One More For The Road

I realize that I am late in saying this, but hope everyone had a happy Christmas and that the New Year will be a good one for all. Our Colorado daughter and her son were here for Christmas day until New Year’s day. Having our three “children” and their children, plus my brother and his wife from New Hampshire, made for a great holiday get together. My New Year’s resolution is to have our house “spit spot” for the summer’s family get together, well, dust freer, and wallpaper replaced in upstairs bathroom. The paper was one of the first things we did – wallpaper really doesn’t stay nice forever I now know. Maybe if I start tomorrow, but it is too cold for housework – smile. Our son Tom’s New Year’s resolution at his wife’s urging, is to get to work on the 1935 twelve cylinder Packard limousine he was given by my Dad. Dad had acquired it from a ne’er-do-well young fellow whose wealthy father became tired of supporting his son, told him to pick a car from his extensive collection and get out of his house. This “back to nature” type of guy ended up living in a house that my parents owned, out in the woods and with no utilities. At the end of his brief tenancy, he didn’t have money for rent, so he gave the Packard to Dad. All our kids took a shine to this impressive yacht of a car and especially enjoyed riding in it during parades. Tom especially loved it so his grandfather willed it to him. It has been with Tom in New York, then St. Albans and currently in his garage in Westford. I think, in the past, I have mentioned that the three-car garage was the selling point for their buying in Westford. There was also a house and several acres of land, but those features were irrelevant to our son. Given the current lower gas prices, it might even be feasible to drive this gas-guzzler a bit. In any event, looking at it and working on it should be a good father-son bonding experience. Wendell’s resolution is to get his 1939 Chrysler roadster finished – no surprise there! It’s the same as last year’s. Must get back to writing Christmas cards. I thought of doing New Year’s cards, but too late for them too. Maybe if I start in October this year, I’ll get them out in time, maybe. There’s always hope.

Frozen Piston Rings – Dave’s Garage

A little over a year my Chrysler minivan burned an exhaust valve. While diagnosing the problem, I did a compression check. All the cylinders had roughly 175 psi of compression, except cylinder six which had zero.

After replacing the burned valve, I checked the compression again, and found this cylinder only had about 70 psi. The engine had an uneven idle and a bit of a skip under acceleration. I decided to leave it for a while and see what happened.

I checked the compression again last weekend, and it was still only 70 psi. Remembering that there was no appreciable wear on the cylinder walls, I realized that the cause of the low compression was either broken rings, or frozen rings.

I knew the fix for broken rings would involve a tear down of the engine. Knowing that Marvel Mystery Oil is the “go to” fix for a frozen engine, I decided to try something that may fix frozen rings that would not involve tearing the engine down. I poured a mixture of 50% Marvel Mystery Oil and 50% Acetone through the spark plug hole, and left it overnight. The next morning I turned the engine over a few times to expel the fluid, then I checked the compression. To my relief, the compression was up to 150 psi. This is still lower than the other cylinders, but more than double what it was. The rough idle and skip are gone. I will drive the van for a few weeks and check the compression again.

This fix is much cheaper, faster and easier than removing the head, dropping the oil pan and removing the piston to mechanically free up the rings.

A 50/50 mix of ATF and Acetone is still my go to concoction for freeing up frozen hardware. The fluid is much thinner than conven-tional penetrating oil. I am still amazed at how well this works, and I almost feel like I am somehow cheating. It works so much better than anything else I’ve used, and it is much, much cheaper too.

Because Acetone is a solvent, this concoction needs to be kept in a sealed metal container. I have a metal oil can with a screw on cap on the end of the flexible tube.

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

Cars, Trains, Boats, And…

“The mission of the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum is to preserve, interpret, exhibit, and educate regarding transportation history and artifacts in the Champlain Valley.”

The CVTM Diecast Room

Hmmm, very familiar kind of logic. Part of our VAE mission statement reads “dedicated to the preservation, protection, promotion and appreciation of automobiles history and technology.”

Plattsburg Air Force Base was decommissioned (closed) on September 25, 1995. It covered 3447 acres and was a cold war Strategic Air Command Base. It’s 11,750 foot runway (compared to Burlington’s 8320 foot runway) was built to accommodate the B-52 Stratofortress and a backup landing choice for our space shuttle program. The base was also the center of a 50 mile circle of twelve missile silos for the Atlas F missile built in the 1960s. The base was established in 1814 as a 200 acre military reservation and has a very interesting history through those 181 years. After the base was decommissioned, the Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corporation (PARC) was created to manage the facility with tenants ranging from the Pratt & Whitney Industrial Turbine Services and Bombardier and to GSM Vehicles (vintage trailer restoration) and the Westinghouse Air Brake Company.

The Champlain Valley Transportation Museum is one of those tenants and is housed partially in the base’s old motor pool. Plattsburg hosts five museums, the other four are the Plattsburgh State Art Museum, The War of 1812 Museum, the Kent-Delord House Museum and the Battle of Plattsburgh Interpretive Center. The Champlain Valley Transportation Museum (CVTM) was founded in 2000 by a group of car and history enthusiasts from the Plattsburgh area. What began as an automobile museum has grown to cover many more forms of transportation.

The foundation of CVTM is the Lozier Motor Company, a Plattsburg automobile manufacturing business during the early 1900s that built some of the most exquisite and expensive vehicles during that time period (more on the Lozier can be found on page 10). The museum is trying something new this year by staying open during the winter months even though most of the buildings are not heated, they have been very happy with their choice. In fact there was one of those days where 42 people passed through the gates.

There are a couple of vehicles in the museum from “this side of the lake”. Bryce Howells has his “27 Packard there and a 1911 Kissell that belongs to Steve Dana is also on display. Dick Soper is in the hopes they can make room for a couple more VAE cars in the near future. A plan Dick would like to institute is a more in-depth maintenance program for the many vehicles at the museum. A check-off list that covers everything from tire pressure and oil levels to cleaning and display that would be used regularly to watch over the many wonderful old vehicles. He suggested maybe the VAE would be interested in helping him build a proper maintenance program.

Even though the museum has been around for a number of years they are continually upgrading and adding new displays. The Kid’s Station is a recent addition to the museum where an interactive and hands-on environment has been created. A recent addition is an old fashioned Doctor’s Office complete with the doctor’s buggy. Children…and adults have fun climbing into the Vulcan Locomotive built in South Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania. The diner restaurant display will take you back to the 50s.

Visit the CVTM Museum at 12 Museum Way in Plattsburgh, NY and soak up some wonderful history