Monday, March 28, 2016

weekend recap

my plan for easter? well, since i don't celebrate...and had to work, anyway...i thought i'd take it easy. 
i got out a little early and thought i'd get my workout in early and just veg out for the rest of the day. 
but when your car buddy calls and asks if you have time to get together and work on the car, you say 'yes'!! 

if you've been following along, you know i had some trouble getting the old master cylinder out.
wait...did i blog about that or simply post it to my facebook page? 
well, regardless, you know i had trouble getting the master cylinder out.
my friend, Pat, and his lovely wife said they'd stop by and take a look at what i've been up to with the car and try to get those rusted bolts unstuck.
and he did.
now, before he got here, i had already undone the bolt to get the push rod out, because it was the least i could do. i also felt nervous about revealing the unfortunate realization that the old MC had 4 bolts, while the new one only had 2.
we discussed our options, once we got the old unit out and saw the space would not be filled by the new unit. and we had a busted bolt to deal with since, as i said...10 years worth of rust had built up on those things! not to mention the ridiculously tight space you need to get into to loosen the bolts!

but, in my usual anxious fashion, i couldn't stop thinking about how i got a part that didn't fit, when it was supposed to be made to retrofit these old cars. 
had i given wrong information and gotten a part for a different car? 
so i went to the source...first i checked my invoice: '4 bolt master cylinder...' Nope, that's what i was replacing.
so i went back to the website. the parts they make are all 2 bolt units....and they make an adapter to go onto the 4 bolt space.
so my mind goes back to the kit i got...i did vaguely remember a plate that i was curious about.
now, all this is happening late at night and then as i woke up for work at 3:30 this morning. which meant it was not the appropriate time to be rifling through boxes of car parts. once i got home from work, i did find it.
so now we just have to deal with the broken bolt and then misalignment of the adapter and the old space...
the space that diamond 'bump out' has to fit into is actually slanted, in the car. there will be a little adjusting before this gets put in
 in other embarrassing news:
those  emergency brake lines i was so worried about getting out turned out to be another simple clamp removal. maybe by the end of this project i'll be able to think 'oh, maybe it's just a clamp' when something seems to be stuck forever.

also this weekend, i ordered the bolts for the front hanger bracket for the leaf springs, which i will pick up tomorrow.
and my flange gaskets and oil seals came did the brake cable equalizer.

all of that means i should (should) be able to get some work done on my day off this week.
but, as i've been learning every single time i go out to work on the car, there are no 'quick' jobs. it is my hope that i can fix the mess of brake lines i put in on saturday and move on to a little more work on the rear end.
and, as always...i'll be studying my favorite youtube videos!

and just so you're not all worried that i didn't get to relax on Easter sunday...not only did this amazing couple come over and help me out, they brought along some smoked maple bourbon that i've been wanting to try.
in the end, it was a lovely day.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

a productive day (for me)

i am pretty darn pleased with what i did today.
sure, i didn't really accomplish anything that allowed me to actually cross something off my to-do list for the day, but i spent several hours working on the car and i did get stuff done.

i've had to abandon the rear axle project due to some stuck parts, as i await the arrival of some other parts, so i've moved back to the brakes.

after cutting the line, since i couldn't get the connections to budge, i went back to get this bit unhooked...and it just popped out of the bracket. of course, as you can probably guess based on the amount of rust everywhere else, the clips were all rusted and difficult to open up and get the lines out, but i did it. more than one time i was really happy to have my safety glasses on!
 in order to get the proportioning valve out, i had to cut pretty much every line and pull it out through the engine bay. the plug that leads to the electrical unit was pretty stuck on, so i couldn't get a good grip on that until i pulled the prop valve out. basically, the old brake lines came out in no less than 5 pieces. i'd like to take this opportunity to voice my appreciation for the line cutters i happened to find in a box of tools from dad's house.
i was about to get the old master cylinder out, too, when i thought i might need a second set of hands to do something inside the car (remembering from a video i watched), so i wanted to be sure before tackling that one today
i'm still struggling to figure out how to get the parking brake lines out. mostly because i did this...
why on earth did i paint that POR15 over this line and connection? how in the world will i get that off? a struggle for another day...i didn't have it in me today.

