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Radiator Shell Position ?

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  • Radiator Shell Position ?

    I am building a 29 Ford Model A pickup out of parts here, fenders there, etc.
    I am using all Miata running gear and suspension parts but I want the truck to look like a 29 that just came out of a barn.
    Here is what I need. I am trying to locate the Height above and Distance in front of the front cross member that the stock radiator shell mounts.
    I am not using a radiator in that shell....... There is not room. I am using the Miata radiator mounted in the truck bed right behind the cab. So I understand where the radiator bolts on a stock "A" and the stock shell mounts around the radiator. But since I am not using the radiator up front, I don't know where exactly to mount the shell so the hood will fit properly.

    I would appreciate any dimensions from a reference point. Thanks!

    (This is a 29 shell.)

  • #2
    Welcome Cullen

    Can you do your fabrications by laying the hood on the cowl in the proper position then figure out the front? There is not much lee way and not all cars may measure exactly the same. There are adjustments for the hood and doors for each vehicle which will have an effect on measuring

    Just a thought
    3 ~ Tudor's
    Henry Ford said
    "It's all nuts and bolts"

    Mitch's Auto Service ctr


    • #3
      Do as Mitch says. Also, see Les Andrews green book as a prelim. guide; 28 5/8" from front hinge retainer back to cowl frame, 27" at bottom shell to cowl (sic), etc. (hope I don't have them reversed as I had these filed without the book).The dimensions in his book worked fine as a check for the 30-31's hood alignment but not corroborated for the 29's. The key is to get about a 1/8" to 3/16" even gap from hood to shell and cowl.


      • #4
        If I was going to put a Model A on any other frame, I would start by setting the rear fenders, running boards and front fenders on the frame and set the wheel placement in the rear fenders. This will set the distance for the front fenders and body placement. From there you have the mounting location for the body and or bed, and from there the hood and radiator shell.
        You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!


        • #5
          Actually, I am using the Model A frame. I have grafted the Miata front suspension clip with dual A arms, coil over shocks and rack and pinion power steering. In back I grafted the Miata rear clip which has the dual A arms, coil overs, half shafts. I am using the Miata hanging pedal system for power, four wheel disc brakes, hydraulic clutch, Miata 16 valve engine and 5 speed transmission. I have the wheel base set for the Model A pickup of 103.5 inches. I had to move the motor mounts in the Miata front clip back 11 inches and still had to lengthen the driveshaft and power plant frame 4 inches. But I wanted more leg room the 29 cab so I moved the firewall forward 4 inches. This put the front of the engine up into the radiator shell. So I am exiting the water out the rear of the engine and back to the Miata radiator in the bed. I have had the fenders on once and all lines up well but I am not sure about this radiator shell.
          What does the shell rest on at the bottom?
          How close is the bottom of the shell to the frame on each side?
          And does the bottom of the shell align with the shape of the front cross support of the frame?

          I do not have my cowl on the frame yet but I am fabricating the area where the shell will be mounted. I have to move the air cleaner system, the power steering pump etc under the more narrow hood of the "A" where it was more spread out under the hood of the Miata.

          If someone could just take a close up photo of the front area where the shell is mounted near the frame and the cross member, that would be of great help to me.


          • #6
            20180108_100144_1515434642854_resized.jpgCullen, the radiator shell mounts to the radiator, not to the frame at all. The distance I have between the top cowl mount and my shell is 27" on the top hinge, and 28" at the bottom.

            Since you will not have the radiator, you may need to make a framework to support the shell. Since you are not using the A front cross member you actually have no reference except the top of the cowl where the hood hinge attaches.
            20180108_100101_1515434641424_resized.jpg20180108_100050_1515434639460_resized.jpg20180108_100150_1515434644223_resized.jpgJust another thought, you might also want to use a radiator in the shell to make the mount on the back of the radiator upper tank for the hood support rods kinda shone in the top picture.
            Last edited by DaWizard; 01-08-2018, 12:29 PM.
            You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!


            • Mitch
              Mitch commented
              Editing a comment
              Nice pics

          • #7
            Also see the hood shelves in Da's photos.


            • #8
              I do have a front cross member. It is above Miata front clip. I will get photos on here as soon as we get our computer updated and get another e-mail service. Have the computer ordered and already have a new printer so it won't be too long I hope.

              I see in the one photo that shows the lower part of the shell and can tell already I need a pair of those hood seat strips. There is a notch on the bottom corner of the shell and it looks like that notch sits on top of that seat strip. I still need a hood and some other parts.

              Is the front of the shell even with the front cross member ? Both in height and in front to rear dimension?

              There is NO room for a radiator of any kind up front. I have already built a removable frame that is holding my air cleaner box over the front/top of the engine. I built it so that the front of that frame is about even with the front of the cross member. So I plan on mounting the shell to that frame once I know how far up it is held and how far forward/rearward it is supposed to be. The shell will be closed off in front by a piece of aluminum with the photo of a radiator laminated to it.


              • CarlG
                CarlG commented
                Editing a comment
                Why not take the core out of the stock radiator and mount it just like you would originally, bolting the shell to the core-less radiator.

                That would also give you something to mount your picture on as well.

            • #9
              Are the photos of a 28-29 or of a 30-31 ?


              • Mitch
                Mitch commented
                Editing a comment

            • #10
              I can see what is actually two notches or stair steps to the side of the hood on the lower photo. The largest stair is sitting on the hood seat strip. How much higher is the top of the hood seat strip than the frame at that point. That is one dimension I am looking for.

              And the other dimension has to do with the front surface of the shell at the bottom....where the hand crank hole is that surface even with the front of the front cross member or ?


              • #12
                Ah yes......they do help a bunch. Now I know what I need to buy and how it will fit my project. Thanks for taking the time to help!


                • #13
                  Glad I could help. Keep us updated with pictures.
                  You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!


                  • #14
                    The shell has a large hole in the top which slips over the filler neck, before the rad. cap goes on.
                    There are 2 holes each side of the shell which correspond to 2 metal arms on each side of the rad, these are the only 4 screws that are actually holding the shell in place.

                    The shells are extremely thin (like 24 guage) and brittle and flimsy.

                    Without a dummy mounting system that parallels the actual way the rad accomplishes the mounting, I am not sure how it could work.
                    At the top of the rad, there are 2 long rods that space the rad. away from the firewall, and they are adjustable, this is how you get your hood gaps correct on each side of the cowl. The hood hinge rod down the center anchors in front in the shell itself, and at the rear, in a fitting attached to the cowl

                    Would love to see some pix of what you are up too, so be sure to come back when you have a computer. Isn't there a way to upload pix from your phone, Mitch?

                    I for one am having trouble visualizing just what you are trying to do


                    • Mitch
                      Mitch commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Yes you can use a phone.

                  • #15
                    You can also find a rotted out 29 radiator and remove the core leaving the tanks. This way you can use the top tank to position the rods that go from the firewall to the radiator. This will give you a fixed distance from the cowl to the shell and the shell will have support for the hood.


                    • tbirdtbird
                      tbirdtbird commented
                      Editing a comment
                      clever idea!

                    • CarlG
                      CarlG commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Pretty much the same suggestion in post # 8.1

                    • Big hammer
                      Big hammer commented
                      Editing a comment
                      And junk radiator would be very cheap if not free :-)

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