unimogjohn

Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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Wednesday, March 3rd.  A cold and windy day.  Snow is coming tomorrow late and into Friday.  They are saying up to three inches.  Oh well, in a few days it will be back into the 60s.  

 

A slow day on the old car front.  I did pull the clock back out of the Jaguar and will send it off for a re-repair tomorrow.  I also have a few modern wires in the engine bay put in by the previous owners.  One is a driving light harness and the other is for the alternator when the generator was replaced.  I bought some black fabric loom to hide them.  So I did a couple this afternoon.  Looks factory.  Have several more to do.  Of course all the modern wire is bright red, so it really sticks out, especially the long run from the alternator back to the firewall.

 

Moved the Jaguar out of the garage so I could push up the final two feet of insulation into the roof ridge cap.  So the entire 60 feet is done now.  I am sure I am still getting some warm air leakage, but I have probably contained 90% of it.  

 

Tomorrow I hope to get back on the Trailblazer. 

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It struggled to make it out of the 30s today, Thursday, March 3rd.  Waiting for the snow to begin this evening.

 

But I headed to the garage this morning and continued work on the Trailblazer.  After some heating and penetrating fluid I finally broke the ground strap bolt.  Then with more heating I was finally able to get out the remaining piece of the bolt.  Only took about two hours.  I cleaned up the mounting point and put in the new bolt.  Result, still nothing, no turn of the starter.  On to the next fix tomorrow.  I gave up for the day.

 

Besides I had a antique clock to repair.  A kitchen clock made around 1910.  It was given to me to rebuild and repair, so it came to me in pieces.  I took a look at the mechanism and saw that it had been badly repaired in the past and was beyond saving.  So for $116 I got a complete new clock works made in India.  Looks very good and should last 25 years or more.  So today I put everything back together using all of the old parts I could re-use.  It is now ticking and gonging away in the front room.  I am adjusting the time now so should have it dialed in by tomorrow.  Have the door glass assembled too, just have to screw it back onto the case.  Then it is back to its owner.

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It is Friday, early PM on March 4th.  Snow last nigh, about an inch or so.  Melted quickly this morning as I headed to the garage to work on the Trailblazer.  Thought I would take out the front drive line to make access to the safety neutral switch a bit easier.  After about an hour of fussing I gave up removing it.  Could not get it to budge from the transmission, and I did not want to break something.  I think I have enough room to get the switch out.  The switch is mounted to the tranny with three bolts.  Of course they are steel and the tranny is aluminum.  Not a good combination.  Carefully and with a lot of Kroil I was able to break loose two of the three bolts.  The third one is hidden behind one of the wire connectors so I have to remove the connector before I tackle that one.  More later.

 

And it is our lucky day.  We have a report from Greg.

 

 "As Spring makes an attempt to settle in (we've got the early arrival of daffodils), things are starting to pick up around here.  Some sandblasting,  and spraying some primer.   The ground is almost firm enough to allow driving up to the storage hangar on the hill.   But not quite.   While we wait to haul the engine for 5054 Black Avanti,   Nathan made short work of adjusting the valves,  otherwise it is ready to drop in place.

 

My day job is going well.   Still on reprieve from the OX-5 Curtiss engine department,   I'm getting in some time on my recreation of the Wright's 1910 prototype V8.    Another example of my working thirty feet over my own head with no net,  it is really nearing  final assembly.    I'm really fortunate that my boss lets me do as I please.   An example,  in the fabrication  of the connecting rods I needed the use of a Sunnen hone.   Since we don't have one, it is a good opportunity to frequent another shop.  The same with the honing of the cylinders for piston fitting.   

     

One of my friends happens to be Dave Coleman who has a well equipped shop just over the border in West Virginia.     Famous for his racing pursuits,   he also is deep into engine theory as well as the history.   Every visit results in a lecture and as well as a test.   I like it that not only have I made a career of the study of how the Wrights' engines were built and how they function,   with Dave's pointed questioning  I'm also learning why they work.    Like the effects of the cylinder bores offset from crank centerline,  the timing of the exhaust valve closing and its relation to the opening of the atmospheric intake valves.  Things I've never thought about.

 

And after my last visit I can call him Dr. Coleman.   After a day of lugging cylinders,  leaning over,  a hard floor, etc., my back was almost broken.   He noticed, so before I could get out  the door he insisted on administering some therapy.   Led me out into the shop and had me lie down on a creeper.  "We do this all the time around here for back pain."    A bit leery,  but on the creeper I went.   He then produced a contraption,  a weldment of steel bar and strap with padding from an old roll bar cover.     Hooking my feet into it,  he then hung me like a side of beef from his chain hoist.

