Old school hydraulic setups have been making a big comeback over the past few years. Retro seems to be in and the hydro setups of old are as popular as ever. Pescos, Eemcos and OG aircraft parts are making their way into the trunks of some of the hottest cars, and quite a few of our latest cover cars have featured these setups.

With that said, we decided to give you a little insight into the inner workings of these pumps and accessories. Mike of Craps, Inc. in Whittier, California, is going to take us on a trip through the literal ins and outs of one of the more accessible Pesco pumps, a 280, and how to break it down for painting, polishing and chroming.

Many people will tear down these pumps to certain degrees, declaring that if the pump works it shouldn’t be disturbed. And depending on what you’re going to do as far as painting and polishing, this may very well be true. But Mike personally likes to take them totally apart; preferring to polish and paint many of his setups, and the right way to do that is to take them apart entirely. He’s also learned a few tricks along the way that help greatly in making sure that the pump works properly when reassembled. So let’s take apart a Pesco 280 and get a brief intro into the secretive world of old school aircraft parts.

The first thing you’ll notice is the reluctance by most old-timers and people in the know to talk about actual part numbers and there are literally thousands of them. Unfortunately, only a handful are known to work for our application. They get pulled from planes at salvage yards all over the country, but most are found in California and Arizona, which have a better climate, and thus the parts remain fairly corrosion free.

When Mike is re-assembling the pumps he has a few secrets that he shared with us. “I spend quite a few hours hand sanding the parts to make them as smooth as possible,” he says. “Then I will polish many of them myself. Making sure that mating surfaces stay unmolested is of the utmost importance. It’s the difference between the part working and not working. After I polish the parts separately, I then assemble them and have the polisher go over them on the buffer to make sure that the mating surfaces don’t get hit with the buffer and that the entire part has a uniform shine in all of the tight crevices.”

If you’re curious about the difference that Mike described, feel free to check out the February ’08 ’59 Chevy Impala cover car, “Aqua Boogie.” The setup is a masterpiece featuring Eemco pumps, Adex dumps and liquid-filled gauges. Only one or two parts are painted and this is really only possible at that level doing it the way that Mike does it.

So there you have it, a breakdown of the Pesco pump. As you can see by the final picture, the pump is worthy of a show car and works flawlessly. In the somewhat near future we’re going to de-mystify the old school pump game, so if this is something that interests you, keep your eyes peeled.