Vacation “highlights”

Gary and I just returned from a 6 week vacation. I used the term vacation but perhaps it should be more like an Odyssey. It really wasn’t what I would term a “vacation”. Gary drove (and I rode) over 7,000 miles. That isn’t 7000 miles of new road, it is 7000 miles, some of which is backtracking and going forward, sideways and back again! He likes to tell people that he does all the driving, which sometimes is true but this time it wasn’t. After finding a wonderful collection of old cars, tractors, etc. and parking me in the direct sun, I took matters into my own hands and backed the truck (with camper) into the shade!! Thus breaking his record for doing all the driving! Enough of that subject. My main reason for this article was to let everyone know that all roads lead to cars (in my world anyway) and the cars lead to owners or someone who knows the owners. Everyone we have met has some connection to someone or someplace or something that we do. Sometimes it is almost eerie! We started our trip traveling to Ontario for the 4-cylinder Plymouth tour. That proved to be very enjoyable. We met a few new people and many we already were acquainted with which was good to see them again. We went from there to South Dakota to search out Jim Lay, a “Plymouth” owner who was in the process of restoring his car and had contacted Wendell Noble who had given Gary the information. We arrived at his place without too much trouble, (thankful for cell phones), and found that indeed he was doing a restoration. Of course, you know where that leads so I’ll move on. During their conversation, Jim left to get something in the house. When he returned, he gave Gary a picture of a car on a trailer – Gary looked at it and quickly realized that it was a picture of his 31 Plymouth Convertible Coupe!!! He turned the picture over and stamped on it was; Return to Harry F. Olney, 62 Chester Rd., Springfield, VT. That was Gary’s dad. It seems that Jim’s dad and Gary’s had corresponded about 50 years ago and as you could tell, Jim’s dad never returned the photo!! It is now back in the family’s hands! We were eating with our grandchildren (THEY were the reason for the trip!!) in an A&W in Helena, Montana, when a man drove in (with his grandchildren) and probably wouldn’t have caught our attention but he was driving a ’63 Ford Galaxy Convertible. Waiting for food, Gary went and talked to him and found out he was from Connecticut but had lived in Montana a long time. And of course, found the history of the car! When their food arrived, they left and got into their car. I noticed he had left his wallet and cell on the table. My husband grabbed the items and ran after him and thankfully caught up with him. Needless to say, he was very grateful. The point of this story is that if he hadn’t had that car and Gary hadn’t talked to him, we probably wouldn’t have noticed his left behind items. On our way back to Vermont, after putting on several hundred miles going around the flooding in North Dakota, we were able to link up with Jim Benjaminson. Gary and Wendell wanted to thank him for his 40 years of service as an officer in the Plymouth Club and deliver some of Wendell’s wonderful maple syrup to them. What my husband said would be an hour visit lasted all day! Are you surprised?? But, even I have to admit, it was extremely pleasant. We saw his collection, a museum he is involved with and a nice lunch. I couldn’t ask for more. So on your next vacation, go with the flow but make sure to take along a few books (I read 7), knitting or anything else that helps pass the time when you feel you can’t listen to one more car story.!!!

Test Starting an Unmounted Engine – Dave’s Garage

I hope your summer is going well… it is nice to finally get somewhat of a break from the rain. As I am sitting here typing this, I think I can actually hear the grass growing outside my window. I have been quite busy with my MG TF project, the body tub went back on the running chassis yesterday, now I am hooking everything back up and trying to find all the parts I took off last year…

This question came to me this month:

Q. I have the “sliver” of a ’25 Moon. Continental 6 motor, chassis, wheels, radiator, hood, steering wheel…umm that’s about it. I had the starter rebuilt & now want to try to see if the motor will run. The flywheel does turn & it doesn’t appear to be “stuck”. I think it’s a 6 volt system, but is it negative ground? The radiator leaks real good, too! What do I have to do to test it out? Is there a basic flow chart/ or some diagnostic chart to follow for basic engine starting? Thank you for your response.

A. To test an engine, the engine needs to be firmly mounted to something. I would recommend bolting it in to the frame. Before you attempt to start the engine, the carburetor should be taken apart and cleaned and the engine oil should be changed. You need some provision to check for oil pressure. Do you have the gauge from the car? If not, do you have a mechanical gauge? With the engine bolted down, the carburetor cleaned and the oil changed the spark plugs should be removed and the engine should be turned over using the starter until there is good and stable oil pressure. To run, the engine needs three things; air, fuel and spark. You can hook the distributor up to any coil, six, or twelve volt, positive or negative ground, the electrons do not care, and the point and condenser system will work with any combination of the above to test fire an engine. I would check the points to make sure they are clean and working first. Either wire a switch in to the wire, or hook it up in such a way to be able to quickly disconnect a wire to shut the engine down. With the carburetor cleaned you can take several feet of hose and either hook it up to the fuel pump (if it works) or si-phon fuel through the hose from a gas can to the carburetor, keeping the gas can higher than the carburetor. Since you are test firing an engine, and only running it momentarily, you can put the coolant hoses in to a five gallon pail of water. To start the engine, use jumper cables directly on the starter. The starter has permanent magnets in it so it is not polarity sensitive. Place one lead on a good ground, and the other on the starter terminal. When you have power going to the ignition coil and you are ready to start, connect the jumper cable to a battery to activate the starter. BE prepared to “pull the plug” and keep a good fire extinguisher near by! This will quickly tell you if the engine is running or not, but will not give you much information as to the condition of the engine. Since it has been sitting for so long, it will probably not run very well, and it will smoke. Taking compression readings and noting the oil pressure will give you a good idea of the condition of the engine. I would not run the engine for more than a few seconds. Best of luck to you and keep us posted with your results.

I received this tip from Ken Taplin, and I am passing it along. I do not have a cell phone or a GPS, but I know most people do. I have not tried this, but would assume that it will work since most electronics operate on low voltage DC power.

Dave, Maybe I’m the only one that didn’t know this but I recently discovered that you can run a gps and charge a cell phone just as well on 6V as 12V. I used to carry a 12V battery pack for that. You do need the right polarity and In my positive ground cars I have installed marine grade power points. The cases are plastic and therefore not grounded so you can hook up the two wires for the right polarity. – Ken Taplin Blue Hill, Me.

Please email all inquiries to: Dave
or snail mail
32 Turkey Hill Road
Richmond VT 05477