Glenn Miller - At Last!


1950 Cadillac Engine Specifications

Model Designation: Series 60S, Series 61, Series 62, Series 75
Wheel base: Series 60S: 130; Series 61: 122; Series 62: 126; Series 75: 146-1/2
Valve Location: In head
Bore and Stroke: 3-13/16 x 3-5/8
Piston displacement, Cubic Inches: 331.0
Compression ratio: 7.50
Maximum Brake Horsepower: 160 @ 3800 RPM
Maximum Torque Lbs.Ft. @ RPM: 312 @ 1800 RPM
Normal Oil Pressure Pounds: 35
Spark Plug Make: AC 48X
Spark Plug Gap, Inch: .035
Firing Order: 18436572 (front to rear: Right bank 2-4-6-8, left bank 1-3-5-7)
Timing Mark: "A" mark for premiurm fuel; "C" mark for regular fuel; location: Vib. Damper
Engine Idle Speed, RPM: Standard transmission: 375; w/automatic 375 (in drive)
Cylinder Head Torque Lbs.Ft.: 65-70
Compression Pressure & Cranking Speed: 120 min.
Voltage & Polarity: 6 volts, negative ground
Fitting Pistons with Scale: Pistons removed from above. Shim thickness: .002
Pounds on a Pull Scale: 11
Ring End Gap: In tapered bores, fit rings in tightest portion of ring travel
Compression: .010
Oil: .010
Clearance in Groove: Compression: .0017-0035; Oil: .0015-.003
Wristpin Diameter, Inch: 1.000

Operating Clearance:
Intake: 0 Exhaust: 0
Valve Seat Angle, degrees: 44
Valve Timing: (BTDC = before top dead center; ATDC = after top dead center)
Intake opens: 14 BTDC
Exhaust Closes: 24 ATDC
Valve Spring Pressure Pounds at Inches Length:
Inner Spring: 60 @ 1-11/16
Valve Stem Clearance: Intake: .001-.0025; Exhaust: .0015-.0035

Connecting Rod Bearings:
Journal Diameter, Inches: 2.2488-2.2493
Bearing Clearance, Inch: .0005-.002
Rod End Play, Inch: .008-.014
Rod Bolt Tension: Lbs.Ft.: 40-45
Main Bearings:
Journal Diameter, Inches: 2.4990-2.4995
Bearing clearance: .0008-.0025
Shaft End Play: .001-.005 (Thrust on Rear Bearing)
Main Bolt Tension: Lbs.Ft.: 90-100

Cooling System:
Without heater: 18 quarts
With heater: 19
Fuel Tank: 20 gallons
Engine Oil: 5 quarts
Transmission: w/out overdrive: 2-1/2 pints; Automatic: 12 quarts
Rear Axle: 5 pints

Distributor part number: 1110819 (distributor rotates counter-clockwise)
Cam Angle, degrees: 24-30
Breaker Point opening, Inch: .016
Condenser Capacity: .18-.23 Mfds.
Breaker Arm Spring Tension: 19-23 Oz.
Centrifugal Advance: (degrees at RPM of distributor)
Advance starts: 3/4 @ 300 RPM
Full Advance: 16 @ 1800 RPM
Inches of Vacuum to Start Plunger Movement: 4-6
Inches of Vacuum for Full Plunger Movement: 12-16
Maximum Vacuum Advance Dist., Degrees: 10

Generator Number: 1102700 (generator rotates clockwise, 6 volts, Negative Ground)
Generator output: 45 amps @ 3500 RPM
Brush Spring Tension: 25 oz.

Regulator Number: 1118357
Cutout Relay:
Voltage to close points: 6.4
Reverse current to open points: 0-3
Voltage Regulator Setting: 7.3 volts
Current and Voltage Armature Air Gap: .075 inches
Current Regulator Setting: 42 amps

Part number: 1107969 (rotates clockwise)
Bush Spring Tension, Ounces: 24-28
No Load Test: 60 amps, 5 volts @ 6000 RPM
Torque Test: 600 Amps, 3.0 volts, Torque, Lbs.Ft.: 15


1950 Cadillac

I was wondering what I could post here for more useful reading and I came across this cool website talking about the 1950 Cadillac and a little history behind it.

The website is Cadillac History that features information about Cadillac from the time it was born to today. As I was peering through some of the pictures and years (which I could do for hours), I came across the 1950 Cadillac which has always been my favorite. The car itself sports smooth flowing lines, tons of chrome and a 'sign' of sophistication of it's day. The V8 engine, amazing powerful without all of the computer add-on's. Simplicity at its best.

Let's jump into some technical information and history now shall we: (1)

Cadillac began reaching for U.S. luxury-car leadership in the Thirties, and clinched it for good in the Fifties. Symbolizing its achievement was the 1958 death of Packard, once America's premier prestige make, due to an over-long reliance on medium-price products and a crippling 1954 merger with troubled Studebaker. Lincoln would never threaten Cadillac's supremacy in the Fifties, owing to a more limited lineup. Nor would Chrysler, even after spinning off Imperial as a separate make after 1954.

Several developments in the Forties laid the foundation for Cadillac's high Fifties success. First, the division returned to prestige cars exclusively after 1940, abandoning its medium-price LaSalle once the luxury market recovered from its Depression-era doldrums. Then Cadillac landed a formidable one-two postwar punch: tailfin styling for '48, followed by a landmark new overhead-valve V-8 for 1949, when the division also pioneered (with Olds and Buick) the instantly popular new hardtop convertible body style. About all Cadillac needed in the Fifties were styling and features that pleased most buyers most of the time, which it delivered.

Initially sized at 331 cubic inches, the Cadillac V-8 was the product of 10 years research and experimentation. It was mainly engineered by Ed Cole, Jack Gordon, and Harry Barr, who aimed for less weight and higher compression (to take advantage of the higher-octane fuels promised after the war). These factors dictated the overhead valve arrangement, a stroke shorter than bore (3.63 inches, versus 3.81), compact wedge-shape combustion chambers, and "slipper" pistons. The last, developed by Byron Ellis, traveled low between the crankshaft counterweights, allowing for short connecting rods and low reciprocating mass.

