Thursday’s Travels

The rain continued to fall this morning so Bob O and I headed to Aldan Shock Absorber Company in Carson which is about 70 miles from our house.  Aldan has a policy for rebuilding shocks after you have a failure or just need a repair and also diagnose the failure.  We drove in heavy traffic in the rain and finally arrived in Carson.  The company is housed in a small building in an industrial area.  We took the shocks in for repair and was greeted by a very knowledgeable technician that explained the failure and how to prevent it from happening in the future.  Most shocks fail from misalignment and poor road conditions.  This combination is not completely avoidable but the correct installation can prevent most failures.  In short, the shock needs to be installed so that it is has parallel mounting points most of the time.  A 4-bar is optimum if adjusted properly and ladder bars are less desirable as they move the rear end in an arc which can cause failure under certain conditions.  A common installation error is tightening the bolts too tight with washers against the nylon bushings.  This causes the shock to turn in the bushing not on the bolt.  All stress from the rough roads and misalignment will eventually cause failure.  In our case, the top aluminum eye was also hitting against the mounting bracket and causing stress cracking.  They were most helpful and repaired the shocks while we had lunch.  The trip home was just as bad and we finally arrived ahead of rush hour traffic.  At my age, I really enjoy learning something new every day that increases my knowledge of chassis engineering and fabrication.

The second story is one that is worth telling.  We all know people who seem to just fall into deals and do it time and time again.  It seems that a certain Deuce Vicky broke down on the trip to Canada last year and was left in a repair garage to solve a low oil pressure problem.  While the engine was out the garage caught on fire with the Vicky inside.  The damage was not severe but the owner took the insurance check and the insurance company sold the car at auction or through an auction process.  The car was purchased for a real low sum and the new owner has a very nice car that can be put back to running condition without a great deal of work or expense.  We all know people like this and I have even looked and the flood vehicles a few years ago and was outbid on a Deuce tudor.  I guess if you want a Deuce bad enough you just need to keep your name on the local bid list at salvage auctions.

Bob O will be burning the midnight oil installing his new shocks and making sure they meet the requirements we learned today.  Tomorrow will be testing day so…

Stay Tooned!


Here is the photo of the failed shock.  Note the shaft is bent from bottoming out.  Most failures occur on the rebound stroke of the shock which is controlled by the valve on the upper mounting eye.  Aldan recommends starting at 3 or 4 and if the ride is choppy (too soft) you need to increase it.  If the shock rebounds (upward stroke) too fast then the shock may bottom out after hitting a pot hole.  They suggest that 2/3 of the travel be in the compression and 1/3 in the rebound.  This is a single adjustable shock which only adjusts the rebound stroke.  Most street rods shocks have about 3 1/2 inches of travel fully extended and 3 inches at ride height.  Using their recommendations would mean you should have 2 inches of compression and 1 inch of rebound.  The best way to check what your shocks are doing under load is to install a ty-rap around the shaft at the bottom of the shaft and drive the car checking the position of the ty-rap after stopping the car and in a static position.  If the ty-rap is up near the top of the shock you are sure to bottom out the shock on a rough road.  The condition would apply to any brand shocks installed.

The top mounting eye is a nylon bushed 5/8 hole and is attached to the shaft with a threaded blind hole and is secured with a set screw.  Over time these can become loose and cause the shaft to pull out of the eye and strip the threads.  Once this happens you are in big trouble.  You can also see how the nylon bushing has been compressed by over tightening the washer against the inner steel sleeve.  The shock must rotate on the bolt not the inner sleeve.  You can install steel bearings in the eyes and they are noisy but prevent misalignment.

The Throttlers show always has my style of cars.  Here is a nice three window with no rear gas tank and a rolled pan.  This is one way to reduce the bulk of the stock tank, but you then have the tank in the trunk which I don’t like.

I copied Richards stock tank look on Lucy and left off the plaque and license plate light.

Here is a stock tank cover that has been reworked for a smoother look.  I only like this style if the cover is sectioned and just covers the rear spreader bar.

Here is a very nice 39 ford sedan that has come up for sale.  These cars are great drivers and sure to draw a crowd as they are not seen often.  This one is squeaky clean and built by a great craftsman in Reno.

Brian knows how to make the sedan sit in the weeds.  The paint is DP flat and looks perfect to me.

I love this OEM look and the 327 valve covers.  The clean white firewall reflects the builder’s taste in his building an early looking sedan.  This is a real tidy engine compartment.

I told you it was a very “clean” build and the interior reflects the same overall build theme.  Nice job!  If you would like to contact the owner please let me know and I will put you in touch.  You could enjoy the summer right now in this one…it is ready to go and for sale.

Today’s salvage Deuce…really!

This is the Deuce that caught on fire and was sold at auction for a very low dollar amount.

I think all of the Deuce lovers would like to find one of these to have in their collection.  You can see the top damage in this photo.

The fire did not burn the wood but did ruin the paint and warped the top a little but certainly repairable by the expert metal man who purchased the car.  I hope to have photos of the restoration when in process over the coming months.

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