Friday, October 21, 2016

A Quick Trip to the Pick-a-Part

Yesterday evening I spent about forty-five minutes in the garage between getting home from work and dinner. Since Glinda is now running on the two racing carbs, I wanted the spark plugs to be clean so I can best determine if the fuel mixture is not too lean or too rich. I pulled all six of plugs and wire brushed them back to silver goodness. The photos below show their condition as they came out of the engine. Plugs 2,4, and 6 are on the side that had the race carb on it for a couple weeks now and they look a little sooty (rich), while the 1, 3, and 5 plugs were on a stock carb and they look like the mixture was pretty close to right on. I’ll drive her a bit and recheck the plugs. I may go to a slightly smaller jet from the #53 that’s in both carbs. With a little time left before dinner, I yanked off the stock throttle linkage assembly and starter the reinsallt of the fancy after-market setup. I didn't complete the project, but it's nearly done.

At lunch today I popped over to Crazy Ray’s to see what was available. I’ve been toying with relocating Glinda’s battery out of the engine bay, so I was looking for a BMW so I could harvest their battery cable. BMW typically puts their battery in the trunk and uses a long, thick cable to get the juice to the fuse panel. Within the first couple minutes of entering the yard, I came upon a 3-series. About a half-hour later I had a cable in my now-filthy hands. My Leatherman’s knock-off did a great job freeing the cable from its German home. I came back to my desk at work and promptly ordered a battery box off Amazon. Now it’s just the effort of the install and I can cross another item off the To-Do list.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Nothing to See Here

Victoria has committed to spending at least four hours a week working on her convertible during the Fall and Winter, so the first step was dealing with Luna’s home. Wednesday evening she and I spent an hour or so putting a new cover on the portable garage. It was nice to rip the nasty, worn out one off and expose Luna in all her ignored glory. She’s in need of a good cleaning since the resident cats like to nap on her. The plan is to get her running first so we can drive her between the portable and permanent garages allowing us to do the work in heated comfort but not tying up the heated area when she’s not available. In order to make that happen, I first need to end the carburetor adventure I’ve been on.

That started last night when I successfully got the second modified carb functioning properly on Glinda’s engine, but not without some shenanigans. To catch up: a few weeks back I used the newly modified bases (relocated jets) and tops (vents tubes added) and put together two racing carburetors with GUPs and new gaskets. I bolted them on to Glinda and the left carb flooded – stuck float. I pulled the top, checked the float (it was fine) and needle-and-set (also fine), put it all back together, and re-started the engine. This time there was no flooding, but the left side of the engine was not working right. I swapped back on the previous carb and set the racing carb to the side. Fast forward to last night when I tore down the misbehaving racing carb and blew out all the passages before putting everything back together with new gaskets and installed it onto Glinda’s engine. This time the engine fired up without any gas geysers. I blipped the throttle a few times while looking down the throat of the left carb to see if there was a squirt from the accelerator pump, but there didn't appear to be any. I shut off the engine and tried to blip the throttle again only further this time, but the throttle wouldn’t go past halfway. Irr. I investigated and discovered the linkage rod was hanging up on the tip of the tab that rides on the fast idle cam (see the surfaces indicated by the purple arrows in the above photo; the upper surface is the tab while the lower one is the surface the throttle rod sits against). Off came the carb so I could bend the tab back into place. Once I was convinced it was out of the way, I reinstalled the carb and made sure I could get full throttle travel. I also verified that the accelerator pump was squirting as it should. With those two hurdles crossed, I re-started the engine and happily felt that the engine was finally behaving properly. This was confirmed by both chokes opening simultaneously. I shut off the engine and hooked up the clear tubing to each carb’s vacuum port. With the engine running again, it only took a couple turns of the left carb’s idle speed screw to stop the bubbles from moving in the tube.

By that point, bedtime was fast approaching so I put away the tools, reinstalled the air cleaner, and called it a day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Carburetor Issues Again

Friday evening Mikhaila drove back home from visiting friends and I got the following text,” I'm almost home. Scarlet is driving weird also so I don't want to be broken down. “ Since we had a 10 AM appointment at Gary’s, I was up early the next morning to see what’s what. I climbed behind the wheel, started Scarlett’s engine, and took her for a quick spin around the neighborhood. While she seemed to idle okay, she was definitely sluggish under acceleration. I felt, however, we could still get her to and from Gary’s, so Mikhaila climbed in and we headed out. We did not even get to the corner before we noticed further power reduction and significant pinging. We limped her back to a parking spot in front of the house and took Glinda to Gary’s instead.

Gary came through on all fronts – door lock retainers AND gaskets, the blower bearing greasing tool, and a bare convertible door to take sideview mirror measurements off of. Once we got back home, we immediately went to work on the car. First, we started Scarlett’s engine and, by pulling spark plug leads, determined the right side of the engine was not functioning. So, I grabbed the proven ’68 carb, swapped it for the bad one, and restarted the engine. It fired right up and idled and revved nicely once the new carb had filled with fuel. I didn’t take the time to balance it since we had other tasks I wanted to get to before running out of time.

