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Old 02-12-2003, 12:10 AM
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Post How much does it cost to get an engine rebuilt?

I found a '31 ford that was running 5 years ago (all original, complete car), but its not running now. Suppose I took the car to a shop, how much money would it cost to strip the engine/tranny down and rebuild it so it runs?

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Old 02-12-2003, 06:37 AM
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Way more than you should pay. First of all, a 31 ford is a model A and if it is all original would have a flat head four. These aren't bad motors and they can be modified to sound good and produce decent power, but they are no competeition for an 8. Second, not trying to judge you or anything, but from your posts I have picked up that you are just starting and there are still a lot of things you need to leard right? Well, making a hot rod out of an all original car takes a lot of work, the brakes will have to be upgraded, the tranny will probably have to be swapped out for something that you can shift a little better and many other modifications too.
If your are truly intent on doing this...why not make it run your self, a machine shop will charge you and arm and a leg to make this motor run when you could probably do it at home (assuming its not siezed).
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Old 02-12-2003, 06:38 AM
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Since you have a car that was "running five years ago" it will run today. Why would you assume you have to spend a large pile of cash to revive this Model A? The Model A Ford is one of the simplest and reliable machines ever designed by man. That is why so many of them survive throughout the world.
This is what i would do, and have done, to see if your A is a money pit or a rider:
1. disconnect the fuel line at the carb and clean/rebuild the carb. if it's an original Zenith there is one bolt on the bottom that you loosen and remove the lower assembly, Clean out the bowl with carb cleaner, spray through all the passages, make sure the float is working, and put it back together.
2. Pull the plugs and take a look inside. If you're not staring at a world of rust and corrosion, pour in about 2 tablespoons of Dexron ATF in each cylinder ( or a good dose of Marvel Mystery Oil). Let soak overnight! Drain and change the oil in the crankcase (a cheapo 30W or 40W will do fine for this startup exercise!).
3.Put a socket and breaker bar on the crank pulley nut and see if the crank will move. Just a jiggle back and forth. If she moves, spray or pour a little more ATF in the cylinders and slowly
turn the crank over. If you reach a hard spot, add some more oil and let sit one more night, maybe 2.
4. while you're waiting on the oil to work, clean and check distributor cap and body,spark plugs, point gap, and all ignition wiring connections. Yes those flat brass straps are the spark "wires"!
5. If the crank will turn several times around fairly easily, make sure the distributor rotor is turning as well!
6. Get a good quality Series 1 size 6Volt battery and install it under the floor to the freshly cleaned cables you've already done. REMEMBER, Positive(+) goes to ground! Don't forget to remove and clean all electric connections so you have good ground and circuitry!
7. Try the starter, the switch is on the floor between the pedals. If nothing happens, remove the pushrod on the switch and take the switch off the starter, clean the lug on the starter and the switch lug and reinstall.
8. If everything so far looks good, hook up a gas can to the carb. Reinstall the plugs, and hook up all your electrics.
9. Shoot some start fluid (gently one puff) up the carb snout, turn on the ignition and hit the starter switch...if you're lucky it'll pop and sputter and maybe even run for just a moment, smoking and making lots of noise since your muffler is probably rotted away.
10. If it runs, shut it off immediately and take a look at everything so you don't have a gas leak, or any other death-dealing problem. Then try it again and enjoy!
11. Your clutch may be rusted to the flywheel and of course the brakes will need work. Don't forget to change all fluids (don't forget the steering box). Model A's use a special 600W gear oil( yes that's 600W) in the trans, steering box and rearend.
12. If you're going to keep the car, work on it and love it as I would, go to your local Model A Parts Supplier (there are hundreds nationwide) and spend some money on knowledge...that is...BOOKS! Shop manual, Service Bulletins, How to Restore Books, Lubrication Chart. Spend a couple weeks reading and absorbing and you'll be on your way to a wonderfully quirky and fun automotive experience!
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Old 02-12-2003, 07:45 AM
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What he said is worth a try. I have been able to get cars and Motorcycles started without going for a rebuild after they had been setting a long time. The biggest problem was disposing of the old gas and taking the gas tank off to get it cleaned. Since the carb may need to be cleaned and the parts may not be easily found, get all the parts together first. The oil will need to be changed soon after you get the engine heated up and the next thing is getting brakes on to work. Was it stored inside or outside?

Todd

[ February 12, 2003: Message edited by: tm454 ]</p>
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Old 02-12-2003, 07:48 AM
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Pasedenahotrod gave some good advice, but he forgot to tell you to retard the spark before attempting to start the engine. Simply shove the lever on the left side of the steering wheel toward the windshield while attempting to start the engine. As soon as it fires, yank it all the way toward you. Also make sure you have coolant in the radiator, I suggest water so when it leaks you won't be out any money! (Drain afterward if there is a possibility of freezing!)

P.S. The lever on the right is a throttle control, kinda like cruise control except it will not deactivitate when you hit the brakes!

