unimogjohn

Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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Ah, British cars and oil leaks.

There was a woman in New Orleans who loved her Jaguar. Soon after she bought it, though, she started to notice drops of oil on her garage floor. Taking it to the local foreign car shop, one of the mechanics raised the car and disappeared under it. 10 minutes later he was back handing her the keys, telling her the leak was fixed, but if it started leaking again to make sure she brought it back and asked for him.

A month or so goes by, and the car starts leaving oil drops again. She takes it back. The mechanic fixes. It leaks again in a month or so. This goes on for a number of months, and although it's a pain, she loves the car and is willing to put up with this minor inconvenience.

One day she takes the car in to the shop, and is told that the mechanic who worked on her car has quit, but let's put it up on the rack and see what's what.

After looking under the car, another mechanic came out laughing. The first mechanic had tied an empty soup can under the leak. When the can filled up, it leaked again, until she brought the car in and he emptied the can...............

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Still Wednesday. Finally it has started to snow. You can barely make it out in the pic with the llamas.

I did finish the Jag garage. Dug out all the poop, etc and made a big pile. It will be used around the farm as fill. Always a use for dirt. I have attached a couple of pics. The pile; the poop chunks that have almost tuned to coal; the trusty tractor that did the work; the Jag stall in the barn; and finally the tractor in the stall.

I also picked up 5 gallons of premium fuel for the Jag. The gas gauge reads 3/4 full, and I wanted to make sure that it works and is semi-accurate. So I carefully put in the five gallons. I can see it as the bottom of the filler neck so I am sure that it is almost full. Took pics of the gauge, before and after. Looks like it works. Another little item off my things to check list.

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Hi John, still following your adventures, and VERY jealous of the Jag ! Fabulous cars. A buddy in Clinton, Tn. had one during my- -impressionable- -years, ha ! His was dark green. Anyway, the gas gauge reading and pics made me laugh as I am a bit of a nut about them too. If that one is like most of my Brit car gauges, it should be great. The one in our Tiger was the most accurate one I've ever seen, want to see a half gallon ? Pour in a half gallon ! Unreal. Anyhow, keep it up, all I kept of our cars is the 63 Mini when we moved here, but naturally have bought a couple of things since. Hard to break the habit, Ha !! John

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John, how'd you take the picture driving 3 mph?

I've had to clean crap out of a garage before to store a car, but you've brought the task to a whole new level!!

Fun stuff!

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John, thanks. Hope that you are still enjoying Hawaii full time. Miss the mainland US yet?

Still Wednesday. Normally I do not try to overwhelm the blog, but I got a nice surprise tonight brought by my favorite UPS driver. It was the car bag for the Jaguar. Here are a couple of pics. I will not take it out of the box until I need to. It is big and heavy.

Oh, and the snow. Not much. As usual it petered out about 6 PM. Hardly anything stuck. But is was pretty coming down, big flakes.

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It s early Thursday morning, February 9th. Just received a report from Greg. He is busy as usual.

"No great strides tonight.

The maroon Avanti. The big brown truck brought me a shipment of parts, tie rods and ends, other front suspension parts for the front end rebuild I've been putting off until warm weather. The Avanti still has an occasional front wheel shimmy that I don't like. The only way to get rid of it is to throw money and sweat at it. I did prime and paint the new steel parts and the enamel is still too sticky to put them back in the box.

Matheson engine. I'm playing with the Bosch generator to determine voltage output at different speeds.

Wright eight cylinder. Today I took a few minutes to look into the cam follower placement. It appears that the followers from the four cylinder engine might fit if shimmed slightly.

Photos include:

>Bosch generator in test.

>Test fitting of cam follower.

>Comparison of followers from the Wright vertical four and the 6-60 six cylinder engines."

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Still Thursday. Did farm stuff all day, no cars today. But I did get a call from Jerry Forrester of Jerry's Chrome in Douglasville, GA. The Avanti bumpers are done, boxed and ready to be sent. So headed off to the post office with a envelope and a check. I expect they will be here late next week.

