Wrench Scramble 2015: Two out of Four Ain't Bad

carburetor adapter
Have you ever met someone with extensive knowledge of the minor engineering changes made within a model or brand? Someone who can say “oh, this is an early ’82 car, so you need the EA44517 starter, not the -524″ or “don’t get the Moog part for that bushing, their book is wrong”? You know how they know that? Because at least one time a thing that was supposed to fit, didn’t.
I’m becoming such a guy with this build…

leaf spring bushing
The second quote is me, now, referring to the rear leaf spring bushings on ’60-63 Falcons. Moog seems to think my springs have a much smaller ID loop on the end, as their parts for the application (courtesy or RockAuto) are a good 1/2″ too small. The early cars use 2″ wide rear springs (whereas the ’64-65s and most other leaf spring cars use 2.5″) with a 1 3/8″ ID spring loop, which is apparently a pretty rare configuration. My typical go-to, FalconParts.com just lost their supplier (be sure to read the full description before adding to cart) and can’t help me out. Napa theoretically has some that work for way too much money. One set is in Fresno, the other in Nashville and can be delivered by burro train ground to arrive next week, but only after I go there physically in person and do something with paper (not online, not over the phone). I know NAPA has a great reputation as an “old school” auto parts shop, but maybe we could do without that aspect of “old school”. Anyway, I’ve got a set of Energy Suspension polyurethane units that are too long (but can be cut down) coming in 1-2 days via Amazon Prime for half the price. I’ll roll by NAPA and get that other order started soon, just in case.
falcon leaf spring bushingfalcon leaf spring bushing
The other end of the leaves came together without issue. Thankfully the bushing kit included the nine-inch long varying diameter bolt that goes through both the frame and bushing, because we bent one of them while getting the old parts out and it looks like it’d be a pain in the ass to replace. Greased everything up and they pop right in. Alas, I need those front bushings to put the axle under the car and drop it to get final ride height and driveshaft length correct.
2 barrel carburetor

So, Carburetors. We now have five, with a total of six barrels. I was happy to see that the rebuild kit for the Autolite 2100 two-barrel is going to get here by Friday and the adapter to bolt it to our one-barrel intake was already here. Yeah, that one’s going right back to Amazon and the proper unit will be here shortly. We’re trying to get the car started this weekend, so it’ll be a toss-up between just running the Holley 1940 without a rebuild (it’s taking forever to arrive) or scrambling to make the whole 2-barrel thing work. That clean looking Carter BB? It doesn’t match any bolt pattern I have. At the rate we’re going, there’s a decent chance a home-made wood carb spacer/adapter will make an appearance. Any particular wood you’d recommend?

fuel tank sending unitfuel tank sending unit

Ending on a more straightforward note, I swapped the fuel tank sending unit as it was electrically screwy and looked ready to start leaking. Being on the side of the tank, that seal is constantly submerged and I really didn’t feel like dealing with mid-race fuel leak issues. The old unit pops out by knocking the locking ring loose. Contort the unit out and scrape the gasket surface clean. Apply gas-resistant sealer, then the new O-ring, then contort the new unit in. Tap the locking ring back in and you’re good to start wrestling with fuel lines.


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40 responses to “Wrench Scramble 2015: Two out of Four Ain't Bad”

  1. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

    I feel your pain.
    I own an old house. Like very old house.
    The newest of the bathrooms is from the 50s. I know this because it is 1. pink and 2. the tub is a Kohler with a 2″ drain. They carried that design for this tub shape for all of 3 years. (I learned this after my experience) A few years ago, that drain plug stopped being useful. We would put the kids in the bath and it would slowly drain before the kids were done. i needed a new stopper, or at least I needed a new rubber gasket for it.
    Every plumbing shop I called, even the ones who specialize in old homes, told me there was no such thing as a 2″ bath drain, that I was measuring wrong, etc. I got to the point where I pulled the drain out, went to a supplier and put it on his counter. I said, “I need this to make a better seal.”
    The guy looked at it like i had brought in uranium.
    We sat there and started to discuss it from the “Make it work” school of repair. We looked at the edges and realized that the pit was preventing a proper seal. So I polished the brass with my Dremel and it has held water ever since.
    TL;DR: I feel your pain, not with cars in my case, houses and I get tired of bad parts catalogs wasting everyone’s time.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      I’m in the same boat. My tub also has a 3-valve setup on 19″ centers rather than the standard 12″ centers. I wanted to keep the 3-valve setup for nostalgic reasons, which meant I had to buy the only 19″ valve setup made today for about 3x more than a single valve would cost.

