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Barricade Fuel Line Hose...What It Is And Why You Need It...?

Posted on 12/1/15 with No comments


By now most of you have had the pleasure of dealing with the affects of the new alcohol gasoline. If you are like me you do your best to stay away from it and buy non-alcohol gasoline whenever possible, but that is not always easy to do, especially if you get out and drive your antique vehicle which is why we have them in the first enjoy driving them.

If you have read my Gas and Oil book (available in the "Parts" section of this website) then you should understand the modern gasoline and how it affects our antique vehicles. I have covered this subject in additional tech blogs, so take some time to read those if you want a better understanding of why things work the way they do.

This blog is about the rubber fuel line hose that runs between the gas tank and the carburetor. Some fuel systems are all rubber fuel line hoses, some are a combination of rubber and metal fuel line. Either way, the rubber fuel line hose is the topic of discussion here.

Most all fuel line hose manufactured before 1985 is what as known as non-barricade rubber fuel line hose. It was made before alcohol gasoline became common place and has served us well for many years. That is no longer the case now.

Modern alcohol gasoline among its many properties is that it is an aggressive fuel and it attacks the non-barricade rubber fuel line hose from the inside out, eating away at the inside of the rubber fuel line causing it to weaken. And as you might suspect all those little particles of rubber lining from the inside of your non-barricade fuel line hose have to go somewhere and that somewhere ends up being the fuel filter (having one is a must) or into the mechanical or electric fuel pump causing them to fail, or further yet up into the carburetor where the little pieces get wedged into the bore of places like the accelerator pump, needle and seat, or main jet. Those small particles are not welcome in any of those places!

When the non-barricade hose becomes weak enough (which can occur in six months or less in some cases) it springs a leak and you have a potential fire hazard. You definitely do not want raw gas dripping onto the intake or exhaust manifold of the engine or on top of the exhaust pipe where it passes under the car.

Then there is you car in storage. I had a customer who put his car in storage in mid October and stopped by in mid January to get the paperwork out of the glove box to renew his tags only to find a huge puddle of gasoline under his car. The alcohol gasoline had eaten thru his original fuel line hose on the bottom of the fuel tank and drained the whole 20 gallons of gasoline onto the floor under his car! Lucky for him he did not have a hot water heater or a furnace pilot light in his garage.

It does happen more often than you think. By the time you notice the fuel line being brittle on the outside it is almost two late. I know what your thinking...I never buy alcohol gasoline so this does not apply to me...Well in a number of states, Ohio for example, the gasoline retailers are not required to label the alcohol gasoline pumps delivering the alcohol gasoline. Adding the alcohol to the gasoline is a federal requirement so you might as well figure you will end up with some sooner or later.

   The cheapest way to buy"Barricade" Fuel Line Hose.

Barricade Fuel Line Hose
So now the burning question...What is the Barricade fuel line hose and how can I identify it?
Barricade fuel line hose will be marked on the side of the hose along with its intended application. The kind you want is for the non-fuel injection hose (like shown here) unless of course you antique vehicle is fuel injected. Here is what the hose will look like that you need to use...

     All Barricade fuel line hose will be marked.

And if you are curious as to how it is made and why it costs so much more compared to the old rubber fuel line hose we used to buy, here is an explanation. 

                               Two layers resist the damage from the alcohol fuels.

Lastly, the cheapest way to buy the barricade hose is in 25' spools which will normally do a couple of antique vehicles depending on the application. You can buy it in smaller packages but it is all sold by the foot and the smaller packages will cost about 30 to 40 percent more per foot. Save yourself some money and buy a roll to always have enough on hand. You can buy 25' rolls of the Barricade fuel line hose in the "Parts" section of this website under the "Fuel" heading.

Fuel Line Hose Clamps
The last thing I want to mention is fuel line hose clamps. I have tried them all over the years and the ones that are the most unfriendly are the ones that strip out when you try and tighten the clamp on a smaller diameter application.  The only one worse than that, is the one that turns egg shaped and will not seal on one side and cuts into the fuel line hose on the other.

So that is why I now offer these stainless steel hose clamps. They seal good, hold their shape, and are easy to tighten. They are sold in packages of ten and are well worth the price. You can buy them in the "Parts" section of this website under the "Fuel" heading.

                           A quality fuel line hose clamp is a good investment.

Don't forget to be safe when working in, on, or underneath your antique vehicle. Time spent in the hospital is time away from the garage. You know where your time is better spent!


The Runtz Story...

