Q&A with Kit Foster: October 27, 2011

Q. In reference to radial tire pressures, I’ve been in the tire business for 36 years. We always recommend 30 psi, but not more than 32 psi for radial tires on collector cars. One tip: You may want to use metal valve stems to keep hubcaps from shifting. I had to do this on my 1965 Ford Thunderbird. As for changing wheels, I’ve never had a problem with factory wheels and radial tires.

Jerry Turner, Cypress, Texas

A. I’d said I run radials on most of my cars at 30 psi, and have found it a good all-around trade-off between wear, economy and handling. I see at least one person agrees with me. My wife, on the other hand, insists on following manufacturer-recommended pressures to the letter and number.

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Q. Regarding turning wheel covers, this can cause valve stem leakage, or breaking of the valve stem. The solution is to replace the rubber valves with the metal type. For large-hole wheels, use a brass truck valve. For small-hole wheels, use a chrome metal valve. Tighten them properly. If you want the look of rubber valves, just slide a piece of rubber hose over the stem, reaching only to the start of the valve cap threads. Use cord-type or fuel hose, or heavy vacuum hose. I’ve done this many times, and it stops any noise from the wheel cover touching the metal valve stem. If chrome stems aren’t long enough, add a metal valve extension. All these items are available in Dill or Schrader types at auto parts stores. The problem happens more on Oldsmobile and Lincoln cars where the wheel cover snaps onto the wheel in the balance weight area.

Donald Novack, North Aurora, Ill.

A. Thanks for that advice. Perhaps other readers have experience with this matter.

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Q. I have a device called a Marks Globular Roadmap, made by a company of the same name in Elkhart, Ind. (1936-’70). The device is an aluminum casting with an adjustable inner ball containing a pre-interstate map of the United States. The viewing window contains a magnifier and a six-eight volt light for viewing. I’ve not been able to find any information about what type of vehicle this roadmap device was used on. I’ve taken it to shows and displays for the last several years, and haven’t found anyone who remembers the device.  Even the Smithsonian and Elkhart Chamber of Commerce were of no help.

Dave Carroll, Dixon, Mo.

 

A. An early type of GPS, perhaps? If so, it would operate by dead reckoning, not with a signal from space. I suspect it’s an accessory that could be used on any car. Has anyone seen anything like it?

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Q. This past summer, I checked the tire pressure on my car with four different tire gauges, and got four different readings — varying as much as 20 psi. One was a fairly expensive round gauge with a five-inch hose, another was a round gauge with a rigid plastic tube to attach to the tire, and two were the pen-types with protruding square rods with psi marks. I was surprised and disgusted. Do you or your readers know of a reliable brand of tire gauge?

Tom Nangle, Richmond, Wis.

A. My favorite gauge is a metal round-dial type, with short metal stem. I’ve never checked it against a “standard,” though. I’ve had bad luck with recent pen-type gauges, particularly the plastic ones. They seem to give inconsistent readings from the same gauge and tire, for example, so I usually avoid them. (My dad had an all-brass pen gauge that was pretty good, but it’s long gone.) Readers, what are your favorite tire gauges? Is there a reliable way to check a tire gauge about which you’re suspicious?

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Q. Can you tell me if anyone reproduces the hood emblem for a 1942 Ford Deluxe six? I’ve run into a dead end with phone calls and searching online. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Russell Finnie, via e-mail

A. Given the relative rarity of the 1942 Ford six, then and now, I’d be surprised if they were reproduced. Your best bet would be to find one that’s been salvaged from a parted-out car. With fewer than 32,000 six-cylinder Fords of all types (Special, Deluxe and Super Deluxe) built in that war-abbreviated production year, however, your search will not be easy. Can anyone help?

To submit questions to this column: E-mail ron.kowalke@fwpubs.com or mail to: Q&A, c/o Ron Kowalke, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001.

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