covers repairs done between 09/10/06 and 11/05/06
Trunk latch, revisited - take 3 (are we there yet?)
As you recall I previously mentioned that my latch creation is 'almost' working 100%. It works great until you leave the car sitting in the sun all day (aka: car show) at which point the trunk lid expends and the latch no longer securely keeps the lid from flying open if you do a burn out. The simple solution to this problem: Don't do burnouts!
Ok, so then let's embrace the complicated solution LOL : Figuring out how to make the latch 100% reliable. I decided to partially seal the latch slot so that the latch hook will hook into it. This is not how those rumble seat set-up latches are supposed to work, but I feel that for my application it might be more reliable. I used plumber potty to get a "foot print", if I may say, so to see how the hook is traveling inside the latch's slot when you close the trunk turn the handle :). The next step is to weld a piece of metal to partially close the slot, but it has to be just right, otherwise the hook will either not close or not hold. That's where the potty print comes in! Bobby at Da Rod shop was kind enough to help me with the welding part. THANK YOU BOBBY! The result? A latch that now closes TIGHT and I am pretty sure this concludes our latch creation saga. I intend to test it, "as is" for a month before having the latch finished and painted (just in case LOL). Right now it is still ugly looking, but it WORKS (and I did several burn outs to prove it hehe... "don't do burn outs" she said! AS IF!!)).
replaced ignition switch and RPM gauge
The starter button has been working on and off, which means that if it is in its "OFF" mood you were stranded for a while. Usually sitting and waiting for a while solves the problem, or fussing with the ignition key a bit. On a few occasion, I had no time to waste and had to take the screwdriver to the starter and get the car fired up that way (hey, whatever works). Seemed the first thing to do would be to replace the ignition switch. It was not easy finding a simple 2 position switch (ON-OFF) but a trip to the local boat parts store later, I was coming home with my new bestest friend: A reliable switch! Replacing the old switch was a walk it the park, although I had to drill the dashboard a bit as the new unit is slightly larger than the old one.
Then I tackled the RPM gauge.
I had bought the gauge at the Primer nationals, because it was smaller, flat
black and pewter color and because it was different than any gauge I have
seen on hotrods so far. Why not, let's not be afraid to stand out LOL.
Swapping RPM gauges seems like a easy project. However: chapter 6 of
Murphy's laws book- page 32 - paragraph 9 - clearly states: when replacing
an RPM gauge with another RPM gauge, the number of wires or color of wires
of the first gauge will never match the second gauge. Boy, was Murphy right
(again!) !! The
'new' gauge (which is actually a pretty old used gauge) only had 3 wires
coming out of it: Black, green and white. The current gauge (you've guessed
it) had four: all the above colors PLUS one red wire. I had to seek advice
from Sean on this one. He pocked around inside the gauge but did not come up
with any articulate answer: "Well, ummmm.... uh uhmm ... Mmmmm... "
||10/10/06 & 10/11/06 - replaced
license plates and rear light
You'd think swapping license plates couldn't get easier in terms of auto repair project! Well, THINK AGAIN! Here are some of the problems I ran into: A)- New 1932 plates are oversized so I had to buy a new license plate frame. B)- Old holes and new needed holes did not match. C)- removed old plate/frame/light combo and now had 4 holes in the rear - plus one alien hole - one that was clearly a mistake from a previous owner who missed the boat and drilled in the wrong spot LOL. D)- New light/frame/plate combo will not hide these 5 holes. E)- so had to plug the old holes F)- Now had to repaint the rear panel - but don't know what paint was really used on my car previously G)- Had to test no less than 5 cans of flat black to find one that seemed to match K)- thank God a friend offered to help with the body work and painting! L)- Thank God the paint we picked DID match pretty darn good! M)- By the end of day one the car looked good and was (almost) ready to have the new plates mounted. N)- On day two I tackled the drilling of the new holes, only to find the deck lid is in the way, as well as a strange reinforcing bar inside the trunk which I will have to DRILL RIGHT