Now Gus looked really interested, "Such
as what?" he inquired.
Tim draped his lanky six feet over the
end of the workbench, pulled tobacco sack and papers from his pocket, and
expertly rolled himself a cigarette. "Such as this," he said when he
had lighted it. "It uses up an awful lot of oil. And what
happens to the oil? Why, it goes into the transmission."
"Now I knew you're screwy," Gus said.
"There's no way in which engine oil can get into that car's transmission."
"I know there isn't," Tim admitted.
"But that's what it does."
Gus grunted, but offered no further
protest. Then he called to his helper to put the car on the lift.
When it was raised, Gus and Tim walked underneath and gazed up at the
greasy-looking bottom of the car.
"What's this hole in the bottom of the
flywheel housing?" Gus asked after a little.
"The used-car dealer I bought this jalopy
from cut that hole there," Tim explained, "to carry off the oil. But,
as a matter of fact, very little comes out there."
Gus reached up, jabbed an exploratory
index finger into a damp spot under the footboard, and then sniffed the
finger. "Oil," he said. "Come on now, Tim - what's the gag?"
"No gag at all," Tim told him. "I
put engine oil in at the filler pipe, and after I've driven for a while most
of it is in the transmission. I knew that's impossible, but I'll prove
to you that it's a fact. You can take my word for it that just before
I started this morning. I drained all the engine oil out of the
transmission, and filled up with fresh transmission lubricant. Now
He placed an empty tin can under his car,
and opened the plug hole at the bottom of the transmission.
Oil poured smoothly into the can.
Gus poked a finger into it, and again sniffed the finger. "It's mostly
engine oil, all right," he admitted.
You're darn tootin' it's engine oil." Tim
said. "How the dickens it gets there is what burns me up!"
We'll find out," Gus said. "Let me
He got at it.
An hour later he still as at it.
Checking, rechecking, and triple-checking had thrown no light on the mystery
of the strange behavior of the oil. Gus straightened up, pushed his
long-peaked mechanic's cap back from his furrowed forehead, and swore under
his breath. Tim spirited back on his heels, absently rolled himself
another cigarette, and forgot to light it. "Well," he said after a
silent minute, "it looks as though we're licked."
"Licked nothing!" Gus snapped.
"We're just stopped temporarily. And I've found that when you're
stopped on a trouble shooting job it's often a good idea to work on
something else for awhile, and then go back to the original grief.
What are some of the other things that are the matter with this collection
Tim's wide grin lit up his thin face.
"To mention just a couple of them," he said, "there's a knock that sounds to
me like a bum main bearing, and there's something very screwy about the fuel
pump. I haven't had a chance to do any real checking. I've been
working overtime almost every day, and studying airplane engines half of
"I'm glad is hear it," Gus said
unsympathetically. "Plenty of good hard work is what you kids need
most... Let's have a look at those main bearings."
They took off the oil pan, and then the
rear main bearing cap. "It doesn't look as bad," Gus decided, "but
we'd better check - "
He stopped and stood looking at the
"Lost your voice?" Tim inquired.
"Or do you - "
"Look at that," Gus said, pointing.
"See what I mean?"
Tim peered intently, "All I can see," he
said, "is that sometime some oil shimmied up that bearing. What of
"What of it?" Gus repeated scornfully,
"Nothing of it - except that right there,
staring you in the face, is the solution of the mystery of how our engine
oil gets into your transmission. Use your eyes, Tim - and what's
back of 'em!"
Tim did a couple of minutes of hard
thinking. Then he shook his head. "Nope," he said, "I don't get
Gus laughed, "I didn't get it myself at
first," he admitted. "When whoever it was that shimmed up that
bearing fitted the bearing cap back on, he carelessly covered up the return
drain hole. That forced the engine oil to run into the flywheel
Then - "
"Wait a minute! Wait a minute!" Tim said.
"The used-car dealer cut that hole in the bottom of the flywheel housing so
that the oil could run out of it."
"Sure he did," Gus concurred. "But
you said yourself that very little oil ever ran out of it. And
Because the flywheel threw the oil
against the slope of the bell bearing. From there it ran down to the
forward transmission shaft bearing and through it into the transmission.