With all these advantages, the ohv arrived with 160 bhp, 10 more than Cadillac's last 346 L-head V-8 -- and from less displacement, testifying to its efficiency. The ohv had other advantages. Though built of cast iron, like the L-head, it weighed nearly 200 pounds less, yet would prove just as durable and reliable. Initial compression was only 7.5:1, yet could be pushed as high as 12:1; the L-head couldn't. The ohv also boasted more torque and 14-percent better fuel economy. Equally important, it had room enough to be greatly enlarged -- as it soon was.

This superb engine combined with a surprisingly competent chassis to make early-Fifties Cadillacs some of the best road cars of that day. Chicago enthusiast Ed Gaylord, who backed the short-lived Gaylord car of mid-decade, owned a 1950 Series 61 with standard shift and 3.77 rear axle. He also had a new Jaguar XK-120 at the time. Gaylord later said that "the Cadillac was the faster car up to about 90 mph. [It also] set what was then a stock-car record at the original quarter-mile drag races in Santa Ana, California .... The only competition I had in acceleration was from the small 135-horsepower Olds 88 coupe, but the Cadillac engine was substantially more efficient both in performance and economy." Indeed, such a car could clock 0-60 mph in around 13 seconds and easily top 100 mph.

Further proof of the V-8's prowess was provided by sportsman Briggs Cunningham, who entered a near-stock 1950 Cadillac in that year's 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. Driven by Sam and Miles Collier, it finished 10th overall -- a performance unmatched by any other production luxury car -- tearing down the Mulsanne Straight at around 120 mph and averaging 81.5 mph for the entire event. Cunningham himself drove a streamlined Cadillac-powered special that the French called Le Monstre. He went even faster than the Colliers, but lost top gear and finished right behind them. Perhaps most impressive, a British-built Allard J2, powered by the same Cadillac V-8, finished third.

Of course, such exploits mattered less in showrooms than the smooth, powerful V-8 itself. And Cadillac had another advantage going into the Fifties: GM's equally smooth and efficient self-shift Hydra-Matic Drive, by then standard on all models except the low-priced Series 61. Together with the V-8, it made for luxury-car performance demonstrably superior to that of rival heavyweights with less vigorous drivetrains. Though the V-8 would remain at 331 cid through 1955, it gained over 100 bhp in the interim, reaching 270 on that year's Eldorado.

Prices for the 1950 line started at $2761 for the Series 61 coupe (although few models went for under $3000) and reached up to about $5000 for a 75 sedan or limo. The 61s cost about $575 less than comparable 62s. Division sales topped 100,000 for 1950

Alas, Cadillac styling ultimately drifted to chrome-laden glitter, reaching a low point with the 1958-59 models. But the basic 1948 tailfinned design, inspired by wartime aircraft and originated by Franklin Q. Hershey under the watchful eye of GM design director Harley Earl, was good enough to remain largely intact through 1953. A fairly important change is that, unlike sister GM divisions, Cadillac completely abandoned Forties-style fastbacks for 1950, switching pillared coupes to notchback profiles with hardtop-type rooflines inspired by the successful 1949 Coupe de Ville.

Alot of other great photos at:

(1) Reference: Cadillac History


New Addition to the Vintage Metal Corral

I wanted to share my new addition to the Vintage Metal Corral. A 1955 Chevrolet Sedan. 2-door; 210 model. This car has a rebuilt inline 6 with 3-speed on the column, which came original with the car. It runs very good since I gave it a 'strong' tune up.

It came with some goodies not original to the car. A Sears and Robuck underdash AC system. A side mounted Techumsa AC pump with custom brackets...a whole complete working system. It's a nice thought to have AC; and yes it worked. But, because it was bulky looking and 'out of place', I decided to remove it. It's for sale for any interested parties. $250 or best offer. I would like to see this get put to use instead of the trash bin.

There are some plans in the works...keep coming back to find out what may happen next.


1940 Buick Turn Signal rebuild

Back to our 1940 Buick.

The original 40 Buick turn signal switch was old with tattered wiring. Lucky for us; the shop manual I got had a nice simple breakdown of the unit to assist in disassembly and reassembly; and operation of the unit in neutral and both directions.

So, the next thing to do is take it apart and replace the old wiring to make it new again.

Lots of small parts, so as you take the unit apart, put each part on your workbench in a careful spot so you don't loose anything. Try finding replacement parts for this thing.

After the switch is apart, take the switch in your hand and inspect it to better yourself while you take it apart. This simple slide switch is used to direct the electrical current to its perspective directional lamp on the rear and front fenders. Lucky for us, the wires are screwed on for an easy removal and replacement. Most switches have the wiring soldered in place. This should be easy.

After the wires have been removed; (Oh, be careful of the small screws...I dropped one and spent a half hour trying to find it. ) get your new wiring, crimp on the correct hoop connector, solder and heat shrink. The Heat shrink will keep the wires from any possible shorts.

After the wiring loop terminals have been installed and connected to the switch, re-install back into the housing and reassemble the whole unit.

I took my time, it took about 2 hours from disassembly to reassembly.

Remember, please take your time when repairing these switches or any others. These old units are hard to find. Make them new for another 68 years of use.



Adam-12. I remember this show when I was growing up. It was one of my favorites. I know its a change of pace to what is normally posted here, but I would agree that this could classify it as 'Vintage'.

This episode is pretty cool to watch.


Lets take a break; The Excelsior -

What is an Excelsior? - Watch the video.

SUHR Speed and Custom. The owner is truly talented and amazing. Watch the process, and the final. This thing really cooks!


1940 Buick - Light Sockets

Ever wonder what to do with those old dash light sockets? You can purchase new ones from the local parts store or you can fix your own like new and save $3 - $5 each.

Some of the differences betwen the old ones to the new ones are; the old ones are made of metal and the new ones are all plastic. I dont know about you, but I prefer the old metal ones; specifically for longevity.

This is what I do and it gives life to those old units for another 10+ years.

First: Take your old harness and document its dimensions, lengths, etc. I like to add an extra inch or more to each length for a little more slack when it comes time to plug them in. Remember, when harnesses are made from the factory, they use as little as possible, which puts the wires really tight. How many times have you pulled a light switch from the dash to check out the wiring and the length of slack there only limits you to tilt it downward - and you still have to get on your back to look under the dash to see what's going on.

