Thursday, June 29, 2017

brakes....the never ending story

Day off from the J.O.B.
Made up my mind to put in as much time as i could with the 'Cuda.
I've started calling her Christine because she is an absolute nightmare and i'm beginning to hate and fear her...but, is it weird that that's my middle name??
I went out at 10 am, deciding to start by hooking up the brake lines to the prop/combo valve so i could get the brake system all tied up and D.U.N.
I had the chart I made when i disconnected the original lines, oh so many years ago, so that i knew which lines went where upon reconnecting. (that's one smart thing!)
After a tiny struggle with the first connection, the next one was fairly easy. Along the way i got to the level of frustration that i was ready to throw in the towel for the day...but then i thought i could go a little longer..try a little harder.
I swore like a sailor..cried like a baby...and figured the universe was, again, against me. This connection seemed to either be too big for the hole, or the threads in the hole weren't properly threaded. I didn't really know what to think except to wonder why the hell that thing would not attach. Eventually, I got it in enough to stay put while i screwed it in tighter with the line wrench. Unbelievably frustrating, but it was just a taste of what I was about to experience with the next line.
So i got that worked out and moved on...hooked up another line and went on to the next.
This caused so much trouble that I could not move on.
An impossibly tight space and a line that simply would not screw in caused entirely too much stress after hours of working on a task that seemed it should take a few minutes.
From 10 am to 1:30 pm i worked on those lines. the last 45 minutes was spent on one line. the line from the prop valve to the master cylinder caused so much trouble. I could not get the right angle to get that connection to the prop valve. my hands won't fit in the tight space. from underneath i can't get the strength or proper angle to tighten connection. working with my eyes closed, since i can't see what i'm doing, i still couldn't get the connection to stay put.
Ultimately, I walked away, in desperate need of a shower, without getting that connected.
I am beyond frustrated. Beyond annoyed. Beyond sanity.
And with a severely bruised hand...(which you may not be able to see from the picture, but let me just tell you, the slightest little brush up against anything shoots a cringe-worthy jolt of pain into my hand and making a fist hurts.)

I need to take a day, but I need to get this damn brake system done, once and for all.
I've taken a couple extra days off to keep any momentum I may gain over the next couple months.
Any tips on getting into tight spaces are greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

You're never gonna believe this!

Well, well, well...
On this day, June 13, 2017....a mere 5 years since parking my greatest challenge in Hubby's parking spot and ordering the parts for the drum to disc brake upgrade...I'm ready to hook up the brake lines and get the rotors and tires back on!
This weekend I had another day of 'oh, all I have to do is this one little thing and I'll be on track to tie this brake system up, finally!'...which turned into, instead, 'what a surprise. I can't get this to work out. I need a drink.'
It gets pretty exhausting, going day after day, hitting a wall every time I try to get some momentum on this project.
I feel overwhelmingly lucky to have a handful of folks I can text, message, call (ha! like I use the phone for talking!) to ask 'what am I doing wrong?'
The car forums are super helpful, too, when it's a specific A-body question.
And I always have my Haynes manual handy...
But all of that is still not enough to work out a problem without a little mental & emotional breakdown thrown in.
Let's just get right to it...we all know this is the longest brake conversion in the history of brake conversions, I'm sure.
Once all the stuck parts were off, I thought it'd be pretty smooth sailing to get the new stuff right in there and off we go to the next thing.
Alas, that is not how this project works. This past weekend, I went out to work on the car with all kinds of hope and excitement that the front brakes would go on, lickety-split, then I could get the rear drums all put back together and then hook up the brake lines...then onto the fuel system.
Instead, the new parts didn't line up properly. with lead to all sorts of frantic messages and texts and forum questions, followed by a couple days of checking emails, and reconfirming that I was understanding the information I was getting.
With the knuckle connected to the upper ball joint, I could not get the lower ball joint to meet up
With the lower ball joint connected, which is the order the manual says to do things, things also did not line up 
Adding a jack, to help raise the knuckle was the best suggestion, but this is as far as the jack would go before the pressure just seemed to intense.
So, when the jack method wasn't working, I got emotional. I thought back to the forum replies. And the manual...the thing I kept thinking was 'why is the adjuster bolt not loose?' According to the manual, the bracket should move freely, but I just chalked it up to rust, since previous posts on the forum lead me to believe that the bolt was out 'all the way'.
But the manual says it should move...besides that, upon further reading, that bolt comes out when/if the torsion bar is removed.
Let's pretend I'm removing the torsion bar.
As I recalled, I turned to bolt as much as I could in past attempts.  Out comes the PB Blaster and the breaker bar...
Oh, good god! It's still turning! and turning! and for heaven's sake will this bolt ever come out!? Then the bracket began to move! Joy! A new emotion.
Eventually, it came out and, just like the guys in the chat rooms said 'once that bolt is loose, the lower control arm should move freely.' It really did!
There it is! The adjuster bolt just had to come all the way out for me to get the range of motion I needed for that lower control arm to move!
 So once I could move the LCA, I used all my upper strength to get the parts to meet, and my lower strength to hold the low parts up with my leg.
But hold the's not so simple.
I was able to get it all together without removing the new bump stop, as everyone had suggested, to get the UCA to move down more. Yeah, right? that point, I couldn't get the adjuster bolt bracket back into the LCA...
so, off come the new parts...out comes the new bump stop (which I've been assured will go in easy once the car is back on the ground) goes the bracket...and back on go the new parts...
All buttoned up, but without the bump stop.
So, I gave myself an hour to work out my problem, hoping I could a)figure it out, and b) move on to get the passenger's side done, as well. Unfortunately, it took me nearly the full hour to do this.
Fortunately, I'm home for the day and have to power to extend my stay, so long as the heat didn't cause me to pass out (it's currently 85 degrees outside the carport...but, I was working around 10am, so it wasn't as hot...but the sweat was still dripping. No getting around that!), I gave myself another half hour before I would have to call it a day.
passenger's side, done, with bump stop!
The passenger's side took 20 minutes. Not only that, but learning from my mistake, I put the bracket back in, leaving the bump stop on, and then put it all back together.

So that's that! Now I need to add the rotors and all that jazz, of course, but I'm without bearing grease and I'm going to be honest...I hate this heat and really just want a cold beer.

Until next time...