wayne02 - PNG

My New Speedster

by Wayne Heikkila

As some of you may not know, Adriana and I Purchased a 1929 Speedster in April 2018.  The speedster had been sitting for quite a few years and was in need of the normal repairs from a long sleep. Since the purchase, I have been busy sorting out the sleep issues one at a time. I started with rebuilding the carb and replacing the float. I did a tune up with new plugs, cap, rotor and wires. Now that the engine started and would run, I could continue with some of the other issues the car had. The water pump needed replacing, the fuel tank needed to be cleaned. The tires need replacing and some wiring needed to be cleaned up. The next thing I did was replace the water pump with a leak-less water pump. This job turned out to be a little more than a thought it would be. Removing the radiator and front end to get at the water pump was an all day job. While I had the headlights and turn signals off the car, I cleaned and painted both up, the headlights along with the front turn signals. While I was doing these repairs I ordered new tires and tubes and had to wait for them to come in. I moved on to cleaning the gas tank. This also turned into a job. I started by doing research on the best and most environmental way to clean the tank.  There are many hazardous chemicals I could have used to do this. But, some of these chemicals would have removed the paint on the gas tank. So, I was looking for something safe for the paint. What I found, that was a good cleaner and safe on the paint along with being environmentally safe was vinegar. I found a vinegar that was 11% and cleaned very well. I picked up some swimming noodles and laid a blanket over them. I removed the tank, and poured eight gallons of vinegar into the tank and sloshed it around. I would let it set for about 30 to 45 minutes and then slosh it around again. After eight hours I poured out the vinegar and added a baking soda mixture to neutralize the vinegar. I then flush the tank with water. I then put a funnel in the tank inlet. So I could put a small fan on the funnel to blow air into the tank to dry it out. After drying the tank for a couple days, I poured a quart of sealer into the tank and swirled it around inside the tank. I then set the fan up so I could dry the sealer inside the tank. After a couple days I was able to reinstall the fuel tank and install a new fuel pump. The car now had fuel to the carburetor. I just needed to fix the running issue. My tires came in and I pulled the tires and took them to get the tires mounted. I decided I would pull all four drums and check the brakes. I went on line and watched a couple videos on how to put the brakes together and how to adjust the brakes properly.

I also checked the front end and found that the kingpins on both sides needed to be replaced. When I started checking the brakes I found that all four of the brake adjusters were frozen and I was going to have a hard time getting the drums off. After I got all the drums off, I found that two of the brake adjusting rods were bent and stuck in the backing plates. The other six adjusting rods showed heavy wear. In all, I would need a complete set of brakes, both rear drums, Front and rear bearings, seals, rollers, shims and spacers. I was also missing the rods that ran down to the emergency brakes. I got two replacement rear drums from John Anderson.  After replacing everything and building the gage I needed to adjust the brakes. This would bring the brakes back to a working condition. I also got a Zenith carburetor from John when I picked up the drums. I cleaned the drums and the carburetor, I then took the carburetor apart and cleaned the inside and all the jets. I put the carburetor back together and set it up to standard adjustments and installed it on the car. I pulled the choke and cranked the car over and it fired right up and it ran smooth. It still needs to be fined tuned but, that will happen at a later date.  While I was working on the car I was inspecting as much as I could. One of the items that also needed to be addressed was the play in the steering box. I went on line again to see how to adjust the steering box. After watching a couple videos I adjusted the steering box with no issues. After putting the car back together and putting the new tires on it, I took the car off the jack stands. I was now ready for a test drive. I drove the car around the block and it drove well. I then drove it around Round Rock and the car was running fine. I got back to the house and checked the car over and waited for the day to cool down to go put gas in it. After it cooled off, I started to drive to the gas station and got only a few blocks away when the car stalled and it started backfiring and had no power. I was able to limp the car home and back into the garage. I started doing some checking and found that the wire coming from the condenser had rubbed a hole in it and was shorted. I then went in and ordered a replacement parts to update the distributor to newer points and condenser.  The new distributor parts arrived and I also purchased a Nu-Rex timing wrench to set the timing. I installed the two new distributor plates and set the timing with my new tool and it worked like a charm. The car started right up and ran fine. Now the only thing to do is replace the king pins and bushings in the near future. Adriana and I were able to take the car out for its first drive together.