After you've put in a new main bearing your engine oil will stay where it
"By jingo, you've hit it right on the
nose!" Tim cried admiringly. "Did you ever run into a thing like
that before, Gus?"
"No, it's a new one on me," Gus
admitted, "I don't suppose that a thing like that would happen once in a
million times. Well, that's one of the good things about this job, Tim
- you keep on learning things. Now how about that fuel pump? We might
as well get this bus of your fixed up so that it will get you back to
"Well," Tim said, "I think that it is the
fuel pump, but I'm not dead certain of it. As I told you, I haven't
had time to do any real checking since I bought this car. It ran
pretty good - considering - for a few days. Then one morning, while I
as on my way to work, the engine coughed a couple of times sputtered for a
few seconds, and then went dead. I made a quick check of the gas line,
and found that it was O.K.
But the engine wouldn't start.
While I was fooling with it one of the boys in my shop came along and gave
me a push. The engine started right off then, and the car ran all
right the rest of the way to the point.
"When I came off shift that afternoon I
thought I'd have a battle getting going, but I didn't. The engine took
off as soon as I stepped on the starter.
"After that the car ran all right for a
couple of weeks. Then the same thing happened again. That night
I took enough time out to check the gas line, the battery, the wiring, the
distributor, and the plugs - all O.K. I didn't have time to take the
fuel pump apart and check it. But everything else seemed all right, as
I figure that it must be the fuel pump that has gone bad."
"How about your windshield wiper?" Gus
asked. "The way it acts often is a good check on the way the fuel pump
is working. If the wiper is slow in action when you step on the gas,
there's a good chance that the vacuum pump coupled to the fuel pump isn't
doing the job right, or even that it isn't working at all - and just about
as good a chance that it has a broken diaphragm. If there is high
gasoline pressure and a lot of noise, it probably means that the rocker-arm
pin and link of the vacuum pump are shot."
"I don't remember that there was
anything wrong with the wiper the last time I used it," Tim said. "But I'm
pretty certain that the trouble is in the pump - I don't see where else it
could be. I've got to get busy and fix it, too. She went dead on
me three times coming down from
"Let's get the pump off and have a good
look at it," Gus said.
He removed the fuel pump from the car and
took it apart. The diaphragm wasn't cracked and all the other parts
were in good working order, so be cleaned them thoroughly and put the pump
"Well, that wasn't it - so what was it?"
Tim asked as Gus prepared to replace the
pump on the car.
"Dunno," Gus said. "Hello!"
His keen eyes had caught the glitter of a bright silver of metal on the end
of the pump arm, where it works against the cam. "Hold on there a
minute, 'Tim - there's your pump trouble!"
"Huh?" asked Tim. "what do you
mean?" Gus was examining the pump arm. "Yep, that's it," he
said. "This arm is sprung a little, and sometimes instead of engaging
the cam it slips to one side of it. That's the how-come of that
sliver of metal that tipped me off. It was shaved off when the arm
almost but not quite missed connections. Naturally, when the pump arm
misses the cam the pump doesn't function, and your engine goes dead because
it isn't getting any fuel."
Tim studied the pump arm for a moment,
and then nodded agreement. "You're right - as usual," he
conceded. "Say, old Hawkeye, don't you ever miss 'em?"
"Sure I miss 'em," Gus said modestly.
"Every one in this business misses 'em
now and then. If I hadn't happened to spot that silver we'd have been
fooling around for another hour trying to find out what ailed your bus.
Well, let's fix it - that's easy!"
He clamped the arm in the vise on his
workbench, and tapped it carefully with a machinist's hammer until it was
back to its normal shape. Then he reinstalled the pump on the car.
With the pan still off, it was easy to see that the pump lever now rested
properly on its drive cam.
Tim looked grateful. "Thanks, Gus,"
he said. "Don't forget that I'm going to pay you for all this."
Gus scowled at him, "Pay me?" he growled.
"You don't owe me anything.
Now don't start a fool argument! I
guess I can help Bill Knudsen along in his defense job by getting a workman
back to his airplane-engine plant, can't I?"