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Daily Touring Miles

Hello all. I am new to Durant and antique vehicles, but have spent years working on 40s through 70s cars and trucks. I am going on a local tour in my newly acquired A-22 in early May here in northeast Kansas. I am interested in some opinions/tips.

I will be driving 85 to 105 miles towards home after having trailered my car to the far end of the route. My wife and three daughters plan to ride along with me. The trip will include stops in small towns along the route to visit museums and generally take breaks. My car seems to be a pretty good driver, but I just got it this fall and haven't had it out of town as of yet. I have been working on installing new king pins over the winter to try and remedy a front end 'death wobble'. I may have to have the steering box reworked or install a stabilizer pre-trip as well. I am fairly mechanically inclined, and there should be plenty of other old-car folks on this tour to provide emergency help.

My questions are: What should I expect to take with me as far as repair/emergency supplies? What kind of physical difficulty is found in driving an open tourer like this 100 miles in a little more than half a day? Should I count on having a truck and trailer chase team? Should I rest the vehicle for a specific length of time at regular intervals?

I just want to be as prepared as possible. I will of course make sure I am fully lubed, fluids are fresh, etc. I know the specific circumstances vary greatly based on vehicle condition, weather, driving characteristics, etc.

Any tips, tricks, and advice are greatly appreciated. If I can make her a good short-run tourer, I can hopefully do more travelling and appreciating with the family in her!

Where Are You From? Marysville, Kans

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1923 Durant A-22 Touring

Re: Daily Touring Miles

Hi Todd......

Probably best to contact other owners of A-22's. They will be able to share their experiences with you.

A couple owners who have toured with their cars an our meets are, Ken Brink and Adam Ford. Both have very nice cars that are reliable tour cars.

One drawback with these cars are the 2 wheel brakes, but in flat Kansas, that may not be much of a problem.

Look forward to seeing you at one of our meets!

Frank ---

Where Are You From? Hookstown Pennsylvania

Do You own a car built by Durant? A few

Re: Daily Touring Miles

Hey Todd,

I believe that the only problem on tour that I have had with my '23 A-22 was centered around the original vaccume fuel system...On one occasion the valve in the vaccum tank failed to switch off and gas was sucked into the engine via the vaccume line and flooded the engine with raw fuel....Then on a hot day at our Oakland meet the engine vaporlocked, My thoughts are that the exhaust manifold and exhaust pipe are located to close to the vaccume tank and fuel lines (they pass directly under the vaccume tank) I might suggest that you try and seporate the fuel lines as much as possiable from the heat source, possiably wrapping the lines with a reflectant(tin foil or the like)maybe install some sort of heat shield between the vaccume tank and manifold/pipe.......Or install an electric fuel pump and pressure regulator.

Where Are You From? Yuma, AZ / Leavenworth, WA

Do You own a car built by Durant? '23 A-22 Touring / '29 D-60 coupe / '25 Flint H-40

Re: Daily Touring Miles

Thanks for the responses.

Frank, I worry a little about the brakes. Mine appear to be in good condition, but I think slow and easy is the name of the game. I live in, and will be driving through, the hilly northeastern corner of Kansas. (Kansas is not all that flat!)

Bill, I wondered about the possibility of vapor locking since I have had trouble with that in the hot summer months on other vehicles. I hope that we will not yet be too hot here in early May. I do have an insulated fuel line from the vacuum tank to the carb, so hopefully that will help. I also have a bit of a strange setup since someone at one time had retrofitted a Star W4 into my Durant, with the vacuum tank on the passenger side. I might try to do some running in April if we have a hot day. Would it be worth considering a pass-through electric pump to have as a backup to the vacuum system? I have a similar setup on a mechanical fuel pump Lincoln and it saved my bacon last summer.

Hopefully I will make it to Minnesota in 2015. Thanks again for the help guys!

Where Are You From? Marysville, Kans

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1923 Durant A-22 Touring

Re: Daily Touring Miles

You shouldn't have any problems with 100 mile touring days. That W4 engine is a good strong worker, although it could be a little small for the A 22. The Star is a much lighter car, and the original A 22 is a 199 cu in engine, whereas the Star is quite a bit smaller.
As for brakes, the best advice I have ever heard, is to drive the car as if it was a boat. You have to anticipate when you have to stop. Try to avoid emergency stops.
Glad to know that you are driving the car and having fun. We have a 1922 that should be on the road next summer.

Where Are You From? Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1932 Frontenac

Re: Daily Touring Miles

I would like to weigh in on this topic. I don't have a running Durant product, but I used to have a Model T and I have a Model A now. What I have seen with the owners of both of these cars, and especially the A, is the tendency to drive fast. Some owners will modify the car to do it. Some owners are driving that way to show everyone what she'll do. Others may be afraid of slowing down the parade, or are trying to keep out of the way of modern traffic. And some do it just because they can. Driving like that it is a mistake, and misses the whole point of owning and driving an old car.
Drive an old car the way it was meant to be driven in it's time. These are cars of the day before yesterday, and age hasn't helped their capabilities. Have mechanical sympathy for your car. Most modern traffic is willing to cut an old car like ours a little slack, so don't worry too much about being in the way. You can always pull over unless you are on the freeway, and you shouldn't be there anyway. These old cars were used mainly for shorter trips on pretty basic roads. Long trips in those days were taken on the train, usually. But that doesn't mean that one can't tour in one. I like to keep in mind that the seat in my Model A wasn't expected to hold a person's rear end for hours on end. So frequent stops are made, to help save my carcass and check out the car a little.
People in town, in modern cars tend to stomp on the brake at the last second before a stop sign, and speed away. We can't expect to drive that way in our old cars without something bad happening. Yesterday's reckless driving has become the norm today. But modern cars let us get away with it. Old cars will not. That is my take on touring for whatever it's worth. -Hal

Where Are You From? Pullman, WA

Do You own a car built by Durant? pile of Star parts

Re: Daily Touring Miles

Out of curiosity, do you know what the displacement of the W4 Star engine is? I'd like to find an original engine, but have no idea where I'd even start looking.

