Tuesday, January 3, 2012
It's a New Year and Ringo Still Isn't On The Road
When last I posted to this blog, I reviewed Ringo’s to-do list with promises of attending to the final items. How’d I do? Well, the ”loose steering” and “clicking in steering” ended up being a failed Pitman arm bushing (the rubber-filled joint between the steering box and tie-rod). With no GNP (the only way to go) on the shelf, this issue could not be instantly resolved. Then, under his own power (thanks to a new fuel pump and the carburetors off Heidi), I backed him up on the ramps and tightened the parking brake cable. With his engine up in the air, I went to install the thermostats and bottom shrouds that ensure quick engine heat up, but couldn’t find the right clips – add them to the shopping list. I also took advantage of his elevated state to top off the gear oil level in the differential. After rolling him down off the ramps and back into the garage, I addressed the final open item on the list – the under dash leak. I emptied most of a can of spray rubber coating onto the metal of the fresh air cavity before reinstalling the air grill at the base of the windshield.
At this point, I readied Ringo for the next morning’s jaunt up to the Corvair Ranch for his backlight installation. The towbar was bolted to the front bumper and the temporary lights were magnetically attached to the engine lid.
The next morning (Thursday the 22nd) I loaded the backlight glass into the rear of the Suburban, hitched up Ringo, and hit the road. I made my 9 AM arrival appointment and Jeff unhitched the car and pushed it into one of his work bays. With the overhead door closed and the Ranch’s heater pumping out nice, warm air, his technician Levi laid a protective blanket on Ringo’s engine lid and covered it with the trim sticks I’d pulled from the trunk. Jeff inspected the pieces and rightfully complained they were too banged up to install on such a nice-looking Corvair. I agreed, but true to my penny-pinching attitude, I insisted I could not spring for nice GUPs. He over-rode that decision by “making” me go out to an early coupe in the midst of a parting out to snag a smooth replacement for the lower right piece. With trim clips knocked into place over the pinch weld, the two professionals snapped the side and lower sticks into place locking them down with the pertinent nuts, screws, and washers. Next, the new weatherstrip got a bead of sealer squeezed into its glass-facing channel before enclosing the perimeter of the now-squeaky clean glass. Another sealer bead was then dispensed into the outer channel where the requisite string also found a home. Jeff appointed himself the inside operator and took up his position on the backseat while Levi and I carefully lowered the backlight into the opening. As Jeff poked and prodded the weather stripping into place, Levi and I applied pressure per Jeff’s direction. A little more than an hour later, we were successful. The fitting was not without its challenges as the three of us encountered the same issues Ariel and I had encountered 6 years ago – a gap in the bottom right corner that screws up the fit of the weatherstrip over the pinch weld. This time, I’m much more confident that it is now properly spanning the gap with sufficient sealant to keep water out.
While I was there, I bought some final parts for Ringo – a Monza badge, two door sills to replace the cancerous pair, and the clips to attach the thermostat rods to the shroud doors under the engine. Sadly, Jeff didn’t have any nylon Pitman arm bushings in stock, so I gave Clark’s a call. The part was only $7, so when I asked how much to ship it 2nd day air and was told $16, I choked a little. Then the sales gal went on to explain that, due to the holidays, 2nd day meant delivery the following Tuesday. All of a sudden I was faced with new math that had 2nd day equal to five days. Just for kicks, I asked how much next day air would be, and was told, “around forty dollars.” Needless to say, I told her to ship it good old USPS. Guess what? The package showed up Saturday afternoon – a real 2nd day delivery.
Generous Jeff gave me an early Christmas present with his Tom’s-special-pricing. He knows I’m on a tight budget, and claims the hulks I drag up there to add to his back-lot collection get me this discount. Much thanks Jeff!
By that time Levi had finished running one last bead of epoxy sealer and cleaning the glass one more time. We pushed the car out of the garage and a few minutes later had him hooked back up to the Surburban for the tow home.
During the midst of all this fun-and-games, I met a new convert to the crazy world of ‘vairs. Tate and, I believe, his dad trailered away a solid project car - a ’62 Monza 4-door (102 horsepower engine with a four-speed manual transmission) he’d just bought from the Ranch. He’s got big plans and I hope he keeps posting his progress on Facebook.
Once home and tow-bar-free, I had no excuse but to drive the car around the neighborhood to see what’s what with the drivetrain. What I found was the one clackety valve would not quiet down and the Powerglide would not shift out of Low. I posted my tranny problem on VirtualVairs and the CorvairCenter forum. The most popular blind diagnosis was the governor, so I tried to remove it with the drivetrain in place, but couldn’t get it past the lower control arm, so I bolted it back in place with the hope that just whacking it about would resolve the issue. A subsequent test drive proved that it still wasn’t right. Re-reading some of the responses to my query indicate I just didn’t try hard enough to get it out. Tonight I’ll fire up the heaters and give it another go.