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Avanti R2, 1963, refresh

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Still Tuesday.  Put the Suburban on the lift and changed out the tie rod.  Good thing I did.  The old one had a torn boot and was really rough.  So with 30 minutes of work, a new one is in and the truck is ready for the road.  Here are pics of the old tie rod.


And also a pic of the two knock sensors and the material to make a dam around them to keep the water away from them.






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It is Wednesday, early PM, March 9th.  The good news.  The Trailblazer is alive and ready to come home.  It was two wires broken in the main wiring harness where it goes on the frame rail to the neutral/park safety switch.  It was rubbing against parts of the power steering and finally wore thru and broke.  We plan on going down to get it later on this afternoon.


Beautiful day, going to 79 degrees.  All the trees are starting to bud, but nothing popping yet except a pussy willow.  Daffodils are up, but no flowers yet.


I spent the morning working on all the farm equipment.  Woke them up from their winter slumper.  All started right up.  Got them all cleaned, greased up, blades sharpened or replaced, new fuel and oil changed.  Ready for spring and summer work.   




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Received an email re the Jaguar clock.  It has been running fine for three day for the re-builder, but he is going to go through it to make sure everything is OK.  Me, I think I better trace the clock wire.  It runs from the clock directly to the fuse box.  I have period wire so I think I will attempt to change out the old wiring to eliminate that as a potential problem.    

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It Thursday afternoon, March 10th.  Spent the morning changing the oil and filter on the Trailblazer.  With that done I turned my attention to the Jaguar.


With the concours only a month away at Kawaih Island, I thought that now would be a good time to replace the cigar lighter.  The problem with the original one is that when you pushed it in, it would blow a fuse.  So last summer I bought a good reproduction.


I had to remove the radio and a metal plate that gives some lateral reinforcement to the wooden dash and provides for the mounting point for the radio.


With the old one out I could see that some of the material of the knob was just wasted away and cracked.  So it must be some internal short causing a problem as the wiring looked OK.  


I put the new one in.  Looks original and the knob is of the same material and design as the original.  I put on new terminals and will connect the battery tomorrow and see how it works. 


While I have started the Jaguar, I have not driven it over the winter, maybe three months or so.  I will take a test drive tomorrow and then change the oil for its yearly service.  




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Still Thursday, and we have a Greg aero engine report.


" Another milestone on the Wright 8-60 project.    


Spent the last couple days prepping and babbitting  the connecting rods and caps.   Modified my pouring fixture made for the four cylinder models, and with the judicious use of visegrips,  all went well and no burn blisters  either.


Unless I screw up the machining process,   I'm out of the babbitt business.  Then I will be ready to install the wrist pin bushings, fit the pins and start the trial assembly.


Photos of :  

                    Fixtured rod

                    Poured rod

                    Rods and caps

                    and I could sense old Jackson looking over my shoulder the whole time."









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It's Friday!  March 11th.  Headed into town this morning to get feed for the llamas, like 500 lbs worth.  And then headed to Wally Mart for oil.  


For the grand total of $200, I picked up two gallons of 15-40 truck/diesel oil for the Jaguar; two gallons of 0-40 Mobile 1 and a can of Seafoam for the Passat; 2.5 gallons of hydraulic oil for the tractor; two gallons of 5-30 Mobile 1 for either the Trailblazer or Suburban's next change; and two quarts of special rear Mobile 1 diff oil for the Trailblazer.  


Figure that the Trailblazer is due for a rear diff change at 180,000 miles.  


I plan on doing that tomorrow if I do not go out with Camaro Steve to look at a 1953 Chev pick-up.  I also took out the Jaguar for a long run of about twenty miles.  She ran great!


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It is Saturday, March 12th.  Headed out this morning to finish the mechanical work on the Trailblazer.  I changed the rear diff oil and used the Mobile 1 synthetic oil per Chevy specs.  


I also used the special male pipe end socket that I purchased last week.  I did try to use a 3/8 inch socket drive, but the little ball that holds the socket in would not go in far enough to get a real bite on the female plug that goes into the case.  


I tried the normal socket and all it did was round off the end.  So I carefully pushed the new socket all the way in and both the side and bottom plugs loosened up.  I was relieved.  They have not been out since the truck was built.  


There was some fine debris on the end of the magnetic bottom drain plug.  I cleaned that gunk off.  No shards, but looks like normal wear after 180,000 miles.


I also checked the transfer case, transfer case, and front diff.  They were all full of oil so let them be.  Of course the transfer case take a different tool for getting to the oil inspection plug.  That is a 3/8 inch allen style wrench, which I just happen to have.  And of course, the front diff has a bolt with a huge flange for the fill plug, and it was really on there tight.  I wondered if I was going to get it loose.


Here are the pics from this mornings work.  








Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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Sunday, March 13th.  Rain off and on today, and a bit cooler than the last couple of days.  Only 57 degrees.


But headed out this morning to change the oil in the Jaguar, and do some general clean-up to the underside of the car.  Both fuel pumps look OK and are nice and dry.  And like all cats, this one likes to leave its mark on the floor.


