Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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It is Thursday PM, September 27th. Big storm rolling through. High winds, lots of heavy rain, and thunder/lightening. It is blowing so hard that it is making some of the rain into a mist and it is swirling. Really something. The lights are flickering, but so far we have not lost power.

Did not do much today other than run to town and get the Avanti battery. Got home and put it in. The Avanti fired right up, great to have a good battery again. Then I prepared the winch battery and put it on the charger to make sure that it had a full charge. In the early afternoon UPS came up the driveway and gave me the new jumper battery. Boy, it was an electrifying day.

Here are some pics. And of course the Avanti is outside in all this rain. Glad that she does not leak. The storm surprised everyone and I did not have a chance to get it back into the barn. I am sure that she will be fine. I will use the llama blower to dry it in the morning.




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Benefits of AACA Membership.

John - I was beginning to become concerned that you may have sold the old Avanti - I haven't seen it in a while! Good to see she's getting some attention.

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It is Friday, September 28th, mid PM. We had a whopper of storm last night. It total we got over 2.5 inches in a little over an hours. It was like being under a fire hose. And the wind was whipping too. I went out this morning to inspect the Avanti. Of course, it was full of water. So I am drying it out. Nothing major.

But at Greg place, that is another story, and I must admit I have never laughed so hard. I am sorry.

Here is Greg's storm report.

"Cleaning up after last night's torrential downpour.

I was in the tin shed while it was raging. Not only was it pounding on the tin roof so hard, and there was some leaking going on, that I sat inside the Seabiscuit parked therein. When it subsided enough, I returned to the shop to find Scott mopping up after the tsunami that came in beneath the office door as well as others.

Surveying damage this morning I was surprised to find that while I was sitting it out on the hill, a large pine had snapped it's trunk letting it's upper fall about fifteen or twenty feet onto and thru the roof of the tin shed. We've had Wright gliders hit trees before but this is the first time that a tree hit the glider. While it was hangared.

A couple of us were detailed to pull debris from in front of and off the hangar, the boss' Land Cruiser and a tow rope was working fine.

With another storm forcasted, we then covered that part of the roof with the blue tarp trick. While doing this found that a yellow jacket was trying to help out. In my shirt. With that done, I made one more attempt to move another tree that was blocking the emergency gate. The rope slipped and I relocated the boss' front bumper instead.

Oh yeah, and Jason just called to say the car was ready, could I come get it? I said maybe Monday

So how's your day going?"



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Chris, nope, the Avanti is still here. We have taken it to three shows and one farm party this summer. I am driving it a couple of times a week. It has just been the past week that it had issues with the battery. A new one fixed that issue. We are using it this weekend so I do not want to put it in the barn as it gets all dirty and dusty even with a cover on it. It is next to the llamas, and they like to roll in the dust and when they do the dust gets everywhere including under the cover and on the Avanti.

Paul, we have two large two stage blowers to blow out the llamas before we shear. This is done in the spring and only once per llama. Since we have two blowers I have commandeered one for blowing off the water on the cars. Works great. It must blow over 100 mph.

Another storm is coming, getting dark, ran out and waterproofed the Avanti. Here is a pic. Looks like a space ship.


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It is Sunday, September 30th. A beautiful autumn day. Got my orders this morning to do farm stuff, no cars, per the boss. But about 10:30 I got a call from Greg. He wanted to go pick up his black Avanti today versus Monday. I checked with the boss, threw the dog in the Suburban, turned the key...... nothing. I left the interior lights on all night and the battery was stone dead. Put it on the charger, but it was going to take a long time to get life back in the battery. So transferred the trailer to the Trailblazer and off we went to see Greg and his Avanti.

The trip was uneventful. Had good conversations with the painter, Jason, and stories from Greg. We got the Avanti, sure glad the new battery worked great, and unloaded at the airplane hanger. Said good-by to Greg and got back to the farm for a few hours of fun farm work.

Here are a few pics of the Avanti. Really nice paint job, and so black you can see yourself in it, like a mirror.







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John, you are a lucky person when your boss accept changes of the day's program!

The car is good looking, your friend must take care not to damage the paint when installing doors and other elements...

It seems that you have no luck recently with batteries! Which year is the Suburban? Since some years, the lights are turned off after 10 minutes when no activity is sensed or the engine is not running.

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Roger, it is a 2002, it was my fault. The lights stayed on because I left the key turned on to raise the windows. Oh well, just chock it up to old age.

