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1949 Ford Shoebox Gets New Brakes

1949 Ford Shoebox Gets New Brakes

A few months back, I was backing the Ford out of my driveway. When I went to mash the middle pedal it went to the floor. No Brakes. Thankfully, I hadn’t built up enough steam to continue rolling into my neighbor’s yard. And thankfully I have insurance on the old Ford that provides towing when it breaks down. A quick phone call and a short tow ride later, and the Ford was hauled to the shop on a tow truck.

This video documents the work I did putting a fresh brake system under my old Ford. I had to learn a lot as I went. The most intimidating part was learning to flare the ends of the new brake lines. There are pre-bent brake line kits available for this car but I looked at the money I’d spend on the kit, versus buying the line and borrowing tools and it was about 10% of the cost. However, it is 100% more hassle to do it yourself!

In the process of diagnosing the failure, I narrowed it down to a leaky wheel cylinder and water in the system. After bending up and flaring new lines, and replacing all the wheel cylinders and master cylinder, I found out that one of the brand new wheel cylinders leaked like crazy. Go figure. After that, the next weakest link failed. I over-tightened the secondary bend on one of the double flares. I learned an important lesson here. I needed to leave a little “mush factor” (pretty sure that’s the proper term for this) in the flare. That way the end of that line can mate perfectly to its intended fitting.

After a couple setbacks and a significant amount of time in the lift, I had all the bugs worked out. Since I bought the car, I’ve always considered the brake system a little dodgy. Now it’s moved down the list of things to worry about while driving my old Ford. Thanks for reading me and enjoy the video.

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It’s Time to Take Another Look at Infiniti

It’s Time to Take Another Look at Infiniti

When was the last time an Infiniti product set your pants on fire? The answer might be never. They’ve had a couple hits, but how many memorable Infiniti’s can you count? The number probably fit’s on one hand’s worth of fingers. Historically, the Infinity livery has ranged from forgettable beige boxes, to a mash-up of swoopy lines you wish you could forget. That is, until now…

The new Q series looks great. They have a nose-down aggressive posture, and angry headlights on either side of a low-mounted, tidy grille. The aesthetic looks a bit like the latest Maserati Ghibli, and that’s not a bad thing. If you’re gonna look like something, it is better to look like something exceptional.

 

VC-Turbo – Variable Compression Turbo

The intrigue doesn’t just run skin deep. Infiniti revealed a new engine at last year. This isn’t just a new valve timing management system (it has that too), or a hybrid setup. It’s the first really new idea to be implemented on internal combustion engines in recent memory. Infiniti touts it as “the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine.”

They call it the VC-Turbo (Variable Compression Turbo). And if all goes right, it will be the world’s first variable compression ratio engine in production vehicles.  The first ones will be available in 2018 model Infinitis.

The new power-plant dynamically adjusts compression ratios by moving the rotating assembly up and down within the engine case. The design uses a lever to move the crankshaft journals, crank, pistons, and rods, higher up into the cylinders to squish the compressed gasses into a tighter space resulting in higher compression. 14:1 to be exact. Lowering the rotating assembly will lower the compression to 8:1.  Having trouble visualizing it? This video will help clarify things.

Neat, but will it work?Well, Infiniti says they’ve been working on the design for two decades, they’ve made loads of models, and they’ve driven them a couple million miles. So, it sounds pretty viable, but it’s easy to imagine the expense when something goes wrong. And it will inevitably go wrong, that’s the nature of cars. It will be exciting to see how it all shakes out in 2018.

 

INFINITI Prototype 9 – A Retro Prototype

Infiniti started by teasing us with images in press releases and on their Instagram feed of a mid-century Grand Prix inspired concept car to be unveiled at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The classic boat tail styling looks beautiful. The brakes, visible just inside of those tall skinny tires, are made imitate the look of finned drum brakes. But they are in fact a set of non-boosted discs. The wire wheels with center knock-offs are things of beauty.

The body is made from steel and sits on a steel frame. The long hood arcs back from the top if a gorgeous deco-inspired grill, to a teeny tiny little windshield. In this case less is more.

The suspension up front is a solid axle under a transverse leaf spring. And out back there’s a DeDion set up, again with a transverse mounted leaf spring. For shock absorbers Infiniti chose to go with old-school hydraulic rotary dampers. Designers took the time to wrap the suspension parts in beautiful body work.

The steering is a manual system, which can’t help but have a direct feel. Chances are this thing rides like a covered wagon. But who cares? Just look at it.

You may be searching the images for some sweet looking exhaust pipes, but you won’t find them on this ride. Infiniti dropped a little 21st century technology in among all those vintage good looks. This thing is powered by a 148 hp electric motor that produces 236 lb-ft of torque. All that power in a vehicle that weighs just shy of a ton has got to be a blast to drive.

Infiniti claims Prototype 9 has a top speed of 105 mph, gets from a standstill to 62 mph in 5.5 seconds. The electric motor is powered by lithium Ion batteries that are said to deliver 20 minutes of heavy track use. You can take a look at the tech specs here.

It looks like Infiniti is attempting to redefine how people perceive the brand. Good looking cars with interesting engine technology combined with an apparent interest in creative projects sound like a recipe for further success. Love it? Hate it? Let me know in the comment section.