so i moved onto the front suspension/brake conversion. i wanted to get all the unnecessary bits off so i could replace it with the new parts i have for the conversion, but i need to take a look at my reference videos and correspondence again, first. 
i'm embarrassed to admit how long i struggled with this next bit. i tried unscrewing the line. i tried cutting the line, thinking i could get the impact wrench out once the line was gone. at that point i noticed how the line was spinning and realized i just needed to remove a clip. i've never had more 'doh' moments than with this project. really. most days i'm glad i'm working alone, so no one sees my stupid moments...though, i could save a lot of time having someone there to say...'hey, dummy. just pull the clip out.' 
every day's an adventure, though, and i'm actually enjoying it!!
once i got the last lines disconnected from the backing plates, i was able to grab my favorite tool, the impact wrench. and this is where i thank my big brother for the electric wrench he gave me. when i first started this project (3 years ago?!) i thought i was so cool. and i went to Harbor Freight Tools to get my first tools. i had been taking a basic auto repair class and we used those impact wrenches all the time. so i bought my very own. and brought it home, ready to get the rims off the car. and realized i don't have compressed air, like i do when i'm in class!! i borrowed an air compressor from a friend, but that wasn't really practical. Dan came over after that and gave me his wrench. i have been super grateful for that. sure i could've bought my own, but this way i save money and i have a nice story to tell.
getting back to today's work....
this was the last of the tasks i was able to finish today. i am not 100% sure how much more of these bits need to come off. and i'm still nervous about the torsion bar and how the removal of the ball joints and control arms will affect that. 
more videos and research and i'll get to that in the next couple days, though.
now that the brake lines are out, i can start putting the new ones in.
i need to get the old master cylinder out, so i can put the new one in.
i need to get that foolish parking brake issue taken care of so i can put in the new lines when the equalizer shows up in the mail next week.
i need to figure out the drain/fill plug on the differential cover. 'plan B' plug showed up today, so if i have to i can drill the old plug out.
the axle shaft flange gaskets will be here next week, too, so i can rent a slide hammer and swap those gaskets out. 
i still need to get my lazy butt to the hardware store for bolts so i can get the leaf springs in.
it always seems like just a bunch of little loose ends, but the snags i hit along the way tend to turn it into more time consuming tasks. but it is nice to finally feel like i'm making some progress on my own here. my safety net of car guys is giving me more confidence, of course. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

it's a's not going to be smooth sailing

so, in my last post, i revealed my first really big step towards getting the car back together. that is, my first really big step without adult supervision. I removed the differential cover on the rear axle so i could replace the gasket. (here's that post, if you missed it)
well, not that i've abandoned that project, but i've hit a bit of a snag. the snag being my own stupidity and procrastination. basically, i went out early yesterday morning to get what i needed to move ahead, but got the wrong kind of adhesive. well, i got a silicone RTV adhesive, which i can use when i get to the window seal part of this undertaking, but i'm pretty sure it's the wrong stuff for the differential.
not a big deal, really, since i have many other things i can occupy my time with these days.
the floor has been kind of on the back burner, because i just couldn't figure out how to get the seats out, with this car stuck in the car port. well, i unbolted the seats and just moved them to the back seat, basically. of course, that made getting the carpet out, a real pain in the ass. (full disclosure: the job of getting the carpet out was done a few days ago. it took me 2 hours of struggling and repositioning the seats and eventually just pulling really hard because i could not get the seat belts un-bolted, and 2 screws on the drivers side door rail were stuck from all the corrosion.)
this is how it stayed for a long i struggled to figure out how to get the bench seat out

after the carpet came out. i was able to asses the rust situation
you can see the majority of the rust is concentrated on the driver's side. where the window leaked a lot. the car sat for years without a cover
the driver's side door rail...those last 2 screws wouldn't budge.
though you can see the corrosion was so bad, i was able to just pull the carpet out from underneath
yesterday was the day i was planning on really spending time on the car. i wasn't thinking about all the time spent brushing the rust...sweeping and vacuuming...then the prepping and dry time to apply the POR-15. but that wasn't the half of it! i can find things to do while i wait for stuff to dry. the problem was the degree of rust that was going on under the gas pedal. 