1. Here is what I have to work with. Old cloth wiring, stiff and ready to fall apart by the touch. A fire waiting to happen. The little rubber rings behind the bulb holders keep the holder from sliding down the wire when changing the bulbs out. These ones were old and crusty so I cut them off and threw away the crumbs. O-rings work well to replace them if you want to add them back.

2. Lets get started working: Cut off the old wiring about 1 to 1.5 inches from the bulb holder.

3. Carefully disassemble the parts from the wire; setting them aside: then strip the old sheathing off to expose the original wire. Be careful not to break off the bulb contact end. (where bulb makes contact at the bottom of the light socket.)

4. Take a small piece of new wire, here I use brown. All aftermarket kits color code the harness for the dash lighting in brown. Typically a 16 - 14 gauge wire. Strip back your new wire and twist it in this fashion as tight as possible to keep the diameter of the twist the same size as the original wire. Dont forget, you have to re-assemble the light socket with the original parts. Dont want any additional issues. (grins)

5. Up Close view of wire twisting. You can see the new copper and old 'silver' wire.

6. Solder the wires together sparingly. Remember, excessive solder will cause the wire size to get too big.

7. Heat shring the exposed wire from UNDER the bulb contact end to about 1/4" down the new wire sheathing. Reassemble the bulb holder components. Check it out.

8. Remember the loom were trying to make. When joining the wires like the original, instead of using those nasty red/blue/yellow butt connectors, strip back the sheathing and twist and solder the wires together. Use the correct size heat shrink to insulate it properly.

9. Our final product of our labor. If you have to add other 'branches' of wire from your main loom, strip back and solder each one. Also, remember to use a larger wire if you plan on branching off mulitiple light sockets.

Plug in new bulbs to your new holders; and connect the end with your proper connector and terminate to source.

Hope this helps; good luck. Post any comments if you follow this to let me know how it went.

Motor on!


Rebel Wire NEW 6 Volt Wiring Kit: Wiring a 1940 Buick Limited - Part 1

NEW, NEW, NEW. Rebel Wire has finally done it, a 6-Volt 8 circuit wiring kit for your early 6v cars and Hot Rods. Each of these is made in the USA. A small company, up and coming fast. A "soon to be" if not already, a major player in the Hot Rod Community with their high quality, easy to use, clean and simple car electrical fuse kits and accessories.

After a few years of discussion; I had the pleasure to help in the development of the new 6-volt 8-fuse wiring kit. With surprise, I was given the honor to first install this item into a project to test its performance and ease.

Let’s get started:

I’m going to install this kit into an original 1940 Buick Limited 4-door. It’s powered by the original Straight Eight motor, 6v Generator for power, 3-speed on the column to the transmission.

Before installation of the kit; I sat down with the owner to verify what he was wanting; placement of fuse panel and any accessory items that might be added to the car. That was simple – wire it to operate in its stock original form; down to the gas pedal engine start switch. Now, the owners’ only concern was to have the fuse panel in a place where he did not have to get on his back just to look at the fuses. Seems like a tough call, but I came up with a simple solution for that.

Under the dash there is plenty of room for the new wiring. With very limited places to put a fuse panel, I had to get creative with the new placement and had to consider a location where the owner could easily see the panel. What I came up with was a swinging mount for the fuse panel so it can be dropped down for easy viewing. Get down on one knee, pull the quick release and swivel the panel down in front of you under the steering column. Check it out.

Now that the fuse panel is in place – Here we go!

~ Now comes the time consuming task of ‘combing’ the wires so that they can be run to their proper locations throughout the car. What is ‘Combing’ mean: Pull each wire where it needs to go, untangle and route as if you can see each color from one end to the other without having to move. A good wiring job is not only being able to turn the key and start it up; it also has everything to do with the aesthetics of the installation as well.

~ Once the wires are pulled to their prospective locations, now its time to form them into each area of the car. I normally start under the hood with the lighting system to get all the long wires out of the way so all the engine hookups are easily done without having spaghetti in the way. ‘Comb’ the wires and start placing them in stock wire pathway (using the manufacture provided clips on the fenders or firewall.) I was very lucky on this car, since it’s in great condition, all the clips were present. If they are not; get re-pop’ed clips or use the insulated/rubber wrapped wire/hose clips that you can pickup at your nearest auto parts store.

~ Now that the wires are in place, it’s time to start connecting. I prefer to use the stock screw terminal junction blocks or provide a new one on the inside of the fenders. Each wire should be cut to length to each terminal.

~ Strip back your wire approximately 3/8”, twist the copper, grab your terminal and crimp. I take it an extra step, and highly recommend it. Solder each terminal to the wire and place heat shrink to insulate the new soldered ends. It’s my opinion that any crimped red, blue or yellow plastic insulators look terrible. It ruins the look of a new install and most of the time serves no purpose because they fall off. How many times have you looked under the hood of a project and saw butt-spliced wires, poorly crimped terminals all over the car.

~ Let me reiterate, if you’re going to do it right, take your time and go through the steps.

~ Now that each wire is connected to the terminal strip, it’s time to pull to the other side to each part it is going to feed. If you look at the wire colors you have: Green – High Beam, Tan – Low Beam, Blue – Turn Signal, Brown – Parking Lights. (Since there are only (4) screw terminals, one wire will have to pass over or under the stock terminal strip to be routed to the other side of the engine compartment. This wire is the right side turn signal light.) Pull each; using matching colors, new wires to each location. This is the making of ‘tails’. One for each headlight, one for each turn signal, one for each parking light and one for the cross-over wiring to the passenger side. Just like Buick did in 1940. Because this car has the turn signal and parking light in the same bezel, both wires are run together.

~ An important note, a Black ground wire should be run for each headlight back to the terminal strip or ground location on the inner fender.

~ Where the wire passes through the fenders; I use heat shrink at each of those locations to protect the wires from being cut or exposed causing any future problems or short.

Stay tuned for Part II, Wiring of the Generator and Horn assemblies.


