Jul 29, 2013 update to the Ford Model A project car

Back in Town

Another day, another dive: The Model A played the role of "lunch bus" today.
The gauge now looks and works great, and I finally know how much gas I have in the tank.
Thankfully, it isn’t a very complicated assembly.
I ordered a rebuild kit, as well as the tools necessary to remove and install the gauge.
The gauge uses cork gaskets.
And a cork float—at least it did before I switched to a modern, neoprene float, which should be ethanol-resistant.
The fuel gauge was not only wrong, it was unreadable.

I’m Tom, a 19-year-old college student. My great-grandfather sold this very car—new—at his Ford dealership in 1929. Now I’m using it as my daily driver.

After traveling to both the Ultimate Track Car Challenge and the build location of our Factory Five 818, I was antsy to get back behind the wheel of my Model A. But without a working fuel gauge, my reunion drive could go horribly wrong.

So I fixed the gas gauge on Sunday night. The cork float had sunk after years of sitting in gas that’s 10 percent ethanol, and the face of the gauge had so much varnish on it that it was unreadable—the gauge sits in the tank itself, and when it reads “Full,” it’s actually complete immersed in gas.

After $30 and 30 minutes, I had it working like new again. I drove to work today knowing exactly how much fuel I had, which was a weird feeling since this gauge hasn’t worked since long before my birth.

Other than that, the most interesting thing I found was the float’s material: cork. I always thought old people were crazy when they talked about making new floats for their cars out of old wine corks, but on a Model A, that wouldn’t be crazy at all. Instead, it would simply be called “replacing the float.” I upgraded to a neoprene float—more resistant to modern fuels.

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