As far as the brakes, slow and easy with planned-ahead stopping seems to be the name of the game. My dad has a 1926 Pontiac, and he warned me well about the hazards of two-wheel brakes.

We haven't had it long enough to enjoy too much yet, but my daughters are eager to get it out when warmer weather arrives.

Where Are You From? Marysville, Kans

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1923 Durant A-22 Touring

Re: Daily Touring Miles

I think you are absolutely correct. In my younger days, I admit, I was one to drive too fast and too recklessly. With age I've discovered that life is safer and more enjoyable at a relaxed pace. This is especially true in an old car! I really appreciate your take on touring, and think you should look into trademarking the phrase "mechanical sympathy". :-)

Where Are You From? Marysville, Kans

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1923 Durant A-22 Touring

Re: Daily Touring Miles

I would carry sufficient material to fix your tires, jack, pump, patches, spare tubes, tire irons. Some wooden blocks that might keep it from rolling.
Emergency flags or markers.

I would carry a complete spare ignition set: coil, spark plugs, distributor cap and rotor, and points and condenser. Also tools to work on them. A spare battery will keep it running even if the charging system breaks down.
A volt-ohm meter might be handy, and some red and black wire, perhaps 12 gauge. Don't forget a starting crank.

I would carry a jug of water in case she starts to boil over. Some duct tape and tools to fix leaking hoses. A gallon of gas and small funnel can be used to partly fill your vacuum tank and get you down the road another few miles. A quart of engine oil. Don't spill any where it can catch fire.

Of course, carry a couple fire extinguishers and a small-first aid kit.
Some rags to wash your windshield. Some fluids for your own body.

A nylon tow rope. Perhaps some bungie cords to hold things from flapping in the wind.

You should have everything oiled and greased before you leave. Wheel bearings and water pump. Soak your wooden wheels so they get tight.

Think like you're making a run for the South Pole.

Do You own a car built by Durant? Yes

Re: Daily Touring Miles

I think another good driving tip is to always glance over at your amp meter when you shut off your engine to be certain that the amp meter is on "0" and not discharging....On occasion the points in the Voltage "Cut-Out" will/can stick and will discharge the battery into the generator, or you may simply have left your light switch on....There is nothing more disappointing than having a dead battery after having stopped for lunch.

Todd, You mentioned that your Vaccume tank had been moved to the passenger side on your 1923 A-22....Both the exhaust manifold and the Vaccume tank on the A-22 are in fact on the passenger (right) side, I think the confusion is that your W-4 engine has the exhaust manifold on the Drivers (left) side....This may be a plus as far as vaporlocking is concerned.

Where Are You From? Yuma, AZ / Leavenworth, WA

Do You own a car built by Durant? Several

Re: Daily Touring Miles

Thank you guys for the thorough tips and advice. The kind support from you all is exactly what I was hoping to get from the group and I really do appreciate it. My 30-something mechanically-oriented buddies around here don't have as much interest in the old-and-unusual stuff that I do. :-)

I've made a list of parts to line up in advance of my tour as I have very little as far as extra bits. Probably a reach, but can you guys recommend a good one-stop-shop for backup electrical parts? I need to find plugs, coil, cap, rotor, condenser, points, etc. I think I have all the other stuff. I do need to read up a little on how to lube my water pump...

Bill- I understand about the manifold placement now, so thanks for correcting my confusion. I hope you are right that I can escape vapor locking trouble.

Where Are You From? Marysville, Kans

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1923 Durant A-22 Touring

Re: Daily Touring Miles

I second the earlier email about things to carry except instead of a quart of gasoline I carry a turkey baster and an empty tin can. These can be used to suck gas out of your tank to pour into your vacuum tank via a small funnel. Just remove the intake line, pour enough in, refasten and go. The tank will hold about a pint so you can do this to get out of a tight situation or on to a trouble trailer.

Also, carry spare tire valves and the metal caps that have the tool for them on the top. Corrosion and dirt can get in these. When you add air, the valve can stick open just a little.

Corrosion, rust and dried seals are the most common sources of problems for a car that has been sitting for some time. I had the vent hole in the gas cap rust shut. The car would be fine for the first half-hour and then die when the vacuum in the gas tank built up too much. Enough air would leak into the tank while I investigated the source and the car would run fine for another half hour. It took me two years to figure that one out.

Flush the radiator, put a paper filter on the fuel line and drive the car as much as you can. Problems, if any, should soon show up. The more you drive one of these cars, the more reliable it gets.

Lastly, most tours have a trouble trailer or truck follow behind. Check with the organizers.

Where Are You From? North of Golden Gate Bridge

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1925 Star


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