Here is Greg's report on the haul yesterday. And when I left him he was still at the hanger admiring his new paint job. He has the rest of the car (doors, trunk, etc) all painted and ready to go on. And he even found the time to start re-assembling the car. What a guy!

"The weather, John and his trailer, Jason at his shop and John's dog Shadow, all connections were made and the 5054 Avanti was loaded for it's trip to the tin barn.

It's black alright. If you know your Studebaker models you'd understand what I mean when I say it's black enough to be a Studebaker President.

So now that it's home , I'm starting to collect the parts I've got all over the place, getting them staged for installation. The ball is in my court again, maybe by warm weather I can have found the parts I've put away for safekeeping."





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It is Tuesday morning, October 2nd. It is really raining hard outside now. Hitting the roof so hard it woke me up. Sure looks like an inside day today.

Yesterday I spend the day doing farm stuff and put the pool to sleep for the winter. I then spent some time cleaning out all the sleeping stink bugs from car door jams. The worse was the 28 Buick, and it was in the garage too. Must have been thousands in the jams, all packed together. Here is a shot of them on the Suburban. They did not get into either car, stopped by the seals. Nasty little buggers.

And for your morning coffee, here is Greg's report.

"A recap of today.

Other than Wright four engine work.... as I find pieces of Avanti 5054 I've been transporting them to the hangar on the hill. Before work, while I had the coolant manifold in my hands and the hardware and gaskets handy, I got it mounted. Check that off the list.

After work, it was Matheson time. The pistons, being about ready, were reunited with their wrist pins that had been packed away. Their retaining bolts look to be in good shape, but I'll use new lock washers. I haven't forgotten that before the cylinders are installed, brass oiler tubes must be installed. Pulled them out and began prepping them. They'd been buffed, but had been pretty dinged up. One, in fact, was scarred so deep and the fitting cracked, that I've silver soldered it. Letting it cool is a good enough excuse to leave it until tomorrow to finish.

And, a surprise in the mail. I'd happened onto new castings of the water manifolding for my Overland car. Always a problem, the original components, being aluminum, had deteriorated so badly that I'd epoxy them before taking the car for a run. These raw castings are really nice copies that require machining. I'll file them away, hopefully not so far away that I'll never find them when they are required.

And another nice surprise was a brief visit from Frank Gable, my favorite ex pro baseball player. Make that my only favorite ex pro ball player."







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It is Thursday, October 4th. We were out of town for the day so I did not make any progress on anything. But Greg hardly ever takes a break. Here is his report from late last night.

"In order of occurrence:

My day job is progress on the repro 1910 Wright (long crankshaft type A Montgomery motor).

* Fitting the plumbing for the oil pump and soldering the tubing in place.

* Fabricate the nozzle, fit the plumbing for the fuel pump and solder everything in place.

* Begin fabrication and fitting of the tinplate side cover.

Avanti 5054 reconstruction:

*Passed up lunch with Lee to ready the supercharger drive pulley for installation.

*Screwed it in place.

Matheson Engine Department:

Finished filing, sanding and buffing of the main bearing oiling tubes. I'm not a fan of clear coating, but I did these since they aren't accessible after the cylinders are on.

So, with the exception of missing my usual Mexican with Lee Day Day, I can see what I got done."







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Still Thursday, but PM. I decided to work on the 03 Suburban today. It had to go into the shop yesterday as it failed the state inspection. The rear disc brakes were not hitting the rotors correctly, and I was only getting about half use out of them. Usually, I do brakes myself, but ....... So the shop did it and also replaced a tie rod end that was loose.

Today I decided to change the oil as Greg had put on about 4,500 miles pulling the trailer a month or so ago. Then decided to see what was up with my windshield washer system. It has always been funky. I would fill it up and a week later it would be empty. Really a nuisance during the winter when you really need that fluid. So had a couple of free hours today and decided to pull it. Well, not as easy as one might assume. First you have to take off the inner fender plastic, then the battery, then the battery tray, which had several rusted bolts that I had to grind off. And then the little hoses, motor and electrical connections.

I thought I would find a split in the plastic reservoir, but it turned out to be a misaligned rubber grommet that the level sensor lives in. It was misshapen and was allowing seepage. I called around for a new gasket, but you have to buy the sensor too. So for $12 on Amazon I have a new grommet and sensor coming tomorrow. I need the day anyway to clean and paint the battery tray, which was looking rather crusty. I also have to head into town tomorrow and get a few bolts for the tray as a few are now unusable.

