Name that part…

Posted: November 3, 2018 in Riviera, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

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More specifically, name what vehicle it came from, so as to be able to obtain the missing caliper pin, and maybe a set of shoes in the future.

I’d had these on the shelf, saved for who knows how long, from what I remembered as being an ’83 Chevy conversion van that I’d bought for it’s 350 engine.  It turned out I didn’t use that part of it, but I did use a bunch of other stuff from it for the Diamond T, the front suspension, the gas tank, the master cylinder and power booster, steering box and and so on.  I remembered saving the front spindles and brakes, having swapped the 5 bolt, 1/2 ton parts for heavier, 8 lug 3/4 ton pickup items when I put the suspension in the Diamond T.

They’d  been sandblasted, the spindles primed with epoxy, I kept them thinking I’d use them someday, on something.

Evidently my memory is unreliable, as when I went to O’Reilly’s to get a replacement caliper pin (one had gone AWOL in the shop during the 10 years or so I’d been shuffling them around), and we couldn’t match it with what I thought they were.  A set of oversized GM pins were ordered as they were the correct length overall, but when they came they didn’t work due to difference in the head and length of the threaded shank.

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A trip back to the store today and a VERY patient counter-man revealed they are really mid 70’s full size Cadillac parts.  The pins are available, the calipers themselves are not, at least from O’Reilley’s,  For the life of me I don’t know where I got these, what I intended them for nor why I saved them.  I do remember, vaguely, deciding the set of van spindles and brakes weren’t worth saving, and taking them on a scrap run, thinking these were the same parts.

They aren’t.

They DO fit the Buick ball joints, and I CAN get the missing pins I need, they have a brand new set of shoes and the pistons are free and don’t leak, so I’m  using them.  I’ve got the spindles mounted and the right side all assembled, the left I’m now waiting for the pins.

The moral here is twofold: 1.  Don’t use what you have on hand just because you may have it on hand, and, 2.  If you save something, label it to identify what it is and put it away carefully so as to not lose difficult to find bits.

Of course, I won’t heed my own advice, and I still don’t remember how I got those…

 

Where does the time go?

Posted: October 28, 2018 in Uncategorized

I see that it’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted here, but it’s not like I’ve not been busy. Our late summer/early fall time was busy with vacation and family fun around Michigan, so the Thunderbird still isn’t painted, but I’m not worried about it.

It’s supposed to be fun, right?

Since it’s been getting cool, and I’m not painting the T’bird, I cleaned the shop and uncovered the ’63 Riviera. I’d wanted to put disk brakes on the front, and while cleaning found a set of what I think are ’93 Chevy van spindles and brakes. With a little modification of the lower ball joint boss they bolt on. Convenient because, a) I had them, and b) I had swiped one the aluminum drums for the roadster.

This should work very well, I’ve also got a disk/drum master cylinder and proportioning valve, so everything is on hand. I had a brief panic moment when I opened the Buick’s trunk and the air conditioning kit pieces I thought were in there weren’t, but found all those on the storage shelf. Not working on something for a year leads to confusion. Happily I hadn’t lost or tossed out any important new parts.

So, I guess I’m ready for winter. I’d still like to get the T’bird dash painted, so it can be installed. The rest can wait.

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Wow.  It’s October 3rd already.  Where did the summer go?  What happened, and why didn’t I get all the things done I thought would be childs play back in April?

To review, as shown above, I got the roadster (sort of) finished, and drove it.  A LOT.  And fixed it a little, but mostly, drove it.

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We went camping.  A LOT,  8 weeks all told, including a great 2 week trip in northern Michigan the past couple of weeks.  It was great to be away.

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We explored lots of new (to us) wineries, brewpubs and distilleries.  Here we are, with Kim’s sister Julie and her husband Ken, at “Glass Creek” Wines in Hastings, right in our backyard.  GREAT Michigan red wines, a nice surprise!

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We went to a couple of cool car shows.  Here at Gilmore Car Museum at the “Relix Riot”, being chauffeured by my grandson Milo.  Time well spent.

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Spent more quality time with Milo, still at Relix Riot, here with his dad’s wagon.  They surprised us by showing up!

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Oh, I did get the wagon painted, and a new exhaust system after it blew out one of the original 10 year old mufflers on the way to Port Crescent.  For more camping.

