The Gulbankian Brothers

Posted: February 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

John and Mike look like they could be a WWF tag team complete with pro-wrestler stature.  These brothers appear as two barrel chested pitt bulls ready to take on any challenge.  John once told me “on a good day I used to lift a short block into a car myself”.  If you see him you would believe it.  Thankfully, most pitt bulls are friendly.  Once you meet John and Mike, you realize that they can not only play catch with a short block, but they are soft-spoke, humble, and good natured (almost shy).  They also have a ridiculously encyclopedic knowledge of Model A engines and LOVE what they do.  These are two of the big-shot-industry-pros when it comes to the engines.  They are masters of an art and they don’t bother trying to impress anyone…. because they don’t have to try.

It is impressive watching skilled professionals do their thing.  If you have ever watched foodnetwork, you’ve seen the ease at which their celebrity chefs prep and cook a meal.  John and Mike no longer were wrestlers… they were now a master chefs butchering a piece of meat and prepping a meal.  John and Mike sliced and diced.  As they were doing so, they were spouting out dates and back-history on parts and the reasoning why certain parts were modified by Ford over the years and what/how the modifications were.  In this regard, perhaps they were more like archaeologists than chefs… either way, still impressive.

John At Work Photo Feb 14, 12 31 59 PM Photo Feb 14, 12 33 35 PMPhoto Feb 14, 12 32 22 PMPhoto Feb 14, 12 59 40 PMPhoto Feb 14, 12 52 17 PMPhoto Feb 14, 12 35 08 PM Photo Feb 14, 12 39 23 PM Photo Feb 14, 12 54 07 PM Photo Feb 14, 12 59 44 PMPhoto Feb 14, 1 04 07 PM

Mangnaflux Video:

Steel Cap Old School

Original Pistons/Rods and Caps Turned Magnet

Why should you go with poured Babbitts (as opposed to inserts)

So what do we know now that the engine is in pieces?.  As Al Clarke (of Go Devil Garage in NY) had previously noted, the engine looked like most of it was un-restored (and yes, I have given GDG a plug…. Al seems like a solid guy and I remain appreciative of his help in October).  With John and Mike’s teardown complete, we could see:

  • The majority of the engine appeared to be untouched since it left the factory floor. The pistons, rods, lifters, valves, clutch, gaskets, etc all appear original.  The clutch is an original wagon wheel design — which I will likely make into wall art. The timing shaft was a replacement (but clearly stated “FORD”).
  • Most of the shims for the crank shaft were gone. The babbitts appeared original although most of them were worn, only one had a small missing piece.
  • There is a burnt-out valve and several more valves ready to go
  • Pistons, rings and chambers are well worn
  • The engine was running very rich and the carb may need a rebuild
  • The starter needs a partial rebuild
  • The distributor shaft is beaten up and the distributor should be rebuilt
  • The oil pump works but should be replaced (it is not the rebuildable type)
  • The engine has some cracks in the block, flywheel housing, and side cover. These are all “typical”.
  • The snow is starting to come down, Boston is still expecting a blizzard, and Gary and I still have a long drive to make.

Overall the Wrestling Team of Chef Galbunkian and Archaeologist Galbunkian (they can choose who is who) thought the engine was in better shape than they expected.  They warned me that more damage would likely be revealed upon the parts being cooked and cleaned but assured me that no major surprises were expected.

Over a two hour period the Gulbunkians tore apart the engine and generated two piles of parts.  All parts to be replaced I have in my “take home box”.  If anyone needs some spare parts (mostly nuts/bolts/guides/springs that are well past useful age), let me know before I have a local artist turn them into a “car part dog” for my desk.  After Mike and I did “some paperwork”, Gary and I left at 2:00 PM to head back to NY where we were heading to his folks place to dig out their car.

Since the 14th, John and Mike have emailed me several times with photos of the engine.  They have already commenced their work.  More to follow……

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