Q&A with Kit Foster: March 22, 2012

Publish date:
0322QA-Model T Shocks

Q. What car are these shock absorbers from? The casting says “VAN BRILL, IND’PLS, PATENTED 12-2-19.”

Eugene Luptak, Ringwood, Ill.

A. They’re one of many types of accessory shocks made to fit Model T Fords. The end of the transverse lead spring attaches to the pin at lower right, while the bottom left attaches to the axle. The fulcrum (upper right) would attach to the chassis in order to stabilize it.


Q. Are there any other readers who have seen the 1990 movie “Goodfellas,” and noticed an interesting error in the prop setups? In the scene at Idlewild Airport in 1963, actor Ray Liotta is standing directly behind a 1965 Chevy Impala. Some time machine!

Don Ekstrom, North Oxford, Mass.

A. I’m sure other readers have noticed the goof. The entries for that film on the Internet Movie Data Base (www.imdb.com) show more than 20 such bloopers, including the ’65 Chevy, several other anachronisms involving cars and aircraft, and even a Trimline telephone. Overall, Hollywood seems to be getting better at details like this.


Q. The question on converting to power steering in the Jan. 12 Q&A caught my eye. I have a 1976 Chevrolet G-20 van, VIN GGT266U159958. It has a straight six with Powerglide transmission. I have a diagram of the factory installation for power steering on my van, showing all parts including the brackets with GM part numbers. However, GM does not stock these parts. Would the Delphi 600 unit you mention, used on the 1998 Grand Cherokee, work in my van? I’m willing to spend the money for a conversion kit and have it professionally installed. Where would I find the Delphi 600 conversion kit? Where do I locate an interchange manual?

Lee Woolf, West Chester, Pa.

A. The discussion in the Jan. 12 Q&A concerned kits made to update or adapt pre-1965 Chevy passenger cars, on which power steering was originally the linkage-assist type with a separate control valve and hydraulic ram acting on the steering linkage. The kit replaces this with a modern, integral power-assisted steering box. There does not seem to be a kit available for your van, but I am told that street rodders often adapt these on their own to fit other vehicles. You and your mechanic are going to have to do some engineering in order to use this approach, which will include figuring out which parts will fit and how to install them. I am going to suggest that instead you try to replicate a factory power steering installation for your van. If you can find a salvage yard truck with six-cylinder engine and power steering, you’ll be able to get all the necessary parts. I think you should be able to have the power steering pump and steering box rebuilt, to bring them to as-new condition.


Q. Regarding Tom Wishart’s question about the proper overdrive for his 1959 Ford (Q&A Jan. 26), my references do not include the 1963 models as an interchange, as you stated in your reply. Two different units were available for 1958 to 1962 Fords, and the owner must select from the T-10 or T-85 version. The T-10 fits the six and small V-8 (292 cid). The T-85 is used with the FE engine (332 and 352 cid). These units are all fine-spline (23 spline) input and output shafts. First gear appears to be the biggest difference and is determined by engine size. The driveshaft will not need to be altered, nor the rear axle ratio changed. I made the same swap in a ’59 retractable with a 292 engine.

James Neuhart, Caldwell, Ohio

A. Thanks. Regarding gearing and shaft length, I was working from knowledge acquired in a hands-on fashion with Studebakers, which are somewhat different. We also heard from Clarence Zacke of Doral, Fla., who says the interchangeability is actually 1957 to ’64 (which differs from the advice above – I’m not sure which is correct). Zacke advises that one will need the wiring harness for the overdrive solenoid, the kickdown button and the control cable. He also reminds us to lock out the overdrive in hilly territory, as the free-wheeling feature eliminates compression braking at low speeds.

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

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