Jump to content

Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

Recommended Posts

Greg just sent me this. Thought you all would enjoy it.

I'm enclosing a link to some recently released footage taken onboard the Kitty Hawk Flyer reproduction used during our ill-fated Anniversary Flight attempt ten years ago last week. But with pouring rains and less than favorable winds, it wasn't to be. Further proof that a hundred years earlier, the Wrights didn't pick the day, the day picked them.

This footage begins shortly after startup (I'm obscured by the angle), engine RPM settled in at 1050 and I handed the airplane over to pilot Kevin Kochersberger who did an admirable job with what he had to work with. Wind of about half that was required and spray from the roller on the launching track shorting out the front cylinder only verified the same result of a flight attempt by the Wrights in 1904.

I will also point out that, unlike mentioned in the text concerning "dropping the counterweight", their (and our) Kitty Hawk flights were not a catapult launch. The launching track only served as a runway.

You will notice in the background are an estimated forty thousand cold and wet spectators who were waiting for us to fly.....or get it over with.




Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

It is December 27th, Friday, AM. It has been cold so been working inside finishing up the master bathroom. Did all the final painting on the walls and today maybe the baseboards. If it warms up I still have to put on the alternator and while am at it I am going to pull the throttle body and clean the backside to hopefully solve my throwing codes and reduced engine power issue.

But Greg is working in his nice warm shop. Here is his report.

"Still plugging away on these cold winter nights.

The Avanti front end overhaul is waiting on me. Lots of hardware to either refurbish or replace. Threads to clean, other grunt work before I can get components back to Rob for reinstallation. A great way to spend spare Holiday time.

And for the Matheson fans, I've located a pulley that after modification now fits on the engine camshaft. A measurement was taken around the pulleys and a belt to connect the sewing machine motor was ordered today. I'm anxious to see how this works."




Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Sunday morning, December 29th; and has been raining hard all night. But, nice day yesterday, and warm too 54 degrees in the afternoon. So started the day by finishing all the calking and trim painting in the new master bath. Only new shelving in the closet and staining of the pocket door to go. Closing in on the end of the project.

Then I moved outside to the modern cars. On the Suburban I removed and did a deep cleaning of the electronic throttle body. Used a special contact cleaner on the electric plug connection. Then I removed and replaced the alternator. As I suspected, the old one was starting to grind itself to death, so it was time. Everything else looked good. It took about three hours for this project.

Then changed the oil in the W8 engined VW Passat. I have the belly shield secured with about ten tie wraps so it does not come down, this is in addition to the factory fittings, so it takes some time to get the shield off the car to get access to the oil pan and remote filter. So with ten quarts of Mobile 1 European spec blend, and a new Mann oil filter she is now set to go another 5,000 miles.

We then headed off to Wayne's place for dinner where I took a few pics of his nearly complete 64 Corvette. It only needs it rocker panels buffed and re-installed; and new rims to replace the steel wheels. I took a pic of Wayne's choice for the rim, looks really classic. The new top, in dark blue, looks great too. Nice and tight.













Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Monday AM, December 30th. Ah heck, threw a low power mode code again on the Suburban. Reset the engine computer and all is fine again. I hope that it is just a "learning" engine code. If it happens again I guess I will have to think harder about replacing the throttle body. A rebuilt unit is about $150.

But Greg continues to have more fun than you can shake a stick at. Here is his report.

"Busy, busy week and weekend.

The belt I ordered for the Matheson project arrived, installed, and the electric motor has been tried out. I've been able to spin the camshaft at speeds from 125 to 550 RPM (crank speeds at 250 to over 1000) which should cover the engine's operating range and then some. Work now can begin on adjusting the ignition mechanisms and proper selection of battery, series coil, size of wire etc.

The Avanti front suspension components have been readied and delivered to Rob's.

I feel good about both of the above milestones.

Special treat on Saturday. From out of the sky dropped Andrew King, greasing in his '39 Taylorcraft on our grass runway. It didn't take much coaxing for me to accept a hop with him. It's been a long time and in the past he's included me in so many adventures. He is truly a Kingpin in the world of antique aviation.

