I have been servicing and checking a Hupmobile Model R prior to its MOT test tomorrow. Many of these cars were supplied new to Australia and New Zealand which was where this car came from, giving it the advantage of Right hand drive. There don’t seem to be that many of these in regular use now – perhaps because the Dural conrods with which they were fitted are all well beyond their fatigue life. This particular Model R has benefitted from new Phoenix rods during an overhaul a few years ago as well as new brake drums and linings. The few things which require testing at MOT time (which do not include luxuries such as indicators and brake lights of course) are all in fine order.
The owner has recently had a couple of occasions to attend to a recalcitrant “Autovac” – or more correctly on this American car – “Stewart Vacuum Fuel Feed System”. Because of this I thought that I had better check it over and found the float to be half full of petrol. Boiling the float in water revealed several areas in the top where the plating and the brass underneath had corroded into holes; further and yet further boiling was not sufficient to empty the float so I drilled two no. 60 gauge holes in order to drain the petol. The petrol inside was quite fresh as it poured out and leads me to believe that the perforation of the float is quite recent – more Ethanol woes perhaps? I think that the sensible answer will be to start using Ethomix and to monitor the condition of the fuel system carefully. The float has now been repaired with solder and is nicely fuel – tight. I’m not a great enthusiast for soldering carburettor floats due to the effect on the instrument of the mass of solder. Large Autovac floats which operate a less sensitive device are happily a little more tolerant of a suitable amount of soldered repairs.
Punctured floats more often leak at the soldered seams rather than in the brass plate from which they are made, and this happened to me some years ago when I took a recently recomissioned Alvis 12/50 to the local “noggin and natter”. The kindly landlord took the offending item to the kitchen in order to boil it dry so that I could drive the 10 or so miles back home; what I hadn’t realised was that he had left the gourmet creation simmering on a gas hob in the empty hotel kitchen and not content with setting fire to the pan he left it burning so that I could come and see what had happened. The ceiling looked as though someone had fired up a showman’s engine in the kitchen, but I’m happy to recount that he never sent a bill….