Monday, March 23, 2015


I looked at my stats today for the blog. Looks like I'm pushing 1600+ visitors. Though I'm sure they're not all unique, still...pretty cool! Thanks to everyone that has visited and a big thank you to those that have commented with words of help and/or encouragement. And, an even bigger thank you to all those on my favorite forum that have heard me complain, laugh, cry and otherwise ask questions that were off the wall and sometimes irrelevant but who were always so quick to help!

As much as I promised myself, I really didn't get all that much done this weekend. It's just the doesn't let up. We had another 4 inches of snow Saturday...I mean, come on! But, I did manage to get the black car back up on the newly repaired and re-enforced saw horses. I cleaned up the garage quite a bit, moved some parts to the attic and made it so I could more easily navigate around the car.

I did break into the heater from the black car. Doesn't get much simpler than that design. Pipe some hot water, blow some air over it, and you've got heat. Of course, modern cars are probably just like this but with modern day conveniences like temperature control, multiple fan speeds, and vacuum assisted, automatic controls. What fun is that!?

Looks like the core is good, too, so that's a plus. I remember my brother's "original" 1967 Datsun Roadster (the links are about his "new" one, that is currently undergoing a frame-off restoration that started as something considerable less...typical LBSC "while I'm here") that he had in high school had a leaking heater core and it cost him lots of time and money to get the damn thing out, repaired and replaced. Of course, I was around 14 then so things were probably a much bigger deal!

Heater core. Love the vent "controls".
I need to test the motor, but I don't have any reason to suspect that there is anything wrong with that.

Inside heater box, core removed.
All of the rubber, including the heater to plenum chamber seal and the core pipe seals were all shot, of course. I know people have used foam home heater pipe insulation though I haven't tried to fit it personally. There are several sizes available, so I'm sure one would fit.

As for the heater to plenum chamber seal, I'm going to have to find some of what we called "cold lagging" on the boat. It's very dense, foam thermal insulation that comes in various thickness sheets for cold water applications. It's spongy, much like what I think the seal was like in a former life and I would make my own custom piece.

Oh, and I almost forgot...I finished the heater valve and I actually think it will work. The rubber cleaned up really nice and was very soft. It seems to get very stiff to rotate the pull-thing, but I guess that's why the cable has big indentations in it for heat...maybe it's easier with coolant flow behind it. Anyway, here she is in all her glory with new bolts on the flange...the bracket looks like crap, tho. And, yes, I know it's attached to the bracket upside down.

Nice and Pretty. Should have taken a better picture...a bit fuzzy.
That's about it. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to visit. You've definitely provided me motivation to keep going when, well into March, I still can't just suck it up and be cold.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Random Events

Random stuff tonight, if only for a few hours. I wanted to double-check that the engine mounts were actually connected to the suspension risers (properly, the front turrets) and they are. This impacts me because I was hoping that the modifications the PO of the black car did not render this un-usable to me. No such luck. I wanted to totally rebuild each side of the front suspension and then essentially swap it out. Of course, that may not have worked in the long run based on the shims and alignment and all, but that was my idea. Now, at some point, I will pull off and rebuild one side at a time.

After that realization, I moved on to taking a closer look at the heater valve that I recently acquired from High Point Imports in High Point, NC. Sorry, it doesn't appear that they have a website, but Scott there has hooked my up on a few occasions with new-to-me parts that I asked to buy on my favorite forum.

Top View. It was seized upon delivery.
All I really wanted was the heater valve flange because I assumed (and Scott recommended) that I was going to get a whole new valve. But for an extra $10 or so, I got the bracket and the heater valve, so I went with it. I soaked the valve in white vinegar over night and then decided to take it apart. Unfortunately, due to my impatience, I snapped both bolt heads off of the flange. I got one broken bolt out but the other is still in there, with nothing to grab onto. I'll have to be careful removing that as the flange is brass and, therefore, pretty soft.

The valve is put together in a twist-lock fashion. If you spin the top of the valve, it will come off. You can kind of see if the above picture the tabs that run around the outside, large diameter of the valve and the little nubs that are sticking out. To assemble, those nubs would be under the tabs.

Twist-lock cap off.
I pulled that cap off, after removing the split-washer and sleeve. Under that metal "cap" in the above picture that looks horribly rusty (it was), is the rubber diaphragm. The shaft is connected to the plunger that actuates the diaphragm.

Cap and plunger removed, exposing rubber diaphragm.
Then, some more disassembling and back into the vinegar bath to remove the residual rust.

Flange removed...there is still a bolt in there on one side.
Hopefully removing the bolt won't be too bad. I intend to drill a small hole and heat it up real good and see if I can coax the thing out of there. I had the bolt turning with my kick-ass pliers, but it sheared on me. Too damn impatient and I know better. But, it looks like I will be able to easily save the valve itself, which is going to save me about $25 from ordering one new, so there's that.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Success on Many Levels

Today was the most productive day I've had on the car (or, its parts) since late fall. It was all involved in tear-down, but it was all successful and, towards the end, I spent time cleaning up because there wasn't much else for me to do before dinner.

