Glenn Miller - At Last!


The Oldsmobile "Rocket"

The Oldsmobile Rocket V8 was the first post-war OHV V8 at General Motors. Production started in 1949, with a new generation introduced in 1964. Like Pontiac, Olds continued building its own V8 engine family for decades, finally adopting the corporate Chevrolet 350 small-block and Cadillac Northstar engine only in the 1990s. All Oldsmobile V-8's were manufactured at plants in Lansing, Michigan.

All Oldsmobile V8s use a 90° bank angle, and most share a common stroke dimension: 3.4375 in (87.3 mm) for early Rockets, 3.6875 in (93.7 mm) for later Generation 1 motors, and 3.385 in (86 mm) for Generation 2. The engine could be classified as a small-block, but Oldsmobile used a higher deck height for a 4.25 in (107.9 mm) stroke to boost displacement to a big-block-like 455 cubic inches (7.5 L).

The Rocket V8 was the subject of many first and lasts in the automotive industry. It was the first mass-produced OHV V8 in 1949; and was the last carbureted V8 passenger car engine in 1990.

The first generation of Oldsmobile V8s ranges from 1949 until 1964. Each engine in this generation is quite similar with the same size block and heads.

1st Generation -


Rocket V8 303 engineThe 303-cubic-inch (5.0 L) engine had hydraulic lifters, an oversquare bore:stroke ratio, a counterweighted forged crankshaft, aluminum pistons, floating wristpins, and a dual-plane intake manifold. The 303 was produced from 1949 until 1953. Bore was 3.75 in (95.2 mm) and stroke was 3.4375 in (87.3 mm). Cadillac used a distantly related motor which appeared in three different sizes through to the 1962 model year; though the Oldsmobile and Cadillac motors were not physically related, many lessons learned by one division were incorporated into the other's design, and the result were two engines known for their excellent power-to-weight ratio, fuel economy, and smooth, strong, reliable running.

The original Oldsmobile V8 was originally to be advertised as "Kettering Power" after chief engineer Charles Kettering, but company policy disallowed the use of his name. So the engine was sold as the Oldsmobile Rocket. The engine was available in Oldsmobile's 88 and Super 88 models, which acquired the nickname Rocket 88.

The 303 was available from 1949 through 1953. 1949 through 1951 "88" 303's came with a 2-barrel carburetor for 135 hp (100 kW) and 253 lb·ft (343 N·m). 1952 88 and Super 88 V8s used a 4-barrel carburetor for 160 hp (119 kW) and 265 lb·ft (359 N·m), while 1953 versions upped the compression from 7.5:1 to 8.0:1 for 165 hp (123 kW) and 275 lb·ft (372 N·m). For comparison, a 1949 Ford Flathead V8 produced just 100 hp (74 kW).


1949-1953 Oldsmobile 88
1949-1953 Oldsmobile 98
1952-1953 Oldsmobile Super 88

2nd Generation -

The 324-cubic-inch (5.3 L) version was also produced from 1954 until 1956. Bore was increased to 3.875 in (98.4 mm) and stroke remained the same at 3.4375 in (87.3 mm). All high performance 324s came with 4-barrel carburetors. The 324 was shared with GMC trucks.

The 1954 88 and Super 88 V8s used an 8.25:1 compression ratio for 170 and 185 hp (126 and 137 kW) and 295 and 300 lb·ft (399 and 406 N·m) respectively.

The 1955 upped the compression to 8.5:1 for 185 hp (137 kW) and 320 lb·ft (433 N·m) in the 88 and 202 hp (150 kW) and 332 lb·ft (450 N·m) in the Super 88 and 98. For engines built during the first part of 1955, the 324 skirted pistons had a reputation for failing due to the cast aluminum skirt separating from its steel interior brace. This problem did not appear until the engine had over 50,000 miles (80,000 km) on it. By late 1956, many Olds dealers learned about the problem.

Compression was up again in 1956 for 230 hp (171 kW) and 340 lb·ft (460 N·m) in the 88 and 240 hp (178 kW) and 350 lb·ft (474 N·m) in the Super 88 and 98.