After we landed I relinquished my seat to Barbara who was then given an aerial tour of the Warrenton area.

The photos enclosed include a bird's eye view of the Virginia countryside and Hyde Manor (look for the blue Lake Hyde in the center, part of the white hangar above and the runway to the right. This is looking North/ East towards Thoroughfare Gap and Mother Leathercoat Mountain.

We are gaining on 2014 at a racing speed, but I've just learned that sadly we will greet it without Andy Granatelli who died today at 90. As one of the brothers who have stood the racing world on it's ear ....time after time.... we'll be getting there with a bit less speed and a lot less of his flamboyance. RIP in the Winner's Circle Andy."









Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Wednesday, January 1st, 2014. Jim Davis, a good friend of Greg's, made a Matheson engine video of its make and break ignition system. Pretty interesting stuff. Thought you all might enjoy it. Now I know what make and break does. What a complex system, and lots of wear parts to maintain and adjust. Must have had to be a master mechanic to service the car in those golden days of early automobiles.

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I am looking at the Matheson section of the "1908 Handbook of Gasoline Automobiles". Even the lowest price runabout @ $5,250 was rated at 50 HP. Shows 4 models. Runabout, 7 passenger Touring, Landaulet, and Limousine at $6,500.

All show Bore 5", Stroke 6", double chain drive, 4 forward speeds, low tension Bosh Magneto. Quite a beast!

Amazed at the technology involved to make a spark!

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Friday, January 3rd, AM. We did receive our blast of wintry weather last night. We got about two inches of snow in about three hours and then the storm was gone. But the wind and cold front came behind it. So it is about 12 degrees here this morning with a wind chill of about 5 degrees. The wind is gusting to about 45 mph or so. The power went out for a couple of hours this morning as I heard the generator start and kick in about 5 AM. Plan on staying in today except to check on the llamas to make sure they have lots of hay to munch on.

And Greg has a Matheson engine report for us.

"Beginning the new year. My second day as the "working retired". Now that I'm drawing my Social Security retirement check does that make me a Socialist? I did wait until my full retirement age to go on the dole so that I won't be penalized for having full time employment.

Which brings me to my night shift. I've enclosed a link to a Jim Davis Youtube production. He seems to delight in shoving a video camera in my face so that I can stumble for words.

Now that the ignition action is working I've begun experimenting with electricity. A small 12 volt battery and a couple low tension coils on hand, I've been trying different gaps between the ignitor contacts. Too close and the contacts stay energized too long, robbing the coil of enough time to collapse its field, hard on the contacts and the battery. Too far apart and the coil doesn't get enough time to build up a field. I'm sure the size of the coil will matter and I've got no sample to go by. The owner's manual shows a bank of ten 1.5 volt dry cells, fifteen volts on a good day.

With the adjustments being so finicky, I've decided to replace some modern bolts used to secure the point adjustment. That the parts book list shows two spares were supplied with each new car leads me to believe they aren't hardware store items. To get the wrench to them, they must have had a taller head so that's what I've done.

Following the manual for the proper adjustment I got totally lost, so tonight I set each gap at .060" and actually had all four ignitors sparking. When I finalize the gap setting I'll then have to learn how to make the adjustments blind, from outside the cylinders with the heads installed. If this was easy everybody would be doing it.






Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Sunday, January 5th. Cold rain here now and it is melting the snow we received a day or so ago. The arctic blast coming down from Canada is suppose to be here tomorrow with temps only 20 degrees during the day and about 0 degrees during the night. Going to be a cold night for everyone. Putting down extra hay under cover so the llamas have a good insulator to lay on.

And Jim Davis wandered over to Greg's yesterday and made a Matheson engine, part 2, ignition video. Looks like Greg has got all four cylinder's lit up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Monday, January 6th. The big freeze is coming. In the 40 degrees this morning, but the temperature is going to plummet to about 5 degrees tonight. We are going to put up temporary tarps over the fence line at the barn to block some of the wind and cold for the llamas. Going to put down lots of hay for bedding too. The cold is suppose to last for a couple of days.

