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Q&A with Kit Foster: January 5, 2012

Q. I have a lighter with trouble lighting just like the one Bill Diehm wrote about (Q&A Nov. 24). It came with the 1928 Franklin Series 12-A convertible coupe that I purchased in 1972 and still have. In the Franklin parts book it is shown as standard equipment, not an accessory, but if you lost it the replacement cost was $1 for the complete light and $5 for the cigar lighter.

Pierre Lavedan, Pocatello, Idaho

A. This is ironic. My father’s family had Franklins during the 1920s, the last being a 1928 sedan. It was a Series 12-B and presumably, being the more upscale model, would have had one of these lighters, too. Alas, the family members who would remember this car have all passed away. The device was not unique to Franklin, though. John Gottschalk of Toledo, Ohio, remembers a similar accessory on his father’s 1929 Wanderer, a German car, that had a magnetic base to hold the light during repairs. Charles Campbell of Bossier City, La., had a lighter of this type on a 1932 Lincoln KA, albeit without the trouble light.


Q. I bought a 1938 Chevy two-door sedan. Someone turned it into a street rod, with V-8, power steering, power brakes and air conditioning. I love the car but would like to know what it was originally. I think it’s a Master Deluxe. The serial number is 1818991.

Barry Maupin, North Beach, Md.

A. That number is in the range of 1938 Chevrolet engine numbers, which ran from 1187822 to 1915446 for Flint-built cars. Since the original engine has been replaced with a V-8 you probably will not find this number on the car itself. You cannot tell the series from the engine number. The serial number of your car was located on a plate under the hood, on the firewall on the right-hand side. The entry-level Master series had the prefix HB, the upscale Master Deluxe was prefixed HA. The principal mechanical difference between the series was in the front suspension. The Masters had a solid axle with leaf springs, while the Master Deluxe had coil spring independent suspension called “Knee Action” (often confused with the earlier Dubonnet-type Knee Action, which had combination spring-shock absorbers). Actually there were two two-door sedans in each series, a Coach with no trunk and a rear mounted spare, and a Town Sedan with integral “bustle” trunk. Cars with built-in trunks were becoming increasingly popular. Coach production reached only 3,326 Masters and 1,038 Master Deluxe cars, while the Town Sedan sold 95,050 Masters and 186,233 Master Deluxes. Based on probability alone, your car is probably a Master Deluxe Town Sedan.


Q. In the Sept. 15 Q&A, you refer to a technique that will “walk” a generator bushing out of its hole using a tap. Can you explain this further?

Bill Barnes, Hilton Head. S.C.

A. Sure. “Walk,” in this case, is a metaphor, since bushings don’t have legs. Generator bushings are made of a soft brass or bronze alloy, and are driven into place and held by friction. If the bushing fits in a hole that’s drilled all the way through, as on the pulley end of a generator, it can be driven out with a drift punch. If, however, it’s in a blind hole, as in the back of the generator, it can be difficult to remove. Find a tap on which the depth of the thread is slightly larger than the inner diameter of the bushing. The tap, being tapered and much harder than the bushing, will cut threads as it goes in. When the tip of the tap bottoms out in the blind hole, it will put pressure on the bushing as it continues to turn, which will start to force the bushing back out of the hole. Be gentle and don’t force anything, and it should “walk” out easily. If, for some reason, the bushing is loose enough in the hole that it turns before the tap bottoms, you should be able to use the tap as a puller, again applying just enough force that you don’t break anything.


Q. I’m restoring a 1951 Buick Special with the stock straight-eight engine. It has the canister-type oil filter mounted on top. I’m not interested in keeping everything stock, so I’m doing a mild custom and upgrading some things. I was wondering if I could replace the filter with a spin-on of the type used behind the headlight on V-6 four-wheel-drive S10 Chevy Blazers and S15 GMC Jimmys in the early 1990s. Other models and years may use it; it’s a convenient little assembly. I can easily make a bracket to mount the spin-on filter where the original one is. Are there any problems with flow pressures, etc.? I know the Buick filter only filters a portion of the oil that is bypassed to it, not all the oil from the oil pump that today’s filters do.

Dave Stanton, Zimmerman, Minn.

A. I don’t see any reason why this won’t work. Late-1950s Rambler Americans had a similar setup, although they mounted the filter gasket-side down, which must have made for messy changes. Consider this when you locate your bracket.

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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