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Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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I went down and got a gallon gas can of non-ethanol earlier today and it was $2.93 per gallon. The normal "sorta' like gas" was $2.77.  BUT, I was on a scooter wearing a sleeveless t-shirt, and it was 82 degrees.  I call it a worthwhile "paradise tax".   Now I've never heard Packick's quoted reason from anyone before, so I may be wrong..... ours could just be extremely fresh, ha !  I did look around a bit and didn't see any close refineries though...

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It is Saturday, February 13th, AM.  15 degrees here this morning and heading for a high of 20 degrees; tonight is going to approach 0 degrees.  Now that is really cold for us.  I guess to prepare for the cold coming, nature presented us with a beautiful sunset last night.  Pics do not do it justice.


We are just hunkered down for the day.  I did get the Jaguar repo mirrors.  They look very good, much nicer than what I have on there now.  And the Bionic face shield arrived yesterday also.  Put it together and fitted in about five minutes.  I feel much safer now. 






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JOhn- Are you going to wear the goggles under the mask?  I have had trouble with media getting behind my mask too and sticking to my glasses when I am sweating.  Never thought of doubling up where the side shields on the goggles would help.


I got my Stude mag back Thursday, nice surprise before I leave for Florida.  Now I can inspect it more throughly and think about working on it myself or find another mag guy.

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Happy Valentines Day.  As a result, I did nothing of importance in the garage today.  Very cold, it was 8 degrees this morning and only made it to 21 degrees.  Now we are waiting for another winter storm that is going to last about 36 hours.  Maybe 6 or more inches of snow/sleet before it changes over to rain on Tuesday.  Good news is that it will  be 60 degrees on the upcoming weekend.  Yahoo!


While in the new garage this morning I was surprised to hear the heat pump fan come on rather than the propane side of the unit.  It was 17 degrees outside.  The heat pump was able to maintain the 45 degrees set for the garage.  I think that the heat pump working at this low of temperature is fantastic.   

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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John, I'm seeing about 30 degrees is what a heat pump will do, whatever outside temp is add 30 and it should maintain that...that's how the split unit in my garage is acting....when the weather clears will get to Greg's and get your curtains back to you, they ended up in the back off his Dodge touring!

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It is Saturday, mid afternoon and it is Spring, 66 degrees.  Tomorrow is going to be the same and then back into cold for a week.  But this is a real nice retreat from the cold and snow of two weeks ago.  We still have lots of snow in the pastures and the drifts are still about four feet tall.  It is going to take a few days to melt them down.  


But I actually did some car stuff today.  Pulled the Avanti out and took her for a spin around the neighborhood, maybe six miles or so.  Then with the 2 post lift open, I pulled in the Suburban to change oil and lube the front end.  The lift raised it easily and I was so glad that it did.  The lift has a 9,000 lb capacity and the Suburban is a hefty 6,000.  I really check the pad positions and balance of the truck when I got the wheels off the ground about two feet.  Everything looked good, so I took her up to about four feet and tested it again, and then I went all the way up.  So much easier changing the oil and lubing it up.  Everything looked good, but the frame and some components are rusty.  Going to spend a few hours putting on Eastwood's rust encapsulator paint to slow the rust down.  I also have one rubber boot on the steering linkage has a split in it.  Will have to get one and replace it.  Other than that, everything looked good.


I did have a check engine light come on yesterday.  Read the code and it indicates a knock sensor is out of range.  Seems that the two sensors are prone to failing due to water intrusion.  Looked at a couple of YouTube videos on replacing them.  You have to remove the intake and fuel rails to get to them.  Looks to be a good day job, but not too complicated.  I cleared the code and will wait to see if it throws it again before I do any repair.  




Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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It is Sunday, February 21st, PM.  Chris, I guess I have been lazy, the old girl is still sitting in the garage, mocking me.  


But Greg has sent us a report.  But he did leave his car sitting for thirty years before working on it again.  


Here is Greg's report.  


"Still here and hunkered down for the winter,  but this weekend has been the first hint that the cold weather may be crowded out by  a welcome early Spring.   It was nice enough to do some outside work.   No, not yard work.