THROUGH to install the plates/light. O)- I roll up my sleeve and get to work, instead of removing the trunk lid I decide to do a Houdini and to simply submerge myself inside my own trunk (and close the lid). Good thing I am not claustrophobic - and small. P)- Drilled successfully but had to use a grinder to enlarge holes enough so that the screw heads will get past that bar. Q)- Had to requisition my neighbor to help me as it took two people, one standing outside the trunk holding the light in the right spot and the other inside the trunk - Houdini style- to screw and tighten the bolts. R)- Wait! We forgot to account for the third hole, to pull the wires through - otherwise the light won't work! So I drilled yet another hole - sigh. S)-Just when I thought I was almost done, and now ready to screw in the light, turns out the bolt provided are TOO DARN SHORT and will not secure the light on the other side of the panel. GRRRRR T)- back to the drawing board, but resourceful Faith had saved the old latch screws, which turned out to be the PER-FECT size for the project - so they were recycled and used to screw in the light. U)- the light now in place, I position the plate and drill two more holes - Holy Holy Holy, Holy is my roadster! LOL VWXYZ)- Wow I can't believe I finally completed this "simple" swapping of the license plates project!!!
BOY DOES MY ROADSTER LOOK VINTAGE NOW! In the end, it was all worth it.
Quick-fixed door handle and brainstormed about the trunk latch
Ah these damn hotrods! You fix them on one side, they fall apart on the other LOL. Saturday we got the brakes fixed but then my door handle fell off LOL. Well, not literally, but one screw did fall off and the handle was danglin' from one side. I popped the door panel off (carefully and with the help of the proper tool - borrowed while at Da Rod Shop) and found that the screw had fallen off because the piece of wood holding the handle had cracked... :/ Eventually the wood piece will need to be replaced but for now I did a quick fix, let's see how long it holds. I filled the crack with liquid nails glue, clamped it closed and let it dry overnight. I then re-screwed the handle in the next day. The wood is still cracked but holding the screw tightly again. It will have to do for now.
Then Sunday I found that the
trunk latch is still not holding 100%: When the car gets hot (parked in
direct sun / heat - the fiberglass will expend and the deck lid shifts
position slightly). I decided to partially seal the latch slot so that the
latch hook will hook into it. This is not how those latches are set-up, but
I feel that for my application it might be more reliable. To find out
exactly where to seal the slot I had a brilliant idea: Use plumber potty and
close the latch to get a "foot print" if I may say to see where the latch is
going. It allowed me to find out exactly how far and how high the hook
travels inside the latch, once the trunk is shut and you turn the handle to
lock :). So now I know how to proceed. Next step? Take it to a metal
fabricator to finish it.
||10/07/06 - replaced
master cylinder & conducted safety inspection
First (but surely not last - sigh) visit to the rod shop. Owner Bobby was nice enough to allow me to stay and watch, patiently explaining as he went. The goal today was to replace the master cylinder and add a remote power booster. We picked a remote unit because of the custom cross members that Eric added to the original 32 frame, which did not leave us room to use a booster pedal assembly. It is either cut through the cross member or try to use a remote booster. Regrettably our plans collapsed quickly when we opened the box, only to find the remote booster was almost as big as the roadster itself LOL !! So back to the manufacturer it goes. We had to content ourselves with replacing the leaky master cylinder (I hear it has been leaky since at least 2002). Bobby then performed an inspection on all wheels and brake pads etc. All looked good. I then requested an inspection of the steering system (faulty brakes or steering are both sure ways to kill yourself). Good thing we did, cause we found some serious flaws in the installation of the halfrack and dangerous play in the U-joints. We scheduled another repair session to fix all this so I'll go into the details then. For now suffice to say the brakes now work well, with good pressure and the mere tightening of the U-joints resulted in a 50% improvement (or more) of the 'wandering' of the roadster. It now already drives a LOT better!
