unimogjohn

Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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It is Friday, February 19th. Eye Candy. I guess I am finally getting to the end of rebuilding and fixing of the mechanical/running bits of the car for now, and am starting to get those little things that would/should be on the car. Most of the rubber on the car is either hard as a rock, falling apart or missing. So with the Studebaker Intl sale I bought a few parts. I have attached a pic. For sure I will put on the labels and brake pedal rubber, but will save the other bits when I get to those areas.

Also Greg sent word that his R3 block has been repaired. Here are pics of the broken block and the repaired block. He has not let me know his plans for the engine yet, but I know he is interested in restoring one of his Avanti's to speed racing condition with all the correct period engine pieces. He has not been working on the Maroon Avanti that he just had painted as it is in an unheated barn with two to three feet of snow all around it.

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John,

I'm another one to the guys that has been following your thread from the beginning. As do many others...I check in almost every night for progress reports and recommend your thread to everyone. Your determination and abilities are incredible and I can't wait to see pictures of the Avanti up and running again. You have an amazing writing style that makes all of us feel like we are working on your car right there with you.

I have a 59 Buick that recently finished a 3-year restoration, but lacking your mechanical abilities the work was done predominantly by a one-man shop. I have a ton of the restoration pictures and general info about 59 Buicks on my website at 1959 Buick Electra 225 Convertible.

Looking forward to further updates as the weather allows.

~ Tom Sidoti

Edited by Electra 59 (see edit history)

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Tom, thanks and glad that you are enjoying it. BUT, wow! you have done a fantastic job on your 59 Buick. What an excellent job. I have just finished reading your blog. It was a great read, and just loved all those pictures. You must be really proud of what you have accomplished. Hope to meet up with you at a AACA event since we are relatively closed. I am planning to go to the meet in Louisville in late June with the 23 McLaughlin Buick. Hope to meet OldCar there also since I know he is trying to get his Dixie Flyer ready in time. I am sure that he will make it.

It is Saturday, February 20th. Beginning of the gig thaw. It is 43 degrees today, the snow melt has finally started. But before I get too excited the weatherman says that we may get snow on Monday, or a least a mix. Oh well, at least I have a few hours.

Pulled off both breather cap and washed them with solvent and with with dishwasher soap. They are nice and clean now, one is is clean it does not have any of the dirt catching mesh inside. It just broke apart and went down the drain. I will have to get some mesh and put it in from the inside and then down into the wall. Just another thing on my long list to do. I know I can get a new one, but $35 seems a bit seep. So the STP stickers are now on the engine.

I also started the engine. A few days ago, when it was really cold, I tried to start the engine. It wanted to fire, but just would not catch. It did the same today. So I pulled off the carb cover and saw that the choke plate was completely closed. I took my handy screwdriver and used it to keep the plate open a bit, and the engine fired right off. I then adjusted the choke a couple of notches and will see if that makes a difference when I start it tomorrow.

While it was running I adjusted the idle, but I noticed that every time I goosed the throttle it would not return to idle, but was still sticking. So I got out the Kroil spray can and put in about 25 shots on the throttle rod that goes down the firewall and connects to the transmission. This helped quite a bit. The rod is sticking inside its sleeve, and I hope that the Kroil will gradually make its way down the rod and free things up. I also noticed that the rod moves in the bushing so I now know that the assembly is probably close to worn out due to lack of lubrication. There are no provisions to lube this rod.

So will look for this throttle control plate when we go to York, PA for a swap meet in early March. Am starting to get a list of things to look for. I also plan on talking to the Phantom Auto folks to get an idea about redoing the interior. I am probably looking at a $6K bill there, so I am trying not to get too excited about getting started. I do plan on getting the driver's seat fixed in the next few weeks as it as come apart at the top. I know that replacement vinyl is required so will do it in black. When I redo the interior it will go back to its original red color.

Here are a couple of pics with the new STP stickers in place.

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It was beautiful here in Alabama today - 68 degrees and sunny. I managed to remove the carburetor and distributor from my '63 Avanti- I'll send both off next week for a rebuild. I'm going to have the distributor converted to electronic ignition to try to optimize the driveability.

I have a little video on youtube of the car from a couple of years ago- my son is driving the car:

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BJ, great looking Avanti R2, and loved the video too. Is yours the original paint, Avanti Red? Can you post pics of the interior? Would love to see them.

On your engine, the rear throttle rod to the carb needs to be attached under the throttle plate (the manual says that this is important). Who are you going to have rebuild your carb and distributor? Are you missing your air cleaner?

Thanks for posting pics of your car. Really appreciate it.

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John,

The color of my Avanti is not original. As I understand it, it was painted about 20 years ago, long before I bought it. It has some imperfections, of course, but it is presentable for me. I think the color is a bit bit brighter red than some Avantis I've seen that were "Avanti Red".

Likewise the interior is not original. The seats are recovered in a red fabric - Once I get it mechanically like I want it, I'll worry about redoing the interior.

The air filter was removed last weekend when I was pulling the plugs, trying to get it started - They were badly fouled.

