"You the mechanic here, my man?"
A harsh feminine voice rattled Gus
Wilson's eardrums and brought his head around with a jerk.
"Yes'm," he mildly replied to the
bossy female whose car had coasted up behind the veteran auto mechanic.
"Well," she snapped. "I hope
you're not as dumb as most auto mechanics. I know something about cars
myself and I don't intend to be swindled. Can you fix this car or
"What seems to be the matter?" Gus
inquired, still mildly.
"It's your job to find that out," she
Joe Clark, Gus Wilson's partner in the
Model Garage, had strolled over to watch and the older man slyly winked at
him as without further remarks, he raised the hood of the car.
"Now don't try to tell me it's the
vacuum tank," she warned Gus. "I took off the pipe and primed it with
gasoline several times and that isn't the trouble."
"Primed the vacuum tank?" questioned
"That's what I said," she snapped.
"I took off that pipe right there."
And she pointed to a round metal tank fastened to the side of the engine.
"I don't wonder that didn't do much
good," Gus observed with a grin. "That tank, lady, is the oil filter.
This car hasn't got any vacuum tank."
"What!" she gasped, and her
domineering attitude went down like a flat tire.
"No vacuum tank? Why, the course
I studied said that all cars had vacuum tanks."
"Not quite all," grinned Gus.
"In Ford cars, both the old lizzies and the new ones, they stick the supply
tank up high enough so the 'gas'll run downhill into the carburetor.
It's called the gravity system. But there's at least three other ways
of doing the job. Air pressure is one of 'em. Then there's a
dinky little magnetic pump that draws juice from the battery to work it.
And this boat and several other breeds use a new kind of mechanical pump."
"Why so many different systems?" the
woman inquired interestedly.
"I should think only one could be the
best, so why use the others?"
Differences of opinion is what makes
horse traders, ma'am, "Gus replied. "Each system has its good points
and its bad. It looked for a while as though the vacuum tank would win
out. Nearly all cars had 'em. But better roads and faster
driving brought out a bad feature. When you're sailing up a long,
steep mountain road, or burning up the road on the level, the vacuum tank
falls down on the job. It depends on the vacuum in the manifold to
work, and when the throttle is nearly wide open there isn't any vacuum.
"The pressure system gets around that
trouble, but it costs more to install, and there's always a chance for a
leak in the pressure lines. The gravity system, though, can't go wrong
unless somebody repeals the law of gravity!"
"If it's so perfect, why doesn't every
car have it?" the woman inquired.
"Some designers," explained Gus,
"don't like the idea of putting the gas tank in the cowl back of the dash,
and that's about the only place in a modern car where it will be high enough
to feed right on the hills. It works out all right in light cars with
small gasoline tanks, but a big car needs a larger tank that takes lots of
room, and when it's full there's a lot of weight up in the air instead of
down near the road where it ought to be."
"What's the matter with the other two
systems you mentioned?" she asked.
"Well," Gus replied, "the electric
pump goes dead if something happens to the electric wiring and the new
mechanical pumps haven't been on the market long enough to be sure about
what they do after years of service."
"Which system would you rather have on
your own car?" the woman inquired.
"Any one of 'em," said Gus, "so long
as it was installed right and put where it could be repaired easily."
"Bet you'd want to be able to
recognize it, wouldn't you?" she smiled.
"That is kind of necessary," admitted
Gus. "And there's another thing about automobiles you ought to know.
Don't jump at conclusions. You made up your mind that something was
wrong with the gasoline feed and you were bound you'd find that kind of
"What is wrong, anyhow?"
"Oh, I fixed that while we were
talking," Gus grinned. "The high tension wire had snapped off at the
coil. Now I'll drain the crank case to get rid of the gasoline you
poured into the oil filter, and put in fresh oil."
She cordially thanked Gus and drove
off. Joe then spoke up.
"Good work, Gus. Know who that
was? That's Hank Preeble's widow. He left her a big trucking
business over in Tupperville. She's got a lot of repair work she could
throw our way. It sure pays to treat 'em right."
"Sometimes it's a tough job, though,"
grunted Gus. "I certainly wanted to tell that dame to go jump in the