This is a growing index of technical notes that have been published in The Roadrunner. Click on the desired link below to take you to the page of interest. Technical articles from members are invited; contact the webmaster. 

Index of "Technical Tips" Articles

1933 Cadillac Luggage Carrier Using Modern Fuels in your Classic (PDF document)
1941 Packard Power Windows Tuning your car - how often in Arizona? (PDF document)
1942 Lubrication Advice Trailer Talk (PDF document)
Temporary Fix for Gas Tank Leak Don't Neglect Safety with your Classic (PDF document)
90% of Engine Wear Occurs During Start-up Changing lubrication requirements (PDF document)
Avoid Engine Damage after Long Storage Preparing for a CARavan - "Things I wish I had done before my first one."
1932 Ninth and 1933 Tenth Series Packards Finding a hidden miss in a Packard
What is Horsepower?  (PDF Document)  Indiana Region CCCA sells special high zinc oil
How important are tires on your Full Classic (PDF document) Driving your Classic at Night
Safety checking - before taking your Classic on the road (PDF doc) Rockin' Oldies: "New" Radios for Classics
Fan Belt Tension Check Fixing Pesky Oil Leaks
Do you Know Where Your Piston Is?  


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In 1941 Packard was one of the first cars to provide power operated windows, available as an option in the 180 Series as shown in the illustration on the left. Return to Index of Articles

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If you have a 1933 Cadillac 4 door Fleetwood and an accessory roof luggage carrier, where on the roof do you put it?    It turns out that the solutions is really simple according to Cadillac. You can put it in the middle, or near the front, or near the back. Click on the photo to the left. Return to Index of Articles


Do You Know Where Your Piston Is?

I have trouble finding out when the piston is near the top of the stroke on number one cylinder. The following method is easier for me than watching the tappet rockers.

Find an old spark plug and remove all the ceramic material until you are left with just the metal section. Buy a small party balloon and tape it to the non-threaded (upper) end, screw the plug end into the plug hole of number one cylinder and turn the engine over with the crank handle. The balloon will slowly inflate as the piston rises to the top of the stroke.

Wayne Hough,
reprinted from newsletter tech tips


1942 advice may be applicable to Full Classics® as we use them these days

(reprinted from The Arizona Classic Roadrunner, February, 2004)

Typical usage of our Full Classics® does not involve annual mileages that they had when they were in every day use years ago. In October, 1942, MoToR Annual advice was given to drivers who had to follow gasoline rationing and other war-time restrictions on the miles driven.

      Lubrication attention once in a thousand miles will not protect the engines and chassis of cars operated less than 3,000 miles a year originally allotted the average family automobile under gas rationing. Nor will it conserve for “duration service,” no one knows how long, the great majority of the nation’s passenger vehicles, which will not be run anywhere near the 9,000-mile peacetime normal.

   “There are five principal reasons why cars cannot safely be serviced with lengthy intervals between lubrications, either on a mileage or time basis:

   “1. Infrequent, short, low-speed drives will not generate sufficient heat to vaporize gasoline and other foreign matter which gets into the crankcase, with the result that dilution of the oil is increased.

   “2. Grease will harden at little used lubrication points, reducing its efficiency.

   “3. Wartime restrictions on materials have eliminated use of certain chemicals in some lubricants and the protective qualities of some substitutes are not as durable.

   “4. Battery checking and other inspections, ordinarily made at the time of lubrication, are required at regular intervals, even if mileage is low.

   “5. Parts damaged by lubrication neglect may be difficult or impossible to replace.

   “Engine oil should be changed more frequently on those millions of cars which are being operated at a fraction of their customary mileage similar attention should be given to filters.” Return to Index of Articles


Try using ordinary bar soap as a temporary ‘fix’ for a leaking gas tank

(reprinted from The Arizona Classic Roadrunner, February, 2004)

    What do you do when you are on the road and you learn that your gasoline tank is leaking?

   This happened to one of the Arizona Region members on the recent caravan to southeastern Arizona. He filled the tank on the outskirts of Tucson. One of the others on the trip pointed out the steady drip of gasoline on the pavement below the 1941 Cadillac.