1954-1956 Oldsmobile 88
1954-1956 Oldsmobile Super 88
1954-1956 Oldsmobile 98


1941 Ford Rudy Truck Project.

Old Metal is cut free.

New patch made and fitted.

Welding started. New piece is tacked into place before final weld down seam.

Weld is done down the seam; Now its time for final grinding.


55 Chevy after break in


1941 Ford Rudy Truck Update

Well, the pictures dont do it any justice, but the frame has been cleaned and painted a glossy black.

Passenger Side Corner. Looks like previous damage that was fixed.

Drivers door. Can you say 'Swiss Cheese'. With all laughter to the side, this is typical on most old cars. The doors load up with dirt and debris, trapping water on the bottom causing it to eat itself from rust from the inside out. Its recommended to replace the lower door and lower skin. Other methods that "CAN" be used are POR-15 coating on the inside and out, with a small amount of fiberglass painted in for added strength. Just make sure the factory drain holes are in place.

New center X-member supports. They fit perfectly and like a glove.

Lower eye on steering box snapped off. Piece was chamferred and TIG welded back into place. Like new again!

55 Chevy break in.



Vintage Metal spotted

Sorry for the small picture. Spotted on 91 \ 215 \ 60 connector.

Quick Tips - How to Identify Post and Pre War Hydra-Matics

If the original transmission is in the car, and shifting properly, perhaps best to leave well enough alone. But for how long, who knows? Now, possibly, the trans has been replaced with a postwar unit. There have been 60+ years for this to have happened!

The quickest giveaway is to peek down at the transmission from the drivers side of the engine. On the postwar models, there is a large Hexagonal plug-like thing at about 1:00 on the transmission as youre viewing it. Thats not there on the prewar transmissions. Its the pressure regulator valve.

On the controls, the selector detent is entirely in the steering column hub, where the indicator is on the prewar models. If the detents are light and not sharp, its a prewar box. The detent was moved to the control valve body inside the transmission after the war, and is very pronounced. Another of the many improvements made in 46 was the addition of a "reverse blocker piston" in the control valve body. This keeps you from yanking the lever into the reverse position until after the transmission engages. Even then, the rear wheels must be OUT OF MOTION before you can drop it into reverse. Whats happening here is that the drum of the reverse planetary must be stopped for a pawl to engage it and lock it. That wasnt there on the prewar jobs, and many a reverse planetary and reverse pawl were chewed up.

In order to make the transmission easier for rocking the car in snow or mud (Heaven forbid!) a new cone clutch reverse engager was incorporated in the transmissions from 1951 on. I have a 51 transmission in one of my 41s, and you can yank the selector into reverse as soon as the engine fires, with no problem. On that one, the 2-3 upshift is a little brutal, but I can live with it easily. The other two 41s have 49 Cadillac boxes in them, and Ive never driven a more enjoyable transmission.


"Tub" Spotted in Tennesee

Spotted on freeway today in Murfreesboro, Tennesee, in North Davidson county, I-24.

If this is you, chime in and give us more details.

I love to see old iron on the road!


1955 Chevy Gasser Project

Today was a pretty tough and frustrating. Starting yesterday, it was my goal to get the 55 Chevy running and broke in so we can take her for a spin.

Unfortunately, it did not happen. Saturday was spent chasing issues. We found one issue after another. A bad break line that will have to be re-bent and custom fit. A small leak in the oil pan gasket, Leaky fuel lines, leaky carburators, loose and leaky water necks, valves that needed adjustment, distributor issues and brittle wiring that kept falling apart. Sunday, ended up raining pretty hard. Luckily it cut out before noon came around. It was really interesting!

Some of the lessons learned were;

~If you can afford the tool, double flare your custom brake lines. Saves for extra work, and extra painting on that freshly painted frame. (Frown)

~Never use those stupid Specter chrome round fuel regulators. They are always on the 'Chrome' Aisle in your local large commercial auto parts house. I spent an hour chasing this 'generic' part. I really wanted an adjustable Holly unit, but since it was Sunday; ordering of a part was not an option. So I went with it. Long story short, the darn part was broke before I took it out of the package. Ugh!

~When dropping the distributor in place, make sure your on top dead center, #1 piston. Note location of rotor to start firing order.

~Check your wiring, and ensure its in good condition and not showing bare spots for possible shorts.

