Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Now we're moving along

The struggle continues. On and on I go, just hoping that the daily task I have set for myself goes off without (too much of) a hitch.
The latest issue: bump stops.
the silly little rubber bumpers that keep the upper control arms up and away from other metal parts as the car hits all the bumps in the road.
A bit of rubber on a bolt that is screwed into place.
That's it! It's a rubber topped screw.
The task: unscrew old bump stops, screw in new bump stops.
WOW! That'll be easy. Probably a little (a lot) rusty, but I'll just douse it with PB Blaster and use the impact wrench on it.
OOPS...not enough clearance for the wrench...or the wrench, socket and hinged adapter.
Breaker bar? here we go with the smallest wrench and socket I have...and after hours of struggle...I mean, ab wrenching and shoulder pulling struggle...nothing.
How can these things not be moving AT ALL!?
I'm getting better at holding back the tears. I'll get a cutting blade for my 8-in-1 multi-tool thingamajig and try again.

Fast forwarding: metal cutter in hand, eye protection on, footing as secure as i can get it (well, not really 'footing' since everything I do with this car I'm either lying on the ground or kneeling until my legs go numb)...
After just a few seconds of using this tool, I can tell it is not going to work. The intense vibration has my hands going as numb as my legs and my brain telling me that this will only end badly, if I continue to attempt this.
So, I give up again. As I think about my problem, I remember that I am not opposed to more elbow grease if that's what it takes. People may think my way tends to be more labor intensive, but if I can get the job done with less fretting that I may slip and cut my hand off, it's worth it to me.

My solution: get thee a hacksaw!
I put it in my head that, no matter how crowded Home Depot was going to be on a sunny day after 2 weeks of rain, I was going to stand in line and buy my $10 mini hacksaw.
The true victory was actually going home and USING the saw, rather than waiting another week.
But as with most days working on this car, the joy from this victory was short-lived.
After a lot of work without much pay-off, it didn't seem like the saw was cutting the bolt at all.
Though to look at it, and the relation of the blade to the placement of the screw, it had to be going I continued on.
Finally, after a pretty intense upper body workout, That disc popped right off!
And I was faced with another 'haha, you suck at this' slap in the face from this car that I can only assume, at this point, is haunted by some asshole spirit that likes to watch me beat my head against the car window and pretend to smash it to bits with a hammer...
...wait...where was I going with this...?
Oh, the top finally came off to reveal....
A square hole, with a square bolt that has been tightened beyond it's proper position. this whole thing a freaking joke? Well, universe? Is it?
What could I do, but move on to the passengers side, leaving this bolt stuck. I did not have the wits to figure this problem out, at that time. It looked as if it had been welded in, and the fact that I was unable to get it to budge at all, it's truly what I thought.
The passenger's side bolt actually had some movement to it, I was just not able to get the nut off the bolt.
That went much more smoothly and I was beyond excited to just get it out and move on to try to solve the problem of the driver's side fiasco.
That all happened on Monday...with my day off just around the corner, I made up my mind to get that bolt out on Wednesday (today).
More PB Blaster...sledgehammer and a big metal punch we had lying around from some other random project...flat head screwdriver-as-chisel...and more sledgehammering.
My god I pounded on that thing...I cursed the car, per usual...I fake cried (because the tears just don't come anymore)...then I gathered my strength to go at it all again. Staring and wondering how it could be that this fucking thing won't budge!!??
Out comes the drill. That's no help, because I'm not really sure, at that point, what or where I should be drilling.
So I chisel away at the parts that I think will help relieve that tight grip of a diamond in a square.
Finally, I could see the PB Blaster shooting up through the bolt hole...I thought 'why not give that little socket wrench one more try?'
Oh sweet merciful whatever, it moved...but not it was simply stuck in a different position.
So I go through all the usual quips: 'really!?' 'are you fucking kidding me?' 'this is SO my life'...
A little more wiggling and another smack with the hammer and it's out.
Mangled and shiny. 
The best part: I'm too nervous to check but, to my memory, my new bump stops are not square at the base. We shall see soon enough, though.

The light at the end of this tunnel that took me several hours over the course of many weeks to get through: 
Parts can start going back on!
We're not done yet and I think the real fun is about to begin.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Days of rain

I'd love to say that the days and days of rain is the reason that i've been lazy about working on the car. But it's really only part of the reason. The main reason is because I've spooked myself. I've convinced myself that I don't have what it takes to see this project to the end.
And that's just silly! I mean, sure, I have no idea what I'm going to do when it comes to the engine work, but I can figure that out. I know people.
It's true that it's taking me FOR-EV-ER to move along on this thing, and I've thought about giving up several times (but then couldn't figure out how to get that heap of metal out of the driveway, anyway, so why not give it another go, right?), but I always go back. Maybe it's because a lightbulb goes off and I figure a different way to get past my roadblock. Or, maybe it's because a new person enters my life with the knowledge that I need to move past my current problem. Or, maybe I just somehow summon the strength and courage to push through my doubt and get shit done.
This time it was a combo, really...
and I'm still moving along.
Here's where we were last time: unable to get the tie rod out. Why, you ask? Well, because, as we know by now, I don't really know what i'm doing. So I could not get my impact wrench in a position to get the nut off. But, with media, my super power of admitting I am ignorant, and my collection of car friends, I was guided. 'Turn the steering wheel' my friend Pat told me. Of course. Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and be ready to feel like a complete dolt.
I turned the steering wheel and, low and behold, I had no problem on the driver's side. The passenger's side was a little more of an issue, but I still managed to move along.
The tie rods are out.

They, of course, needed some cleaning...and removal of old bushings. Removing old bushings isn't all that easy, by the way.

They've been cleaned up.

The new bushings are on and it's basically ready to go back in.

And that means we finish that brake conversion! The thing that started it all, in my eyes. The upgrade that I thought this car needed. Let's face it, it's not a great looking car to start, so spending money on body work wasn't really important to me. It's a heavy beast so souping it up to become a race car would be the most ridiculous idea ever (that's my next car. *wink*). I just wanted to get it running so I could drive it around a few times during the summer...maybe hit a car show some weekend...then maybe sell it to recoup the money I put in (which is basically the few dollars I got from a lawsuit my dad was involved in before he passed away). So, since driving on the Cape means having brakes that work...I was willing to spend the bulk of the budget on this disc conversion...and it's about to happen, folks! Years later, I can actually say I'm ready to start emptying the boxes of rotors and dust shields and calipers and (ugh) adapters...

While playing my usual game of getting frustrated and feeling like I couldn't make any progress on the car, I decided to do some cosmetic stuff (nothing major...just trim and window stuff)...
the dark brown is the old (outer) trim...a look at that same trim but on the inside of the door revealed that it was originally silver. I got new silver trim.
You can't really see the silver in this picture, but you can see the difference compared to the picture below...

I also replaced the weather stripping between the front door window and the quarter/back window. The door still needs to be adjusted to make it water tight (another procedure I didn't know about until my friend Pat mentioned it...more researching needs to be done there.)

So that is where I'm at now.
And it's been raining for a week, basically. With another weekend of more rain ahead of us.
We shall see when I get back out there, but I'm feeling good and positive about where I'm at. Just trying not to think about the engine and floor boards just yet. (oh, yeah...I bought a pre-fab floor pan to weld in to fix the driver's side floor rust...another adventure there, for sure!)