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Q&A with Kit Foster: February 9, 2012


Q. I have a Volare front suspension on a 1962 Ford unibody. I have full wheel covers on Dodge wheels and they rotated and would bend the valve stems. I put five or six small dabs of marine GOOP on the tabs, install the cover and let it set up overnight. I’ve used this for years and it works fantastically. They come off fairly easily. The GOOP pulls off using pliers and does no damage. I have used GOOP to install speakers on my Harley and they stay put. I use marine grade, but I would think their automotive grade works as well. Fleet Farm and Menards both carry GOOP.

John L. Olson, St. Paul, Minn.

A. Thanks. I never would have thought of adhesive for a task like this. This GOOP would be one of the adhesive products made by Eclectic Products, Inc., of Eugene, Ore., not the hand cleaner of that name from Critzas Industries of St. Louis, Mo. That Goop, by the way, is an essential item in our laundry room. When rubbed into grease stains prior to washing, it does a great job of taking them out. My wife much prefers Goop because, unlike the GoJo or Permatex brands of hand cleaner, it is virtually odorless. Julius Alexander, of Bloomington, Ill., has a different solution to the slipping wheel cover problem, which we mentioned in the Dec. 15 issue: “I place the cap to determine where the spring clips rest, then take the MIG and weld several spots around the rim at outer edge where clips sit. Have never had one slip or pop off.”


Q. I have an old Ford truck. The numbers on the left frame rail are: *299T-1923971*. According to our local NAPA parts store, going by the distributor cap, it is some place between 1942 and 1946. I believe this to be a 1-1/2 ton. I am guessing the dump box to be about three yards. This truck has the flathead V-8. It also has the banjo-type rear axle. The patent plate on the firewall has “KO” stamped on it. I did not find any numbers on the engine, or the bell housing. The court house says that the VIN needs to start with an F, and it must have 17 characters in it. Being this old, I do not believe this. To apply for a title, I need to know the VIN and be sure what year it is. This is a civilian truck, not an ex-military vehicle.

Carl Hermel, Rollins, Wyo.

A. Look at that frame number again. Could it be 799T-1923971? That would correspond to a 1947 Model 79T Ford 1-1/2 ton truck with the 239-cubic inch, 100-bhp flathead V-8, probably with a 134-inch wheelbase. With a dump body it was designated 79U, but the VIN would be in the same range. Serial numbers for 1947 ranged from 715264 to 214058. Ford did not stamp numbers on engine blocks during this period, but on cars, at least, the same number should be found on the bell housing, at the top. The floor boards have to come up in order to see it. As you are aware, the 17-digit VIN is a modern invention, dating from the 1980s. The people working at your courthouse are apparently unfamiliar with old cars and trucks.


Q. I have a 1937 Ford half-ton flatbed stake truck, Model 77-805, serial number 3530475. I would like to know how many were made in that year. The truck is completely restored and lettered with the original logo Ford used in 1936, ’37 and ’38. This truck has the body recessed into the back fenders. Was this original from Ford, or was it an aftermarket item?

Mike Zimmer, via e-mail

A. Yes, it was a factory offering. James K. Wagner’s “Ford Trucks Since 1905” (Crestline, 1978) shows that exact model, with the flatbed nesting into the rear fenders. This is unusual, as most flatbeds had no rear fenders at all. It was a new model for Ford in 1937, and carried over into 1938 with some changes, particularly in the fenders. In 1939, the smallest stake flatbed was in the new three-quarter-ton range and dispensed with the rear fenders. Unfortunately, I cannot find any production figures for your model.


Q. As a longtime Corning employee, I would like to comment on the glass lenses mentioned in your Nov. 3 and Feb. 2 columns. About a century ago, a railroad company approached Corning, Inc., with a request for heat-resistant glass that would not break when rain or snow struck the kerosene signal lamps. This caused the glass to shatter and the flame to blow out. The problem was caused by the rapid change in temperature between the cold outside and hot inside the glass, resulting in breakage due to unequal thermal expansion. Corning perfected a low-expansion glass, later branded as “Pyrex.” Pyrex soon found its way into many other commercial and industrial applications. Casserole dishes and coffee carafes are good present-day examples.

Andrew Picariello, Marstons Mills, Mass.

A. Thanks for sharing that interesting piece of industrial history.

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.

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