Auto Manufactures - Should they be bailed out or not? Others wern't!

Here is an interesting article that focus' on the truth of real Capitalism. A few make it, others will fail. From that will arise the strong and innovative. Do I think that they should be bailed out? Sorry, but I say "NO!". They need to change thier contracts, union deals and restructure thier companies.

Read on...

Reference Link: Fox News Article

U.S. Automakers That Failed Without Being Bailed
By David Lee Miller
Fox News

Long before GM, Ford and Chrysler became the Big Three, there were hundreds of automobile manufacturers that went out of business without ever asking for a government bailout.

More than a century ago nearly every major city in America had a company building automobiles. In 1895 the Chicago Motor Corporation built what it called a motocycle. The term didn't last and neither did the manufacturer. According to automotive historian Kit Foster, “car companies sometime failed simply because they were under-capitalized.”

1917 Pierce Arrow

Companies like Brush Auto ran into another problem. At a cost of $550 they couldn't compete with the Ford Model T, which, during its nearly two-decade assembly-line production run sold for as little as $300.

Other manufacturers were simply victims of the Depression. Many specialized in upscale and luxury automobiles. The 1929 stock market crash brought down St. Louis-based Moon Auto and Buffalo’s Pierce Arrow. Also unable to ride out hard times: DuPont, the car of choice for film star Douglas Fairbanks, boxer Jack Dempsey and other celebrities. The “playboy car” of the era, an eight-cylinder DuPont cost over $4,000. Reputation alone was not enough to keep the car in production and in 1932 the last DuPont rolled out of the Wilmington, Delaware factory. (see burgundy 1930 DuPont Roadster)

Even cars offering some of the latest innovations couldn’t stay in business. Have you driven a Cord lately? No, not Ford—Cord. The company was one of the first to offer vehicles with front-wheel drive, but it closed its doors in 1937.

Automakers that survived the crash did so “by producing commercial vehicles and smaller economy vehicles” according to Jeff Bliemeister, curator of Hershey Pennsylvania’s Antique Automobile Club of America Museum. Bliemeister says the key to survival was producing cars within a budget that the average person could afford.

Following the Second World War, when auto factories were converted for military production, a few new car companies managed to open. But despite the booming economy and shortage of new vehicles, most didn't last long. While you probably never heard of a Kaiser automobile, (see Burgundy 1952 Kaiser Manhattan) the name Tucker lives on, thanks mostly to a Hollywood movie about the company's famous demise.

Despite joining forces, better-known auto makers Studebaker and Packard (see Blue 1952 Studebaker Convertible) also couldn't survive. After ceasing U.S. operations in 1963, the combined company struggled to stay in the automotive business at a plant in Hamilton, Ontario before shutting its doors for good in 1966.

Wisconsin-based American Motors was formed thanks to the merger of Hudson and Nash Kelvinator in the 1950s. The company, with quirky designs and models named Rebel, Gremlin, and Pacer, focused on making small, fuel-efficient cars. But by the 1980s AMC lost its way and became part of Chrysler.

As the surviving U.S. auto manufacturers struggle to stay in business, product lines are still being trimmed. Already gone are GM’s Oldsmobile and Chrysler’s Plymouth divisions. Even with a Washington bailout some analysts say the future for the U.S. auto industry will be tough.

“The American car-buying public is fickle, they can change their tastes much more rapidly than an automaker can retool with a new type of product,” Foster warns. The only expansion that seems certain is more museum space dedicated to cars no longer in production.


My last word; I like Ford. I own 3 of them. From 1928, 1929 and 1999. Maybe the CEO of Ford needs to go back to the companies roots; Read the archives of Henry Ford and learn a thing or two. Obviously he did something right.

What do you think?


Readers Time to Chime In!

Are you a reader or browser to Vintage Metal? I would like to know what you think. Anyone interested in submitting guest articles? Please chime in and comment!

Adjusting your Early Brakes

Here are a few great drawings to reference too.

Information by "RumbleSeat"
Referenced Website:

Adjusting '39-'42 Brakes:

I used to hate these brakes because of the adjustable double anchor when I was a mechanic in the mid fifties. Then a fellow mechanic showed me a Ford Service bulletin. Ever since then, I have preferred these to the '46-'48 units since I can get a better adjustment.

These are Lockheed brakes which use eccentric washers in conjunction with non-eccentric anchor pins to position the shoes. The top of the shoe is controlled by an eccentric cam (usually 11/16") located near the top of the shoe. The anchor pins, located at the bottom of the backing plate, control the shoe position by turning the eccentric washers at the bottom of the shoe. These anchor pins have locating on the elongated 1/4" adjuster. The locating marks may be a dot or an arrow, I'm assuming everything is in good condition and not rusty or frozen.

Step 1: Loosen the anchor pin large lock nuts (usually 3/4") on both shoes of one wheel just barley enough to permit turning the 1/4" anchor pin adjusters. Now, turn both of the 1/4" adjusters so the locator marks face directly towards each other. This next point is important .... All further adjustments are made by turning the anchor pins (1/4") and eccentric (11/16") downwards.

Step 2: Back off the upper eccentric cam adjusters on both shoes until the wheel rotates freely.

Step 3: Now turn one of the upper eccentric (11/16") until the wheel cannot be turned.

Step 4: Now turn it's 1/4" anchor pin adjuster downward until the wheel just turns freely. This lowers the shoe and moves the toe of the shoe away from the drum and results in fuller shoe contact.

Step 5: Now go back to Step 3 and do it and step 4 again to the same shoe. Repeat as necessary until turning the 1/4" anchor pin adjuster will no longer free up the wheel. Back off both anchor pin adjuster and upper eccentric just enough so the wheel has a slight drag. Tighten the anchor pin lock nut (3/4") without letting the anchor pin adjuster move. Now do the other shoe the same way.

If you've worn the shoes badly at the top, it'll take some time to wear the heel enough so you get full brake shoe contact.
When adjusting brakes, always turn the wheel in the same direction the wheel would turn when the car travels forward.

PS: The 1/4" anchor adjustment bolts require an offset open end wrench about 8 1/2" in length to get enough leverage to turn, I think it's a special Ford tool and hard to find.