All I can say is this week will focus on all the issues at hand to better prepare for that 30 min breaking!

Fingers Crossed! - Motor On!

I want to give thanks to my friends: D.Mitchell, Cowboy, George, Walt and Fish. Thanks for donating a few hours of your Sunday time to troubleshoot the problems I was having.


Quick Tips - Grounding

Grounding is an important aspect to all vintage car electrics, especially in a 6volt system.

A few helpful tips to expand your grounding for a 'longer' life span on your existing system.

1. Every once in a while, inspect your battery and body grounds. Remove them, clean the posts and the surfaces they are attached too.

2. Make sure you have FRESH bare metal that your grounds are connected to.

3. Use a wire wheel to clean all your ground surfaces. I use a wire wheel cup and cordless drill.

4. Use a anti-corrosion gel on all ground connections. Gives longer life.

5. Add a separate ground from your frame to body. I always put one on the front and rear of body to ensure good grounding throughout! Use #6 wire or Flat mesh grounding strap from your local parts house. Go to Step #6.

6. Always use round eyelets for all grounds (see picture above) on all grounds. There is a much larger surface area which is needed for a good ground.


1955 Chevy Gasser Project

Engine bay of 55 Chevy Gasser. Ill be breaking her in this weekend. I cant wait.



1941 Ford "Rudy" Truck Project

Sheetmetal work has begun on the body. The cab has been pulled and work has begun. A few areas have been found to have some extensive rust and will need attention.

This shot is in front of the driver door, at the lower corner of the front fender. 68 years of running the road will take its toll. The good part is, the truck will be given an extended life.

The lower rear cab section. The old rust was pulled out and a fresh piece is going to be butt welded in. The door was ground down at the bottom. Rust was bubbling through the paint. VM is going to weld each of the holes and treat the exterior and interior panel so no future rust can come back. Were on a roll!

Stay tuned for the finished repairs.

Small Block Chevy Valve Adjustment

Im in the process of adjusting my valves on my 55 Gasser project to get it ready to fire for the initial break-in. Being a sheetmetal fabricator, I dont normally work on engines, I have a partner who does this for me. Since I am on my own this weekend, I figured I "take the bull by the horns" and take care of it myself.

I was reading in the 1955 Chevy service manual to figure out what I needed to do; but I was overcome with confusion with the simple process.

I did a little research on the internet and found a great article that helped put everything in perspective.

Hopefully it will help you as much as it helped me, and lay to rest any confusion for future projects.

Let's read on:

How to adjust valves on a chevy smallblock

There are a several methods for a valve adjustment on a chevy small block engine. Everyone seems to have a valve adjustment method they are most comfortable with and some of them will work well, but some are an inaccurate valve adjustment method. Even GM recommends doing the valve adjustment while the engine is running, which I won't teach you because it makes a tremendous mess.

You are going to learn how to do the valve adjustment, or more appropriately, adjust the lash or clearance between the rocker arms and the head of the valve stems using a method that will work for all 4 stroke internal combustion engines. The only difference between engine makes and models would be the details such as the number of turns after you have reached a zero lash, or in the case of solid lifters, the lash setting.

First consider that there is a relationship between the high position on each cam lobe for each cylinder respective of which stroke the cylinder happens to be in. We are going to adjust each valve at a time relative to the position of its peer valve ( or cam lobe ), either the intake or exhaust. This method insures the cam lobe for the valve you are adjusting is directly opposite the valve lifter and there is no measure of lift acting on the valve train components .

To do the valve adjustment you will need to crank the engine over in the same direction it would turn if it were running. If the engine is not in the vehicle you can turn the flywheel, or if it is in the vehicle you can use a remote starter button.

You will do the intake valve adjustment as the exhaust valve is just opening and you do the exhaust valve adjustment as the intake valve is almost closed. You might need to say that quite a few times to memorize it.

Here are step by step instructions:

Remove the valve cover.

Identify the number one cylinder. See the page on Firing Order on the menu to the right if you are not sure which cylinder is number one.

Turn the engine over until you see the number one cylinder exhaust valve rocker arm JUST START to move from the closed position to open. You may need to turn the motor over a couple of times to reach this point, but do not turn any further.

