Hey buddy! Can ya spare a part?
Spare parts are the lifeblood of our dear old LaSalles and Cadillacs. Without them, the cars would end up good only for looking at and admiring without the pleasure of driving them.
Some hobbyists have enough spare parts to build a whole new car, or even more. They still buy all the spare parts they can find at swap meets, and will not part with any of them unless they have at least two spares left and you are a good friend of theirs.
Some have enough parts to keep their car running and usable while others have virtually no spare parts and figure their car is in good shape and with what little driving they do, the car will last forever. If something goes wrong, they wouldn’t know how to fix it anyway, so they just let their mechanic worry about getting the parts.
Spare parts are the biggest concern on long tours and cross-country trips. Like maybe going to a Grand National.
I have been asked many times about what spare parts to take on a tour or trip. Of course most of you know that my realm of knowledge is with the ’37 to ’48 LaSalles and Cadillacs. (Something about old dogs, new tricks.) You should know your car better than anyone else and are familiar with any particular weakness that model or your car has.
I saw one member who traveled 4,000 miles with a spare transmission in the trunk, because the old one was a bit noisy and he didn’t want to change it before the trip if it wasn’t really necessary. As it happened, it wasn’t needed but he felt a lot more comfortable during the trip.
Nearly everybody has a spare tire. Most will carry spare fan belts. How about a length of radiator hose and some heater hose? Don’t forget the lower hose; losing coolant is a sure trip-stopper. Your local parts store can supply you with a temporary freeze plug that is rubber with a tightening bolt to expand and seal the hole. Losing a freeze plug is instant loss of all coolant if it pops out. One of our local members lost a freeze plug on a trip over a year ago and the emergency plug is still installed and working good.
If you are going on a tour or cross-country trip, you should always have a spare tire, spare fan belts, spare hoses and a spare emergency freeze plug. This will apply to just about any year or model. Usually, if you are touring with a club, you can share carrying spare parts that will at least get you (or a buddy) home. Find out who is going that has your style of car and arrange ahead of time who takes what with a commitment to share, if needed. After all, it is very unlikely that more than one car will have the same problem.
Here are some other parts that you might want to have on tour with your old car that you might (probably) not be able to get at a rural parts house:
* Distributor cap and rotor
* Water pump
* Fuel pump (and filter)
* Rubber fuel line and clamps
* Fan bearing (if yours is noisy)
* Length of heater hose and clamps
* Tools (All the parts in the world won’t help you much without a few basic tools. You can get packaged tool kits at most parts stores…Wards, Sears and various big-box stores for anywhere from 15 to 50 bucks just to keep in the trunk of your old car. Don’t forget to carry a fire extinguisher!)
After all, this is a sharing situation and the basis for our Club, so, if a fellow Club member is in trouble and you want to help, or if you need some help, you may be hearing (or saying) a variation of the old depression time axiom, “Hey buddy!—can you spare a part?” Let’s hope the right answer comes out.
See ya next month,