Wagon’s Ho!

Posted: May 7, 2010 in Hot Rod

It only took a trip to the shop where I had the driveshaft cut to get new straps and mounting bolts to fit the driveshaft to the rear axle (why can’t salvage yards leave stuff like this on?), and then two trips to the auto parts store to get minor stuff, but I got the wagon going today with it’s “new” rear axle!   Of course, that’s not counting the other many trips to the parts store to order, then pick up the new brake drums (why do salvage yards take the drums off?  How much can they get for them, a couple of bucks?  I’d have been more than happy to pay a little more and not have to invest another 200 bucks in this stuff), shoes, wheel cylinders, the shop to get the driveshaft modified,

The old one, which was howling, and the wrong gear ratio, is now abandoned in the driveway.

Like a lot of the things I have, this is something to good to throw out, but not good enough to use, so I’m torn about what to do with it.  As sure as I take it to the shredder, I’ll wish I’d saved it to use in something.  Although it’s a little noisy, it’d be OK to use for project I didn’t plan on driving long distances.  Or not.  Maybe I should just get rid of it…

Anyhow, I drove the car down to the corner and back, and the difference is very noticable in the gearing.  The speedo still seems a little fast  (I should have put the GPS in and checked) but the shift points are much better synced with engine RPM, the main thing.   It still feels “quick”, and the engine now will  rev right to the red line of 5,500 before it shifts, which it didn’t do before.  Smokey burnouts with both rear tires are now possible, so I can ruin two tires at the same time!  Or not, but I had to try one just to see if it’d light ’em up.  Takes some serious powerbraking, but it can be done.  Once will be enough for that.

Since I’d taken the lowering blocks out of the rear, I decided to raise the front end a like amount.  This was easy,  I just put the rubber spacers I’d had in the springs under them in the lower control arms.  It’s a little high for my taste, about stock height, I’m going to cut a tiny bit off each spring and get it down just a little.  I’m famous for cutting one too many coils off, and a little makes a big difference.  Before, the car was right on the bump stops, so I cut them down, but it’d still bottom out.  Made some “interesting” handling, particularly towing the trailer.

It looks a little high in the tail, but maybe a pair of air shocks and losing the overload springs would make it OK.  Actually, it’s no higher than the convert, but I’m used to seeing it low.  It’s primary function is to tow the trailer, so maybe leaving it alone is the best option for now.

When I pulled the front apart to drop the springs, I found the lower ball joints on both sides were shot.  I thought I’d replaced them when I built the car, but maybe not.  Both boots cracked and the joints very dry and binding.  That may have been part of the cars tendency to kind of “dart”.  New ones are cheap, so I ordered a pair, which will be here tomorrow morning.  I’ll have to borrow a ball joint press from my buddy Don, but it’s an easy job.  If it hadn’t been for that, I’d have had it all wrapped up tonight.  Might as well do it right, as long it’s apart.

  1. craigmccool says:

    smokey burnouts – a must in any station wagon! (and throw the darned old axle out. if it wasn’t good enough for one car, what makes it good enough for any other?)

  2. gene newton says:

    I really love your Pontiac Steel Woody, you just don’t see many on the road
    today, I have a ’51 Chevy Steel Woody albeit not as nice as yours, I found mine in a field in South Dakota, and had it shipped to California it had been sitting on the frame for 40 years, if you care to see it,
    i’m at Hotrodders.com under gemnewt.
    thanks for posting your wagon I really enjoyed it.

  3. Kim says:

    I’ve been told a trip the metal recycler is coming next week. So out with the old! And a bunch of other old stuff!!

  4. flynbrian48 says:

    Hopefully I can get enough to buy Kim a nice Mothers Day present, or a bottle of nice wine. Ahh, a hopeless romantic…

  5. Kim says:

    hum….you must have only gotten enough for a card!!! But a nice card it was!

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