We then disconnected the linkage so we could mount the blower bearing greasing tool. I pumped grease into the tool's Zerk fitting, but wasn't sure any was making it into the bearing. After removing the tool, I noticed a gob of grease on top of the shaft, but none around the seal. I tried the process again, but the result was the same. Irr. Giving up, we put everything back together and started the engine. The howl wasn't gone, but it did seem somewhat quieter as we backed the car down the driveway for a successful test-drive.

Since the lovely Loriann returned and parked the awesome Challenger in the driveway, we parked Scarlett at the curb and moved onto the next items on the to-do list. While Mikhaila swapped courtesy light bulbs, I installed the two door locks. The trick was getting the finger of the mechanism into the slot in the latch. Pushing the retainers in place took some tapping on the end of a flathead screwdriver, but they eventually were seated.

Finally, we carefully measured and marked and re-measured the location of the two screws for the side-view mirror retaining plate before drilling the two holes. The plate was installed followed by the barely GUP gasket and attaching the mirror with its Phillips screw finished the job. At that point, it was time to quit for the day.

Monday, Mikhaila took her car out for a drive and came back informing me it wasn’t idling nicely. I believe she used the terms “rumbling” and “rough.” She and I then headed to the curb with a flathead screwdriver, dwellmeter (with tachometer), and the length of clear plastic tubing. The engine was already warmed-up, so I unhooked the throttle linkage to the left carburetor thus isolating the two carbs from each other. Then I hooked both ends of the tubing to the vacuum ports of the carbs and had Mikhaila fire up the engine. Watching the small amount of fluid in the tube, I adjusted the idle speed screws until it the fluid didn’t move. Then I spun the left side linkage until it just lined up with its hole in the carb and secured it into place. Blipping the throttle didn’t cause the fluid to move, so I considered the carbs synchronized. With the engine off, I put the proper vacuum hoses back into place and hooked up the dwellmeter. Mikhaila restarted the engine and put it into Drive, so I could fine-tune the idle speed and mixture. I slowly turned the idle mixture screws in and out until I’d maximized the rpms. Then, I turned each idle speed screw out in equal increments until the engine was turning at a smooth 550 rpm. A spin around the block showed all was operating satisfactorily.

Then, yesterday, she shared with me that things were still not right with the sluggish acceleration. I confirmed the symptoms this morning before I left for work. The car seems to have decent power everywhere other than acceleration from stop. I checked the ATF level and it’s right on. I also pulled plug leads and both sides seem to respond, so I’m thinking there’s still something amiss with the right carb. My plan is to pull the non-modified carb off Glinda and swap it onto Scarlett. Then I’ll deal with carbs on Glinda instead of Scarlett.

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Little Here, a Little There

Mikhaila and I still have plenty to do before Scarlett is finished. Last night we knocked a few more things off the To-Do list. We started by changing the oil and filter (FYI, the odometer read 55790), and then moved on to installing the trunk lock. The other night I had been looking for something else in the GUP cubbies and unearthed a trunk lock with a gasket, two door locks, and, most importantly, the clip that retains the trunk lock – just the part the local Corvair guru, Gary, said he did not have. TYL. After the lock was in, I lubricated the mechanism with some graphite spray and it turned nice and freely.

With the trunk still open, we checked out the electrics controlling the wiper motor. The other day, I thought we’d found out the wipers wouldn’t run, but didn’t get any farther. With a multi-meter, we verified that 12 volts was getting to the plug and then we verified the switch was grounding out the other terminal. With the electrics working, we deduced the issue must be at the motor. I plugged in the connector and lo-and-behold the wiper motor started spinning. Mikhaila quickly turned off the switch so the blades didn’t run on a dry windshield. Then, with me holding blades up, she turned the switch and they started moving again. TYL. She turned off the switch, and we then slid under the dash and sprayed WD-40 on the linkages. Scarlett’s got wipers.

Back to the open trunk, we emptied out the box of still-to-be-installed parts and refilled it with the gas can and ATF jug from the salon, a set of jumper cables, spare fanbelt, and a funnel. Next, I pulled a jack and lug wrench from the shelf and stowed it in the trunks left front corner before shutting the lid.

The final act of the evening was to install the wheelcovers Mikhaila had chosen. The car’s starting to look finished – at least from the outside.

