then the next wheel and the next were tested and sure enough there were about 2 or 3 on each wheel that had come slightly loose over the last 12 months and 1800 miles and if not fixed asap then they will only get worse with more miles driven on them.

So what needs to be done to repair this is that I will remove and fix one wheel at a time up on the workbench, unbolt and remove the brake drum and then push out the centre wheel hub to have only the wooden spokes remaining and still sitting and intact with the outer wheel rim and tyre.
Shimming material (very thin metal) is needed and you can buy it in sheet form, A4 size or thereabouts which comes in packs, but I am having trouble locating some at the moment but that has never stopped me before, and once I get my hand on it then it is cut into strips to match the width of the hub.
All that it takes then is a couple of loops around the hub with the shim to build out the width of the hub slightly and then the wooden spokes are carefully and slowly tapped back down tight and into place with a rubber mallet and while I am at it I will check and re-grease the bearings then install the wheel and move onto wheels 2,3,and 4. 

I will keep you posted and put up some photos when I start the repair

Cheers Grant

Saturday 4th May

Today I started to pull apart the right side front wooden spoke wheel and to my surprise when I removed the rim from the car I was greeted with this shattered bearing, not what I wanted see really.

The brake drum and hardware is next removed 

Next the wheel studs are punched out carefully

The wheel is then turned over and placed on the concrete floor for a firm surface to work on,
then with a block of timber and hammer carefully tap down each spoke and slowly make your way around the hub many times and slowly the hub will come up out of the timber while leaving them in place - to easy..

This one took me only 5 minutes to complete once I had the wheel off the car.

Now waiting on some shimming material to arrive, will post more info and pix soon - Cheers

My front wheels have now been shimmed, new bolts installed and everything is back together and yes when given the "hit" test with the hammer the wooden spokes now sound tight and now I will start on the rear wheels this coming weekend while I am waiting for a new front bearing to show up.

24 new galvanised bolts painted matt black and waiting for installation.

On the weekend just past 25/5/2013 it was a cloudy, very cool, typical autumn Gippsland day and with the kids both organised and doing their thing, I made my way out to the resto shed and removed both rear wheels from Monty, knocked out the hubs and re-shimmed them up nice and tight, now all four wooden spokes are completed but unfortunately I could not have a test drive out the highway or even around the block for that matter as I am still waiting on the new tapered bearing kit for the front end to arrive from the USA... Shouldn't be long now!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

1928 Chevrolet Water Pump - Revamped & Modernised


After about a six months break from any form of "Sunday Restoration Days" in the resto shed working on the Chevy with my mate Ray and this being because I have just been driving the ole banger around Gippsland most weekends since it was registered, so today we decided to install a new water pump onto the little 4 cylinder engine.
Not that the old existing one was broken or falling to bits, it's just that with the amount of driving I plan on doing in the years ahead a few little "modern" adjustments here and there make a big different to the running of the engine so I wanted to use an original 1928 water pump that has been retro fitted with modern internals, thus doing away with the old fashioned "white grease" cup and the large brass nut that always needs checking a nipping up to stop the water drips and also the constant oiling of the water pump shaft itself each time you start the car and since I have installed the small overflow tank to the radiator, the whole cooling system for the car will now be completely sealed and running at about 3lbs of pressure which also means that a anti corrosive inhibitor can now be used.

The revamped pump with modern internal bearings is the top one

No more hot water overflowing from the radiator onto the roadway each time when you stop, which means no more topping up the radiator all the bloody time either before and during a trip.

I decided to strip the Chevy of the hood, fan belt, water pump and radiator which took me only 20 minutes on Saturday, I had it cleaned down,  ready and waiting for a 9am start today.

Like clockwork Ray arrived and was walking down the driveway right on 9am and by 10.30am we had it all back together and running so quietly and smoothly with no leaks and the little brass overflow tank which is neatly tucked away doing a great job of keeping the hot water sitting nice and level... Great job!