Posted on 11/10/15 with No comments


So...what exactly is a Runtz and what does it do... ?
Let's go back to the beginning in the 1970's. All during my high school years I bought,  fixed up and sold 1949 thru 1953 Chevy and GMC trucks. It was during these years that I got my first hand education into how a 6-volt charging system worked or in my case didn't work. I learned all about the yellowish dim headlights, hard starting, (including always parking on a hill) and the constant dead batteries.

All of that hands-on experience led to my invention of a 6-volt alternator in 1985 which solved all of my 6-volt troubles and made new found customers very happy campers. Now there was a simple bolt on solution to bright headlights, easier starting, and the end of dead batteries. All types of 6-volt vehicles could now be made more reliable and fun to drive.

But I had a few customers who wanted to upgrade to 12-volts to add modern stereos and air conditioning. Remember this was over thirty years ago and there was not much available for antique vehicles built in the 1940's and 1950's like there is today. Cars and trucks built in the 1940's and 1950's were still in the "in between" stage, not old enough to be considered collectible but old enough that the aftermarket considered them obsolete.

My customers who wanted to upgrade to 12-volts, wanted to keep and use their original dash gauges. I searched out and finally found a company that would upgrade the factory gauges to 12-volts. Problem solved at least for a while. But over time the cost of sending in gauge clusters to have them upgraded to 12-volts steadily creeped up. When I started offering that service in the mid 1980's it was in the neighborhood of $40.00 per gauge. It eventually got past $100.00 a gauge and I knew it was time to find another solution.

The Runtz was born in 1992 to allow the use of stock 6-volt dash gauges and senders when upgrading a 6-volt electrical system  to 12-volts.

So after a year of experimenting with the help of my good friend Dan Schulz (hence the name Rundle and Schulz ) the Runtz was born. A Runtz  is a solid state device (for accuracy) and will accept an incoming voltage of between eight and twenty volts, while delivering a constant 7.75 volts to the gauges. I had first hand experience with early voltage regulators that would stick closed causing voltage spikes, so I wanted the Runtz to be "dead on" accurate and able to accept those voltage spikes without damage.

I also added a built -in circuit breaker to protect the dash gauges. A gas gauge for example, runs on just a quarter of an amp. The Runtz has a built-in circuit breaker that will protect the dash gauges when the current exceeds one amp of current. That way the gauges would be protected from damage in the event of a short in the wiring harness caused from a loose or bare wiring connection. I knew that most 6-volt vehicles are lacking in circuit protection and that fuses are few and far between. A little extra protection would not hurt.

Finally the installation had to be simple and had to work for all types of antique 6-volt vehicles. The Runtz fits on the back of the dash gauge and connects to the accessory wire that comes up from the ignition switch. Simple easy to read (and understand) instructions are included.

A single Runtz installed on the fuel gauge was all that was required for this 50 Plymouth wagon application. The accessory wire from the ignition switch will be installed on the lower stud of the Runtz once the gauge cluster is installed back into the car.

Here are three Runtz installed on a 1950 Ford Dash to protect the temperature, oil pressure, and fuel. Notice how each electrical gauge has its own power wire, very important to insure accurate dash gauge readings. This gauge cluster is ready to be installed back into the car.

You will need one Runtz for each electrical dash gauge because... each gauge draws a different amount of current so in order to have accurate gauges you need to power them separate. I have seen dozens of devices over the years that claim to reduce all of your 6-volt accessories from a single source but have never seen any of them work well and quite a few have burned out dash gauges in the process. It makes sense when you consider that your fuel gauge runs on a quarter of an amp, your heater blower motor requires ten amps of current,  and your headlights fifteen amps. If you try and average that all out  using a single voltage reducer something is going to get fried.

The Runtz is proudly made in the USA and has been since its introduction in 1992. The price has only increased once in twenty years in part because of the volume of the Runtz I sell.  They still retail for less than $20.00. Simply put they work and have become the standard for all 12-volt conversions. I sell them not only to retail and wholesale customers, but to all of the major dash gauge rebuilders. So... if you send you dash gauges in to be rebuilt and upgraded to 12-volts, there is a better than eighty percent chance that your gauge cluster will come back with one or more Runtz installed.

                                    A Runtz in the original packaging with instructions

And then there are the knockoffs...There have been a couple of companies who tried to copy the Runtz over the years without much success. Vintique in California is the most well known offender.  The dead giveaway is that the knockoffs are made in China, and they don't reduce the voltage accurately. The knockoffs also have no circuit protection which has resulted in more than a few damaged gauge clusters. They sell the knockoffs for a couple of bucks cheaper than an original Runtz. Be sure you buy a genuine Runtz made in the USA.