So, without further ado, here's the break down:

First, using a tool from HF, I compressed the coil springs and got the old shocks out of their cage. I had to take the tool apart (un-thread it) to get the hooks inside the coils properly, but it was relatively easy. The tool was a bit big, maybe, but definitely adequate. I doubt there is anything else available that would be as cheap and still work.

Harbor Freight Tool 61601 (~$15.00)
HF tool in use. Yes, I should have one on each side...didn't really need to, I found.
After compressing, I removed the center bolts and the spring top plate was free. I loosened the tool up and the coil spring fully expanded. I have two brandy-new ones, and new shocks, on the way from TRF. I have to clean up the spring top plate and paint it and all, but there you go.

Dual-nut capture for shock

Spring cap removed.
After that, I used the HF Ball Joint Separator to remove the upper ball joints. I've seen some use a pickle fork, which I had tried (yes, another HF tool) but it wasn't working to my liking. I also found a post on my favorite forum on the ball joint separtor snapping off one of the "ears". Upon use, that surprised me because it really didn't take much effort to use. This tool worked great for both the upper ball joint and the tie rods and even my 9-year old (see his picture later) was able to separate a tie rod using the ball joint separator tool. Scared the heck out of him when it popped, too. Of course, I didn't warn him first! What kind of fun parenting skill is that?!

HF Ball Joint Separator (~$20.00)
Ball Joint Separator lined up for use for the upper ball joint.

Upper ball joint, post-removal.
Then I moved on to dismantling the rest of the front hub, rotors included. I have two new rotors coming from TRF. In case you haven't been reading in between the lines, I've grown quite fond of TRF and, with all of their sales recently, have stocked up on quite a few things.

Grease Cap. Had to beat and pry the living crap out of it, but it came off!

Uh, yeah. Not pretty.
After that, it was on to removing the tie rods, using the ball joint separator mentioned above. The fit here almost didn't make it (tool too big, tie rod too small) but I was able to just get good contact on both ends and ultimately had no problem. This is the one my 9-year old did popped. Should have seen him jump!


Post-pop including tie rod removal.
I finally did some cleaning up of the steering rack but didn't break into the actual mechanism. I don't have any parts for that, but I will eventually!

Old, hard and crusty. Kinda like me!

Steering box. Felt pretty good...just dirty, of course.
I cleaned up the other rear hub, though it was just as bad as the first one. This one had the trailing arm still attached because, if you remember, this was the one that I couldn't off without injuring myself. So, instead of leaving it on the tub, I left it on the rear axle. I got the bolt to rotate, but couldn't get it out. Future me.

Finally, the coup de grĂ¢ce was the removal of that broken bolt from the MK 1 intake manifold. Thanks to recommendations from the forum, I used my propane torch to heat up the aluminum and was able to grab and break free the part of the manifold that the carb bolts to. Once I did this and was able to exercise the bolt, I continued to add heat and, using one of these things (thanks to my brother for the birthday gift), was able to excise the bolt without further damage.

The broken bolt. Note the corrosion...not really rust...aluminum oxide?
And, as promised, my 9-year old...the Remover of Tie-Rods!

40F+ for the first time in a long time today. Taking full advantage.

Spooling Up...

My motivation is rising. After a week with not one, but two snow "events" of measurable snow, just about everyone around here is ready for it to be done. If you live anywhere from CT (or other areas, I'm sure) on north, you've had it. I've had at least 15"+ of snow in my front yard since the middle of January. Right now, the snow piles at the head of my driveway are about a foot taller than I am. I am not a strong man, but I literally cannot throw the snow anywhere with a shovel...there just isn't anywhere left for it to go.

However, I was able to make some progress on random stuff over the week and intend to devote most of the day tomorrow to the car. I want to get the rest of the black car's suspension parts stripped down, trash what needs to be, and store the rest. Then, I will pick a side of the red car's front and rebuild it. I have some more parts (shhhh) coming from TRF on Monday that, combined with previous orders, should enable me to totally rebuild the front end from the springs to the shocks to the bushings. I don't think I have everything that I will end up needing for the steering, but maybe.

I tried to strip down the Mk1 manifold that I have. Got most of it apart excepting one bolt that broke off in the manifold. It's been soaking for a few days in a WD-40/3-in-1 oil mixture. I'll apply some heat and then try, gently, to remove it. If that doesn't work, I'll look at spot-welding a new bolt head on first welding experience!

Original Mk1 Manifold and expansion tank

Post-strip...only one bolt failed to give up the ghost.
Hopefully by lunchtime I'll have all of the suspension parts stripped, the good stuff saved and the bad stuff trashed and then move on to the red car's stuff. I'm trying to change my plan of a total frame-off restoration to a modified one.

Hard to explain, maybe, but the red tub is essentially worthless compared to the black one. I want to swap them. However, I have no room, garage or driveway wise, to really pull this off that well. So, my plan it to maintain the red car mobile as long as possible while rebuilding as much as possible on it a side or a piece at at time. I will take the black tub and get it "good enough". Then, take a few weeks to accomplish the swap because some of the red body parts will need to be transferred (a.k.a., welded) to the black one (bonnet, firewall areas to name a few).

If all of that works out, I'll get the black tub on the red frame, save-trash-give away the parts of the red tub that deserve it, and then have a drive-able car for the late summer/fall. Yeah, wish me luck.