Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Little Corvair-cation

It started when I delivered Ringo to Ariel and ended last night when I spent the evening wrenching on Ringo and Glinda. My vacation from fleet maintenance lasted ten whole days!

I am very thankful that Ringo transported Ariel safely and without breakdown from PA to our home while we were in Myrtle Beach. I was on pins-and-needles last Sunday until I received the “I’m home” text from her. Whilst he hasn’t had a breakdown since his key replaced Lucy’s on Ariel’s key-ring, his bouts of starting stubbornness have become an almost-constant occurrence. Yesterday, he required hot-wiring every time Ariel wanted to start his engine. In response to that misbehavior, I stopped by Carquest on my way home from work and purchased a new starter solenoid. After putting his rear up on the ramps, I pulled the current starter assembly and replaced it with a different starter with the new solenoid. First, though, I tested the replacement assembly on the ground and it spun up with each excitement of the solenoid’s S terminal.

With the starter swap completed, I turned my attention to the other end of the car. I was never satisfied with the Pittman arm bushing-bolt install I’d done a couple weeks back, and my concern was confirmed when I discovered the nut had turned enough to shear off the cotter pin. Thankfully, it hadn’t loosened any more than that. Normally, the joint doesn’t exert a torque on the nut, but the way I’d had to add washers to the stackup had resulted in a binding condition between the arm and the mating piece of the tie-rod. I hadn’t discovered this issue until I was on the road and heading for Corvair Ranch Sunday before last. After removing one of the washers from the stackup, the joint freely turned with the spinning of the steering wheel, while all play between the mating parts was still absence. Success!

My final task on Ringo last night was a simple one – thankfully. I tightened the screw holding the rearview mirror to its bracket. Now Ariel knows that when she glances in the mirror she see the cars behind her rather than the Ringo’s floor.

Tuesday morning, during Victoria’s drive to work, Glinda’s engine died a few blocks from the house. Victoria tried getting it re-fired, but it refused to comply. She coasted the car against the curb, walked back home, and took Ariel’s car to work. A couple hours later, Ariel went to the car, turned the key, and Glinda started right up. She drove her the short distance home and everything went fine. Yesterday, Victoria went to drive her to work, didn’t like the way she was idling, so left her at the curb and again used Ringo. After playing musical cars swapping Glinda for Ringo in the space in front of the garage, I tried to smooth out Glinda’s idle. Using the hand-over-the-carb method, I determined there is something wonky with right carburetor. I pulled the idle mixture screw and blew out the passages. With the screw back in, the idle improved slightly. I then attached the engine meter and found the idle speed was about a hundred rpm low, but more disconcerting was the discovery the dwell changed with engine rpm. This could be caused by two problems – loose distributor shaft bushing or loose pivot on the points’ plate. It’s easy to determine which by just disconnecting the vacuum advance and if that fixes the problem it’s the points’ plate. Well, that was Glinda’s problem, so I left the vacuum line disconnected and plugged with a golf tee. The dwell needed adjusting, and once that was done, I checked the timing and it was spot on the 14 degrees BTDC the ’68 shop manual specifies. It took a half-turn on each carb’s idle speed screw to get the idle rpms up to the directed 600. All this should result in a more reliable engine. A rebuilt points’ plate from Clark’s has been added to my shopping list.

Actually, the first ‘vair related incident yesterday was the arrival of four new Kumho Solus KR21 tires, size 205/70R14 for Luna. They’ll be mounted on Luna’s cool blue Firebird wheels and should end up looking like the photo at the head of this post - until we change Luna’s paint scheme.

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