Friday, November 14, 2014

It’s Getting Better, It’s Worse, It’s Mostly Better

As I walked out of work last evening, I was met with sleet, rain, and snow all lovingly mixed together by the hand of God. I knew this would happen - get Glinda back on the road just in time for the salt to be back on the road. Argh!

The mixed precipitation caused enough drivers to freak out that the commute to pick up Mikhaila from her job turned into a stop-and-go-fest. It did, however, give me ample opportunity to blow out the carburetors to, hopefully, de-chug the engine. A couple dozen full-throttle-up-to-4-grand-followed-by-an-immediate-release-of-the-gas-pedal and the engine had smoothed out significantly. Sadly, Glinda also rewarded those antics by throwing her fanbelt. With the red GEN/FAN light illuminated, I drove into the nearest parking lot and stopped under a light. While I had the requisite 9/16ths wrench and a rag in the glovebox, I did not have a flashlight, but a few minutes later, I had the apparently undamaged belt back in place and was heading on down the road again.

One of the frustrating issues I’d hoped would go away has been the inability to get the transmission to shift into first or second gear upon initial, cold start-up. My assumption had been that the stripped bolt and subsequent misalignment of the drivetrain had been causing the problem, but the issue still exists even after I heli-coiled the hole and the drivetrain is realigned to the shifter rod. Once the gear oil is warmed up, she goes into gear easily. I need to remember to leave the shifter in either 1st or reverse (depending on where I’m parked) each time she sits for any long period.

Mikhaila has a driving test coming up early next month, so I told her if she gets her license, I’d be will to let her drive Glinda to and from work and school. She’d need to keep working on Scarlett in earnest however, or I’d revoke that privilege immediately. Her eyes lit up until I reminded her that Glinda now had a manual transmission. While she’s not a willing self-shifter, she’s capable.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Update Time

I’ve been very, very busy with home projects so ‘vair projects have been off limits. That changed the last couple evenings when the lovely Loriann’s not-so-lovely daily-driver needed some mechanical attention. Since determining it needed new rear brake pads took no time Tuesday and doing the replacement took no time last evening and I was already in grungies and out in the garage both evenings, I figured, “what the heck, get Glinda back on the road.”

So, I did just that. Tuesday I adjusted the clutch cable and threaded on the retaining nut, unhooked the vacuum advance, set the dwell and timing (more on that later), removed the racing seat and belts, and pushed the front bench back into place. Last night I bolted down the seat, bolted in the factory seatbelts, zip-tied up wiring, and installed passenger door sillplate. That meant that finally, after over two months of being out of service, Glinda came down off the jackstands and was driven down the driveway.

This morning I drove her into work without issue. Well, without issue is a bit of a stretch. While the engine didn’t die and she didn’t strand me on the side of the road, her engine is not running smoothly at all. I don’t know if it’s clogged carbs or something electrical, but it’s not right. That brings me back to the question of timing. The shop manual for 1968 states timing for a manual transmissioned 110 HP engine should be set at 4 degrees BTDC (before top dead center), while Powerglide engines get 12 degrees. I’m not sure what drives this difference, so I decided to go with the higher number and just listen for pinging. Since it’s been cool and will only get colder, engine heat shouldn’t be an issue. In the meantime I’ll search the web for some smart person’s explanation of why there’s a difference.

In hopes that the chuggy running is fuel related, I’ll make sure I do some full-throttle no-throttle runs this evening to try and suck anything that might be clogging the tiny passages in the two Rochesters. It is my goal to install the Pertronix II electronic ignition module and associated new coil, so if the problem is spark related, that will cure it. Just not sure when I’ll get to it.

Hopefully, the snow (and thus the salt) stay away a little longer so I can put some miles on the car.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

With Thanks to Mikhaila

Sunday should’ve been a work on the bathroom day, but thanks to Mikhaila’s father-daughter project, I went outside to work on cars instead.

She joined me around 1 in the afternoon to work on Scarlett. Since she’d twisted her ankle (Mikhaila, not Scarlett - cars don't have ankles although some have knees), I had to come up with activities that would limit her standing, so I started by taking out the seats, so she could brush, vacuum, and coat the inside floor with POR-15. I decided it would be a while before we’d be able to reinstall so the seats, so a good storage place had to be found. Since I’d planned on reinstalling Glinda’s bench seat, it came off Luna’s engine lid and Scarlett’s seat took its place.

We then pulled Ringo’s battery, dropped it into Scarlett’s engine bay, and hooked it up to the cables so we could determine the state of the electrical system. It was encouraging when the first thing we checked, the ignition switch, resulted in both idiot lights illuminating. The check-out went downhill from there. I had Mikhaila push down on the turn signal stalk – green light on dash, nothing at the front or rear connector, same thing on left turn signaling except no green arrow on the dash. Finally, pulling out the headlight knob provided no electricity to any of the outer connectors. The next step for this will be checking fuses (something we couldn’t do with wet POR-15 on the car floor.