  2. nanoop Avatar

    People who know such details usually didn’t choose to do so… It’s worst with cars that were changed “evolutionary”, either due to improvements during a long production time (924, 944, come to my mind, but I am biased), or because they still were figuring it out (DeLorean).

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      Malaise-era British and European motorcycles are the worst. As regular suppliers folded, cash flow dried up, and sales volumes declined, factories felt compelled to use up small lots of whatever components were available, regardless of whether it matched a particular model’s published spec, and usually without any published notification to dealers.

      1. nanoop Avatar

        I can’t nail it why, but this reminds me of Chapman’s role in the production delvelopment of the DeLorean…

      2. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

        This is why 70s British bikes need 3 sets of wrenches, Whitworth, SAE and Metric. Fortunately BMW was healthy in the 70s so everything is well documented and can be replaced for a price, except green Motometer gauges, which is why my voltmeter is now a VDO.

  3. zsvdkhnorc Avatar

    I’d recommend a slab of micarta over wood in that application.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      How hard is it to drill and file 1/4″ aluminum plate?

  4. Sjalabais Avatar

    This series is becoming something I truly look forward to reading. Your productivity is amazing!

  5. 0A5599 Avatar

    I know someone who carved a 7 horsepower carb spacer out of a scrap of 2 x 8 pine.
    Plastic might be more resistant to cupping (and leaks) though.

    1. jeepjeff Avatar

      As much as I love pine, I would go with oak. A nice hardwood seems like a better idea for automotive use.

  6. Alff Avatar

    For this application, I’d stay away from Gum.

    1. nanoop Avatar


  7. jeepjeff Avatar

    Tim, if we’re thinking about making the right thing out of wood, it’s only slightly harder to make a run to Bayshore metals, dig through their scrap pile for a small chunk of 1/4″-1/2″ steel plate, and then go to town with angle grinders+cutoff wheel and your drill press with a sacrificial hole saw of around the right size (and then dremel to smooth to match airflow).
    Let me know if I should run over there and see if I can find a decent chunk of metal before Saturday.

    1. mad_science Avatar

      Here’s the logic on wood:
      1) People and companies actually do it
      2) I can get a big ol’ chunk of it and drill/cut/sand to the exact contours we need with minimal headaches, and if I screw it up there’s always more at Lowes (as opposed to metal depots that are closed on the weekends).
      3) It doesn’t need to last 100k miles, more like…(does some math) about 1000.
      If you have time and want to go metal ( m/ -_- m/ ), then find a >1″ thick, ~6×10″ chunk of aluminum, that’s a start.
      I need a new set of non-crap circle hole saws to have any hope of getting the right sized hole in there. As best I can tell non-crap circle hole saws are really expensive.

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        Cool. I suspect I am less likely to find that kind of aluminum scrap in their pile. If I have time tomorrow (or feel up to it today; I’m getting over a head cold), I’ll run over there. I also just checked techshop’s prices, it’s $50 for a day pass, which is a bit steep just to get that thing chucked up on a lathe (given that they still think my safety qualifier is good; my welding safety checkout is definitely expired). (The lathe thought is: undersize but crappy hole saw, and then use some other method to get the hole to the right size and shape. With steel, files and die grinders and a vice work really well, but aluminum gums those up pretty badly, so machining is a much nicer way to go, but expensive.)
        The more I think about the hardwood solution, the better it sounds. It will take the heat (it might char a tiny bit if we overheat; if things get hot enough to light wood on fire, then something else caught on fire, and we have other, bigger problems. And, it has to last ~1000 miles, not 100k.

      2. Batshitbox Avatar

        Undersized hole saw followed by nested hole saw on the same arbor. Keeps the shaggy snaggies away.

  8. jeepjeff Avatar

    Also: so glad those bushings are the right ones, and they came with replacement bolts. Cutting down the energy suspension bushings seems straight forward enough. It’s main failure mode is likely measure once, cut twice, es caca. I guess the other one is “damn, how rusted to ©€☠☢£ can these old shackles be?!”

  9. Tanshanomi Avatar

    A 2″ thick block of HDPE might be just the ticket. It’s strong, heat resistant and easily cut. Power tools will leave it a little shaggy, but it can be hand-burnished very smooth.
    Here’s a fairly large piece on Ebay for $30.

    1. Scoutdude Avatar

      That could work very well.