Locate the intake valve.

Loosen the rocker arm adjustment nut until you feel some obvious lash or clearance in the adjustment.

Using the thumb and index finger of one hand, grasp the intake push rod below the rocker arm, and rotate it back and forth (clock-wise and counter clock-wise successively to be sure there is no remaining pressure on the push rod from the rocker arm as you loosen the rocker arm adjusting nut.

Using the other hand, while continuously performing step 6, with a 5/8 socket and ratchet, tighten the rocker arm adjustment nut slowly until you feel a resistance of motion on the push rod.

This will be the zero lash adjustment point. For hydraulic lifters, tighten the rocker arm adjustment nut 3/4 of a turn. For solid lifters, back off the rocker arm adjustment nut until your feeler gauge just fits under the contact point between the valve stem and the rocker arm. Fine tune the adjustment by checking it with a feeler gauge just slightly thicker than the preferred clearance to be sure the clearance is not greater than it should be. If the larger feeler gauge will fit, it needs to be re-adjusted. A lash tolerance of 1-2 thousandths of an inch in the valve adjustment for solid lifters would be acceptable since it may be difficult for someone who is in-experienced to be more precise than that.

Turn the engine over until the intake valve opens and then is almost closed.

On the exhaust valve, repeat steps 5 through 8 for the exhaust valve adjustment.

Repeat this procedure for each cylinder. Be sure to do each cylinder sequentially, either following the firing order, following the cylinders numerically, or in the case of a V8 doing one side of the engine at a time. I prefer to do one side of the engine at a time.

Continue this procedure for each cylinder in its firing order, turing the crank by hand or with a starter switch.


There is another method to adjust the valves and I want to make sure I cover this in detail as well. Obtain a special set of valve covers with the top cut out to keep the oil from splashing everywhere or your local parts house has a set of rocker clips that you can put on that will deflect oil from the push rod and direct it back into the head to drain back into the motor/oil pan.

While the motor is running, you want to loosen the 5/8 nut on the rocker until you get a slight chatter from the rocker on the valve. Then slowly tighten the rocker nut until the chatter goes away and starts to tighten up.

When silenced, give the 5/8 nut a 1/2 to 3/4 turn for a final torque. I have done this process before and it can be a messy procedure.

Take a look at this short video.

If you have more to add to this, please comment and Ill post it up with this article for everyone to follow.

Thanks for Reading!


Quick Tips - Gas Guage Operation

One of the biggest mysteries is making sure the gas guage is working properly. Nobody wants to be stranded out of gas. Knowing what's in the tank gives that sense of comfort while driving - it's a great feeling.

Here's a quick test that will put that mystery away.

This process can be applied to all cars except those with computerized gauges.

1) Ensure your gas guage as power to it. Check the fuses to be good or put a test light on the terminal (with the ignition on)to ensure power is there.

2) Locate the fuel sender feed wire near the fuel tank. You're looking for a single tan (typical colored) wire. With the tan wire disconnected at the fuel tank, the fuel gauge should read past full with the ignition on. Wait a few moments as some fuel gauges take a time to respond. Touch the tan wire from the body to any good convenient ground and the gauge should read empty. If not, you have a wiring problem or a bad gauge.

3) If the gauge responds correctly, the gauge and wiring are OK. Next use a multi-meter to measure resistance to ground of the sender wire connection on the top of the fuel sender or the "tan" wire from the top of the fuel tank. Measurements should track the fuel in tank.

(Estimated - These are GM Figures)
Just know, with the fuel gauge at empty, you get 0-2 ohms. With the guage full, you should have a reading up to or above 88 ohms.

Full - 84-88 ohms
Half - 40 ohms, give or take
Empty - 0-2 ohms

If this doesn't check, then sender or wiring on top of the tank is bad or the sender not adequately grounded. Senders are typically grounded by a black wire which is welded to the sender and attached to the body with a sheet metal screw. Also know, some senders are grounded directly to the tank itself. If sender needs a good ground; a quick fix would be to remove one screw from the sending unit, clean the surface of the sending unit; make a lead using an "O" or donut termial on each side and install proper. Make sure your ground is to good bare metal. Use a drill with a wire brush to clean your ground surfaces.

