Archive for the ‘transportation’ Category


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!

17264607_10213002107110015_4801641248479683366_nThanks to my good friend Jake Moomey, who helped me with the new kingpin bushings, the ’34 chassis is now a roller!  I put the Ford 5 on 5 1/2 to Chev 5 on 4 3/4 wheel adaptors on the Buick drums, and bolted the 14″ Astro’s on for rollers, and resisted the temptation to set the engine in and drop the body on.  I DO have to put the engine in to run fuel lines, and I’m going to try my hand at building my own exhaust system, but it has to come back out before the body goes on to stay.

 

’34 Roadster updates

Posted: January 4, 2017 in Hot Rod, Roadsters, transportation
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img_0955The holiday season is over, and it’s time to update the blog.  Progress on the roadster has been steady, if slow, but there is progress.

I’ve gotten the frame DONE, unless you count priming and paint.  I thought I was done yesterday, but my friend Matt Lesky posted some photos of a ’32 chassis he just finished up, and that inspired me to make a couple changes on the ’34, even if it’s not on a level equal to what “Ionia Hot Rod Shop” does.  This extra detail isimg_0961 gussets were the “X” member joins the perimeter rails.  I’d thought it need a little extra, but wasn’t sure what to do until I saw Matt’s work.  So, that’s now done.

I also ordered a bunch of trinket parts from Speedway to mount the Houdialle shocks I saved from the Diamond T truck, and a new front spring.  Faithful readers will remember the mock up shot, which clearly shows the front WAY high, considering a reversed eye spring and dropped axle.  I selected, after much anguish, a Posies reversed eye, reduced arch spring.  Initially I was going to use a mono-leaf, but was concerned about the reliability of a single leaf, made probably in China, and opted for a US made piece.  I also sectioned, or flattened, the front crossmember 3/4″, so I should be quite a bit lower than it was, and planned “rubber rake” should take care of the rest.

img_0952I bought a quart of acrylic enamel in the color I decided on (you’ll have to wait to see what that is!),  and as soon as I can get a day when I can heat the shop to near 60, I’ll paint the chassis parts, brackets, radius rods, axle, and rear end, the frame, and get the chassis assembled.

It’s exciting!

14992032_10211784729436334_2160630791604988979_nI’ve been working on the ’34, spending the past three days getting the hood and grill shell aligned.  I’m calling it a success, I believe I’ve gotten the fit as close as it can be, given the vagaries of ancient, inaccurate stampings, vaguely close reproduction parts, and my limited patience for this type of fussy work.   I have to say, getting the car assembled, even in this “mock-up” phase for alignment and placement of minor stuff like brake pedal and steering column and steering box makes me pretty happy, and fired up about the project.

The hood and grill shell initially fit so poorly I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get them even close, but the end result is better than I expected.  The hood is a reproduction from Rootlieb, the grill shell is an old reproduction from some unknown maker, probably Argentinian, where up through the ’60’s and ’70’s, old Fords were kept going, and crude replacement parts were available.  I ended up having to make some slits in the top of the grill shell and pulling the sides in with a winch strap, the resulting fit is surprisingly good.

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The car also setting up on wheels for the first time in years, although I found some of the stuff I got with it, namely the beautiful Buick aluminum brake drums, may not be useable due to wear, but we’ll see.  I’m a little concerned too about the stance, the rear is lower than I planned (perhaps I flattened that ’40 rear crossmember too much) and the front looks too high, despite the dropped axle and reversed eye spring.  Not helping the goofy stance are the 14″ wheels and tires on the rear and 16’s up front, I’m going to have to get the right size rollers to see where I really am before I get much further.

Next up, I have to make mounts for the (original) top bows, and finish up the notch in the firewall for the Chevy 283’s distributor.  There’s a little more glass work to do on the body, one of the doors has a corner nubbed off, and the splash aprons need to have a little added to the bottom to fit the hood the way I want (see the above photo).  All in all, it’s not much, I want to get those chores done before it gets cold.  Then, it all comes apart for final welding of the frame and chassis components, then prep for paint, wiring, fuel and brake lines.

