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VickyBlue last won the day on February 24

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About VickyBlue

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  • Birthday 04/27/1968

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    Husband, Father, Uncle

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  1. VickyBlue

    Big girls need love too... 66 Electra 225 Coupe

    The 56 has the Gabriel and I am getting the kind of ride you are getting. They were cheap and it comes down to "you get what you pay for". As soon as I am able I will replace them with Bilsteins. Mine is lower and it might be worse than yours. Crawling over speed bumps you get this one "thump" on the other side of the bump and girls bounce on top of the rear seat. Flat roads, with the new radials and the new steering box, is like slicing butter with a hot knife. But you have to slow down for anything other than perfect asphalt. The Bilstein were $213/set for the front and $236/set for the rear. It was a big step for me, but I did take a risk and I am glad I did it. Right out of the box, the rear ones, when you compress them with your hand over a block of wood, (you can't with just your bare hand) they will go down and then it will take a full 6-7 seconds to decompress. Feel almost like oil shocks, but they are gas. I did it a couple of times and it did the same thing. My Gabriel's will rebound so fast, it will almost pock your eye out if you are not watching it. Mind you this is a lot heavier than the 56 and with worn out springs, I knew what the Gabriel/Monroe would feel like. The rear travel on the Bilstein is very linear, you can push the rear end down with your hand once installed and the rebound is softer, more accurate, even with worn out springs, the back end of the car is not bouncing up and down two or three times. There is no jaw dropping action going over speed bumps or tracks, I have a spare in the trunk and with 4 teenage girls in the back, (two of them mine...) and three adults up front, had no issues with bottoming out or kids bouncing on top of the rear seat over bumps and such. The front end now, I can see the left spring bottom coil has left its bottom stop point in the pocket and has travelled about 4 inches clockwise. It came to me like that, I was planning on new springs but it got cold up here fast and working with no heater in a ice cold igloo is no fun. I knew, once I started taking things apart, I would clean, paint and put back together. You can't paint in 19 degree weather, I used the stove one day for the covers and pan when whe was at work, she came back and the whole house smelled like a spray booth... I pretended I didn't know what she was talking about. I just made sure everything was tight after I installed the new mounts and with the new shocks up front, the front end of the car is planted and going in which ever direction you point it. Body roll is very controlled, front end compression and rebound improved tremendously. Can't imagine what new springs will do. Just for comparison, I can not compress the front end on the 56 by hand... I can climb up the radiator support and push down and it will move an inch or so... I know... I know... -3"/+30% stiffer, looks good on paper but in real life, not ideal. But she looks the part and no one complains about how she looks. She is not a taxi cab, I don't give rides, I just drive her and enjoy what she has to offer. I might try the QA1 coil over set up up front with some softer spring rates, like 500lbs or so, see what does. But it will impossible to beat the Bilstein comfort...
  2. VickyBlue

    Big girls need love too... 66 Electra 225 Coupe

    Just came back from a 60 mile drive... I am speechless. She pulls now like a freight train, no more smoke out of the exhaust, idles like a sewing machine, gear shifts are so smooth, you can hardly feel them. The Bilstein, comparing to Gabriel and Monroe, are night and day. For a car of this size, they work wonders. Much more stable, with a comfortable sport feel. I still have a slight squeak from the left front spring, but nothing like before. Springs will be next.
  3. Enjoy the pictures
  4. VickyBlue

    Big girls need love too... 66 Electra 225 Coupe

    Oil pan is out, clean and painted. Oil pump was taken apart, cleaned and put back together. I didn't see any wear or anything along these lines, to make me want to replace it. I checked the gears with a straight edge, the way the manual says and it was good to go. Pick up screen was cleaned too. I was expecting the worse, as far as sludge goes. I did find most of it at the bottom of the pick up screen, but the screen itself was clean from debris. If it wasn't for the new motor mounts and the anti seize I used a week ago on the mount bolts, I can see why this is a royal PITA. This is definitely something that is done once... Your welcomed Electra Now it's all clean, documented and Monday will put everything together.
  5. VickyBlue

    Big girls need love too... 66 Electra 225 Coupe

    The A/C rear compressor bracket bolt goes through the head. Five bolts and the bracket can be offset to the side (with the compressor) so the valve cover can come off. I pulled the rocker arm shaft, to clean the sludge... Push rods were straight, I cleaned them up and made sure they went back in same way the came out. Soaked everything in kerosene for a couple of days, I saw no pitting or major wear on the rocker tips, again, this engine was very quiet, to begin with, I just wanted to give it a good clean up, since I cleaned up as much as I could when the valley pan cover was out and knew the car sat for many years... Valve covers got a fresh coat of paint and a new gasket set. I can verify that no-one has been inside this motor. Oil pan will be next. A word of caution: I replaced the PCV valve and the rubber grommet. I had the valve cover on the bench and 3 times, as I was trying to push the valve in, the grommet got pushed in and fell off the cover. If the cover was on the engine, you would have to remove it to fish it out... It 's a tight fit, but after soaking the rubber in hot water for a couple of minutes, I was able to fit it. I can't wait to see how the new $600 Bilstein shocks ride...
  6. VickyBlue