Now you know how a simple device became the standard for protecting 6-volt dash gauges when a antique vehicle electrical system is upgraded to 12-volts. You can take pride in knowing that you are buying the original and the best available. You antique vehicle deserves nothing less.


Electric Fuel Pumps 101...What You Need To Know

Posted on 10/28/15 with No comments


Electric Fuel Pumps and Modern Gasoline...

Based on the phone calls I receive on a daily basis a lot of you reading this are having trouble with the modern gasoline damaging your electric fuel pumps. The old Stewart Warner electric fuel pump that we have used for close to 30 years no longer work with the modern gasoline. The alcohol in the gasoline causes the diagram to swell and tear, which in turn causes the electric fuel pump to fail. 

I experienced this first hand with Great Race cars nearly 25 years ago. The Great Race teams were experiencing constant electric fuel pump failures. So I went looking for a solution. I needed to find a dependable replacement electric fuel pump that would pump alcohol and all fuel additives. (Remember this was back in the gasohol days...) 

If you have read my gas book I tell you to stay away from the alcohol gasoline but depending on where you live that may not always be an option. If you are a Great Race entrant you do not have time to shop for gasoline,  you buy it at the closest gas station next to the hotel or somewhere along the race route. You have to buy what is available and hope for the best.

I learned that most all of the electric pumps that "chatter" and make noise, are diagram pumps, and the alcohol in modern gasoline will attack the rubber diagram inside the electric pump causing it to swell and tear.

 I also learned that the rotary vein pumps are not reliable either as the alcohol fuel is a drier fuel and with a lack of lubrication once carried in the gasoline (lead) the alcohol gasoline causes the wafers inside of the rotary vein pump to literally grind themselves to pieces...much like when you sawed your gram crackers in kindergarten. 

End result is a pump failure with the wafer filings ending up in the fuel filter (you do have one...right?) or worst case,  under the needle and seat in the carburetor or... plugging up you main jet in the carburetor.

The technology that I found to work the best is an electric fuel pump with two stainless gears inside that work much like the fuel pumps in modern vehicles that have the fuel pump located inside of the fuel tank. 

     This is my electric fuel pump taken apart so you can see the two stainless steel gears inside.

I found a source and started buying these pumps and modifying them for use with antique vehicles in 1992. We have used them on the Great Race vehicles every year since and they have worked like a dream. No more fuel pump issues.

These electric fuel pumps are the same working pressure as your mechanical fuel pump so no fuel pressure regulator is needed for most applications. They will work with both positive and negative ground applications and they come with a 30-micron fuel filter installed.  Also included is the mounting bracket and hardware.  The best place to mount these pumps is back by the gas tank, inside the frame rail. 

Always use a 30-micron fuel filter with your electric fuel pump

Best of all you can change the fuel filter without any tools. That was a feature the Great Race teams wanted so when they got into some bad gasoline they could change the filter in a hurry and be back on the road. 30-Micron replacement fuel filter part numbers are included in the instructions so you can buy them locally.

I have the pumps available for both 6-volt and 12-volt applications. If you are into the technical numbers, the 6-volt pump has an output of 2.0 pounds of  fuel pump pressure and delivers 15 gallons an hour which will take care of most any single or multi-carb applications.

 This is the electric fuel pump complete minus the fuel filter

The 12-volt version has an output 4.0 pounds of fuel pump pressure and delivers 30 gallons an hour of fuel. Both pumps have a pressure check valve inside so they will shut off when your fuel line is full. These pumps work just like the oil pump inside of your engine so they are quiet, which was another request of the Great Race entrants. "What ever pump you sell us had better be quiet we are not going to listen to a fuel pump chatter for 8 hours a day...! "

Most important  to that because this electric fuel pumps is the same working pressure as the stock mechanical fuel pump no fuel pressure regulator is needed in most cases. 

Today's modern gasoline has a lower boiling point than the gasoline of the old days. That does not affect the modern fuel injected cars because they typically have between 40 and an 100 pounds of fuel pump pressure. IT DOES affect our antique vehicles that typically have between 2 and 4 pounds of fuel pump pressure.  As a result these electric fuel pumps have become more popular today than they were when I introduced them in 1992.

So here is the deal. To keep everybody on the road with the modern gasoline...if you call and order one of these electric fuel pumps for $95.00 each (the same price they have been for the past ten years...) Fifth Avenue will pay the priority mail postage on your electric fuel pump order. In order to get the free freight you need to tell me how much money the Fifth Avenue Antique Auto Sponsored 1916 Hudson Great Race team won in the 2015 Great Race. The answer is fifty thousand dollars. When you call and order your electric fuel pump(s) (you can order more than one so get with your friends) say "Howard Sharp fifty thousand dollars..." and the priority mail postage will be free on your electric fuel pump order.

