Authenticity or efficiency
Chapter 2: NOS replacement components
Last month, we talked about nuts and bolts in relation to authenticity vs. efficiency. The comments that were received indicate that, with the exception of the dyed-in-the-wool purists, most people want their cars as close as possible to original, but mainly want their car to be a joy to drive with dependability and safety.
This month, let’s talk about rebuilding some of the NOS (new old stock) and NOSR (new old stock replacement) components. Very good examples of this would be fuel pumps and carburetors. If you are fortunate enough to find a true NOS of one of these, they should be rebuilt before using modern, newly-manufactured rebuild kits.
The reason for this is really simple and obvious. First of all, if it is in fact truly NOS, it can be 50 years old and the gaskets will be old and brittle and a good share of efficiency lost. Also, you may find both internal and external corrosion on the metal parts. In the case of fuel pumps, the diaphragms and reed valves may look good, but are more than likely to give out after only a few miles. Not only that, the modern replacement materials are far better than the original materials.
For you purists, even the shrewdest of judges can’t see these internal parts without disassembly. Also, original finishes can be applied to give that “original” look.
The same basic theory applies to water pumps. Not only will the packing and the lubricant be dried out, but more than likely the shaft and impeller will be rusted and/or corroded.
The original wiring loom on older cars (pre-’48) may look good, but in reality may be brittle and/or rotted out and with the slightest touch or movement will disintegrate. It is one thing when this happens in the open where you can see it, but it is a different story when it happens inside a loom or under the dash and you can’t see it. If you are lucky, you only develop a phantom short or two; however, if not you may experience a dreadful and costly fire. New wiring looms of high quality are available from several vendors.
Personally, I feel that any wiring loom that is 40 to 50 years old should be replaced regardless of its appearance. Most of these replacement looms look absolutely original enough to satisfy most purists and judges. As far as efficiency, the modern wiring usually has less resistance and better insulating properties.
While we are talking electrical, we should mention the starter and generator. The field coils in both of these units can easily be replaced with modem or custom high-output coils and externally cannot be seen. These coils will make only a slight improvement in efficiency in the generator, but a big improvement in longevity.
The starter, on the other hand, will experience a big improvement in efficiency. So many times, I almost cry when I see someone convert one of these 6-volt cars to 12-volt or even use an 8-volt battery to get better starting performance, when a good rebuild on the starter with high-output field coils will do a better job. One word of caution, however, make sure you have good 00-gauge battery cables and direct 00-gauge battery ground.
The whole question of authenticity vs. efficiency is kind of like a politician’s sex life—it may or may not be immoral, but is it illegal? It all depends on whether or not you get caught (and who is doing the judging.)
See ya next month.