Timing chain and gears

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    Hello all. We are slowly moving forward with the engine rebuild in my 1929 125 Club Brougham. My current question relates to the timing chain and gears. This engine had clearly been rebuilt before (.060 over pistons), but we have no history on the timing chain or gears. Are these available (and if so where) or if they look reasonable, should we clean them up and re-install them? Are individual components available, like the gears, if the package is not?

    As a secondary question, how are you all handling the water pumps, are you replacing the shaft in stainless and replacing the bearings and seals with modern style stuff? As this original engines’ demise was clearly from being overheated, I working to make sure I don’t repeat the damage by overlooking a simple but important part. Aren’t we engineers a bit anal sometimes? Guess that’s what we are paid the little bucks to do…

    As always, your input is appreciated.


    As coincidence would have it. I was talking to Ramsey Chain, in Charlotte about their steel requirements yesterday.

    The guy I was talking to was very familiar with the chains for Pierces. He said they had been making then for Egge for years.

    It might have been a statement of bravado , but he said if you keep them lubricated, you wouldn’t have a problem


    I just bought a Ramsey chain for my ’31 Model 42 engine. It seems to be just fine. They will route your through their local jobber depending on where you live.



    Ramsey is THE source for timing chains. Chains do stretch a bit over time and chain noise it the indicator of the need for replacement. They are after all, Silent Chains, as advertised by Ramsey. Ramsey supplied the chain for my Series 80. ALso check your chain tensioner to insure it operates properly.

    A large number of people that I know replaced the bearings in their water pumps and fan hubs with greaseless bearings and stainless shafts. Karl Krouch and Rick Horne can probably direct you to someone who will do the job. I believe that the gentleman who did my water pump and fan is no longer working.

    Generators can also have the bearings replaced so no lubrication is necessary.

    I hope that this is helpful info.


    Hi Bob,

    I would recommend a new chain. It is a Duplex chain and not cheap but, worth the expense. Peter’s suggestion is spot on. The tensioner is very important and quite often gummed up and not working.

    Remember the cam rotates opposite direction of the engine on the 29, so in case you are changing the cam make sure you use a 29 cam. I had my cam grinder make the masters for the 8 cyl Pierce. We even have a master for the fuel pump drive.

    Karl and I offer a rebuild service for the water pumps. We use a modern sealed/enclosed water pump bearing. The price is $250 unless you need an impeller.

    Happy Motoring,



    Thanks for the suggestions, all of you! Do you have an address (web, phone number or snail mail) for Ramsey? Do they also sell the gears?

    As for the tensioner, we always clean and, as necessary and/or appropriate, glass or shot bead everything. I also restore little Tbirds and Mustangs, they are often full of sludge from the old Quaker State oil, as it has (had) a lot of ash in it that tanking the block will not remove, so we wind up cleaning as much as possible with a pressure washer, air, putty knife, whatever works…

    Rick, do you replace the shafts in stainless? Does it still look original when it is finished (grease cup, etc.)? This is a very early ’29 with the direct drive pump off the generator.



    The contact information for Ramsey in the Parts & Services section of this website. It is under the Engine parts category.

    Regarding the tensioner, it should be relatively clean but in need of checking the spring tension. However, be careful in your thoughts about disassembling it, as you may fid it a monster to reassemble (others know more on this for your car than do I).

    Redone water pumps, generators, etc., with new enclosed bearings are identical and you keep the grease cup / cups as a dummy.

    Rick will tell you about the shaft replacement, but mine are stainless.


    Hi Bob,

    The enclosed unit bearings are not stainless, just hardened steel. If you Goggle “water pump bearing” you’ll get a better idea of how a modern water pump bearing works. This method eliminates the need for a bushing, a stainless shaft and seals.

    We have yet to do an early 29 pump but, it’s same except we’d mill a slot drive in lieu of a square drive.

    Happy Motoring,



    I finally had a minute to call Ramsey today. The lady I talked with tried to send me to Egge. I asked to use a local jobber, which was Applied Industrial Technologies here in the DC area. They are a bit like Grainger, from what I can tell. I called the local guy, who first thought I was nuts for asking him for a car part. He reluctantly called Ramsey, and was told there are four possible chains for the ’29 engine, and we should be running through Egge. He also said the best thng to do would be to send my chain and gears to Ramsay to help verify the correct parts would be available.

    As I am confident there aren’t four chains for the ’29, I am skeptical of this information. While I bought the gasket set from Egge for the engine rebuild, I have heard some folks have had issues with Egge parts, particularly the pistons. Two of you have direct experience with Ramsey. Can you offer any suggestions? Does anyone have the part number for the Ramsey chain and gears for the ’29 engine?

    Still working through the engine, the water pump is next!

    Thanks all for your help thus far.



    My contact at Ramsey 6-years ago was Bob Finchum. He was very helpful and knew a ton about Pierce-Arrow silent chains.

    His telephone number was: 804-394-0322 X6716.

    I would be comfortable in sending them your chain if they requested it.

    Good luck, and happy hunting.

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