||10/02/06 - Fabricated
and installed a new trunk latch
The trunk, set-up for a
(currently not existing) rumble seat, has been flying open every time I step
on the gas a little heavy. The sheer acceleration force is just too much for
the latch, which does not line up properly with the hook. Bought a new latch
at CW Moss, made for roadsters. Initial trials proved that my latch was NOT
compatible with theirs. Time to screw on my thinking cap and come up with a
brilliant idea. I have been known to pull those out of my - you know what-
on occasion ;). Today was such an occasion. The latch is too far to the left
and too low to securely latch. It has to be moved right and quite a bit UP,
but the body of the roadster will not allow it, the trunk lip does not run
high enough to bolt the latch to it. I decided to add a metal panel to
strengthen the fiberglass lip and to add the extra missing height I need. My
first attempt was a disaster simply because the store sold me a piece of
metal that turned out to be hardened steel and I broke a titanium drill bit
trying to drill a hole through it. I was finally able to drill two holes,
but hole number two took - and I kid you not - 45 minutes of non stop
drilling and alternating between 4 different drill bits. Finally, exhausted
and aggravated, I threw in the towel and went back to the store to bitch
hehe. Got another piece of 'normal' this time metal of same size and this
time drilled through it effortlessly and now I was back in business! Once
attached to the body I had to do many trial and error attempts to place the
latch in JUST the right spot, the "sweet" spot if I may say, the spot where
the trunks closes fully, the latch latches smoothly and HOLDS no matter how
fast I go. This is no easy task because as you close the trunk lid you
cannot see how the latch lines up (or doesn't line up) so you do not know
for sure which way to adjust. But eventually I figured it all out. Had to
cut through trunk lip a bit to make room for hardware and played quite a bit
with washers to figure out the proper distance. It took about 4 hours but
finally it was a perfect alignment. The latch currently may not look pretty
but it sure works! I tested it thoroughly the next day, including full
acceleration from a full stop and a few burn outs ;). I could not get that
trunk to fly open. Now I need to take my pattern and have a metal shop
duplicate it so it looks pretty and will need to paint it flat black and the
trick will be done.
||10/01/06 - Installed
battery disconnect & fixed trunk rear panel.
I decided to install a battery disconnect switch. It has several advantages: A)- It will prevent a thief from stealing the car or at least slow him down some. B)- It reduces risks of electrical fires while the roadster is parked in the garage or at a show. C)- It prevents the battery from draining while the roadster is not being driven. I got a nice units with metal keys and decided to mount it inside the trunk so it is less accessible. To mount it inside the side wall, I had to tear the trunk apart, pulling up the carpeting and removing the rear panel. In the process I found out that the rear panel was not screwed securely to begin with. The screws holding the bottom brackets had fallen off. The whole panel bottom had moved forward about 6 inches! I got larger brackets and screws and when I put the truck panel back I reinforced it so now it is solid.
Drilled holes to mount
disconnect unit. Also drilled a new hole in trunk floor to route battery
cable through. Cut battery cable and added new terminal. Soldered terminal
to wire. I didn't like that part. Working while crouched inside the trunk,
holding an open flame in one hand and the wire in the other, soldering right
above my legs... Yikes! Not my idea and seemed like a good way to get hurt.
Finished the job in one piece ;) and added both terminals to the disconnect
unit. Mounted it inside the side panel, put rear panel back and glued carpet
back. This was a time consuming project which had me sitting in the trunk of
the roadster for over 4 hours. Hello chiropractor!! :) I did a great job and
it both looks and WORKS great!
||09/30/06 - Cleaned
was a mistake but I asked about cleaning the engine and Sean showed me how.
However the choice of cleaner may not have been the wisest. Although he uses
it daily at his work (Chevrolet Dealer) without any problems, the cleaner
did not agree with my roadster. It did a great job at cleaning up all the
gook but it also decided to eat my polished edelbrock valve covers >8 . I
was NOT happy. We polished the stains away best as we could. Live and learn.