4) If the sender checks OK but gauge and wiring don't, clean the connections, reconnect the sender wiring. Again, when removed the gauge should then read past full. Ground the tan wire on the dash side and the gauge should read empty. If not, you probably have a bad gauge or possibly a dash wiring problem.

5) If the gauge checks OK, then make the same resistance checks to the "tan" wire in wire loom. If it checks bad, inspect your wiring or run a new wire to replace. Its common to have old wiring crack and ground out on the body, creating issues unseen.

In Conclusion; the gas guage must have a good ground and good wiring to operate properly. Its always good to remove your old sending unit and clean it good with electrical parts cleaner or carburator cleaner. When you have it out, make sure the float is in good shape and is 'gas' tight.

Good Luck and Motor On!


Quick Tips - Banjo Rear to Axle Hub Tight Fit

Ever wondered how to fine tune the fitment between the rear axles and the hubs?

I was told a simple method to clean up the hub tapered surfaces to get a nice tight fit.

Alot of the banjo rears we pickup these days have good clean surfaces, but its unclear by the human eye to determine. A friend told me the best way to do this is to use some valve lapping compound and a little elbow grease. Remove the woodruff key, apply a generous amount of compound on the surface and rotate the hub in 45 degree increments. Use moderate to heavy pressure until the surface is clean. This process will get rid of any rough surfaces, rust pitting and abnormalties.

When finished, torque the nut in place and step on the gas!

Motor On!


"Rudy" Truck Project

The newest project in the Vintage Metal corral. 1941 Ford pickup truck. Its been lowered in the front and dropped in the rear. It sports a small block Chevy for a power plant with an automatic transmission. Heh, I think its a 350 trans, but not quite sure. Maybe the owner will chime in and let us know.

Some of the things its getting done are; new firewall, rust repair on the doors and lower drivers corner. A golf ball sized dent on the roof; and boy was it smacked hard. Story goes; Rudy was driving by a Golf course with his Pop's when a huge bang rang in the cab. Not even a 'fore' before the hit. I'm sure that golfer ran off in fear of getting whacked. Boys and their cars are a strange relationship. :) They soon stopped and were unsure what caused that noise. It wasnt till later in the day; when roaming outside the house for something else, when the dent caught his attention. His heart broke; as mine would too.

The bed will be getting some messaging touches; a new front wall and a new lower roll pan under the tail gate.

Look at what we have done so far.

Original Firewall Removed; all the original spot welds were drilled out for a 'proper' removal without any additional damage:

New Firewall - It's an original piece from another truck. I hate to cut up other cars to save or repair another...but in this case, it was really necessary. The old piece has served its life well. Maybe, someone will pick it up and use it to replace another in worst shape:

During the disassembly stages, the drivers side engine mount was noted to being cracked by stress. It too will be repaired. Way to go team!

Stay tuned and watch for progress on this beauty.


Im one of the few who still use the old 6 volt power systems in our old cars. I'm a firm believer of "if it worked then, it should work now."

Most of the complaints are dim headlights, slow starts and poor guage lighting at night. 6 volt systems require alot more current than your typical 12v systems; thus the larger orignial wires. A key component to these older systems is grounding. Grounding, Grounding, Grounding. Just because the ground wire is connected to the stock 'bare' metal location, doesn't mean its making great contact. Just like anything else on the car; maintain it. You should pull the ground leads, clean the surface, clean the terminal and reterminate/mount back to its ground location. If your ground wire doesnt have an "O" or eye on the end, its recommended to replace with appropriate connector.

I found this great post on the internet that details each system and 'What to look for" to fine tune your old 6 volt system to bring a smile on your face.

I’ll use the term “VOM” to denote volt/ohm/amp/meter.

The starter current draw on a Ford V-8 through 1948 is 550 amps (does not include V-8 60’s) . The starter cranks a stock flathead engine at 100 rpms. The 1949 - 1951 engines crank 130 rpm (without an automatic transmission)

Two brush Ford generators use the shunt type generator design. The field circuit has an internally grounded field. ... unlike MoPar and GM which ground through the regulator. To test a Ford generator and/or regulator on the car, simply ground the field terminal at either the generator or regulator with the engine turning about 1000 rpm and watch the amp gauge (do not disconnect any wires) . Grounding the field removes all external regulation on the generator and it will go immediately to full charge mode. If the ammeter shows charge when you ground the field, the regulator is at fault. If the ammeter does not show charge, the generator is defective. Note the generator may have shorted out the regulator when it went bad.
Since the 6 volt regulators are still mechanical and can be set, it may be beneficial to know what is where inside them.