To Order Use the part numbers below....

  6-volt - 92415EFP6      6-volt electric fuel pump
12-volt - 92415EFP12  12-volt electric fuel pump

Don't forget to add a pint of diesel fuel to ten gallons of gasoline. It will raise the boiling point of modern gasoline and lubricate the gaskets in the carburetor to keep them from shrinking resulting in a leaky carburetor.


A Family Legacy, Jimmy Doolittle, and A 1942 International Fire Truck

Posted on 10/26/15 with No comments


A Family Legacy
The memories we have of our childhood growing up are something we cherish. Those early memories often influence us later on in life, and help to shape us into the adult we become. It is also true that sometimes the simplest of things or events will stick with us forever. 

So it was with Fee Stubblefield, a boy who grew up in Oregon loving his Grandma. He watched her work hard in the family business and take great care of her family. From her, Fee learned love, kindness, dignity and caring well for others. As the years passed Grandma would tell him..."When I get old promise me you will not put me in an "old folks" home. He would never forget those words.

One day while grandma was mowing the lawn, she had a heart attack. Even though she eventually recovered, the family knew she needed additional help. The family started spending more time at grandma's mowing her lawn and doing chores around the house. She would mention almost daily during these years ..." Whatever happens I want to stay in my own home..." Fee listened carefully to her words.

Then the day came when the house was too big, the chores to difficult and grandma became a little overwhelmed. Hearing her words echo in his mind Fee had an idea. Why not create a place that was like grandma's home, A place where life would be a little easier for his grandma and those like her. A place dedicated to those simple and important values passed down from the older generation. A place where Grandma would want to live and her family would want to come visit. No such place existed, so Fee decided to build one.

The result is "The Springs Living" a community dedicated to the values Fee learned from his grandma. The Springs Living is a warm and friendly place full of caring people, the food is good, the rooms nice, and the lawns well manicured, just like grandma house. The Springs Living community turned out better than anyone could have imagined.

So...if you have gotten this far you are no doubt wondering what this story has to do with a fire truck, and Jimmy Doolittle's Raiders. Read on the best it yet to come.

The Lehman Hot Springs Resort
The family business that Fee Stubblefield grew up in was the Lehman Hot Springs Resort. Founded in 1871 the Lehman Hot Springs is in a timbered setting 4,300 feet above sea level, deep in Oregon's scenic Blue Mountains. For over 138 years people of all walks of life have enjoyed the largest natural collection of hot springs  pools in the northwest. The Stubblefield family owned the resort for 55 years of those 138 years, selling their interest in the 1980's. Fee named his retirement community after the Springs Resort that he literally grew up in. 

The Lehman Hot Springs Resort

It was during the mid 1960's that Fee's Grandfather bought a retired 1942 International fire truck from the city of Pendleton Oregon for use at the Springs Resort. As a young man Fee rode in that fire truck with his father and grandfather, and would take his first driving lessons in that fire truck. The picture below shows Fee sitting on the running board of the truck shortly after it was purchased by his grandfather.

        Fee Stubblefield  on the running board of the 1942 fire truck in the early 1960's

The Fire Truck
The fire truck itself had quite a famous history. It was bought new by the Army Corps of Engineers in late 1941 during the expansion of the local airport into what would become Camp Pendleton Army Airbase. It was on this airbase that Jimmy Doolittle began training the men selected for the upcoming secret mission to attack Japan by air. The air base remained a flight training base during the war with 2500 men stationed at the base.

                   Camp Pendleton Air Base during construction in May 1941

When the airbase was decommissioned after the war, the Army gave the 1942 International fire truck to the city of Pendleton Oregon. Sometime in the early 1960's Fee's grandfather bought the now 20 year old fire truck from the city of Pendleton. In the 1980's when the family sold their interest in the Springs Resort, the fire truck was sold to Woodpecker Truck Sales, the local International truck dealer. Woodpecker Truck Sales would own the truck for the next 30 years eventually restoring it to running condition. In 2012 Fee had the opportunity to buy the 1942 International fire truck, the same one he literally grew up with. He did with the idea it could be used for for parades and special events at the Springs Living community.

Dan Upshaw Director of Maintenance for The Springs Living called upon Fifth Avenue Antique Auto Parts to see if Randy had a way to make the now restored fire truck run as good as it looked. Randy sent a Fifth Avenue alternator and mounting bracket kit to upgrade the fire truck from a generator charging system to a more modern alternator type charging system. The benefits would be brighter lights easier starting and no more dead batteries. 