Greg is feeling the cold too, he is working inside. Here is his report.

" More makey-breaky parts

Cecil B. Jim Davis stopped by Saturday, actually a couple times. More filming. Not my favorite thing, but he likes it. Sometimes he even buys me lunch. When it's Discount Day at the El Toro.

He wanted to see the Matheson sparkers sparking. At this point they are firing almost all the time. Maybe too much. They are getting power from a 12 volt battery, and the manual shows it getting as much as fifteen, but it's such a hot flash.....even towards being incadescent....that sometimes you can notice occassional sparks. That tells me that something is being eroded, hammer or anvil. I think I need to calm it down so I'll try a ballast resistor (from my Studebaker stock) to cut the voltage back. The gaps are still set at .060 but I think making them closer would result in a longer point contact dwell and more current flowing. Hotter points and hotter coil. I'm thinking that you can blow up a milk carton with a firecracker, a cherry bomb, stick of dynamite or even a nuclear device. I should go with the firecracker if it gets the job done. Anyway, the Davis link enclosed.

Otherwise this has been a productive winter weekend. With the Maroon Avanti, Seabiscuit away at the Burchill Spa for Cars, and too cold to work on the Black Avanti, 5054, I really felt like doing something for the '10 Overland waiting in the wings. The only parts on hand that were small enough to bring into the warmth were the two back doors and some body irons .

Dismembering the doors was really disappointing. The years and Mother Nature sure taking the toll. Years of storage in an unheated building accelerated the inevitable breakdown of wood, metal and leather. Upholstered door panels stuffed with horsehair absorbed humidity like a sponge and held it close to steel and wood framing, so the doors are pretty much patterns if I want to do this job right.

After the doors were stripped I spent the rest of the weekend staring into the blast cabinet derusting. Using aluminum oxide for grit, it cut the corrosion very well, but using a large grain media, I'll have to go back over everything with something finer to get into the smaller rust pits. Takes me back a long time, this rust busting.

And a special surprise today was a visit from my son Logan, he passing through with his buddy Donnie. Donnie traded me some instruction on the good camera I don't know how to operate in return for a few minutes familiarization with different welding techniques we use here. After they played with fire we hit the steakhouse. How good a day was that?!

Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2014 12:00:25 -0500

Subject: Make and Break II

From: n1014f

Greg ... here is the link to Part II ...


I wasn't smart enough to just add it thus the two parts ...











Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Tuesday, January 7th. There is a definite chill in the air this morning, only 4 degrees, about as cold as our freezer. No car stuff for me today so am restricted to surfing the web for good car stories. I stumbled across one this morning that I thought I would share. It is about one man's passion for collecting pre-war stuff in Italy. I guess the old hobby is universal. We are all crazy. http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-videos/petrolicious-italian-car-collections-castello-di-panzano

and here is a follow on, which is also very good.

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Friday, January 10th. Still cool and raining here, but temps are going up. The forecasters say it is going to be almost 60 degrees tomorrow. Go figure, we had an ice storm this morning.

Had the Suburban out the past couple of days and the dreaded throttle body electric problem came back up. So got online and ordered a rebuilt unit from RockAuto. They had the best price for a "Standard" re-manufactured unit with no core charges, and $147 to my door. So it will go on tomorrow. It looks pretty good, here is a pic.

And talked briefly to Greg. He said that he was getting too hot of spark by using 12 volts to the ignition on the Matheson engine. So he dropped the voltage to 8 volts, and it was still too hot. He now has a 6 volt battery and was going to try that out.


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Saturday, January 11th, PM. It rained hard and was cold this morning, but finally warmed up to about 47 late in the PM. Did put the new throttle body in the Suburban, and Shadow and I took it out for a run. Seems to be OK, started right up, and the computer did not throw a code, but it will take a few miles for the computer to learn the new TB. But for now everything seems to be OK. Should have been an easy job, but you have to move the alternator out of the way to get to the two little heating hoses that go through it. So a half hour job becomes two hours. At least I was under cover in the garage.

