Remembering Old-Time Car Repairs

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Editor:

I have enjoyed Stan Brown's articles on the history of our area very much, and especially the one about Sunflower. It reminded me of the time we had an adventure on the old Bush Highway (five hours, and two tires, from the Valley), which was a classic of travel "in the good old days."

In 1950, Fern and I were returning from a Thanksgiving Day visit to Payson. It was Sunday, and we got about two miles above Sunflower when we hit a rock that tore a hole in the oil pan of our 1939 Plymouth sedan. Great Scott. What to do?

Fortunately, a trucker came up from the south. He gave us a rag (to stuff in the gash), and a quart of oil. He said we could coast to the service station at Sunflower, and the man would weld the pan for us. Wow.

Well, the store/gas station owner laughed, (I don't remember his name), and handed me a big bar of yellow Fels Naptha soap and a rag. Following his directions, I cut a sliver of soap, a small piece of the rag and tamped them into the gash: rag, soap, rag, soap, until the hole was tightly closed.

"Now, Sonny," he said, "when that engine gets hot, it will melt that packing tighter than any weld I could give you."

It was a five-quart transmission, so I bought 10 quarts of oil (I had little faith in his solution) and off we went toward the Valley. The first three miles, I checked for leaks every mile, but nary a drop was evident, so I just kept grinding along (nobody "drove" that highway).

We kept that car for another nine months, and never had a drop of oil on our driveway. For years, I carried a bar of Fels Naptha in the trunk -- just in case there was a need for another "Arizona weld."

George Spears, Payson

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