Tomorrow we're scheduled to visit Gary's and use his blower bearing greasing tool to try and quiet the howl from Scarlett's engine bay. I'll also make some measurements so I can drill holes and install Scarlett's side-view mirror. For whatever reason, she has no mounting holes in her driver's door. Finally, we'll be raiding his stash of spare parts for a couple door lock retaining clips so we can finally fill the holes under the door handles.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Short Shift in the Garage

I scored a little garage time last night, so what did I do? I worked on the truck (aka Tow Vehicle). I purchased a replacement power door lock switch for the driver’s door months ago, but never got around to installing it – until last night. I pulled the door panel off after removing the three screws behind the two pop-off panels, disconnected the plug from the switch, popped out the frame from the panel (with switch), and took it to the work bench where I pried the switch out of said frame. I pulled out the replacement and noticed right away it wasn’t going to be a direct drop-in. Irrr. The toggling parts didn’t match, nor did the switch bodies. The toggles just popped off and I swapped new for old, while the frame was hacked down to accept the new, larger switch. I needed to replace the now-missing retention feature of the frame, so I applied some RTV and crossed my fingers. I plugged the switch back into the cable and tested the buttons and they worked. The reassembly was a breeze and I was on to working on a Corvair.

Since Scarlett (and Mikhaila) were off somewhere, I worked on Glinda, and, of course, the task I chose wasn’t even on the To-Do list. I decided to swap off the stock front wheels for the Camaro wheels so the wheels now all match. In doing so, I also put on the replacement center cap (replacing the one that went lost sometime while Mikhaila was using the car). I now need to buy the CHEVROLET insert (another $10 to Amazon). With Glinda now properly shod, I put together the last of the carburetors. This one is the second of ’68 vintage and is earmarked for Luna since I stole Luna’s ’66 bases to be modified. With that done, I called it a night.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Portable Garage Tarp on the Way

Last weekend Victoria and I talked about what we should be doing with Luna. We decided that we’d get a replacement tarp for the portable garage and she’d commit to working on her car at least 8 hours every two weeks. I did some shopping and a new tarp has been bought. It will be here before the snow files, so Luna will be protected for another winter. We’ll get the car running so we can drive her in and out of the heated garage during the upcoming cold months. She’ll be sharing garage time with Glinda, who will be getting more rust repair, including a new trunk bottom, as well as crossing off some more of his tasks in the blogs To-Do List sidebar.

Last evening Mikhaila and I spent some quality time in the garage taking care of Scarlett issues. We lubricated the speedometer cable, screwed down the hi-beam foot switch, installed the C, the I, and the crossed flags on the engine lid using caulk, and adjusted the front toe-in.

The alignment project went exceptionally easily due to Scarlett’s rust-free condition. The clamps nuts over the tie-rod adjusting sleeves turned without drama, the adjusting sleeves themselves also turned with just a pair of vice-grips clamped to them. We started the project by Mikhaila driving the front tires onto round serving trays I’d sandwiched a layer of grease between. This allowed the free movement of the wheels without much resistance. We then determined the center of steering wheel travel by going lock-to-lock and marking top dead center with a piece of masking top at 12 o’clock. Next we laid out our strings along each side of the car exactly ten inches out from the face of the wheel. Then we measured the condition of each wheel to the string at the front of the tire sidewall and then at the rear. Then, with Mikhaila measuring and me spinning the sleeve, we set toe-in at an eighth of an inch (in other words an eighth of an inch difference between the front and back measurements with the front one being larger). I told her to drive the car around and make sure the tape on the steering wheel was still pointed at 12 o’clock while she’s going straight down the road. That’ll indicate where we re-set the steering wheel’s location on the steering column.

With Scarlett back on the street, I moved Glinda to the curb and put the truck in the driveway. I’m such an optimist that I don’t think I’ll need to use the truck any time soon.

Monday, October 10, 2016

An Empty Stall Is Good News

After the successful roadtrip of last week, Mikhaila and I had our eyes on the prize this weekend – putting Scarlett right enough for daily-driver duties. The two main items to address were the sticky throttle and the dim brakelight. We dealt with the former by removing the two screws holding the throttle pedal pivot to the floor, sliding the bound bushing off the rod, sanding the rust off the rod and greasing it, sliding the bushing back over the rod, and reinstalling the pivot to the floor. We dealt with the latter, by reattaching the ground wire to the back of the socket and binding it with electrical tape and a zip-tie.

With those two items resolved, and some time left in the garage before dinner, I dug out the cavity coating kit I'd bought months ago. After shaking the can for one minute, Mikhaila, now wearing safety glasses and gloves per the instructions, gave the inside of the rocker panels a healthy coating working both from the heater door back and forward and from the hole under the back seat. We then moved on to the upside-down steering wheel. In my mind, a misaligned steering is a sign the front wheels are also out of alignment. Using the string method, we determined that the front wheels have roughly .8 degrees total toe-out. The car is supposed to have roughly .6 degrees total toe-in. Some adjustments will be necessary, but, by that time, dinner was upon us, so we had to quit.

