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Your Career In Automotive Service And Repair...

Posted on 4/29/16 with No comments


This film is a snapshot of what is was like to have a career in automotive service in the 1940's. There was some innocence in those days and most people considered someone that was able to repair an automobile a person that should be to looked up to. This film is a recruiting film that showed all of the different occupations related to an automotive career.

It is a good reminder of how far we have come in seventy plus years since this film was made. This film gives you a picture of what life was like in a service garage in those days. Shop coats were the norm and washing parts in a five gallon bucket of gasoline was standard operating procedure.

Finally I look at this film and note all of the advertising signs on display in the garages and dealerships. Most any of those signs, especially the neon ones would look good in my shop and equally as good in yours.

Things were a lot more simple and "hands-on"than they are today. Maybe that is why those of us in the older generation understand things better and seem to have a common sense knowledge about how antique vehicles work and how to fix them.

So with all of this in mind take a few minutes, gather up your favorite beverage and enjoy a trip back in time as you consider a career in automotive service.


Buying A Battery For Your Antique Vehicle...

Posted on 4/22/16 with No comments


Buying a battery for your antique vehicle is a fairly straightforward process. You want to buy the one that provides the most cranking amps in your size. Most all batteries today are at least 650 cranking amps, with some like the Optima brand, are a thousand cranking amps. Most starter  motors will require about 200 amps or less when cranking over the engine, even when the engine is warm. So the difference between 650 cranking amps and a thousand amps is a 50% difference. Those extra cranking amps will come in handy on occasion and the less hard a battery has to work, the longer it will last. Batteries with more cranking amps also tens to have a greater reserve capacity which means when you forget and leave your lights on you will have a longer grace period before the battery goes completely dead.

 As you might suspect you will end up paying a little more for the battery with more cranking amps. for the small difference in price it will be money well spent. Most quality batteries like the Optima Brand also come with a 2-year free replacement warranty and are designed to last five to seven years in most applications. Less battery maintenance means more driving time in your antique vehicle!

When shopping for a battery you also need to look for a sealed or maintenance free battery.  In the old days most batteries had screw on caps and it was common to have to add water to the battery every three months. Having to add water came about in part because the charging systems of the day were not all that accurate and excessive output from the charging system was commonplace, which would then boil some of the water out of the battery.

The other common defect of early batteries was that the posts would corrode as the battery vented gases from the charging process. It was common to have to clean battery posts about three or four times a year as a general maintenance item. Some vehicles owners waited until their vehicle would not start to clean their dirty battery posts or check the water level in the battery.

You also had to be careful in the old days installing or removing a battery from your vehicle. If you spilled any of the acid from inside the battery (which was easy to do if you had to tip the battery to get it into the battery box) the acid would destroy the paint on your vehicle.

Today most batteries are sealed so the risk of spilling acid on your paint has disappeared. Batteries today do not vent gases so the posts no longer corrode. Modern batteries are also built better and typically last longer than the batteries of yesteryear due in part to modern technology... the charging systems are much improved, along with the makeup of the plates inside of the battery itself.

So the best advice is buy the battery that is sealed so there is no risk of acid spilling and damaging your paint, and the one that has the largest amount of cranking amps. Be sure your battery cables and starter are in good working order. I install one gauge battery cables on every car I work in to be sure all of the current from the battery gets to the starter.

After buying a new battery I always put it on a Battery Tender overnight so it is fully charged when I install it. If you do not drive your antique vehicle on a daily basis a battery tender is a good investment. A battery tender will keep your battery fully charged while your vehicle is in storage and will also provide current for any static drain like the memory in you radio, so you do not loose your station settings. A battery will last about 30 % longer if you connect it to a Battery Tender.

A battery tender will come with a short wiring harness that attaches to the battery and a long cord that attaches from the battery tender. The two cords plug into each other like an extension cord (so you cannot connect the cables backwards) and can remain plugged in until you are ready to drive your vehicle. Simply unplug the battery tender cord from the battery harness and you are ready to go. When you return plug the cord back in and you are done.

As an added safety feature most of my customers use a Battery Master Switch like this one...

These are call a Battery Master Switch and are made to mount on the negative post of the battery. In turn your negative battery cable mounts to the end of the Battery Master switch. To disconnect you battery simply turn that black knob to the left a half a turn (remember..righty tighty lefty loosey) and you battery is disconnected. To reconnect the battery just turn the knob to the right until it is tight. If you go to a car show and want to make sure no one messes with your car just unscrew the knob completely and put it into your pocket. Then you know everything is safe and secure. Some insurance companies will lower your premiums if you have one of these installed so be sure and ask. It is worth the piece of mind to know that while your car is in storage there is little risk from an electrical fire if you have one of these installed.

Optima Batteries, Battery Tenders, and the Battery Master Switches can be found in the "Parts" menu on the website.


Rube Goldberg and Gasoline Explosions

Posted on 4/13/16 with No comments


Rube Goldberg Would Be Proud...
When I was a young man hanging out in automotive garages in the 1960's and 1970's I remember the older mechanics making comments about a Rube Goldberg affair when they had to work on a customer's car that the customer had tried to fix something with bailing wire and electrical tape.  It clearly didn't work which is why the car ended up in the repair garage. I did not know who or what a Rube Goldberg was (and dared not ask) but I could tell by the tone of their voice and the cobbled up mess they were working on that the customer was no mechanic. About ten years ago I finally leaned that Rube Goldberg was a real person and he was known for inventing complicated machines to do simple tasks. So what does all of this have to do with how gasoline explodes inside of a cylinder? Glad you ask. Grab some popcorn and watch the movie. You will learn who Rube Goldberg was and how that relates to gasoline firing in a cylinder.

Oh... and for those of you who want the official bio of one Mr Rube Goldberg here it is ...

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist best known for his zany invention cartoons. He was born in San Francisco on the 4th of July, 1883 – and graduated from U. Cal Berkeley with a degree in engineering. His first job at the San Francisco Chronicle led to early success, but it wasn’t until he moved to NYC and began working for Hearst publications that he became a household name. Rube Goldberg is the only person ever to be listed in the Merriam Webster Dictionary as an adjective. It’s estimated that he did a staggering 50,000 cartoons in his lifetime. You can see him in action in the movie below.

And here is the movie that explains how gasoline explodes inside of a cylinder. When I watched this the first time I was amazed at their lack of safety procedures. This was clearly filmed long before a government program called OSHA got involved in the work place. Enjoy !



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.