Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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It is Friday PM. Got some time on the Avanti this morning and until early PM.

Decided that I would check the headlight that did not have high beam. So pulled it and checked the socket. But still a no go. Had another new headlight and tried that, no luck. So it is a problem in the wiring. Will work on that another day. At least I have a low beam.

Then I mounted the antenna for the radio. It is a tight fit to get it inserted from inside the trunk, but mounted OK with some slight bending. I had ordered a new rubber grommet pad for the outside, but cannot find it. I must have put it in a special place. It will turn up one of these days. The radio works much better now, no static. Cleaned the contact to the antenna so that must have helped the connection.

I also glued down the new rubber seal between the cowl and hood. Let it set up a few minutes and then closed the hood to make sure that I have full contact.

Well, had a few minutes so decided to install the wipers. Done. Put on some anti-seize on the nubs to make take off a bit easier in the future. I have one wiper assembly that is shiny stainless and the other is a more muted color. At some point I will look for ones that match a bit better.

Did some general cleaning as there is still a lot of body work dust in and around the interior. So I give it about 30 minutes of detail work and concentrate on just a small area, and then move on. There is always cleaning to do.

What do I have left to do? Well here is my list.

  • Fix the wiring for the headlight and parking lights
  • Tighten the power steering hose to stop leak, have to make special wrench
  • Re-glue and clean the carpet in the trunk
  • Install the front bumper brackets and bumpers
  • Align/aim the headlights and then install new gaskets, glass covers and chrome rings
  • Install radiator grill
  • Finish install of the rear bumper
  • Re-build and install the interior kick boards
  • Re-build and install the vent assemblies
  • Re-build and install the covers on the forward sides of the console

I figure that I still have a week or two of work to do before I can declare victory. Next week I have to get back to work on the barn extension. Still have to put the roof on.

Oh, also won a set of horns on Ebay so next week I will be able to add that second horn to the car.





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Chris, the list gets me back on the road for the summer with a great driver quality car.

Remember I have not really touched the suspension, engine or transmission. With this being a 44,000 mile car I hope that I won't have to start taking major components like the engine/transmission apart for a rebuild. I still will have lots of little stuff to replace so it will be a life long process. At some point I have to start thinking of replacing the gaskets on the doors. Some of it is OK, but other pieces are hard as a rock. But will leave all that for 2013 and beyond.

Am going to take her out on the road tomorrow. I am anxious to see if the sound deadening material I put under the carpet made any difference.

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Yep, always something to do on these cars - you're preserving a piece of history. And doing a fine job of it!

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$50 for a tank of gas in that old Jaguar ?? I remember when we used to be able to drive all week for $5 in my E type. And that thing didn't get nearly as good of milage as your does.

Times, they are a changing, and not necessarily for the best

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Bill, I remember in the mid 60s I was paying $.25 a gallon for my 1959 AH Sprite. I remember I could hardly afford the gas then too.

It is Saturday, April 7th. Another nice day after a coolish start of 33 degrees. But it quickly warmed up.

Finished with the day of beauty for the VW Passat W8. I must say that I enjoy driving this car the most ever. It handles rock steady and has lots of power out of the 8 cylinder engine. Best engineered car I have ever owned.

I also received a partial order for the Jag; the Thor hammer with it copper and hide ends for the knock-off wheel hubs. Also got the new oil flex line for the cams. This hopefully will not be a big deal to replace. Looks like there is enough room between the engine and the firewall to make it a somewhat easy installation.

And pulled the Avanti out and took her for a ride. Wow, is she quiet now. The sound reducter material really worked. Then put her on ramps and installed the grill.

Since I was under the car I decided to look at the power steering again. I checked the fittings again and all were tight, even the one I thought had broken loose again. Then I noticed fluid coming from the hose that is connected to the fluid canister. The clamp is tight so am going to cut off the end and reinsert. We will see if that stops the fluid flow.

Going to do some more cleaning this afternoon to continue detail the car and get off all the dust, debris, and dirt.

