I love online car enthusiast forums. There is just an amazing wealth of knowledge out there on the internet, and lots of car-guys willing to share their expertise with other forum members. Recently, I undertook to rebuilt the Stromberg carburetor on my venerable 1940 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special:
During my review of the Stromberg overhaul manual, I noted a requirement for a special Stromberg gauge to be used to set the float height on the carburetor. Unable to find this gauge at any commercial source, I posted a request for help on the national Cadillac/Lasalle owners forum. Very shortly I received a reply from my now-friend John Washburn, a long-time vintage Cadillac collector and expert with Stromberg carburetors.
Of course John had the prescribed tool/gauge, and he cheerfully offered to loan it to me so that I could make a copy.
This tool, when it arrived, did not seem all that complicated to duplicate. The original tool, constructed of plated steel, is shown as the upper unit in the picture below. Using our shop metal bending brake, and a little time on the milling machine, I fashioned a workable duplicate out of aluminum, pictured below:
The gauge served me well, and I returned the original to John. Shortly after that, John asked if I might be able to fabricate a “T” gauge of precise dimensions to be used for setting valve stem height on a Cadillac flathead engine. Armed with the required dimensions, and using some pieces of stainless rod I found in our metal scrap bin, it was just a matter of TIG welding the “T” together, using a micrometer to assure correct dimension of the gauge, and then polishing it to a mirror finish to send gratis to John.
As karma would have it, in spite of all my efforts with my own carburetor overhaul, I was still missing a critical tool needed to remove and clean the discharge jets on my carburetor, and my half-overhaul had resulted in a carburetor that did not make my engine happy. As a last ditch effort, I asked John if he would consider taking on a formal and correct overhaul of my carburetor. To my astonishment, not only did he agree, but insisted that he would perform the service without charge!
Sure enough, when John received my Stromberg at his Colorado home and disassembled it, he found those discharge jets I had been unable to remove to be almost completed corroded closed:
After a session in his ultrasonic cleaner, the jets came out looking like new:
A short time later, my newly overhauled Stromberg arrived on my doorstep, ready to propel the old Cadillac for another 70 years. Thanks John! It just shows how one good turn deserves another.