Additional Information regarding the Adjustment of Early Brakes.

Adjusting the upper hex bolts to set shoe clearance is the easy part. The confusing part is the lower anchors on 39-42's. The Service Bulletin sends you through a procedure to follow, but does not explain why or what needs to be achieved.

The purpose of the lower anchors, which are eccentrics, is to properly position/center the linings in the drums, so that full lining contact can occur. OF FIRST IMPORTANCE is to have the new linings arc ground to fit the arc of the drums, which may be different on each drum, depending on the oversize of the drum. If this is not done, you are rolling the dice on whether the lining is too large of an arc (and will only contact the drum at the ends) or too small (and will only contact the drum at the center of the lining)- in either case, full contact cannot occur regardless of the anchor adjustment. Note also that the lower anchor adjustment is only required when installing new linings.

Once the anchor studs are set and the lock nuts are tightened, the shoes will not move out of center with the drums, and thereafter only the upper adjustment need be performed to compensate for lining wear.

In a nutshell, assemble the anchors with the dots facing each other as a starting point. Make sure that the drum turns freely, then adjust the uppers until they don't, then back them off until they do.

Have a helper apply about 30lbs of pressure to the brake pedal while (with the lock nut loosened) turning the flat on the anchor stud in each direction to cause the lining to impact the drum in both directions, then set the anchor in about the middle of that travel, hold the stud while tightening the lock nut. This essentially centers the lining up/down in the drum, allowing it to make full contact
when the brakes are applied. This operation is done to each anchor/shoe/lining separately. When all have been done, again adjust the upper (clearance) hex heads until the shoes are just barely off of the drums.

Road test and readjust as necessary to make it stop good and straight.

It is also important to have at least 1/16" of free travel of the Mcyl pushrod before it starts moving the Mcyl piston; otherwise, the brakes will not fully release, will get hot and will lock up.

The above is not exactly the same procedure as provided elsewhere, but it is what I do and it seems to work well. If you keep in mind what you are trying to accomplish, it makes sense.

Bonneville Salt Flats - Save the Salt

I was browsing the internet and suprisingly I ended up at the Southern California Timing Association's (SCTA) website. Reading tid bits to put together another article for the readers to enjoy; I stumbled on this.

"Save the Salt". What is this about? I have lived in So. Cal for 20+ years; toyed with Hot Rods for the past 10 years and NEVER knew of such a delima. So I don't blab myself or my readers to sleep, read on!

Save the Salt, A Brief History

from Mike Waters

It has come to our attention that there are a number of folks out there that are not fully aware of what our Save The Salt organization is all about. To that end we have comprised the following brief history of when and why Save The Salt was formed. We hope this tells the story "In a Nutshell" Thanks to Mary West (Secretary of Save The Salt) for putting this history together and thanks to JoAnn Carlson (SCTA/BNI Office) for forwarding the note to us from a gentleman who is a new competitor at Bonneville. He said that he knew Save The Salt was important but he wondered what it was. By the way, he sent a donation along with his inquiry.

Save The Salt, a brief history:During the (1930-1940) era the Bonneville Salt Flats was able to support the weight of 10-ton twin-engine streamliners that roared down the 13.5-mile long Race Courses. The Hot Rods roared onto the salt flats in 1949 with the first Speed Week event and have run every year since. Of course a few years were missed due to weather.

By the early 1960's the pioneers of Land Speed Racing began to notice subtle changes in the surface of the raceway. There were discussions of why the surface seemed to be getting weaker and that this unique body of land was shrinking. We were able to get only as much as 7 miles of decent salt for our courses, if we were lucky. It wasn't long before fingers were pointed at the mining industry on the south side of interstate 80. Owned by Kaiser Chemical, their operations covered some 50 sq. miles of the salt flats.

Rick Vesco, our first chairman of Save The Salt, spearheaded the effort to meet with Utah State and Federal Government officials as well as the Chemical Company to resolve the problem of salt depletion. The goal was to return the salt that was accumulating in their settling ponds at the mining facility to the Raceway. These early cries for help continued until 1989 when the Save the Salt Organization was founded and struggled to achieve recognition as they began to see the heavy toll the mining industry was taking on the salt flats. In the meantime Kaiser Chemical had sold the operation to Reilly Chemical and a new 20-year lease for mining had been signed.

The once healthy 18 plus inches of salt had become so fragile that the Race Courses had to be moved farther and farther east. Running on the long International Race Course was no longer possible. Reilly Industries was forcing water through canals crisscrossing the flats into their evaporation ponds from which potash was extracted. It was estimated that the process was taking an estimated 850,000 tons of salt from the flats each year.

The Save the Salt Board has members from the Southern California Timing Assn (SCTA) / Bonneville Nationals Inc (BNI) and Utah Salt Flats Racers Assn (USFRA). This group was able to negotiate a restoration agreement in 1997. Working hand in hand with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Reilly Chemical Co. they began to work together to return salt from the ponds.

The Lay down Project was to reverse the process by pumping brine water back onto the salt flats at the rate of 1.5 million tons of salt each year for 5 years. The BLM, Reilly Chemical and the Racers embraced the plan. It was a giant step forward with Government and Industry working together. From the beginning of the pumping project racers began to notice changes in the surface. By the end of the 5-year pumping plan the racers were able to get back to running on the old International Course. Though not as long, there was a noticeable difference in the hardness and durability of the racecourses and on a few occasions we were able to get as much as an 11 mile course. Once again the Potash Plant has been sold. Intrepid Industries is now the owner and has shown an interest in our quest to have a healthy Bonneville Salt Flats and a strong racecourse surface. They showed their support by once again starting the pumping process the first of February 2005. We commend them for their efforts. The Save the Salt Board is committed to working with both the BLM and Intrepid Industries. While there is still a lot more to be done, our vigilance appears to have paid off, not just for the racing competitors but also by preserving this historical natural treasure, The Bonneville Salt Flats, for future generations to come.