a tiny hole turned into a slightly bigger hole and then i found more...which also got bigger when i applied a little more pressure and elbow grease. sadly, welding a new floor panel has become a necessity. i already have major damage inside the trunk and a little issue with the chassis...i was hoping to avoid something like this.
but i am not discouraged! set backs are inevitable with projects like this. i have a good support system in place, so i have faith.

so what did i do while waiting for cleaning products to dry?
i moved back to the rear axle. though i didn't have the sealant to get the gasket in just yet, i do have all my new brake lines, so i figured 'why not tackle that!?'
once again...a little snag. i couldn't get the brake line disconnected from the wheel cylinder. so i cut the line. and then went through all manner of pliers and wrenches and maneuvering to try the get that little bastard out...i finally managed. after the day i was having, it felt like a major victory!
I replaced the new wheel cylinders and tee and screwed in my pre-bent rear axle brake lines! again...what a victory to actually be putting things back together!
the old and the new
but then...another 'uh-oh' moment. something just doesn't match up and i think it means i need to remove axle shafts and replace the gaskets! which i was so hoping i wouldn't have to do...
driver's side
passenger's side
...neither of these gaskets seem quite right...
and that's where we're left. with me looking at renting a slide hammer to remove the axle shafts. at least the axle is already off the car. 
there's my silver lining.
there's my silver lining.
one more time...
silver lining.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


what strange weather we've been having! one day it seems as if spring is early, then the next day we wake up to either snow or the threat of it. yesterday was sunny but cold, to start, after days of just the most intense wind. i bundled up to go get some stuff done on the axle, which is stored in my shed, since i have no where else to work. well, i do have a table set up in the basement, but i'll be damned if i'm lugging that axle down to the basement!
as i've mentioned, parts have been coming in, with the last of my packages arriving just a couple days ago. my plan was to try to reuse as much as possible, to stretch the ol' budget, but the thought of trying to get the old bushings out of the original shackle hangers was giving me nightmares.
old and new
especially after the struggle to break that last U-bolt off the rear shock plate!
so, getting back to my point...i went out to work in the cold shed...
but with the sun beating down and the wind finally ending, it turned out to be a beautiful day to work outside. unfortunately, i was not fully prepared for what i was about to do, so i was in and out of the house. up and down the basement stairs. and scurrying around the yard. all for the things i should have had ready to go. i had my tool bag, but my screwdrivers were still on the table in the house. i was lucky enough to find an old developer tray in a stack of stuff by the garden beds, to catch the gear oil i was not expecting, but now had to deal with. but once in the pan...where do i put it? back down to the basement to find store the old oil. i found an old (empty) laundry soap bottle. i had just made a trip to the recycling center, but this didn't make the trip, thankfully! and, while i was downstairs, i remembered that my funnel was in a bag of stuff i cleaned out of my car when i traded it in for my new car...3 years ago.
it was quite a party. there was a mess of oil...i went through many double layers of gloves.
once i figured out the issue with the oil, i started removing the old seal. it was pretty embedded around the bolt holes. after a lot of scrubbing, i'm going to have to get back out there with a razor blade to get the last bits of debris off. then i'll clean out the sludge and get to putting it back together.

today's weather included some crazy snow squalls while i was at work, but just periods of grey clouds and lovely sun, by the time i got home. unfortunately, after work and lunch and working out, i have little time (or motivation) to get outside, this time of year. but i have a list of things to keep me busy the next couple of days.

i'm terrible at remembering my after pictures (probably due to my dirty hands), but here's a few pics from yesterdays adventure:

inside of differential cover