   The drip was spotted as coming from the front right side of the tank at the seam which connects the top half to the bottom half of the tank.

   This was not the time nor place to get it fixed, so the driver continued. By the next stop, several miles later, the leak appeared to be gone. Perhaps the amount of gasoline used by the car (and the leak) had the tank less than half full.

   The next morning this was mentioned to Walter Fuelberth who was on the trip. Walt explained that many years ago he was driving from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City when he noticed the gas gauge indicating an extraordinary amount of fuel usage. He stopped at a gas station (there were a lot of them in those days) and the local mechanic used an ordinary bar of soap rubbed generously over the spot of the leak.

    Walt drove on to his destination with normal fuel usage. He used the car several more times in the following weeks before having the leak fixed permanently. There was no apparent leaking in the meantime.

   Not long afterward, Bob Messinger helped with applying a generous amount of ordinary white soap from the hotel on the spot where the leak had been spotted.

   The car made it back to the Phoenix area safely with no apparent additional leaking. Return to Index of Articles


The SAE says 90 percent of engine wear and damage occurs during start up, not while driving

(reprinted from The Arizona Classic Roadrunner, August, 2004)

  "Starting your engine after long term storage is equal to a 500 mile trip"

   The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) says about 90 percent of engine wear and damage occurs during startup. Another organization says that every engine start is equal to a 500 mile trip.

   For cars that have been in long term storage the case is even worse. Oil in the engine settles in the pan; thus there is little if any protecting the pistons, cylinder walls, cams, bearings and crankshafts. This can also lead to corrosion or oxidation.

   Thus there are two problems: minimizing engine damage during storage and minimizing engine damage and wear when starting the car after storage.

  Some people use a heavy protective oil in the upper cylinders before storage. This can cause fouled spark plugs and can cause hard starts. It fails to protect all cylinders as a piston at the top of its stroke when the engine was shut down will not get the oil.

   Another method is replacing the spark plugs with those containing desiccant material for the storage period. It removes excess moisture from the air inside the cylinders and reduces corrosion. On the other hand the special plugs need to be removed frequently and oven dried to reduce the moisture saturation and to restore the designed capabilities. These plugs are also expensive  The plugs are available from The Eastwood Co.,

   An alternative is a chemical additive to combine with the engine oil to form a resilient, iron-phosphate oil film, molecular thin for inner engine metals. The product can prevent iron-oxide coatings from the cylinder walls.  Available from Applied Chemical Specialties,

Return to index of articles

Careful planning and preparation may avoid damage to the engine after long term storage

(reprinted from The Arizona Classic Roadrunner, October, 2004)

   When a car’s engine has not been run in months, it may take as long as 10 seconds for oil to reach all parts that need it. Metal to metal contact can cause serious wear or damage before there is normal oil pressure.

    An old method is to disconnect the coil and crank the starter several times to spread the oil. After a long period without use, the battery may not have normal cranking power. This approach may also overload the starter and cause oil to miss some important areas.

   An alternate method is called “Pre-Luber” which creates full oil pressure before the engine is cranked. It uses a low-amp mechanical pump, powered by the car’s battery. One problem is its expense. Another is the installation and appearance may be  objectionable.

   Some may prefer the No-Rosion Lubrication System Passivator (see the August Roadrunner article above). The system maintains a thin film of oil in the engine even though the engine is not running. The surface film on the engine parts does not all settle into the crankcase after the engine stops.

   Some products claim to be super-lubricants. They may contain chlorinated paraffin which may reduce friction, but because of low-pH properties can be very corrosive to engines that are not driven regularly.

   The No-Rosion system is available from Applied Chemical Specialties, P.O. Box 241597, Omaha, NE 69124, 1-800-845-8523 or

Return to index of articles

Fan Belt Tension Check
(reprinted from The Arizona Classic Roadrunner, Novemner-December 2010)

If you don’t have a fan belt tension gauge, you can do without. The rule of thumb is if you grasp the fan belt between the pulleys (be sure the engine is OFF), you should be able to move it about 1Ú2 inch. If it is tighter, the water pump and generator bear- ings may be damaged. If it’s too loose and there is slippage, this impairs water circulation and charg- ing.
Old Cars Weekly.