 

After a few minutes of squirming and an upside down view of his place,   he lowered me back to Earth.   Actually,  there was some relief to my old aching back...but don't tell him I said so.  

   

Like I said, over my own head with no net."

 

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Saturday, March 5th, PM.  What a day.  OMG, I have not had this much difficulty ever.  But after six hours of non-stop work, I have the netural/safety switch out.  And I did no damage to the two electrical connectors so they do not have to be replaced.  

 

The connectors gave me the most problems.  They were in tight and were positioned over one of the two bolts holding on the switch.  So they had to come apart.  It took hours of prying gently to get one apart, and the second one I broke off the female end of the switch.  I had to get it off as it was hiding the bolt.  With that accomplished I attempted to remove the switch.  It would not come off the gear selector rod coming out of the transmission.  The switch was held against the front drive line.  Clearly, the drive line had to move.

 

Usually, on a drive line the yoke slides back to release it from the axle.  Not in this case.  You have to move the coupling from the transfer case by moving it forward so you have enough slack to get the yoke out of the drive line bearing.  Of course everything was rusty and did not want to move.  It took a lot of persuasion to get everything to release.  But with a long pry bar I was able to put enough force on the bearing to get it to finally release.  I used a lot of Kroil also, and that sure helped.  It let go with a bang.  

 

So everything is out and now ready for the new switch.  That is Monday's job as we have to deliver the antique clock tomorrow.  I also have to get some special lube for the connectors before I put everything back.  I think it will only take me an hour or so to put the new switch on and get everything back into position.  Wish me luck.

 

Here are the pics from today.  I need a drink!

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Hats off to you John - you are a stout hearted individual to endure that! Whilst you have that drive shaft off have you thought about replacing it? It's right pitted and looks like it would twist in half if you ever needed to engage the 4WD.

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Chris, I thought about it.  Will have to look on Ebay to see what is available.  It is still pretty stout.  Once I get it running again I am going to paint all the rust areas to include the driveline.  The rear is great, no rust, is aluminum and really big.  

 

Stay tuned to see if it does start and run when I get the switch in.

 

And it is going to be in the 60s and 70s starting Monday and continuing all week.  Hope to get the Avanti and Jaguar out for a spin.

 

And the Jaguar clock made it to NJ.  I should hear something in the next few days.

 

I ordered two knock sensors for the Suburban.  They will be here on Monday.  So I got to get the Trailblazer out of the garage one way or another, and the Suburban in for the sensor change.  

 

Driveline update:  Chris, they are $40 used; $300 new.  I think I will try a used one.  Both amounts include shipping.  

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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It is Sunday morning.  Jogged to the garage this morning to put in the new safety/neutral switch for the Trailblazer.  Ever hopeful that this was the fix to the no no start/crank problem.  Well, it was NOT! Everything is sill as dead as a door nail.  So tomorrow a call to the local Chevrolet dealer and the old girl will ride to the repair shop on the back of a big truck.  I feel sad that I have not been able to figure out the problem.  First time I have ever been stumped.  I feel like a loser.  Oh well, onto another project.

 

 

 

With another project in mind I have the choice of the Suburban and its knock sensors or the VW Passat belt change.  I think I will tackle the Suburban next.

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Well John, you gave fixing it yourself a great effort. But a smart man knows at what point to engage the experts, like you are doing. (Hopefully your local dealer does have the experts.)

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Oh well, you gave it the full on charge John. Good job! Hopefully it won't be something head slapping simple. But then again, hopefully it will be something head slapping simple, i.e. inexpensive.

 

Speaking of inexpensive, 40 bucks is a steal for that used drive line!

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It is Tuesday, March 8th.  Well, the Trailblazer has left the farm.  Off to the dealership for some emergency surgery.  Will keep you all updated.  

 

Going to replace the other tie rod end on the Suburban today.  Going to be a warm day, 76 degrees so it is going to be a farm clean up day.

 

 

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Still Tuesday.  Put the Suburban on the lift and changed out the tie rod.  Good thing I did.  The old one had a torn boot and was really rough.  So with 30 minutes of work, a new one is in and the truck is ready for the road.  Here are pics of the old tie rod.

 

And also a pic of the two knock sensors and the material to make a dam around them to keep the water away from them.

