Thursday, November 24, 2016

Steer For The Deep Waters Only

That's Walt Whitman I'm quoting. I've always liked his writing.

"Sail forth, and steer for the deep waters only. Reckless O soul, exploring. I with thee and thou with me. For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared go. And we will risk the ship, ourselves, and all."

Anyhow, on the subject of steering... Time to put the steering rack back together. All the parts are now clean and painted.

First up, the rack...

Followed by the pinion.


Next, the felt seal and the cover. The steering shaft holds the cover in place.


That's the hard part.

Now, time for the tie rods. Note my clever marking of the tie rod on the passenger's side. It's probably not necessary, but I might as well put it back where it came from.


That little chisel made securing the lock washers as easy as it was to remove them.

Now, let's put our boots on..


Adding the tie rod ends means we're all done. I counted 20 threads in the picture I took before disassembly, so I think the alignment will be close enough to get started.

Now it's time to put it on the shelf. I'm actually out of shelf space. Good thing I'm just about out of parts to clean.
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This Air Is Clean

After some more delicate pounding, priming, and sanding, the final result...

All I need are the filters, and I'm all set.  I'll give these a good week to dry before putting them away.

EDIT: Now with sticker awesomeness.  I have new air filters, too.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I Got 99 Problems, But a Steering Rack Ain't One.

I got off work a little early today for the holiday, and I figured I'd make use of the extra time to start work on the steering rack. It's my last major teardown project!

There's nothing really wrong with it, thankfully. It's just dirty and needs new tie rod ends.

I would like to have some idea of the alignment, so I took pics of the threads after removing the ends...


Check out these tie rod ends. The bummer is that they work fine, but the boots are toast.

The steering rack boots (the "gaiters") are fine, so I'll keep them...

The pinion (the turny part to which the steering shaft is connected) is what runs the rack (the long part that's hooked to the front axles). Turn the pinion, and the rack moves. That's why it's called 'rack and pinion' steering. It is very precise, and this car really handles like a go-cart. You can drive it with a finger, and point it at a fly and hit it between the eyes.

The pinion comes out the back. There is a bushing on each side and a retaining cover, and a retainer that locates the rack and keeps it from rattling around one on each side).

Next, the tie rods come off. The rod and ball are a single unit that screw in to the rack, and are locked in place with a lock washer. Getting that lock washer off looked like it would be impossible... but then I found a chisel that is exactly the right size to fit in the slot, and it was cake. Here it is in the photo along with the (now removed) rod. I'll sacrifice a cheap chisel to the cause.

Here's the steering rack, all disassembled. Everything inside is in pretty good shape, and it was nice and tight (but not stiff) before I took it apart. So no problems here...

So why did I do this, other than to clean it? I took it apart because I had filled the rack with grease at some point in the distant past. The rack doesn't take grease. It's filled with 90 weight oil. But it has what looks like a grease fitting... so that's what I did. It still did have some "oil" in it, which oozed out as I took everything apart. You can't remove the grease without disassembling the rack. Good thing I was already planning on it.

The dumb thing in this design is that there are no seals to keep the oil in. The rubber boots are what do the job, and as soon as they split, you're done. It should take grease. I might change to a lighter grease, but we'll see.

I won't fill it back up with oil (or grease) until I get ready to install it. It's really easy to fill when it's off the car. Darned near impossible when installed, though... because you need a special "grease gun" that can use oil instead, and I'm too cheap to buy one.

I'll run what I can past Master Blaster and clean it all up nice, paint, and then reassemble (stay tuned!). This was pretty gross, but not as bad as the rear axle was. That was the dirtiest job so far.
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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Clearing the Air I

I finished off the carburetors and turned my attention to the air filter housings.  They were looking pretty sad...

But after a trip to meet Master Blaster, they look much happier.


You'll notice that the big dents in the intake tubes are gone along with the dent in the top of the filter with the long necked tube.  That's me showing off my metalworking magnificence.  I also had to straighten out the connector in the middle and weld the arms that connect the filter housings back into the case, as they'd broken away after 50 years.  All I need to do is primer with filler primer to even things out, sand, and paint.

I am really glad to have learned how to do this.  It took me 10 minutes to do the welds, and that includes taking the welder out and getting it set up.  This would have taken me a half hour before, and I would have screwed it up along the way.  I also have learned a lot about straightening metal, though I'm by no means an expert... but taking that huge dent out and making it round to the point you can hardly see the damage... well, I think it's pretty cool to be able to do that.

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Sorting Stuff

I have mentioned that I'm running out of things to sort through.  Well, I found a bunch of bags that says I was lying.

I was looking for the nuts and washers to bolt the carbs together, and I found a bag of nuts and bolts... than another... then the box with all of the interior trim... and wouldn't you know it, I had a bunch of things to sort out.

So I did it.

I never did find those nuts. I had to buy new ones.  But I did find a whole bunch of little parts, including the bolts for the windows and the knurled nuts for the gauges, along with the washer nozzles and pretty much everything that's chrome on the car aside from the grille and bumpers.

Now it's all packed away.

Maybe now I can tell the truth when I say there's not much left to sort.  There is one more crate of interior parts like the quarter windows and other sundry items, and that appears to be all there is.
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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Rear Axle Reassembly

Now that I've got parts and the carburetors are basically done, it's time to work on the rear axle.  All I needed were the new axle bearings to get started.

So, let's start with those, installed in the hubs.

Note that I was smart and marked one with 'PA' for 'passenger side', so they go back where they came from.  Same with the axle shafts, because those have stresses from use that could cause the shaft to snap if installed the other way round.

Then I installed the end plates for the brakes, and installed the differential.  It fit nicely and I think it won't leak, which is nice.

Then, I installed the axles.  First, the hub itself with its nut and locking washer...

Then the oil seal...

Followed by the gasket...

And finally, the axle shaft.

I did the other side, and it's all done.  It's nice and smooth to turn and the lash seems good (1-2 degrees turning the input before the axle spins).  I'm hoping it works OK.

I still have to install the parking brake pieces, but I have all of that stuff (minus a couple of clevis pins, which are cheap and I'll buy as part of a rather large order I hope to place in the next couple of weeks).
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Carburetors III

Time to put those carburetors back together.

Here's the parts:

First, the float chamber with its new grommets.

Then, the float with a new pin.  These floats are foam filled, so they'll always float.  (They all float down here, Georgie.)

Next, the jet.

Install the piston and spring, add the dashpot, screw everything together, and voila!

Then do the other one, and we're all done.

There really aren't many pieces here.  I'll adjust everything when I install it and get ready to fire it up.  All I have left is to clean and fix the heat shield, and assemble to the manifold, and that's one more big job done.

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More proof that the Midget was once a functioning vehicle...

I actually owned the 944 for a while after we got married, and drove it during the winter of 1999.  Man, it was cold.  But it started every time... I miss that car.  It was great.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

More Parts

I received my bundle of parts a few days ago from LBCarCo (thanks Jeff!) and I'm starting to have interest in getting them put to use.  It's been a tough few days; we lost our little dog Angel, this weekend, and we've all been very down about it.

Anyway, here's what I got.  The box in the upper right corner is a replacement side mirror for my MINI, so that doesn't count.  Lots of goodies--all the carburetor parts I need, new rear wheel bearings and axle straps, a throttle cable, headlight and license plate lamp rubber bits, and a new headlight trim bezel.

Maybe I'll start this weekend... I should get the rear axle and carbs put back together, and then I can work on the steering column.
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