Going to work on the VW Passat W8 tomorrow , have to fix a rear tail light. Have to pull it from the car and make a wire bridge between contacts to get a stop light to work. The circuit board has failed. And then have to polish the headlights, they are getting really cloudy and we cannot see to drive at night. Hope it warms up tomorrow.

Nothing from Greg on the Matheson engine or other projects.

It has just been too cold to do much, kinda take the fun out of it. So I guess this is just to let you know we are all alive in Virginia.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Wednesday, January 15th, AM. The Suburban seems to be just fine with its new electronic throttle body. Have run it about 150 miles or so and it has not thrown any codes. The throttle now seems very crisp and the engine immediately responsive, before it seems to be very sluggish. Now on to to stuff like new front wheel bearing hubs for the 2002 Chev Trailblazer with 173,000 miles. Just put on new tires and new rear brakes to get through the annual safety inspections, but those hub bearing are growling. They are sealed units, you have to buy an entire new hub.

And Greg has been doing stuff too. Here is his report.

"Been hopping around here lately but not much to relay.

I did get a call from the Burchill establishment to come pick up some parts. I'd carried some aluminum engine parts for him to have blasted with baking soda. Cleans, leaves a nice finish without risk of abrasive residue.

So I launched out of here to make the journey and upon arrival I was surprised to find the Avanti, Seabiscuit up on his lift. The new front end components in place, wheels too.

It's on the lift for the next phase....install the new heavy duty rear sway bar, replace the leaking pinion seal, have the driveshaft balance checked, and look for rattles.

Rob already had the sway bar mounted and was about to show me the loose exhaust clamps, some shock absorber rubbers that were shot and that sort of thing.

He handed me a wrench and put me to work. Working beneath a car used to be fun and doing my restoration work in a tin barn while lying flat on my back with everything at the wrong focal length is why we're finding loose hardware. Sitting on a stool beneath it, that's much better. Then for a front end alignment and it should be released.

So now, here back at the ranch, I needed to get something accomplished. I'd started cutting shims for the '10 Overland connecting rods to replace ones lost. Now with some bandsaw, sander and die grinder work they're done.

When my friend Gilbert, who sees to it that I don't run out of parts for my day job learned that I couldn't find the rod cap retention studs, knocked me out a set. Now I owe him dinner next Hershey. Winner! Winner!

Photos tonight of roughing out rod shims and trial assembly. Now I need to search out some 7/16 fine thread castellated nuts and the rods will be ready for rebabbitting. Been a long time to get there. 1986 I think."



Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Thursday, January 16th, PM. Nothing from Greg ........ Oh well. But I have been somewhat busy with modern car stuff. Took the 02 Chev Trailblazer in for its annual safety inspection. And after two days I got her back with four new tires, an alignment, and new rear brakes. To the tune of $1600. Oh well, not much money for how hard she has been used. Now has 173,000 and expect to get lots more out of her over the next ten years or so.

Now with the Trailblazer almost road worthy, still have to change out the front hubs, I turned my attention to the VW 03 Passat. The headlights are really cloudy and have three marker lights that work sometime. So tackled the lights and with the help of some Youtube videos I was able to figure out how to get the marker side lights out. What a crazy engineering job, they must have been mad when they designed them. But replaced all the bulbs and now all are working. The car would have failed the safety inspection without all the exterior lights working.

I just happened to have a 3M Headlight Restoration kit so decided to get it a try. Saw a couple of Youtube videos and then went to work. It is cold, only 36 degrees, but what the heck. All went smoothly and I completed one. Will do the other one tomorrow. Too cold outside now, almost freezing. Here are some pics. I am pleased with the result. It looks new again. And most imporantly the kit was less than $20, a new headlight is $500 each.







Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Monday, AM, January 20th. Quiet and a bit cold here. Not much going on, and nothing from Greg.

