Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ringo’s Ready to Roll

Last Sunday afternoon I took Ringo for spin around the block and found that, once they were bedded in, the new brakes seem to work fine. The tires squealed a little, so I checked the pressures and found the fronts needed a few psi to get them up to 22 (to go with the 32 psi in the rears). I found that the idle speed, once the engine had warmed up, was a bit higher than desired. I popped the engine lid, and noticed the choke on the left carb was binding. I tried adjusting the rusted rod and broke it. Irrr. I’m sure the engine will still start with only one carb being choked, but we’ll see. I then pulled a wheel off Scarlett to temporarily use as Ringo’s spare. After bolting it into its mount in the engine compartment, I shut the lid and moved on to Glinda.

She needed me to fix her wipers. Starting with the easiest thing to do, the first step in troubleshooting was to look at the schematic in the ’68 manual and test the switch. It checked out, so I moved on to the drive end. To access it, I removed the air grill at the base of the windshield which also required me to remove the wiper arms from their shafts. Two loosened nuts after that and I’d disconnected the arm mechanism from the drive. Three Phillips-head screws held the drive assembly to the firewall and they came out easily. Once I removed the two long bolts holding the motor to the rest of the assembly I could tell the bushing at the far end of the motor shaft was not turning freely. Knowing I had a GUP drive assembly on the shelf, I decided to not repair Glinda’s, but bolt in the GUP. Everything went back together easily, and I remembered to adjust the at-rest position of the wiper arms before pushing them down on their splines. Everything now works and Glinda’s daily-driver-ness has been improved.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Three Steps Closer to a For Sale Sign

This weekend I was actually able to spend a lot of time working on cars (some Corvairs even) while still completing the major house project I had committed to. Saturday I spent a couple hours redoing Ringo’s rear brakes. This was one of those projects where one thing led to another which led to another. First, as I was disassembling the right rear to install the GUP e-brake cable, I noticed the shoe linings were in pretty rough, cracked shape, so I went to the box of GUP EM brake parts and pulled out two forward and two rear shoes to use. Once I got the right side put back together I moved over to the left. There I found the liners in even worse shape (had it been that long since I’d changed them?). Anyway, I put the parts back together including lubricating and turning down nearly all the way the adjusting wheel. Next, putting the hub on was much more difficult than it should have been. I made a closer inspection to ensure nothing was amiss with my work and I found the rear shoe wouldn’t retract completely to the post. Close inspection showed the one piston was seized in the wheel cylinder. A few persuasive taps with a hammer and the piston retracted and seemed freed up. I completed the brake reassembly, mounted the tires, and dropped his rear off the jackstands. After firing up the engine using the hotwire under the hood, I let the engine warm up thoroughly while I put away tools. Next, I backed him up onto the ramps so I could properly adjust the emergency brake cable length. Once that was done to my satisfaction, I drove him back down, and moved on to the more pressing project of the day – the new kitchen.

The next afternoon I’d promised my buddy, Jonathan, I’d come over to see if we could, together, solve his Corsa’s starting woes. Of late, the engine won’t consistently crank when the key was turned – the starter would spin, but the pinion of the Bendix drive wasn’t always engaging the ring -gear on the pressure plate. Additionally, the last time he’d tried to crank the engine, the solenoid got stuck in the start position and the starter just spun away. The only way to stop it was to disconnect power to the starter. We did a bit of checking of the wiring and everything seemed to be in good stead (12 volts to the purple wire when the key is in the Start position, power to the engine with the key in the On position, etc.). After those checks and reconnecting all the leads, lo-and-behold the starter stopped its incorrect spinning and responded to the turn of the key again. We hadn’t, however, fixed the inconsistent cranking. The engine would only turn on every fifth or so turn of the key, and once it did start cranking it wouldn’t even make it a full revolution before the pinion would pop out of engagement and the starter would uselessly spin freely. Jonathan removed the starter and we connected it directly to the car’s battery and watched the Bendix as I shorted the S terminal to 12V. Strangely, the pinion would pop out upon the starter being energized, but it would not stay in the full out position. After a second or two it would begin to slowly draw back into it’s at rest position even though the starter motor was still spinning away. Hmmm. Bad starter perhaps? He’s going to go get another rebuilt one and we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

After returning home, still wearing grungies, I went back to work on Ringo and replaced the balky ignition switch (seemed to be the theme for the day).