Save The Salt Board:

Chairman: Larry Volk
Secretary: Mary West
Treasure: Russ Eyres

Technical Advisors:

Rick Vesco
Bonner Denton
Gordon Hoyt
Duane McKinney

Members of the Board:

BNI, Mike Waters
SCTA, Roy Creel
USFRA, Jim Burkdoll

Please send your donations to:
Save The Salt

c/o Russ Eyres
3673 Millikin St. - San Diego CA, 92122


Stromberg Carburator: Fuel Pumps and Carbs, Part 2

Flathead Ford stock fuel pump pressure is 3-1/2 Psi. The fuel pump pressure can be adjusted by adding or subtracting fuel pump stand gaskets. The gaskets we get in engine gasket sets are quite thin (about 0.010” thick) .,.. and we only get one. What I use are 8BA thermostat housing gaskets to adjust the fuel pump stand height to decrease the pressure down to the 3 1/2 psi. I want. They are only slightly larger, but are considerably thicker. On my ‘34, I had to use two of them to get my new Carter fuel pump pressure down to 3 1/2 psi from the 4 1/2 psi it came with.

Just because the fuel pressure is within specifications does not mean the fuel pump is good. It can have good pressure but not pump enough volume. It has to pump at least one pint of gas within 30 seconds with the engine running between 500 and 600 rpm.

Fuel pump push rods are supposed to be replaced when wear exceeds 0.010”. If wear exceeds this amount, the pressure/volume may be insufficient to feed the engine when asked to run flat out or during a hot summer day. Watch the amount of chamfer on the cam end to determine when they’re worn out.

Ford, Holley, and Stromberg carburetors were designed to run on 2 1/2 psi fuel pump pressure not the 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 psi the stock mechanical fuel pump is supposed to deliver. Why Henry made a fuel pump that puts out more pressure than the carb can withstand is beyond me. I use an adjustable type fuel pressure regulator located between the stock fuel pump and the Stromberg carbs and set it at 2 1/2 lbs. This prevents flooding from too much pressure on the needle seat assembly.

When you’re performing your spring tune-up, be sure you tighten the screws that hold the fuel pump together since they relax with age. Also check the glass bowl bail to make sure it’s tight also. As these relax they will suck air instead of fuel and cause you to stall on a hot day. I recommend you check them in the spring and again before you take a long trip across country.

Fuel pressure is very critical to these early carburetors. Early Ford Motor Co. shop bulletins and manuals state the Ford/Holley/Chandler Grove and Stromberg carburetors are all designed to operate at 2 1/2 psi. Yet the fuel pump delivery pressure spec’s call for 3 1/2 psi ! I don’t understand the thinking behind this. The Strombergs are very sensitive to fuel pressure because of their float/needle valve design. It just doesn’t exert enough pressure to overcome the fuel pressure. They have a tendency to flood when fuel pressure is in the neighborhood of 3-1/2 lbs. On these carbs I install a pressure regulator and set it at 2-1/2 psi. This regulator HAS to be physically located between the fuel pump and carb since the fuel pump is putting out 3-1/2 Psi. If you’re entering your classic car for judging, then carry a spare fuel line without the regulator and replace it when you get to the meet.

48’s had a 1.031’ venturi and are rated at 175 cfm.
~They were stock on ‘34 and ‘35 V-8’s with 221 cu. inches. Main jets were 48 at sea level.

81’s had a 0.812” venturi and are rated at 135 cfm.
~They were stock on ‘37 and ‘38 V-S 60’s.

97’s had a 0.969” venturi and are rated at 150 cfm.
~They were stock on ‘36 and ‘37 V-S’s with 221 cu. inches. Main jets were 45 and power valves were #65 at sea level.

L’s had a 1.000” venturi and are rated at 160 cfm.
~They were stock on ‘36 and ‘37 Lincoln V-12’s.

The Stromberg 97 is the most popular and plentiful at this time and they’re getting pretty scarce. All of the mentioned carbs are quite similar and the following can be interpolated for your specific application

Main metering jet numbers indicate the diameter of the hole in thousandths. Hence a ff46 jet has a 0.046” diameter hole. At sea level these carbs came with #45 jets. For carbs used in Denver I use a #43 jet (0.043” in diameter) for starters. These jets are drilled straight through (carbs manufactured beginning in the 60’s have jets with a venturi in the middle and shouldn’t be drilled) . Since they are drilled straight through they can be soldered shut and re-drilled. The solder is softer than the brass and the jets will probably have to be re-soldered and drilled about every 15,000 miles or so.

The power valve used to be called the “high speed jet”. The power valve is all brass and does not have a vacuum diaphragm like the Holley/Ford/Chandler Grove carburetors do. The power valve has one small hole drilled in the side for fuel flow. Unlike the main jets, the numbers on a Stromberg power valve are NOT the diameter of the hole. They refer to the numbered drill used to drill the hole. (Numbered drills are backward the larger the number the smaller the drill bit.) These carbs come with a #65 (0.0350” diameter) power valve at sea level. In Denver, I solder this hole shut and re-drill it with a #67 drill (0.0320” diameter) for starters. Soldering these and redrilling (like the main jets) is the way to go since power valves are getting impossible to find. Below are the numbered drill bits and their diameters.

#61 = 0.0390” #62 = 0.0380” #63 = 0.0370” #64 = 0.0360”
#65 = 0.0350” #66 = 0.0330” #67 = 0.0320” #68 = 0.0310”
#69 = 0.0292” #70 = 0.0280” #71 = 0.0260” #72 = 0.0250"

The dry float level setting is 5/16” plus or minus 1/32” measured without a gasket. This is close enough to start the engine, but the floats should be set with the engine running so the fuel level is 15/32” (plus/minus 1/32”) from the top of the fuel bowl without a gasket. Be careful while making the run setting since raising the float will cause fuel to overflow onto the engine. With this wet setting, there should be no problem with gas soaking through the float bowl gasket and running down the outside of the carb. With the close proximity of the sparking generator commutator, I prefer my carbs stay dry on the outside no guts or faith in my fire extinguisher I guess. On these carbs, the idle discharge circuit supplies the fuel from idle to 25 mph. The main jet circuit operates between 25 and 70 mph. Above 70, the power valve cuts in.