Finally, we oiled the engine. First, though, we removed the distributor after carefully marking it’s location against the engine as well as the location of the rotor. That gave us access to the end of the pump shaft, which she spun clockwise with the drill-mounted special shaft. She kept this up as I slowly rotated the engine through two revolutions. With the distributor back in place, I had her pull the #1 plug and insert the compression tester fitting. Then, with the gauge attached, she energized the starter spinning the engine and causing the needle to rise. We checked all six with the following initial results: one @ 160 psi, three @ 150 psi, one @ 120 psi, and one @ 60 psi). By pumping a little oil in the low cylinder and retesting, we got the gauge needle to point to 80 instead of 60. That gives me some hope this low one will come up after we run the engine a bit. We’ll need to borrow a couple good carbs first but that’ll have to wait until next weekend.

Amongst working on Scarlett, I fiddled with Glinda trying to get her roadworthy again. I pulled back the carpet to find the end of the clutch cable and inserted it back in its place. I hooked up the clutch linkage, fuel lines (with a fresh filter), and battery, and tried to start the engine. The latter activity didn’t go so well as the engine just spun and spun and refused to fire. I pulled out the timing light to check for spark and found there was none. I hooked up the dwell-meter and found there was none. Arghh. After adjusting the dwell, the engine fired right up, but as I revved it, I watched the dwell-meter’s needle jump around – not good. Since this was occurring with the vacuum advance hooked up, I surmised the points’ plate had play in it. Knowing I had the electronic ignition to install which would solve this problem, I didn’t get too upset. On second thought, isn’t this a fairly new points’ plate?

At that point it was time to put the tools away, and call it a day. The only problem was I had a bench seat sitting in the driveway – a bench seat that wouldn’t fit in Glinda while the racing seat was still installed. I lugged the heavy seat into the garage and it’s now sitting on end blocking the path around the back of Scarlett.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wonderful Weekend of Work

It ended be a very car-full weekend for me. Along with changing the oil and filter in the truck and the lovely Loriann’s daily-driver, I got to spend more than three hours of quality time with Mikhaila working on her car Saturday. I had her clean the engine’s sheetmetal pieces; remove the rusted muffler hanger and disassemble it to prep the bracket for painting; clean a set of sparkplugs, gap, and hand-tighten them into the heads; and finish cleaning the seats.

While she was laboring away, I did the minimum repairs necessary to get Ringo roadworthy. I need to take the lovely Loriann’s car off the road to replace a front wheel bearing, so a Corvair must be pressed into daily-driver service. Since Glinda was still many hours of reassembly away from being drivable, Ringo was the best candidate. There were two issues that were keeping him in the driveway – a broken muffler strap and a seized carburetor shaft. I removed his left carb and thoroughly soaked the throttle shaft with penetrating fluid, working the shaft back-and-forth until it moved freely and completely. With the carb bolted back to the head, I went hunting for the replacement strap I’d bought from the Corvair Ranch a couple months back. I could’ve sworn it was in a small box of parts, but after fifteen minutes of fruitless hunting for the package, I decided to check my shelf of GUPs and GNPs, and there it was – in the cubby marked Exhaust. Go figure. I’d actually put it away. A few minutes of fiddling and Ringo’s exhaust system is now properly restrained. Since his starter has been very reluctant of late to function properly, it was quite a surprise when a turn of the ignition key resulted in a spinning engine. It fired up almost immediately and settled into a clanking-filled idle (a lifter bled down). After about fifteen minutes of idling, the noise went away and I took him for a test drive around the neighborhood. It took a few stops before the rust was rubbed off the drums and the brakes stopped grabbing and squeaking. It’s strange to see an EM parked in front of the house – it’s been a very long time.

Sunday it was Glinda’s turn. As I left off in last weekend’s antics, I needed to install a helicoil before reassembly could commence. I cut the new threads using the supplied tap and followed that up with the helicoil twisted in to the prescribed depth. The last step in the repair was knocking off the tang which I accomplished with make-shift punch.

Next, the drivetrain halves (engine & transaxle) had to come together. Amazingly, after installing the input shaft onto the engine, I got the transaxle to slide into place without any problem. The bolts that hold the halves together were then installed and the drivetrain was pushed into position and lifted into place. I had to remove the center rear seal retainer to get the edge of the oil filter housing to clear. It took some jockeying up and down and back and forth, but by lunch I had the back of the engine attached to the rear motor mount.

Next was the front of the drivetrain. The three bolts that hold the transmission to the crossmember went in nicely. I held my breath as I carefully torqued the one bolt into the newly repaired hole, but it pulled the joint together just fine. With the jacks out of the way I moved on to reinstalling the u-joint caps on the differential hubs. Remembering to use the ratcheting strap to pull the wheels together, this task was quickly completed followed by bolting up the brackets at inner ends of the strut rods. That job went quicker than expected, so in not time I was realigning the shifter coupling with the transmission shift shaft. Once centered, I installed the pin, washers, and cotter pin. Next on the list were the throttle linkage pieces. I found the new rubber grommet that I’d bought and popped it into the hole in the transmission pivot plate before poking the ends in and retaining them with the little c-clips (my caution was rewarded by me not having any pop off into oblivion. The clutch linkage assembly was supposed to follow, but, after getting the engine side of the linkage attached, I discovered the pedal end had popped out of place and wasn’t connected to the pedal anymore. That was a show stopped since I’ll have to pullback the carpet, remove the cover, find the end amongst cables and brake lines, and then put back in place. There needs to be a retainer that holds this stupid thing in place if tension is taken off it.