The last task for him was to replace the front seat belts. The ones he'd been sporting since Ariel and I put him on the road came out of my LeMans and allowing them to disappear with his sale would no do. The shelf contained a number of replacements, but I chose a set of new (although probably circa 1975), brown ones from Pep Boy's. I'd bought these at part's auction a few years back.

Now Ringo sits at the curb awaiting a round-the-neighborhood test drive and transmission fill before a few days of daily-driving. Once I'm sure the bugs are worked out, the Craigslist ad goes up.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Touring is Fun

It was a beautiful day - great weather, delicious beverages and snacks, and even better conversation with the small group. With only three couples in their Corvairs, changing plans became much easier as the mood stuck us.

The lovely Loriann and I met Tommy and Kathy (also from Baltimore/'63 Monza) amongst the apple trees of Distillery Lane Ciderworks (southwest of Frederick, MD). After purchasing our tasting tickets and snagging our complimentary goblets, we wandered the grounds and made the tough choices as to which of their dozen different drinks to imbibe. Finally, we were out of tickets and it was time to move on to our next destination, Creek's Edge Winery.

An enjoyable drive of roughly a half-hour took us across the Potomac into Loudin County, VA and ended at a rustic barn serving as the Winery's stand-in tasting room for the day (a wedding party had taken over their real tasting room). We were pleasantly surprised to find a live band tuning up as we bellied up to the bar and began tasting a flight of really good wines. After finishing our generous portion of the first on, Rory and Rita (Silver Spring/'66 Corsa) walked up and joined us. They shared the details of their morning's adventuresome trip in a rough-running 'vair. They'd recently took delivery of the first Corvair a few weeks ago and Rory, a capable mechanic, has been learning the nuances of the flat six while fixing the few previous owner screw-ups.

As the band started playing, it became necessary to go outside so we could converse without yelling. Six (or was it seven?) generous glasses later, we all wandered down to the meadow-cum-parking lot where the guys made some adjustments to Rory's car and discovered something else the PO had done wrong (distributor installed a couple teeth off, so the spark plug leads were one contact off). We ended up leaving the distributor alone, but thanks to Tommy bringing a timing light (who knows?) we got that and the idle speed set.

We then had to make a decision as to the next winery. One had three miles of gravel road to traverse while the other had just one. The adventurer in all of us won out and we chose more gravel over less. Another thirty minutes of driving deposited us at the pond-side old home housing the tasting room of Corcoran Winery. We selected a picnic table in the sun where we spent at least an hour eating meat, cheese, and bread while drinking two bottles of their delicious Apple Wine.

All of a sudden it was five o'clock and we realized we still had one more winery to visit. The next one on the agenda was at least a half-hour away - too far. We'd passed another one just a few miles before arriving at Corcoran, and, thanks to a quick check on the internet, we knew that Village Winery would be open until 6, so that's where we headed next.

Our server/entertainer for the next hour was the owner/farmer/winemaker. Bottom line: he was a hoot and an effective salesman since that was the only place Loriann and I spent more than the price of the tasting. Especially good were his non-alcoholic drinks made from Elderberry and Chokeberry and a new salad dressing he came up with that will be at your local Panera any day now.

Friday, October 2, 2015

When It Rains, Blah, Blah, Blah

When it rains and you’re driving a nearly fifty year old car, chances are good the wipers will stop working. That happened to me today as I was running some lunchtime errands. Something to add to Glinda’s to-do list.

The GUP parking brake cable for Ringo showed up in yesterday’s mail with an added surprise. I’d asked Jeff (Corvair Ranch proprietor) if he happened to have an EM convertible rear window lying around gathering dust. He thought he had, and lo and behold it was also packed in the box. Now Mikhaila and I have all the parts necessary to get Scarlett on the road.