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It is Friday, February 10th. When you have a very early car with no parts available, you just have to make everything yourself. So that is what Greg is doing with the Matheson engine. Here is his report from last night.

"Doesn't look like much, but they're off the Matheson todo list.

These are the phenolic rubbing blocks and rivets for the make and break ignition triggers."

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Still Friday. Spent the morning at the local DMV. For once it was not busy, and after filling out all the paperwork we got the call to come to the desk for processing. In about 20 minutes we were back out the door with the title, registration, and the 1953 plates. Now we are legal to be out on the Virginia roads. Yahoo!

And here is a link to a historical history of the Jaguar XK120. Neat to see all those race cars.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RyyMfdhNL0&feature=fvsr

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Edited by unimogjohn
added link to historical video (see edit history)

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John,

I envy you, a Jag and all that walnut. But the real fun is in driving those old Jags. A friend of mine has an XK140.

Try and get a copy of the Jag episode of " Victory by design". Alain de Cadenet puts one in a controlled slide in the show with appropriate tire squeal and exhaust sounds to match.

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It is Monday, February 13th. Cold here again this morning, 19 degrees. Received a note from the body shop. The Avanti will be painted today. Yippee!

And here is a report from Greg. "Parts arrived in the mail Friday, so I found time this weekend to install the new cam bearings in the black R-3 Studebaker Avanti engine. Then the timing gear and camshaft installation. That went well, so why not drop the crankshaft in place? Now the main caps are on and torqued.

Other than that, some small parts cleaning and prep. Soon I'll have to check the piston ring gaps, get them loaded on their pistons and put that stuff where it belongs. Not a rush job, just getting parts off the bench and screwed down."

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Still Monday. Spent the day doing farm stuff. Alice decided to spread lime on the pastures so got her all set up on the tractor with her new tow behind broadcast spreader. Her old one kept tipping over on the uneven ground, so bought her a big one that holds 200 lbs of product and has a wide track. Works great.

But I kept waiting for her to quit for the day, but she kept going and going. Finally, I told her that we were taking the Jaguar and going to see Greg. It is suppose to snow tomorrow, so today was now or never.

We had a nice 15 mile ride to Greg's place; and found him in the corner with a hand grinder working on the crankcase of a Wright repo engine. We walked him out to the Jaguar and Alice offered to stay behind so Greg to have a ride. So off we went for about five or so miles. We had a great ride.

After saying good-by to Greg we headed home. I must say that I have a big grin on my face driving the Jaguar. She runs like a scalded cat with good manners. So now she is back in the garage as bad weather returns tomorrow. I will check to see if I solved the little oil leaks tomorrow too.

All in all, a great day.

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Ah, John, optimistic as always, "I will check to see if I solved the little oil leaks", and we all know the answer.

Talked to Greg last night and he was really happy with your Jaguar, now I've got to come see it, when the weather gets better expect a knock on your door!!

Beautiful car.....

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David, come by anytime. And bring your trimmer kit too. I need to fix the broken thread on the 1923 McLaughlin Buick top.

It is Tuesday, February 14th. Happy Valentine's Day.

Just received word that our green Avanti has been painted and looks great. They will move it to the main shop this afternoon. Their main shop is about 2 miles away.

I plan on going out to see it tomorrow morning. I will bring the new red carpet set with me along with a vacuum. I plan on removing all the old carpet and doing a good cleaning. Then can assess what I need to do to install the new carpet and make arrangements for the shop's supplies. Right now I plan on working full time on it on Thursday and Friday. Then will bring the Avanti home on Monday if everything has been done and the weather is good. I am not going to bring it home in the the rain or snow.

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"not going to bring it home in snow or rain "???? Aw, come on John, you gotta' break it in right, ha !! Congrats, I know you're anxious. The first weather drive is sort of like the first hunt with a new shotgun, nerve-wracking. I used to tell my buddies when I still hunted eons ago to just find a barbed wire fence and rake it over it, it's gona' happen sooner or later. Can't wait to see your pics, John

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Still Tuesday. Checked over the Jag after yesterdays short drive. Guess what, those two leaks are fixed! Dave, your are right, found a couple of new ones. I also found a very loose bolt on the alternator bracket. The generator was changed to an alternator a couple of years ago. I wrote down the number on the belt and found one on Ebay for $10 including shipping so ordered it. Always nice to have a spare just in case.

