Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Little Electrical

Last evening Mikhaila and I worked on her current daily-driver, Glinda, addressing issues that have nagged this car for many months. First, we tried fixing the current right rear taillight socket, but to no avail. We ended up replacing it with one from my mass of harnesses hanging from a garage rafter. Next, we put a new blade terminal on the end of the ground wire for the left rear side marker. Mikhaila took care of replacing the failed front blinker bulb. Finally, we moved on to adjusting the front headlights. Sadly, the first one we went to adjust broke as I turned the screw. Not having a replacement, we jammed a piece of wood between the bumper and the bottom of that headlight ring which will keep the bulb from flopping. The other side adjusted just fine.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ninety-nine Percent Positive

The other day, as I previously posted, I swapped out Glinda’s modified carburetors for the newly rebuilt ones that were meant for Scarlett. Since that change, she’s been running wonderfully for Mikhaila’s in-town trips. Yesterday morning I couldn’t resist claiming Glinda as my day’s ride. During my brief test drive of a couple weeks back (right after swapping carbs), I could tell that the throttle response was significantly better, but it still a thrill as I headed down the beltway’s on-ramp, transmission in third and pedal to the metal. The tachometer climbed above 4000 rpm with no hesitation and very little needle jiggling. A shift into fourth gear and back to WOT and soon after I was going eighty. What a huge difference. Later that day I pulled into a gas station and put less than seven gallons of high-test into the tank. According to Glinda had averaged over 17 mpg since the carb swap - where she’d been before the swap.

When I got home, I pulled the #1 and #6 plugs and checked them for fouling – nice and clean tip and ground electrode. #1 looked clean all over, while #6 had a little black buildup around the face of the plug body. I didn’t clean them, but put them right back in and will check again after another couple hundred miles. If, after that, the mileage is still good and the plugs are still clean, I’ll be asking the source of the modified carburetors to replace them. I’ll also, at some point, put back the Pertronix Ignitor and coil since they weren’t causing the rough-running.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Three Cars, Three Updates

Glinda: No Racer No More

A couple weeks ago I hopped into Glinda for a quick evening drive. I started her up, and pulled away from the curb. Since it had been raining, I turned the wiper knob to clear the windshield, but nothing happened - at least nothing wiper-wise. Some other things DID happen though. The radio shut off, the tach needle went to zero, and so did the voltmeter. I immediately turned off the wiper switch and everything went back to working. Since I didn’t want to get stuck somewhere, I pulled her back to the curb, with the intent of dealing with the problem later. The following morning, before turning on the car, I pushed in the wiper switch rather than turned it as a test – the wipers worked as normal. I turned them off, and, thinking the previous evening’s gremlin had moved on, I started the car and drove away. A few moments later, I checked Glinda gauges and found the voltage sitting at 10.8 rather than the normal 14+. Not having a spare vehicle available to me this morning, I continued on to work minimizing my use of electrical stuff. By the time I pulled into my parking spot at work, the gauge was now reading about 10.2. I shut off the car, and then turned the key to the ON position – the gauge needle was now pointing at slightly above 12. The drive home, however, was business as usual. The voltmeter needle pointed back to where I was used to seeing and all seemed fine.

The lovely Loriann and I decided that Mikhaila needed a car to drive while waiting for us to finish Scarlett. Glinda drew the short straw. To facilitate Glinda’s new duties, Mikhaila and I swapped out the racing seat and harness for the stock bench and belts, and we put back the skinny tires in place of the wide racing wheels. I rode with Mikhaila giving out instructions as she wheeled the car around the neighborhood. She did quite well getting used to the heavier steering and relearning the manual transmission skills she’d not had to put into practice for months.