Chris, the VW Passat is the best engineered and quality car I have ever owned. It is a joy to drive, and she does scoot down the road. They did not sell many W8s, maybe 10,000 over a several year run. Just to expensive for a VW. Cost new they were about $44K, now you can get one for about $6K. Here is a description of the car.


And here is a video of the engine working.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks John - I had a Passat and the engine ran like a champ. Mine was a 4 cylinder turbo and I really enjoyed driving it. Unfortunately, there were several nickle and dime things (and a couple of silver and gold pieces) things that kept going wrong with the car over the 6 years that I owned it, so I threw in the towel on it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Thursday, January 23rd. Early on the west coast. We are near Seattle on a little break. Missed all the snow that hit Virginia on Tuesday. Nice weather here, a bit cool and overcast, but no rain in sight.

But Greg is still hard at work. Here is his latest update on all his projects.

"Three quarters through January and Old Man Winter knocking at the door.

Progress? Some.

Seabiscuit the maroon Avanti is still at Rob's waiting for a front end alignment. Weather postponed this week's appointment.

Black Avanti 5054 is in cold storage, but a couple things have been removed from the Wanted list. A duplicate Stewart Warner 240A fuel pump and also a pair of NOS outside door handles.

The '10 Overland is looking forward to newly machined main bearing cap bolts and the return of the rebabbitted valve tappets...hopefully with new square bores.

Matheson engine: The last couple nights have been spent preparing for head gasket manufacture from full sheet material. The material I'm using is a sandwich of graphite composite with sheet metal inside. It's really flaky stuff. I'd hoped to have the gaskets water jet blasted to make the required openings, but it wouldn't withstand the pressure, would just blow away when attempted. Then I tried punching the holes but that just wrinkled and tore the stuff, so now I'm resorting to a trick I found in a 1915 book of automotive shop shortcuts. Sandwiching the material between sheets of wood (in this case MDF) and then drilling seems to be the ticket. Tonight I bored the large hole and tomorrow evening I should get the bolt holes laid out in the fixture. We'll see.




Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Thursday, January 30th. Brrrrrrrr, cold here back in VA, about 3 degrees this morning. It was much warmer in Seattle last week, and no rain either.

OK, here is the latest Greg report.

"With the temps outside, only inside work of course.

Avanti maroon: Waiting for the front end alignment. Rob doesn't want to take it to the shop while the roads are covered with ice and/or the half inch deep road salt. Someday maybe.

Matheson engine: I've gotten an MDF drill jig/boring fixture ready to capture the gasket material so that I can drill and bore the holes. D.Coco came to my rescue by furnishing some Quik Poly. It's a very thin viscosity epoxy that soaks into and hardens the MDF. When the milling machine is free, hopefully tomorrow evening, I can set up a flycutter and start making holes.

Black Avanti 5054: We scored some NOS outer door handles but they lack the key locks. Looking into that. I've also begun the rehab of the door window winding mechanism.

Overland: Over the weekend I made a replacement for a broken seat brace. Photo enclosed. I've decided to work the replacement door skins into my spare time. Stole some time tonight to begin the fabrication of rollers to form the beads in the sheet steel skins.

Other pics of: Rob and progress on his REO. Note the new Coco top. Photo of making castlellated nuts when that size isn't available.

Think that's all for now except for this reminder. Next August when I have to listen to those who whine "It's so hoooot!" as they lay by the pool with their shades on and a drink in their hand....I'll just have one word. JANUARY."










Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Sunday, February 2nd. Getting the farm ready for another snow event tonight. The weather folks are saying to expect 5 to 6 inches. Oh joy.....

But Wayne got his new tires and wheels on his 64 Corvette. They look really sweet. He still has a bit more work to do like polishing the rockers, etc, but he is getting really close to getting her back on the road.


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Monday, February 10th. Not much going on for me in the old car front. Just too cold.

But Greg is working away in his shop. He sent me a couple of reports. Here is the first installment.

"Another week locked in overdrive.

I've worked in some project time even though I was called out of town on a work trip. Kitty Hawk, NC isn't much fun in the dead of winter.


