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Tech Tips
Technical Tips to Keep those 42 Horses Happy

Please use your own discretion regarding the technical tips published on this website. The Illini Mets, MOCNA, the Webmaster, the source of the tip, or Lycos/Tripod do not claim that any of these tips will suit your particular vehicle or situation. Always use proper safety equipment when working on your Met.

  • Paint Codes
    Provided by Mike Potts, Illini Mets Member

Towing a Metropolitan

By John Riley, as emailed to IlliniMets member Jim Hall

We don't recommend tow bars but a bar from any of the vendors advertising in the Gazette would be just fine. There are two kinds, one solid and one that folds, your choice. The thing you need to be aware of is the Met steering may not return to center after a turn. I am including the procedure to solve this.

What you need to do to make the Met steering return when towing is to loosen the steering shaft adjustment screw. But first you need to be sure there is nothing binding up in the steering. To check this, jack up the front of the car until the front wheels are just off the ground, and move the steering wheel back and forth from lock to lock. It should be very free and easy to turn. If the steering is not very free you will have to determine what is binding and make those repairs before proceeding. The adjustment is a slotted screw with a 5/8 locknut located on top of the steering box under the support bracket on the drivers side of the engine compartment. You will need a small pocket screwdriver and a 5/8 open-end box end wrench. The most important thing to do before you start is to put a dab of white paint on the most accessible end of the screw slot, and an alignment paint mark on the top of the steering box so you will be able to return the adjustment screw to the original location. Loosen the lock nut and turn the adjustment screw exactly 1 full turn counter clockwise using the small screw driver flat to get under the support bracket, then tighten the lock nut. This allows enough play in the steering to keep it from binding when returning to center.

After towing and before driving, re-adjust the steering shaft by loosening the lock nut and turning the screw clockwise exactly 1 turn to line up your paint marks, and re-tighten the lock nut. Be sure the adjustment screw doesn't move when tightening the lock nut. If for some reason you want to check the shaft adjustment this would be a good time. The procedure for this is to jack up the front of the car so the front wheels are just off the ground, Then turn the steering wheel back and forth to be sure it turns freely and there are no bushings that are binding up in the steering. If the steering is nice and free first turn the wheel to the straight-ahead position, then move it turn either way. You are now ready to start the adjustment. Loosen the lock nut and turn the adjustment screw clockwise until it is snug. Now turn the steering wheel back and forth through the center and you should feel a bind as it passes the center point. Turn the wheel back turn and loosen the adjustment screw in very small increments checking each time by repeating the process of turning the wheel back and forth over center until no bind is felt. This is a very fine adjustment; you won't move the screw much. Tighten the lock nut and be sure the adjustment screw doesn't move in the process.

The Met Tech Team

Turn Signal Tips

Repairing Stator Tube Ground

By Wallace Mynatt, Metropolitan Mailing List

It isn't really that big of a job to remove the horn/signal assembly with the stator tube and fix the grounded wire.

First, disconnect the four wires at their connection points under the hood at the base of the steering box then remove the nut and olive {brass seal} which are on the steering box. Sometimes you must gently tap the brass olive to get it to release, but it must come off before the stator tube and wires can be pulled out of the steering box assy.

There are three hold down screws in the steering wheel which must be backed out then the horn/signal assy can be pulled out all together. The stator tube can be separated from the horn/signal assy. Pulling straight out carefully.

When repairs are made the wires should be taped together tightly with one pull through wire which is longer than the stator tube by at least a couple of feet. This will really help during reassembly. Put the stator back on to the horn/signal assy. Then into the steering wheel and into its original location.

Replace the three hold down screws after the assy is flush with the tabes inside the steering wheel, tighten the three set screws to hold the horn assy. in place. Then the brass olive and nut; rehook wires and refill your steering box with gear box oil.

Hope this helps.

Best regards,


Oil Consumption

RPM's and Oil Consumption

By VWNate, Metropolitan Mailing List

You guys will not believe this but..... I just put shy of 3,000 miles on my Met and it used two quarts on the first half of the trip when I was running it @ 3,800 RPM, I decided I was pushing it too hard and kept it right at 3,000 ~ 3,2000 RPM's for the rest of the trip (all the way home from Canada) and it didn't use any!

The engine is clean & dry, no oil drips apart from a small seepage from the fuel pump mounting gasket.

With the 3.72 pumpkin it works out to exactly 57 MPH @ 3,000 RPM, I checked it with radar during the trip.

- Nate

Body Work

Good Paint on the Cheap

By VWNate, Metropolitan Mailing List

O.K ; here's what you do: YOU must take off all the bumpers and door handles, head and taillights, grille, body moulding etc. ALL OF IT!

DO NOT let the body shop do it unless you're paying $2,000.00 or more, they'll let the lot boy do it and if he actually removes anything (unlikely) he'll break or bend it, loose unobtainium parts and hardware.

Get a new carpet knife and carefully trim the window rubber back right up to the chrome stripping (windshield & backlight).

Remove the door latch strikers and sill plates.

