Monday, September 26, 2016


I fixed up the distributor by epoxying in a reinforcement around the body where it clamps to the housing.  It's not really doing much more than preventing the aluminum from compressing so the clamp can clamp it properly.

The rest of the distributor is fine, including the vacuum advance unit.  I also made a replacement fitting to hold the electronic ignition's optical sensor, and it fits properly under the cap.  So I think it's all set to go.

I decided the best place to keep it, and the generator, was on the engine.  I wanted to make sure everything lined up properly and that I had the right parts to install it.  So I did.

That belt is old and I'm just using it to fit everything.  But it all lines up!  The static timing is even set properly.  I still don't really understand how to handle the mechanical/vacuum advance; the weights move and are marked "17", so I'm assuming that's 17 degrees of mechanical advance.  I don't know what I need for this engine, but it's probably more.

I need to buy a couple of thin spacers and some slightly longer bolts to mount the fan, as it doesn't quite work with the pulley I am using.  But it only needs about 1/4" of a standoff to clear the oil strainer from the PCV valve (that canister to the right of the pulley).
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Random Acts of Uncrating

I decided I wanted to empty the crate I was working my way through.  I found some interesting random things, like the accelerator linkage and the number plate holders, and a couple others.

First up: the license plate holders (you know, number plates for you Brits out there).  Why would I care so much?  Because they were really trashed and twisted up, and I fixed 'em up pretty nice.  So I'm keeping them even though they don't look perfect.

Next: the accelerator linkage.  This is the part that connects the pedal to the carburettors (two Ts, because that's how it is in the manual, and there's two carbs.)  The pedal, too.  Another piece that hadn't been cleaned in forever, though the pedal was not that old when I took it out.

The cat statue?  That's Sam-baby, our little joke.  We move him around to scare each other, but it's mostly funny.

I also found the window mechanisms, which will be my next minigame.  They are rather disgusting.  But they work...

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Heat 'Em Up

I'm getting low on stuff in the current crate, so I stole a peek into the next one (actually, the last one!) and found these sitting on the top.  I had the blasting cabinet up and running so I cleaned 'em up.

The heating system in this car is ludicrously simple.  The heater core in the heater box sends heated outside air into the cabin when you turn on the fan (and manually open the spigot for coolant--otherwise, you just get ambient temperature air).  The air goes into a chamber under the heater box and out four holes.  Two are for the defrost vents (which are always on, by the way), and two are for heat to your feet.  The footwells have spring loaded doors you open and close by hand (or by foot, if you're talented).  There's no vent aimed at your face, so you better hope the heat circulates up from your feet.  Thankfully, the Montgolfier brothers assure us that this is true.

I did a 'before-and-after cleaning' shot on these.


They're now drying after being painted.  The air tubes are fine.  The rubber connectors hooking the tubes to the air chamber are ok, but they're cheap and I'll probably replace them both.

I want to briefly discuss cleaning stuff using the blasting cabinet.  It's amazing how you can tell which parts have original paint and which don't.  The parts with original paint clean up like nobody's business.  The paint just disappears.  It's like spraying clean metal at it, it's so easy.  The parts that have been repainted... well, the paint holds up a bit better and it takes more work; usually degreaser, then scrubbing with a wire brush to get down to the point where the blasting cabinet can finish the job.  I use glass beads, a finer material that takes longer but doesn't damage things.  It leaves a nice finish for painting.

EDIT: All dry now.


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Switches and Things

I grabbed a random box out of the crate I'm working my way through, and I found these.

I think the fuel pump still works, but I'll have to test it.  Two of the flasher units look OK, and I bet all three work.  If not, they're cheap.  The one in the middle is original.

The switches... well, two of them look good and two don't look so good.  Unfortunately, one of the not-so-good ones is the headlight switch (second from the right).  It's a two-throw switch; one way for the running lights, the other to also illuminate the headlights.  The switch probably works but it looks like it got a bit overheated.  They're not too expensive, so I'll probably replace it.  

The other not-so-good switch is a spare that I think I used for fog lights.  There's a hole in the dash for a switch, so maybe I'll do that again.

I also cleaned up the starter solenoid.  It's ready for another 50 years of service.

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Turn Up The Radio

I was worried that my radio wouldn't work after 12 years in hot storage, but happily, I was wrong!

It doesn't look bad from this angle, but the wrinkle finish on the sides is pretty trashed and so I'll strip and repaint it.  Thankfully, the radio works just fine with good tone, tuning, and volume.  I have two more, one which I took apart and one that's not as nice.  You can never have too many 50 year old positive ground AM radios.

I haven't seen an enclosure like this in any of the books I've read or my online research... I wonder if it's rare.  I don't really care; it looks really cool.

Hear it in action, and GO CARDINALS!

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Houston, We Have Ignition

Well, someday... I opened the next crate and found most of the ignition system inside, so I figured, why not?