Received an email from the shop. They said that the Avanti was in the main shop and the back frame/spare tire support tube was being welded back into the car. They will be ready for me to drop in tomorrow morning. They snapped a couple of phone pics for me. Here they are. Is that my green Avanti?

Oh, and Jerry Forrester called and said that the Avanti bumpers were picked up by UPS and would be delivered on Thursday. Oh boy, oh boy!

I have three good (with faded paint on the hubcaps) and one not so good for the Avanti. I am going to ask Greg to see if he can find a good one at the Studebaker swap meet in York, PA at the beginning of next month. I do not know if I want to spend another $300 for a set of new ones.

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Chris, thanks. You will get there too. You are just two years behind me. Keep the faith. You are doing good, and in the end it will be all worth it. Enjoying your Avanti rebuild process, and you are doing it right. You are going further than I had too. Step back one in a while and think of all that you have accomplished. And take the wife out to dinner.

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When I get there it will be because of folks like yourself, who help and encourage folks like me. Thank you. You speak words of wisdom about taking the wife out - that's what I did on Sunday after recovering from the near debacle on the garage door opener. And that's why I'm not working on the Avanti tonight, it being St. Valentine's Day and all!

Can't wait to see your Avanti all finished - she's gonna be a looker!

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It is Wednesday, February 15th. Got down to the shop around 9:30. Saw the Avanti. All I can say is "WOW!" She sure looks pretty and all one color. And she is bright, like a new penny. Looked her over pretty good in the shop's poor lighting. From the first inspection she looks pretty good. Tom, the owner, told me that they would pull the car out of the shop and do a close inspection to make sure they were satisfied with the work.

Here are a couple of pic. They are dark as it was semi-dark inside the shop are where the car is at. I also took the air vent screen home and took a pic outside. You can see the color a bit better.

They also installed the new support tube in the rear. Looks good also.

I then started stripping the old carpet out of the car. It actually came out pretty easy. Here are a couple of before and after pictures. I also found a wrench under the carpet. It was under the original part of the carpet so it might have been there since the car was build. What an artifact.

Tomorrow the plan is to put down the sound deadening material. It is self-sticking and should go down easily. I am also going to finish taking off the old black vinyl paint on a couple of panels in the passenger compartment. I will leave the console black for now unless the paint comes off easily. Everything will be re-sprayed in the Avanti red vinyl paint from Studebaker International. The shop sprayed the two door panels and they look really good.

On Friday the plan is to install the carpet. Then the shop will install the seats and door panels. So she should be home the first part of next week.

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Wow, what a process. They were very meticulous - of course, that's how they earn their living. That's a very rich green, the Jag will be very jealous of her!

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Chris, well, they are going to see her coming for sure. I think that she is going to look pretty good when I get all the bits back on her. The re-installation is going to take me about a month. I have to do some cleaning, painting, polishing, etc. as each piece goes back on.

Well as an update I made my "final" purchase of parts from Studebaker International. Ordered two new red seat belts, a vent foam repair kit, another can of red vinyl paint, and four Avanti wheel covers. I was not going to order the covers, but it just did not make sense to pinch pennies at this point at the end of the road. But I am done with throwing money at the Avanti unless a major breakdown occurs.

You ask, what is the total cost of ownership. Well, I am in it for a bit over $30K, which includes the $9K cost of the non-running, stopping, sorry looking car. But now, she is back from the "almost dead", and on the road once more. I am sure that she will get a lot of looks as she runs down the road. And most importantly, I am happy.

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30k well spent! You have saved an historical icon - well worth saving! I expect I'll have as much in mine, if not more, when it's all said and done. I feel it's worth it, as long as I have a little expendable income to put toward it. I'll be very happy when mine reaches the point yours is. Congratulations!

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