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Things to check when looking to purchase an A

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  • Things to check when looking to purchase an A

    I think it would be a good idea to build a thread of things to be aware of or check when purchasing a car. Once we get this thread completed i can copy it to the tech area for easy reference. Feel free to add in things that would only pertain to a certain body style.
    """Lets try to put our responses in actual posts and not comments, it makes it easier for me to copy later""""
    So I'll start with what i feel is a very important item. There is nothing worse than buying a car and finding out that it cant be driven due to crap in the tank restricting the fuel flow or contaminating the carburetor.

    Look into the gas tank with a good flashlight for rust, junk and crude.. This is a potential deal breaker for me unless the price is right.

    I have seen many sellers clean out the sediment bowl and fuel system to hide a contaminated tank. Once the new owner gets home surprise
    3 ~ Tudor's
    Henry Ford said
    "It's all nuts and bolts"


    Mitch's Auto Service ctr

  • #2
    Check to see if it has a steel sediment bowl, or the glass bowl, and check for crud there. That should be an good indicator of the gas tank. If it a steel bowl, ask if you can drain a bit into a glass jar.

    Look into the radiator for crud buildup there. I have seen cars run with sludge in there, but over heat or pump water out.

    Look at the front cross member on the left side to see if there has been water dumped there by the radiator.

    Check the front tires for excessive wear. This could be a major problem if the king pins are worn. You can also check the amount of play in the front end by the amount of free play n the steering wheel.

    Check the brake pedal for excessive wear.
    Last edited by DaWizard; 08-13-2017, 10:00 AM.
    You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!

    Comment


    • #3
      Check the dipstick for milky oil.

      Check for excessive blowby from the oil fill tube. If the car has an an accy fumaze down draft tube that could be an indication of excessive crankcase pressures
      3 ~ Tudor's
      Henry Ford said
      "It's all nuts and bolts"


      Mitch's Auto Service ctr

      Comment


      • #4
        When I bought my car i did what you said the man said the car had been restored a 1000 miles ago did not say anything about how many years the car had been done long story short. Gas tank had crud ditto for carb. Took my camera scope that i used for other things pulled all the plugs, pitting around valve seats in the block and you could not keep the car running. I discussed all of this with the guy and told the motor block was junk after conferring with my mechanic. This car was being sold for the family after it's owner was put in a nursing home. We came to an agreed price after they accepted my offer. Took the motor down and you could tell it had been overhauled as they said and hardly driven however the rear main was going away, block was junk. On the good side this motor had been counter weighted and had a police head the b had been machined off. I found out that about all this gentleman had done was show the car. He also used some kind of a thick expoxy paint on the motor which my machinist said makes it look real pretty and easy to clean but does not allow it to dissipate heat. In the end I should have payed a little less since I also replaced the radiator. On the plus side it came with just about every book written for a model a. I later sent pictures and copies of the large ticket items to confirm everything for the family and of me and the car for her father as well as my model t's. She said it made him very happy as she found out a young guy was also interested in it and wanted to turn it into a street rod.

        Comment


        • #5
          Several years ago I got fooled when I bought a Model A engine at a swap meet. It was running and mounted on a front section of a AA frame, which at one time was a homemade saw rig. I removed the oil fill cap and revved the engine several times, and saw no blowby. It also make no bad noises, and ran and idled perfectly, so I payed $700 for it. When I got it home and removed the pan, then turned the crank, I could hear air going past the rings, so I pulled the head. It had 2 head gaskets, which I didn't see due to years of crud and old paint. All 4 cylinders had deep gouges from the wrist pins scraping against the walls. Someday I'll bore it and install oversize pistons.

          Comment


          • #6
            Take some one with you a extra pair of eyes are always a help

            Comment


            • #7
              Certain bodystyles have an extensive wood structure and one indication of poor body wood is uneven door alignment on certain fordors. Know what your purchasing and what kind of internal structure the car has.
              3 ~ Tudor's
              Henry Ford said
              "It's all nuts and bolts"


              Mitch's Auto Service ctr

              Comment


              • #8
                Here are the questions I try to answer when looking at a car: Does it have a spare tire carrier? Are the fenders metal? If "rebuilt," who built the engine? Does it have a working overdrive? Does it have original style shocks and links? What kind of wiper motor does it have? Does the dashlight work? Does it have an original horn and ignition switch? Was the upholstery done correctly? Are there any original tools included? 6v or 12v? Safety glass all around? What is the condition of the tires?

