Archive for the ‘transportation’ Category

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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!

 

Today’s task was to go to AutoZone and spend my Christmas money on transmission fluid, wax, hand buffing compound, tire cleaner, wheel cleaner, fuses, and other miscellaneous stuff.  (Of course I didn’t get a three prong flasher, number one on the list…).  I added 2 quarts of trans fluid, and backed it out of the garage into the (almost) sun.  IMG_3668

It was then that I could see that I wasn’t done buffing and polishing!  The paint is single stage  urethane, and has fully cured, meaning it’s pretty hard.  I wet sanded it with 1200, then 1500, then like 4,000 on my DA, which left a pretty uniform satin finish.  Then I buffed it with 3M Heavy Duty Rubbing compound and wool bonnet, washed the car, and then used a foam pad and 3M machine finish glazing compound.  If I’d done all this when the paint was still soft, lets say within a week of shooting it, it’d have been much, much easier.

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As it was, I had quite a few “hazy” areas, that needed a lot more polishing.  So, out came the buffer, foam pad and glazing compound, and I hit most of the car again.  I also hand rubbed the character lines, door and hood edges, as I didn’t want to cut through the black.  I’d originally planned to intentionally cut through into the red-oxide primer beneath,  to make the paint look old, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do that.

Call me crazy…

Now however, I’m very happy with the results, the paint looks deeper, and has a somewhat “softer” shine, a bit less “plasticky” than the uncut urethane.   I got supplies to detail and spiff the car for its debut at AutoRama in Detroit in one month, like tire dressing, some Meguires liquid wax, spray detailer, wheel cleaner for (very hard to clean wire wheels), Armor-All wipes for the interior and so on.

 

 

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I ordered some little stuff for the interior, some welting, Common Sense snaps for the saddlebag style map pockets in the doors, vinyl tack strip, and metal spring clips to hold the trim panels on, as Kim hates using screws and trim washers.  I don’t mind that, but she is right, it’ll be a more finished look.

So, it’s coming down to the wire.  The car runs GREAT, it looks as good as anything I’ve ver built, it seems to drive OK, at least up and down the drive, the brakes and steering are tight and feel really good.

See you in Detroit!

I’ve been forced to upgrade my WordPress account to accommodate more memory, so, as a Christmas present to myself, I splurged and added more memory, more features I don’t fully comprehend, so you, faithful reader, can suffer along with me and all the shenanigans here at Cool McCool’s Garage!

Here’s the latest video of the Roadster NOT shucking the fan belt at WOT (a study in frustration trying to determine the correct size belt, then the challenge of actually finding one in stock somewhere).  In addition, I ordered a pair of rear wheel cylinders, a new Stewart Warner mechanical temp gauge in the correct 2 5/8″ diameter to replace the one I tried to rebuild using a cheap gauge as donor, and a speedometer cable.  I ordered them at 4 pm on the 22nd, they were delivered at 2 pm the 23rd!  That’s excellent service, and the cylinders are Raybestos, made in USA, at the astoundingly low price of $5.97 each!  Free shipping too, props to Summit Racing!

We’re relaxing in front of the tree, our presents to each other are opened, we basking in the glow of the fire (and a couple of Mimosas), so  to all our friends, Happy Holidays, and thanks for reading and following along!  Stay tuned for lots more fun this next year, and look for new stuff here with all the widgets, features and improvements at the site!

It’s Alive!

Posted: December 16, 2017 in Hot Rod, transportation
Tags: ,

​What I did yesterday…

Winter Wonderland.

Posted: December 7, 2017 in Hot Rod, transportation
Tags: , ,


Here at Cool McCool’s Garage, the first snow has fallen, but it’s toasty warm inside the shop.  

I’m busy getting the ’34 Roadster wiring harness made.  I’d salvaged miles of 12 and 14 gauge wire from the ill- advised motorhome project, and an equal amount of black plast loom.  Not period correct I know, but it’s all going to be hidden up under the dash, behind upholstery panels or in the frame.  



I’ve got the engine ignition, starting and charging circuits done, so in theory, it should start now and run, but I haven’t tried yet.   I’ll finish the complete harness before I fire it, I still need a ground cable and make ground connections for the engine and steel body bracing.  Obviously the wiring has to be tidied up and tucked in the looms yet, but it’ll look good completed, and should keep all the magic smoke inside the wires.

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The initial plan for the roadster was to use the “patina’d” tan Haartz canvas on the top bows that came with the car.  This proved to be impossible when this morning I set to take the canvas off the (beautiful chrome) bows.  While the material was rotten, it WAS held on by what must have been thousands of staples and tacks.  These were driven into the solid wood bows, and pulling them wasn’t like pulling staples out of a convertible tops tack strip.  Oh no.  These refused to yield.  I ended up cutting the canvas with a razor, where it didn’t just tear or pull apart, removing it, and then pulling each individual staple and tack, first prying them up a bit with a small, sharp screwdriver, then yanking on them with pliers.  It took forever.

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That, however, ended up being a good thing.  The old, frayed, stained top would have looked TERRIBLE against the new paint.  The top had to come off anyway to trim the back edge and curtain owing to the 2″ chop, so it would have had to have come off intact.  Which NO WAY was it going to do.  The wire on was so rusty it wouldn’t close back up and would have had to have been replaced, which also would look out of place with the old material.

So, I’ll make a new top.  No big deal.

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Taking (OK, stealing) an idea from a fellow HAMB member with a lovely 34 roadster, whose top construction was outlined in detail in Street Rodder Magazine, and available on-line, I then notched the 2nd bow in the curve, to let it drop down further over the iron bow.  Taking 5/8″ out of the curve (seen above) let the bow drop almost 1 1/2″, which really improved the loft of the top.  It no longer looks like a buggy top, but like a hot rod.

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I mocked up the new profile using masking tape, It looks great.  The old window opening I didn’t like, it looked to “antique-y”, this is much more pleasing to my eye.  Again, the loft is much prettier, without the center arching WAY up over the drivers head (like I’m gonna wear a fedora in this thing!), and I even like the tan color of the tape against the black paint.  So the color is “mocked up” as well.

All in all, a pretty productive day, and one more thing checked off the list!


Busy couple of weeks here, getting the winters dust off the Spartan, rebuilding the Diamond T’s brakes, and incidental aggravating things like a new battery in the wagon and a shorted fuel management module in the lawn mower.  


So, the work is done, we’re waiting for the weekend with our Tin Can Tourists friends!