Monday, September 19, 2016

Oily Mess

It was a very busy weekend car-wise. It all started Friday evening with the hitching and re-hitching of Ringo to the truck. After gathering all the parts that were going with Ringo to his new home as well as the parts destined for the Corvair Ranch, I loaded them all in the bed of the truck. Next, I hitched Ringo to the truck, and as I was finishing Ariel drove up. As she rolled down her window, I could see the disappointment on her face - she’d hoped to drive her car one last time. I quickly offered to unhitch him, but she insisted it was okay. As she drove away and I went to the garage to close up for the night I couldn’t get her disappointment out of my head. So, I decided it was early enough that I had time to give her that one last drive. I called her and told her that I was on my way over with her car, so be ready to take him on your last ride together. I went back to the curb and undid the towbar from Ringo’s front bumper and the chain and wiring for the lights from the back of the truck. Knowing it would just be a short drive on neighborhood streets, I didn’t bother climbing under the car to disconnect the chain from the crossmember, but, instead, put the loose end with a good bit of length in the trunk and closed the lid to the first catch making sure nothing was dragging. After driving over a speed bump, I started to hear the chain dragging. Using my cellphone as a flashlight I found the chain hook dragging under the crossmember, so pulled it out and added that end to the end already in the trunk and continued to Ariel’s. After she and her fiancĂ©, Jeff, drove off, I sat down on their front stoop and reached into my pocket for my cellphone, but it wasn’t there. Must’ve fallen out in Ringo – no worries. When they returned a few minutes later, I climbed behind the wheel and drove home where I grabbed a flashlight to find the phone, but it wasn’t there either. Okay, maybe it fell out when I climbed out of the car at Ariel’s. Using Brianna’s phone I called Ariel and she did a quick search but found nothing. Not good. It then occurred to me I didn’t remember having the phone with me after I used it to deal with the loose chain, so I wandered out to the spot where I’d used it as flashlight. I fully expected to find a smashed phone lying on the pavement, but saw nothing there or along the first few blocks of the drive after that corner. Big time not good. Fuming at my stupidity, I re-hitched Ringo to the truck and called it a night.

Saturday morning I arrived at Ringo’s new home around 9:30. John and I conducted the transaction and I headed on to the Corvair Ranch. After relieving the truck bed of its contents of cylinder heads, Glinda’s back seat, a large collection of wheel covers, and some other odds and ends, I headed into their office to gather the few parts on my shopping list. Jeff had the new key ready and I verified it fit the trunk lock I’d brought along. Next, Jeb (Jeff’s assistant) and I headed upstairs in one of the buildings to hunt for a ’64 Monza wheelcover for Scarlett and a driver’s door panel for Glinda. The former showed up right away, but I didn’t find the latter until the last section of panels. Fortunately, the first one I finally came across was in pretty good condition with just a few edges peeled from the cardboard – easily fixed with some spray contact cement. The last item on the list was a GUP finned, rear drum for Scarlett. Jeb had pulled a good one from their stash and I was set. Once I was back home, it was time for Mikhaila and I to do some work on her car. We decided to tackle the door weatherstripping. It took careful cement application, a bit of masking taped, and some sore fingertips to get both doors done, but done they were. At that point, we decided to be done with Scarlett until the next afternoon.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I needed to get Glinda back on the road, so putting in the floor was next on my agenda. I measured out and cut a large patch from an old LM hood and tacked it into place along the edge and with some plug welds where the u-beam ran under the floor patch. A smaller patch covering the forward part of the missing floor was cut and welded in as well. With the floor whole again, I coated all the added metal with primer and left the windows down so the primer could dry. Dinner time was fast approaching at that point, so I put the welder and the rest of the tools and supplies away for the day.

Sunday, before Mikhaila got back from work, I opened the garage door with the intention of ensuring Scarlett was running right for her first foray onto the street. I wanted to make sure all was good with the drivetrain before we spent the time putting the rear window in. With the brand new DieHard hooked up, I turned the key and a few cranks later the engine fired right up. As the engine warmed up, I put the shifter in D, but the transmission did not respond. The dipstick was dry, so I poured about a quart of ATF down the fill tube. After that, a flip of the shifter was followed with the associated lurch forward and drop in rpm. Same response when I flipped the lever to R, with the lurch being backwards. With that victory, I went back to the engine compartment and noticed the choke on the right side wasn’t opening up like the one on the left. I put my hand over the air horn and heard a lot of hissing – crap, a vacuum leak. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to determine the hissing was coming from the hole for the air cleaner hold-down j-hook. Since Mikhaila had decided she wanted the EM air cleaner set up, we didn’t need that hole, so I shut off the engine, mixed up a tiny batch of JB Weld, and plugged the hole. She arrived home soon after that, but, sadly, the new plug had to harden before we could start up the car again for its maiden voyage. So, instead, we changed the rear shocks. We’d put new ones in a few months back, but I never liked the way the rear of the car was way too bouncy. I dug through my stash and came up with a pair of GUP KYB’s that I decided were stiffer than the Clark’s Red Ryders. We swapped them out and then Mikhaila was done for the day – too tired from her job to continue contributing.

The final (I thought) fleet activity for the day was bolting in Glinda’s driver’s seat so I could put her back into daily-drivership. That went easily enough, but when I fired up the engine I noticed the oil gauge stayed on zero. Since the idiot light was not illuminated, I knew the issue was with the switch not the engine, so I backed the car out to the street. After helping my future son-in-law change the oil in his car, I went back to the street to put Glinda up on the ramps to adjust the clutch. As I approached the car, I noticed a shiny puddle under Glinda. I stuck my finger in it and the cause of the non-functioning gauge became apparent – a break in the nylon tube. For once I was actually prepared for such a failure. I opened the tool bag I pack for my trips to the track, dug out the small plastic bag with the pipe plug. With plug and wrenches in hand, I removed the fitting at the engine and filled it to keep any more oil excaping from the engine. Then, instead of backing onto the ramps to access the clutch linkage, I pulled forward onto them so I could remove the tunnel cover and clean up the oily mess I was sure the tunnel’s inside surface was coated with. A bunch of screws later the pan was loose and leaning against the fence where I coated it with Purple Power and brushed and rinsed the oil away. Thinking it was one of the splices on the clutch cable that had caused the tube to fail, I also removed the inside cover so both splices were exposed. Neither of them appeared to be rubbing on anything critical, but the upper splice was catching on a zip tie causing the catch near the end of the pedal travel. I cut it off and put on a new just out of reach of the moving splice. I also wrapped both splices completely with vinyl tape before putting the covers back on. I decided I’ll buy a whole new length of tubing with the fittings since I also needed to deal with the leak at the back of the gauge. Then I drove off the ramps, moved the ramps to rear of the car, and backed up onto them so I could move the clutch clevis a few turns out. Back down off the ramps and it was time to put away all the tools.

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