~The cutout relay is directly behind the BAT terminal
~The current relay is directly behind the ARM terminal
~The voltage relay is directly behind the FIELD terminal

When an emergency occurs on the road, the regulator can be adjusted in an attempt to coax a defective regulator into working. To increase any of these settings, remove the cover and bend the rest that the flat spring rests upon upward. Bending should be minor in nature.... don’t exceed 0.020”.
If the generator charges when you ground the field it’s possible to rig up a ground on the field terminal to charge the battery in an emergency. Remembering that this will cause the generator to go to full charge, it is only logical that such action will cause the generator to overheat. Which will eventually melt the solder in the armature and ruin it. To prevent this excessive overheating, only ground the field for 10 minutes maximum at a time.
If you want to keep driving and not have to keep stopping, connect an insulated wire to the field terminal of the regulator or generator and route it to the inside of the car. Bare the end of this an inch or so and wrap it around something grounded (like an ashtray) when you want to charge the battery.

Disconnect the FIELD terminal wire at the regulator and momentarily touch this wire to the BAT terminal of the regulator. NEVER use a jumper wire to keep from disconnecting the fieldwire at the regulator it’ll ruin the regulator in a hurry.
The field wire MUST be disconnected from the regulator. MoPar and GM generators are not polarized in this manner due to their different design.

Dim lights are usually caused by low voltage to the lightor by a weak ground. Naturally the battery has to be charged with good clean posts. The wires in a 6 volt system are considerably larger than in a 12 volt system. Be certain that any wiring you’ve done is at LEAST as big as what your Ford came with to keep from choking the system.Usually the culprit is in the ground.... or rather the lack of.
The 6 volt battery should have the positive battery cable connected directly to the frame. Naturally the frame under the cable needs to be scraped bare and bright to function as a good ground. Make certain the frame and body are grounded by bolting a ground strap between them. Next thing is to make sure the bulb socket has a good ground between it and the frame. Clean the inside of thesocket with some steel wool or sand paper until it’s shiny and bright. Many of these sockets are pressed into the reflector and this electrical union begins to fail electrically over the years. When in doubt, solder a length of wire to the brass socket itself and temporarily ground it directly to the frame. If this cures the dim light, you’ll know exactly where the problem lies and what’sneeded to correct it.
If you’re running the stock 6 volt head light bulbs and they’re something in the neighborhood of 25 watts, replace them with some 50/32 bulbs. It does wonders for them. Bert’s Model A Center has these in stock.
Sometimes you have a bulb that is not burned out, but refuses to work in the socket. Could be the contacts are worn down too much. Just drop a little solder on these and they’ 11 work like new.

