Thursday, August 17, 2017

Patchwork fuel line

Two posts in one day!? ugh, I know...
To be fair, this is my documentation of this madness, and my memory is crap so I need to get stuff down before it's gone.
Again, I had one real goal today and that was to work on the car for a few hours. My secondary goals were to finish up the fuel line and possibly continue drilling the bolt hole. Then, of course depending on my energy and state of mind, maybe move onto something else on the list.
'Real goal': accomplished. I worked for about 3 and a  half hours before succumbing to hunger. I forgot to eat before heading out to get to it. I also forgot I got up at 4 and was out the door at 5 this morning for a 30 minute run. And 3 hours seems to be my 'time to beat', I did okay.
'Secondary goal #1 (fuel line)': accomplished!
It was very slow going, as I am still not skilled at the art of line bending. It was terribly frustrating and it's not the perfectly bent line I was hoping to install when I bought a 'pre-bent line', but somehow I managed to get the line in and bolted/bracketed in.
 As I mentioned with my first post, today...these two lines needed to be connected...

After some more cutting and bending and fighting and cursing and comparing the new bends with the bends in the old line (which of course I kept for reference!) and more struggling...I finally got bends to match up enough to get the new line into the hooks.
Not an exact match, but the new line is in tight and ready for the new tank!
I wasn't really sure about adding the rubber line. I've watched multiple videos about it. I've double checked fuel hose ratings. I changed the blade in my utility knife. I had my box of assorted clamps. And I've put off enough stuff due to anxiety that I just had to do it. 
I think I did a pretty good job!
I looks right...
Next up was the front end. This where I had to do more research. I was under the impression that the original lines were 3/8, rather than the 5/16 that they actually were. So I bought a sending unit in 3/8"....and fuel line for 3/8"...but for some reason, my new pump to carburetor lines are the proper 5/16". So after some inquiries in the forums, I was told that if I had 3/8" from tank to the front, that I could simply get an adapter to connect the 3/8 fuel line to a short run of 5/16 line to the fuel pump!
So, I did!
That was, after all the struggle with getting the line to shape/fit in properly at the rear...then realizing I needed to do more bending at the front end to get the line tight into it's final bracket, just about all I could do. 
I spent a little more time trying to figure out the grease fitting issue but I didn't want it to put me in a mood, so I backed off.

I feel good about the time I've spent on the car over these past couple days. It's not a lot on paper, but forward progress is forward progress!

mini staycation: a.k.a. restoration marathon

Okay...both of those things are misleading.
I took an extra day off from work to get 2 days in a row to work on the car. And, it's only a 'marathon' to me in the sense that I have never (that I can remember) worked on the car on consecutive days. It's quite a big deal, for me actually! I'm glad I did it, too, because I actually feel like today I can really finish some things!
I almost think the idea of getting something actually checked off my list, rather than just adjusting the task, is a little odd. I mean, this whole project has been 'well, that's a problem...I'll just move on and come back to that.' It's literally a big pile of unfinished projects under the umbrella of 'car restoration'. Yes, I know that is basically every single car restoration (or home restoration), and although the years I've spent on this may seem contrary to this point, but I like to finish a project and move on. It is hard for me to have a thing that needs attention day after day after day (a good reason that I don't have kids!).
But I'm getting away from he important stuff here...per usual...let's just move on to the meat of the story.
So yesterday was Day 1 of my 2-day build-a-thon. 
The long and short of it: I made some progress but did not get as far as I had hoped.
My daily goals are set pretty low, since I have a history with this car.
#1: get the old headers out, by cutting whatever pipes are in the way of pulling them up and out
#2: finish drilling the tank strap bolt hole
#3: if all that gets done, move onto Day 2 list
Seems simple. Easy. Straight-forward.
Well, it is all that, but it's also just a day in the life of my first car project.
I made surprisingly good time with the pipe cutting! My original plan was actually to get to the tool store early and pick up a pipe cutting tool...a flaring tool, maybe...see if i could find anything that looked like it would be helpful in getting my u-joint grease fitting back in (I think the rear axle may have to come off for me to fix that silly mistake)...but the stores didn't open until 8! I thought I could get in by 7:30, but 8 is too late...commuters and beach-goers are already crowding the roads by 8.
So, I went at it with my mini hacksaw and the blades I had left from the bolt cutting I had to do previously.
6 blades...both ends and as far into the middle as I could get. I had to skip my yoga after all the sawing and drilling and mowing the lawn and whacking the weeds the day before...I could barely lift my arms to feed myself by yesterday afternoon!
But, of course, I had the proud moments of solving my problem.
In the past, I start work on the driver's side of the car. Probably because that side of the carport has more clearance. But, the driver's side headers were packed in around the steering column and I just wanted to do the easy side first, for once. After the first cut was so awful, I tried to be more methodical about the angle I cut the rest of the pipes. I was able to cut 3 on each side to pull the headers out.