Update PM. Cut about a half an inch of the power steering hose and reattached it. We will see if that will stop the leak. The end was as hard as a rock. I cut it back to the point that the rubber was still pliable.








Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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Still Saturday, but PM after dark. Headed out and made the final adjustments on the headlights. Look great and aimed right.

I did have time to put one one trim ring, the other side will have to wait until tomorrow or Monday.

Happy Easter too!




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Still Sunday, PM late in the day. We got home in time to do a couple of quick things on the Avanti before I had to head out to feed all the critters.

The reason I have been slow to put on the front bumpers is that I was bidding on a complete set of mounts on Ebay. I did not want to fiddle with the ones I had and do the job twice if I won.

Well, my high bid of $135 did not make the final winning bid of $260. So I will use my old iron, as sad as they may be. They obviously had been hit, broken and repaired a couple of times. Here is what they look like.

The driver's side is the worse and contains an extra welded in brace where the corner was repaired. Oh well, it seems like everything is a compromise. They will do just fine and you cannot see the repairs unless you are under the car. So tomorrow will clean and paint the bumper mounts. I plan on getting them on the car by Wednesday.

I also fitted the beauty rim on the headlight. Pics are of both the rims installed and all the lights lit front and back so you can see that everything is working. Yes, I still have to figure out the front parking lights.

But progress is progress, bit by bit she is getting done.

I also have new glass headlight gaskets, but I will have to go to Greg's house to see how they are fitted to the glass covers and the body. Greg said that he had to do some special things to get them to work. So maybe mid week I will head on down to his shop and take him lunch. He works for food.







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It is Monday, April 9th. I was just reminded that I have only a week to do our taxes, and I have not started yet. So it looks like I have to take a break from other projects to start on it today. Oh well.

But Greg has something for us. And Dave Coco (Trimacar) post a pic of the Hup car so we can see what she looks like.

"What a nice weekend we had here in the MidAtlantic.

I was rousted out early Saturday morning with a surprise guest. Big ears and bearing a present. No, not the Easter Bunny but in fact Trimacar Coco. Hoping to ready his 1910 Hupmobile for the (soon) upcoming antique show in Winchester, his hood panels were the remaining bodywork and paint required. So we got started on them. Put him to work cleaning them in the bead blast cabinet while I did some dent bumping and touchup where the years of use had caused them to tear at the hinge points.

A light coat of filler (Bondo and paint makes 'em what they ain't) applied and sanded, then today I primed them with epoxy primer. That shows the remaining scratches and dings that need a little more attention. I'll now allow them to cure for a day or so and then sand and prime them again.

Mixing work with play, we used my Dodge to run an errand to the parts store. David, a past Dodge Brothers owner (times 4), drove it into town, his storytelling only interrupted by his horn blowing. The horn button is mounted on the driver's door and that's where he was accustomed to resting his leg. Another surprise was to find Frank Gable as wingman for a while.

I drove it back and that's when I determined that ignition/backfire problem needs to be stepped up to Plan B. It did it again.

That required a trip to Rob's. He had offered me a NOS set of points and he wouldn't be satisfied until I also carried out a new distributor cap and rotor. Also on the pile was a NOS ignition/light switch. This old car hobby also generates lifelong friendships.

The new points are now installed, but now, after I've been using a modern 12volt coil and condenser , I'm wondering ..... should I be using a resistor to reduce the voltage to the points? I have no idea what the original coil delivers to the point set. I think I'll experiment with a resistor from my Studebaker pile. The removed set of points didn't look too happy.

Otherwise, Friday's brown truck unloaded the Studebaker 288* camshaft that I'd sent out for touchup and re-Parkerizing. Included in the shipment were the reground tappets and some of the necessary phosphor/zinc assembly lube and additive to put in today's zinc starved motor oil.

Topping it off was Barb's nice dinner, friend 'Ol Bill as unexpected guest, and an evening meal with my Mom.

Now, the cars are put to bed, another touchup of filler on the hoods and we'll see what tomorrow brings."



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Do the front parking lights come on when the switch is in the parking light mode? Some cars front parking lights from that era only came on in the parking light mode and went back off in the headlight mode.