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Changed the wheels and tires on the ’34, and managed to keep them from falling off.  Which puts a kink in a romantic evening cruise…

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Went to world premier movies and skyped with Hollywood elite.  Originally from Flint.  As part of the crowd, but, hey, it counts.

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Bought lift tickets and rolled down a ski hill on a wheeled cart.  Doing that again!

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Saw beautiful sunsets and mastered the art of being in two places at once.  That’s me, left, and right.

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Got marooned on a deserted island with our best friends, and was rescued in time to go to a dance.

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Got a cat.

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Did manage to (almost) get the T’bird painted.  I did get it blocked, primed, and blocked again, now, one more coat, more sanding, then I think it’s possible I can get at least the dash and door jambs painted.  Or not, doesn’t really matter.

So, that’s where summer goes.  It seems like it’ll never get here in February, but before you know it, it’s October, and winter is closing in again.  The seasons fly, but they’re full of fun, family, and friends, and that’s the most important part of the whole year.

Stay tuned, there’s more to come, it’s early, and it’ll be summer again before we know it!

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How can it be the middle of August already?  Summer just started, and I haven’t gotten anything done!

Actually, that’s not entirely accurate.  The wagon is painted and back to towing duty for the Spartan trailer.  The ’34 roadster is getting there, I’ve solved the hot start flooding issue (fuel boiling in the carbs and flooding) with some Lexan carb base insulators I made.  The turn signal switch wore out in the ’61 T’bird column, I got a new one from Ecklers, but it came with a wire pulled out of the base, so another one is one the way.  I’m hand signaling for now.

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The pretty but never-cold-enough Frigidaire in the Spartan, above, was ash-canned in  favor of new apartment size fridge/freezer.  It’s 110 only, but I added an inverter so we can run it battery while traveling if we need to.  Actually, it stays cold all day with the door shut, so I may not need the battery backup.  The photo shows my last ditch effort to make it work by reducing the cabinet size.  That failed.  The gas absorption conversion we had done was an expensive and disappointing failure, but, live and learn.

The T’bird is all blocked out and waiting for the final coat of high-build and a guide coat, my goal is to have it in color by the time snow flies, so I guess it’s on schedule.  The Riv in the background is waiting, but I have all the interior, the engine is in, chassis done, it’s been designated a retirement project.  I did discover that long board sanding is a lot more difficult than it was when I was 35, so, the Riv now looks like a pretty challenging project.  It’ll keep me busy, anyway.

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I’ve had a moment of anxiety over a new health issue.  At my annual visit to my cardiologist, last week, an EKG revealed a new right bundle branch block.  In and of itself it doesn’t mean much, but in the context of my ascending aortic aneurysm, aortic valve, mild left ventricular hypertrophy and history of an MI, it’s concerning.  Had an echo yesterday, and await the findings.  My plan is to work until next December, when I’m 65, and retire at that time.  Let’s hope that plan works, as I have a lot of stuff to do.   As it’s asymptomatic, I’m hoping that it doesn’t indicate any new, serious issue.

We’re getting ready for this weekends “Relix Riot” at the Gilmore Museum.  This is our favorite, and now only, summer car show, hosted by our pals in the Relix club from Grand Rapids.  After that, camping at the Yankee Springs State Park, a 2 week Michigan vacation and then the Fall TCT rally, and summer’s officially over.   It goes fast, but I’m trying to beat the the clock!

 

 

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It’s always good to lead with a pun, right?  The past month has been a whirlwind of activity, and life has gotten in the way, but finally I think I’m through the stress and have gotten back on the “fun” stuff.

The wagon, which you’ll remember I’d gotten the rust repairs done over a month ago, has been stalled.  We missed my (seemingly easy) deadline of having it ready for the Milford TCT Spring Rally (vintage trailer gathering), and the Muskegon rally last weekend, but today I finally got primer on it.  I’d thought I’d be shooting primer Monday, but found a soft spot on the drivers front fender, down low, behind the rocker molding,  made a patch for that, got the body work finished this morning and 4 double wet coats of high-build primer on this afternoon.