I am only leaking a bit of oil out of two places. One is the little side plate on the engine oil pan, and the other is the oil filter gasket where it connects to the block.  


The oil change takes about ten quarts or a bit more of oil.  Everything looked good.  The stainless steel exhaust is a thing of beauty also.  Made in England by Bell.   















Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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Wednesday morning, March 16th.  I always try to give the bad with the good, and not pull any punches, I have some bad stuff to tell on me.  I started the Jaguar yesterday after the oil change, and noticed that the oil pressure was slowly dropping.  Turned off engine only to find a huge puddle of oil on the garage floor.  Seems that the gasket was crimped or not fitted correctly.  


So I rolled the Jaguar back and commenced with clean-up.  I used four or five rolls of shop paper towels to get up the mess, and then used mineral spirits to get the last of it up.  Took about an hour to get up about two gallons of oil.


I had a new gasket, which was wider than the old one and filled the car again.  This one held just fine.  Good thing I had more oil on the shelf.


Other than that experience I have put together the chipper shredder with its three new blades, and put on the John Deere mower after servicing it.  I now have three mowers ready to go for the mowing season.  

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My .$.02 about your oil spill.  It is a good thing to have some clay-based oil dry product on hand for such occurrences.  In my industry, we handled a lot of liquids, many of them oily.  You can quickly make a dam with the granular product or surround a spill to make a contained puddle and they work it in to the liquid for complete absorption. Then to finish it off scuff the dry product into the pores of the concrete floor and you can really remove most/all traces of a spill.  The oil dry product is much less expensive than kitty litter too.  

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I tried kitty litter on the spill.  Really just made it worse.  But I am going to get some automotive oil absorber at the local store and have it on hand, just in case I mess up again.


Would you believe it, snow on Sunday.  Sure glad it is Thursday, March 17th.  Looks like I better clean the wood pellet stove one last time.


Going to start taking off the intake of the Suburban to replace the knock sensors.  I have to get it done as we have a couple of long road trips over the next couple of months.  Going to go slow as not to break anything.


And for additional reading we have an Avanti report from Greg.


"I'm trying to get moving on the black Avanti.    Nathan and I got the R-3 engine moved to the hill hanger and staged for dropping in place.  Before that happens I want to get to some things better done before it goes in.   Mainly replacing the power steering hoses.    You know what fun it is to do while working beneath the car and trying to get wrenches in difficult places.    


I'd gotten the new hoses and was disappointed in the one from the valve to the cylinder.   It wasn't bent like the original and when installed beside it's mate,  they didn't fit like my originals.   I contacted my vendor and after some correspondence I was copied a reply from his supplier (seems they all use the same supplier) that they couldn't bend it like the original so they just improvised.


When I saw the guy at York and asked him if any new and improved hoses had found their way to him he just said that none had ever complained about it but me.  (In other words NO).     I've since taken the replacement,  straightened it and re-bent it more like the factory shape.  That includes tonight't trip to Rob's to use his tube flaring tool.    I'm hoping to make a test fitting of the hoses soon.


I also sent off the shock absorbers to Koni for overhaul .  They've only been under the car since '73.


Otherwise,  the Avanti Maroon was awakened over the weekend.   Stoplights didn't work so I swapped out the switch,  Nate and I changed the oil and filter,  and it is about ready for a good bath.


The Dodge when last used had a tendancy to fall down on one cylinder  so we plan on renewing the spark plug wires,  should do the plugs too.   The stuff has been in there since before I bought the car in '76.   About time I guess.   Hope that solves the problem.


The REO still slumbers.   I'd better get after it since I plan to swap it for the Stoddard at Rob's."



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We are at the Chickasha swap meet and today we were invited to tour some fabulous collections. I am always fascinated by the accounts of the Matheson rebirth. Only knowing of the car by factory photos.. Tonight, I actually got to be in the presence of this magnificent machine. Wow!!!


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It' Saturday, and snow is coming.  Thankfully, not much, just an inch or two by tomorrow.

I spent about four hour working on taking off the air intake of the Suburban's 6.1 engine.  Down to the point of actually removing the intake.  Had to disconnect the wiring harness, many plugs, fuel injector wiring, etc.  Now for the fuel lines and the intake.

Found a couple of issues so far.  The main wiring harness goes across the top of the engine and is wrapped in black tape except where it goes under a cover, which holds it in place.  The wiring that is exposed is starting to chafe so am going to wrap that portion before I put it back together.   Also, there is a small coolant line, which attaches to the throttle body, has been dripping.  That could be the cause of the knock sensor failure.   The wiring for the injectors was tough to figure out the removal process.  But was able to get them all off without damage.  

Here are pics of yesterday's work.  And found lots of hickory nuts in the intake valley.  Great storage area.

And I received lots of help from YouTube also.









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It is Monday, March 21st, PM.  Well I spent a few hours on the Suburban today and was able to get the intake off.  Tomorrow I will start the clean-up.  I will replace the oil pressure sender, which is buried under the intake on the back of the engine (brown case two wire switch in pics).  I have also ordered a new intake gasket and one for the throttle body.  Glad I did after looking at the original.  

