"Blamed if the old craft ain't
sprung a leak again!" muttered Captain Horne as a shrill hissing squeal
indicated the sudden departure of the air from one of his rear tires.
He jammed on the brakes and steered the car to the side of the road.
"Reckon I'd better drop anchor here while I fix the dad-blasted 'baloney',"
was no expert on autos, but thirty years spent in sailing the seven seas had
instilled in him more than the usual share of resourcefulness and ingenuity.
And the old sea-dog needed every bit of it to keep the car he was driving in
He had been
beguiled into buying a "reconditioned" machine, and the "reconditioning" had
consisted mostly of a cheap paint job with little or nothing done to the
badly worn mechanical parts.
mackerel," he snorted, as he found the blow-out. "The whole side of
the tire is coming apart!"
blow-out was only about the size of a pencil, but all around the hole, the
tire bulged ominously. It was quite evident that even a blow-out shoe
would soon let go, and the old tar did not have one anyway. The spare
tire had been used to replace a severe blow-out earlier in the day.
scratched his grizzled head reflectively. "I can fix the hole in the
tube, but it'll only blow out again through the hole in the shoe - I've got
to brace it somehow," he decided. "Let's see what's in the locker."
around in the tool box for a few minutes, until his hand closed over a large
roll of friction tape.
"I've got it,"
he said. "I'll just patch the hole and then sort of splice it by
winding a couple of layers of tape right on the tube. Seems to me I
ought to be able to pump the tube to about the size it is in the tire and
then if I wind the tape on carefully it ought to take most of the strain off
took care to see that the tube was inflated just enough to fit the inside of
the tire, and the job was successful.
exclaimed, as he finished pumping it up. "That ought to hold together
till I can raise the price of a new shoe. Now let's see if the old
boat won't sail along."
captain was doomed to disappointment. He had proceeded about five
miles when the motor suddenly appeared to lose power. It seemed to be
running smoothly, no cylinders appeared to have quit the job, and the
captain could detect no unfamiliar noises.
running out of wind or something," he observed uneasily. "Guess I'd
better make for shore and tie up at the next repair station."
It happened to
be a rather uninhabited part of the country, and the captain passed one or
two garages that catered only to the summer trade and were now closed tight.
Every mile or two, something seemed to happen inside the motor and it would
lose more power, until finally he had to drop into first speed to climb a
long but rather easy grade.
"If I don't
make port soon I'll be becalmed here for the night," he gloomed, and his
prediction seemed well-founded, for at the top of the hill the motor stopped
firing completely. No garage was in sight, but the car had passed over
the ridge and he let it coast down the other side. The grade was so slight
that the car barely kept in motion. In fact, at one place that was
nearly level the skipper had to get out and put his shoulder to his craft to
push it over. But his hopes perked up at the bottom of the hill, where
there appeared a brand-new garage with a young fellow standing in front of
it garbed in new, clean overalls.
"Run out of
gas, did you?" the young man greeted the captain as he ran out and
helped push the car to the garage.
"I don't see
how that could be," Horne answered. "I filled up the tank just a way
you came to the right place," the young fellow assured him. "I can fix
anything on wheels. Just you watch."
lighted his pipe and prepared to learn something about auto repairing.
The young fellow brought out a new and shiny kit of tools and lifted the
hood in a very businesslike manner. He stepped on the self-starter and
the motor turned over at normal speed; but it did not start. Then he
tested the ignition system. It, too, appeared to be in running order.
trouble," he announced finally, pointing to the carburetor filter screen he
had just removed. "Look, it's full of dirt and the dirt interfered
with the flow of gasoline. I'll clean it out and the one on the vacuum
tank, and then blowout the gasoline pipe with compressed air. She'll
run fine after that."
But the motor
refused to start. In fact, the young repair man wasn't able to get a
single explosion out of it.
strange," he said. "Maybe it's one of the valves. I'll look 'em
over." And he took off the plates that covered the push rods.
While the captain pressed the starter pedal, the young man watched the
valves carefully. They moved up and down perfectly. A test of
the compression was his next step.
compression doesn't amount to much," he observed, turning the motor over by
hand a few times. "Still I never saw a motor stop just because the
compression was a little weak. It's just as good in one cylinder as
By this time the young man
had lost his swaggering assurance. "It's got me licked," he confessed
wrong with the captain's car?