I’m always amazed at the number of these I find that are bad. We go to great lengths to cut the wire exactly the right length and to trim back the insulation just the right amount and crimp the new terminals neatly. These terminations usually function perfectly for sometime and then the electrics start giving troubles. After much frustration and messing around, we may finally get them to start working again. More often than not, they soon start acting up again.Many times I finally track the problem down to the crimped termination itself. At first the newly crimp works and current flows. Eventuallyoxidation starts and the resultant insulating occurs. The result is the crimped terminal becomes partially insulated between the wire and the terminal. Sometimes the crimp itself relaxes its hold due to heat and compression and the conductor becomes loose in the termination. To keep this from happening, I trim back about 1/16” more insulation than is needed. I push the bare wire clear through insulated part of the termination so that it extends 1/16” beyond it. Then, after I have crimped the insulated part of the terminal, I solder the 1/16” bare conductor solidly to the electrical terminal. Now it can’t getloose or become insulated by oxidation. I’ve never had one fail when doing it this way. I solder all electrical connections.
As far as using the insulated crimp type splice connectors to splice two wires, I will not use them under any circumstance.... I just don’t trust them since I’ve seen some burned up wiring caused by the wires pulling free of the splicing connector. I bare the two wires and do not twist them separately or together. Instead I push them straight into each other so the wires are intermixed with each other. After smoothing them out and squeezing them with pliers, I flow solder into this mix to make the splice permanent. I finish by using heat shrink tubing to cover the newly soldered splice. A trick I use here is to squeeze the soldered connection with pliers while it’s still warm to reduce any blobs or peaks of solder so the heat shrink tubing will slide over the splice easily. As far as male “bullet” connectors used in most early cars, I’ve always had trouble crimping them enough to hold them and still have them fit into the round female connector. I remove the insulated material from the bullet connector (grind a slot along one edge of the insulating area with the edge of the bench grinder and the insulation will pull right off). Then I bare the conductor just enough so the wire will just barely go all the way into the bullet. I flow solder into the bare bullet connector without ever crimping it After it’s cooled, I slide some heat shrink tubing onto the bottom of the bullet and shrink it with a match.
Another thing I do is make all my battery cables. Seems the ones I purchase are always the wrong length, usually the wrong color, and I’m unsure as to how good they crimped the connectors onto the cables. I watch for long cables at the flea market and at swap meets. I use battery/starter terminations from my local parts store. I cut the cable to the exact length I want. Then I strip back the insulation, install and solder the new terminations to the cables. I finish them by using heat shrink tubing (sometimes two layers)

The 1948 and earlier Ford engines have a different type of vacuum advance than we normally encounter. Intake manifold vacuum is routed to an internal brake inside the distributor. The amount of brake that’s applied to the centrifugal weight advance mechanism controls the degrees of advance. When vacuum drops, the brake spring overcomes the vacuum that is holding the brake away from rubbing against the centrifugal advance mechanism. The more spring tension there is being exerted against this brake,the sooner the brake is activated and the sooner the centrifugal advance mechanism is stopped thereby controlling the amount of advance.

To increase the spring tension and decrease the amount of centrifugal advance,turn the advance screw inwards. To decrease the spring tension and increase the amount of centrifugal advance, turn the advance screw outwards.
The vacuum advance screw is used to eliminate detonation.
To adjust initial (static) advance, loosen the lock screw on the side of the distributor and move the advance screw/plate up or down. As viewed from the front of the engine, moving the advance screw & plate clockwise advances the timing.

Stock Ford specifications call for the initial (or static) timing to be set at 4 degrees BTDC (Before Top Dead Center) . This is best set on a distributor machine. In the absence of one, it can be set using common tools. The following is from a Ford service bulletin for ‘42-’48 distributors.
[1] Remove the distributor and adjust both sets of points to 0.014”. Loosen the vacuum brake screw lock nut and back the screw out several turns. Loosen the advance screw/plate screw on the side of the distributor and verify it moves up and down fairly easily. We have to move this advance screw/plate to set the timing, so we need it to move easily.
[2] Connect up a continuity test light. Connect one lead of the test light to the screw stud the wire from the coil is connected to. The other test lead isgrounded to the distributor housing.
[3] Now turn the distributor upside down so you’re looking at the back of it. Notice how the distributor drive has a wide side and the tang is offset? Turn the distributor drive so the wide side is towards the condenser. Position a straight edge on this wide side (holding it snug up against the tang) in such a way that the straight edge extends to the outside of the drivers side of the distributor housing. Rotate the distributor drive and straight edge until there is exactly 3/8” from the top of the driver’s side distributor mounting hole to the straight edge. This is 4 degrees BTDC. Holding the distributor drive and distributor firmly so they cannot move, slide the advance screw/plate up and down until the continuity light just flickers. This is when the left set of points are just breaking open and is when the distributor fires. Tighten the advance screw/plate. In Denver, I just adjust the vacuum brake adjuster out until the engine pings (detonation) under 35-40 mph high gear acceleration and then turn it back in one-half turn. This adjusts for altitude as well as the type of fuel we’reusing. The vacuum controlled centrifugal weights should be adjusted to be 25 to 28 degrees at 2000 rpm at sea level.

