Thursday, July 14, 2016

Will This Be the Beginning of Consistent Blogging Again?

My lack of blog entries in the last three months has been due to a couple of non-Corvair projects sucking all my free time away. First, I’m still working on a new kitchen for the lovely Loriann. Second, Victoria and I were dealing with her daily-driver Acadia. To summarize the latter, a timing chain slipped, intake valves hit pistons, compression was lost, engine was dropped out of the car, heads were pulled and rebuilt with new valves and machined surfaces, engine was reassembled and raised back into the car, everything was hooked back up and fluids topped off, key was turned, engine started (TYL). All that took roughly four months.

In the midst of all that, I did get some Corvair problems to solve. Since Victoria needed a vehicle to use, as did Mikhaila, Ringo became my daily-driver, while Mikhaila got the pleasure of wrestling Glinda around town.

Ringo, for the most part, has been well behaved. The only work I’ve done has been to extend the jump-start wire into the salon and insert a temporary toggle switch between it and a 12V tab on the fuse block. The starter won’t energize by just turning the ignition switch anymore (solenoid? – probably!), so I have to double up on sending voltage to the solenoid. I do this by turning the key and toggling the jump-start wire at the same time. I’m sure, in the end, it would have been more effective to swap out the solenoid which I still plan to do. Oh well. Glinda has had some issues that have sucked up some time. A couple weeks back, with Victoria’s car out of the garage, I decided to weld up her cracked exhaust pipe (Glinda’s not Victoria’s). While brushing the surfaces clean with a wire wheel on my grinder, I took a big chunk out of the air hose that runs in that space. I did the best I could to weld up the crack without removing the pipe, but figured I hadn’t gotten it all. That was confirmed when I started up the car and pulsing hot air was still coming out of the pipe near the weld. After replacing the hose with a GNP off the shelf, I sent Mikhaila on her way. She got about 3 miles down the road when the pipe broke taking out the muffler hanger with it. Mikhaila immediately pulled off the side of the road and gave me a call. I got her the rest of the way to work and then returned with bailing wire and the tow stuff to get Glinda back home. Fortunately, the Flowmaster didn’t drag on the ground – one of the clamp u-bolts did the dragging. With Glinda in the garage and her rear up on jackstands, I unbolted the broken hanger and pipe and then went rummaging for replacements. The hanger had failed at the rubber square, so I pulled a GNP square and nut and bolt kit, drilled out the old rivets, and installed the new square – job done. I then closely inspected the two pipes I found in the rafters, but one had a crack and went into the recycling can. The second one had had its muffler cut off at some point in its life, so clamping the Flowmaster onto its end was not going to happen. It was going to have to be a welded joint. Fortunately, there’s a short transition pipe installed into the inlet of the muffler that meant I wasn’t welding the muffler, but the transition pipe’s end to the exhaust pipe end. The mating areas and surrounding surfaces of the two pipes were thoroughly cleaned to bare metal with the wire wheel on my stand grinder before I climbed under the car with them. With the repaired muffler hanger in place supporting the rear of the muffler, I bolted the replacement exhaust pipe to the exhaust manifolds with copious amounts of exhaust sealing paste (no new donuts available) and slid the inlet of the muffler over the abbreviated pipe as far as it would go – only about a half-inch. Out came the welder and I laid down a bead (or what passes as a bead given my lack of welding skills) all the way around the joint. The next morning Mikhaila started the car up, and it was noticeably quieter during her commute. When she got home, I inspected my work and found the strap had
pulled out of the hanger (see circled in red below). Back into the garage went Glinda, and I removed the strap and the portion of the hanger that the strap attaches to. I then welded the two together. I’d been struggling with seeing the weld using my self-darkening helmet, so I adjusted the darkness of the lens to the next smaller number – huge difference. I could see the puddle much better. With the strap and hanger piece as one, the assembly went back together and has held ever since.

It seems starter issues are contagious, as that was Glinda’s second significant issue. For the longest time, her starter’s Bendix drive would sometimes not engage with the ring gear on the pressure plate resulting in the starter spinning, but no engine turning. Usually, it would happen once and on the second turn of the key everything spun as it should. When the clutch cable broke a few months back, I had to abuse the starter to get the car home, and the starter issue immediately got worse. It would still, eventually, work, but it would take a few tries before operating properly. Last week, while I was away on a youth mission trip with the lovely Loriann and her enthusiastic group of high schoolers, I got a text telling me Glinda would not start. Fortunately, it happened right in front of the house, so Mikhaila wasn’t stranded somewhere. When I returned the following Saturday, I roll-started the car and drove it into the garage where she assumed the position – rear-end up on jackstands. After disconnecting the battery’s negative lead, I slid under the car, disconnected the leads to the solenoid, and went to remove the two bolts retaining the starter to the bell housing. They were both loose. Odd. So, thinking I’d found the issue, I tightened the two bolts, reattached all the electrical leads, and turned the key to test my fix – nothing. Well, something did happen - the idiot lights on the dash faded. Odd. Thinking the solenoid had finally crapped out, I disconnected the wires again, and removed the starter. Using jumper cables, I then went to my milk-crate of starters to find one that worked. By the time I’d gone through a couple with anything but a few sparks to show for my efforts, I tested the battery. It had died, but not an “I’m out of juice, please recharge me” death, but a “I’ve had something bad happen inside me, and no amount of charging will make me work” death. Odd (there’s that word again). Grabbing Luna’s battery (she doesn’t’ need it), I tested the starter/solenoid that I’d just pulled out of Glinda and it looked to work fine – Bendix slid out and stayed out just as Vincent Hugo Bendix had invented it to do. Thinking the dying battery was the culprit behind the non-starting (not enough juice to engage the Bendix properly), I bolted in the “original” starter again, and, this time, after hooking up all the wiring, turning the key turned the engine. I exercised the starter at least a half-dozen times before pronouncing all was good and lowering the car onto the garage floor. The car started right up when I went to drive it out to the street, but a couple hours later, when Mikhaila wanted to use the car, the starter was back to its misbehaving ways. Odd (AGAIN!). Quite fed up with the whole thing at this point, I handed her the keys to Ringo and pondered how big a sledge hammer I’d need to destroy this royal pain in my butt. The next day, once I’d calmed down over the whole affair, I had drug Mikhaila out to the street where I taught her how to roll-start a car with a manual transmission. Once she got Glinda running, she drove her into the garage where the two of us went to work. After disconnecting the battery, we used jumper cables to test prospective starter/solenoid replacements from my cache. The first one we hooked up spun nicely and the Bendix moved properly (just like the faulty one in the car had done, so I was still leery), so she and I swapped the supposed good for the known bad. Guess what? The car has started perfectly every time since then.

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