Monday, September 30, 2013

A Big Dent

I’m talking about the parts sale yesterday, thankfully, not one of the fleet. At least a couple dozen buyers showed up yesterday and scarfed up a bunch of Rich’s stash. With proceeds over $6000 and low prices, that’s a lot of parts going to a lot of happy Corvair folks. I bought two sets of wheels, an IROC –Z set with tires for Glinda

and a set of 14” Torque Thrust wheels for my LeMans.

I also selected a gasket set to re-seal TwoTone’s engine, a Hurst shifter and LM manual shift dash for Glinda’s transformation, a complete LM engine block (all cleaned up and read for assembly) to replace the 140 block that’s still greasy and has broken bolts stuck in it, an interesting custom dual exhaust pipe with a crossover for Glinda, a set of brand new VelveTouch brake shoes for the next time she and I hit the track, and a GUP Powerglide shift cable for Ringo. I’m reviewing the parts list and photos to see if there’s anything left that I’m still interested in. At the same time, I’m struggling with where I put all this new stuff.

Speaking of Ringo, I answered a local e-mail offering a free bucket seat to the first person willing to drive to Laurel, MD to claim. I immediately replied since Ringo could really use a new driver’s seat that had enough life left in to to allow Ariel to see over the steering wheel. That seat is now sitting on Luna's engine lid waiting for me to have a day where I can do a seat cover swap with Ringo's sad seat.

I did get a few hours of garage/driveway time this weekend. Friday night, I disassembled Glinda’s front suspension enough to extract the two lower control arms. Saturday, after helping with the sale setup (which included loading all my buys into the bed of my truck), I stopped by guru Gary’s house and borrowed his balljoint R&R tool. When I got home, I drug Mikhaila out to the garage where she applied the rest of the primer coat to TwoTone’s gas tank while I did battle with pressing out the old balljoints and pressing in the new. When we were both done, she and I disassembled TwoTone’s left front brake assembly, disconnected the incoming hard brake line from the old flex line, and tapped out the innards of the wheel cylinder. Just by virtue of us being able to tear down the cylinder assembly, I’m confident the bore will be in usable shape after a good honing.

After dinner, she was too tired to continue, so I went back out to complete Glinda’s suspension renew and had the last bolt in place and the rubber of the new-to-her front wheels on the ground by 10:30. Only a few issues: 1. it appears my grease gun doesn’t have the gumption to pump grease into the new joints - I’ll buy a new one this evening; 2. the right front tire was flat – hopefully it’s just from sitting for a few months; and 3. I’m just not sure about how I’ll like Glinda’s stance and look with the new-to-her IROC wheels and tires. The front tires are lower profile 205/50-15s while the rears are 225/60-15. With the fronts being about two-and-a-half inches smaller in diameter, I decided to leave Glinda’s front springs alone rather than executing my original plan of cutting off another half a coil - I figured the difference in tire diameter would drop her front enough to level out her current up-facing rake. That may still be, but the look I need to get used to (or not) is front tires that look tiny in the large wheelwell. I’ll drive her with the new set up for a while and see if it grows on me. I still have the option of swapping the stock steelies and tires back on. Photos forthcoming once she’s completely re-shod.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It Ain’t Easy Selling Parts

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm working with the family of a friend and Corvair-nut that recently passed away to find new homes for the vast collection of 'vair stuff he'd collected over many years. I spent last Saturday morning with Rich's hard-working son, Vince, clearing out some room in the garage, moving big items to allow access to everything, and attempting to catalog everything that will be available for sale. The photos I took can be found on this flickr set:

I've finalized the sale date (this coming Sunday noon to 4) and sent out invitations along with a 185-item price sheet. I thought I'd been clear in my e-mails that you had to attend with cash to buy parts, but I'm still getting replies with people placing orders and asking about shipping. Oh well – as I like to say, "The world is full of people." Regardless, it looks like there'll be a pretty good turnout, and the weather's supposed to be nice (TYL).

I've struggled to price the items as attractively as possible to sell as much as possible and still be fair to Rich's family. When Rich asked me to help, he indicated he felt a third-off pricing would be good. For less desirable parts, I've gone with that using Clark's catalog prices as a guide, but for the hard-to-find, really cool stuff (of which there are many), I've bumped that percentage up to fifty. I'm sure many will end up finding exceptional deals, including me. In addition to the wonderful feeling I'm getting from helping out Rich's family, I'm getting the benefit of selecting the parts I want before anyone else. It has been VERY, VERY hard to restrain myself. There are, as I mentioned before, some really cool stuff in Rich's stash that I would love to have. And then there are many parts that Mikhaila and I will need for TwoTone's roadification, as well as many parts I'll need when building the 140 HP engine for Glinda. I'll be at their place again Saturday morning to make my final choices and clear them out of the way.