'63 Avanti: Still at Rob's . Evidently the groundhog predicts it will be six more weeks before it gets a front end alignment and returned to me.

'64 Avanti 5054: Newfound NOS outside door handles look fine. They did not have the lock cylinders included and Myers Studebaker had new ones in stock. Evidently cross overed to Chrysler, Jon included new Studebaker key blanks so that I won't have to carry around that Chrysler pentagon symbol. Sorry Rob. Myers also stocked the metal channel that retains the door window glass. The old ones succumbed to collecting years of moisture. Now both window supports either replaced or repaired and ready for assembly after I locate the proper glass setting tape. I also will buff the stainless window trim .

Matheston engine: Didn't get much done on it last week what with my road trip. I did however get to spend some time with a treatise on the history of engine ignition up through make and break, this a sent to me by Bill Prine. A nice work that will take some time to wrap my head around. Gets pretty theoretical.

I'll continue with some Overland work in Part 2."








Link to post
Share on other sites

And here is Greg's second report for the weekend.

"I found some time this weekend to devote to the '10 Overland . You know, the one that I haven't got time to work on . I'd been toying with the idea of detouring my first Social Security check (due in next week) to capable hands so that progress could be being made while I devote my time to currently unfinished projects.....

But I just can't help it. I've been trying to learn and practice the restoration trade for about fifty years and with the equipment right here at hand, might as well do the door skin fabrication myself.

You will see in the photos that to get an accurate copy of the bead lines pressed into the doors, I must do some detail work. I used a two part "Repro rubber" which when mixed can be applied to a subject and allowed to cure. We use it in museum artifact documentation. Comes off without problem without using a mold release agent.

After copying the inside and outside of the original bead form, I cut a paper template to use when lathe turning the male roller. Then I transfer the male to the female roller after doing the math (using .032 thickness mild steel). I know Temple Baldwin maintains that the female follower doesn't need an accurate concave form, just a groove of proper width....but that's because he isn't as good as I am at freehanding the radius.

A couple test pieces run through the rollers offers some hope. I also have tried tipping the upper edge over in our folding brake to see if that will work. Looks promising.

Can't tell but the photos might not be in order."







Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Thursday, February 13th. Snowed hard last night. I think that we have about 18 inches so far. Before and after pics.

And Greg also wrote this morning and said that he was able to make it into work with no problems. Here is his pic also






Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul, re Greg and his IH high wheeled truck. He has one like it in the picture. He lives above his work so his commute is pretty short, maybe twenty steps. So his comment was a bit "tongue in cheek" as they say. The picture was from his historical archives.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Still lots of snow on the ground this Sunday morning, February 16th. We are all ploughed out thanks to our trusty little Kubota. But it did have a flat front tire and I had a big job getting it back onto the rim to get air into it. Took about an hour or more to get that done. Now they are saying we could get two more snow events early this week. I am getting tired of this stuff.

And we have a report from Greg on his high flying adventures.

"Not just snow falls from the sky around here. Twelve inches of the white stuff brought out Andrew King in his '39 Taylorcraft and Charlie Maples in his Piper L-19, the boys enjoying some ski flying. The unbroken snow of our runway a prime target.

That's something you don't see everyday."









Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Monday AM, February 17th. Well they say one more inch of snow tonight and then almost a week of temperatures in the mid 50s. The big melt begins.

And now we have an issue with the 2003 Passat W8 rocket wagan. I was following Alice to the inspection station for its annual check up, and noticed a cloud of smoke trailing out behind it. But in a couple of miles it went away. When we got it back home (it passed with flying colors) and really could see nothing obvious amiss. Got on the Internet and found that the engine is prone to oil in the plug wells as they go through the valve cover and into the cylinder head. Sure enough I can see some oil on the driver's side of the engine. Oh well, at least I know the source of the smoke, oil on the exhaust manifold as it drips off the valve cover. So I have ordered new plugs, gaskets and the special VW sealant to affix the gasket. Really the only issue is that you have to take off the intake manifold and a bunch of wiring to get to it. Another job for warmer weather.

