"Goodbye, Old Friend"
This month, we drove from Georgia to Pennsylvania to pick up a 1948 Packard Custom 8. It was a long trip for three days, dodging tornadoes most of the way. When we arrived, the seller had a cookout underway for us. Aren't old car people great!
The car is rusty, but complete, so when we got it home, we thought we would try to get it started so we could drive it off the trailer. We hooked up a battery and gave it a try. The engine turned over, backfiring, with stuck valves billowing fire out of the carburetor, then it fired. Charles and I looked at each other...this old 8's gonna start! After we poured Marvel Mystery Oil down the carburetor, cleaning the plugs and setting the points, the engine turned over, fired and started rough at first, then smoothed out. We drove the car off the trailer, to its resting place. Before shutting it off, we checked everything. The lights worked, as did the courtesy lights, the gauges and the heater. As I sat behind the 50-year old steering wheel, I gave a thought to the original owner, who must have been so proud to drive this top-of-the-line luxury liner home so many years ago-and now the car was refusing to die. Just great....It's hard enough to part out a car anyway, and now this old car just keeps going. I was born in 1949, and it's amazing to me how we can see our own lives through these old cars. Well, I've removed the wiper motor...maybe the next part will be easier.
Our '46 Chevy Panel Truck was another project this month. Getting it tuned and ready for Spring, we pulled and cleaned the nearly-new plugs, setting then at .040, and set the points at .018, took it out for a test drive, and it ran great. The next day, I kicked the starter and it turned over, but would not fire. WHAT? We removed the distributor cap and found fire at the points, but it wasn't getting to the plugs. We checked the coil, which tested good, but still no spark to the plugs. Our truck has an original braided steel cable with a hot wire in it, coming from the ignition switch, which attaches to the original-style coil, then is covered with a cap at the end of the braided cable. The other wire goes to the distributor and the coil wire comes out the bottom. When we removed the braided wire cap, the hot lead under it was loose at the nut. We tightened the nut, and the truck started-problem solved! On this type coil, removing the cap for inspection could save you a lot of anguish, time and money.
We also got out the red and white '58 Buick Special. Its horn ring has always been loose, the problem being a broken retainer. This is a "T" shaped retainer which has holes in each end of the "T". Ours had one end broken off, so to repair it, we used more of Cecil N. Muggy's Super Alloy 1. We cleaned the broken end, heated it with a soft flame torch, and added the special flux, then flowed in the alloy rod, making a puddle at the broken end. After cooling it naturally, then filing it round and drilling a screw hole, it was ready to put back on the car. When the screws were tightened down, the repair did not break! The horn ring is on now, looks good and doesn't rattle any more. This stuff is so easy to use and bonds to almost any metal. It's Super Alloy 1. If you want some, call Cecil at 800-243-0800. See you with new projects next month. Enjoy your cars!