Now, back to what's happening in my garage. TwoTone got some attention last Sunday afternoon.  Mikhaila and I finished assembling our father-daughter pair of carburetors. We then moved on to the recently removed gas tank. After shaking out what seemed like a tank-full of dusty, brown, flaky chunks of stinking yuck, we attacked the inside using the flattish end of a long pry bar scraping off as much of the ancient gasoline residue from the inner walls as possible. More shaking with the two-inch drain hole facing down resulted in a sizable addition to the yuck pile. Amazingly, some of the residue was still gooey. I speculated the car was parked back in the early-80s with a full tank of gas.

With the tank's inside nearly empty, Mikhaila turned her attention to its exterior. A wire wheel inserted into my drill proved to be the right tool for her to remove all the loose rust. Thankfully there wasn't much, so she was able to move on brushing on a coat of Rusty Metal Primer before telling me she was too tired to continue. I'm not pushing things with her, hoping to build old car endurance over time.

After she headed inside to detoxify herself, I went around to the all the front brake fittings soaking each in the 50/50 acetone/ATF solution in preparation of the next big project – brake renew. We've got the soft parts (cylinder rebuild kits, hoses) and the tubing, brake pads, and hardware all look to be in terrific shape, so we're just a master cylinder away from having everything necessary to make TwoTone stop on a dime.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I Love a Productive Weekend

The disappointment I felt as Rich’s Corsa drove away Saturday with a new owner behind the wheel has turned to relief since, sadly, I’ve been in communication with the new owner and the Corsa’s giving him nothing but trouble. First, it wouldn’t start as he tried to leave my driveway (needed a jump), then it wouldn’t idle (needed the idle speed screws turned up a bit), then it died about forty miles down the road and wouldn’t re-start, so he had to have it towed the last twenty miles to his house. When working on it yesterday, it refused to start and then made an ominous clunk and the starter stopped turning altogether. I’ve given him some words of advice, but I told him the most important thing he could do was get connected with the capable guys of the Northern VA Corvair Club. I feel badly for him; it’s strange how well the car ran before he drove it away.

A large portion of Sunday afternoon was spent in the driveway and garage – yeah, car time. It started with Mikhaila and I getting TwoTone’s carburetors about 95% reassembled. Sadly, my breaking a cardinal rule of old car repair prevented us from getting the final pieces (throttle shaft assemblies) installed - don’t ever throw away an old part until the replacement has been installed and is functioning. I was confused by Clark’s catalog drawing showing the throttle shaft with its endplate attached. I thought that meant the new shafts I had ordered included the endplate, but it was just a bare shaft enclosed in the box I recently received. I only had one spare in my bucket of carb parts, so completing this task will have to wait until the Corvair Ranch comes through with a box of parts I ordered today.
Along with the used throttle shaft with endplate still attached, I asked Jeff to ship me two GNP fuel filters for TwoTone’s carbs, and for Glinda two GNP lower balljoints, four GUP special washers for her rear suspension, and a broken ’68 turn signal switch assembly that I can cannibalize. Jeff had to give me a hard time about my actually buying a few new parts. Normally, I limit my purchases to good AND used.

The parts for Glinda were a result of some checks I made yesterday. I confirmed that both lower balljoints on her front suspension were loose and that the issue with the turn signal not latching on right turns was due to a broken post in the baseplate of the switch assembly. I also decided to order the special washers (they center the outer bushing of the rear strut rods) since they were damaged during disassembly part of the suspension rebuild.

When I was done with Glinda, I returned to the garage and went back to work on TwoTone. I only broke three bolts during the extraction of her stabilizer (anti-sway)bar and then just one J-bolt while removing her gas tank [note: I’m calling Mikhaila’s as yet unnamed car a her since I’ve had more trouble with male-named (Ringo) than the all the female-named Corvairs]. Part of the gas tank removal required me to also remove the forward tunnel cover. It is still so refreshing to find the parts on the nearly fifty year old car to be in such good condition.

With the tank out, Mikhaila’s now got a big chore added to her to-do list – flushing, brushing, painting, and sealing the reservoir. Good luck to her.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Not Too Small

Last night I was out in the garage prepping the family bikes for tomorrow morning’s ride. When that bit of mechanicry was done, I moved on to a ‘vair-related activity. I had borrowed a buddy at work’s set of micrometers to find out the condition of the journal diameters on the 140 HP engine’s crankshaft. As my amateur fingers manipulated the measurement tool, I came up with values I jotted down as shown above. The pertinent excerpt from the specification pages of the ’65 shop manual is included for comparison.
Bottom line is I’m comfortable using the crank as-is with stock-sized bearings – both mains and rods. I’ll give Jeff at the Corvair Ranch a call and see if he’s got some main bearings in stock to send me. I already owe him for a recently delivered and installed speedometer cable for Glinda, may as well owe him a little more. Speaking of which, I need to first check Glinda’s front suspension for more loose balljoints in the front and also determine what’s caused the change in the left rear wheel’s camber.

When I was changing the aforementioned speedo cable, I discovered the right lower balljoint has some play in it. When I rebuilt this front end, I felt that a couple of the joints were questionable, but lacking time and money, I plowed ahead with the rebuild and the car seemed fine once everything was bolted together and greased. Now, not so much.

