Posts Tagged ‘Ford Phaeton’

Here is a quickie video of how I deal with the leaking fuel shut off in my Model A Ford. I actually tried to remove the original one about 10 years ago and had no luck. Instead of worrying about it, I rely on a secondary shut off. Here is a photo and a video.


So much has happened to the engine since the last post. The engine is in great shape. It has been cleaned, fluxed, machined, leveled, bored, honed, balanced and by the time I post this most likely poured, peened, balanced again, painted, and reassembled. Most of the work was done in my absence; however, the J&M boys were kind enough to send progress photos throughout the process. They also welcomed myself and Len Spinelli (President of the North Jersey Regional Model A Club, good guy, and camera man) to come to the shop for a day of fun/work/schooling. Len and I met up at the NY/NJ border at 6:30AM and hit the road to get to Southborough Massachusetts for an early AM start (targeted arrival by 10AM.  We arrived just before 10AM.

We started by leveling the head and the block. They are both placed on a level base on a milling/boring machine. The machine head then takes swipes If a swipe “shaves” off something from one part but not another part, then the head or block isn’t level. This is an iterative process. The machine takes swipes until the head is level, then the bit is exchanged for a finishing bit that shines the surface down a wee bit more.
J&M Machine Company Cylinder Head Resurface

Once the block is level, the machine is set to bore the cylinders. There is a complicated process to locate the “center” of each cylinder, as you don’t want to measure on one specific spot, as that spot may be warped or worn down. The cylinders are then subject to the same process as the head, but at specific bore sizes (which match piston sizes). All cylinders must be bore to the same size and must not have warps, rust, or groves that would impair the engine.

J&M Machine Company Engine Block Decking and Boring

Don’t forget to shape the valve seats

J&M Machine Company Cutting Valve Seats

Once all cylinders are bore and the valve seats are shaped, the cylinders are honed and finished with precision. J&M maintain that this is where many shops skip a step.

J&M Machine Company Cylinder Honing

J&M Machine Company Cylinder Hone Finish

Let’s not forget straightening the crankshaft

Here are some photos of my crankshaft that they addressed prior to the visit.  I know a bunch of cranks I would like straighted out….


(this crank in the video isn’t mine).

J&M Machine Company Crankshaft Straightening

…and then grinding it.

J&M Machine Company Crankshaft Grinding

They sent me home with the bellhousing.  They installed the pedal shaft on the bell housing and replaced/installed lower bushings plus installed new bushings in pedals.

.   IMG_1804

The block is now finished and honed.  Please note the crosshatching on the hone.

IMG_1817 IMG_1818

Here are some images of the pistons once they were made ready for the rebuild.  Apparently the heaviest was 2.2 grams off from the lightest.  They are now all within .2 grams of weight.

IMG_1864 IMG_1865 IMG_1866

You remember that dirty flywheel…. Here is the a before and after of it.

IMG_1765 IMG_1766

….. and in case you didn’t see it already posted on, here is a tour the Mike gave of the J&M Shop.

I’ve also decided, since spring is around the corner, that I would have J&M’s contacts rebuild the starter and the carburetor. I really wanted to do these things myself, but there are only so many hours in a day and I want to get the car back on the road this Spring.  If timing allows this Month (March), I will be taking apart and restoring the transmission with John Karal (the “North Jersey Model A Guru”).

“The mansion will be fitted with late-20s ephemera, to McDermott & McGough’s infamously exacting standards. At the entrance, a 1929 Ford Phaeton—the latest model, as it were—will greet guests, and a paper moon hand-painted by McGough will replace the humdrum step-and-repeat red carpet.” – by Rachel Tashjian, Vanity Fair (5/15/14)

“Looking down Central Park on East 91st Street last evening, something did not belong: a parked car in front of the James Burden Mansion–one that was decidedly not from our time. It was a 1929 Ford Phaeton, with tall, skinny tires and a black steel body. A glance around saw gaggles of women in fringed and dropped-waist dresses, fur stoles, and dripping in diamonds teetering towards the mansion’s entrance.” – Interview Magazine (5/20/14)


At the evening's destination

At the evening’s destination

It has been too long since my last post, but after showing “the coolest video ever”, I needed something big enough to at least come close to the awesomeness of the prior post. Driving my car through Manhattan and having it mentioned in Vanity Fair, Style, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and be part of The Manhattan artist and socialite scene does just this.