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        It could also work very badly. Mostly the “gets soft around 260°F”. That’s a smooth transition, and this would be bolted to the top of the intake manifold of a Ford Thriftpower I6. Bolted directly to the bottom of that intake manifold is the exhaust manifold. I would bet that means minimum 150°F underhood temperatures, and possibly a decent bit higher. Overheating a little but backing off and coming in soon enough to save the engine might still mean losing the carb mount…

        1. Tanshanomi Avatar

          Hmmm…Nylon 66, then? Not too much more expensive, and it melts at 500°F, higher than the flashpoint of some woods.

          1. jeepjeff Avatar

            That could work very well.

          2. Tanshanomi Avatar

            Okay, I was wrong. It’s a hell of a lot more expensive. Also, wood chars before it melts, so anything ingested in your engine should be fairly harmless. I guess there’s a reason people use wood. Go buy a block of maple and be done with it.

        2. Scoutdude Avatar

          You should not see 260 degrees on the intake. The Falcon “6” does not have the exhaust manifold bolted directly to the intake manifold in fact it doesn’t even really have an intake manifold it is part of the head. So if you are seeing 260 at the base of the spacer/adapter you’ve got bigger problems than it getting soft.

          1. jeepjeff Avatar

            They’re essentially bolted together. The manifold is part of they cylinder head, and exhaust manifold is right there. And yeah, I don’t think that part will see 260°F, but the difference between 260 and what it could see doesn’t feel like enough head room. Particularly when a hardwood block is around the same cost and will be easier to cut to shape (plastic is much gummier than wood when you apply drill bits and hole saws).

          2. Scoutdude Avatar

            Oh I agree that a good chunk of hardwood is the best option. I know all too well how difficult HDPE is to machine accurately. Try milling it or worse turning it. Because it is soft the cutting tool often digs in and pulls the material in making the cut inaccurate.

          3. Tanshanomi Avatar

            I do a lot with HDPE, only because I had a kind soul send me a giant crate of scrap blocks for the cost of shipping. And yes, it’s a total pain to work with, but you CAN get good results. I have found the best approach in the lathe is using a fairly high RPM (1200+), make very shallow cuts, and back the tool off every couple of seconds to keep the surface cool. Like I said—difficult but doable. The worst scenario having to accurately re-chuck a previously machined part: the jaws sink in enough that the exact placement is not very repeatable.

          4. Tanshanomi Avatar

            I just have a kneejerk negative reaction to wood because its structure is so inconsistent and has so many issues with moisture, grain, etc. In other words, everything I’ve ever tried to make out of wood has ended up a splintered, wavy, wobbly mess.

    2. JayP Avatar

      When my dad taught machine shop and CNC at the local tech school, he would have access to all kinds of metals and plastics the local chemical plant would donate to the school. More than the classes could use so students could “practice” technique.

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        Seriously. I miss having free reign on the physics lab machine shop at my university.

        1. JayP Avatar

          My reminiscing has me close to tears…
          What I wouldn’t do for a lathe, a press and 10 lbs of billet today.

      2. Batshitbox Avatar

        I miss the Exploratorium scrap pile. I got pretty good at picking out random slabs and identifying if they were ABS, acrylic, polycarbonate or whatsit.

      3. Guest Avatar

        I can’t wait till I have access to those materials and tools again.

        My school shop was awesome for the size of our school (five mills, five lathes, and a CNC mill, all for ~250 kids).

        Then our school got renovated, which is awesome, but it means our shop is closed till next semester.

        Two friends and I are supposed to be training for provincials, but the occasional field trip to nearest trade school just isn’t cutting it.

    3. Batshitbox Avatar
  10. Scoutdude Avatar

    Moog probably makes the right bushings, it is just that Rock Auto’s catalog system sucks and is often wrong as whoever transfers the data doesn’t have a clue as to what they are doing.
    For the carb spacer you want a good hardwood like oak, and you’ll see racers that compete in professional racing that use that to make theirs though they are spacers and not adapters.

  11. Batshitbox Avatar

    Mopar is famous for a high percentage of parts changes year-to-year. Mopar guys always seemed like the kids that memorized all the dinosaur names and baseball statistics when they were pre-teens.

  12. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    I’m so in awe at the actual engineering that’s going on here that I kind of want something to break on my car so I can join in.
    One of my cars is a Rover so I probably won’t have to be patient for long.

    1. jeepjeff Avatar

      The other option, which is often not spouse compatible, is to just buy yourself a wonderful piece of project car hell.

  13. gerberbaby Avatar

    for bushings and the like, have you tried an industrial power transmission distributor? they sell bearings,belts, motors, chain, bushings, and the like. Usually very knowledgable counter people and all you need to know in this case is ID, OD and length.