There's not much to it.  An ignition switch, a fuse box, a voltage regulator, a coil, and a distributor.  In my case, it's also an electronic ignition by Crane Cams (man, does it work better than points!).  All that's missing are the wiring, generator and spark plugs, which I've already cleaned up.

I also found the starter solenoid (the thing at the top with the red button).  It's neat--you can spin the starter by pushing the button, for things like setting timing and valve lash.  I have new cables for it that I bought with the wiring harness.

I cleaned up some of it...


I can't wait to turn that key again.

I'm pretty sure the voltage regulator (the big box in the middle) is OK, but I'll have to adjust it once I get the car up and running.  The fuse box is fine.  Those are the original covers on those boxes.  It's a funny story... I had lost the cover ages ago and bought a replacement.  When I took the car apart, I found the original inside the passenger's side fender.  And a screwdriver.

I have to work on the distributor.  It's pretty OK, but it might not be usable.  The lip where the clamp that holds the distributor to the engine, well, clamps, is broken.  Fortunately, I have another distributor.  (I actually have two, but only one 25D like this one.)  I also need to make a new fitting where the lead from the Crane box plugs into the optical sensor that substitutes for points.  I made one out of epoxy long ago and I would like something neater.  I'm pretty sure the electronic ignition still works, so I'll just go with "yes, it does".

Stay tuned...

(That reminds me.  I found the radio!  I'll have to see if it still works, too.)
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Front End IV: The Voyage Home

I finished cleaning and painting the passenger's front axle assembly, and put everything together.

(If you get the reference in the title, you're awesome.)

Everything's fully tightened and greased, and the bearings are repacked.  The hubs spin oh so smoothly.  I can't wait to put wheels on them.

I had a little adventure getting the tolerances for the driver's side axle right.  The swivel axle has to fit on the kingpin such that when the trunnion nut (the one on the top) is tightened fully down, the axle turns with just a bit of resistance.  In my case, the trunnion appears to be worn about 0.02", and so there was some up-and-down movement.  I bought some shims for the trunnion and made my own shim to fit under the thrust washer, and now everything's just right.  

With this, all the front end components have been renovated.  I have a sway bar (you know, an anti-roll bar) that I bought years ago which I'll clean up, but that doesn't count for this... I finished something!

On to a new crate of stuff...
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Saturday, September 10, 2016

By The Numbers

It's a small but important detail to address.  I finally got a new VIN plate today.

The original VIN plate was of course trashed after 50 years and my ignorance.  Same with the plate on the heater box.  But I found a place in PA, Clarke Spares Restorations, that did a solid job of stamping new plates and making them look pretty original.

Here you go, before and after.  Not quite original, but they look good to me.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Front End III

Since I'm feeling lazy about cleaning up the other axle, I decided to assemble the one that's now all nice and clean.

One thing I needed was a replacement thrust washer.  The are made of unobtanium unless you buy the entire suspension kit from Moss or VB.  I was sunk... until I remembered I had a couple of parts boxes in the attic, and I remembered seeing something like a kingpin in one of them.


In this box are two thrust washers, O rings, a pivot pin, and a kingpin.  I need all of those things!  The driver's side king pin didn't fit right last time I assembled everything, so I ground one down (horror!) and "made it fit".  I want things to fit properly, so I want it right, meaning I need a replacement kingpin.  And I have one!  I don't need it yet, though... but I do need that thrust washer.

So I started assembling...


Everything's just finger tight, meaning I haven't really assembled it completely (aside from the steering arm and brake disc, which I did install).

The result:


I still need parts to get everything assembled properly; shims and a locking pin for the kingpin, and I forgot to install an O ring so the kingpin comes back out.  But what a difference, huh?

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Front End, Part 2

Having emptied one crate, I figured it was time to empty the other one.

First, I bought some paint and finished off the A arms and spring carriers.  They're not perfect, but they're clean and straight.

I also painted the rear dampers and the other front damper:


I have a problem, though.  I figured out where the fluid in the other damper went.  It is leaking out the plug in the reservoir at the top of the damper.  I have no idea how I could fix that--but it has to be fixed.

EDIT: Apple Hydraulics came through with a replacement cover plate for $15, which ought to do the trick.  Better than $125 to replace the whole damper. :)

While I chew on that, I started cleaning up the front axle assemblies.  They are actually in decent shape, but pretty grungy.

Here's where I started:

Here's a closeup of the passenger's side assembly.

Nasty looking.  But, it's totally shipshape mechanically.  The bearings are good (I installed roller bearings before I deconstructed the car, which make a big difference in longevity).  The brake discs are fine.  The kingpin is fine with no play in the stub axle bushings.  The grease seal is good.  So all I'm going to do is take these apart, clean them up, and paint them.

Here we go:


Some paint and a box later, and it's basically ready to be reassembled.  (The rear plate is still drying, so it's not in the box.)  I have to buy a couple of things like O-rings and locating pins, but otherwise, I'm set. 

Next time, I'll (hopefully) finish the driver's side assembly.
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