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Old Cars Q&A: 2021 no. 2

Kit Foster answers all of your old car questions. This time he covers copper metal hood molding clips, fuel pump issues and a leaky carburetor.
Answer Man

Q. Just to add to the Q&A on those copper metal [hood molding] clips (Mar. 26, Apr. 30, June 25 and July 2), I have a 1949 Ford Custom club coupe that I have had for 24 years. I found a copper metal clip on the lip of the cowl on the passenger side when redoing the motor and engine area. I did not know what it was for. It looked pretty bad, worn with rough edges and was painted over. I removed it but kept it. It did not seem like it would do much or even touch the hood when closed. I have seen reproductions, mostly in T-Bird catalogs, and was considering putting it back. The AM radio works and I do not know if it would do anything to make it play better. I hope this adds to the information on these tiny clips. — Ron Caputo, Brooklyn, N.Y.

A. Well, they’ve been around since before T-Bird days, then. If your radio is not making crackly noises, the clips are unlikely to make any difference. This is commonly called “static.” I find it ironic because it is caused by sudden discharge of a stored electrical charge, which is certainly not “static,” an adjective meaning “constant or unchanging.” The term has likely evolved as shorthand for “static discharge.”

Q. I am replying to Mike Rowda’s situation with the hard starting of his 1972 Olds Cutlass (Oct. 1 Q&A). Given the information he provided I think I know what is wrong with his car.

I have a 1949 International KB-5 that I bought about three years ago. The previous owner told me I would have to “blow into the gas tank a little bit” if the truck sat for awhile. I called it “kissing the truck.” If the truck was started every day, it would run fine. If it sat for a few days or weeks, I would have to “kiss the truck” and turn it over considerably before it would start. In colder weather, the battery would often give up before the truck would start. Just recently the truck started to quit while running, then eventually would not stay running at all. I determined that the issue was with the fuel pump since the carburetor was bone dry. The fuel pump was sent to Then and Now in Weymouth, Mass., for a rebuild. They did an excellent job and the truck starts and runs fine now.

What happens is that the fuel pump is the lowest point of the fuel system. When the fuel pump gets old it will start to dribble when not in use. This will bleed the system down from the carb. The diaphragm will also be weak resulting in lower fuel pressure. You will have to crank and crank the engine to get the fuel to go “uphill” with a weak diaphragm. Eventually, the pump will cease to have enough pressure to keep the engine running. By blowing into the tank and slightly pressurizing it I was pushing some of the fuel into the pump and helping it along, just a little. Now that I have rebuilt the pump I no longer have to “kiss the truck” and it starts just fine. If Mike replaces the pump (which is cheap) he will probably have favorable results. — Randy Raasch, Hettinger, N.D.

A. The consensus for Mike Rowda’s problem (Q&A Nov. 5) was leaky plugs inside his Quadrajet, apparently a well-known issue (and solved, see the following). Your experience, however, may help others in diagnosing other fuel supply problems.

Q. Old Cars published a question I had about gas draining from the carburetor on my 1972 Olds Cutlass in the Oct. 1 Q&A. I want to thank Old Cars for publishing my question and thank all the folks who wrote back and gave such good advice. The day after I got the issue, I got a call from Lou Kenkel, from Benld, Ill., who said he knew exactly what the problem was. He said coating the plugs on the underside of the float bowl would solve the problem. He said nail polish works well. Several folks wrote and said about the same thing. I had the mechanic I have work on the car rebuild the carburetor and coat the plugs on the underside of the float bowl. He used epoxy to seal the plug area. He also installed a new fuel filter with a back-flow valve. He did not think that was the problem, but put it in as extra protection. I have let the car sit for several days and started it on four or five occasions. Before the carburetor rebuild, I would have to pump the gas pedal 15 to 20 times and try several times to get the car started. Now, I pump the gas three times and the car starts after cranking for three or four seconds. I am happy. The automatic choke works better with only pumping three times. Thanks for the help. — Mike Rowda, Greenwood, Ind.

A. Thanks for letting us know. Nothing is as satisfying as solving a pesky problem.

To submit questions to this column: E-mail or mail to: Q&A, Old Cars,
5225 Joerns Drive, Suite 2, Stevens Point, WI 54481.

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