The '10  Overland seat platform had been repaired,  re-glued and re-skinned about thirty years ago and back burnered.    Storage and Mother Nature haven't been kind to it,   the new steel showing surface rusting even though I'd epoxy primered it.   Guess I didn't pile it on heavy enough.


With yesterday's temperature in the sixties ,  I hauled out the platform and sandblaster.   Now,  after shooting four bags of play sand at it and prepping the steel,   it has been re-coated with epoxy.  I've ordered some Smith's Penetrating epoxy  which should be in this week.   That will allow me to soak and seal the wood.   


This weekend has been a big step in readying the body for the front and back seats,  then repair and fitting of the back doors.


Lesson learned this weekend:    Sandblasting isn't the fun it used to be."





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Monday, February 22nd, PM.  Made it to 53 degrees so at least we had some more snow melt.  But it felt a bit cool to be working in the garage.  But I decided to see if I could do a temporary repair on the 2003 Suburban driver's leather seat.  They do make a replacement leather cover, but it is about $200 and you have to remove the seat to put it on.  So that is going to have to wait.  Decided that I would use 3M leather glue and attach the two split ends back together.  I also put a reinforcement under the leather to help with some additional strengthening.  I used a sharp cutter to peel the leather from the seat so I could get the reinforcement in.  I put glue on the cut and on the reinforcement tape and then pressed everything together with a couple of clamps.  I will probably not look great, but anything is better than allowing the cut to become longer.  Here are some pics.  


Oh, forgot.  I did order a tie rod end for the Suburban yesterday.  Will be here by Friday.  $12 shipped to my door from a Ebay seller.  We will judge the quality when it gets here, but cannot beat the price.  








Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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OK, John, since you're doing upholstery work, will need to see your trimmer's license next visit!


If you ever do want to take the seat out, I could help you put a new cover on it.  The replacement covers are a good deal.....and not bad to put on, they rarely use hog rings any more, it's all sewn in plastic strips that snap into retainers to hold the cover in place...

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Chris, I never did put my Avanti up for the winter this year.  Been driving it every week or so, except when we got the big snow.  Get her out of the storage shed, and remember it does have a heater.


I did rip into the ignition switch of the Trailblazer to see if I had somehow got it installed wrong.  Nope, installed correctly, but still no starter or ignition.  So off to the dealer it goes in a couple of days.  Just have to make the appointment and call Allstate Towing.  Only took fifteen minutes from start to finish on removing and installing the switch.  I am getting real good at it.

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re: the Trailblazer - it's possibly a broken wire somewhere in the steering column. that happened to my '99 Firebird i had a few years ago. other than a bad switch, that seems to be the second causal factor in that era of GM, the no start problem after "the usual" is ruled out. it's a pita to find/fix that and i had another car project i was working on. i had her towed to a trusted local service garage that fixed it. the cost was around $350 (in 2012) - mainly in labor charges.-


hope this helps...

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Kerry, thanks for the info.  After more research and re-reading the official repair manual, it seems that the neutral safety switch turns off everything, the starter, fuel pump and PCM.  So decided for $34 it was worth a shot to replace the switch.  It is on order and will put the Trailblazer back on the lift to replace it.  It is on the side of the transmission, only a couple of bolts, but you do have to remove the front driveline to get access to it.  Stay tuned.  

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Roger, yes, the switch runs all the ignition and starter functions.  According to the manual it has a series of hot contacts that switch on and off depending on the position of the gear selection of the shifter on the console.  There is also a TSB (technical service bulletin) from Chevrolet indicating that the ground should be checked.  Odd, they do not say where the ground is.  


Wednesday, February 24th, early PM.  Waiting for another big storm that is suppose to hit us this afternoon.  High winds, lots of rain, thunder and lightning, and maybe a tornado.  This is the same storm system that went through the southern states yesterday that caused so much damage.  Hopefully, it will be weaker when it gets to us.  So I spent the morning cleaning out the gutters.


And then I decided to attempt to mount the front tire on the little garden tractor.  Used a long bolt in my vise to hold the tire while I used hand tools to get the old one off and the new one on.  That was a tough little bugger, not easy by any means.  But I am stuck.  The tire is compressed in the middle and I cannot get it to seat even with my new bead seater air tool.  Guess I will have to take it to the shop.


