Friday, July 29, 2016

Parts Pile

My small, but ever growing pile of clean or new parts.

Yes, they're in the house... because they'll be destroyed in the garage.

My wife is a saint. :)

Check out my U.S.S Enterprise Frisbee.  It's out of this world!
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Thursday, July 28, 2016

High Beam Heaven

One of the things about old cars is that they have controls that are, shall we say, "unique".  In this case, I'm talking about the high beam switch.

It was common in the 50's and 60's to use a foot-operated high beam switch instead of a stalk operated one.  That's what I have.  What's funny, though, is that I can still flash the high beams with the stalk.  I guess the designer was afraid that too much current through the switch (because relays? What were those?) would melt it.

Here's the switch and base after 50+ years of neglect.

It's a neat little thing.  The button operates a spring loaded plunger to engage a toggle that flips the output from one terminal to the other.  Simple and effective, but mine has gotten sticky.  I can buy a replacement, but I wanted to see what was inside this thing.  (Obviously, I found out, otherwise I couldn't have told you how it works).

So I disassembled and cleaned up the switch.  Getting the button off was a pain as it's held in place with crimps that aren't easy to undo.  But here's what's inside.

What's neat about this switch is that the big spring controls the plunger, and the little spring controls the actual toggling.  So, you get good resistance until you reach the point where you engage the toggle to flip, and the switch goes 'click'.  The plunger has to return so the toggle can find the other position when it's time to change back.  It also keeps you from engaging the switch arbitrarily (because you rested your foot on it, since the switch is where the dead pedal would be).

All together now...

Works like a champ.  A little white lithium grease to free up the toggle and it's like new.  It works, too.

EDIT: Here's the finished product.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

My Generation

I think I mentioned that I'd taken my generator apart a while back.  Well, it's time to put it back together.

The Midget doesn't have an alternator like modern cars.  It has a generator (dynamo) that outputs DC current, 22 amps worth.  Given that today's cars run on 60-100 amps, that's chump change, but it's enough to run the puny electrical system that the Midget has.

I explored finding a replacement generator because the front bearing plate had broken.  But I found an aluminum welding shop in the Valley, and they fixed it right up.  It's not show quality, but it will work just fine.


I had to replace the front bearing and the brushes and a couple other parts.  I found a kit from JCR Supplies in the UK that appears to be the only place in the world that sells a rebuild kit for a C40 dynamo (what I have).  It got here last week.

Here's all the parts in a C40 dynamo worth talking about.

I cleaned up the armature (the thing that spins) and tested it, and it's fine.  I tested the field coils (the yoke) and they checked out OK too.  With new brushes and a front plate bearing, it's time to reassemble.


It took me a bit to get things to fit properly, but they do and the generator spins nicely.  It even makes voltage; I rigged up a quick test to spin it, and even at a few RPM it makes a little bit of volts.

I won't know for sure if it's totally healthy until I get the car running.  But I think it will be OK, as it makes the same volts spinning it by hand as it did before I started, and it was working OK before I started all of this.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Some Light Cleanup

My front turn indicator lenses are not in the best of shape.  One is dirty (easily fixed) but the other is seriously cracked, like its owner.

These lenses are not easy to find, though I could get reproduction units from Moss for about $35.  Not the same, though.

After some searching and wheeler-dealing, I scored a lot of four lenses and some chrome frames on eBay.  They were accurately depicted, and at first glance the lenses look really bad.  The frames are pretty much junk, for certain.  But there's gold in them thar hills.

I picked through them and found what I think are the best two...

And got busy with some Comet scrubbing powder and a soft brush.  After the first round of cleaning, they don't look bad at all.

I took the other two and gave them a going over.  One is missing a piece on the edge, but it actually doesn't show with the frame in place (so it's salvageable in my opinion).  That black stuff is hardened rubber, believe it or not.

So I pondered how to take that hardened rubber gunk off without damaging the plastic (they are plastic, not glass).  It would be so easy if they were glass.  Finally, I decided to give mineral spirits a go.  Mineral spirits aren't very harsh, and if I screwed one up, so be it.

But, it worked great!  It softened the gunk to the point I could pick it off with a pick and an Exacto blade.  The lenses all need polishing with polishing compound, but I think they look pretty darned good.

I'll dig the non-broken lens I have out and clean it up too.  The ones I don't use go back on eBay (well, two of them... I'll keep one spare, just in case).  Profit!

EDIT: Here's the (mostly) finished product after polishing.  I need new rubber gaskets, but the lights work.

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Brake Drums

A quiet weekend... too hot to really do much work outside, and I had some honey-dos I had been putting off in the house.  But I did get my new brake drums and shoes.

I painted the drums with caliper paint for durability...

I also painted the fan pulley and blades.  The pulley needed to be done, but I painted the fan blades even though I am going to use the 6 blade fan for the 1275 engine (the one on the bench).

The dog days of summer are almost upon us, and I think I might take a longer break until it cools off, just doing a little cleanup here and there.  I did order a rebuild kit for my generator and found replacement front lenses for the turn indicators that will take some cleaning up.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

More Brake Stuff

I got parts to rebuild the rear wheel cylinders...


I also got some washers, bleeder screws, and anti-squeal shims to finish off the front calipers.

I also ordered rear brake shoes, drums, and brake lines to complete the assemblage.  I have a good set of stainless brake hoses (they were almost new when I parked it, and I think they'll be just fine).

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Start Me Up

In tonight's episode: I disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled the starter.

I didn't replace any parts; the brushes are copper and though they are worn, I think they could go another 50 years before replacement.  The bendix cleaned up nicely and works fine (the teeth are barely worn, so bonus!).


Check out the power on this baby.  You may notice I'm using the positive lead for ground.  Why is that?  Because it's a positive ground car!

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Blinded By The Light

I've been eclectic as of late, taking apart things like generators and starters and cleaning things.  I know I said I should be cleaning stuff up to sell on eBay, but it's hard to part with things.

I'm also a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff I still have to clean or fix or both.  I made a list and man it's long.

So I gotta start somewhere.. Today, I cleaned up my headlights.  I took them apart, sandblasted them (yay!) and painted the housings.  Then I assembled them.

Here's all the parts that go to a headlight assembly.

Wow, that's a lot.

They look really nice all put together.  Long ago, I bought some tripod trim pieces to make them look like the old style Lucas headlamps, and I think they look sweet.

The chrome retainer and ring (like pretty much all the chrome on the car) aren't in the best of shape, but they will do for now.  You have to look pretty close to see how beat up they are.  The parts are available new or on eBay, so I'll score a set someday.

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Look What I Found!


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Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

Well, the day has come.  I'm out of car cash and I need brake parts.  So I've got to start rooting through my stuff for things to sell to make some dough.


I found some stuff, so now I've got to detour and spiff it up to make it eBay-worthy.  I also found lots of other things to clean up that I need to keep.

I did do a little cleaning, though.  I sorted through boxes and grouped things together.  I also fixed up the wiper assembly with those wiper boxes I had bought so long ago.


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