Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Little Progress is Still Progress

I spent a lot of this past weekend on the road with Victoria shopping for a replacement for her recently totaled Mazda5 (not her fault for those keeping score). It was quite enjoyable sampling the best deals on Acadias in the Baltimore-Washington area even if I was just a passenger. I did, however, squeeze in some car time.

Friday evening, due to some automotive logistic issues, the lovely Loriann, much to her chagrin, had to drive Ringo. Upon her return to the house, she immediately informed me that the driver’s door would not latch. I was able to get the door to finally latch, but it obviously needed some attention. The next morning I rolled him into the driveway and proceeded to readjust the door in its opening. I needed a second body to tighten bolts while I moved the door around, so the lovely Loriann, being the only one at home, was asked to help. She braved the mess that is Ringo’s interior (thank you Ariel) and, after a few tries, we were able to get the door into a position where it would close without SLAMMING. In the midst of all that, I was reminded of the looseness of his armrest, so I fixed that by finding a larger thread bolt, rounding off the points of the bolt-head, and grinding a slot for the screwdriver. I was then able to tighten both fasteners and the armrest doesn’t dangle with a risk of being ripped off. Finally, I used a few small shiny screws and re-anchored the flopping interior door panels. Ariel was pleased.

Whenever I’ve had the chance (which is highly infrequently) I’ve been working towards completing Glinda’s 4-speed swap. Lately I’ve been replacing the flywheel rivets with 25mm bolts, washers, and nuts. This project is almost finished as is refinishing the clutch/brake pedal pieces. They are currently primed awaiting a coat or two of black paint to hold back the rust.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Yes, Progress Was Made

Can I say that my winter of discontent is gone? Not quite, but the light at the end of the tunnel went from a hazy blur to a noticeable circle. Saturday had the beautiful weather that was predicted so working in the driveway was pleasurable. Attempting to stick to my to-do list of Friday’s post, I started by installing the pressure gauge using some 3/8” fuel hose, and a spare fuel pump nipple. With the engine idling the current fuel pump (call it pump #1) showed a reading of 10 psi (remember stock is 3-4). I was giddy with joy over this failure. It appeared that I’d found the source of Glinda’ horrendously low fuel mileage. Not to fix the failure. With two GUP pumps on the shelf, I decided to see if either of them has the right output before I popped open pump #1. Well, pump #2 was only slightly better at 9 psi, while pump #3 was the Arnold Schwarzenegger of fuel pumps with a reading of 14 psi. Not wanting to un-mount a pump again, I removed the five small cap screws holding the pump sandwich together, cut off about a half coil from the internal spring, and reassembled the pump. That brought the pressure down to about 12. It took five more disassemble/cut the spring/reassemble/test cycles before I got the pressure down to just a hair above 4 psi. In the end, I’d removed about two coils from the spring leaving only four. I didn’t have a chance to do a test drive to see if the quick-throttle bogging was gone, but once the rain washes the salt away, I’ll be able to get her back on the road.

The next task on the list was to install the new stereo. That went well, and the tunes that come out of the two six by nines on the package shelf sound awesome! At that point, it was time to knock off for the day.

Sunday afternoon it was Ringo, not Glinda, that kicked off the car-work. Ariel had gone to drive him to church Saturday morning and discovered his left rear tire was almost flat. She limped him over to the house, and I jacked up his left rear, pulled the tire, and quickly found the leak-causing nail. A few minutes later, the nail was out, the hole was plugged, the tire was tested and then re-installed on the car. When I’d gone to Ariel’s work to deal with the broken pin in Ringo’s door, I’d noticed the driver’s door was very difficult to latch. To address that problem, I moved the strike plate as far out as it would go. This made it possible to get the door to latch without slamming it and it doesn’t seem to have affected the fit. TYL.

With Ringo roadworthy again, I decided to divert from Glinda’s to-do list and focus on prepping the 4-speed swap parts as opposed to installing the pedal assembly. Out of the portable garage came the transmission and after some quality time on the receiving end of my grinder-mounted wire brush, it looks like something usable. As I was turning the housing around, clear 90 weight oil oozed out the hole in the differential mounting face and it looked clean. I’m not going to mess with the tranny since the optimist in me equates good oil with good transmission – it’s easy that way. Next out onto the grass for a good brushing was a bellhousing that had the letters LM written on it. I’m praying I marked it correctly. It too became clean-looking and was set in the garage for clean storage. I noted that I’ll need to replace the engine seal that is part of the bellhousing. Next I dug out the pressure plate, flywheel, and associated fasteners. The flywheel feels tight, so I’ll be able to replace the rivets with screws without any troubles (fingers-crossed). Finally, I gave a glance at differential that came out of Phil’s Corsa and the broken end of the output shaft reminded me I need get a replacement differential or rebuild this one with a new shaft. I’m going with option number one if I can score a stock open one for less than $100.

