Lions Gate Model A Club
Dedicated Model A enthusiasts from across
British Columbia and Washington State!
Tech Sessions

Fender Repair
November 19, 2013

by Ron Heppner

The process that I ultimately came up with is the result of attempting to repair the two front fenders by mig welding the cracks in the usual places.  After welding and cleaning things up I found that the fenders were still too flexible and that they were bending too much where the cracks were repaired.

I decided to remove the spring wire and replace with new 1/8” spring wire.   Before I even started I had to source the wire.  My first choice was to try the Metal Supermarket.  They didn’t have anything but they made a call for me to Dendoff Springs. 
The contact there is:

Dendoff Springs Ltd.
Larisa Papirovskaya, Sales Engineer
12045 Old Yale Road
Surrey BC V3V 3X4
Tel: 604 580-3400 ext. 116

They would prefer that you call ahead and that will allow them to make up the order.

Once I had the material I then made tools for the different operations.

There are 3 steps to completing the job.

  1. Opening the bead and removing the existing wire.
  2. Welding and grinding any cracks or holes that need repair and reprofiling the bead.
  3. Bending and installing the new wire.


I had to make a tool that would get under the lip of the bead and I made it from a hydraulic brake adjusting tool.  The flat end was heated with a torch so that the end could be bent into a hook shape.  (See Figure 1a)  Note that the edge is chisel shaped so that you can get under the lip.  ( Do not quench the hot end in water, the steel is harded tool steel and it will go brittle and break when used.  Let it air cool.)

figure 1a

Figure 1a

Starting at one end of the fender, prise up the edge of the lip of the bead.  Do not try to open it the full required amount. Only open the bead up enough to remove the wire, that would be half way. Open the bead one quarter of the required opening, then go back and open the bead up to the full amount required. If you open the bead up too much at one time you will stretch the metal.

Once the bead is opened the required amount pull out the wire.  You should be able to slide the wire behind the fender edge bracket.  If it is tight, open up the bead slightly and if you have to, cut the old wire.  The new wire should slide in easily as it will not be rusty. The one thing that confirmed that I was doing the right thing by replacing the wire was that as I removed the wire from the first front fender it broke right at the place that I had welded a crack in the edge.  The temper of the wire had been altered and it became very brittle and snapped.

See Figures 1b & 1c as to how to open the bead being careful not to apply too much pressure as to deform the face of the bead on the exposed side of the fender.

figure 1b
Figure 1b

figure 1c

Figure 1c


Once the wire is removed you now can make any repairs that are necessary.  Any cracks should be welded and ground smooth otherwise they will open up even more and you will be back where you started.  If your vehicle has been in any fenderbenders the bead edge probably is a bit concave, it should be basically flat. 

To acheive that I made a tool from 3/16” x 1 ¼” flat bar.  With a shoe from the same bar welded at an angle (approx 45°).  The shoe is just wide enough to fit flat in the groove of the bead. Note that the handle is undercut at the shoe weld, this is to allow the lip of the bead to slide in so that you can fit the tool tightly in the bead.  ( See Figure 2a )  This is important otherwise you will do more damage to the face of the bead when you try to flatten the surface with a body hammer. (Just an aside, I polish the faces of my body hammers, first by sanding to get a ever so slight convex shape and then polish on a buffing wheel to get a mirror finish.  This way you do not transfer any dimples to the work. This is especially important when working with stainless steel.)

figure 2a

Figure 2a

Note in Figure 2b that the shoe fits tightly in the bead and literally snaps into place. 
By lifting up, pushes the bead out and at the same time tap lightly on the face to flatten the bead.  Remember tap lightly or you might do more damage than good, you don’t want to damage the step in the bead.  If there is damage this is the time to fix it.

figure 2b
Figure 2b

figure 2c

Figure 2c


When you take out the existing wire you might find, as I did, that the wire has similar toothed markings as does the edge of the fender.  I suspect that to make this rolled edge there were two wheels, one on the outside edge of the bead and one on the wire pushing the wire home into the groove with a follower that closed the bead, trapping the wire. The tool that I came up with to install the wire is made from an old pair of needle nose visegrips and a small piece of the 3/16” x 1¼” flat bar.  The top jaw was ground 1/8” shorter and the flat bar was spot welded flush with the end of the jaw so that the flat bar lands about ¼” from the end of the lower jaw.  On the lower jaw, grind off the teeth so that the lower jaw doesn’t leave marks on the edge of the fender.  See Figures 3a & 3b.