Here are a few photos of the install:

First the high pressure washer was put the good use to clean out the engine block


Next the matching surfaces of the water pump and engine were cleaned of old glue and gasket material and then buffed to a mirror finish.

New sealant and gaskets were then re-fitted and the water pump installed and bolted up tight.

Everything else that was removed yesterday now went back on, the radiator was filled with water and a good job was completed quickly - PERFECT!!

Without a word spoken, next the mandatory washing of the hands took place, the removing of our greasy overalls and the opening of the driveway gate was all completed in one swift motion and we were off down the street for a test drive and once again the testing destination was to the township of Yarragon for lunch where we scored a park outside the pub...

Thanks and Cheers Grant Fowler


Sunday, April 14, 2013

1928 Chevrolet Passing A Car - First Time For My Chevy


Yep, it finally happened, I actually passed a car yesterday! Cheers

Car Show At Pakenham - Drove The Chevy


Was a beautiful autumn morning as I set off about 9am on an overcast Sunday with my destination being the "Picnic In The Park" vintage and classic car show at the Pakenham Racetrack which would give me a 130km round trip straight down the freeway.

But my first stop was at this old weatherboard building know as "The apple packing shed" at Garfield which is just off the freeway, I can't go past a timber building without a photo if I am in the Chevy, they go hand in hand.

After about 50 minutes from home my left turn showed up and I was soon heading into Pakenham and then into the racecourse where I met up with my mate Ray who an had the "Red Chev" in showroom condition and about 300 other cars, vintage, classics, hotrods, a few trucks and even some restored tractors made an appearance, quite a great turnout to see

I drove in and followed the line of other cars through to the parking area and was about to get out when Les from the Dandy Car Club called out and said follow me back here, I was a little surprised and I drove back through the gathering and was told to park ole Monty at the front just inside the gate.... I didn't say no to that parking spot, nothing like adding a little class to a car show..

So I park, jump out and place my small "1928 Chevrolet" display sign up against the front bumper which has a bit of history about the car, dad and the area where dad found it, then Ray and I are off looking at all of the different restored vehicles, grabbing a coffee, something to eat, and generally just talking bullshit for a few hours.
Later in the day I had two blokes came up to me at different times when I walked back over to the Chevy, the first said. "and who are you?", which I said "Grant Fowler", then he replies "And Wayne"? "thats my dad"..... "Well I used to play with your father when we were young kids out on the farm at Traf East, my family lived next door to Monte, Bessie and the boys" such a great thing to hear this when I am out and about with the car, its a good ice breaker to have a chat with different people from all over the Gippsland area.

After a while another elderly bloke came over to the car, he was having a good long look and then read the sign, and looked across at me.... "this yours"?, "yep that one is mine", you could tell his mind was ticking over  "Monty, hmm, now who are you"? "Monty Fowler was my grandfather and I am" then he said without letting me finish, "I married a woman, hmm, Monty Fowler, let me see", anyway after a bit of back and fourth, the short of it was it turns out that he married one of Monty Fowler's nieces, small world once again, and after a quick chat he was off through the crowd and lines of cars as Ray and I sat there shaking our heads grinning.

Anyway shortly afterwards I checked over the car for the return journey, packed away the sign and put on my warm coat, said goodbye to Ray and I was soon out the gate and driving back home around 3pm down the freeway, with the rain sitting right over my right shoulder all the way and the Chevy went bloody well, it did not miss a beat while sitting on 47mph all the way and I actually passed a car coming up the long Tynong hill which I have on video as I fumbling around on the passenger seat for my phone/camera and I was pissing myself with amazement, bloody shocked really as this is the first vehicle that I have ever past EVER!!.

It was a great day seeing everything and meeting people, but it is driving the Chevy that I love.

Cheers Grant.