 

 

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Still Tuesday, PM.  The dealer service guy called.  They have not fixed it yet, but the tech believes that it is a broken wire in the main wiring harness.  Will narrow it down over the next couple of hours.  Updates tomorrow.  

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It is Wednesday, early PM, March 9th.  The good news.  The Trailblazer is alive and ready to come home.  It was two wires broken in the main wiring harness where it goes on the frame rail to the neutral/park safety switch.  It was rubbing against parts of the power steering and finally wore thru and broke.  We plan on going down to get it later on this afternoon.

 

Beautiful day, going to 79 degrees.  All the trees are starting to bud, but nothing popping yet except a pussy willow.  Daffodils are up, but no flowers yet.

 

I spent the morning working on all the farm equipment.  Woke them up from their winter slumper.  All started right up.  Got them all cleaned, greased up, blades sharpened or replaced, new fuel and oil changed.  Ready for spring and summer work.   

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Update:  Picked up the Trailblazer and it is now home at last.  The damage was $500.

 

Tomorrow going to put it back on the lift and change oil.  Then she will officially back on the road.

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Received an email re the Jaguar clock.  It has been running fine for three day for the re-builder, but he is going to go through it to make sure everything is OK.  Me, I think I better trace the clock wire.  It runs from the clock directly to the fuse box.  I have period wire so I think I will attempt to change out the old wiring to eliminate that as a potential problem.    

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It Thursday afternoon, March 10th.  Spent the morning changing the oil and filter on the Trailblazer.  With that done I turned my attention to the Jaguar.

 

With the concours only a month away at Kawaih Island, I thought that now would be a good time to replace the cigar lighter.  The problem with the original one is that when you pushed it in, it would blow a fuse.  So last summer I bought a good reproduction.

 

I had to remove the radio and a metal plate that gives some lateral reinforcement to the wooden dash and provides for the mounting point for the radio.

 

With the old one out I could see that some of the material of the knob was just wasted away and cracked.  So it must be some internal short causing a problem as the wiring looked OK.  

 

I put the new one in.  Looks original and the knob is of the same material and design as the original.  I put on new terminals and will connect the battery tomorrow and see how it works. 

 

While I have started the Jaguar, I have not driven it over the winter, maybe three months or so.  I will take a test drive tomorrow and then change the oil for its yearly service.  

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Still Thursday, and we have a Greg aero engine report.

 

" Another milestone on the Wright 8-60 project.    

 

Spent the last couple days prepping and babbitting  the connecting rods and caps.   Modified my pouring fixture made for the four cylinder models, and with the judicious use of visegrips,  all went well and no burn blisters  either.

     

Unless I screw up the machining process,   I'm out of the babbitt business.  Then I will be ready to install the wrist pin bushings, fit the pins and start the trial assembly.

 

Photos of :  

                    Fixtured rod

                    Poured rod

                    Rods and caps

                    and I could sense old Jackson looking over my shoulder the whole time."

                     

 

                    

 

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It's Friday!  March 11th.  Headed into town this morning to get feed for the llamas, like 500 lbs worth.  And then headed to Wally Mart for oil.  

 

For the grand total of $200, I picked up two gallons of 15-40 truck/diesel oil for the Jaguar; two gallons of 0-40 Mobile 1 and a can of Seafoam for the Passat; 2.5 gallons of hydraulic oil for the tractor; two gallons of 5-30 Mobile 1 for either the Trailblazer or Suburban's next change; and two quarts of special rear Mobile 1 diff oil for the Trailblazer.  

 

Figure that the Trailblazer is due for a rear diff change at 180,000 miles.  

 

I plan on doing that tomorrow if I do not go out with Camaro Steve to look at a 1953 Chev pick-up.  I also took out the Jaguar for a long run of about twenty miles.  She ran great!

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It is Saturday, March 12th.  Headed out this morning to finish the mechanical work on the Trailblazer.  I changed the rear diff oil and used the Mobile 1 synthetic oil per Chevy specs.  

 

I also used the special male pipe end socket that I purchased last week.  I did try to use a 3/8 inch socket drive, but the little ball that holds the socket in would not go in far enough to get a real bite on the female plug that goes into the case.  

 

I tried the normal socket and all it did was round off the end.  So I carefully pushed the new socket all the way in and both the side and bottom plugs loosened up.  I was relieved.  They have not been out since the truck was built.  

 

There was some fine debris on the end of the magnetic bottom drain plug.  I cleaned that gunk off.  No shards, but looks like normal wear after 180,000 miles.