Tempting to leave the body in the black epoxy primer over the original purple paint, squirt the same stuff on the chassis and hood and call it done, but I have other plans, which I’m not going to reveal until it’s done.

Stay tuned!

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See that guy, with polishing compound in his beard, ears, eyes, reflected in the trailer?  That guy, yup, right there, the one who said he wasn’t going to polish another trailer, that this one would be painted.  Looks like he’s polishing a trailer, doesn’t it?

I was going to simply acid wash the trailer and call it good for this fall, but after I got done with the wash, I didn’t like how it looked.  I had bought a new buffer, pads, and Nuvite polish from Vintage Trailer Supply, so I had everything on hand, and started in.  I bought some 3M Super Duty rubbing compound, which I’ve used in the past for the first cut, but it’s SO messy, greasy, flings all over, that I tried the Nuvite G7 I’d bought, and it works MUCH better!  Not nearly as dirty (although you wouldn’t know that by looking at me!), cuts better, and doesn’t fill the bonnet with greasy left over compound.  It’s a winner.  C grade compound after that for the 2nd cut, and it’s as good as I can get it with a rotary buff.  I’ll have some residual swirl marks, but it’ll be fine.

I realized both of my step ladders, and the planks I use as scaffold to get up on the roof and polish are at our sons house in Dexter, they  used them painting and a little kitchen remodel in their new home.  The steel ramps on sawhorses are great for doing the sides, I can’t get up on the roof to polish.  Darn.  So, I’m going for a tu-tone bare metal scheme, only the sides below the drip rail will be polished (for now), the roof and back will be left the dull white acid wash.  Later, when I recover from polishing the sides, and I have my ladders and planks back, I’ll get ambitious and do the rest.  For now it’ll look interesting, and much, much better than it did.

Tomorrow I want to get the 2nd cut completed on the curb side (shown), I still have to do the upper panels between the windows, and then move on to the street side.  It should go faster than today, since the wash is done, I should be able to polish the rest in about 4 hours.  Then, I’d like to get started on the screen doors and get the curtain rods up.  Kim is finishing up the curtains tonight, so it’d be nice to see the interior with the barkcloth curtains in.

In other news, the Zip-Dee awning arrived today, my buddy Jake Moomey is going to stop by Saturday and help install it, he put one on his Spartan this spring hours before they left for Camp Dearborn, so he’s experienced!

That’s all until tomorrow, time to take an Aleve and pass out…

I’ve gotten lots done the last couple days.  All the Spartan’s window garnish trims are polished and installed, accent lights on the display shelves in, bulkhead cabinet lights over the bed are installed.  The dump valves are on the black and grey tanks are on and I replaced the leaking seal in the Dometic “Sea/Land” toilet.  Not very glamorous but needed.  

The new Zip-Dee awning should be done this week, the screen doors need to be built and I have get the new center front window in.  The upholsterer needs to get busy, my work is almost done!

More progress on the Spartan.


At this rate it may get done.

IMG_9435Finally, I got varnish on the interior of the Spartan!  Two coats on the forward 1/3rd, and one coat everywhere else.  The cabinet doors, drawers, and all the other little parts also have two coats.  I got two coats on the part of the interior, shown above, because I put the second coat on while the first coat was still a bit “tacky”.  You can see the break at the piece of trim over the counter top.  Everything beyond that is just one coat, and is visibly duller than the forward panels.  Now, sand everything with 220, then another two coats, and I can start putting this thing back together.

We’re ordering the foam for the cushions, and Marmoleum for the countertops this week, once the varnish is done Kim will make the cushions (we have the material for them and the curtains) and I can finish up the hundreds of unfinished chores yet to be done, and hopefully it’ll be so we can use it this summer.

