Since the beginning of this trip Mike’s sedan has used less gas than our coupe at each fill-up. At first we thought it was just a matter of topping our tank to a higher level. After several fuel stops it was obvious that Mike was getting better gas mileage. We adjusted our carburetor as lean as we could to the point where it would barely idle but still couldn’t match his mileage. We were puzzled since he was pulling as heavy a load if not more. We attributed the difference to our recently overhauled engine still breaking in. Later in the trip the sedan began to lose power on the hills. The engine showed signs of fuel starvation eventually stalling out on a long steep grade. As usual with breakdowns it happened on a busy fast paced road with rain and fog. We suspected water in the gas since this had been a previous problem but the settling glass bowl looked good. Also all the filters looked clean. The supply of gas through the line was very weak but a quick puff of air opened it up and the car ran fine. Unfortunately on the next long hill the problem reoccurred and the same procedure got us on the road again. We began to fear the high alcohol content of the fuel used in northern climates was causing the lining of the gas tank to disintegrate and clog the fuel line. This would be a major problem on the road. The liner supplier advertises the product is resistant to such damage and we hoped the claims were true.
When we arrived at camp the rain had stopped and the sun was out allowing further investigation.
With the help of a flashlight it was possible to see what appeared to be a shiny new BB resting in the depression of the gas drain. A magnetic stick was not attracted to the little orb and a wire hook could not wedge beneath it. In final desperation a sharp point was cut on the end of a stiff wire. Like a spear fisherman, Mike jabbed the wire into the occlusion amazingly snagging it. What emerged from the tank was a perfectly round bead of solder centered in a tiny brass washer. Anyone experienced in replacing or repairing a Model A gas gauge would immediately recognize what holds the cork or rubber float on the gauge arm and Mike remembered losing them in the last repair. It had taken several thousand miles and the rough road to the Arctic Circle to wiggle and jiggle this miniature flapper valve into a matching seat. As we’ve all done when making repairs and what we need isn’t readily available we make it work with the intent to come back and replace everything perfectly and then forget. You can bet the gasoline filter inside the fuel shutoff will be replaced when we get home. In the meantime Mike is considering applying for a patent for his fuel restrictor valve he accidentally invented. If he can figure out how to control it he may have a Model A Prius on his hands.
Today the sedan is zipping up the hills with no problem and still getting better gas mileage than the coupe. It looks like the restrictor valve idea is a fluke, however in the future you may still obtain one as an added bonus to your Sham-Wow purchase, as seen on TV!