So I am happy that I found the source of the problem, didn't cost a lot to fix, and I will be able to have lots of fluid during the winter, not just a couple of cups, but a whole gallon or more. Yahoo!

And for those cat lovers, 9 and 10 are doing well on the farm. The little gray one had some medical issues that the vet fixed up and she is now frisky as ever. Orange is doing well too. Mom is happy to have a safe place to raise her kids. Everyone is getting along to include Shadow the dog. Life is good on the farm.










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I had basically the same problem with my 2003 Tahoe a month or so ago. That job is a lot more of a pain that it should be. In my case, the sensor had just vibrated loose and the gasket was still OK. I was able to reassemble it apply a little duct tape to prevent it coming loose again and the problem was solved.

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It is Friday AM, October 5th. Went out to the barn last night and the primer had dried on the battery tray for the Suburban, so now it has a couple of layers of gloss black on it. Moved it out of the barn after painting and into the house for drying. So now it has cured about twelve hours and looks pretty good. I have to wait until the sensor arrives and I can put the windshielf spray system back in before I can install the tray.

And Greg has a report for us also. So for your morning coffee, here is his report.

"On the way home from work today I stopped by to look at old 5054. Just happened to have some hardware in my pocket, freshened up and ready to screw into something. With the gasket set handy, the trusty bottle of Indian Head Gasket Shellac, and the engine valley cover all at hand, no choice but to get them together with the R-3. Digging a little deeper I also found (surprise surprise) the hardware that secures the intake manifold. With it's gaskets also nearby, the manifold was installed and torqued. Now I don't have to look for all those parts.

Funny thing, when I was at White Post Restorations, I helped devise a method of identifying and storing the many parts of a car.

Bagged and tagged with codes that were categorized. Made it so convienient , especially when reassembling the parts into a car.

But here in the real world, that's not my style. I simply pull the parts off, put them in boxes and lose them all.

You'd think after doing this kind of work all my life, that I'd learn.

Word came today that the Overland camshaft now has a fresh (stock) grind and Parkerized. And on it's way back.

Matheson? Tonight I began measuring the connecting rod wrist pins, piston pin bores and the pin fit in the rod bushings.

They're all over the place. Time to contemplate whether to make new wrist pins. Oversize pins would remedy the slight wear in both the piston pin bores and the rod bushings.

Getting up close and familar with the rods themselves might help me understand what in the heck was Matheson thinking?! Looks to me like they detailed an engineer from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Thursday already. I'm in my annual Countdown to Hershey, the big car show and swap meet. It starts Tuesday, runs through Saturday. Can't believe it's here already."









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It is Saturday AM, October 6th. Just pulled the Jaguar out of the trailer and got her wiped down. Local car show today and then a big all British car show tomorrow. Going to be a nice day today and a cold, miserable day tomorrow. Oh well, not every day can be perfect.

Did not get the level sensor for the Suburban yesterday so it is still parked in the middle of the front lawn. Maybe it will come today?

Hope everyone has a great weekend and doing car stuff.

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It is still Saturday, but early PM. Just got home from the car show. The weather was great in the morning, but this afternoon it is threatening. Everyone left the show promptly at 1 PM.

Wayne in his 72 gold Corvette came by in the morning and we were off. Always safety in numbers in case of a breakdown. We arrived at 9 AM and got to our assigned spot. Lots of folks came early.

We had a great time talking to everyone, and lots of the neighbors came down to see us too. So we had lots of visiting to do. Also met some really nice people. John Casey brought his pristine MGA to the show and parked next to us. An ex-Navy fighter pilot who loves British cars. Had a nice visit with him and hopefully he and his bride will come out to the farm when they are out and about with their car.

It was not a big show, maybe 50 cars, and only three European cars. But was local and fun, with a great group of volunteer. The food was good too. And the Jaguar was rewarded too. It received the ladies choice award from all the attendees and best of show in the European class. Well, there were only three of us, but the competition was fierce.

Anyway, here are some pics of the cars. It was well attended by folks passing by and going into Home Depot. The pics will be in two posts.










Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)

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And here are the final pics. Some nice cars. But lots of modern ones, all tricked out with lots of neon flashing eyebrows and light in bumpers/grills. Here are some of the oldies.











