john a 1939 Ford Deluxe 2dr Coupe, 5-Window

1964 My most epic improvised repairs

Back in 1964 as a teenaged gear head I fixed a 1958 Chevy Impala like I most likely could never ever do again. The story starts off when 2 buddies and I decided to take a road trip with our girl friends one nice summer day. Well that day is one I will never forget. We stayed out quite late and at dusk started to head home in our $25 to $50 wonder race cars of the day that we had pieced together with our pennies, nickels and dimes.

Well, we decided to take the toll way home and as luck had it, we all ended up 3 a breast at the pay toll gates. Wow, wasn't that great! A 3 car drag race began as the gates went up but my buddy in the '58 Chevy didn't get very far....As we looked back, smoke was coming out from his car and he was pulling off to the shoulder of the road.

We, the two remain running cars, backed up to see what happened. My buddy had his Chevys hood open and was admiring that big block 348 motor and just shaking his head. What happened was, this car had a belt driven air compressor for the factory air ride system, the compressor belt adjustment bracket broke and as that happened, the oil feed line from the engine to the compressor broke which shot engine oil under pressure all over the motor and under the hood. What a smoking mess that was and lastly, the drive belt was the same belt that drove the 12 volt generator.

OK, now we had a bad engine oil leak under pressure, an air compressor just lying sideways on the top side of the engine and no generator plus the Sun is going down and we are 60+ miles from home with our girl friends on board. The question is: Bail out and leave it or patch it and limp home? The first one was a no brainer....The area where the car was would only allow two things to happen if we left it. One was.....The State of Illinois would tow it away or the Chicago area vultures would have their way with it during the night. Therefore, leaving it to a fate worse than taking it to a local bone yard was out of the question.....

First was to stop the bad under pressure oil leak......This was rather easy once I broke off the copper oil feed line from the fitting on the block. The hole was only about a 1/8" diameter inside that fitting. I took out my Swiss army knife and removed a trim screw from the door step sill plate and screwed it into the remnant of the copper line and brass fitting in the engine block.

Next, I solved the loose compressor problem and the generator drive belt issue with one crazy fix. I kinda position the compressor back in place with the belt where it should have been before the bracket failed so it could also drive the generator and came up with the conclusion that IF I could jam something in between the block and the compressor to push it outward, the generator would be turning again via the engine drive belt system.

OK, so this was early on when beer and soda started coming in those heavy walled aluminum cans and there was the thing I needed. Something that could be formed in between the block and the compressor body to keep that generator drive belt tensioned enough to get the car home with the lights on and keep the battery up so we wouldn't loose ignition coil voltage. The search was on......We looked high and low for aluminum cans and with the help of a tire iron to help form the cans and apply the "Factory Required Belt Tension to Specification" by brute force to drive the generator.......We got the car home and the next thing my buddy wanted me to do with that car was to remove that air suspension ride system and install coil springs which I did do. What surprised me was that the air compressor did not seize on the way home without any engine oil supply going to it.

That's my best patch job to date but I'm only 67 years old now so I'm sure I will do another one before I'm ready to hang up my tools.

0 Reader Comments

Join the Discussion