    Big girls need love too... 66 Electra 225 Coupe

    I dropped the transmission pan and since there was no drain plug, I thought to my self, "why don't I buy a pan with a drain plug, so next time it will be a lot easier..." Little I knew... The filter was the wrong style, the original pan has a little "dip" at the bottom so the pick up tube can pick up the fluid, but the thing that send me to the moon, was the fact that the drain plug leaks... I tried a copper crush washer, thread sealer, nothing. Still leaks. It was 9 degrees inside the garage today... She is a foot off the floor... I ordered a new gasket and next week will put back on the old one... No returns after parts have been installed... the only way to find out if the leaks is to install it... How convenient...
  7. VickyBlue

    Advice re 56 vacuum wipers not working

    I just went through this... mine never worked since day one. Cam-o-matic. I had sent my motor to wiperman about 2 years ago, he went through it but I never got a chance to install it. I played with the idea of a Newport electric motor, but other than Mike, others had issues with parking and sweep. I took my dash apart for the 5th time so far to replaced all heater duct hoses and since I was there, turns out my switch was bad. The bowden cable inside the switch, is attached to a screw type coil. When you move the wiper switch, you actually push/pull the bowden cable, which in turns pulls/pushes the wiper motor arm the end cable is attached to. The center shaft the bowden cable rides on, was stripped. The 53 switch is a lot cheaper, but the center shaft is shorter, so it won't fit. I found out the hard way. I needed a 56 switch... Since I am running an electric fuel pump, I placed a small Jeg's generic vacuum reservoir by the radiator on the passenger side. Make sure the windshield is wet first. I turned mine on and I thought the wiper blades will fly off the arms! That's how fast they were going... Now I have vacuum wipers.
  8. VickyBlue

