The Redline Rebuild team has been busy. In the past few months, at least three engines have spewed their parts onto just about every flat surface in the shop. The Ford Model A is the last of the trio to get put back together, and thankfully, no parts went missing in the flurry of engine rebuilds that have filled special projects editor Davin Reckow’s days and weeks. Davin sat down with lead videographer Ben Woodworth to discuss the details behind the build.
Davin and the Model A engine have a bit of history, as he was team lead for Hagerty’s 2016 Swap to Street build, where this car was brought to life with parts located at the Hershey Fall Swap Meet. In less than 100 hours, the team took the car from a rolling chassis to driving from Pennsylvania to Hagerty headquarters in Traverse City, Michigan. A massive oil leak from the rear of the engine kept it from completing the journey.
“The car just going to waste in the corner,” Davin says. “It was really fun to drive, but the amount of oil it was putting on the ground was just unacceptable. I thought it would make a fun around-town errand car for the shop, but that meant the engine was going to have to come out and get refreshed.”
The 200-cubic-inch inline-four got more than a refresh. The tear-down showed no significant damage, but refreshing this pre-war mill is more complicated than ordering parts from a catalog—a road trip was required.
“We could have mailed the engine block and connecting rods down to the machine shop and got back ready-to-use parts,” Davin says, “but I was honestly curious as to how the babbitting process worked.”
The process of pouring the new main and connecting rod bearings is really the highlight of this rebuild. For that process, the engine was taken to Ron’s Machine Shop in Shandon, Ohio. Once there, all the machine work was completed, in addition to the babbitt bearings.
Never one to leave well enough alone, Davin snuck in a few performance parts during assembly. A high-compression head bumped the squeeze of the engine to around 6-to-1, a “B” camshaft increased the duration of the valve opening, and a balanced crankshaft keeps it all spinning smoothly. In addition, the interior of the engine bloc was coated with Glyptal, which helps the oil drain back to the oil pan, which is essential since the oil level is critical—the connecting rods are lubricated by dippers that sling into the oil as the crankshaft rotates.
Be sure to watch the full video (which was recorded live) for additional quick tips and behind-the-scenes details; there’s even a question-and-answer session at the end. If you have a question that remains unanswered, be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to receive notifications when each video that goes live, since we’ll be offering future opportunities to ask Davin your engine tear-down and assembly questions.