Just a thought.


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Here's the last picture of the Hupp, since this picture I've finished the upholstery in black leather, my buddy Ken in Connecticutt had original seat panels which I copied.....I'm working on the small stuff now, which is going slowly, but getting there.....

Greg was kind enough to offer to help on the hood, it is solid and there, but had over 100 years of dings and dents and use......and I don't want a repro hood, but original metal....it's a pleasure to see Greg work, he gets right after it.....

The hood was together and I'd striped the paint off, first thing he does is go get an electric drill, then I remembered what he needed that for.....get about an inch of the hood hinge pin rod showing, chuck it in the drill, and rotate with drill as you pull it out....works like a charm...and then the drive in the Dodge brought back a lot of memories, as I toured for years in a '24 DB touring........


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It is Tuesday, April 10th. For your morning coffee, here is Greg's report.

"The back ordered sleeve for the Studebaker block made it to town. Picked it up this morning along with Lee's expected complimentary comments.

We took another look at the first attempt, carefully measured the deficiency and with it as a baseline, I've remachined the new one to size. The other day he had snapped at me "I can make the hole bigger, can't make it smaller!" and with that in miind, I've allowed an extra .002" oversize. If it's too tight, let him deal with it.

Actually, I think before I crash for the night, I'll put the sleeve in the freezer to see if it shrinks any overnight.

And another round of Hupmobile hood sand and prime.

Done for the day."





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We have install many sleeves in car/truck hIt Miss ,boat, B&S engines and the normal interference fit is .002. I can't understand why the sleeve has to be turn When we order sleeves we give the bore size and what wall thickness we want. then bore block to the sleeve size.We never attempt to bore block with out sleeve in hand. Just one guys way of getting the job done.



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Vern, Hopefully, Greg's response will answer your question.

Here is Greg's response and report for your morning coffee. Me, nothing, still doing taxes and farm stuff. I plan on getting back on the Avanti today or tomorrow.

" While I give the primer a chance to flash off (I'm in the Hupmobile bodyshop tonight), I'll try to recall today's events.

I drove to Lee's first thing this morning to deliver the sleeve. I had remembered that I'd left it in the freezer (I'm not a morning person, took me a few minutes to find it) for that shrink test just for my own amusement. Having spent the night in the ice tray, it shrunk a thousandth and a half in diameter.

Anyway, received the usual greeting (was ignored) and then he says "Well, did you try it in the hole?" No I hadn't but yes I would (with fingers crossed). It wouldn't go. Whew! Then he let me in on the rest of the story. Wasn't like him.

When workmen measure things, machinists, carpenters, etc. they use tools of the trade. Micrometers, tape measures and such. When a carpenter wants to fine tune a measurement, he'll often advance the tape to the one inch mark to split the line.

Machinists using old style micrometers find them marked in .025 divisions. Ultimately the measurements can be misread . One inch and twenty-five thousandths are a common error (I've learned to use the ten inch mark on the tape measure).

But yesterday when we checked the sleeve in the hole he'd bored, it took an eight thousanths feeler gauge to make up the difference. How the heck could I miss by about ten thousandths?!

That's when Lee grinned and admitted that when he saw that (yesterday), he knew. Said that he knew I was better than that.

He pulled out his bore dial gauge. The needle on the dial will indicate ten thousandths for each revolution . ......... he'd read it wrong.

Sent me on my way with a wrong number , and of course it had to err on the small side. He then recalibrated his gauge, checked my new sleeve with his micr and said "Nearly perfect". I felt better even though I wasn't sure it was really Lee.

I've been asked by some who knows about this sleeving operation: why were we reducing the diameter of the sleeve.

Here's the story.

The Studebaker R-3 4 and 5 engines were 304.5 cu. in displacement. An overbore of .093 from the usual 289". Evidently replacement sleeves aren't a normal shelf item. To sleeve an engine cylinder you have to set up and bore out the hole oversize to allow room for the new wall to be installed, and then it is rebored and honed back to the orginal diameter.