Sliding out from under the car for the umpteenth time, I spent the last half-hour before dinner putting things right in the engine compartment. That included reseating the engine seal; connecting the ground strap, ground cable, and oil pressure switch; putting the fanbelt back on; and installing the air cleaner. All that’s left on the topside is to connect the battery.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Suspicion Confirmed

As most of my free time over the last couple weeks has been devoted to house projects, there hasn’t been much going on in the garage or driveway. However, I was able to spend a couple hours working on Glinda last Sunday. Previously, I’d removed the starter, disconnected clutch, shifter, and throttle linkages, and unbolted the transmission from the cross-member. That left disconnecting the drive axles, strut rods, fuel lines under the car and disconnecting the electrical plugs in the engine bay which I made quick work of. With the transmission and ATV jacks in place, I removed the two nuts at the rear engine mount and lowered the drivetrain down. At that point, I remembered the exhaust system had to be removed, so back up went the jacks, off came the four nuts and muffler hanger and the exhaust from free. With the jacks lowered again, I unscrewed the remaining bolts holding the trans-axle to the bellhousing. With the help of a prybar, I separated the engine from differential and exposed the clutch area. With the pressure plate and clutch disc removed, my suspicion was confirmed – I had left off the ring that was supposed to be under the heads of the flywheel bolts. I grabbed the ring off the workbench, and, with the aid of air tools, had all the clutch parts properly assembled in less than fifteen minutes.

Now all that stands between me and an installable drivetrain is bolting the trans-axle back to the bell housing and helicoiling the stripped transmission hole. Maybe Saturday.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Beat Goes On

Sunday afternoon afforded Mikhaila and me the opportunity to spend some quality time tearing apart Scarlett. Per her previous request, we focused on brake disassembly. We were able to safely remove the four brake hoses, all four brake assemblies, the four wheel cylinders, and the master cylinder. I loved her comment about how she was so much dirtier than I was. “It’s because you’re doing all the work,” I replied. We took lots of photos of the brake assemblies as we dismantled them to ensure we got everything put back correctly. My next task is to get the tubing parts to complete the dual master cylinder conversion and to find the wheel cylinder that’s hiding somewhere amongst my GNP stash.

After two hours, the mosquitoes starting biting, so I released her to go inside, and I turned my attention to Glinda. Since I was already dirty and there was a couple hours before dinner, I thought, “what the heck.” After placing her rear up on jackstands high enough to get the tires off the ground, I set the ignition to ON, and shorted the purple starter wire to the positive battery terminal to make the engine spin. As soon as the engine started turning, I heard and felt some clunking that I perceived as coming from the starter/clutch area. After a second or two of slow turning, I decided to pursue investigating that area before starting the engine. I slid under the car and removed the starter and took a series of photos slightly rotating the engine between shots. I didn’t really see anything significant like bits of metal or broken teeth, but I didn’t go more than forty-five degrees or so before moving on.

One issue that I definitely needed to address to rule out as a cause of the banging was the ineffective bolt hole in the front of the transmission. This stripped hole was allowing the drivetrain to shift from its designed orientation. I removed the loose bolt, made a quick trip to Home Depot to buy a replacement bolt one size longer, and then slid back under the car to try out my fix. With the other two bolts still snug, I drove the new screw into the hole. Even though I felt I was engaging more threads than before, the gap failed to close and the bolt failed to tighten.

At this point, I knew the only fix would be to install a helicoil in the failed hole. To prep for that operation, I disconnected the clutch, throttle, and shifter couplings, put the jack in place to support the transmission, and removed the bolts holding the trans to the support. I then lowered the trans to ensure I could get access to the bad hole (which I could). After that I placed the transmission on a jackstand and put all the tools away.

Once I was cleaned up, I went to and placed an order for 3/8-16 helicoil kit. It should arrive in a couple days.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Money Still Being Spent

While I may be ignoring Glinda and her issues, it doesn’t stop me from I was perusing the entries in the CorvairCenter forum when out jumped one entitled, ‘for sale " Pert 2"’ A Pert 2 (actually called a Pertronix Ignitor II) is an electronic ignition module that fits under a stock distributor cap and replaces the points and condenser, and I was going to buy one with THRaF money, but a change in priorities made that $117 purchase unfeasible. Anyway, I clicked on the link and found the seller was only asking $50 for a slightly used one. Cool! I don’t mind used as testified by my Craigslist tendencies. A quick message to the guy, and I was hooked up. I will, however, need to buy a new coil (a Flamethrower 2), but I was going to do that anyway given Glinda’s rough running at higher rpm.