Monday, December 6, 2010

Kerosene Heaters Kept Me Functional

I burned through quite a bit of kerosene this weekend. It was brutally cold in Baltimore, so all three heaters were pumping out the warmth to keep things comfortable in my un-insulated garage. I spent quite a bit of time out there, but only a relatively small portion was Corvair related. Friday evening was spent trying to get Ringo’s pistons separated from the crank. I started with the #3 since it was closest to being in the best spot to access the two rod nuts. With the nuts almost all the way off, I carefully tapped the ends to pop the cap loose. I got it about halfway off, but no more. I remember having this fun when I replaced Heidi’s pistons. Since I want to re-use all these parts, I’m going to have to be more careful with Ringo’s engine. After about thirty minutes of frustration, I gave up for the evening.

Yesterday evening was my next opportunity to service the fleet. Victoria had shared with me that Glinda was making a metal scraping noise when she drove her last. Given the extreme cold we’re seeing, I immediately assumed the fan bearing needed greasing. I gave Gary (Baltimore Corvair guru) a call to see if I could borrow his special tool that’s used to force grease into that bearing. He said I was welcome to it, so I made plans to stop by their later in the afternoon. Before making the drive I decided to see what else could be an issue. When starting up Glinda’s engine, I expected to hear the bearing noise, but instead exhaust noises assaulted my ears. I looked under the car and discovered the exhaust gasket had failed on the driver’s side. Easy fix, I have the gaskets, and no need to borrow a tool. After calling Gary and cancelling, I put Glinda into the garage and up on the ramps. After turning all the heaters up, I took an hour off to have dinner and let the garage heat back up. Once I was back out, I thanked God the bolts and nuts retaining the pipe ends came free without breaking – always a concern when working on old exhaust systems. With the pipe/muffler assy off the car, I chipped away at the old gasket residue and wire brushed the interface clean. Everything went back together cleanly, and firing up the engine, I verified that all the hardware was tight and the gaskets were doing the job properly.

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