Tech Tips: Spring 1998


As the owner of a 1966 TR4A that is in ongoing therapy and restoration, I have encountered many rusted and “lightened for life” nuts, bolts, and fittings which no amount of liquid wrench or lubricating oils were able to cope with.

Working for a major airline, I often have discussions with our mechanics, not only about aircraft but also the various problems I’ve had with my Triumph. When it comes to loosening those nuts, etc., virtually welded by rust, they recommend Coca Cola! (Classic Coke preferred, but any version will work just fine). It works like no other solution!

My most difficult loosening project was a “never adjusted since it left the Triumph factory” setscrew. I tried everything before I found out about Coke, but after a few applications of this miracle liquid and a little time, it came free with hardly a twist. I have since used it on other seemingly impossible nuts and screws and it frees them every time.

Best of all, it’s cheap, plentiful, and doesn’t cause your garage or work area to be uninhabitable because of the often toxic odors associated with some sprays or liquids used to free up rusted parts.

In conclusion, thank you for your excellent magazine, Moss Motoring, and for your excellent service. I have ordered many parts from Moss and have always been impressed and very satisfied with your sales and technical stuff, and the parts I have ordered.

—Richard L. Merrill, Seattle, Washington.


I believe that half the fun of driving a classic or vintage automobile is customizing it to reflect your own tastes and personality. Stickers or decals, like the one on, are a fun and inexpensive way to do that.

So what’s stopping you from sticking a nifty two dollar Moss Motoring bumper sticker on the back of your trunk—er, boot? Could it be that pristine million dollar paint job that’s keeping you from expressing yourself? Okay, maybe the idea is a little nauseating, as even the best sticker or decal can decay over time and make your car look, well—yucky!

Consider this alternative and you might change your mind. Go to the local sign shop in town and ask them for some magnetic vinyl. The place I went to actually gave me a scrap piece for free! Now, stick your sticker or decal on the vinyl, cut round the edge, and place it on your car. Works just like a refrigerator magnet! The possibilities are endless, so what are you waiting for? Go stick something FUN on your car!

Thanks again for a great magazine!

—Jeff Warner, Harrisonburg, Virginia.


Planning a major rebuild or other lengthy project? Invest in a supply of zip-lock sandwich bags before you start, or, better still, a variety of sizes of zip-lock bags. Put the nuts, bolts, and small parts in these bags as you go and label the bags with a felt-tip pen, or just tape the bag to the part it goes with.

The screws that held the floorboards in place can be taped to the floorboards; the bolts that held the sump can be taped to the sump. If you hit a lull in your project later on, say while waiting for your block to come back from the machine shop (incidentally, why do machine shops always take twice as long as they estimated?), you can clean your parts one bag at a time. Put the clean parts in a clean bag, of course, and spray a little WD40 or other protectant into the bag to keep the parts from rusting. Then when you’re finally ready to start reassembling your car, the nuts and bolts you need will be right where you need them!

—Steve Tom, Acworth, Georgia.


Removing a cylinder head from an engine can sometimes be quite difficult, even after you’ve removed all the nuts, cables, and other fasteners. The problem is that the head tends to stick to the head gasket and there’s no way to get a good grip on it. Sometimes the compression will break the head free if you turn it over a few times after you’ve removed the nuts, but this doesn’t always work. Also, if the engine is out of the car, it’s virtually impossible to turn it over fast enough to break it free.

In these situations, remove one of the spark plugs and insert a length of soft cotton rope into the spark plug hole, stuffing enough rope into the hole to coil it up several times inside the cylinder. Leave the end of the rope dangling outside so you can pull the rope out later. Now, turn the engine over carefully by hand (if you have a starting handle, so much the better). When the piston pushes the rope against the top of the combustion chamber, the head should pop free. If necessary, repeat this procedure in another spark plug hole to break the head free along its entire length.

Steve Tom, Acworth, Georgia.

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