Proper Tools for Model A Judging

It takes quite a bit of effort in putting a correct tool kit together.  First you have to know the correct date your car was manufactured.  Then you have to find the right owner’s manual, crank, jack, air pump and hand tools for that date.  One mistake people make in collecting tools is looking for the Ford script.  The Ford script was only used in early 1928.  Each Model A was equipped with a 13-piece tool kit.  Below are a few items that will help you identifying the correct tool to year.


The grease gun (A-17125) was nickel plated, made by the Alemite Mfg. Company.  Both fine and coarse serrations on the cap are acceptable for all years.


The tool bag (A-17005 and A-17005-B) was approximately 11” long, 8 ¾” wide (when open) and 6 ½” wide (closed).  The flap folds lengthwise, with one or two snap fasteners.  It was made from leftover top material or artificial leather.  Only one type of bag was used throughout Model A production and it did not have a Ford script marking.


All adjustable wrenches were 9-3/8” long and had a square end on the handle, which is used to remove the drain plug for the differential housing.  Some wrenches did not have the Ford script.


There were four variations to the spark plug and cylinder head wrench (A-17017).  The first, used before February 1928, had a Ford script and was unpainted, with an 11/16” hex end.  The second wrench, used from February thru April 1928, was the same except it was painted black.  The third type was the same as the second, but dropped the Ford script and was used from May thru September 1928.  The fourth type was painted black, with no script, was thicker at the hex head nut end, and was used from late 1928 to the end of production.


The pliers (A-17025) were of two types.  The first, used until February 1928, had Ford script and was unpainted.  From this date to the end of production the pliers were both script and non-script, and painted black.  One handle tapered to a screwdriver blade.


The small open-end wrench (A-17015) fit 7/16” and ½” bolts and nuts.  The large open-end wrench (A-17016) fit 9/16” and 5/8”.  The same manufacturer supplied the two wrenches.  Ford wrenches made after the Model A years were thinner and lighter than those supplied with the Model A, but are otherwise identical.  These are incorrect.


The screwdriver had a wood handle with an unfinished or black enameled steel blade shaft passing entirely through it.  The handle was finished with a black wood preservative.  The ferrule was plain steel or nickel-plated.


The tire iron was initially carried over from the Model T Ford.  Two design changes were made during the Model A production.  In July 1928 one end was tapered so it could be used as a screwdriver.  This design was dropped in November 1928, and the opposite end was changed to a spoon shape.  Some of the spoon shaped tire irons have a square hole in the handle used to adjust the brakes.  None of the tire irons had Ford script.  Prior to February 1928 they were unfinished, but were painted black thereafter.


There were seven different cranks made for the Model A:

Year                         Part No.                      Fits                     Finish              Lugs¹              Throw²

1927 (script)             A-17036                      11/16”                cadmium         90°                   8”

Jan-Feb 1928            A-17036-AR               11/16”                cadmium         90°                   8”

March 1928              A-17036-B                  13/16”                cadmium         in line              7 ½”

Apr-May 1928                                             A-17036-B         13/16”            black                 in line              7 ½”

June 28-Oct 29         A-17036-B                  13/16”                black                90°                   8”

November 1929       A-17036-B                  13/16”                black                in line              8”

Dec 29-end              A-17036-B                  13/16”                black                in line              7 ½”

¹ – Angle between a line thru two lugs and the center member.

² – Distance between the handle and the member carrying the lugs, measured along the center member.


The first tire pump was used thru April 1928.  It had a cast iron base with Ford script, and the several manufacturers designed different screws on top.  Thereafter a second pump was issued, which had a ribbed, stamped steel base without a script, which was brazed to the pump cylinder.  The hose was a black, cloth-covered rubber, 18-19” long, and attached with metal clips.


An owner’s manual was included with every vehicle sold after December 1927.  The owner’s manuals were revised as major changes were incorporated into the cars.  The copyright date corresponds with the year of the car, however there was more than one manual for each Model A year.  For example, five were made for 1928.  Individual dealers furnished the manuals as items of delivery equipment.


All jacks were made to Ford specifications, however minor differences did occur between the four manufacturers in the location of holes and rivets, and the contour of forged gears and pressed steel parts.  All of the jacks were painted black enamel.  Look for another posting for the publish pictures and descriptions of the different jack styles in an upcoming tech tip so that you can identify the proper jack for your month and year of vehicle.

This tech tip was provided by Walt Wawzyniak and printed in the July 2004 “A” Quail Call.

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