The idle screws are different appearing from Holley carbs although I’ve seen Holley screws in Strombergs! Each has a different taper angle and are not interchangeable even though the threads are the same. The needle taper extends right up to the threads on Strombergs. On 1-lolley carbs, the needle taper stops short of the threads. Many, but not all, Stromberg idle screws have the screwdriver slot cut only half way across whereas the Ford/Holley/Chandler Grove idle screws all have their screwdriver slots cut all the way across. Incidentally, the Ford/Holley/Chandler Grove carbs are basically the same carbs, but manufactured by different companies.

I prefer Strombergs over the Ford/Holley/Chandler Grove carbs for a couple of reasons especially on multi-carb installations. One is in the throttle base and the other is the power valves. The Stromberg throttle base seems to have better machine work on the throttle valves and the throttle bores in that they don’t stick when coming off idle at a stop light. This makes for smooth throttle openings besides returning to idle without sticking. The other advantage, in my opinion, is the Stromberg’s power circuit. It uses mechanically operated brass power valves instead of vacuum operated diaphragm power valves as found in the Ford/Holley/Chandler Grove carbs. When using multiple carbs the manifold vacuum is usually low... . which contributes to premature opening of the vacuum controlled power valve. It’s not uncommon to find these valves opening with less than ‘A throttle applications since almost any drop in vacuum is enough to make them operate. As can visioned, this leads to a rich condition when it’s not needed. It’s impossible to compensate for this over rich condition by reducing the main jets because when these vacuum power valves open it’s the same as increasing the main jet size 10 whole numbers~ No wonder they always run richl The Stromberg’s mechanical power valve operates mechanically and is relatively unaffected by low vacuum. This eliminates the over rich conditions that are caused by the power valve opening too soon or when it’s not needed. Also, the Stromberg power valves can be drilled to suit your needs and driving habits whereas the vacuum type cannot since they are sized during manufacturing.

When your setting up the carb(s), be sure to check the plugs for indications of leanness and/or detonation for both the main jet range and the power valve range.

Footnote: Info by "Rumbleseat"

The Stromberg 2 bbl Carburator; Part 1

A Quick touch on Hot Rod History
Of all the parts for hot rods in the 40's-50's and 60's--the Stromberg is king. Almost every hotrod of this era had a pair, triples or up to six or eight with chrome scoops or bonnets. One of the core reasons for thier too use was the quick-ness to change the carb jets when swapping fuel during racing days. The great thing about thier popularity, there are alot of companies that make and carry parts for these carburator, keeping the love and thier use alive. Now, the 97 carburator has become so popular, they are being re-created and re-engineered new. Lets check out some of the other vintage Stromberg 2bbl "EE" models out there. All similar in looks to the popular "97" type carburator.

Stromberg Model "48"
The Model 48 had a 1-1/32" venturi and named for the jet size .048" I think. It was standard equipment on most 1934 and all 1935 Ford V-8 pass. cars and trucks. Most of these carbs are not marked 48, but some (not all) have the venturi size 1-1/32" stamped on the side of the bowl. This carb looks identical to the 97 and in fact uses the same base. The bases are marked EE-1. The top of the 48 will fit the 97 and many 97's out there have 48 tops, and 48's will have the 97 tops although the choke linkage ball detent is not found on the 48 top. The 48 makes a great hot rod carb because of increased cfm (approx. 170) over the 155 cfm of the "97". The actual flow bench checks show that in test the carb flow rates are not real consistent and a good flowing 97 will actually flow almost the same as some 48s. I think this is caused by the different casting molds used by Stromberg and sub-contractors over the years not being consistent. Die casting was a new thing to the industry back then and they had a few problems. I prefer the 48 carb for most overhead valve setups and hot flathead dual intakes. They are gaining in popularity fast today as guys find out just how good they perform with th extra 1/16" of venturi (31/32" vs 1-1/32"). The good cores are getting harder to find due to the growing demand for the "48" carbs today. Average cost is ranging between $150 - $250 per rebuildable core.

Stromberg Model "97"
The model "97" had a 31/32" or 97/100s" venturi and was standard equipment on the 1936, 1937 and a few early '38 Ford pass. cars and trucks with the V-8 flathead engine. This carb was made for many years as a replacement unit after it became obsolete on Ford cars and trucks. The Stromberg "97" is the most famous of all hot rod carbs. Some are marked with a large, raised "97" inside a circle on the side of the bowl. Some have a small raised "97". Others have a small stamped 97. Still others have no markings at all. Look for the 31/32" venturi size marked on the side of the bowl on some, but not all "97s". Stromberg 97 bases are usually marked EE-1 and are the same as the model 48. The later aftermarket bases were triangle shaped much like the holley 94. Some had vaccum ports for use on the later flatheads. The good cores that haven't been chromed, broken, polished, sanded, modified, stored outside, frozen, cut, ground on, and beaten on with large hard objects, are getting hard to find and costly with the popularity of nostalgia hot rods today. Average cost is ranging between $100 - $200 per rebuildable core. Average price for new rebuilds: $250. The NEW Stromberg 97 price average is: $450.

Stromberg Model "81"
The model 81 had a small 13/16" or 81/100s" venturi and was standard equipment on the 1937 and 1938 Fords with the small V-8-60 engine. This carb was very popular with the midget racers using the V-8 -60 in years past and even today.
It was not produced in large amounts and good cores are rare today. This little carb flowed about 125 cfm and make great hot rod carbs for small inch motors. Souped up Model A and B Ford and the little V-8-60 V-8 use these a lot.The body section and the base are much smaller inside on the 81 but the outside dimensions look the same. Most are marked with a large 81 on the side of the bowl, but all have the 13/16 venturi size stamped on the side of the bowl. The 81 uses a smaller base with tiny throttle plates and are marked marked EE-7/8. Average cost is ranging between $150 - $250 per rebuildable core.

If I missed anything, please add it in the comments; I'll post it.


History of Stewart Warner Guages

Stewart Warner is perhaps the most recognized name in vehicle instruments in the history of the U.S. automotive industry. In fact, the brand dates back to 1905 when John Stewart founded Stewart & Clark Company. Stewart brand speedometers were first used on original Ford Model Ts, after which the company established itself as a market leading supplier of instruments. Seven years later, in 1912, Stewart and Edgar Bassick joined forces to create a new company to manufacture vehicle instruments and horns. Bassick, whose acquisitions included the Alemite Company, and Stewart also acquired the Warner Instrument Company and, as such, the Stewart-Warner Instrument Corporation was born.

