Monday, March 26, 2012

Ringo Update – Oil Pressure and Other Miscellaneous Frustrations

First of all, I apologize for the recent lack of photos. No excuses and I'll attempt to rectify the situation this evening. I have been driving Ringo as much as possible to wean out all possible issues before turning him over to Ariel. The last time I posted about him, I noted the TEMP/PRES light illumination as I pulled into my parking spot at work. Well, the light did the same thing after my commute home that day, so fixing this moved to the top of my to-do list. First of all I needed to make sure there really was a problem and not just a bad switch. I had bought a used oil pressure gauge sometime in the past, but it didn’t come with any of the fittings or tubing necessary to install it. A trip to Pep Boys yielded a kit that supplied all I needed. At the curb that evening I removed the alternator to gain access to the oil pressure switch. With the switch out, I screwed in the adapter and plumbed up the gauge using the tubing and fittings from kit. Since the tubing wasn’t long enough to route all the way to the dash, I chose to mount the gauge on the rear inside wall of the engine compartment. My intention is the gauge is only temporary until I’m sure all is right with the engine’s oiling system. Once the now-connected gauge was mounted to the wall using one of the license plate screws, a lockwasher and nut, I fired up the engine and watched the needle climb to 30 psi. Not bad, but not as high as I’d hoped to see. I knew from a posting on the CorvairCenter forum that the switch goes off at around 7 psi, so at least I was above that.

The next morning I made my morning commute of 20 minutes with the last 15 being at highway speeds. After pulling into my spot, I pulled hard on the parking brake, left the shifter in Drive, and headed to the rear of the car to view the gauge. Sadly, it was only reading a little over 5 psi. Crap, the switch was accurate. I went inside and posted of my woes on Virtual Vairs. I received many responses; most were nice and helpful, although one guy actually kicked me when I was down by insinuating I got what I deserved because I hadn’t used all parts. Anyway, the recommendation easiest to implement was drain the 10W30 oil out of the crankcase and replace it with 10W40. The higher viscosity might just get me above the magic 7 psi mark. I did that this last weekend and after this morning’s drive, the gauge registered nearly 10 psi. It was cooler this morning, so I’m probably on the ragged edge of acceptability but time, and warmer weather, will tell. While the issue could be with the pump, the probable cause is the bearings. I should have laid out the two hundred dollars for new bearings, but the old ones looked okay and measured within spec. Oh well, live and learn – again.

With the desire to keep the gauge for the near future and have the switch back in the system, I went to NAPA on my lunch hour and bought some fittings and a brake line that I plan on installing tonight. The intention is to run the tubing from the hole on the rear engine cover straight back to the rear wall of the engine compartment, screw on the T with the switch screwed onto one outlet port and the gauge plumbed to the other. Then, if the light comes back on, I can hop out and check the gauge. Before giving Ringo back to Ariel, I’ll remove all this excess and put things back the way Chevy had designed it.

The other problems that have manifested themselves were a vibration above 50 mph, brakes that badly pulled to the left, and leaks in the backlight seal. The first one was corrected while dealing with the second. While adjusting the brakes I found that I’d neglected to tighten the four nuts holding the left rear hub to the control arm. TYL that I didn’t hurt anything or worse. The drive in this morning was vibration-free. The brakes, however still pull so I did not fix that problem.

I had read someone’s method for finding leaks online and attempted to implement it this weekend. I taped closed two fresh air vents and all the side window and door joints after sticking the end of my shop vac hose thorugh a wing window and taping that all closed. Then, with the other end of the hose stuck in the exhaust of the shop vac, I went hunting with a spray bottle of soapy water. After much fruitless searching for the leak location, I asked the lovely Loriann to come out to the garage and assist me. Within a couple minutes, she’d found the leak, but not by finding bubbles, but by feeling for escaping air. Smart woman. It’s in the lower left corner of the backlight, and I’ll mask of and fill it tonight with silicone RTV.

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