 

I also checked the transfer case, transfer case, and front diff.  They were all full of oil so let them be.  Of course the transfer case take a different tool for getting to the oil inspection plug.  That is a 3/8 inch allen style wrench, which I just happen to have.  And of course, the front diff has a bolt with a huge flange for the fill plug, and it was really on there tight.  I wondered if I was going to get it loose.

 

Here are the pics from this mornings work.  

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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Sunday, March 13th.  Rain off and on today, and a bit cooler than the last couple of days.  Only 57 degrees.

 

But headed out this morning to change the oil in the Jaguar, and do some general clean-up to the underside of the car.  Both fuel pumps look OK and are nice and dry.  And like all cats, this one likes to leave its mark on the floor.

 

I am only leaking a bit of oil out of two places. One is the little side plate on the engine oil pan, and the other is the oil filter gasket where it connects to the block.  

 

The oil change takes about ten quarts or a bit more of oil.  Everything looked good.  The stainless steel exhaust is a thing of beauty also.  Made in England by Bell.   

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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Wednesday morning, March 16th.  I always try to give the bad with the good, and not pull any punches, I have some bad stuff to tell on me.  I started the Jaguar yesterday after the oil change, and noticed that the oil pressure was slowly dropping.  Turned off engine only to find a huge puddle of oil on the garage floor.  Seems that the gasket was crimped or not fitted correctly.  

 

So I rolled the Jaguar back and commenced with clean-up.  I used four or five rolls of shop paper towels to get up the mess, and then used mineral spirits to get the last of it up.  Took about an hour to get up about two gallons of oil.

 

I had a new gasket, which was wider than the old one and filled the car again.  This one held just fine.  Good thing I had more oil on the shelf.

 

Other than that experience I have put together the chipper shredder with its three new blades, and put on the John Deere mower after servicing it.  I now have three mowers ready to go for the mowing season.  

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My .$.02 about your oil spill.  It is a good thing to have some clay-based oil dry product on hand for such occurrences.  In my industry, we handled a lot of liquids, many of them oily.  You can quickly make a dam with the granular product or surround a spill to make a contained puddle and they work it in to the liquid for complete absorption. Then to finish it off scuff the dry product into the pores of the concrete floor and you can really remove most/all traces of a spill.  The oil dry product is much less expensive than kitty litter too.  

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I tried kitty litter on the spill.  Really just made it worse.  But I am going to get some automotive oil absorber at the local store and have it on hand, just in case I mess up again.

 

Would you believe it, snow on Sunday.  Sure glad it is Thursday, March 17th.  Looks like I better clean the wood pellet stove one last time.

 

Going to start taking off the intake of the Suburban to replace the knock sensors.  I have to get it done as we have a couple of long road trips over the next couple of months.  Going to go slow as not to break anything.

 

And for additional reading we have an Avanti report from Greg.

 

"I'm trying to get moving on the black Avanti.    Nathan and I got the R-3 engine moved to the hill hanger and staged for dropping in place.  Before that happens I want to get to some things better done before it goes in.   Mainly replacing the power steering hoses.    You know what fun it is to do while working beneath the car and trying to get wrenches in difficult places.    

 

I'd gotten the new hoses and was disappointed in the one from the valve to the cylinder.   It wasn't bent like the original and when installed beside it's mate,  they didn't fit like my originals.   I contacted my vendor and after some correspondence I was copied a reply from his supplier (seems they all use the same supplier) that they couldn't bend it like the original so they just improvised.

  

When I saw the guy at York and asked him if any new and improved hoses had found their way to him he just said that none had ever complained about it but me.  (In other words NO).     I've since taken the replacement,  straightened it and re-bent it more like the factory shape.  That includes tonight't trip to Rob's to use his tube flaring tool.    I'm hoping to make a test fitting of the hoses soon.

 

I also sent off the shock absorbers to Koni for overhaul .  They've only been under the car since '73.

       

Otherwise,  the Avanti Maroon was awakened over the weekend.   Stoplights didn't work so I swapped out the switch,  Nate and I changed the oil and filter,  and it is about ready for a good bath.

 

The Dodge when last used had a tendancy to fall down on one cylinder  so we plan on renewing the spark plug wires,  should do the plugs too.   The stuff has been in there since before I bought the car in '76.   About time I guess.   Hope that solves the problem.

 

The REO still slumbers.   I'd better get after it since I plan to swap it for the Stoddard at Rob's."

 

 

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