Started in Chicago, the firm erected a manufacturing plant on Diversey and over time, the operation expanded outwardly in all four directions, thus becoming a massive complex with over one-million square feet and six floors. Prominently situated in the middle of the factory, towards the front, was a huge clock tower featuring the words "Stewart" and Warner". Off to the right was another tower, also featuring the words Stewart Warner, that could be seen for miles around. Today, the old clock resides in front of an apartment complex on Diversey as the only reminder of this once sprawling facility.

Over the years, Stewart Warner supplied a majority of the instruments, hourmeters and senders used by not only the automotive industry, but also by the heavy-truck and off-highway markets. The firm also supplied a wide range of unusual products like radios and refrigerators. In its heyday, Stewart Warner was a powerful corporation that employed thousands of people.


Chevrolet's - 1934

Early Chevrolets; Lets touch on them for a minute. You don't hear or see them very often, but from time to time, one surfaces and it really catches your eye. Early Fords by far are everyones favorite amongst the other manufactures. It's my 'builders' opinion, it would mostly be due to the construction of the car; less wood, more metal (let us not forget the favorite V8 Engine too ). I'm not denying that the other makes have nice looking cars, common sense would tell me - Fords to be the favorite having less wood, more steel structure; less desireable Chevrolets and other makes, Wood Strucutres and steel panels. It's easier to make steel panels than it is to make curved wood structures.

Focusing on the car and not how they were built, Chevrolet's have some very distinctive lines and had a great potential for that 'Early Hot Rod' look. Early Fords had thier V8 Flatheads and Chevrolet's...V8 La Salle/Cadillac Engines, Hopped up Inline 6's, Beefed up Inline 8's. As I'm writing this, I laugh. Ford were simple and interchangeable; Motors and transmissions, Rear ends were relatively the same, the common Torque tube design.

The 1934 Chevrolet Master and Standard continued Chevrolet's year-old practice of building two distinct series of cars on different wheelbase lengths. The 1934 Chevrolet Master, in fact, now measured 112 inches, two inches longer than the 1933 model. The 1934 Chevrolet Standard model remained at 107 inches.

Both models retained six-cylinder power, but modifications to the Master's 206-cubic-inch engine boosted horsepower from 65 to 80. The Standard series repeated 1933's 181-cubic-inch 60-horsepower engine.

Chevrolet's big news this year was adoption of "Knee-Action," the sealed Dubonnet type of independent front suspension. Standard equipment on the Master series, it would not be offered on Standard models for a few more years.

Master models, while retaining the previous year's styling theme, looked heavier than their 1933 counterparts -- which they were, by some 225 pounds, about 60 pounds of which was due to the Dubonnet "knees." Three horizontal hood louvers replaced the doors used in 1932-33, and wheels were reduced in size to 17 inches. Free Wheeling was optional on Master models only.

The Standard line was expanded to five body styles. Prices were raised by $40 on Standard models and as much as $100 on the Master series. Production increased by 29 percent, with the Standard coach scoring the biggest gain.

Here is a short video on all of thier makes in 1934. Enjoy!


Small Talk on Traditional Hot Rods!

I always get asked what is a Traditional Hot Rod? Lets talk about it then:

A traditional hot rod is put together to look like it was built (or could have been built) decades ago, by using as many parts as possible that were made no later than the Fifties or the Sixties at the latest.

The first step in planning a project car is to decide on what you want to end up with when the car is finished. The goal is to pick a theme for the car and stay with it. My taste in hot rods leans toward cars that were built (or look they were built) between the early 1950s and the late '60s, especially in northern California. Roadsters, phaetons, cabriolets, coupes, sedans, sedan deliveries, and even pickups are all good candidates; but the "phantom" body styles that are often seen on street rods could be considered to be out-of-place on a traditional car. Whatever era of car you're building, once you have picked a theme for it, it's important to stay within that time frame.

For example, a '50s car would have had a generator, not an alternator. To do it right, you're going to have to use bias-ply tires instead of radials. If you're building a car with a '50s or '60s (or even a '70s) theme, you'll want to avoid using parts like small block Chevy center-bolt valve covers, or any other parts that weren't available at the time. Hence the term "period correct".

It's easy to miss the point in the eyes of purists. You have to stay with the theme. More than any other parts on a hot rod, it's the wheels that set the theme for the car. Here's a brief overview of some of the wheels that have been popular on hot rods over the years.

Going all the way back to the birth of hot rodding and oval track racing in the 1920s, most hot rods were early Fords that used early Ford steel wheels that were stock or modified. By the early '50s, Ted Halibrand's magnesium wheels became the standard choice on Indy cars, sprint cars, and midget racers. Some, but not many, of his wheels were also run on the street. Chrome steel wheels and spun aluminum Moon discs were introduced later in the 1950s. In the early '60s, the magnesium Halibrand Sprint provided the inspiration for the aluminum Ansen Sprint, which looked similar to the magnesium Halibrand but with a fully-machined face that eliminated the raised lips around the slots. The early '60s also saw the introduction of the aluminum American Racing Torq-Thrust five-spoke, and the Cragar S/S composite steel and aluminum five-spoke. In the mid-'60s, these were followed by the American Racing Torq-Thrust "D" for new '65 Corvettes with disc brakes. The late '60s saw the introduction of the E-T III. These are some of the wheels that are discussed in more detail on this site's page about classic racing wheels.

If you're building a traditional early Ford hot rod, especially a '40s or '50s car with a flathead, Mike Bishop and Vern Tardel have written an excellent book that shows what's involved in selecting parts and getting them to work together. The book lists for $24.95 normally.

The sites that follow have been selected as being representative of a growing trend in hot rodding: a return to rodding's roots, with cars being built by using a lot of original parts, and built by their owners, they way they were decades ago. And unless they're on their way to the drag strip or the salt flats, you won't see them on trailers.

These cars are built to be driven and enjoyed.