This is the Fifth Avenue Alternator Installed On the 1942 International Fire Truck.

The alternator did the trick, the fire truck is much easier to start and is more reliable and fun to drive. Now the Springs Living community can take residents for a ride on the fire truck which has become a very popular pastime. The 1942 fire truck truly runs as good as it looks. 

                   This is What The 1942 International Fire Truck Looks Like Today

The Jimmy Doolittle Connection
In June 1941 the U.S. Army Air Forces' 17th Bombardment Group was transferred to Camp Pendleton for training for the upcoming Japanese Raid. The most highly skilled pilots were stationed at Pendleton Air Base. The Japanese raid was conducted in April 1942 in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.The Doolittle raid was the first Bombardment of Japan by American forces.

The Mitchell B-25 Bombers
Originally built in 1938 the Mitchell B-25 bombers had the most range and load capacity of any bombers available for the mission, and were also the fastest and most agile. However the B-25 bombers were not designed to take off from an aircraft carrier. The average carrier deck at the time was only 450 feet long and the Mitchell B-25 bombers needed 750 feet for takeoff. Doolittle studied the engineering drawings and consulted with engineers and determined that he could teach pilots to takeoff from a 450 foot long carrier deck. He needed 80 volunteers for 16 five men crews. He chose the 17th bombardment group stationed at Pendleton Oregon because of their advanced B-25 flying experience.

It took Jimmy just 4 weeks to teach the pilots how to master the short takeoff. The shortest distance they practiced was 500 feet. The B-25 Bombers used in the raid were highly modified and carried nearly twice as much fuel on board as a standard bomber. These planes, 16 in all, were the first to be flown off the deck of a ship. On the fateful day the ship was traveling into the wind at 20 knots and the wind was blowing 30 knots for a combined 50 knot headwind. The pilots followed Doolittle's lead (he was the first to takeoff) and timed their takeoff during the upsurge motion of the ship. It worked... all 16 pilots managed to takeoff safely.

Lt. Col. James Doolittle earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for leading the attack, and all the crewman five of whom were from the state of Oregon received distinguished Flying Cross. The Camp Pendleton Army Air Base served as a training base for fighter pilots until August of 1945 when it was then converted back into a civilian airport. It still serves as a airport today as is known as Eastern Oregon Regional at Pendleton.

The Doolittle Raid on Japan
If you watch the video below carefully you will notice the planes are very tightly packed in order to get all 16 of them on on deck. They were literally packed wing tip to wing tip and nose to rudder, with the back and sides of the planes hanging off the ship. Jimmy himself was the first to takeoff and he made it, so the rest of the pilots knew it could be done and each one gained a plane length in runway. 

All the pilots made it off the ship and all but three pilots returned home. Ironically none of the planes themselves made it home. The Japanese discovered the bombers about 400 miles and ten hours short of their takeoff destination. The decision was made to launch the raid early and ditch the planes when they ran out of fuel, which is exactly what they did, but not before all of the targets were hit. The mission was a success.

Jimmy himself at first... thought the mission would be considered a failure because he lost all 16 planes on the mission. He was coming home and preparing for the worst and thought he might end up facing a court-martial. Instead he came back a hero along with all of his men, declared heroes as well.


                                                          Click Arrow to Watch Video

The Springs Living Veterans Take Flight
After watching the above video you come to appreciate all of the things the veterans have done for our country, The Springs Living community has a number of veterans living in their communities. They began looking for a way to honor those veterans and found Ageless Aviation Dreams a not for profit group that provides rides in World War II vintage aircraft for retired veterans. The Springs Living made the arrangements for the group to come to the Springs Living communities and provide rides to their veterans. To say the project was a success would be an understatement. Watch the video below to see for yourself. 

Click The Arrow To Watch The Veterans Flight Video

I always try to learn a little something about my customers to find out what their passions are and what they do for a living or what job they retired from. Every once in a while I get more than I bargained for and I get to be part of something that is truly spectacular that makes you feel honored and humbled to be a part of it. This project was one of those. This became much more than fixing an antique fire truck which I have done literally hundreds of times over the past 30 years. This project was about somebody making a difference in the lives of the people around him and sharing a vision that he got from his grandmother as a young boy over 60 years ago.  It is projects like these that make my job fun!

Thanks to The Springs for their video footage of the veteran pilots flights, the history of Lehman Springs Resort, and the history of their community. 


How Come My Antique Vehicle Won't Run On This Modern Gasoline...?