What a joy it was to make some headway in getting Glinda’s transmission swap. There are a lot of work left to do, but I’m confident now that I’ll be able to squeeze it all in before the Memorial Day weekend track day scheduled in New York.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Will It Happen?

Will the winter of my discontent come to an end this weekend? Will Glinda become more than just the object of my rejection? Can I find the source of her gas-hoggedness? Will the 4-speed swap begin? I pray the answer to all these questions will be a resounding yes come Monday. The weather is predicted to be tolerable, there aren’t any house projects scheduled, and Ringo is currently roadworthy (TYL).

With TwoTone in the driveway, Glinda has the place of honor (in the garage). My plan is to start my car-day by checking her fuel pressure. It’s supposed to be 3-4 psi. Anything higher than that will cause the level in the carburetor bowls to be higher, and thus reduce gas mileage. There is a fix to reduce the output pressure of the pump, and that is to shorten the length of the pump’s spring. I’m praying this is the problem, and that the fix goes easily. Next on the agenda is installing the new stereo and speakers that have been sitting on the garage floor for a few months.

Item three is slapping on the IROC wheels and tires I bought at Rich’s parts sale. I posted the following doctored up JPEG on Facebook today to get opinions on how I should colorize the wheels, if at all. For now I’ll put them on plain, but painting the insets of the spokes body color is a leading candidate for change.

Finally, I’ll begin the 4-speed swap by installing the pedal assembly. I won’t care if the third pedal can’t do anything – I’ll just zip tie it out of the way. Hopefully, this will leave me time to gather together all the parts and pieces that I’ve collected for this swap allowing me to determine what I’m missing. Finally, I’ll check the condition of the flywheel. My hope is that it’s in good enough shape for me to replace the unreliable rivets with 7 mm bolts.

Come Monday I’ll report back on what, if anything, I actually accomplished.

Monday, March 3, 2014

One Daily-Driver Corvair

There’s been a lot of snow this winter, thus a lot of salt, and since I’m sick of fixing rust, I’ve parked Glinda except for the occasional jaunt to the store. That means Ringo is the only consistently driven member of the fleet.

Until Friday he’d been behaving, but that day he had a failure that, while not fatal, was certainly inconvenient. Ariel had just driven him to her job, and after climbing from behind the wheel, she went to close his door, and it jammed about halfway shut. She called me and explained her plight – it wouldn’t be prudent to park a car in a mall parking lot with its door seriously ajar. I was in line at Taco Bell at the time, but told her I was on my way. While I was en route, she fiddled with the door until she got it to close enough to catch the first latch. Thanks to California Corvair Parts for the photo.

When I arrived, twenty minutes later, I opened the door and discovered a pin had fallen out (see photo). One of the small linkage pieces was jammed against the door frame by the now-unfettered spring. Not having come prepared with any tools, I went searching for something suitable to pop the spring out. Ringo’s glovebox contained a Phillips screwdriver, while the lovely Loriann’s daily-driver (we swapped vehicles for the day), provided Chrysler’s equivalent of a lug wrench. With them, I was able to pry out the spring without having it take flight into any body part. Once the spring was out of the way, I carefully aligned the two linkages and closed the door tightly. Until repaired properly, Ariel had to use the passenger door for ingress and egress.

Yesterday, I rolled TwoTone out into the driveway just as it was beginning to rain (of course) and quickly threw a tarp over her and tied it in place. I then drove Ringo into the garage and tried to replace the missing pin. Sadly, I couldn’t find a pin of proper diameter, nor could I find a locknut that would allow me to use a bolt/washer/nut solution, but I did find a pin from an old-house hinge that, while smaller around than desired, will do the job until I get a high-strength bolt with locknut from the hardware store.

With Ringo ready for Ariel’s retrieval, I put Glinda in the garage. My hope is to get to checking the fuel pressure with the gauge setup that recently arrived from