Since the cars and other garage memorabilia are testaments to good times past, I decided some time ago to look for an old Eco air meter. The Eco units were fondly remembered as useful ways to fill bicycle (and later, car) tires. You simply dialed in the desired air pressure and put air into the tire until the bell stopped ringing. They were easy to use and generally pretty accurate.
After searching auctions, Craig’s List, and local ads, I bought a pedestal model on Ebay. The meter arrived in decent shape and ready for restoration.
After removing the two piece shell, I was happy to find the internal mechanism in apparent good condition, at least from a visual perspective. When tested, however, air passed through the meter in both the on and off positions, and the pulsing action with accompanying bell sound was not functioning. A couple of hours at my buddy Rick’s house and a good lubrication of the internal mechanism got the meter working perfectly.
The shell and frame needed a clean up and painting, and the glass and trim needed replacing. The pedestal also needed painting, and the light unit inside the meter needed repair. Fortunately all of the cosmetic work was within my capabilities.
Front view of the internal mechanism.
Rear view of the internal mechanism.
I started by sand blasting areas that showed thin or missing paint on the outside surfaces and minor rusted portions on the inside of the shell. I then stripped the paint on the frame and primed it. Final prep included sanding and priming the pedestal and base plate.
My intent was to keep the Shell color combination of red and yellow that had been used on the restored gas pump that already resided in the garage. Fortunately I still had paint left from the pump, and I was able to spray it onto the air meter in pretty good fashion. After wet sanding and clear coating, the painted parts looked great.
The meter came with a lighted face, so I replaced the socket and drilled a hole into the side of the pedestal where I installed a toggle switch to control the operation of the light. I then ordered new glass and chromed parts from Gas Pump Station, and replaced any rusted fasteners with new ones. I also applied new numerals to the pressure dials and added a new face plate. The final step involved assembling everything. Fortunately it all went back together with very few “field modifications” required.
I decided to install the finished unit on the checkered portion of the garage floor, so I built a base and matched the black and white floor pattern. I then ran an air supply hose and power cord through a three quarter inch pvc pipe to the compressor and power source on the other side of the lift. Before installing the conduit, I had “tested” it’s ability to avoid crushing by driving back and forth across it. The pipe survived with no apparent damage.
All in all the air meter turned out well. With any luck the grand kids will find the same enjoyment filling their bike tires that I did when I was their age.