Detonation is the uncontrolled burning of fuel during combustion. It can lead to pre-ignition, “running on”,burned pistons, cracked piston skirts, and deform piston ring grooves/lands. Sometimes it’s hard to detect light detonation while driving due to road noise etc.. However,detonation will leave it’s mark in the spark plugs. This appears as a dark ring around the porcelain on the inside of the plug. If a detonation ring is present, retard the spark or possibly go to a colder plug or possibly increase the main jet size or increase the octane of the fuel you’reusing... . or do a mixture of them all! If your compression is really high like mine, I have to ad an octane enhancer when I go down to a lower altitude. My 9.95:1 compression really sounds off when I get near sea level!!!!!!

On a positive ground system, the feed from the ignition switch is to connect to the negative marked terminal on the coil. If connected wrong, the coil output will be about 14% less at idle. This percent of reduced coil output increases to as much as 30% as rpm’s increase. The decreased coil output causes hard starting and poor performance.

Coils can be checked using the Ohm function of a VOM. To measure primary resistance, connect one lead to the ignition terminal of the coil and the other to the distributor terminal of the coil. The resistance should be between 0.7 and 0.8 Ohms.
To measure the secondary resistance, connect one lead to either the distributor or ignition terminal of the coil and the other lead is inserted into the high tension tower. It must make contact with the metal inside. The resistance should be 6500 to 7500 Ohms. If either measurement falls outside these values, the coil is probably on it’s way to being junk or has already arrived. These ohm values are only for genuine Ford coils since each manufacturer has different values for their product. This is not a fail safe test, but I’ve used this for years as a guide for coils with good results. It’s especially quick and easy for use at a swap meet.

By Rumbleseat

1949 1950 1951 Ford - An Era of Automobile Change

Although all Fords looked nearly identical during the 1949-1951 model years the cars themselves were dramatically changed underneath. The reason was that the '49 was a dog of a machine that rode poorly, rattled and shook, and was fraught with defects. During its 17-month production run it caused nothing but trouble for the company, but well over a million of them were sold to a public starved for new cars.

By the 1950 model year's fall of '49 introduction, Ford engineers had solved most of the major problems with the cars. The loosy-goosey '49's frame and body were stiffened and thickened in many areas, body sealer was pumped into weld joints, door weatherstrip was redesigned and the front end was re-engineered. The old one, Ford's first fully independent front suspension, was impossible to align so the '50 model was given the addition of a redesigned torsional stabilizer and a bunch of other tweaks. The rear springs were relocated as well in a response to customer complaints about bouncy ride.

The gas filler neck was removed from the body and put behind a little flap door and the bumpers were strengthened to allow the cars to be jacked up. Many earlier '49 Fords were attempted to be jacked up at the side of the road, only to find the bumpers and brackets bending hopelessly out of place and the wheel still on the ground.

Many other refinements were put into the 1950 models in an attempt to keep customers from going over to Chevrolet and, for the most part, the result was quite acceptable. The base engine was the same flathead inline 6 from earlier years. It was a very good engine that put out 95 horsepower. The venerable flathead V8 was optional. It put out 100 horsepower and didn't suffer the piston-slap and timing gear problems of earlier engines.

Sedans and business coupes were upholstered in striped gray fabric or broadcloth, but customers could opt to get the same thing in tan. Vinyl was used on the sides and tops of seats and the door panels were done in the same material as the seats. Headliners too were done in broadcloth and the stamped-steel instrument panels were done in either gray or tan. These were the days of rubber floor mats, by the way, and only the very top-end models offered carpet. "Magic-Air" heaters were optional too.

The 1950 model lineup included 2-door and four-door sedans, business coupes, convertibles and station wagons. The top of the line was the Crestliner, a gussied-up and heavily trimmed model that very few people bought because Ford didn't advertise it in any noticeable way, and it was about $200 more expensive than the other models. That was a lot of money in 1950.

1950 Fords were basic cars. Transmission offerings were limited to the 3-speed manual (three on the tree!) with an optional overdrive that was touted as "automatic," in the sense that it would cut in at speeds above 27 mph and return to normal below about 20 mph. Tires were 6.00 X 16, which was typical of the day. Whitewalls were a big deal back then, but tire life was pitiful by today's standards. Ten-thousand miles was a long, long life for a tire.