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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Four Days Gone...

On Friday, I turned the frame over to allow me better access to the mounting bolts of the differential. I had already removed the transverse leaf spring and its mounting studs that screw into the top of the differential because the studs came first, not the bolts. "Whatever," I thought, "the spring is out". Turns out, those stud holes go all the way into the differential. In other words, they can act as auxiliary drain holes. Which they did...all over my driveway...wife NOT happy. I grabbed the first thing I could find in my garage to catch the oil...an old cast iron frying pan. Thankfully is was pretty cold and the oil didn't run down the driveway but just puddled up. Kitty litter to the rescue!

My "oil pan". Good seasoning for a cast-iron frying pan!
While I didn't get everything done I wanted to over this holiday weekend, it wasn't too bad. I was able to balance my goals with the car with the goals of my wife (family stuff) so it worked out just fine. With the help of my Father-in-Law, I was able to get the stripped frame to the back yard. The differential remains intact <aarrrgh, still!>, but I got some new weapons (HF 4lb sledge) to coax it off. I also purchased a pickle fork to try and get my tie rods off...we'll see how that works.

Center is the sleeve...left and right are the bushings that are seized (I think).
All in all, not too bad. Hopefully the weather will hold out for a few more weekends. I'm trying to get as much done outside as I can before I'm restricted to the garage...where there's not a lot of room.

Two future me problems:
- Using the house's main joist that is in the ceiling of the garage (split-level or raised ranch, as your preference) to remove the motor from the red car, and
- Removing the red car's tub, essentially discarding it and merging her frame with the black car's tub. I love logistics!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Front End Frame Strip

Even though it's a holiday, I decided it was a good day to get some work done before the festivities kick off. So, with the help of my 8-year old, I was able to get the front of the frame stripped of the suspension and other little bits.

In there are the suspension sub-assemblies, the steering rack and the front calipers.
I was not expecting to see shims on the frame mounting points. It makes sense, of course, to help square everything up; I just didn't expect them (though, duh, if I had actually studied the Canley's drawing first, it would have been obvious). Interestingly, they must have gotten the driver's side of the car more "true" than the passengers because there was only one shim on the driver's side while there were six on the passenger's side.

Three stacked shims for the passenger's rear wishbone mount.
Of course, I'm not sure it will matter because, unless I replace the turrets on each sub-assembly, I won't be using them as a whole due to the modifications the PO made (you can see some of that in the first picture above). I found them on Canleys for only $60 each (seems cheap to me). But, with two other good ones (at least as far as I can tell) on my red car, not sure I will be going that route.

I was unable to get the tie rods out of the steering arms, however. So, I cheated a bit and removed the steering arms from the sub-assemblies instead. I will need to get them out at some point, of course and hopefully I didn't make it harder by losing the weight of the frame to help bang them out. I don't care about the tie rods as I have new ones, but I would like to get everything apart. Future me.

That was it for today. Supposed to be cold tomorrow (38F or so) but I plan on bundling up and getting the rear end stripped. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Hopefully you are able to spend it with the ones that mean the most to you. Please say a special thanks for those serving our country (I missed my fair share of Thanksgivings) and keep them in your thoughts as you celebrate.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Oh, and...

Before I forget to document this, the original car had a SCCA emblem on it from 1965. Considering the car is a '64 (as far as I know), that seems to be pretty darn cool. Here's a pic of the brass emblem:

It's on the top of the original driver's side door (makes sense). I didn't touch it at all (also makes sense). If anyone knows anything (history wise) that would be great. I know Thompson is a NASCAR track, but not sure about this regional thing. Anyone??? This is why I love this stuff!!! 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

And...She's Off..

I managed to separate the frame from the body and actually make it so I could roll the frame out from underneath. I did this by myself because it was cold (my boys elected to stay inside) and because...well, I'm stubborn and I wanted to see if I could do it myself. Success! Though, I will admit there were moments when I thought I was going to spill the tub. But, hey, no injuries this time, so I guess I can be happy about that!

I decided that I would use "custom made" sawhorses for the job. And, when I say custom made, I mean ones that took me about 15 minutes to put together with parts from Lowe's, eye-balling them by the "yeah, that looks good" method.