With the promise she’d stay within a 5 mile radius of the house and limit her route to surface streets, Mikhaila and Scarlett hit the road to visit friends. When they came back home, they parked on the street thus affording me the opportunity to take the above photograph.

Big news regarding Glinda. I think (hope and pray) I’ve solved the starter issue. Thanks to Jeff at the Corvair Ranch for the parts, I rebuilt her starter with a new Bendix, a very GUP solenoid fork, and a new felt washer. I also cleaned the commutator, checked the brushes (plenty of life left), and lubricate appropriate surfaces with synthetic grease. Once it was all reassembled, I rolled it under the car, and I followed armed wrenches, light, phone, and a mirror. Prior to reinstalling the starter, I wanted to shoot some photos of the ring gear teeth to make sure they were in good order. From what I can tell (see photos below) everything looks to be in pretty good condition. With the starter bolted in and the wiring hooked up, I gave the key a twist and the starter spun the engine just like it was designed to. I gave it about six times to misbehave, but it worked right each time. Glinda is back into daily-driver service.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Click to see the video of backing out the driveway.

Click to see the video of going down the road.

“Put your shoes on and let’s take your car for a drive.” That was my greeting to Mikhaila as I walked through the door yesterday late afternoon. Out to the garage we went, and once the door was opened, Scarlett started right up. I guided Mikhaila back through the door and down the driveway. I had her slam on the brakes a few times while backing up to adjust the self-adjusting brakes. Then, I had her pause near the street while I got out my phone to record the momentous event of her car seeing a public road under its power for the first time in many, many years. The next thing I know Scarlett has disappeared down the street leaving me standing at the curb. I told the lovely Loriann (also out witnessing this milestone) that Mikhaila did not have her phone, so I hope Scarlett didn’t break down. A few moments later, she reappeared on the horizon and drove up and back into the driveway. I slid onto the passenger seat and the only comment that came out of her smiling mouth was, “The gas pedal sticks.” I got back out and said, “Okay, it’s my turn.” We switched places and headed back out to tour more of our neighborhood. I told her we’d fix the sticky pedal, but that a quick blip before letting up on the gas resulted in the pedal going to idle position. I also did a few more brake adjustment stops while reversing which did seem to get rid of the pulling to the left while braking. After a few minutes of my driving, Mikhaila informed me it was her turn again. With her back behind the wheel we headed out of the neighborhood and onto the bordering boulevard. This gave the car the opportunity to get above 25 MPH and she performed fine. Still a little pulling under braking, but that should get better with more driving.

Back into the garage she went, where we recapped what we’d discovered still needed attention. Along with the aforementioned throttle, we need to lubricate the speedometer cable, get the right brake light to illuminate brighter (it’s noticeably dimmer than the left side), check the alignment (the steering wheel is upside down),and make the fuel gauge functional.

Later that evening, when I went out to close up the garage, I couldn’t resist grabbing the spray bottle of Armor-all and a rag and attacking the vinyl of Scarlett’s top. I found that what I’d assumed was dirt near the rear bow, was actually overspray from when the car was repainted. The rest of the top cleaned up nicely and is now shiny black.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Top Has Been Tacked

Not a lot of garage time this past weekend, but Mikhaila and I did spend a couple hours working on Scarlett’s convertible top. With the back window already stapled to the three trim sticks (last weekend), we moved on to the stapling the top to the trim sticks. Since this top had been stapled to the sticks before, it was just a simple matter of lining up the holes in the vinyl with the bolt holes in the sticks, right? Wish it was that easy. We started with the short, driver’s side stick and aligned the top’s bottom edge like we thought it should be (using a couple hole-ish cuts in the vinyl) and put in a few staples to hold the edge in place. While holding the window material taut, we tried to find holes in the top that would line up with the holes in the center trim sticks – no luck and the window-edge of the top didn’t come close to the edge of the window causing a lot of white to be revealed. Hoping the other side would be more cooperative, we started by lining up inboard holes in the bottom edge of the top with the outer holes in the center trim stick. Holding the holes in alignment with a couple large Phillips screwdrivers, we popped in a few staples and moved around to attaching the side trim stick. Lo and behold, holes were lining up so we finished stapling the top to the two sticks. Mikhaila insisted we screw the sticks in on that side to make sure we were doing it right. Many minutes and some swearwords later, we were satisfied with the look of the top and moved back to the left side. This time, instead of lining up holes, we lined up the window edge of the top with the window, put in staples, punched new holes, and screwed the sticks into the body. With the sticks now in place, we said a prayer and extended the front bow to the top of the windshield and, after some pushing and pulling, the pins went into the holes and the latches pulled the top down tight. Really tight. Thankfully, not tearing sounds emanated as we pushed and pulled. The top fits beautifully, but the rear bow has not been stapled to the top, so the rear window’s a little saggy. I had to take off at that point, so the final couple steps will have to wait.