Skip to main content

Q&A with Kit Foster: January 8, 2015


Q. I am currently restoring a 1953 Ford F100 pickup. I am having trouble finding a vinyl strip to protect my running boards. They are mounted on an aluminum strip. Sacramento Vintage Ford Parts and Dennis Carpenter have discontinued them. They look like these I recently photographed at Hot August Nights in Reno. They originally sold for $127 for two running boards. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

— Gary Sutliff, Burbank, Calif.

A. Is anyone harboring any NORS F100 parts of this type? Information will be forwarded to Mr. Sutliff.


Q. Regarding Warren Broz and his Plymouth cooling system (Nov. 13), it cools at speed, which generally shows that the system has sufficient coolant flow, and overheating at idle is usually an airflow problem. Before buying anything, I would try using each fan individually. If the puller fan is slower than the pusher, it will create an airflow block and a dead-air space in the radiator. When the car is moving, airflow will go through the full radiator core, not just the part covered by the fan, and airflow under the car will help suck out air and let the pusher do its work. Costs nothing to test, and could save a bunch. Kit’s suggestion to keep the cap and thermostat is right on.

— Jim Morris, West Allis, Wis.

A. Yes, worth trying, but I think his cooling system is at best marginal. William Steed (below) has more on this subject.


Q. I noted the question posed by Warren Broz regarding his ’46 Plymouth with a Chevy V8 engine and a stock radiator. Kit Foster’s response about a “basic thermodynamics problem” is pretty well spot on. In a nutshell, the stock radiator is not up to the task of cooling a modern V8 engine. Actually, the original radiator was marginal for the original six-cylinder engine.

I have a 1939 Plymouth convertible coupe that has a 2001 Chevy V8, 330 hp Vortec with 700R4 transmission, GM 10-bolt 3.26 rear axle, air conditioning, power steering, disc brakes, P205/60-15 tires on custom made steel wheels, and every DPCD accessory I could find. Being a convertible it has a double frame, therefore it is quite heavy.

My engine is running a 195-degree thermostat, the radiator is a Summit Racing aluminum cross flow made for race cars up to 600 hp, three inches thick, which we stood up; therefore it is no longer a cross flow. I have a molded ABS fan shroud that covers the entire radiator. The electric fan is part of the shroud; it does not have a thermal switch, it runs all the time. My Plymouth is built to run in the fast lane. The temperature generally sits at about 195/200 even on a hot August day with the temps sitting in the high 90s. Stop and go city traffic has very little effect on the engine temps. I have the same setup in my ’49 Olds 88 two-door club sedan w/550 hp Olds 403 and a 200-4R trans.

— William Steed, Ventura, Calif.

A. Thank you.


Q. In reply to Jim McCracken (Nov. 13), who was looking for option production information on his 1968 Olds Cutlass, there is a website called that has a VIN decoder. You provide your VIN and it used to provide a comprehensive breakdown of your car, showing all your options and all cars that were built the same way. It appears to have new operators now, and it still will dissect your VIN, but I don’t know if they still provide the breakdown. There is a trial option.

— Jim Morris, West Allis, Wis.

A. It seems to work that way. I tried it with the VIN from my 1995 Chevy Suburban and it tells me the truck was built on Feb. 22 of that year and has 73 installed options. For further breakdowns you have to go behind a pay wall. However, it will not help Mr. McCracken (or most of us), as it only goes back to 1980.

To submit questions to this column: E-mail or mail to: Q&A, c/o Angelo Van Bogart, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001.

Got Old Cars?

If you don't subscribe to Old Cars Weekly magazine, you're missing out on the only weekly magazine in the car hobby. And we'll deliver 50 issues a year right to your mailbox every week for less than the price of a oil change! Click here to see what you're missing with Old Cars Weekly!

More Resources for Car Collectors:

Where to Bid

Car Auciton

Check out the Old Cars Auction Calendar

The Old Cars Auction Calendar has the when and where you are looking for when it comes to classic car auctions.