Fixin’ the Model A

By Jim Sherman, Sr.
By Jim Sherman, Sr.

This Jottings first was published on Thursday, April 8, 1971.
One night last week I tightened the last nut on an engine overhaul on my wife’s Model A.
I was rejoicing that I had completed several hours of auto repair work in recent weeks without scrubbing the skin off a knuckle.
Then I discovered one last loose nut around the timing device. You guessed it! First finger, left hand.
Incidentally, the A didn’t start. I didn’t expect it to, only hoped. My auto mechanical ability is limited to asking a mechanic to check out something that sounds like so and so.
I’m great at naming “sounds-like” noises.
I tackled the A only because I’ve heard for years how you can fix them with a hairpin or baling wire.
That’s a bunch of malarky. The list of people I called for help and tools goes on forever, including Ross Tope, Gail Shafer and Kelley Stewart of Oxford, Bill Rausch of Clarkston and men in Davison, Port Huron and Chicago.
I consulted the “Model A Service Manual and Owners’ Handbook of Repair and Maintenance,” parts catalogues and talked to anyone I thought old enough to have driven a Model A.
I learned one thing early. You need tools to repair an A.
Spring lifters, piston ring clamps, valve grinders and compound, and assorted hand tools that were always on the other side of the car.
I broke a bolt off the oil pan and one off a cover on the manifold side. It was then after 11 p.m. The threads of the bolt are still in the engine block, but it doesn’t leak.
Of course, as I said, it isn’t running yet either.
I did pick up a lot of auto mechanic language. Most of it is very much like a printer’s language when things aren’t going well.

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