The middle bolts, on the driver's side, were a little tricky to get to so I thought I could cut that one first, to get a better angle at the bolt. However, I didn't actually pay close enough attention to where I was cutting so I didn't get in close enough anyway. To add insult to injury, when the pipe was cut, and I tried to pull it out, it was getting stuck on something...and the tie rod got in the way of pulling it out from underneath. So there it hung. I was hoping I could get away with cutting just 2 pipes but the two left in this picture are basically stacked so they wouldn't clear the steering column if I pulled up. So I cut the pipe all the way to the right, which was a little tricky in the end, since that first pipe was still hanging there. 
But I did it. I cut 6 pipes using my mini hacksaw. It wasn't really that difficult and didn't take all that much time, to be honest. The hardest part was starting the cut. 
Finishing the cut was a bit tricky on some, too. 

This is the last pipe I cut. You can see the first pipe I cut, stuck hanging off the one I'm cutting.
Once I got the headers out, I cleaned up around the spark plugs and swept up all the metal shavings and other such debris from the years.
 The plugs look new to me, but I didn't take any out to see how they look on the other end.
I have the old valve covers, which I think would be fun to put back on, but I really like these Mopar ones, too. The old ones are just red.

Today's plan is to, first of all, get an earlier start. Since the sawing and drilling are the loudest tasks on my list, I can go out as early as 7 or 8 today. Maybe do some more drilling at the end of my day.
I'm hoping to tie up the fuel line issues: 
fix the broken line near the wheel well
cut this extra bit off and bend behind that wall
add rubber fuel hose to connect the two cut ends
 I'm nervous/anxious to finish up all the brake stuff I still need to finish. I'm not really sure why. It's almost like I don't want to finish it. I guess because it's the only thing that is really new. Everything else is just replacing old parts. This is a new system to this car and I don't want to fuck it up.
A big part of it, though, is thinking about getting all these new parts in and then it just sits there with all the new parts rusting away while I try to figure out the engine.

Get to bridge...then, cross it...
I have to stop looking ahead and imagining the road blocks that may (or may not) appear and just enjoy the feeling of accomplishment each time I get to the next step.
I know, I know...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

making an effort

So here we are a week+ into August!
Looks like my plan to get the car back to 'wheels down' by labor day may not happen. It may still, but I'm not holding myself to that. September still offers lovely outdoor weather, but that is the time my in-laws are in town, meaning it's all work and in-laws all the time. This year, however, we've planned our (usually in October) vacation for the second week they are here, so that's a week I won't even be in the country.
But that's okay! I'm really close to being ready to start looking into what's going on with the engine!

Let's see...where did we leave off...
Oh, right...the broken, brand new, fuel line. Which, I'll be honest, I think turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Rather than fighting to fit a line that is obviously too long for this car, I can just put a tiny bit of fuel hose in place of the cut out section and it'll be great. Of course, I actually have to get under there and do that...
I finally got the jack out so I could position the fuel tank to drill the hole for the tank strap bolt.
 Let me just remind this tiny world of Barracuda Diaries readers that metal work scares me. I don't like drilling metal. I don't like cutting wheels on metal. I have such a desire to learn welding but fusing metals scares me (though this is the least of my metal aversions).
When a drill bit gets stuck as I'm drilling...I panic a little.
My brother has a massive scar on his face from a flying cutting wheel from a grinder.
Let me also just give you a little background to my odd trauma visions: every time I drive over a railroad track, I imagine a train plowing right into me. My imagination is both wonderful and wonderfully disturbing.
But back to today's work!