Benji
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Old 02-12-2003, 11:44 AM
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[quote]Originally posted by drgnwgn289:
<strong>Way more than you should pay. First of all, a 31 ford is a model A and if it is all original would have a flat head four. These aren't bad motors and they can be modified to sound good and produce decent power, but they are no competeition for an 8. Second, not trying to judge you or anything, but from your posts I have picked up that you are just starting and there are still a lot of things you need to leard right? Well, making a hot rod out of an all original car takes a lot of work, the brakes will have to be upgraded, the tranny will probably have to be swapped out for something that you can shift a little better and many other modifications too.
If your are truly intent on doing this...why not make it run your self, a machine shop will charge you and arm and a leg to make this motor run when you could probably do it at home (assuming its not siezed).</strong><hr></blockquote>

your absolutley right dragn....I am a newbie. I saw this car for a good price, and was just kinda wondering if I would be getting in over my head if I got it. I think I will probably stick to my previous plan of getting a car that is already in running condition. Although, I admit, getting a car and bringing it back to running condition myself seems like it would be a lot of fun, but maybe in a few years.

Pasadena...THANKS for the post...that was some great info.
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Old 02-12-2003, 02:11 PM
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31 Model A's are some of the coolest cars in the world (even cooler than 32s), but the running gear on them is sub par for a hot rod. I know of a 54 Chevy pikcup here in lubbock that would run and drive good and needs a lot of "prettying up" that you could get for $600 or so....let me know if you'd be interested, I could check it out further.
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Old 02-12-2003, 08:07 PM
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31 is the best of the Model A series. Do NOT cut it up or hot rod it. If you want to try the restoration route, fine. It will give you many years of pleasure. If you want something that you can do a little cruising in, take up to highway speeds safely, stay warm when it's cold out, cool when it's hot out, and dry when it's raining, forget the A. ( my Lincoln is the same way, a beautiful car, but impractical to depend on for trips, or much daily driving. check my photo album) But, if you like the body style, there are dozens of reproduction companies who make fiberglass replicas with modern running gear, V8, V6, or L4 power, power steering, air, pretty much any way you want it. You can buy various packages, depending upon how much work and fabrication you can handle and whether you have a donor car, or whatever. If you are just itching to get something on the road, find a 50's or 60's car that's roadworthy. Repair rebuild or replace various things as you gain skills and more knowledge and as necessary to keep it putting down the road. Hang out with other car people, ask questions, and enjoy. Don't overlook the "orphan" makes, Rambler, Studebaker, Henry J, etc. there are some sweet deals out there on the less desireable makes and styles of cars.
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Old 02-13-2003, 12:39 AM
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can you hot rod those "orphan" makes of cars?? I mean...can you find parts for them easily enough?
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Old 02-13-2003, 07:36 AM
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It takes a little more research, and time, but yes they can be juiced up a bit with their original running gear in most cases, and when you have more experience you can move up, or if you have decided that you like the wrenching and fabricating you can build something different. Drop a late model V8 in, customize as you see fit, or sell it and start over with another ride closer to what you have learned that you really want. Do not be in a big hurry! you could end up with the wrong car, or one that is beyond practical restoration and nothing killls your enthusiasm quicker than say, starting to install new sill plates and finding cancerous floorboards hidden by glass or whatever. (We have all been there)
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Old 02-13-2003, 07:50 AM
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I have to disagree with the Lincoln owner in Florida. A Model A Ford has just as much right to be improved by conversion to a hotrod as does his stock impractical Lincoln.
I have always found that the Model A's which were the best behaved (reliable, economical for their era, fun to drive, and probably the best Hiway car of their day @55mph and under) were the ones whose owners actually used them as cars rather than 4 times a year ego boosters. The old adage that non-use deteriorates a car faster than proper well-maintained usage is very true! The folks whose cars languish in garages until good weather and ego opportunities appear are usually the ones which have to have new batteries, fuel tanks drained, brakes redone, and so on, before they can turn a wheel safely. Ask any one who ever bought a motorhome and didn't use it but once or twice a year!
As far as hotrodding orphan cars goes, it is often easier and cheaper to buy a nice original or restored "orphan" than a very popular old car. This gives you the basic car complete with all trim and goodies. You pull the drivetrain (engine/trans/rear), the front suspension, ans sell or give them to a restorer to keep the remaining "gennies" alive. Add a modern drivetrain, Mustang II style front suspension, and you've got a unique street rod whcih will catch anyone's eye!
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!
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Old 02-13-2003, 01:26 PM
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JMHO, but don't cut up any more pre-war cars. They are getting rare, if you want something of that body style, buy a kit. I do agree that cars are meant to be driven, and those that are driven and maintained will do just fine, even a stock A. The main problem with pre-war relics in stock condition is you have to carry parts, even common stuff. When driving a kit with modern driveline, a brakedown is rare, and parts to make it run and get you back on the road can be found at any parts house. (try finding a distributor cap for a model A in a small town at 5:30 PM on a Saturday. you're there until Monday or Tuesday at the earliest.)
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Old 02-13-2003, 04:13 PM
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I tend to agree with Biggarmike. If you have an all steel '31 don't cut it up. That is history that has a lot of stories to tell. If it has a lot of rust or it is something headed to the boneyard, that is a different story. Any car can be rodded but a 100% original is a rarity. Just my $.02.
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Old 02-14-2003, 06:02 PM
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BTTT....you can hot rod orphans just fine, take a look at my photo album, there's a lot of crap in there, but amongst all the other stuff are some pics of the build up of my stude...I won't lie though, it took ALL of my money for 4 years, ALL of it. However, if you don't give a crap about technology and like things siimple...old orphans can be really cool.

<a href="http://hotrodders.com/cgibin/album/album.pl?album=00001849" target="_blank">My Photo Album</a>
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