Polish and Grind

A panaply of polishing compounds.
A panoply of polishing compounds.

I often get comments on the rims on my Thunderbird. They are period-correct mags, and perhaps not the first style you’d think of when you think T-Bird. I like the look, and based on the comments I get, they evoke a lot of good memories.

These rims have been around a while and while not in terrible shape, they have some weathering and stains that have resisted my cleanup efforts. Yesterday, I marshaled together all of the polishing and cleaning compounds I could find in my garage, pulled a front wheel and set out to experiment.

After an hour or so–and lots of elbow grease–I found that a good scrub with Nevr Dull wadding followed up with a traditional “Mother’s” mag wheel polish cleaned up the stains pretty well. Under the glare of a halogen lamp on my work bench, the shine didn’t look like much, but once on the car, the wheel looked pretty good. One down and three to go.

The final shine.
The final shine.

Today, I pulled out the Autolite I’ve been wrestling with and dropped it on the manifold once again. Results were similar–easy to start, but won’t run unless at high rpm’s with a little goosing.

I kinda expected that outcome.

Starting the engine with a newly installed carburetor means a little bit of cranking to get gas to the carb. I don’t need to crank the motor much these days, and it looks like it was a bit of a strain on the starter today. While I was testing that Autolite, the starter failed to disengage from the flywheel and it seems stuck there pretty good. I went back to the Edelbrock, which started up fine, of course, but I didn’t let it run long with the starter screeching away under there. Looks like a new starter is in order.

At first, I was a little upset about the breakdown, but then realized I’ve had a long stretch of pretty reliable driving. The last unexpected problem was the coil, which I replaced back in early February–and that wasn’t even a disabling failure. All in all, that was a nice run, especially considering where I was with this car a year ago.

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