Various Roadside Repairs

#1.  Two summers ago, I went on a Don Harvey day tour to Olean, New York.  Starting out in Waterford, PA, my radiator cap broke, so I asked Don what to do.  “Stick a rag in it,” he said.  “A rag,” I replied?  Don replied, “Yeah, a rag.”  I thought this isn’t going to work, because all the water will come out.  Reluctantly, I stuck a dirty old rag I had into the top of the radiator and away we went.  What a picture that was!  To my surprise, it worked, with only a little water coming out all day.

#2.  As we were returning from Olean, I noticed a slight miss in the engine.  After a stop for ice cream and as the group started up a hill, the miss became worse.  I thought this is it, I will need a tow back to Erie.  I pulled to the side of the road.  The engine was missing so much it would barely move the car.  Meanwhile, someone radioed ahead to tell Don my car had broken down.  Soon he came back to where I was and asked what was wrong.  I told him, and without opening the hood, he asked if I had a spare distributor cap with me.  “Yes, I did,” I replied.  Don said, “Put it on.”  I questioned, “Aren’t you going to look at the engine to see what’s wrong?”  He said, “I don’t have to.”  Ok, I thought.  I put it on the replacement piece, started the engine, and drove off with full power from the engine.  My question is:  How did he know it was the distributor cap?  It could have been any number of things, bad spark plug, bad capacitor, points, coil wire, etc.  How did he know?

After arriving home, I examined the inside of the cap and discovered a crack, which was shorting out the ignition system.

#3.  On the replacement gas caps for the Model A there is a flange on the inside of the cap. This flange is just a little too wide for the cap to fit on the gas tank.  It will fit, but is very tight.  Being so tight it could result in the rivet holding the flange on the cap to break.  If this should happen, the cap will just spin and not come off.  If you use a file or Dremel tool to slightly trim the flange and you will have a better fit.

This tech tip was provided by Tom Easley and was printed in the May 2003 “A” Quail Call.

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