Next time test first.
||09/30/06 - Replaced
engine is vomiting. It must have high cholesterol because suddenly it is
spraying oil everywhere! It looks like it is about to have a coronary!! LOL
I consulted the head mechanic of the house and he pointed out to a filter
above my engine. He explained about vacuum and venting and oil traveling up
to that filter. Sounds like my vacuum is not right and oil is being sucked
in and ending up in that filter. Filter is now filled and can take no more
and is lashing out LOL. A trip to pep boys later I was holding in my hand
the solution to my problem. After drilling a hole and adding a safety pin,
the filter was ready to be installed. This also was a smooth job. Now let's
see how fast it fills up again. I may have to look into this vacuum issue
down the road. Installing the remote brake power booster may force us to
look into it even sooner. I'll let the pro handle that one ;)
||09/30/06 - Replaced
headlight dimmer switch
The headlights have not been
working properly. Sometimes getting stuck in high beam, or not switching at
all or worse yet, not working altogether (I found that out the hard way on
my way to the Cruise for a cure event last week-end, driving in pitch black
darkness at 5 AM on an Orange County road). I decided the switch was
probably bad and got a new one while visiting CW Moss. This was an easy
repair. I had to pull the carpet around the steering column and just swapped
the old unit for the new one. It fit and worked perfect. now, if all repairs
could go as smoothly!
||09/30/06 - Added a
hood prop kit.
Since I don't specifically intend to drive the roadster without the hood on,
and since I spend a lot of time at car cruise nights or car shows with my
hood open, I decided to add a hood prop kit. This will prop up my butterfly
hood and will prevent the hood panel corner from scratching the cowl, which
will be important once I repaint the roadster in a few months. The install
seemed like an easy job - but no such things with a hotrod. Manufacturer put
the wrong size washers in the kit. I invested some time grinding them down
to make then thin enough to fit (and became acquainted with yet another
tool: The grrrrrrrinder) only to find out that they also did not have the
right size hole. OK, that about did it for me so I went to the hardware
store and got new glass washers. Sean insisted I use air tools. which was
great until one of the bolts went sideways and got completely stuck. I could
neither screw it on or take it off. Sean said it was a "freak accident". I
said it was "just my damn luck!" LOL. We had to cut the screw off and that
left us with one missing custom screw, so the proper did not work. But I
don't give up easy. After hitting 3 hardware stores and not finding anything
remotely similar to that custom curved screw, I decided to not listen to the
salesdude and to look MYSELF for something else in the store that could do.
And surely enough I did find it. A gismo made for rope climbing had a U
shaped metal part that, if cut, could end up looking like the half U screw I
was missing. My plan worked great and I was able to finish my project. The
prop works great and the roadster looks better now when the hood is open.
||09/10/06 - Replaced
fan fuse and switch.
Radiator fan died today. Was
able to make it home OK with water temperature climbing up to about 190F.
Immediately tackled the repair. Troubleshooting was easy, all it took was
checking the fuse. Blowing a fuse means there is an electrical problem
somewhere, which confirms rewiring the roadster might be a good move on my
part. But for now I just put in a new fuse. let's see how long it lasts.
While I was at it, I decided to change the fan switch, which was falling
apart. I also added a ground wire so the switch light now works. This was my
first ever repair and was a good way to get my feet wet. Sean supervised but
did not lift a finger, per my strict orders ;). I really enjoyed working
with wiring, splicing and cutting. Getting under the dash was less fun, the
roadster is really small inside and the steering column and oversize
steering wheel really are in the way. Thanks God I am tiny (and still
flexible)! I took the time to do a very nice job and made sure it looked
very pro and clean. One (or more) of the previous owners really did a monkey
job on some of the wiring system. Wish they too, had taken the time to do it
right and gave the roadster the extra "love" it deserves.