Lee started boring. Instead of the usual routine of opening up the hole to accept the sleeve, he stopped short. He'd cut out material to amount to an overbore of two hundred and eighty thousanths over the 289. He knew this was a rare block and he stopped short before possibly cutting through and "hitting water". That's when he called me in to turn down the outside of the sleeve to fit the hole and the fun began. So now the new sleeve is a trifle oversize, he'll hone the bore to allow force fitting the sleeve . Then, he's got to rebore the sleeve the .093 (3/32") to bring it back out to size. This will leave a sleeve with a wall thickness of about .090".

With fitting and installing the sleeve, the overbore and honing, not to mention machining the block to true the headgasked surfaces.... he's got a lot of work ahead of him.

Otherwise, day job going well and I've another coat of primer to lay down."

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It is Wednesday, April 11th. Taxes are done with the exception of printing and signing. What a pain. There has to be a better way than this. Oh well, done for another year.

No work on the Avanti today, but I did get goodies in the mail. The Studebaker Lark horns arrived. Pretty crusty, but not broken. Will test them tomorrow and then clean/paint them. They are in the same style as on the Avanti so one should work out.

Also received four bottles of zddp for the Jaguar and Avanti. And I just had to have a Jaguar cap for the car show on April 29th.

Cold here in northern VA. And we got a little sleet and snow this afternoon. Weather is so odd here this year. We are suppose to be at 80 degrees on Sunday. Will be a nice day for a drive in one of the old cars.





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It is Thursday PM, April 12th. I was able to squeeze in some time on the Avanti and the Jaguar today.

On the Avanti I scrubbed, degreased and painted the bumper supports. On the mounts was missing a bolt because it had an adjustment that partially covered the original holes due to the impact damage. So I left the adjustment and just drilled out the hole for the support. Here are a couple of pics of the supports and the enlarged hole with with new bolt.

A couple of weeks ago we drove the Jaguar at night. The lights were terrible, the aiming was way off. So tonight will attempt to adjust them. Here are a couple pics of the lights and the adjustments. I will let you know how it goes.

I also decided to check the wipers to see how they work. They didn't. The shafts were rotating, but just spinning inside the wiper heads. I tightened the passenger wiper and it held so it works. Had to take the driver's side off and spread the little bronze bushing, made some adjustments, and tightened it down. It works too. So now I have wipers.

When I was looking over the car when it was on the lift I noticed that two little support straps to the rear fenders were not attached. So I took a few minutes to replace the bolts on one side with new ones, and then reused on of the bolts/nuts on the other side. Now the front edge of the rear fenders are nice and solid. Interesting what professionals leave off or forget to do when doing a restoration. Well at least it gives me something to do.

And finally I took off the loader from the little Kubota tractor. It is rusting out and needs metal replacement. So it is going into the shop tomorrow. Going to add teeth to it to increase it versatility around the farm.











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Roger, I received a note from the Jaguar XK 120 forum, which said that the way I have mounted the bracket is correct. If it goes on top of the fender it will ride on a lip and will pull the fender in too far. So my guess is correct. But thanks for making the suggestion, it seems like the normal way it should have been.

It is Friday, April 13th PM. Done for the day. I started the day by taking the loader bucket to the fab shop about an hour away. A new loader is about $1400, I hope to get this one rehabbed for around $500 or less.

Last night I aligned the Jaguar headlights to the best of my ability. Both headlights were pointed down and off to the side. Now at least they are straight ahead and have some height. We are going to take the Jaguar out to dinner tomorrow night so we will see how they do coming home in the dark. Also cleaned and conditioned the leather seats. *They sure look good now.


Worked on the Avanti today too. Got the bumper brackets mounted, dropped a wrench on my face (ouch!) and fitted the front bumper. I then realized that I have to mount the wings first so tomorrow I have to take off the bumper, mount the wings and then the bumper. The wings are going to take some finesse to align, but I hope to have the front bumper on tomorrow. Here are some pics.






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Roger, I received a note from the Jaguar XK 120 forum, which said that the way I have mounted the bracket is correct. If it goes on top of the fender it will ride on a lip and will pull the fender in too far. So my guess is correct. But thanks for making the suggestion, it seems like the normal way it should have been.