This link below contains many photos of the vehicles on display at the show and it comes from Rays Chevy blog. so click on here and have a good look.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Another One - A Fathers 1927 Pontiac Restored By A Son


This morning I opened my emails and what instantly caught my eye were the words "My dads 1927 Pontiac"

The email was beautiful to read, it certainly brought a smile to my face and as I read it, it brought back a few emotional memories from only a couple of years ago and I have to thank Ryan Turner from Mount Gambier for sending his story and the pictures below through to me.

Here are a few words that Ryan wrote:

G’day Grant,
I stumbled across your blog about Monty the 1928 Chev today and was touched by your story. It is similar in many ways to my journey in restoring a 1927 Pontiac that was originally owned by my great, great uncle and then my dad for another 50 years. Dad inherited the car from his great uncle when he was just 12 years old and used to drive it around the back yard as a kid.
Dad was only 61 when he contracted cancer in 2010. He had never smoked and was very fit so it was sadly just one of things as they say. Dad battled for a couple of years but we lost him in 2011. It wasn’t long after this time that a decision needed to be made about what to do with the Pontiac. Mum was selling the service station she had owned and run with dad for more than 40 years and the Pontiac was still sitting in the back where it had been since about 1970.
I’ve attached a story I put together when the search for parts started in 2012 and also some progress photos which show how we’ve been putting it back together since then. As you can see, I have gone down the full restoration path as sadly there wasn’t much to preserve when we started. A couple of old blokes in Mount Gambier are helping me with lots of the work I’m unable to do myself and we’re not far from getting it back on the road.
I hope you enjoy my story. It would be good to catch up some day. It reminds me how cars can transcend generations and bring strangers together!
Ryan and Kirsty

Here is another letter but details more history about the Pontiac

"I have recently inherited a very tired looking 1927 Pontiac tourer from my dad.  It was originally owned by my great, great Uncle Bill Turner who lived in Wandilo near Mount Gambier, South Australia.  Dad was only 12 when his great Uncle Bill died so it was more like a big toy for him at the time.  Dad painted the bonnet and doors black with a paint brush and decorated the panels with Golden Fleece Activ-8 oil stickers.  He’d obtained these from my grandfather who owned a service station next door to their home.  According to my Nana, dad used to drive his Pontiac around a paddock behind the house and charge children from the local area for rides!
The Pontiac wasn’t exactly well looked after during this period and sat under a tree in between use.  Dad often reflected on this time and wished he’d taken more care of it as a youngster.  He bought the service station from my grandfather in the early 1970s and was soon after approached by someone who had seen the car in the backyard.  They asked if dad would sell the Indian head radiator cap however dad had plans to restore it one day so refused.  The next day he noticed the Indian head had been stolen!  Concerned more bits would go missing dad moved the car into the back of the service station where it was more secure.
When my dad died in February 2011 after a couple of years of illness he still owned the service station with my mum and the car was still parked in the same place.  It hadn’t moved in about 40 years.  During that time dad had often talked about restoring it.  He was going to get it ready for my oldest sister’s wedding but that came and went along with two other weddings in my family.  Dad was a mechanic but apart from getting the engine to run one time in about 1995 no restoration work was started.
I wasn’t sure what we would do with the Pontiac when mum and I started cleaning up the service station for sale in late 2011.  Mum helped me remove years of odds and ends that had been stacked around it over time and it was quite a sad sight.  Not having any experience with vintage cars let alone restoring them, I initially thought it was sadly too far gone.  With assistance from a couple of local blokes who had themselves restored older vehicles I learnt that anything was possible given enough time, money and hard work.  I was excited to think we might be able to get dad’s car back on the road and I know he’d be very happy to know it was finally being done.
Almost every spare minute since this time has been spent finding out about the car, it’s history in the Turner family and how to go about restoring it.  With assistance from my very supportive girlfriend Kirsty I have learnt a lot about General Motors and in particular Pontiacs from the early 1920s.  It has re-kindled my interest in finding out more about my great, great Uncle and others in my extended family.  Mum hasn’t seen it going since she started dating dad in the late 1960s so it will be quite a thrill when I can take her for a drive"

Great effort and congrats to you and your family.