Monday, October 8, 2012

An Exhausting Weekend

First, a status on the eBaying of some of Phil's parts: it didn't happen.I decided I’d try a couple other avenues before dealing with eBay. I gave the CorvairCenter Forum folks first crack at the wire wheel covers and 140 4-barrel carb intake setup. The wheelcover post got not responses, but I did sell the intake setup. The wheelcovers were then put up on Craigslist and the only response I’ve gotten so far was SPAM , so they’ll go up on eBay in the next day or two.

During the school year, Wednesday has always been a fleet night since the lovely Loriann and Mikhaila have their Girl Scout meeting. This year I’m getting an additional designated fleet night since the lovely Loriann’s new job as our church’s youth director means she’s occupied each Friday evening. So, last Friday night, I backed Ringo’s rear up onto the ramps and tackled the dreaded effort of replacing his muffler and tailpipe. With all exhaust projects, one must be prepared to replace every component because, as noted many times before, rust never rests and this axiom is never better illustrated than on the metal of mufflers and pipes carrying away the escaped byproducts of each engine explosion. Even though Ringo’s muffler had only been on a few months, I was ready to replace all components from the exhaust manifolds to the tailpipe.

Why, you may ask, am I removing a perfectly fine part – especially when the removal is rife with possible swearing opportunities? Well, when Ringo was ready to be put back on the road, I needed a muffler and the only GUP Jeff had in his Corvair Ranch stock was for a ’64 and newer Corvair. While it wasn’t correct for Ariel’s ’61 coupe, it could be used, so I played the cheapskate and bought and installed it. Since Heidi now needs her muffler replaced, I purchased a new EM muffler from Clark’s intending to swap Ringo’s onto Heidi and bolt the new one onto Ringo. That way each would then be sporting proper parts.

Back to last Friday – I first liberally applied penetrating fluid onto and around the nuts of the clamp at the exhaust pipe-muffler joint as well as the slip joint itself. After giving it a few minutes to magically do its thing, I torqued off the nuts and, by jiggling and twisting the muffler and finally beating on the end, I was amazingly able to remove the muffler. I then gave the exhaust gaskets (the ones between he manifolds and the pipe flanges) a close inspection and deemed them undamaged. The new muffler and tailpipe slid into place easily and the clamping of the two joints was anti-climactic. Ringo’s engine fired right up and settled into its subdued rumble with all the exhaust exiting only through the tailpipe – no leaks. TYL.

With his rear still raised, I used the rest of the evening to change his oil and filter. This overdue task should have been done a few hundred miles ago (a rebuilt engine should have it’s oil and filter replaced around 500 miles after putting it on the road). The oil drained from the crankcase appeared normal, so I’m gonna’ go with this being an indication my rebuilding job was acceptable to the engine gods.

The final task before rolling Ringo off the ramps was a slight tightening of the fanbelt. A quick, uneventful spin around the neighborhood and he was parked at the curb.

Heidi was then driven down the driveway and backed up the ramps for her portion of the muffler transplant. A quick review of the state of things indicated the exhaust gaskets would need replacing since the failed muffler had vibrated the end of the exhaust pipe and caused enough damage to the gaskets to render them useless. Since it was nearing 10:30 at night, I just squirted the penetrating fluid on the threads and joints that need it and called it a night.

It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that I was able to get more car time. Completing the muffler transplant was priority one. It was far more difficult on this car than it was on Ringo since the muffler had been on the car since January of ’06. Once the hanger had been unbolted, the old muffler came right off, but left its mounting flange still at-one with the exhaust pipe. Next came the most remarkable part of the project – all four fasteners holding the pipe to the manifold came off without breaking. A huge TYL. Then, with the help of a cutoff wheel mounted on my die-grinder, I carefully cut a slit through just the remnant of the muffler flange and peeled it off the exhaust pipe. A few minutes at the wire wheel, and the exhaust pipe was ready to be reinstalled with new gaskets. On it went and the muffler that I’d removed from Ringo soon followed. After sliding in the tailpipe, I rotated the muffler and tailpipe to their proper position and installed the two clamps. The subsequent test run of the engine cause me to tighten the four flange fasteners at the exhaust manifolds until no pulsing jets of air were escaping.

With the car off the ramps, my next task was cleaning up and lubricating the pivot of the gas pedal. It had been sticking badly for the past week or so – to the point of being tricky to drive safely. After pulling the carpet back, I removed the screws holding the forward cover off and one of the two screws holding bushing support to the floor. The second screw refused to budge, so I ended up having to bend the support enough to break it at the resistant attachment point. Some scotchbrite removed rust and polished the rod. The bushing was cleared out with the appropriately sized drill bit. The joint was liberally greased and bolted back into place with the tunnel and carpet following suit. No more sticking!

With some more car-time left, I used the borrowed engine hoist and put the two competed engine assemblies on moving dollies I’d recently bought at Harbor Freight. This will make maneuvering them around the garage possible after I return the hoist to its owner.

The final bit of fleet-related news took place this afternoon when I added a couple tools to my arsenal. I bought a ginormous (at least to me) air tank that took two of us and a tractor to load it into the back of the Suburban. I’m going to plumb this in series with my current air supply system to bump up my reservoir capacity by two-hundred percent. While the seller was clearing a path from the corner of his pole barn to the door, he invited me to peruse the rest of the building’s contents since it was his intention to clear it out ASAP. I found an old welder and drill-press, but the item that caught my eye, and ended up coming home with me, was nice, beefy, USA-made grinder on its own stand. This purchase will allow me to dedicate polishing to my low-horsepower Harbor Freight unit.

Now I need to figure out how I’m going to get the beast of a tank out of the Suburban and into place. Thank goodness I still have Larry’s engine hoist because I don’t have a tractor.

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