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1955 Ford Part 81: Running with the Devil

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

"Running with the Devil"


The 1955 Fairlane waiting to take the Hot Rod Reverend out in hot weather

Gasp! "Runnin' with the Devil? What is the Hot Rod Reverend up to now?" you might ask in amazement. If you read this blog and know me at all, you are fully versed on the fact that I happen to be a Bible-believing preacher of the gospel. Therefore, I do not run with the literal Devil, but I sure fight his influence every day and do endeavor to see people become converts to Christ. You are probably still wondering though - how does the 55 Ford Fairlane "run with the Devil"?

The Devil, my friends, is ethanol - that horrible alcohol elixir that is blended into modern gasoline fuels these days. Those of you that read this blog faithfully are probably aware of the warnings that many builders in the classic car industry have given, "If you do not prep your fuel delivery system to run ethanol-blended fuel you will have trouble!" A few posts ago, I shared the harm that modern fuel blends have done to the former carburetor I had on the car. You can go back in the posts to see those pictures and videos.

Ethanol is a bio-product of corn grown here in the United States.

Just to give a little history, we will start with my teenage years. I certainly do not recall ever having any trouble with gasoline back then. No issue with vapor lock, no carburetor problems, no trouble for me except a dirty gas tank that was proven by the in-line filters I went through. Fast forward to just several years ago and I was in the throes of disassembly of the old Ford. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to take the gas tank to a local, old-time, radiator shop and have the tank "cooked" out. After the tank was cleaned up spic and span, the owner of the shop coated the interior of the tank with some type of space-age sealer made with snake oil or something. =) I honestly cannot remember what it was, but it did the trick. He even welded in a new pick up tube and all the rest. For the tank, I have not had any issues whatsoever, and mostly over the past few years I have filled the tank with fuel that contained ethanol.

A while back, I also installed a brand new fuel line, from tank to fuel pump, that was purchased by a restoration company in Pennsylvania. In addition, the rubber hoses, new fuel pump (both mechanical and electrical; if you look back through the blog posts here you can see the installation methods), filters, and the carburetor were all double-checked for compatibility with the devil's corrosive mix. This stuff is not to be trifled with, and a simple image search on any internet search engine will yield some of the most horrific photos of fuel system atrophy you have ever seen!

Only recently (and most probably because I am driving the car quite a bit and the weather is extremely hot) has the issue with ethanol in the old Ford come to a head. I already knew that each tank full of modern fuel should have some type of stabilizer additive, which I do take care of religiously. However, the lower boiling point of ethanol, somewhere near 178 Fahrenheit I am told, makes for fun times under the hood. While I have never experienced vapor lock, the main issue has been heat soak. Everyone knows that under hood temperatures continue to climb after you shut off the engine. With the 1955 Fairlane, that can be somewhere close to 20 degrees more if conditions are right.

All of this totals up to fuel from the mechanical pump to the float bowls boiling, and eventually evaporating, into thin air. My belief is that the small ports and orifices open to the intake take in the fuel that is trying to push through. This can make for very hard starting after the car has been sitting for a few minutes when you have just shut off a hot engine.

To try to get a better understanding of the issue, I purchased one of these filters:

The glass, in-line fuel filter gives a clear picture of fuel movement.

Before I start receiving hate mail with the warnings of how I am going to burn up my car, call the insurance company, etc, etc, let me tell you all that this is TEMPORARY and only used on runs when I am testing the ethanol theories I have. 99 percent of the time, a Wix 33032 is used for driving conditions. And, I do keep a fire extinguisher handy in the vehicle!

Just this past week I was asked to preach at the Northern Kentucky Baptist Church near Covington, Kentucky for a fellowship of pastors. I decided to take the 55 on the 75 mile round trip since I knew it would be dry, hot, and we would also be giving the transmission a good test on the interstate (roughly 60 miles on the interstate). We took some footage of the trip on the way back to the office, including a look under the hood immediately after the run.

I plan to drain the tank of all fuel and fill it with pure gasoline, free of ethanol. Unfortunately, the nearest station that sells ethonal-free fuel is 20 miles away from my house, but it is what it is. The price is very high but I think one tank would be worth it just to discover what difference the fuel will make. I do have an electric pump (I just use it to fill the fuel bowls or to empty the tank) and a 1" phenolic spacer between the manifold and the carburetor. I would imagine that blocking the exhaust ports on either side of the intake manifold would make a dramatic difference, but I am unsure of how that would affect winter driving. I do want to get through one winter season of driving the Ford to see how much the "pre-heating" makes a difference.

During the pastors' fellowship, I was privileged to preach along with a dear friend of mine, Dr. Steve Kluth, who is a representative of the Christian Law Association.

The Hot Rod Reverend on the left, with his friend Steve Kluth

Steve is a gospel preacher like myself, and I appreciate so much his love for God and love for people down through the years. Both of us hope that you will consider the Christ of the Bible. At the age of 27, I left the devil when I was born again according to John chapter 3 in the Scriptures. Since that time, I have never once desired to go back to the old way of living. You can read more about what Christ did for me by visiting this link:

the Hot Rod Reverend

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