Now go have the car painted by the local cheapo paint shop (Earl Schieb, Car Coa, One Day , Maaco etc.) making sure YOU look up the correct paint color and look very carefully at all the just painted cars outside -- when you find a paint shop with acceptable freshly painted cars, have them do yours, let it dry for a week at LEAST then put all you old chrome and handles back on - your Met will look worlds better.

I highly recommend buying good Acrylic Laquer correct color paint from a Met parts supplier and having the cheapo shop paint your car using your good quality paint -- you'll get the car painted for about $1,000.00 and it'll look positively great.

- Nate


Radio Shop

By Earl Gratzer, from the Metropolitan Mailing List

The tech that I talked to said that they would charge $15 to look at a unit sent in to them and try to tell you what is wrong with it. He said that some times there are obvious things and sometimes not. They have email also and I will give you all the info below.

They have been in business for 33 years, so they do not appear to be a fly by night business. The tech said that the base price runs about $100 plus parts and shipping back. They take credit cards too.

Hurley's Auto Audio
1524 DD Springhill Road
McLean, Va 22102
Phone # 703-790-8744
Fax # 703-893-0997

Radio Troubleshooting

By Earl Gratzer, from the Metropolitan Mailing List

Some things to do before sending the radio for repairs:

  1. Check the antenna and the connections. Usually this is a big cause of the problem for not working.
  2. Look at the speakers - the old paper (I think that he said the cone piece) gets dried out and just plain decays, and then no sound...
  3. If you can hear anything from the radio, or if you can get 1 or 2 stations, then the speakers and/orthe antenna may be bad or have a loose connection...

Be sure to check them carefully.

Gauge Tips

Gauge Repair Shops

By Jim Bracewell, Nash Car Club of America, Metropolitan Mailing List

  • United Speedometer in Riverside CA.
  • Abbott Instrument Restoration in Portland, Oregon
    10860 SW 74th in Portland, 97223
  • APT Instruments, Inc.
    Bloomington, MN
    (612) 881-7095.

Travelling Tool Box

Items for Your Travelling Tool Box

Culled from the Metropolitan Mailing List and Visitor Suggestions

  • Carry as many tools as you have in the garage
  • Spare Distributor Parts
  • A couple gallons of water (for you and the Met)
  • A spare fuel pump or install an electric pump
  • 1/4 drive socket set up to 9/16" (With 2 extensions and a swivel)
  • 4 screw drivers, large and small flat and large and small cross point
  • Combination Wrenches 1/4-5/16, 3/8-7/16, 1/2-9/16, 5/8-3/4
  • Factory Tire Changing Equipment
  • A Utilty Knife and Pliers
  • Electrical Tape
  • Assorted Solderless Electrical Connectors
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • "The Key" to working on a met -- an 11 mm wrench...
  • Oil, Brake fluid, Tranny fluid
  • Shop Rags
  • AAA Card
  • Flashlight
  • Shop Manual
  • Jumper Cables
  • Cell Phone
  • Duct Tape
  • Women's Nylon Hosiery (for patching hose leaks and using as temporary belts (engine or pants))
  • Spare set of points and condenser -w- mini feeler gage set (to set point gap)
  • Spare brass/rear generator bushing, and spare gen. brushes(LU 305)

Ignition Tips

Ignition Part Numbers

By Jerry Christensen, Metropolitan Mailing List

  • Distributor Cap: LU 420
  • 56-60 Niehoff Cap: WA 427
  • 56-60 Rotor: WA 300
  • 56-60 Coil: DR 180
  • 56-60 Points: AL 15 HV
  • 54-55 Points: WA 182
  • 54-55 Condensor: WA 226
  • 54-55 Cap: WA 483
  • 54-55 Rotor: WA 300
  • 54-55 Coil: DR 180

Petronix Ignitor

By Nate Gaines, Metropolitan Mailing Lis


Miscellaneous Parts Information

Defroster Duct Hose: Dayco brand, approximately 1 1/4" diameter

Water Pump:
For late-model 1200cc, contact Moss Motors.
For "early" A-40/1200cc, contact Jim Cave in Canada (604-541-1141)


A 12 point 5/16 wrench or socket size fits the small bolts which fasten on the wheel cylinders.

DOT 5 silicone fluid can be used instead of girling.


Removal of Lower and Upper Control Arm

By Edward Singleterry, Metropolitan Mailing List

What I have done in the past is spray the locking pins with a rust penetrant and let them "soak" for awhile, then to get the upper pins out I use a brass punch (or similar) of about 3/4 dia. so when you hit the pin it won't slip off -- when the pins come away from the support area (when the lock tang sits in) I take a pair of channel-lock pliers and start turning them and working them out. The same goes for the lower but you don't necessarily need the brass punch as you can get to the bolts easier.

Cleaning Electrical Connectors

I have a tip on on cleaning the electrial connectors on the Mets. Go to the local sporting goods store and buy a .17 ( 17 caliber ) bore brush. They are made of brass and do a good job cleaning the inside of the connectors. It helped our cars. (Supplied by Illini Mets member Bob Greenlee)