July 14, 2002
Well, while I'm waiting for my carburetors to come back from the rebuilder, I thought I'd tackle a few other items that are going to be needed before I put the car on the road. The first thing I thought I would do is repaint the air cleaner. It dominates the engine compartment, and a fresh coat of satin black paint would probably clean things up a bit. Also, I was looking for something to do, and this seemed like an obvious choice.
The car uses an oil-bath air cleaner, which is nothing new for the era. It has a reservoir in the bottom that holds about a pint of motor oil. The air travels in through the main opening (you can see it in the photos below), down into the central canister where the oil is, then bubbles through the oil because of the vacuum on the surface, and finally travels into the carburetors. There should also be a cotton gauze filter element in there to trap the larger particles, but my car is missing that part. I don't really care, however, since I plan to replace the oil bath with a modern conical K&N filter inside the housing. That way it'll look stock, but have better filtration ability and probably better airflow.
I took the air cleaner apart and cleaned it primarily with a brass wire wheel to knock off all the old paint, rust and crud that had accumulated on it. I like the brass wheel better than a steel wheel because it doesn't damage parts--the brass is softer than most metals on the car, so it's gentle. Later, when I get my glass bead cabinet, I'll strip it again and probably powdercoat it for durability. But for now, it looks pretty good.
I also polished the taillight lenses I bought on Ebay. They have a few cracks in them (in 1941, they weren't too good at making plastic), and I'm looking for some sort of paint that I can use to restore some of the faded color. For now, they're intact and shined up nicely. They're definitely better than the ones currently on the car, which are broken and faded to a dusty pink color. The right one has a pretty substantial crack in it, so I bought a NOS one on Ebay for about $20. Hopefully I'll be able to make them look even and new when they're on the car.
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