Sawhorse supports. Ended up cutting them to about 26" tall for the rear...20" for the front. Sucks not having a level driveway as I had to shim the legs...well, it shouldn't blow over in the wind!
I got the tub supported up so that I can roll the frame out from underneath. Once I got it relatively level and stable, I was able to "shim" either corner (using 4" long 2x4 "spacers") using only one arm. I am NOT strong by any means. Leverage helped, I'm sure, but the body is NOT heavy when dealing with a corner at a time.
On the blocks...like drydocking one of my old submarines!
Couple of things that screwed me up for those that are trying this. The fuel tank was gone, but the line from the motor to the tank remained and I had to get this clear of where it enters the boot.

Fuel Line Boot Entry
I cut the handbrake cable just behind the handbrake lever that is in the passenger compartment (sorry, no pics). It was in bad shape and, well, I would replace it anyway. However, this was NOT the correct cut. When trying to lift the body for what I thought was the "money shot", it was still hanging up on the frame. The handbrake line that is key is the transverse cable that runs between the back wheels. I cut this (I have the spare one of these). Again, no pics, but for my case, it was just easier to cut it (Dremel tool to the rescue) than deal with it.

All in all, unlike the red car, I have more concerns for this frame than I do for this tub. There are more areas on the black tub that have been dinged and dented that I don't find on my red tub...which means I have "ready-spares", I guess. However, for the black tub they are relatively minor and I think it will come down to decisions to be made as I prep the body for cosmetic work vice get it ready for the road, if you know what I mean (dents won't keep me from getting her registered...lack of tub structure will).

As I said, this was a one-man job. I wouldn't recommend it, but it can be done. I used a jack, a bunch of 4" long 2x4 shims, 8-foot 2x4 cross-supports (which are the same as you see supporting the body above) and jack stands to make it all work. I will have to do the same to the red car and, lessons learned, think it will take about half the time. But, nothing earth-shattering to share with you on how to do it. It would be much easier with 3 or 4 strong friends once you get your sawhorses built, however. What took me about 6 hours would take a smart crew of 4 about 30 minutes. Again, I'm stubborn. Use this and the other posts on the forum, and you should be fine.

As far as other concerns...I spoke about the PO's ambition to install a non-standard tranny and engine in this car. He did frame modifications to do this. My red car has an original frame and, as far as I know (and am confident is true), the areas that the PO modified on the black frame will be good on the red frame. I include the areas of concern on the black frame below and would love feedback:

Cross-member is partially cut (bottom of pic) with modification-strength just forward of steering rack.

Mod-tranny mounts towards left. Driver's original mount (top) good, passenger's gone). Can I reverse this safely?

Firewall. Upper cross-member (where top of tranny tunnel would be) has a piece of square-iron in it. Steal from red car and tack-weld it in...followed by permanent installation?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

There Can Only Be One...Unfortunately

**WARNING - This post contains images of blunt trauma. Viewer discretion advised!**

Only one bolt/nut between me and the tub lifting off the frame. And, of course, it seems to be one of those that is going to be a real P.I.t.A. The four bolts that were holding the radio riser to the tub (which actually bolt through the tub into the frame) were the ones that were really throwing me off. I got them off and then the frame and tub were obviously detached as I could lift the tub and it came right up. However, before this, I knew the driver's side rear radius arm was going to have to be disconnected from one of its attachment points.

The Culprit
The PO had already removed the bolt attaching the radius arm to the vertical link on the passenger's side. That same bolt on the drivers side, though, was rounded off and there is no room to beat it with a hammer to try and coax it through the hole.

I moved up to where the radius arm attaches to the tub. This bolt/nut is in good shape and I could loosen it, but I could not get it to slide through the bushing and out. According to the forum, the bolt is most likely rusted to the sleeve that you cannot see inside the rubber bushing (makes sense). So, bang all you want, but she isn't moving. I put a bunch of WD-40 on it before I knew about the sleeve, but I don't think that it will wick its way all the way where I need it to make the rusted sleeve loosen up, however. Since I do not own a torch to apply a little heat, it's either a hacksaw or...a hacksaw. I'll pick the appropriate end (tub or vertical link) when I get a better look with destruction and sacrifice in mind.

