Talking Shop – Dave’s Garage

No questions to answer this month, so I’ll take this opportunity to “talk shop.”

I like to work on cars. Fortunately, antique cars give me plenty of opportunities to do just that. Occasionally a problem will come up and it will stump me. This is often upsetting at the time, but usually works out well in the end. I say this because I usually end up buying a new tool, or, I learn something.

I have a rather large assortment of tools, from a nice collection of hand tools to more specialized tools. Several years ago Wilson Tire in Lebanon, NH sold off all their equipment, including the lifts. I was able to buy a two post lift for my garage at a very favorable price, and now I am equipped to do most repairs on cars. I refuse to buy a tool that I will only use a couple of times. If it becomes clear that I will get a lot of use out of a tool, I will purchase it, but it needs to justify the expense and the amount of space it takes up in my gar-age. I can do my own A/C repair now, but I don’t have a fancy several thousand dollar evacuation machine, I have a $15 dollar compres-sor powered vacuum pump from Harbor Freight. It works, and I’ve probably used it 4 times now.

The tool I use the most, though, is my computer. Knowledge is power, and if I need to learn about something the internet is always just a few finger strokes away.

I have found the Internet forums quite helpful. There is more knowledge and experience there than in any book. Chances are, whenever I have a problem or a question I need answered there is a group of people who have already solved it and they are all too happy to help. This resource is invaluable for answering questions and solving problems. The internet is very useful during a restoration, from find-ing pictures of how things are supposed to be assembled, to finding out the finer points of originality, all the answers can be found on line. If you have a particularly troubling problem, come to a VAE meeting and ask for help. You will be hard pressed to find another room with more knowledge and people willing to help. If you can’t wait for a meeting, pick up the VAE Roster and look for a person with a car similar to yours, and give them a call.

Another tip I have found to be very beneficial is the use of another similar car. It is amazing how we get used to something, and then just assume that it is normal. The best way I can judge what is “right” on any particular car is to compare it with a car that is right. Take the opportunity to drive someone else’s car. This is a great way to see if everything is as it should be on your car. It is truly amazing how things change over time, and we get used to it. Our cars need to drive safely, and we simply cannot drive with brakes or suspension components that are not up to par.

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

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