Yesterday, after recording another tank-full of atrocious gas mileage, I gave up on the modified carburetors and swapped on Scarlett’s pair. With the recently rebuilt carbs hooked up and some gas poured down each throat, the engine reluctantly fired. After a few moments, gas started squirting out of the vent holes of the right carb. Off went the engine and off came that carb top, but not until I checked the accelerator pumps – no squirts in either carb. Inspecting the removed top assembly, I found that the wire needle retainer was preventing the needle from easily seating itself. So, I removed and re-set the float levels to ’65 setting (1-1/16” full up and 1-1/2” for full drop). I then dug out some new accelerator pump cups and a couple GUP pump assemblies from my stash. I found that the two assemblies both had pliant cups that worked perfectly in their associated bores, so one went on in place of the right top’s non-functioning one. After reinstalling that side, I pulled the left top assembly off made the same changes. Next, I needed to again clean all the filthy, fouled spark plugs (this is getting old). With everything installed and connected back up, jumping 12 volts to the purple wire contact got the engine running right away. No gushing gas and blips of the throttle were met with immediate rpm responses from the engine. I climbed in, belted up, and took her for a spin around the neighborhood. She ran better than she had in months – coincidentally the same number of months the racing carburetors had been on the engine.

Needless to say, I was quite happy as I backed her up to the garage opening. I got out my length of clear tubing, shot some water in, hooked both ends up to the appropriate vacuum ports, and balanced the carbs. With the air cleaner back on, I adjusted the idle fuel screws per the manual before setting the idle speed to 800 and shutting the engine lid convinced all woes with that car were now behind me. That euphoria lasted less than twenty-four hours ended by a single text from Mikhaila: “Glinda keeps stalling and the gas gauge went from full this morning to half full when I ran an errand.” CRAP! I thought I’d get to work on the house this evening, but NO!

Scarlett Brakes Won’t Bleed

During the last week Mikhaila and I have had a couple productive sessions in the garage. Scarlett now has all her new brake lines in place as well as her exhaust system completely hooked up. With the last brake line fitting tightened, she and I spent at least an hour and went through over a pint of brake fluid trying to get a solid pedal. With all the components of the system being new, there was a lot of air that had to be bled out. After running out of fluid, we were still getting air with each opening of a bleeder valve. Part way through the task, I got smart and adjusted the pedal rod making it longer so it would push the pistons in the new dual master cylinder deeper. This seemed to get more fluid pushed out with each stroke. I hope we’re right around the corner from an air-free system.

The muffler hanger arrived in the mail Saturday morning, so we bolted it to the engine. A new strap held the GUP muffler in place and a new 2” muffler clamp solidified the exhaust pipe to muffler joint. The engine is ready to start up other than the fact that 1) I took the carbs for Glinda, and 2) I put battery back in Ringo (see more below).

Mikhaila also took advantage of the seats being out and more thoroughly scrubbed the years of dirt from each of the front bucket seats. We also stripped the old rear window material from the three trim sticks in preparation of a new top getting installed (a ways off from happening).

Ringo Readies for Upcoming Sale

Yesterday, I pulled the tarp off Ringo with the intent of deciding what I would do to this car before I put it on the market. Instead, I jumped right into the fray by swapping back in the battery he’d so graciously loaned to Scarlett. A bit of gas poured into each carburetor and a few revolutions of the engine by the starter and the engine was running smoothly like he’d been on the road a week ago not a year ago. Next on the checklist was bodywork made necessary by the destructive right rear tire. I bent and pounded the sheetmetal behind the wheel into some semblance of its original shape. Grabbing the grinder fitted with the wire brush attachment, I attacked the mess along the front edge of the wheel-well as well as the inside of the wheel-well (is that too many wells?). I also brushed away the flaking paint and surface rust on straightened out section. Next, I pulled a jar of rusty metal primer and brushed over all the exposed steel.

I remembered that the last time I’d seen Ariel drive away in this car, one of the rear taillights wasn’t working. It took some cleaning and bulb replacement, but after a half-hour or so I had all essential lights operating properly.

With all this progress, I decided I’d move him out into the middle of the driveway so I could access the stuck driver’s door. I climbed behind the wheel, put my foot on the brake pedal, and it went all the way to the floor. I climbed back out, popped the trunklid, spun off the master cylinder cap, and stared down into an empty master cylinder reservoir. Hoping against all hope I filled the reservoir with fresh fluid and crossed my fingers. Maybe, I though, the seals will magically rejuvenate themselves after a good soaking with DOT 3.

This morning though, I went ahead and made the call to the Corvair Ranch and ordered a rebuild kit. I also asked Jeff to send me a Powerglide re-seal kit, two carburetor rebuild kits (so I rebuild the two EM carbs on the shelf to put on Scarlett’s engine), and a muffler strap for Glinda.