I Was Wrong, and I’m Glad.

One benefit of old cars—easy access under the hood.
What would Henry Ford do if he saw this? My iPad is as essential as my screwdriver when I work on this car.
A compression tester indicated that the Model A's head gasket is fine.
Tool kits have changed a lot over the years. No AAA card here!
 <i>I'm a 19-year-old kid named Tom, and my great-grandfather sold this very car new at his Ford dealership in 1929. Now I'm using it as my daily driver.</i>

My story left off with the Model A on a trailer and me once again in a modern car—the opposite of my original goal. I need to get my daily driver back up and running, and I need to do it fast.

So, I broke out the tools and started trying to figure out what went wrong. The first thing I found was a badly cracked exhaust manifold, which explains the loud noises. Then, I did a compression test. This was interesting, as it was just as challenging as usual, though not for the usual reasons. On a modern car, a compression test is a huge pain because of all the wiring, plastic, and assorted crap on top of the engine. On the A, there is absolutely nothing in the way. Easy, right? Well, not so much. The A’s spark plugs are so large that I couldn’t find a large enough compression tester to fit the openings in the head. Instead, I wrapped tape around the gauge until it fit in the hole. Surprisingly, this worked. And even more surprisingly, the A has great compression. Apparently my issue isn’t the head gasket, after all.

So, my next step was to look over the ignition system. A simple test revealed that I wasn’t getting any spark, which handily explains why the A won’t start. The points are fine and so is the cap and rotor, so I’m going to get a condenser in hopes that that fixes the problem.

On the bright side, I was in the attic and I stumbled across a bunch of old Ford tools that my grandfather had collected. Next time the A breaks down, I won’t be completely helpless.

I’m in a Honda on the way to Orlando now; there’s a Model A parts store over there that should have the parts I need. With any luck, I’ll be driving the Model A to see World War Z tonight.

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Datsun310Guy PowerDork
7/5/13 12:58 p.m.

I enjoy reading about this car and your families history with it. Thanks!

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