Thanks for the heads up about the throttle rod. I've talked with Dave Thibault in Maine and am planning to send the carb and distributor to him for rebuilding.

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BJ, Dave T. rebuilt my carb and distributor. I am very happy with his work.

It is Saturday, February 27th. All ready for lift off. Tomorrow, if the weather holds and is above freezing as promised, we are going to take the Avanti on her first road trip off the farm. Remember, it has been at least twenty years since she has felt pavement under her wheels. I have done all I can do to make sure she will not end up sitting on the side of the road.

The past couple of days were spent doing final adjustments on the choke, the engine starts and restarts every time now; the transmission shifts into R and D easily; the throttle linkages are now all free and not binding and have been adjusted to the factory specs; the fuel leakage has been found on the fuel pump and corrected; the emergency brake has been readjusted; and I put the factory sticker on the Paxton supercharger. The only thing we are going to do tomorrow is to put in another five gallons of fresh gas, I would hate to run out, for some reason the gauge has stopped reading. She will not have her hood, but who needs one....... we are throwing caution to the wind.

So, thinking of nothing else that needs to be done, we will set out for a run. Will report how we did tomorrow PM.

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It is Sunday, February 28th. It is a good day to go for a drive. Ready or not here she comes!

Snow flurries this morning, but today is the day. Put in five more gallons of gas, checked everything, started her up, and we headed out the driveway to the open road. Everything went great. No issues or problems popped up, and we felt like happy parents. Our Avanti is back on the road after 30 years sitting in a garage. In total we probably went about ten miles. The car never missed a beat. What a great day!

We made three videos for your enjoyment. They are:

Just went back over the car, all the fluids are good. Still have a fuel leak out of one of the fuel pump fittings so will take that out tomorrow and put some sealer on the threads, and I think I will re-route the rubber hose to give it more of a rounded S shape rather than the almost straight one that I have on there now. Also plan to change the oil. And, we will probably take it for another spin. We are suppose to get snow again on Tues/Wed, so Monday will be another cold day. We are 15 to 20 degrees below average for the past couple of months; March is usually in the 60s, go figure.

Now that it is running I have to figure out what is next to do. More on that later, while I bask in the glow of success.

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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John, congrats!!! I know the feeling well, our car had been sitting from 73 till I bought it in 88. Nothing like it when you win with something so special is there?? Good for ya' !!! John

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It is Monday, March 1st. And they said the weather was going to break. It struggled to get to 40 degrees and the wind was whipping. Tough working outside; and now they are saying that it will be colder tomorrow with rain and snow on Wednesday.

But I pulled the Avanti out of the garage and onto the ramps. Just had to fix that pesky fuel leak. So pulled and clamped the old line; and put Permatex 2 on the threads of the fitting. I also put in a new, longer line; and hooked everything back up. Boy, the fuel just pours out of the delivery line, you have to be prepared and move quick. I also took the time to replace the fuel filter again. There was some debris, but certainly not as much as before. The fuel now looks really go so I am not going to pull the tank at this point.

I then pulled the driver's seat and crawled under the dash to see if I had left any wires off the fuel tank gauge. Nope, looked good. I checked all the fuses and they look fine also. So maybe the problem is with the sender in the tank. We will leave that for another day.

The real reason I pulled the seat was to try to see if I could connect the seat at all four points. Before I could not find one of the nuts on the floor pan for one of the forward bolts. So I was running with only three attachments, one at the front and two at the rear. I fished around and found the nut. It was pushed out of position and hiding. It took a few tries, but I was able to get it back into position and get the bolt on it. So now the seat is on firm footing.

Getting just too cold to do anything outside, even on the Avanti, so will probably call it quits until the weekend. We are going up to York, PA to a Studebaker swap meet on Friday. I really doubt that we will find much, but we will try it for one year anyway. I do plan to stop and talk to the upholstery folks at Phantom. I have heard good things about their work, and at least I will get an idea as to what it will cost if and when I decide to redo the interior. I am thinking about $5K. Then I will really be upside down in the car.

I will report on the York show on the weekend.

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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John

Very exciting news with your Avanti finally on the road and that it got back home on its own the first trip out. Brings back memories when I had two of them, the Gold car was RQ5370 R1 with A/C and the Bronze car was RQ1233 an R2 4 speed. One for fun and one for warm weather. I haven't known where either one is for 25 years or more, they don't show up on any rosters, kind of like losing your kids.

Stude8

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It is Friday, March 5th. What a nice day for a long drive. York, PA ended up to be about a three and a half hour drive each way. Of course, we had to make stops for breakfast and then lunch, so figure about three hours each way.

Wow! Were we surprised, the parking lot and the building were packed when we arrived at about 11:30 AM. It was so crowed with vendors and buyers you had to weave your way in and out of folks standing in the isles; excuse me, was the word of the day, it was the only way you could pass.