figure 3a
Figure 3a

figure 3b

Figure 3b

Now that you have the tool made up you will need to cut a piece of wire long enough to fit the whole length in one piece.  You may have noticed when you took out the old wire that it still had memory of the spool that it was originally wound on.  To me it indicated that the wire doesn’t have to be bent to fit too carefully.  The tight corners and bends must be pre bent otherwise you will not get the wire to stay in the groove when you are assembling.

I started at the front of the fender but I don’t think it matters.  Note in Figure 3c that I left a little extra wire sticking out.  Getting started is a little tricky as you can see the wire isn’t fully imbedded but once you have it started it will go easily. 

I’ve changed to a ball peen hammer as it has a little more weight to it, you can see by the reflection in the ball end that I’ve polished this hammer too.  The hammer end has been ground slightly convex and the corner rounded and then buffed to a mirror finish.  Even the dolly’s are polished.  This is redone on an as required basis.

And again, as when you opened the bead it was done in stages, closing is the same.  The first pass has to capture the wire.  Work towards the clamp then move the clamp forward a few inches at a time, then go back and hammer the lip tighter to the wire.  Remember that you don’t want to stretch the metal and by gradually closing the bead you shouldn’t stretch anything.

My vehicle had been in a couple of front fender benders and the nose of the front fender had a lot of work done on it.  Someone got a little carried away with a grinder and vixen file and thinned out the leading edge.  When I closed up the bead edge the lead edge cracked and now I have to weld it closed after the wire was installed.  I’m using .023 and .025 wire that doesn’t generate too much heat.  So you might want to do a close check on your fenders.

At this point you can do some fine tuning to straighten the edges of the fenders and complete the final shaping.  Once complete, your fenders should now be stiffer.

figure 3c

Figure 3c

figure 3d

Figure 3d

You may find ways to fine tune my process - don’t be afraid to experiment.

Ron Heppner
Lions Gate Model A Club
Vancouver, B.C.



Mitchell Pinion Gear Puller
September 17, 2013

The September 17th meeting’s main tech session was presented by Al Glen. The club has just purchased a ‘Mitchell Pinion Gear Puller and Re-Install Kit’. This is a high quality tool set that will enable members to remove the pinion gear from the banjo rear end of their Model A. The advantage to this tool is that this removal can even be accomplished without disassembling the entire rear end. Also, re-installation can carried out without the use of a press and is much more controlled. Al demonstrated both these actions and was very pleased with this acquisition. This will be of a great help for anyone working on their vehicle’s rear end. It was noted that anytime the pinion is removed, a new bearing should be utilized in the reassembly. This tool is now available to club members by contacting Al Glen.

Tuning and Timing Workshop
Al Glen's shop - Saturday March 16, 2013

Eighteen club members gathered on Saturday morning, March 16th, for a club tech session in Al Glen’s garage.  The purpose of the session was to perform a basic tune up of member’s engines.  This included inspection of the distributor components and how to set the timing.  Dave Kettler’s Town Sedan received an adjustment of his points gap and timing.  Jon Carey drove his 5-Window 1931 Coupe down from Squamish for the event!  His car was worked upon including diagnosis of an aging distributor.  Jon is now working on a rebuilt with the help of Al Glen. 

In addition, John Haddon manned the barbeque to provide lunch for our club members.  Even the weather cooperated as the sun broke out in the early afternoon.  Feedback from members was most positive on the club providing further tech sessions in order to share the club’s combined technical expertise.   

April 30th,2011 Neil Herron's - Electrical System Seminar

In the second part of the seminar, Neil went into more depth, detail and discusion about "Trouble Shooting" electrical issues and how to adjust the "heat" range of your spark plugs when necessary!

A total of 17 Lions Gate and Pacific A's Members attended and enjoyed a very informative seminar.

Thanks to Neil Herron once again for his efforts in a well thought out, well planned seminar! In addition, our thanks to the Pacific A's for joining in, the use of their club house, and of course great coffee & donuts!