You may remember (or maybe not, since this has been going on for years. so many years) that there was some rust that needed repair on the chassis. The rear passengers side frame had rusted out, you guessed it, at the fuel tank bolt hole. Most likely from the hole in the trunk channel, since it's also where the major damage is to the trunk. My wonderful friend, Patrick, welded a patch for me. Unfortunately, the damage + the new patch left me with no place to attach the bolted end of my fuel tank strap. I've been putting off drilling a new hole.
A) because it was quite an ordeal to get that patch on there, since the sheet metal I had was way too thick so cutting and bending and welding was a pain in the ass for my friend...I didn't want to mess that up!
B) because I had to get it right the first time. I couldn't be drilling holes all over until I finally got it right! I'm a lazy measurer. 'Measure twice, cut once' has always been in my head, but quickly followed by 'just hurry'll be close enough.'
C) drilling metal...ugh!

At first I thought maybe I didn't get the right drill bits (yes, I had to get new bits, as I didn't have one big enough for the larger hole I needed to make). It was so slow going. I actually took a screwdriver and hammered it in after a long time drilling with almost no visible progress, just to see if the metal was indeed getting thinner. It I proceeded. And when I finally got through the patch metal...I had the original layer of metal to go through!! 
But then I was in my groove and settled down from my metal drilling anxiety. Unfortunately my legs were falling asleep and I was just beginning.
So the J-hook I have to hang my tank strap is the kind that goes in a large hole then settles into a smaller slot. That meant drilling a larger hole above the smaller hole. 
At this stage, where I'm becoming more confident in my drilling skills, the larger bit kept getting stuck. So, of course, I had to do some problem solving for a problem I was not terribly accustomed to. 
The old me: throw the drill and all the bits. slam my head against the rear quarter panel. cry. pack up until my next day off.
The new and improved me: think about why the bit is getting stuck. look at the tools at my disposal. grab a smaller drill bit and gradually increase my bit size.
However, even the new me has a breaking point and after so much drilling, with numb legs and arms that were also slowly going numb...I stopped before finishing the larger hole. But it's nearly finished and it's not a nagging issue that will continue to cause undue anxiety.

The bolt hole was actually my second task today.
Today's list started with the super annoying task of cutting the headers out. Silly me, I thought I could just unbolt them and pull them up and out...throw in the old exhaust manifolds and be ready to hook up a new exhaust system!
Those fracking things are jammed in there. Well, I thought, looking at it, that the passengers side just needed one of the pipes cut off, because it was getting caught on the torsion bar. 
cutting this pipe took several hours (over multiple days) to cut through. the hardest part being that last bit where my cuts didn't line up.
After what seemed like an eternity of sawing with my mini hack (see above statement about cutting wheels and grinders), I finally had that pipe cut! Bolts back out and...
Problem solving mode...seemed like I could just cut the opposite pipe out and the other, middle, two should be good to just slide out.
So basically all the pipes need to be cut off up by the intake manifold. 
after cutting the two outside pipes, it is obvious that all pipes must be cut in order to remove the headers. 
And all of this was AFTER a day of just trying to get the bolts out! I am continually puzzled by how this car was put together in the first place!! I mean, the headers weren't original equipment on this car. Someone put those in aftermarket and they are jammed in there!!
Can you see how tight that is in there!? The pipes are molded to fit around the steering column!! That is going to be such a pain to get out...I'm gonna have to have some major reward ready for the day I tackle that mess!
And the simple act of removing some bolts is made nearly impossible by the oil dipstick do-hickey being so close that I had to wedge the Allen wrench at an angle that allowed me to push a nearly immovable tube out of my way. Then I get to do it all over when I put the original manifolds back in. Yeah.

But today I put in a solid 3 hours (the most I've been able to manage yet) and I feel like I did quite a bit to move forward. 
So I rewarded myself with a lunchtime beer!