Last post on Jul 12, 2013 at 9:40 AM
You are in the Classic Cars
What is this discussion about?
Coupe, Convertible, Truck, Sedan, Wagon
#1 of 66 Who is going to fix it?
Mar 30, 2010 (9:08 am)
I've owned quite a few old cars in my lifetime and I'm itching for another one.
There are things I can do mechanic wise but I know my limitations. I also lack the equipment.
So, on Ebay, awhile back, I spotted a very nice 1952 Chevy. Bone stock, the way I like them. Totally original and I thought about making a bid.
But, then I remembered. That Chevy had the 216 Cubic Inch engine with splash lubrication and babbitted bearings. These used to require adjustment and shimming from time to time. They also had a closed driveshaft that had internal seals that would go bad.
When I was a kid, I had a 1952 Chevy and there were lots of shops that had the knowledge and equipment to work on these. Today, those mechanics are long dead or retired and that knowledge went with them.
I remember finding a receipt in the glove box where the previous owner had taken it to the local Chevy dealer for a knock in the engine. They charged him 30.00 to drop the pan and adjust and shim up the rod bearings.
Who would know how to do that now?
Who knows how to fix "Huck" brakes? I know...the last year Chevy used those was 1950.
The old machine shops are gone too.
And I looked at a beautiful DeSoto at a swap meet a couple of years ago. If had Fluid Drive. Most people don't even know how those work...I do, but who could work on one now?
People come to these forums that are thinking about buying, say, a 1965 Tbird.
OK moremodern to be sure but who can fix the sequential turn signals or track down the vacuum leaks? Anyone remember how to replace the upper control arm shafts?
Just makes me hesitate taking a chance.
#2 of 66 Re: Who is going to fix it? [isellhondas]
Mar 30, 2010 (2:49 pm)
"1952 Chevy. Bone stock"
If it had PowerGlide, the engine was 235 c.i. with hydralic lifters = no adjust.
If the engine was 216 the feeler gauges were 6 & 13 thousands. An after market pad was common to buy, soak it in a quart of oil and fit it on top of the rocker arms.
But the best way to come home after hours was to race down the street, cut the engine and coast into the driveway. Father would continue to sleep, but Mother would hear the gravel creaking in the driveway.
#3 of 66 Re: Who is going to fix it? [euphonium]
Mar 30, 2010 (3:01 pm)
You're right. The Powerglides had the much better 235 engines with hydraulic lifters and insert full pressure bearings.
I wasn't talking about adjusting the valves. I can do that.
Dealing with babbett bearings is something else.. No modern shop has any idea.
Heck, try to find a good carburator guy anymore!
#4 of 66 Re: Who is going to fix it? [isellhondas]
Mar 30, 2010 (3:28 pm)
My mechanic could fix it. But I can't guarantee it'll stay fixed, as he's sometimes been hit-or-miss. One of the biggest embarrassments was with my '79 NYer last year. I brought it in because the power steering was going bad. That, fortunately, was a cheap fix, as it was a hose and not the pump, but I had him do a bunch of brake work and he also messed around with it to try to get it to run better.
When I picked it up from him, I asked him if he would trust it to go to Carlisle, PA, which is about 130 miles away. I figured I'd drive this one up for the Mopar show, instead of my '79 5th Ave. He said he would trust the car to go ANYWHERE. Well, it started on the first try, but died when I put it in gear. Second try, it fired up, but as soon as I got around the corner from his shop it cut out, and refused to re-start. I called him on my cell phone, and he came right out, and for the life of him couldn't get it to start. Then, out of the blue, I turned the key, and it fired right up!
I think the problem is moisture in the distributor cap. I have found, if it's getting cranky, that if I take the cap and rotor off and rub all the metal parts and blow on them a bit, and put them back together, it'll usually fire up right after that.
To his credit, I guess, he says he doesn't know much about Lean Burn, and a lot of that 70's crap with the excessive vacuum hoses and wiring and such seems to perplex a lot of mechanics. They seem to be okay with newer cars and older ones, but when it comes to maybe the mid-70's to mid-80's, by and large they tend to hate it.
My '57 DeSoto is in his shop right now, slowly but surely bankrupting me. As for the carburetor, he sent it off to be rebuilt, to some shop in Baltimore I think.
#5 of 66 Re: Who is going to fix it? [isellhondas]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Mar 30, 2010 (4:07 pm)
Well we can just RE-LEARN it. It's not like rocket science. You can fix a 1952 Chevrolet with a tool kit you could carry in one hand. (not including the jack of course)
The Art of Poured Bearings are still alive and well because of all the flathead Ford freaks out there.
As for fluid drive, well, you get out a book and follow directions. This stuff isn't that complicated because it's all analog. You can see, touch and feel it. It's not like some electron acting funny inside some black box.
Carburetors are also entirely logical, as long as you have the settings to set them up right after rebuild.
#6 of 66 Re: Who is going to fix it? [isellhondas]
Mar 30, 2010 (4:29 pm)
you just need to find a '52 chevy with a tuned port 350 in it!
#7 of 66 Re: Who is going to fix it? [isellhondas]
Mar 30, 2010 (5:17 pm)
Yeah, I've kinda built a little check list in my mind for the (always in the future) hobby car I buy-
-full-flow oiling system
So that puts me mid 50s+, I guess, which is fine...
I can handle most stuff on a car, given that.
I actually would be much more comfortable being responsible for maintaining a '65 whatever than a 2010...
#8 of 66 Re: Who is going to fix it? [texases]
Mar 30, 2010 (6:00 pm)
All of that is good reason I like my fintail. It is an old car, it looks vintage, but underneath it is closer to a modern car, even if the tech is somewhat funny now. I've never had a problem finding a place to get it fixed as well.
#9 of 66 Re: Who is going to fix it? [texases]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Mar 30, 2010 (9:06 pm)
The bottom line for me would be:
12 volt electrics
1971 or earlier
no column shifting manual transmission
electric windshield wipers
Norhing made by Ford prior to 1963
alternator charging system
The rest I can live with---roll up windows, drum brakes, etc.
#10 of 66 Re: Who is going to fix it? [Mr_Shiftright]
Mar 31, 2010 (5:17 am)
alternator charging system
How hard would it be to convert something with a generator, like my '57 DeSoto, to an alternator? Would it be worth the hassle I wonder?