Al Glen is hosting a Model A Distributor rebuilding seminar. 3 to 4 members per seminar. Call Al Glen at (604) 594-2768 for more information. Enough parts & materials on hand for a total of 20 distributors.

  April 19th,2011 Gord Hill - Shock Demonstation/Seminar

Gord Hill - Shock Seminar at the Lions Gate A Club Meeting - Tuesday, April 19th . Gord demonstrated and discussed how to open shocks carefully using a number of tools, some of which Gord made.

Great demonstration/seminar on shocks Gord! Very informative and much appreciated, thank you! Thanks to Ralph Bower for supplying the clear, sharp photo's!

  gordhill openshock
  Gord opening shock with his "Cover Remover"
  cap off longpry
  The "Persuader" bar
  Inner workings
  shock viewing
  Rebuilt & Assembled Shock

  February 15, 2010 - Meeting/Tech Seminar
  Al Glen giving a two part seminar on "How to Rebuild a Distributor"
  Jeff Lofvendahl gave a recap of his experiences at the 2010 convention repair tent.
  Bill Day gave a 72 year biography of his love for Model A's and his "Love for Toys".....

November 21st - LGMAC / Tech Session
A Lions Gate Model A Club Technical Session was held on Saturday November 21st at Dave Kettler’s home. Tom Spouse led the session for the purpose of removing and dismantling the differential of Dave Kettler’s 1930 Town Sedan in an effort to determine the cause of excessive noise. Sixteen members attended to witness the removal of the complete rear drivetrain including rear spring. After a complete breakdown and inspection of parts, it was concluded that the noise was caused by the pinion bearing, probably the result of a shortage of lubrication in the differential case. The crown and pinion gears appeared to be badly worn as well which came as no great surprise. Disassembly was ably conducted by Tom Spouse, John Roulstone, and Gordon Hill with lots of encouragement and expert advise being provided by the remainder of the club members. Strangely, only the three active mechanics ended up with greasy hands. The upside for Dave is that Tom Spouse has available a completely rebuilt replacement that will await another day for installation. A wonderful luncheon of home-made Borscht complete with sour cream, garlic bread and tasty sausages on the side was provided, all thanks to the efforts and culinary skills of Rob Taylor. Thanks Guys! An Excellent Session that was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.

October 20, 2009 - LGMAC Meeting / Tech Session
Terry Heselton demonstrated how to straighten wheel spokes with a hands on demonstration using a crowbar, hammer, dolly blocks and wood on a wheel that AI Glen provided from his vast stock. He explained that he has powdercoated many wheels since opening his shop and he's been quite disappointed in the number submitted with bent spokes.
Lorne Bunz showed how the use of Liquid Electrical Tape can be applied to the end of a socket of a wheel wrench to avoid marring the paint on a wheel.
Jim DeWolf spoke of Universal Joint problems and the fact that some side slop is required to compensate for the possibility that there could be some housing misalignment. Mac's purchased a number that were made offshore and are very tight. Their use is to be avoided.


  Disassembling, reviewing and assembling the
Model A Transmission by Jim DeWolf


A tremendous turnout of 42 members (including 9 Vancouver Island members) for a much awaited workshop conducted by host presenters Jim DeWolf and John Haddon. To say that they both did a superb job would be an understatement....!

Jim very methodically went though every aspect of the operation of disassembling the trans,...while walking the members through the signs of wear & tear on the trans box and what to look for; when to replace; and how to check the gears for condition and replacement. He then went through an equally informative process of rebuilding the box, reinstalling the gears and all components...! As an excellent machinist, Jim also introduced several items that he has manufactured to make the process of working on a "tranny" & tower that much easier. We are so fortunate to have the degree of talent within our Club.


Jim taking the transmission apart to detemine if any of the gears, etc are useable.


Painting a coating of oil on gears before assembling.....


and a dab of Permatex on the gasket before assembling.....


Following Jim's more than thorough presentation and the distribution of an equally thorough "hand-out" that he has written in support of his workshop and method of analyzing/rebuilding of a transmission; John then took control of the session to walk the members through the process of taking apart a trans tower and the removal of the high tension spring. Jim had also designed and built a spring remover/installer which was demonstrated and is really quite ingenious...!

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