Monday, September 28, 2015

I'm So Sorry Ariel

Had a nice time Sunday afternoon working on Ringo. I was able to get the engine to start by hotwiring to the purple solenoid wire, but not with the key. Looks like a replacement ignition switch in on hit to-do list. With the engine stuttering along, I put the hand over each carb. The right one behaved properly basically killing the engine by starving it for air, but the left one just made a hissing noise when blocked - a bad vacuum leak. I pulled off the carb and put on a new base gasket, bolted it back on, and refired the engine – no change. I looked and felt carefully around the carb’s mounting area. My fingers and ears told me the leak was between the carb base and top. Remember these carbs were the ones Mikhaila and I hastily rebuilt when Ringo’s original pair were swapped onto Scarlett in anticipation of the “great starting” that never happened. Off came both carburetors and put back in place were Ringo’s original pair. After a few seconds of cranking to fill the bowls with fuel, the engine started up and settled into a nice, smooth, but somewhat high idle. After warming up, the idle still wouldn’t come down until I cleaned the throttle shaft of the right carb which allowed it to close fully and drop the rpm down into the 1000 range with the transmission in Neutral.

I then settled behind the steering wheel, made sure I had a good brake pedal, and dropped the trans lever into D. A few maneuvers to get the car away from the fence, and I pulled the parking brake to keep him from rolling. Much to my frustration the handle pulled much farther that it should and brakes were never applied – broken cable. Irr.

Ringo’s driver’s door has been stuck shut since about a month or so before Ariel stopped driving the car, so that was the next focus of my attention. While still sitting in the driver’s seat, I pulled back on the inside lever hard and slammed my shoulder into the door – lo and behold it popped open. TYL. I got out of the car and looked closely at the engagement of the latch to striker plate – the striker plate was obviously too low. Loosening the three Phillip’s head retaining screws allowed me to slide the latch up. I tightened the screws and attempted to close the door – it wouldn’t fully latch. Moving the plate out about a quarter of an inch did the trick though. Now the door latches nicely with the expected amount of closing force. I feel SO badly that Ariel struggled with this door for far too long. I know I adjusted the plate when the problem first arose, but was never able to get it into a spot where a normal closing force would get it to fully latch – she really had to slam it to get it to fully close. Now it’s fixed – just a few months late.

Back to the brakes. To check out the issue, I backed the rear of the car up on the ramps and blocked the wheels to keep it there. I slid under and immediately found the cross-cable was much longer than it should be. The cable had broken near the right rear wheel, and the only way to replace it is to disassemble both rear brake assemblies which I started to do with the right side.

Running out of time, I needed to take apart the racing carbs so the bases could be sent back to the guy that modified them for replacement. Once the bases were completely bare, I closed up the garage and called it a day.

I called Jeff at the Corvair Ranch and I should see a GUP cable assembly by the weekend.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Okay, I’ll Break The Silence

By my lack of posts over the last few weeks, one can surmise not much is going on with the fleet. Glinda is still reliably motoring down the road getting her 17.5 mpg as my mostly daily-driver. The guy that modified the racing carburetors for me has agreed to exchange the bases of these apparently faulty ones for new modified ones at no charge, but I still need to tear down the ones I’ve got and ship them off to him before new bases will be sent to me. Today I scored two nearly new bucket seats out of Chevy Cobalt. I’d been watching for these during my sporadic visits to Crazy Ray’s and today I found them. The serendipitous part of this find was that someone had recently removed them from the car and just left them sitting on the ground. It was like I’d called ahead and ordered them. While these seats are not as form-fitting as the racing seats I’ve got, they are much more comfortable and far more practical for a daily-driver. Now I’ll sell the two racing seats and hopefully make back most of the $65 I just spent. Permanently installing these two buckets is already on this winter’s to-do list.

Ringo has gotten some attention too. I’ve sanded the Bondo and applied a few coats of sandable primer. I’ve remounted the right rear wheel and attempted to start the car. Even though the batter shows a good voltage, he won’t crank. I need to clean the terminals before he can be fired up. Last Sunday I hosted an informal gathering of Corvairs. I’d been e-mailing and talking with two new owners and invited them to stop by Sunday after lunch. I also sent out a group e-mail to all the Baltimore club members as well as a Facebook invite. The two new owners showed up (one brought along his enthusiastic wife) and one of the Baltimore owners joined us. We had a great time looking over cars, talking about Corvairs, and getting to know each other.

This gathering (even with its lack of Baltimorean attendance) has prompted me to organize a driving tour for next month. I’ve mapped out a convoluted route on country roads between a Maryland cidery (just south of Frederick), and three northern Virginia wineries. In addition to inviting the Baltimore folks, I’m going to put out the word to the Northern Virginia Corvair Club to see if some of them want to join in.