But Greg always seems to move ahead on his projects. Here is his report on his black Avanti restoration.

"Some jobs are just a chore, but they've got to be done. Take for example freshening the stainless trim on the Avanti door windows

Dull and scratched, the only remedy is to sand and buff. Repeatedly. Sanding isn't too bad, but introducing the window assemblies to a high speed and high powered buffing wheel isn't much fun. Snagging anything can ruin your day, the stainless and glass as well. And myself. Glad that's over with.

But after two days of sand and buff, the windows are ready to be set into their channels. I'll get around to that after the new rollers, clips and glass bedding tape arrive. Then on the shelf until warm weather arrives."





Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Thursday, February 20th, PM. Well, there is still about six inches of snow on the ground, but the big melt has started as we have patches of land poking through the blanket of the white stuff. I managed to get the Passat out of the garage and the nose of the Trailblazer in. Today was the day I am to start replacing the front hubs on the Trailblazer. Lately the rumble in the front of the car continues to get louder and louder. So decided that the hubs must be bad. So bought a couple and started the rebuild process this morning. They are sealed hubs so the bearing cannot be serviced.

Really the hub came off pretty easy except to get it released from the threaded axle shaft. Finally got it off, but banged up the axle nut so I have to run into town tomorrow and get a couple. The hub fits into a big hole and is held in place by three large bolts. I was surprised that they came off pretty easy. I was expecting a tug of war. But I did notice that the hub face where it when through the mounting hold was filled up with rust from the hub. So it took quite a bit of scraping and grinding to get back down to the original surface. Assembly of the new hub is going smoothly with the anti lock sensor line installed and the hub back on the axle.

While looking around I did notice that there are black scuff marks on the back of the brake rotor. Could the rotors be out of round causing the pads to chatter? I think that I will get a couple of new ones tomorrow and just see if that is a source of the rumble. They are cheap, and I can always go back to the performance rotors.

Anyway, I looked at the old hub and it seemed to be in fair shape with 175,000 miles on it. I could not feel any roughness when I rotated it, but have replaced it and will do the other side over the next day or so.

And on the 1923 McLaughlin Buick I removed the wheel bolt that had stripped. Here is what it looks like. It is done for. I do have a few replacements so I will pick the best one and put it back on the car.

Good to be able to work on the cars again. The temp was about 50 so it was not too bad.










Link to post
Share on other sites


Just an update on the 1922 Buick Touring that we worked on. I am to be in contact with a new owner who bought it from Boyle Buick. I hope that I can fill in some blanks for him. Seems the new owner and the dealer had no idea of all the extra parts that were available at the time we were there.

Stay tuned.


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Friday, February 21st, AM. We are suppose to get a line of thunder storms this afternoon with heavy rain. That should really help to get rid of the snow. Heading off in a few minutes to get the Trailblazer parts so I can continue with the front hub fix. Greg sent us a report on his windowless black Avanti, and his maroon Avanti is still at Robs waiting alignment, if the snow ever melts and the salt is off the road.

" Finding time to chip away at Avanti glass. Side curtains on the vintage cars sure are easier to do. Tons of winding, sliding, swinging and rollings things in those doors.

Lots of small, fill in jobs that don't require any real concentration. Disassemble, degrease, bead clean, repair, prep and paint. For the parts that were cadmium plated, I'm substituting an Eastwood aerosol zinc spray for fuel tanks. Looks like cad and should hold up to any weather or car washings. The parts that were black enameled are getting bead cleaned and a couple heavy coats of Rustoleum rusty metal primer followed by their " Appliance Epoxy" which is a durable rattle can enamel.

As for the door vent window assemblies, take a look at the parts required so that you can swing that little triangular vent window. A ton of work, screws, rivets, rubbers....what a nightmare.

Otherwise, hoping that the old 'Biscuit will be getting ready to return to the barn. That front end makeover took longer than anybody thought."