Posted on 10/16/15 with No comments


I have been getting lots of questions lately about modern gasoline, and why it is causing antique vehicle owners so much grief. is a little insight into the problem.  As with most things you first need to understand the problem in order to understand the solution.

Two major things in modern gasoline cause us the most problems. The first one is alcohol. Most all gasoline sold in the United States contains ten percent alcohol as per federal law. Alcohol is a good cleaning solvent and will clean out all of the varnish and corrosion on the inside of your fuel tank. All of that "gunk" ends up plugging your fuel filter (you do have at least one right?) and eventually ends up in the carburetor where it plugs up main jets and the needle and seat in the carburetor. That leaves you walking.

Modern gasoline is also is a dry fuel so it will cause the gaskets in the carburetor to dry out and shrink. You experience this as a leaking carburetor. DO NOT follow your instincts and get the big number twelve flat screwdriver out to tighten all of the screws on the top of the carburetor. One of two things will likely happen. You will strip out the screws  in the top of the carburetor or you will crack the carburetor housing.

The alcohol in modern gasoline has more oxygen, which causes your engine to run lean. Sometimes adjusting the carburetor will help. Ideally you want an air fuel mixture of 14 to 1, fourteen parts air to one part gasoline. When you get down to below 12 to 1 you will experience poor idle stumbling upon acceleration and sometimes a high rpm engine miss under load. we understand the problem what is the fix...? First off stay away from the alcohol gasoline. Try to buy non-alcohol gasoline from a farm service station or in a station that sells off road gasoline, or sometimes it is called farm gasoline. Depending on where you live, places like boat marina's also sell non alcohol gasoline. Most small airports sell non-alcohol gasoline for  single engine general aviation. Ask around and you can usually find some.

Watch the gasoline pump you buy from and try and buy from a station that has an individual hose and nozzle for each grade of gasoline. The pumps that have just one hose for all the different grades means that you will get up to 3/4 of a gallon of whatever the last customer bought before you get what you selected. This is true even if you selected non-alcohol gasoline. If your tank happens to be only four to five gallons, the concentration of alcohol in your fuel tank could be pretty high.

If you see the transport delivering fuel at a service station drive on by...when they dump a load of gasoline into the underground storage tank it will stir up the sediment and water in the bottom of the storage tank and some will get delivered thru the nozzle. Modern fuel systems will filter that out... our older vehicles...not so much.

One of the simplest things you can do is add a pint of diesel fuel to ten gallons of gasoline. Modern gasoline has a lower boiling point to help with emissions and to make it a cleaner burning fuel. Modern fuel systems have 40 to 100 pounds of fuel pressure and we have 1 to 4 pounds in most cases. That is why you are experiencing vapor lock more today (where the fuel turns to vapor before it gets to the mechanical fuel pump) than you have for many years. The diesel fuel will raise the boiling point of the gasoline and keep the gaskets from drying out in the carburetor.  Accuracy is not critical a little more or less is ok. The engine will not smoke if you add the diesel. There are dozens more gasoline tech tips in " The Official Guide to modern Gas and Oil for Antique Vehicles" available in the technical publications section of the website.


Micky's Gas Station... What You Missed All Those Years Ago...

Posted on 10/15/15 with No comments


When I was growing up ...about grade school age in the early 1960's, I watched cartoons in the mornings before school as did most of my friends. Most of what I watched were Walt Disney cartoon reruns, but at that age I didn't care how old they were, I just watched then for the characters that I knew. I especially enjoyed the cartoons that involved automobiles or motorcycles as most of you did who are reading this now. Life was pretty simple in those days.

For those of us in the older generation,  we often say we have little or no use for computers and most of the time I would agree. However there is some good in everything and everyone as my grandmother used to say...and so it is with computers, you just have to find something they are good for. One thing I have discovered... is that with a computer you have the opportunity to relive parts of your childhood over again. On You Tube recently,  I found one of the old Walt Disney cartoons from my childhood that was one of my all time favorites. I had not seen it in fifty years, but as soon as I saw the opening scene it was as if I just watched it yesterday.

After watching it a couple of times to refresh my memory, I suddenly realized I was so engrossed in the story that I hadn't paid attention to the background details. Funny how your adult mind requires you to pay attention to the details while your adolescent mind allows you to watch the cartoon for what it is... simple entertainment.


              Click the Arrow Above To Watch The Cartoon

Released in 1935 the background details, including the layout of the gas station, the tools they used, the  outside lift were all accurate for the era. When I watched it again with my adult mind in charge, I saw the tow truck parked in the shed in the background along with another car and a stack of new tires on display next to a shed, all things I had never seen before.