I’m happy with how it looks, although I discovered some pinholes in the filler on both sides, something I’ve never had happen before.  I bought high end, expensive finish filler, so maybe I’m better with the cheap stuff!  It’ll mean a skim coat of some polyester finish putty, but I have to block it all out, prime again, and then a guide coat, so it’s really no big deal.

I think the skirts are killer.

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In other news, we’ve given up on the  period correct Frigidaire fridge in the Spartan trailer, it just doesn’t get cold and stay cold.  We had it converted to propane, and it’s never done a good job.  Well, it’s cold as long as the ambient temps are below 70, but seldom can we rely on that in the midwest in summer, so, it’s going away.  In it’s place, will go an early 50’s GE fridge, that we’ll keep electric only, with it’s original compressor.  I bought it here in Kalamazoo from a nice hot rodder guy who follows me on Instagram.  Plugged it in when we unloaded it and in 2 hours the cabinet temp was 20.5!  I had it cranked WAY up, so I dialed the thermostat down, and it’s humming along a 34 right now.

New gaskets are on the way for the door, and I’ll fix some minor damage to the door tomorrow and get it ready for a new coat of shiny white enamel from Tractor Supply that I have on hand.  I put a 2000 watt inverter in the trailer last fall, so we can run it on the battery (the inverter converts 12V to 110V) while towing and the car or truck alternator will keep the battery charged.  A solar charger and one more coach battery would enable us to go entirely solar and still have the fridge, although we couldn’t use the AC.  It’s going to be a HUGE improvement.

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The ’34 has been running great, I’ve put about 700 miles on it, enough to have the cheap reproduction Harley speedometer (junk to begin with) stop working, the old SW vacuum gauge to stop working (hole in the diaphragm), and tonight, the brake lights to not work.  I also discovered the play in the steering, which I’d blamed on the cheap, reproduction Vega steering box, but turned to be the cheap, off-shore made pitman arm which was slightly thinner than the box was made to use.  That meant the nut didn’t tighten the arm down on the shaft completely, leaving some “slop” between the steering box shaft and steering arm.  Scary.

I “fixed” that with a couple of flat washers that were in the bolt bin, and the car drives like a slot car  now.  I’ll keep my on that Vega box, they have a reputation for being sloppy and wearing quickly, but for now, it seems like it’s all good.  There are always some bugs to work out, but overall, it’s great.

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Our son Craig and his wife Kathleen bought a ’65 Ford Ranch wagon earlier this  spring, and I helped them wire it for a trailer lights, installed a brake controller, fixed the power steering pump and put a new high performance radiator and new hoses in ahead of the sweet running 352.  It looks pretty nice as is, I’ll do a little rust repair this winter for them on the rear fenders and rocker panels, and blend the paint.  It’s got a pretty decent “used car lot” repaint from decades ago that polished up pretty well, and they want the car to be a funky, driver type car, so that makes it easy for me.

We gave them the little “Tini-Home” canned ham trailer, they’ve already used it once, we hope it’ll give them years of family fun, just like it has for us!

So, lots of activity here a Cool McCool’s Garage.  We’ve been to a couple of cruise nights with the roadster, and a weekend of vintage camping with our friends at Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon.  June is half over, but summer has just begun!

 

I went to a local muffler shop the other day and got two 10′ sticks of 2″ exhaust tubing, and had them bend a 90 degree in one end of each.  I also bought two steel pack “resonators”, some chrome exhaust tips, and handful of clamps and hangers.

I hung the tubing temporarily under the car after welding the header flanges on, and fired it up.  It was evident that mufflers were going to be redundant, so, the car now has straight pipes.  I like the way it cackles under throttle, it’s pretty mellow going down the road, and, best of all, I did it myself.  I did put a little “bow” in the pipes by putting a 2×4 between the pipes and the frame in the center, and jacking the back up until the pipes hit the gas tank.

Now, on to the top.

…or so says Neil Young.  Kim has been asking me to fix the (tiny) rust blisters on the ’51 Pontiac wagons fenders for a couple seasons, since she got a Celebrity Choice pick at Autorama in Detroit with it last month, I figured I’d better get it done.

Of course, it was way worse than it looked at the surface.  Here’s how I fixed it:

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So, I made some new fender skirts while I was at it…

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And the doors were rusty too…


Now it’s ready for primer and paint.