FORD VAN POINTERS.
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By R. T. Nicholson (Author of "The Book of the Ford").
IN ORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES, I am not in favour of dickering with the fibre-metal ring in the commutator cover. It is easier, and nearly as cheap, to buy a new cover with fibre and metal complete, and it is no particular trouble to substitute it for the old one.
96.—Truing the Commutator Cover.
Nevertheless, I welcome the Eto Ford commutator grinder, marketed at 59s. 6d. by Brown Bros., Ltd. It is a tool that any amateur can handle, and with which he can get excellent results. Its purpose is, of course, to smooth out the ruts, ridges and furrows produced by wear of the internal ring in the commutator cover, and so to restore perfect firing to the fitful motor.
True, this job can be done in a well-equipped garage with a lathe with centres big enough to take the cover ; but it can obviously be a good deal better done with a machine specially made for the purpose.
Of course, there is a limit to the amount you can grind off the fibre and metal, but there is enough of it to allow of the job being done several times to one cover.
At a time when parts are not too readily obtainable, this tip may he welcome to Ford van owners and drivers.
I should state that the machine is entirely handdriven, needing neither engine power nor foot power.
97.--To Lengthen the Life of Old Commutator Wires.
When the commutator (or low-tension) wires grow old, they are very apt to get badly sodden with oil at the commutator end. This oil-soaking means that the insulation of the wires is weakened, and the firing of the engine is then very apt to become erratic, while starting becomes difficult. In the regular position, these wires are, at the commutator end, treated to a big oil bath all the time. No matter how careful you are in oiling the commutator itself, and in feeding oil to the engine through the breather pipe, the -lower ends of the wires will get filthy. They ought to be as dry as a chip.
When oil-sodden, and consequently electrically leaky, replacement with new wires is generally thought necessary ; but the life of the old wires can be extended as follows :— First note which wire goes to which terminal on the commutator. If it is not possible to •see the colours ofthe insulation (as noted in Pointer 69), number each wire and each commutator terminal, by tying twin labels, numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 to the corresponding wires and terminal posts, so that you will know that No. 1 wire belongs to No. 1 terminal, No." wire wire to No. 2 terminal, and so on. Then remove the wires from the terminal posts.
. The standard way of running these low-tension wires is to carry, them down under the right-hand side of the bonnet. That means a right-angled bend at the top, and anothpr right-angled bend at the bottom—the wires going a long way round to get home to the commutator.
The idea of the plan that I am recommending is to run the wires by a shorter route, so that you can cut them down in length, by scrapping the oil-sodden parts near the commutator. Therefore, run the loom, with the enclosed wires, from the terminals, at back of coil, along the radiator stay-rod—the rod which runs 'from dash to radiator—tying it with tape to that rod. Then run it down vertically to the commutator. You will then find that all four low-tension wires are too long by some inches that they will reach the commutator with a. good deal to spare. Cut down each cl the wires so that it will reach its proper terntinftl with only an inch or two to spare. (This will mean that the wires, when Cut, will vary somewhat in length : they must not be cut down, therefore, to the same length, but must vary according to the position of the terminal to which each belongs.) You will now almost certainly find that the lower ends of the wires, where cut, are clean and free of oil. If so, pare away the insulation of each wire for about an inch, or a little more, scrape, or rub up bright with emery cloth, the exposed wires, and sakler up neat loops, big enough to go comfortably -over the binding posts on the commutator cover. (A roughand-ready hand will be content with just twisting up these loops, but it makes a neater job to solder.) If the insulating material at these points where you have cut it through is still oil-sodden, wash it as free as possible from oil with petrol : then varnish with two or thre cOats of shellac solution, made as follows :— Buy a pennyworth of shellac, and dissolve it in methylated spirit, adding as much spirit as is necessary to dissolve the shellac. It is best to powder the shellac, or break it up very small ; then to put it in a battle, and to pour over it enough methylated spirit to cover the shellac and about as much agaih—that is to say, if the powdered shellac reaches 1 in. up the bottle, pour in about 2 ins, of methylated spirit. It takes a little time for the shellac to dissolve the solution is therefore best made the day before you mean to use it. Shaking and gentle warming make it dissolve quickly; however, if you are in a hurry. You want a ettong solution of shellac : so use plenty of sbellac, and as little spirit as will dissolve it. When applied, this shellac varnish dries almost at once, and the shellac is a fine insulator : it also resists oil and water for pretty nearly evermore. It is a good tip to varnish new low-tension wires with it, before putting into position. In this ease, varnish from the commutator terminal loops right up to the loom. You will now find that the low-tension wires are much more comfortably out of the way of the oil than they previously were : indeed, I consider this the best way to run the wires in any event—irrespective of whether you want to economize by making old wires " do."
048 When cutting the wires down, remember that you have to allow for a certain amount of swing in the commutator cover, as there is movement whenever you want to advance or retard the spark. Do not get them too tight, therefore.
98.—A Good Varnish for Wood.
Mention of the shellac varnish reminds me that this makes a good wood varnish. Do not apply it to enamelled or painted work, however, because it attacks paint and enamel. It is good for body parts that have been originally black stained, and have become dowdy with age. For this purpose,. the varnish should be made a good deal thinner—that is, with a larger proportion Of methylated spirit, and less shellac—than when used for insulating the wires. It should be applied quickly, being rubbed on with a soft rag : but no rubbing should be done after the -varnish has begun to set, until it is set. Cover the surface that you are treating, and then leave it alone till it has set—which will be in a few minutes. Then, when set, polish up with a soft non-fluffy rag. You can get-a really brilliant polish, which is renewable with a. rub up at odd times. Do not try to cover too much surface at one operation. If you rub the varnish after it has begun to set. and before it is quite set, you will get a smeary effect which you will not like.
Every Ford engine bears a serial number. As it is often useful to be able to find out just when an 'engine was issued, I give the following table The engine number will be found on the side of the cylinder block.
Each Ford body is also serially numbered on the dash ; but it would serve little purpose for me to give an index of bodr numbers—for two reasons. In the first place the numbering has been somewhat erratic ; and in the second place it is the age of the engine, rather than the age of the body, that tells.
The above table should, I think, be useful as a guide to purchasers of second-hand vans, which are now changing hands freely.
100.—Budging an Obstinate Tyre Cover.
The following tip holds good when a tyre cover obstinately refuses to come out of the rim. (This is generally when the rims have been allowed -to get very rusty.) If the van is run slowly for a short distance on a deflated tyre, it will usually come off easily enough when the tyre levers are applied. You may find just as you are setting out that the tyre has gone down in the night. If you try to remove the cover then and there, you will more than likely find it stick badly; whereas if the puncture occurred on the road, and you had run on the partly deflated tyre, it would come off readily enough. But never run on a deflated tyre at any speed, or for any length of time, or you will " chaw up" your inner tube—especially if it is a back tyre that is in trouble. You can run for a mile or two—slowly—on a deflated front tyre without ruining the tube, but I do not recommend your taking even that risk. But you get over most of your tyre trouble if you have interchangeable wheels fitted.