Friday, January 24, 2014

I Surrender

As I posted last time another weekend passed without any work getting done on TwoTone. Some of this is the weather’s fault (two darn cold), some is mine (too many projects), and some is Mikhaila’s (too overwhelmed). As we removed all the exterior trim, it was quite discouraging to find more sections of the body that’ll need replacing. Then I found a previous repair on the left front that’ll need some attention to go with the already estimated fifty hours plus to cut off the collision-damaged left front corner and replace it with the spare front piece. That front piece, by the way, is not in the greatest shape. Replacing rusty, bent metal with rusty, bent metal is not my idea of moving forward.

So, for the last few weeks I’ve been pondering the possibility of finding a better starting point for Mikhaila and I. Another EM 4-door requiring far less of my time than TwoTone. I think I’ve found one and I’m hoping Mikhaila and I can travel the couple hours to check it out tomorrow. We’ll see – could be a very interesting weekend.

Once we find a replacement, I’ll try to sell TwoTone as-is with spare front end. If I get no interest, I’ll probably tow her up to the Corvair Ranch and get some credit from Jeff. Most, if not all, of the new parts I’ve purchased would be used on whatever new project car we get. That's the beauty of Corvairs - much of what's EM is interchangeable from '61 to '64.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Weekend of Not Much

Here’s what last weekend’s checklist looked like come Monday morning:

Do some work (any work) on TwoTone – not checked
- Dry out Glinda’s carpets and find the leak – not checked
- Select and start tearing down the Powerglide – not checked (although, thanks to CorvairCenter forum, I now know which unit is definitely a late, and thus stronger, one)
- Disassemble race carbs to see if they were correctly modified – check (They were so now there’s something else wrong that needs fixing. Fortunately, the pro that modified has offered to set them up for me, so I’m confident they’ll be good-to-go once their back from him)
- Fix and reinstall Ringo’s flat tire – check (it was a rusty bead that needed smoothing)
- Install a good starter on Glinda – check (the starter off Ringo was electrically bad, so a GUP was pulled from the milk-crate and paired with a GUP solenoid and she got me to and from work yesterday)

So life goes on. Not sure how I’ll get to all my car projects, but I keep praying for a miracle.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Progress, But Certainly Not Enough

The recent cold snap has slowed our blood and brains to the point where just venturing into the garage to work on TwoTone has become a dreaded task. Nonetheless, I was able to burn enough kerosene and make enough threats to get Mikhaila out to work on her car last Sunday. We were able to coat the floor with POR-15 patching the handful of holes with fiberglass cloth. A few more coats over the patches and the floor will be water tight and rust resistant. Sadly, that is the only task we’ve accomplished on this neglected ‘vair for quite a while. At this rate, Mikhaila will be graduated from college (if that’s what she chooses to do) before TwoTone is roadified.

Ringo continues to remind me he’s part of the fleet with sporadic incidences of misbehavior. The most recent of which occurred last Thursday when he refused to start for Ariel. She driven him to work and then to the bank, but upon trying to leave there, turning the key returned nothing but silence. She had to walk back to work in the freezing rain. This experience enticed her to get more serious about obtaining a new daily driver. That evening, fortunately for both of us, Ringo started so I didn't have to leave work early to tow him home. The next day I stopped by their house intending to drive him over to my garage to do a starter swap, but he refused to cooperate. Turning the key got me nowhere, and connecting the solenoid wire directly to the positive terminal of the battery got me nothing but sparks. So, Saturday, I removed the Glinda's starter swapped it in place of Ringo’s suspect assembly. Ever since then his engine cranks with each turn of the key.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Hush Has Fallen Over the Fleet

With only one of our Corvairs in use the past couple weeks, the odds were in my favor that it would be a quiet holiday season. In fact, it was. Ringo’s only misbehavior came courtesy of a flat tire. Ariel and I swapped a good tire and wheel from TwoTone and they were good-to-go again.

This reminds me of one of my little quandaries: what's the clearest, most concise way to refer to a tire and wheel assembly? In the previous paragraph, I wanted to just type, “swapped a good tire,” but I felt the need to elaborate, so I added the words “and wheel” to the phrase. However, it is perfectly clear, even to my engineer’s ear, to just say, “changed a flat tire,” and trust that my audience would never believe 1) I’d demounted the deflated tire from its wheel and mounted a replacement right there on the side of the road, and 2) I'd exchanged one flat tire for another flat tire. I guess it would have been easiest if I’d just said, “The only fleet maintenance during the last two weeks was changing a flat tire.” The automotive world has drive train (engine-differential-transmission) and air cleaner (which includes the air filter cartridge and a bunch of sheetmetal), but they’ve never come up with a word or two signifying the rolling thing consisting of a metal wheel with a rubber tire mounted around it and filled with air. What about “rolling stock?” Nope; that doesn’t work for me. “I swapped rolling stock” is too vague regarding plurality or lack thereof. I guess I could try to introduce a completely new word like twerk (Tire Wheel – get it?) to the English language, but given I’m not Miley Cyrus and I’m already trying to get Websters to recognize scramble-do (your hair-do when you get of bed in the morning – feel free to spread that one around), I’m reluctant to take on another quest. But I digress (or have I actually double-digressed).

Now for something completely different. ‘Tis the season to share your resolutions (I will be less of a curmudgeon) and plans for the upcoming twelve months, so here are my plans for the fleet. TwoTone will get a real name as well as plenty of attention. Given the glacial-rate at which Mikhaila and I are proceeding with her sedan’s roadification, I’m hesitant to use the word complete in stating my intentions for that car, so I’ll just say I hope we can get her on the road. Ariel will be replacing Ringo with a modern vehicle as her daily-driver. She insists, though, that she wants to keep her ‘vair, so I don’t see any reduction in the size of the fleet. It would be really nice if Victoria and I could get Luna drivable, but she is so busy and we’re still not sure what that car truly needs (in addition to the convertible top installed) to be a reliable road-goer. Finally, Glinda. Visions of a 140 HP engine and a 4-speed transmission have been dancing in my head for quite a while now, but I’m afraid those grand plans will not be executed in 2014. Too many demands on my precious time and our tight budget mean the best I can hope for is a rebuilt Powerglide and a re-seated windshield. The tranny rebuild needs to be completed before May 24th since that’s when the next track day has been scheduled by the NECC (Northeast Corvair Council) at the brand-new New York Safety Track. Click here to go on a tour of the track. Looks fun, even for an automatic.