 It was like the test they gave you in college where they showed you a five minute movie of a bank robbery then asked questions about the color of the getaway car,  license tag number, how many people were involved, which one drove the getaway car. Everybody in class watched the same movie but everybody saw something different.
I have come to appreciate this cartoon more as an adult than I did when I was younger in part because my adult mind appreciates the detail of the engine parts, the tools, the signs on display, and the way cars were worked on in that era are all accurately displayed.  My adult mind also appreciates all of the time and trouble the animators went to to include the correct details.  They had to know how those things worked in order to be able to illustrate them accurately.  Even the things in the background that most people do not see if they are the least bit involved in the storyline are well detailed. The could have just as easily drawn a shed with nothing in it and nobody would have known the difference.  It is that extra effort that makes this cartoon great. Maybe the animators were car guys...? Have a look and see for yourself.

Fuel Stabilizers and Winter Storage

Posted on with No comments

As the leaves start to turn colors some of us begin to think of fall and having to put our antique vehicles in storage for the winter months. One thing we need to think about is the gasoline in the fuel tank and what happens to in over the winter. Modern gasoline typically has about a 90-day shelf life starting at the refinery. The gasoline you buy at your local station is most likely 30 days old when you buy it.

The point here is the gasoline in your fuel tank will turn sour before the birds and the flowers greet you in the spring. You need to add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel in your tank to prevent fuel problems in the spring.

Most of us have experienced gasoline that has turned sour. It plugs up fuel filters, gums up mechanical fuel pumps, plugs up main jets and idle circuits in carburetors…and the list goes on.

I started researching fuel storage additives about ten years ago. When modern gasoline began adding alcohol to the mix it changed how I prepared the cars entered in what is now the Hemming’s Great Race. The alcohol in modern gasoline especially affects cars put in storage for the winter. Modern alcohol gasoline can absorb up to 13 oz. of water in a twenty-gallon tank.

What I also discovered was that not all fuel stabilizer additives are created equal and that nearly 40 percent of the fuel additives sold contained alcohol as their primary ingredient! Good Grief! That is what we are trying to get rid of, why would you add more alcohol to your fuel tank!

If you have read my gas and oil book you learned how to read a MSDS sheet to figure out what is in a fuel stabilizer additive.

Meanwhile…after I figured out what should and should not be in a fuel stabilizer additive I looked to see if there was anyone worse off than we were.

Here is a short video from Briggs and Stratton on the affects of alcohol gasoline.

I discovered the small engine people (landscapers especially) were having a terrible time, much worse than we were… which makes sense considering how easy it would be to plug up a jet in a small engine carburetor for example. So I called and talked to the engineers at Briggs and Stratton and Stihl numerous times and almost wore out my welcome both places, but I found out what I wanted to know. I called most all of the other companies for input but either got no response or no return phone calls, and one who said, “That’s not our problem …” and hung up!

Then I worked on shell life of the additives. Some additives are good for three months and some as long as three years. That is quite a difference. If you have more than one collector vehicle or lawnmower, weed eater, chainsaw, snow blower, who wants to have to treat them more than once during the winter?

So in the end here is what we use for the Great Race cars and is what I use in my own vehicles.  It is made by Briggs and Stratton, one ounce treats five gallons (it is concentrated obviously, no use buying filler) and one 16oz bottle treats 80 gallons. Cost of a 16 oz bottle is $21.00 plus shipping. And the best part, one treatment is good for up to three years, by far the longest of anything else on the market, AND…it contains no alcohol. It is available under the "FUEL" heading in the "PARTS" drop down link.or by calling 785-632-3450. I hope this helps keep your antique vehicle on the road and saves you a little heartache and aggregation in the process. 


Buying a Fairmont Railroad Motorcar

Posted on 10/14/15 with No comments


I have collected traditional hot rods of some sort for most of my life. But about ten years ago I decided (mid life crisis) it was time for something different. After a year of hunting want ads and sale bills I bought a 1946 Fairmont Railroad Motorcar on a surplus auction. What did I know about a Railroad Motorcar...? Exactly Nothing!

I got it home, got it running found some abandoned track to try it out on and rode it (actually...pushed it more than I rode it) for a year. It was clear the motor was tired and needed an overhaul. Compression was about half of what it was supposed to be and the oil leaks were numerous.

The hunt was on for somebody that knew something about Fairmont 2-cycle engines. That somebody turned out to be Richard Canaday who along with his brother Jack ran a machine shop in Lathrop Missouri. Richard had a motorcar himself and understood all of the principles of how a Fairmont 2-cycle engine was designed to work and more importantly how to improve the efficiency (read increase horsepower and torque). He understood my logic that this was an opportunity to squeeze a little more torque and horsepower from this 2-cycle engine.