The vendors were all there too with a couple of exceptions. I got an opportunity to talk to Jon and Betty Myer, Jim Turner of the disc brake kit, and Dave Tbo. We had a great time. But we did not buy a lot, Dave Tbo had a good deal on a Mallory coil for the Avanti, so decided to buy one as I am still running the original. We also talked a couple of upholstery vendors, and picked up their samples. Prices are all over the place for interior pieces. From a low of around $500 for vinyl, $900 for leather, to over $1500, which included the door panels. All were for the front and rear seats. The Phantom folks were not there so did not get to talk to them.

We left home at 7:30 AM and were home by 4:30 PM. The weather was great, and the scenery was fantastic as we took the back roads for the most part.

Here are some pics for your enjoyment.

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It is Sunday, March 7th. The glaciers in the front yard are finally melting, 50 degrees today, you can taste spring.

Yesterday I pulled the Avanti out and figured that I would install the new coil. Started right up so I pulled it in front of the main garage to be closer to the tools. I had not touched the coil other than replace a couple of wires early on that were broken. So it still looked a little grungie, and the resistor on top was all corroded. So sprayed everything down with Kroil figuring that that would clean up everything. Turned out that it was a bad move on my part.

I put in the new coil and hooked everything up. Went to start it and it would not not fire, in fact the resistor was blowing smoke out its metal sides. So turned it off to check things out. Everything was hooked up correctly so tried it again. No engine start and still smoke out of the resistor. I figured the new coil was bad so put in the old one. Still the same problem. Oh god, another issue, what have I done. Well, I figured the resistor was fried so just turned on the ignition and let it burn off the Kroil that I had sprayed on everything. When the smoke stopped from the resistor, the engine fired right up. I guess that the Kroil somehow reduced the voltage to the distributor. Oh well, live and learn.

So now it is Sunday, I put in the new coil, again..... and she started right up. Took her for a five mile run, gosh she sure runs and drives nice. Took her up to about 45 or so, solid as a rock. Had a great run. Changed the oil now that the oil was nice and hot, and then put on the rear view mirror button. Let that sit all afternoon in the hot sun and put on mirror this afternoon, great to be able to look what is coming behind me.

Tomorrow is going to be another nice day, before it turns cold again. Snow is coming back later in the week. So I hope to do some cleaning, washing and detailing for a couple of hours.

Oh, Greg is working on the R3 Paxton engine. Here is what he said. "The Paxton block is back from having the main bearing caps re-linebored and the cam bearings installed to check the camshaft fit. It was again shot peened, so a coat of Glyptol to protect the interior. I guess I need to look into the sleeving of the one bore and resulting overbore to clean up the pitting in the rest".

Attached are pics of the old and new coil; and Greg's engine.

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It was again shot peened, so a coat of Glyptol to protect the interior.

Does that product/paint not prevent a good heat evacuation? In other words, the oil is carrying away much of the engine's heat. This coat can act as an insulator or am I wrong?

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Roger, re Glyptol. From the web: "It's supposed to do two things - help oil drainback, and encapsulate any casting sand or debris that might still be lurking in the block, so it doesn't get into circulation." It is expensive stuff and toxic. If you look it up on a search, you will see many pro and cons in regards to its use. The old school engine builders seem to use it a lot, not so the new kids coming up.

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It is Monday, March 8th. Another nice day, but farm chores had to be done for most of the day; fence repair, sawing down broken branches, cleaning the barns and giving shots to the llamas. But the Avanti is waiting.

After talking to my favorite trimmer about fixing my seats to "make due" for a year or so. He said that it did not make much sense due to all the work making repairs, and I would still have old junkie seats. So I have put that task on the back burner for now and start saving my pennies for new seats next year.

So what should I do now? Well the paint on the body has some major problems. It was painted in the early 70s. In a few areas large sections of paint are missing as the previous owner decided to do some repairs and gave up. I picked up some jade green metallic in a couple of shades from Duplicolor that looked close to what I have. All I want to do for right now is to have the car one color.

This afternoon I decided to play with the paint in jut one area. This is a 2 inch by 10 inches of bare fiberglass on the driver's side front fender. My goal is just to see how close the paints are to the car's green. Figured that this was a good place to start. This is not going to be a professional job, but just a "lets see what happens" little project. So I sanded a bit, added primer, and then the body color. Will let everything dry over night and see what she looks like in the morning.

So here are a few pics of what I did; and then pictures what I need to fix. The big thing is the door; and I want to paint the engine compartment where the red is showing through the flat black, and of course the vacuum booster needs a shot of semi-gloss black. So with is little cleaning and painting, the engine compartment will start to come back to life. I am also going to paint the engine block as I get it clean. It will not be perfect, but presentable.

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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I put in the new coil and hooked everything up. Went to start it and it would not not fire, in fact the resistor was blowing smoke out its metal sides. So turned it off to check things out. Everything was hooked up correctly so tried it again. No engine start and still smoke out of the resistor. I figured the new coil was bad so put in the old one. Still the same problem. Oh god, another issue, what have I done. Well, I figured the resistor was fried so just turned on the ignition and let it burn off the Kroil that I had sprayed on everything.

I assume you were talking about the ballast resister smoking... That's standard procedure, they always smoke when new... always scary when viewed by someone not familiar... Not to worry...

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