Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tech-Session 2011


Saturday, April 30, twenty-eight CTCC members gathered at Bob Weriderski's garage tor our Annual Spring "dust-off" event. Sixteen Thunderbirds filled Bob's driveway. Bill Axelsen brought a Cashmere '05 new 'Bird, Lee Bakakos - Yellow '57, Tom Bruin - White '57, Jim Elijah - Peacock Blue '56, Gordon Gluff - Fiesta Red '56, Joel Greenberg - Yellow '55, Len Keil -Willow Green '57, Pete Kramer - Dusk Rose '57, Bob Lindsten - '56, Jerry Michna - Red '55, Jerry Peterson - Yellow '57, Gary Smithe - Red '04, Len Vinyard - Black '57, Bob Wenderski - Red '57, Bill Werth - Blue '55, and my White '57. Others in attendance were: Pete Ekstrom, Larry Johnson and Sue L'Hommedieu, Larry Kelly, Barry Konigsford, Joe Kraatz, Dan Mrozek, Doug Rogers, Ken Srnizinski, Bob Sroka, Joe Wintz, and Steve Zambon.

Bob had the club library out for our perusal. As we finished off the coffee and rolls, the Tech-Session began. Ken began by stressing the importance of changing the oil in the spring, despite few or no miles driven as condensation of moisture causes a milky residue, which is visible under the valve-covers. Accel Motor Oil, which is SF rated, having the zinc additive necessary to prevent wear on the coin bearings, is no longer carried by Wal-Mart. Shell Rotella T has zinc, but too much detergent for our use. Ken has been able to secure Accel direct from the manufacturer, but small quantities must be sent via UPS so the shipping cost is no small matter.
Ken then discussed checking and replacing the primary ignition wire on the distributor. The original wire has a stud with a paper grommet and a bakeiite insulator. Moisture can cause this arrangement to short out. CASCO sells a replacement wire, part it 12216, which is one piece and eliminates problems.

The next tech topic was testing and replacing the vacuum advance on the distributor. If it does not work properly it will throw off engine timing. All three years ('55, '56, '57) are different. A vacuum advance from a 1950-54 Ford passenger car will work on a '55, though it is slightly smaller. Prestige Thunderbird rebuilds the '56. The '57 is a dual- type, vacuum and centrifugal. With a new or rebuilt advance you will not get a ceramic piece or spring, so save and reuse what you have. Remove the "C" clip and take out the screws to replace. A vacuum leak adds oxygen to combustion and causes excessive heat on the valves, causing internal damage to the valves.

Pertronix electronic ignitions, the subject of one of our Tech-Sessions in past years, were briefly discussed. There is no way of testing them. Wear in the distributor will cause performance to fluctuate and if the ignition key is left in the "ON" position, it can be damaged. For some reason they do not work on a '56 with overdrive transmission.

The last major topic of the Tech-Session was transmission leaks. Transmission fluid in the torque converter equalizes when the car is stored and may run out the side of the shifter at the "O" Ring seal. When rebuilding a transmission, it is essential to change the "O" Ring in the shifter. Stop Leak or Transeal is not recommended as it swells seals even more than tolerances. Some leakage can be alleviated by snugging up the bolts on the pan of the transmission. The filler tube and transmission lines cart be tightened. In order to replace the front seal on the transmission, the engine has to be pulled from the car. The rear seal you can get to with the transmission in the car. Rebuilding a transmission in the car is not recommended. Ken told of a sad case where the frame of a car was cut out to remove a transmission. The rear seal leaks if more than 5 quarts of transmission fluid are used. It takes 10-11 quarts of transmission fluid to completely replace what is in the car. Mercon-Dexron III transmission fluid should never be mixed with Type F. If in doubt of what type to use, use Type F. The session was summed up with the adage, "If it doesn't leak, it's not a Ford."

Pete Ekstrom recounted his experience selling his Fiesta Red '56 through RM Auctions in Ft. Lauderdale. The auction company said the car would sell for $55-65,000. A car restored by Amos Minter went through the auction prior to Pete's and sold for $38,000. Then his car sold to an Internet buyer from Dallas who did not even look at the car. Pete is satisfied that he got back the money he had in the car, but it sold for far less than RM's estimate. He contacted the buyer subsequently and offered to send him the paperwork that should accompany the car. The buyer said not to bother, as he was unhappy with the car since it was "not as represented, the doors do not line up". Pete recently received a flyer from RM and the car is listed to be auctioned again. It is unclear whether the buyer forced the auction company to take the car back or if it is being consigned by the new owner. This was a solid car that needed no apologies for condition, but the lesson here is clear. If you buy sight unseen, "you get what you deserve."

We then had the group photo session and most of the group went to Alek's Restaurant in Lake Bluff for lunch. After lunch a group of us went in a caravan to the home of Bob Merrifield in Mettawa. Dick Murray took us around Bob's place. We started in the kitchen where he had a model train, complete with whistle and steam hisses, running above the cabinets. Bob was in another room along with a brass era, pre-"T", Ford Model N and speedster, both full-size. Dick took us out to the garage and showed us late model Rolls-Royces and then to another building that housed an outstanding Rolls-Royce collection - both pre and post-war. The oldest Rolls was a 1919 Silver Ghost. There also was a Rolls manufactured in Springfield, Massachusetts. A 1951 Jaguar drop-head was among the Rolls, as well as Dick's '49 Cadillac that sported new wide, whitewall radials. Bob's mechanic was working on a Rolls limousine.

We then said our goodbyes and departed, looking forward to the Spring
- Jim Wilson

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