Regarding the rear camber, I noticed the other day that one rear wheel appeared to be slightly more splayed than the other. During the recent rebuild, I had to cut through the large bolts that retain the outer end of each strut rod. This damaged the special shoulder washers that center the bolt in the bore of the rod’s bushing tube. I thought there was enough shoulder left for these washer to do their job, but I may have been too optimistic. A quick look and I’ll know whether or not I need to add “used special washers” to my Corvair Ranch shopping list.

As I was cleaning out my can (it’s my repository of miscellaneous paperwork like bills I want to forget about, prescriptions for drugs I should take, etc.) this morning, I came across the notes I scribbled down while being schooled by Dave Edsinger on an LM street suspension setup that would work for a daily-driver. Before I lose any of this excellent information, I decided I’d put it down here for my memoirs and anyone else’s edification.
-     - Front strut (reaction) rod modification: cut off roughly 1” from the length of the inner sleeve to give more compression of the bushings and, thus, higher stiffness and less movement under braking.
       - Front springs: Cut-down HD (heavy-duty) Corvair springs. (note: I cut off one coil, but I’m thinking about taking off another half coil, but only after I move the battery from the rear to the trunk and look at Glinda’s stance – needs to be level or slightly nose-down).
       - Rear springs: 250 pound-per-inch Chevelle spring from a stock car supplier. (note: I cut off a coil from a couple HD Corvair springs, so the  racing ones may need to be cut down to get the same height as my current set up - they will certainly be stiffer)
       - Camber setup: ¾ to 1 degree both front and rear
       - Toe-in setup: 1/16th inch front and rear
       - Castor setup: 5 degrees
       - For correct vintage racing events, Dave runs 205/60-13 slicks. He loves this size and someday, if I’m in the right place at the right time, he might pass on some of his used ones my way. I can’t begin to imagine how cool that would be – Glinda shod with slicks for our next track day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Parting Will Be Such Sweet Sorrow

Sunday I had one of those bittersweet moments when I sold my buddy Rich’s Corsa, but that’s what was meant to be. A large part of me was hoping that Glinda would sell first so I could become the Corsa’s new owner, thus saving me the cost and effort of converting Glinda to a 4-speed car. I am, however, very glad to have found an enthusiastic Corvair guy (he already has a Spyder) to bring this really cool car back to glory. In fact, he offered to hire me to do the work. I had to tell him I was way too busy to take on another project. The car still sits in front of the house waiting for the buyer to return this weekend with the balance of the payment. It’s rough seeing the car sitting there knowing it’ll be moving on in a few days.

So it is with renewed vigor I press on with my initial plan to re-work Glinda into a capable track car that’s also a reliable, comfortable daily-driver. With that in mind, I pulled out the 140 HP engine block halves that afternoon and started cleaning them up. I removed the cut off head studs and soaked the three broken crankcase cover bolts. My plan is to piece-meal the build of this drivetrain over the Fall and Winter with hopes of installing it in the spring. I’ll start by inspecting and measuring the crank, buying the right-sized main bearing set, and reassembling the block halves with a cleaned and lubricated (protected) crankshaft and camshaft. I’ll then mount that on an engine stand in the garage, and do the buildup from there as time and money allows.

The package from Clark’s containing two new carburetor shafts showed up yesterday, so Mikhaila and I now have all the parts to rebuild TwoTones carburetors. I’m anxious to have these done because I intend to test them out on Glinda and see if the hard throttle engine bog is fuel or ignition related. Now I just need to get her to join me and we’ll tackle carb reassembly together. Nice that there are two carbs – his and hers.

Monday, September 9, 2013

I HATE Rust!

Wednesday I decided I needed to deal with the rust bubbles on Glinda's right front fender, so I pulled out my drill, inserted a wire brush, and went through paint and Bondo before ridding the metal of rust. A couple coats of rusty metal primer ended that day. Thursday afternoon I needed to finish the project since I had a couple scheduled to come by Friday evening.tonight to consider buying one of the two 'vairs I'm selling. I left work around 4 and by 6 I had two coats of Bondo spread and sanded. While sanding I decided to get ambitious and fix the keying scratches that had been put in the passenger front and rear fenders. With all those spots prepped, I pulled out and set up my airbrush, mixed a small batch of primer and loaded the bottle for some driveway paint shooting. To check setting I started by aiming the gun at a piece of cardboard and pushed the trigger. Nothing came out. I knew I'd cleaned it after I used it on the '64 a few months back, but the orifice from the paint bottle was definitely clogged and I couldn't get a wire to clear it out. With the primer clock ticking, I quickly grabbed my smallest paint gun, plumbed it, filled the cup, and adjusted the gun by spraying the aforementioned cardboard. With the air setting quite low, I was able to keep a tight, small pattern. I laid down three coats of primer before dinner. After an hour's break, I sanded and cleaned everything thoroughly before shooting three coats of color. I left the house before it was really light this morning, but in the dawn's light it didn't look too bad. Chasing rust on these daily-drivers is a real pain in the butt.

Here is the finished product.