Reply To: The “NEW” (to me) 1930 Pierce Arrow


Joe:  is your ‘new’ ’30 touring a running car?  If not, I’ll be happy to assist you bringing your car back to life.. If it IS running, and if you do not know any of the car’s previous maintenance history, then I HIGHLY encourage you to drop the oil pan and clean it out.  The engine oil used in the ’30’s was a ‘non-detergent’ oil. That means that the oil was not inteneded to keep dirt and contaminants in suspension so that an oil filter could filter them out.. A non-detergent oil allowed the dirt to precipitate out and settle in the bottom of the oil pan.  Often this sludge is over an 1″ deep !!  And it can clog the inlet screen to the oil pump..

The oil pumps on a ’30 originally had a pot-metal pump housing sandwiched between the cast iron upper drive and the cast iron lower screen and pickup sections.. The pot metal expands with age and causes loss of oil pressure and can also expand then crack open causing instant loss of pressure and lubrication to the engine.  Many of these oil pumps have been replaced with a later all-iron pump.  Or a brass or aluminum pump body has been installed to replace the pot metal one..  You usually can see the oil pump body through the oil pan drain plug hole, if you use a light source that fits in through the pan hole..  If it appears to be a pot metal body sandwiched between the upper and lower parts.. I’d recommend NOT driving it until you have dropped the pan to inspect the pump.

Thankfully, dropping the oil pan on a ’29 and later Pierce engine is not a big job.. nothing much is in the way.  On a lift, I can have a pan off in 15 minutes usually, unless I’m trying to save the old gasket and it’s really stuck..  Olsen’s gaskets [a PAS member] sells replacement gaskets..

Feel free to email me regarding your car,  my address and cell # are in the roster..

Greg Long