John, thank you for the comment. As I don't know how the inner part of the rear fender is done, I had the feeling that the bracket could be hidden. This bracket was maybe a last minute addition...

I noticed that you had to remove the front grille to install the bumper!

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It is Saturday, April 14th, AM. Well, messed up. All the work yesterday to put on the bumper brackets was for naught. They have to come off. Seems that the completed bumper with wings has to be put on the brackets and then the brackets inserted back into the frame as a complete unit. There are two bolts that attach the wings to the main bumper and to the brackets. These bolts are blind and cannot be attached without the brackets being off.

It has been a few months since I took the bumper off so I guess I did not remember how it came off. Oh well. So today's work will entail undoing what I did yesterday. And here I was so proud of myself. That will teach me.

And Roger, good eye. Yes, I had to remove the grill. No big deal. Only took a few minutes. But again, another backward step.


Edited by unimogjohn
added pic of blind bolt (see edit history)

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Still Saturday, early PM. Done for right now.

I got the brackets back off without much difficulty. After all this is at least the fourth time.

I then started to assemble the brackets, wings, and the main bumper. What a contraption. If you do not have everything just perfect, then nothing goes together. But after a couple of hours it is complete. I have no clue if it will now fit the frame. It will probably take more swearing, banging, pushing and shoving to get it all centered and back on.

I will cover the wings so they do not scratch the paint when attempting to mount this thing. Going to have to enlist Alice to help and maybe one other person. I think it is a three person job.

Oh, and of course another mishap. I was slowly tightening the wing, brace and bumper together, and I heard a faint "pop". It was chrome flaking off the bumper. S***! So I immediately backed off the nut. But the deed is done. I will get some clear coat and dab it on the "scab" to stop any rust from forming.

Oh, did I tell you I am having a good time?




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John, I don't care what my bumper looks like - I'm never taking it off the car! Sorry to hear you are having a bumpy road - hang in there, it will be all together again soon and wowing people on the roadways!

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Chrome should not go away so easely. Is the chrome coat too thick? When I installed the front bumper from my '56 de Ville about 30 years ago, I had some cracks at 2 or 3 corners. Ar the end, I let rechrome the lower front bumper in warranty.

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It is Monday, April 16th. Took a day off from working on the Avanti. Figure we need three people to put on the front bumper so am waiting until I can recruit helpers. But we did take the Jaguar out for dinner in the evening. The headlight aiming worked great, and we can now see in the dark. Success!

And here is Greg's report too.

"After a weekend getaway, catching up with old news.

Photos enclosed of day job Wright Brothers 8 engine project. It's back on the milling machine, the main bearing saddles have been trimmed to proper length and for the first time a crank (four cyliinder) has been laid in place to check my work. I'm also checking the magneto gear train.

The Hupmobile hood is in pretty good shape now, it should see color next week.

Lee called Saturday morning to say that the sleeving of the Studebaker block went well, why wasn't I at his shop to work on it? Can't be everyplace.

And this bit of wisdom found in the Sept 1950 issue of Antique Automobile. (Reminiscent of the days of two wheel brakes)

"A steep hill and a broken axle will bring thee nearer Heaven than an unbroken word and a life of good deeds."

Been there done that in the old Dodge. I was playing mountain goat with it once upon a time. After the snap, I got it down safely, arranged for a trailer to haul it home. Machined a new axle shaft for it from alloy ETD 150 and it is still giving service.

Sometime later I was talking to an old Dodge man. He asked me why I didn't drive the car home? "With a broken axle it wouldn't go!"

He said it wasn't a problem. Then he told me that I'd broken the right side shaft. I had. Then he said the repair was simple.

The right shaft is the short side. Floating axles, they simply unbolt/pin and slide right out. Remove them, roll a sleeve of paper to stick into the right side housing. Take a stick or something to insert into the left side to push the broken stub through the differential and let it drop into the paper sleeve. Pull out the paper and broken stub, take the longer left side shaft around to install in the right side. That will lock the differential. Drive it home. "






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