Link to post
Share on other sites

It is Monday, February 24th, AM. Over the nice weekend I was able to remove and replace the driver's side hub on the 2002 Chev Trailblazer. The old hub was shot, easy to rotate and very rough. Whereas the first hub took me about 8 hours to do, this one took 4 from start to finish. But the truck is nice and quiet now so I am happy.

My next project will be the 2003 VW Passat with its leaking valve cover. I will be taking the opportunity to do the valve covers, new plugs, two new sensors for the cooling fans so they work correctly and a new accessory serpentine belt. Of course you have to slide out the front of the car to get to the belt.

And Greg has been working on his Overland. Here is his report.

"The pleasant weekend that it was, and I did get a little work in with the playtime.

The local aviation community took great delight in visiting with our Weldon Britton to help him celebrate his ninety-first year. Good food and great company. Birthday cake and champagne.

Rob reports the maroon Avanti is all but ready to come home. Awaiting a small part that's to arrive by mail, he test drove it nevertheless. Even though he's got the Chrysler logo on his pajamas, I don't think he minds driving it.

As for getting other work done, the '10 Overland was calling my name. Years ago (like twenty-five) I tore the body down to reglue joints in its wooden framework and I also formed and installed new sheet steel panels on the seat platform. I remember at the time its unusual method of skinning. Each side was made of three separate panels that would butt joint and then reinforced with a steel backing, everything spot welded together and then covered with a skim of lead body solder. So I had gotten things tacked together.

Removing the platform from storage proved that our humid weather wasn't kind to it. Even though the sheet steel was epoxy primed, rust was forming. With a quarter century to think about it, I came to the conclusion that the panel butt joints should not only be spot welded but the seams welded too. We hauled the platform to the shop for access to our TIG welder. The resulting welds aren't pretty, the hidden corrosion , escaping wood smoke and occasional spurt of flame contaminating the weld. But they joined well enough to be secure and will be a good base for cosmetic bodywork. The panels need to be sandblasted to stop the corrosion. The weld joints will then be filled and sanded. I'm not sure if I will resort to body solder or perhaps to keep the heat away from it, I might use a more conventional filler. We'll see."






Link to post
Share on other sites

Still Monday, cold all day, I don't think it got above freezing. But it was sunny. More snow coming in a couple of days so have to get outside and do something mechanical. What to do everything is frozen. Then I remembered the new old dump trailer that I just bought. The previous owner than mangled the tongue jack stand. I know I can get a new one for not much money, but what the heck. Maybe I could fix this one and save myself $30 or so.

Here are some pics. The end was really mangled and mistreated for sure. I did find an equally abused trailer wheel in its battery storage box so what the heck maybe it will still work. It is a little bent up but the neck looks fine. So used the Sawsall and cut off the damaged end off, did some clean up with the grinder on the drill, and put it back together after drilling a couple of holes to firmly attach the wheel. Done. Looks OK, is functional and only cost me about an hour of my time.

My hands are frozen. Think I will head inside and call it a day.








Link to post
Share on other sites

Big snow storm coming tonight, Sunday, March 2nd. Actually, it is suppose to hit us early Monday morning and last all day. We are expecting 12 inches or more. Sitting here with Alice watching the Oscars, waiting for the freeing rain to start before the snow. So what pops up, a report from Greg. So here is his report.

"Sunday evening, all's quiet while the next winter storm bears down on us. There's been some progress made during the past week but not as much as I'd like. The day job has been demanding too.

Matheson: I've finished the head gaskets. That's good.

Avanti Maroon: Rob called this past week to say that it was ready to come home. That happened Thursday with combined help from Rob, Mike Zerega and Jim Davis. Meeting in Leesburg (about half way), Old Seabiscuit then brought me home again. The newly rebuilt front end and sway bar upgrade felt great.

Avanti Black: I did find time to look into the chrome situation. The door vent window castings , exhaust extensions, tail light housings all need to be redone and I hope to attend the York SDC swap meet and there might be a chrome plater there to accept delivery. Don't think I'll have the bumpers ready to go though.

That's the latest."







Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...