                All these things and more can significantly affect the value and price of a car by thousands of dollars. There are many other things to check depending on the body style.

                I also take a tarp, a small mirror, a small flashlight, a magnet and a soft cotton cloth. I use the tarp to lay or crouch on to see the underside, and the mirror and flashlight to see into crannies. I use the magnet on sheet metal to detect bondo areas. I run the cloth over the sheet metal with an open palm (you can feel irregularities in the surface much better this way).

                Comment


                • #9
                  My experience with Model A's that friends have purchased was lots of loose wires. Lots of things done wrong, Many poorly made repo parts that replaced originals that could have been reused. They some times look very good, but the mechanical work was done very poorly.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As mentioned take a good flashlight with you to look into the crevices. One place i always look is down inside the doors and quarters where the windows roll into. If there is previous rot or metal / mud repair that is usually detectable on the interior portion of the panels such as these areas

                    Always look under the back seats they usually lift right up for the same issues
                    3 ~ Tudor's
                    Henry Ford said
                    "It's all nuts and bolts"


                    Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Back in the early 90's I visited with an independant used car dealer who had been a dealer since the late 40's. One trick used back in the day used to disguised rearend noise when trading in a car was to put ground cork in the rearend just before trading it in. It would dampen the noise just long enough to get the deal done and the dealer would have to scrap the car or absorb the costs. Rod
                      Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.

                      Comment


                      • DaWizard
                        DaWizard commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Another trick was a teacup of brake fluid in the auto trans, swells the seals to get ya there, kills the seals after.

                    • #12
                      Ray mentioned about metal fenders, but also check for metal splash aprons.
                      I have seen those in glass also
                      3 ~ Tudor's
                      Henry Ford said
                      "It's all nuts and bolts"


                      Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Depends on price and what condition desirable. If someone is mechanically inclined with some specialized tools, bad or unforeseen mechanicals can be dealt with. The biggest expense for a non -do- it -yourselfer is body and paint. In our area, a complete strip, repair and repaint can be $30,000+..

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          When shopping for a Model A, be TOTALLY SUSPICIOUS!! ---Try to establish WHY HE'S SELLING IT!!! some are just PATCHED up, so they can DUMP it.
                          On far away cars, say to yourself, "If it was such a GREAT deal, how come it DIDN'T sell LOCALLY????
                          Dad Salesman

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Take a gander at the body blocks underneath. I have seen drilled out hockey pucks used and extra shims to hide frame sag.
                            I have also seen the service brake cross shaft hold down to frame brackets shimmed down so the shaft clears the u-joint housing when pivoting. Another indication of possible frame sag..
                            3 ~ Tudor's
                            Henry Ford said
                            "It's all nuts and bolts"


                            Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                            Comment


                            • #16
                              Check for oil leaks. The location of any leak can tell a lot about how things were rebuilt. Eg, gasket between flywheel housing and block, bolt holes in the diff centre to hold the trumpets on the back ale with chased threads (will leak), rear main etc etc.
                              Greasy residue in the radiator.
                              Too much back lash in the drive line.
                              Bent wheels
                              Slack steering box/ball joints
                              Alignment of panels
                              Do the brakes work properly?
                              Can you confirm why he is selling?

                              Comment


                              • #17
                                As a side note try to refrain from purchasing a car and then driving it home without going over many of the tips mentioned above. These are 87 year old cars of which many things could have been farmer fixed / rigged or neglected over the years. I remember recently stories of a seized differential from no oil and a wheel falling off from doing just this.
                                3 ~ Tudor's
                                Henry Ford said
                                "It's all nuts and bolts"


                                Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                                Comment


                                • BNCHIEF
                                  BNCHIEF commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  Seen that picture from gettysburg repair tent.

                              • #18
                                Run your fingers under the edges of the fenders to see if they have been welded or repaired. The fender edges have rod in them and many have been crunched over the years and the rod broken and not repaired correctly. A magnet to look for bondo, especially at the bottom of the cowl.

                                Look in the radiator to see if there is evidence of grease from a water pump that was greased with the incorrect grease.

                                I would check the brake rods to make sure they are in good shape. Rebuilding the brakes is a very expensive process.

                                Comment

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