I also received the new tie rod end for the Suburban.  Looks of good quality.  I will put it on tomorrow.










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Chris, I never did put my Avanti up for the winter this year.  Been driving it every week or so, except when we got the big snow.  Get her out of the storage shed, and remember it does have a heater.


I did rip into the ignition switch of the Trailblazer to see if I had somehow got it installed wrong.  Nope, installed correctly, but still no starter or ignition.  So off to the dealer it goes in a couple of days.  Just have to make the appointment and call Allstate Towing.  Only took fifteen minutes from start to finish on removing and installing the switch.  I am getting real good at it.

Oh, I've been driving the old rocket - last time was a couple of weeks ago and I was on tap to drive her again on Sunday but of course the rain came through. And yes, the heater works great!

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Thursday PM, February 25th.  A few snow flakes this morning; and a cat up on the roof.  I left the ladder up  after cleaning the gutters before the storm.  Bella decided to go for a climb, and then Alice went up for the rescue.


Crisis averted, I then retreated to the garage.  Put the new tie rod on the Suburban.  Really a pretty easy job.  The bearing was pretty toasted, glad that I replaced it.  the tapered stud end actually just fell out, did not have to bang on it or use a puller.  Here are some pics.


Ordered another tie rod and going to do the other side.  Probably just as bad as this one was.













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Still Thursday.  Had a bit of time so moved out the Trailblazer to the outside front of the garage and then lowered the Jaguar down to the floor as it was on the four post lift.  The battery was low so charged it up.  The old cat started right up.  Then decided to replace the fender mirrors when the ones I got off of Ebay.  The are repo, but of good quality.  Got them on and they look great.  Keeping the old ones as spares for the next owner.  





Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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And we just received the official word that the Jaguar has been accepted to participate in the Kiawah Island, South Carolina, Concours.  This is probably be our first and only concours.  We are certainly not expecting an award, but just to be invited is an honor in itself.  


Here is the link to the event.  If anyone is in the area, please do come and see us on April 17th. http://kiawahislandmotoringretreat.com/ 

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Saturday, AM and only 23 degrees, we are back in the deep freeze, but it is going to warm up and by Monday it will be over 60 degrees.


Yesterday I receive the neutral/park safety switch for the Trailblazer.  Here are pics.  Plan on putting it in the Trailblazer early next week to see if that cures my no crank, no start problem.  It is a sealed and weather proofed unit.  Even the contacts bases have been sealed. 




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It's Tuesday, and we had to head out to vote this morning, then to breakfast.  What a treat, I-HOP forever.  


Then back to the farm.  Spent the day working on farms stuff for the most part.  I picked up a smallish chipper from a neighbor for free if I could get it going.  It had not been started for many years, but I thought what the heck.  Fresh gas, a couple of pulls, nothing.  Put a little fuel in the cylinder via the spark plug hole, pulled the rope, and she roared to life.  Could not believe it.  Let her run a bit and let it get warm to clear out all the mouse nests from inside the chipper.  Then we tried a couple of branches, worked, but not great.  Checked the chipper blades and they were almost flat.  So I ordered a couple of new ones.  Another machine for the farm.  


Oh, the serial number tag says it was made in 1982.  It has a Briggs and Stratton 5 HP engine.


Moved the Trailblazer back onto the 2 post lift.  Found another ground that is really crusty, and could not get it out with vice grips and lots of penetrating fluid.  Going to attempt to remove it again tomorrow and clean it up, before I change out the safety neutral switch.  Speaking of the switch, I do have to remove the front drive shaft to get to it.  And of course, everything is pretty crusty so will have to take my time as not to break anything.


Started the Jag and moved her into the sun and let it warm up.  And took the Avanti out for a short run too.  So it was kinda car day in the country.


And it was 68 degrees today, snow on Thursday and Friday.  It's March 1st.  Typical weather for us in Virginia.




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


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


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


Tomorrow I hope to get back on the Trailblazer. 

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


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


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










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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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






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


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


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


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


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










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


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


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


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


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


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

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




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


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


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

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


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







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