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Still Saturday PM. We have made the decision that regardless of the weather we will head up to the MG all British Hunt Country Classic tomorrow. After all we have a coupe and a good heater. Let it rain, let it storm, we will be warm and dry.

And I received a note from the Jaguar concours event judging staff from last month's event with the scoring for the class I was in. Here are the results:



1 9.983 Rick Wolfinger

2 9.953 Michael Craig

3 9.94 John & Alice Feser

As I suspected, the broken stop light, license plate light and reverse light really killed us. Along with a few rusty washers and some missing chrome plating. Have almost of them fixed now and there is always next year.

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Chris, we were in Warrenton, VA. The Chevrolet Carryall 3100 was really neat. It was all original inside with just a repaint on the outside. A real nice truck.

Since I got the little sensor for the Suburban and while it was still light, I decided to see if I could put everything back together before dark. Just made it. Here are progress pics. Oh, and it took over a gallon of fluid to fill it as well. I did use a dab of Vasoline on all the parts to make sure everything would slip back together and not bind up.






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Well, you had a fine day for it - sorry I missed it. You're getting like Greg - working on all your stuff at all hours. Guess you gotta if you want to make any progress!

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It is Sunday PM, October 7th. Just got back from the MG Club show, we are frozen. But that adventure is for a later post. Here is Greg's report on his weekend report.

"Saturday, the nice day that it was, lent itself to making some progress on the Avanti 5054. That was after I boxed and mailed that sample Matheson engine piston pin, sent to have an oversize set made by a company that does that only.

The Avanti's doors, trunk lid and hood have been stored on a floor beneath an airplane, subject to being stepped on. The door hinges were ready (I thought) to be installed. I cleaned the hardware and the threads. Surgery was required on one of the door jam threads, the bolt had rusted into it's nut and stripped it out. I had to use a hole saw and penetrate the kick panel to gain access to the backside of the jamb. A fabricated nut plate was then epoxied in place. One hinge , the upped right gave me trouble. The upper hinges are the ones that have the spring loaded swing arm detent to keep the door from slamming shut. It wasn't allowing the door to move so after multiple hinge adjustments and re-assemblies, all was ready for the doors.

With Barbara's assistance, we were able to get the doors on without barking any paint. They'll require multiple adjustments before they fit and look right, but for now they shouldn't be in danger of being stepped on. I also hung the trunk lid. Now that they are off the floor, I need to find somewhere to put that hood. I won't install it until after the engine is running and adjustments have been made.

Today, Sunday is bleak and raw. Ugly. Nevertheless, I wa determined to accomplish a couple more chores. I've been discovering other small parts and hardware. When I determine where it goes, I've been loosley srewing it in place on the car. Hood latches, hood hinges, things like that. Also, the windshield has been haphazardly stored for lack of space. Today's plan was to get the new gasket stretched into place and then lay the windshield on the car, out of harm's way until it can be installed and sealed.

Now with that done, I've retreated to the comfort of the main shop, Matheson on my mind."


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It is still Sunday, late PM. Well, today was show day. We woke up this morning to heavy rain, and it was cold too. But I promised that I would take the Jaguar to the all British car show come rain or shine.

We headed off about 8:30 AM in the pouring rain. Sure glad that the wipers did a good job and the car does not leak. But the defroster was having major difficulty in blowing off the dew from inside. I will have to look at the ducting to see what is up. We did have heat, and that was a very good thing.

Arrived at the show about 9:15 AM and to my surprise there were many cars there. But clearly the inclement weather was keeping lots of folks away. We found our spot and then went and looked at all the other cars. Since the show was sponsored by the MG Club, their members were present in great numbers. The cars were great.

We wiped down the car and got ready for judging. But about noon it was clear that only about 100 or so cars were in attendance. The usual number is close to 500. Oh well, next year will be better. They said that today was the first time in ten years that it rained and scared everyone away.

But the rain stopped about 10 AM and held off throughout the day. It was just a bit chilly. You can see all the pictures that I took at


We had lots of folks come by and said that they were glad we came and that the car was beautiful. We had a lot of great conversations too. Great folks.

About 2 PM the show was about over, and it was time for the awards. To our amazement our Jag received the "Best in show" Middleburg, VA Mayor's Trophy. Quite an honor to be sure.

So we had a great day and the ride home was uneventful with the car just purring along. Here are a few pics if you do not want to go to our picture pages on Picasa.











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Good job on the trophy John. The weather was a challenge, but the reward was sweet.


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