Here is the background. I was asked if my car could be used a Museum of Arts and Design event where young patrons (mostly in their 20s to 40s) were honoring Peter McGough and David McDermot (two extremely respected visual artists with a passion for the past) and raising funds for the museum’s hand on art education programs. Of course I said yes.

So, I hired the neighbor’s son Bryan to wash/wax the Phaeton. I decided that such a trip into The City merited a ½ day of work and then some time touring…. above is a video of the car in Times Square, below is Columbus Circle.  In retrospect, perhaps I probably should have added the Flatiron Triangle to get another shape in the mix.

After tooling around Manhattan for an hour and stopping by my Manhattan apartment to “say hello” and pick up my mail, I arrived at the Mansion and waited for the event to commence..

Most people attended the event dressed in late 1920s attire. Dandy Wellington and his notable Jazz quintet, provided entertainment. The transformation of the James Burden Mansion into a 1920’s ball venue was “spot on”. It wouldn’t surprise me if the event itself influences fashion trends next season. On a side note, I will admit I was a little taken by one of the organizers, Bettina Prentice, who was “WOW-Stunning” in her 20s outfit. I also want to thank Laura Kimsey (also looking stunning and with curves as elegant as those of the Phaeton) for inviting me to the band’s after-party and apologize to her for not offering to take her (and some of her friends) for a ride around the block at the end of the event. Perhaps another time. Another special thanks needs to be extended to J Uwandi, (great job J) who diligently stood guard over the car and my friend Emily B who broke from her busy working evening to catch up over a well overdue dinner. Apparently, the event is/was a big deal in the NY art and social crowds. I had no idea. As it was such an important event, the car appeared (or receive mention) in a collection of papers/mags/sites.

Hanging With Em B

Here is a series of links to articles about the event as well as a collection of photos…. Sorry for making you link to the images, but I wanted to “respect the links” of these publications and their photographers (if any of them would like to volunteer some images, let me know).

Vanity Fair


Interview Magazine


Harper’s Bazaar

Photos by Billy Farrell:

Photos by Patrick McMullan:

So the articles and photos agree that my Phaeton has got great curves and does very well when taken out and shown off, but let’s call it was it is…. my Phaeton is not just a socialite, artistic Diva. She is a bit of a tomboy. The grit of the city was not a problem. We took on potholes, cabbies, parking, rain on the return trip and everything the streets of Manhattan had to offer. We probably drove a good 75 miles in total making it one of my shortest roadtrips, but it was probably also the one with the most exposure. I am curious if any of the hundreds of photos taken of the car by strangers will make their way to my attention. If you see one, let me know.

Ok, Model A ford people that follow this blog, let’s talk  Model A mechanics. The headgasket is seeping and I am still getting some oil in my coolant (but no coolant seems to be getting in the oil). I’ll be retourquing the head again soon – I’ve got the sequence sheet and perhaps this is a good topic for a post. The car also continues to burn oil (it did the day I bought it) and required the better part of a quart of oil be added for my return trip. I’m taking all of this as a sign that the engine is ready to be redone/refreshed/rebuilt. On the NYC trip itself, the engine stayed cool, the lights stayed on, and the car drove beautifully. I still want to tighten the steering which, as the Ithaca guys suggested last summer, can be done by adding shims at the bottom of the steering column. Perhaps that will be my next “big repair”. The brakes can also use some tightening/tuning, but continue to be “just fine”. As it was night when I left the city, I also adjusted the Powerhouse 3-brush to yield enough output to keep those headlights bright for the nighttime drive home. My headlights have a big draw, so the generator is set to give some real power right now. I’ll be needing to lower the setting before I mistakenly drive with the lights off and fry the entire system… which reminds me that I also should install the new wiring harness this year.