Monday, January 7, 2013

Temporarily Back in the Black

Until Ariel’s phone call this morning, I had the fleet back in the black. Saturday, Wilma went off to her new home where she’ll be higher on her owner’s priority list. With the cars shuffled around such that Ringo could take up temporary residence in the garage, I pulled his starter and confirmed its very worn bushings. I went through my stash of starters, but couldn’t find one I was comfortable relying on. Remembering I had a starter rebuild kit on the shelf, I selected the starter with the best-looking pinion teeth and tore it down. A couple hours later, I had replaced the bushings, cleaned the commutator, removed rust from the shafts, lubricated everything, and reassembled the rebuilt starter. After a few test starts on the floor, I bolted it back onto Ringo’s engine, hooked up the wiring, and gave the key a half-dozen test turns. Each and every time, the starter spun the engine easily.

With some garage time still left, I tackled the steering wheel assembly. To refresh, she had some sticking when turning the wheel that, by process of elimination, I found was the blinker canceller. With the steering wheel off, I reattached the canceller to the back of the wheel, ground a little off each end and bent them in a bit. With the wheel back on the end of the column, I gave it a few lock-to-locks and found no sticking. Good-to-go, so I tightened the retaining nut and put back all the horn stuff. One more thing to cross off his to-do list.

Now, back to Ariel’s phone call of this morning, “Daddy, I turn Ringo’s key and all I hear is the starter spinning, but not the engine turning.” Not sure what the deal is, but I suspect a cheap Chinese solenoid has bitten me. I get to leave work early, drive home, load up the Suburban, and haul the car home again. Argh!

Sunday I backed Glinda up on the ramps in the garage and investigated the source of the loud exhaust noises. As I suspected, the exhaust pipe had cracked at a joint. This also caused the right flange to vibrate loose by wearing down the exhaust gasket. I tried tightening the two bolts retaining the flange to the manifold, but they wouldn’t budge. The fix? After I welded closed the crack, I cut a washer in half, jammed the pieces under the head of one of the bolts and welded the shims to the flange to keep them from falling out. With that done, I started up the engine and all was quiet again. The last task I had time to do on her before dinner was lubricating the heater and defroster controls. The factory option of choosing where the hot air was going to enter the salon was not back.

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