Following are more photos of the interior, the first are of the paneling just stained, a mix of Golden Pecan Minwax oil stain, and a bit of yellow paint, and then with varnish on.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel!

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I’ve got to be better at updating this page!  My excuse is that since there was no way I was going to get it done for the TCT Spring Rally three weeks ago, that I might as well relax.  And, my grandson came over, and we went camping twice, and the lawn needed to be mowed, and, and, ad infinitum.   Anyway, after a month long hiatus on getting much done on the trailer, today I finally got stain on the cabinet doors and kitchen drawers.

I used Minwax oil stain, Golden Pecan to try to get close to the original finish on the wardrobe doors I salvaged from another old Spartan.  It’s very close, the wildly different grain pattern and colors of the various sheets of 3/4″, 1/4″ and 1/8″ all seems to blend together pretty well once stained.  I touched a couple places on those original doors where I sanded through the varnish to bare wood, the stain is an identical match color wise on those panels.  A little more brown on some of the other new panels, but it’ll look pretty uniform once the poly is laid down.

13423830_10210295670130782_5732773268147114612_n13417522_10210295667530717_3312347055759742893_nWe’ve had two wonderful weekends camping with the Tin Can Tourist this spring.  Last weekend in Muskegon MI at Hoffmaster State park on Lake Michigan, and the third weekend in May in Milford at Camp Dearborn.  We’ve been using the little Tini-Home canned ham trailer, it’s cozy and comfortable, but I’m anxious to get the Spartan done so we can stretch out a bit.

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Todays project was to rebuild and lengthen the Spartan trailers tongue and install the power jack.  Why I haven’t used these on every other trailer we’ve done is a mystery, this thing is the bomb!   Instead of cutting the tongue off and making an entire new one, I simply “sistered” a length of 2×5 mild steel tubing onto the existing tongue, lengthened it about two inches, didn’t have to change the angle or alter it in any way.  I’m happy with the result, it’s long enough to use the Reese load level hitch bars, and the power lift is really, really nice.

IMG_9095I assembled and welded the new legs onto the new coupler before I welded anything on the trailer tongue, which was a bit of foresight I usually don’t have.  The bottom has strips of 7 gauge steel strips welded to the new legs, which I welded (from above) to the inside of the original channel.  The top is welded solidly, as well as the ends.  I’m proud of the stick-welded job, it looks good, and the ancient coupler/jack is headed for the scrap pile.

IMG_9091I temporarily wired up the thermostat/control for the roof mounted A/C-heat pump, and like everything else, it fired right up and works AMAZINGLY well.  The A/C is ice cold, the heat works, and it’s all controlled by the wall mounted ‘stat.  Pretty high tech for me!

12670494_10209728838480345_1409778006787131956_nI had gotten the fridge vent stack installed as well, and wired up the 12V feed to it, and started it.  It cools down as it should, and while I had no doubt it would, it’s nice to verify it works after all that effort, and trading a really nice vintage camper I bought last winter for it!  The water heater is also vented, the cap is on the roof covering both vent stacks, all that remains to be done is to plumb the 3/8″ soft copper line to them both, and the kitchen stove.

I’m getting close.

On the ’34 Roadster front, some progress too.  I put together the body cradle I’d made for the ’36’s body, and got the ’34 body safely setting on it instead precariously perched on jack stands and a jenga-like stack of 4×4’s.  The rear end is mocked up, and I decided the flimsy looking hairpin radius rods that came with the project weren’t going to cut it.  Instead, I started making a set of really beefy, and traditional looking, hairpin rods from a seat of ’36 front wishbones I had.  I like how they look, and once I get the spring clamps I ordered from Mac’s Antique Auto, I can mount the rear axle and set the chassis on it’s wheels.  Big step!

Stay tuned, summer is coming, I want to get the Spartan done in time for our July 4th stay at Gun Lake, so I’ve got a lot to do!