    Big girls need love too... 66 Electra 225 Coupe

    This weekend was Electra's turn for some TLC. Replaced both power steering hoses, replaced both engine mounts, she got brand new front/rear Bilstein shocks, to replace the frozen Monroe Spectrum Made in the USA old ones, repacked the front wheel bearings and fixed the vacuum canister for the trunk release. I still have some cleaning to do and service the transmission with a new filter/gasket, but for the most part she is almost done. I did make a torque strap and put it on the left side mount, just in case... I found out the R engine mount was factory stock, the real thing, in pretty good shape, too. The L side had been replaced with the incorrect one and did not last, as expected. It was a good weekend...
  9. Caught in a snow blizzard 40 miles South of Truckee, on the way to Boise... This is right before I had to put on the chains.
  10. Since this thread already exists, I will post the update here, instead of starting a new one. The car is in Boise, safe, but let me tell you how it all happened... I took a later flight on Tuesday the 23rd from Boise to SFO and then to Fresno. I showed up at Paul's home by 9 PM. He gave me the tour and by 1030 PM I was on my way to say Hi to my old next door neighbor, I hadn't seen in 6 years. He let me have his sub-zero sleeping bag and by 12 am I was on my way. 65 miles N of Fresno, just outside of Atwater, as I was listening to the AM radio, lost engine power. I pulled to the side, in 1/8 mi visibility and turns out the battery was dead... Dead dead. Clicked the starter and nada, just the awful sound of ticking, but no turning... I was as sitting duck, a foot off the freeway, in heavy fog. I called AAA, apparently my membership had expired and they would renew it, but had to wait 48 hrs before I could use my long haul tows... A flat bead truck was dispatched from Merced and after $535 I was back at Paul's driveway, at 6 am. I pulled the alternator, put the battery back on the charger at Paul's garage and the AutoZone guy confirmed the alternator was toasted. I got a new one with a new belt and Paul drove me back to his place. I put the alternator back on and she started right up. I gave him a hug, thanked him and off I went. It was 1030 AM. 25 miles N of Fresno again, as I was approaching the freeway, I see white smoke coming out of the vents, I smell the smell of antifreeze, and I pull quick to the side. Heater core was busted. I lift the hood, a car guy feels sorry for me, he pulls to the side and with his blade, cut the heater hose and routed it back into the T-stat. Compressor was making funny noises, the bearing is probably bad, so I cut the AC belt as a precaution. I filled up the radiator, shook this guy's hand, tried to pay him, but he would not accept money... It was noon by now. I forgot to mention, the fuel gauge was stuck just south of half. Right after I left Paul's house the first time, I stopped for some gas and she took 15 gallons. When the gauge didn't move, I knew this was going be a pen and paper gas log trip. I also didn't have any idiot lights, GEN or OIL. I made it all the way to 45 miles N of Auburn, CA by 2 PM. Even though it had only been 89 miles since my last fuel stop, I pulled to the side to use the restroom and gas up again. I filled up again, tried to start, nothing... dead battery. Again. I used some cables, jump started it, run for 5 minutes then died again. I was at 4,000ft, dead battery, fast approaching snow storm, with no heat... There were a couple of auto stores but they were in Auburn and I had no way of getting there. And then God sends Avery... PG&E guy, just finished work and saw the car with the hood up, asked me what was going on, I told him and he said, "jump in, I will take you to Auburn, get a new alternator, battery and voltage regulator. It took us an hour and a half to get to Auburn in heavy rain, which means it was probably snowing where the car was...Got the parts and headed back North. I put in the alternator, then pulled out the voltage regulator. Turns out, someone had "spruced-up" the engine bay and had spray painted black lots of stuff, one of them was the voltage regulator. They removed the plug, painted it and then the plug was not put back in all the way. It appeared it was plugged in, but is was not. The black spray paint on the spades, with just 1/8" silver, gave it away. Checked voltage and with part throttle it jumped to 13.6V at all three places, battery, alternator and regulator. By that time it was 530 PM. There was so much snow coming down, the road to Truckee was chains only. Avery told me to head south, back down to Auburn and try to find a place to spend the night, until the storm was over. I looked him in the eyes and in tears I gave him a hug, I offered him money, he wouldn't accept it, he just told me "a few years back, someone helped me with my car when I needed help out in the desert, now I am paying it back. Just pay it forward" There was a good foot of snow all the way down to Auburn, but she made it... it was 7PM. Checked a couple of places to stay, but no vacancies. I pulled into a parking lot and got into the sleeping bag. I had ben up since Tuesday the 23rd at 6 AM. This was Wednesday the 24th at 7 PM. I closed my eyes and next thing it is 12 AM. I used the restroom and after looking at the weather and with all the road closures and chain requirements towards Truckee, I decided to got to Placerville, then to South Lake Tahoe, then to Reno and I80 East. It was rain all the way to Placerville and then light snow till Pollock Pines. Cal Trans pulled me at one of their chain inspection stops and told me I had to get them, or go back. I pulled at the gas station, they had a set and had a guy install them for $30. I left Pollock Pines at 2 AM and made it to South Late Tahoe by 4 Am. In L1 gear, 20 mph. one hand steering, the other hand scraping ice from the inside of the windshield. I was warm, I had wool pants, 3 thermal shirts, two jackets, gloves and a beanie, but my feet were frozen. South Lake Tahoe, it was were the freeway ended. Nothing had been plowed, the city was just buried in snow. I found a hotel paring lot, and parked. Changed socks and went back to sleep. Got up at 730 AM in sunshine. Left South Lake Tahoe at 8 Am with my chains still on and made it to Reno at 11 AM. Stopped at a gas station, took the chains off and got some hot coffee and some food and water... I was in Boise at 4 PM... I called Paul, let him know I made it, I called my buddy in Fresno and thanked him for the sleeping bag. I hugged and kissed my girls and my wife and took them to dinner. I kept looking at them in the eyes and thinking, I am a stupid lucky SoB... I was able to return the new battery and alternator I got from O'Reilly. The alternator I got in Fresno tested OK and the battery Paul had put on was new, in December. The old voltage regulator is probably OK too, but will check on that. Now the water pump leaks... Once the charging problem was fixed, and once I got out of the heavy snow, other than a slight miss at idle, it didn't burn a single drop of oil, or transmission fluid. Radiator held up, all hoses appear to be original to the car and other than that, the car was exactly as advertised. I learned a lot, about different things, about myself, about people, about life and fears. Did I want to get caught in a snow storm at 7500ft with no heat? No. But this trip made me realize that when I couldn't escape my fears, I had to learn how to face them and walk with them... I knew it was going to be temporary. Yes, shipping it would have been the best option, especially with a car that sat for 34 years. But who am I to take the easy way out...?
  11. Thank you. Paul is a great guy to deal with. I am hoping I can fly down to Fresno sometime next week and drive back to Boise.
  12. When you have 14 kids, you would do the same...
  13. My 68 had a vinyl top. After my next door neighbor called in the association nazis for the carport I built next to my 3 car garage, and they forced me to take it down, or else pay $550 per day past the demo day, I sold it... I didn't want any liens on the house and parking outside under the Houston sun, was not an option. I like vinyl...