The bottom end was rebuilt and left alone with not room for much improvement there. Like most things designed in the early days it was over built for the job it had to do. With that portion of the engine in good shape it was time to move forward. The cylinder head was next.

This was the part Richard had been waiting for. I knew by the grin on his face he had a plan in mind and that my cylinder head was never going to be the same. I knew something was up when Richard chucked the cylinder head in the lathe then fired up the welder. This I had to see...  First the cylinder head was built up to increase the compression. Richard did this by hand with the head mounted in a lathe. There is some obvious talent there.

Hardly recognizable, this is the same head with the machine work done. That center section, was raised, about 5/16 of an inch. Richard knew exactly what he needed for a finished measurement. Not satisfied with a simple port and polish job Richard did a complete redesign of the cylinder head combustion area.

I was like a kid in a candy store having not watched somebody this good in more than twenty years. Richard is not a theory guy, he is an “absolute 100 percent know how something works” guy. “You can’t make something better ‘till you know for certain how it works!.” he often said.

This is the head reinstalled on the engine with the engine back in the motorcar. The Factory engine had steel head nuts and steel studs, which were seized to each other so when it is time to remove the cylinder head, all of the head bolt studs broke off in the block.

Richard made a tool to get the broken head studs out of the block. He also machined this set of brass head studs on the lathe as replacements. No more seized head bolts.

The engine would almost pass for stock except for the head bolts…and until you start it. The original cylinder compression in a new stock Fairmont engine is 65 pounds.  This one was down to 36 pounds. This one today is just shy of 85 pounds. The exhaust note “Barks” a sharp crack every time the engine fires, gone is the mellow putt putt sound.  These are hand crank start engines so cranking the engine is now a little more difficult, but well worth the trouble.

This is a stock piston out of a 1946 Fairmont 2-cycle engine. Looking at that dome and the fact that the piston weighs over a pound presented a few challenges.  These engines remained the same design from their introduction in the early 1920’s up into the mid 1970’s when they were discontinued.

 This was the part I was looking forward to. I had built speciality low rpm / high output alternators for many customers over the years it was time to build one for me. These engines are 2-cycle and have an idle speed of about 150 rpm and a maximum rpm of 650.  I needed an alternator with about 20 amps starting at 200 rpm That would run the headlight taillight and ignition with some amps to spare. I built a mounting bracket for the engine and installed the alternator. Happy to say it worked like a dream.  And I found yet another market for my alternators.

This is my Fairmont Motorcar stopped in the Rail Yard in Blue Rapids Kansas, only four miles to go until the end of the line. This rail line has 12 miles of track and has some great scenery. I also ride this line at night a couple of times a year which is quite the adventure. Night time is when all of the animals are out and about.  This railroad line has two sections of track that are two percent grades about a half a mile long each. My track speed used to be as slow as five miles an hour by the time I got to the top of the grade. Now I run 20 mph all the way up and over the hills. Not bad for an engine design that is over 90 years old.

On this rail line is a railroad bridge that is 90 feet about the Big Blue River and is about an 1/8 mile long. As you can see is has no railings and you can look down between the ties as you ride over it. It truly takes your breath away the first couple times you cross over it.

This is the same bridge at sunset. If you ride across this bridge about dusk you can often see the deer walking out onto the sand bars to drink out of the river. There is a lot to see along the railroad tracks that you cannot see from a road or the antique cars stashed in the back of farmsteads away from public view, or so they thought.

I now have my "something different" hot rod. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that it would be a railroad motorcar of 1945 vintage, that you could hot rod a 2-cycle engine designed in the 1920"s, and that I would be riding the rails for fun. You never know what life has in store so enjoy every day.

Here is a short video of my 1946 Fairmont  Motorcar in action. For comparison, the yellow motorcar that goes by first is a stock motorcar and has the typical putt putt exhaust note that all of the early 2-cycle motorcars are known for. Mine is the one following.

The exhaust note is quite different between the two. This is on the Central Branch Railroad in Waterville Kansas. You can stay in that hotel in the background, it has been restored. The caboose in the background is one of two surviving wooden cabooses left in Kansas. The Central Branch Railroad is now owned by the Marshall County Railroad Historical Society and is the oldest continuously operating Railroad in Kansas.

Thanks to Ed Hoover for his video services...



About Me

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Since 1987, Fifth Avenue owner, Randy Rundle, has been making antique, classic and special interest vehicles more reliable and fun to drive.