Of course, this discovery did not come without injury. This is probably my worst since I started tearing this car and the other apart. Left skin and hair, this time. The ratchet slipped off the bolt head on the radius arm at the tub and, well, the result is what you see below. The wife is none-too happy. I think I should probably go get a tetanus shot.

The offending corner, with my arm hair and some skin. Nice and rusty!
The resulting wound on the inside of my forearm. Should have taken it before the blood filled the hole.
It doesn't look too bad and it's only about the diameter of a pencil eraser. Unfortunately, it's also about as deep as that eraser is tall, though, so...yeah. It's smarted a little. I love this stuff!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Today entailed cleaning up and checking out the new acquisition. Snapped a picture of the commission plate...middle-ish number so I think that puts her firmly as a '64.

Black w/ Red Interior. Comm # FC29668 L.
I stripped the old rubber (except the rear window rubber) and the headliner (it was trashed) from the hard top. Found one area of significant cancer at the bottom front driver's side. There is some more-than-surface rust towards the rest of the bottom, but it seems to be mostly minor (need to get some rust converter on it). The thing has obviously been painted several times, I believe. The paint chipping off the top of it is very thick, so lots of coats at some point.

Cancer. Those screws hold on the bracket for the tie rod.

Top view. I'm sure that will all come out, but there is some pitting.
I also got all the bolts removed that hold down the tub and also removed the steering wheel. This car was obviously better taken care of (or stored) than the one I bought. Looks like I will have to steal some of the body parts from the '66, however, to undo what the PO did during his modifications.

The battery pan is cut out. That square bar was used by the  PO as bracing while conducting sill repairs.
But, the work that he did on the sills looks good (not that I'm sure I'd really know what I was looking at...at least they aren't rusted through). The front caps need to be attached, but he gave me those. Also, the seams will need attention, but it appears solid. There are some spots that he didn't finish, but nothing significant.

New sill area. All the rust is just surface.
If all goes to plan, I should be able to pull the tub on Tuesday (Happy Veteran's Day!). Not too sure how heavy it will be. Right now, I can lift the back of the tub up, but the front is hung up somewhere. I know I have all the bolts out because I counted, so gunk or something is holding it up. Maybe I'll put the jack under it, very carefully, and see if I can pop it. I used the Workshop Manual to guide me and it doesn't appear, once I removed the steering column, that anything is holding up removal. So, we'll see how it goes.

Oh, and when removing the rear wheel well vinyl covering that was left, I found a little friend. We don't see too many large spiders up here in CT. This one was about the size of a silver dollar. The boys liked him!

Say Hello to My Little Friend

Saturday, November 8, 2014

More Generosity

Few things today after another long no-show. First, it's my birthday today and my wife got me the Best. Cake. Ever.

You may remember the very generous gentleman who provided me with my new-to-me boot lid. I accepted his generous offer to take the rest of the car and after a U-Haul rental and a 3 hour round trip, it was in my driveway. He had originally purchased it to do an engine swap and had started frame modifications. Unfortunately, the project turned out bigger than he wanted. But, not before he did a lot of repairs to the tub, most of which I would have had to do to my '66. So, I'll be swapping tubs and stripping other tidbits off of the "new" car as it's mostly complete except for an engine, gearbox and interior.

I also got two more doors (better shape), a Mk1 radiator (maybe now I can convert my Mk1 engine BACK to a Mk1) and various other parts. The best part, tho, is the steel hardtop. It needs some love, but the glass is good and it doesn't appear that actual metal has been lost from rust.

#2. A '64 Mk1 this time.
Once again, I'm very excited to get some work done, which will begin tomorrow with starting the tear down process. Unfortunately, with #1 in the garage, there is no where to put #2 except in the driveway. With winter on the way and, more importantly, the car disturbing the boy's basketball court, I need to get it stripped pretty quick. Because of a fence that I don't really want to tear apart, not to mention some shrubbery, I really can't get the car to the back yard or that's where she would be. The wife is supportive, but her teeth are clenched a little bit this time, so I can't mess around with this one.