Thursday, March 10, 2011
Birthday Present Highs and Welding Woes Lows
I spent another lunch hour at Crazy Ray’s yesterday. The night before, the lovely Loriann had agreed that I could make the racing seats my birthday present from her. That prompted me to pack coveralls, gloves, and tools in the Suburban for the next day’s expedition.
It was a colder day than Tuesday, so I was glad that my coveralls were thermally lined. After paying my entrance fee, I made a bee-line for the already removed passenger seat. It only took a few seconds of seat time for me to be sure this would be a very comfortable seat for my daily drives and infrequent track trips. A closer inspection revealed that one of the posts connecting the base to the seat had a broken weld. I can fix that – I’ve got a welder, so that blemish was not a deal-breaker.
I moved on to the car and a few minutes of wrenching and the driver seat was loose. Since the Nissan’s neighbor was sitting rather close to the driver’s door, it took some finagling to work the seat out of the vehicle. Once free, I was able to give it a close examination. It too had a broken weld, and, sadly, some wear in the seatback cover near where my left hip would rest. The latter gave me pause about going forth with my purchase. I decided to fully cruise all the imports in the yard and make sure these were the best for me. It took some time, but I determined that: 1) these were the only racing seats, and 2) they were in much better condition than nearly all the other seats I’d looked at. Feeling much better, I lugged the seats to the cashier and closed the deal.
Now the trick is finding a place to keep the seats while I’m finishing Ringo. I don’t think the family will find the back of the Suburban an acceptable storage spot.
Then, last evening, I was out in the garage working on Ringo. I carefully trimmed one of the rocker panel patches to fit a large portion of what I’d cut away. With it fitting like a glove, I brushed off the surfaces to be welded and held the patch in place using panel clamps. I tweaked the settings on my MIG welder laying down test-beads on a piece of scrap and then started tacking the patch to the body. The first few tacks went down quite nicely with the welder making its requisite buzzing noise. Then things started to change. One of the welds burned through the metal, so slightly turned down watt setting. Then the buzzing was gone and I was only getting little dots of weld. For the next twenty minutes I made adjustments to the welder settings and tried to lay good beads on my scrap piece, but never got acceptable results. It seemed like the wire was not feeding out as fast as it should. At that point, it was after 9 PM, so I decided to knock off for the night.
Afterwards, while in the shower (doesn’t everyone get inspired while showering?), it occurred to me that I’d tightened the strap that held the gas bottle to the welder. Could it be I'd tightened it so much the cover on the welder was pressing against the wire spool? This would certainly affect the welder’s ability to consistently feed out the wire. Something to check this evening – hopefully the fix is that easy.