Some Comments Regarding the August Issue

November 1, 2012 | By Pete Harding

YOU CONSISTENTLY PROVIDE more helpful information than any other auto hobby magazine. Congratulations! Here are some added comments of mine regarding several items in the August issue:

Ronald P. Lubovich and his hot-running 340 Mopar engine: If everything else is correct, the most likely cause for hot running has always been hard water deposits and/or rust coating the cooling passages in the block and head. Before environmental concerns stopped the use of certain strong chemicals, one could boil out the engine. I had a Plymouth with a 318 V-8 with this problem and it took five treatments to get it to run cool. That was back around 1972 or so.

It might be possible to find someone with industrial boiler service experience who could help, but the engine rebuilder I asked some years ago—he’s no longer in business—advised that engine teardown and abrasive blasting of the cooling passages was the only legally possible procedure. My ’53 Mercury with a 255 flathead runs somewhat hot, but it is acceptable by avoiding long mountain grades on the hottest days of the year. Maybe Ronald could drive something else in the hottest weather and sidestep his problem.

Shop Safety: I keep a pair of magnifying safety glasses in the toolbox but often my regular reading glasses covered by “over the glasses” safety glasses or shields are a preferred method.

Depending on what was legal in your area at the time your shop was wired along with the decisions of the building inspector, several electrical outlets could be wired to one GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, a circuit breaker built into an outlet that stops the flow of electricity when it senses a surge). In an older building one can obtain such safety with a plug-in interrupter.

A cord frayed as shown in Photo 2 on page 9 certainly is not good, but it can easily be saved by shortening the cord and installing a new connector.

If standing water is present in the shop, one should not use any plug-in electrical devices.

The cheapest three-legged jack stands sold for many years are the least stable. I have tossed mine, and if I see any at yard sales I buy them just to destroy them and possibly save somebody from injury.

Don’t get me started on the subject of jack stands. Some jack stands are safer than others, but none are truly safe. Always be prepared for the worst. And that is not even taking into consideration the possibility of major natural disasters such as earthquakes. During the big San Fernando Valley/LA area quake (the magnitude 6.7 Northridge quake in January 1994)some cars parked in garages actually bounced out of their garages and into the street. The cheapest three-legged jack stands sold for many years are the least stable. I have tossed mine, and if I see any at yard sales I buy them just to destroy them and possibly save somebody from injury. Those new-style ones with small-diameter round bases also are very unstable.

I have fire extinguishers at each side of each drive-through door, one next to the door to the house and I also position one close to any work entailing fire risk. I thought about a sprinkler system but decided to do without. However, if you can afford it, go for it.

Lighting upgrades: Relays are great addition for any high current circuit. The horns on a modified Volvo I bought did not work, so I replaced them with good horns off a similar model. Still there was no sound, although the horns tested as good. I added a relay right on the horn mounting, and now at last I have working horns.

When adding or modifying circuits, those common crimp connectors are a temptation, but I’ve found that too often the crimp does not hold. Some connectors are made of metal that’s too thin and the usual crimping tool will not get them to hold, or the wire may be too small in diameter. Many later model cars use wire that’s too small for the usual crimp connectors and it also may be damaged if you do get the crimp to hold. It’s better to use un-insulated connectors. Just slip a short piece of shrink tubing on the wire, crimp the connector, solder the connection even if it appears to be firmly crimped, then slide the shrink tubing over the connector shank and apply enough heat to shrink the tube.

Yes, this method is more work and more trouble, but a questionable crimp can be a real problem, and it obviously is well worth avoiding.

If an insulated terminal and correct-size wire are joined using the proper “insulated terminal” part of the tool, it is still possible for the joint to be loose. In that case, I re-crimp the same spot using the un-insulated section of the tool, but there’s no need to squeeze the tool all the way down

True, I am fussy, but after troubles with several one-wire alternators a pro installed a GM alternator with an internal regulator…and there was more trouble. I found two loose crimps on that job alone.

Another brake light: Adding a center high-mounted brake light on my Volvo, as described in the issue, was easy; turn signals and stop lights are separate. At last, something that was easy to do.

Pete Harding Gardnerville,Nevada

Editor’s note: Pete is a veteran restorer and long-time contributor of insight and information to Auto Restorer.