I was surprised to see the intake runners so dirty.  Will attempt to clean them up with carb cleaner.  

Everything was a tight fit, but just took my time to get the manifold off the engine.  So far nothing broken.  Took Corvette Wayne's advice and ordered a new wiring harness for the knock sensors also.  He said that his old one was brittle.  

Here are the pics from today, to include all the nuts I found on top of the manifold. I am going to tape up the wiring harness bundles also.  No clue why the factory did not do it.   

Also Greg is coming over to take a good look at the four post lift.  He is thinking of getting one.  He is getting tired to laying under cars also.



















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Still Monday PM.  Avanti Greg stopped by to take a look at the four post lift.  He is going to pull the trigger and get one.  

And taking a 200 mile road trip with Camaro Steve tomorrow.  We are going to look at a 1954 Ford pickup sitting on top of a 89 Ford Bronco frame and drive train.  Looks great in pics and the price is right.  We are going to haul up my open trailer just in case.  Steve says he will have cash in his wallet.  I love to help others spend money.

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Tuesday, PM, March 22nd.  Camaro Steve and I took a long road trip today.  A couple of hundred miles or so.  But we had a good time and Steve came home with is new 1953 Ford P/U truck.  Certainly a modified truck, but not much money.  A good running engine too.  It is a minus driver quality truck, but with some love and attention and maybe $2K, it will be a great driver.  












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Oh boy, just got a note from Greg.  He pulled the trigger and ordered an Atlas extended four post lift.  It may even be here tomorrow.


I was able to do a little cleaning on the Suburban engine, hope to do more today.  


Hard finding some time with all the farm chores that I have been ordered by the boss to do.  Also Alice has decided to paint the house so getting the old sprayer out, cleaned and ready to go took considerable time.  She says that she is going to do it.  Has already pressure washed the front of the house and did the calking too.  Ready for paint today.  Looks like the house if going to be battleship gray with white trim.  

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Friday, March 25th.  Well, I wish I could report that the Suburban was all back together.  It is not.  Alice has me painting the house while the sun shines.  So I am praying for bad weather.  


Did get the Jaguar clock back.  It will go in tomorrow, going to sneak some time.  








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It is Monday, March 28th.  Camaro Steve came over yesterday morning with is 1953 Ford F100.  We spent some time looking around and determined that he has 1980 Bronco running gear, not 1977.  Also he has a ton of play, like 20 degrees on the wheel.  I could see the steering gear mount flex and move.  I am sure that it is some of the movement issue.  I think I have him convinced to take the truck to a professional truck performance shop for an evaluation and recommendation of the repair necessary.


And I got back on the Suburban this morning.  Everything is all clean and I removed the oil pressure sensor and the two knock sensors.  The back one was toast.  A rusted mess.  It was entirely filled with water to include the electrical connector.  No wonder it failed.  I also have a new sensor wiring harness, so I do not have to use the old one.  


 I also removed the foam dam from behind the intake as per the service bulletin and will put in the RTV dam around the sensor plug holes to deflect any water from getting to the sensors.  I also taped up all the loose wires in the loom.  


Plan on doing more work this afternoon.












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Still Monday, just a quick afternoon update.  The new knock sensors are in and the protective dam built.  The dam is so water cannot go into the sensor wells, the water is diverted around them and out of the back of the intake.  This is the official GM fix to the problem.


And I took ten minutes and put in the Jaguar clock.  It is ticking away.





Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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Tuesday, March 29th, PM around 4.  The Suburban is finished and she actually runs.  Took my time today so spent about five hours on finishing the job of putting in the knock sensors.  The new sensors had a much tighter rubber sealing ring for the sensors.  I was happy about that.  Cleaned up the intake and started to put on the new gaskets.  Opps, wrong ones.  Totally different than mine, so off to NAPA.  They had them for $48.  Everything else went smoothly and I got everything back on without damage or breakage.  The big air box went in sideways and was able to get it to drop down moving it an inch or so at a time.  This was a big job.  No wonder the dealer wanted $700 in labor for it.  Oh, and my oil pressure gauge in the dash now works correctly.  Now I am happy.  


I also got some reusable spill stuff for the garage, and a hand held infrared temperature sensor.  









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It is Wednesday, March 30th.  Spent the afternoon over at Greg's place.  Helped him assemble the new four post lift.  Everything went smoothly, and in about three hours we had the decks installed, cables run and power station installed.  Had fun, but of course everything was very heavy.  Had to use various jacks and lifts to help us out.  Greg only has the hydro fluid to put in the motor and install the unlocking mechanism controls, and then he will be ready to use the lift.  







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In your announcement post that told us Greg had purchased a 4-post lift you stated that it was an "extended" lift.  I thought extended meant it was taller than a normal 4-post lift.  But looking at your pictures, it appears the posts are normal height.  Does extended mean taller or longer?



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Joe, it is about two feet taller than the normal 4 post.  Hopefully, both of us can get our really old cars under with the tops up.


And for the "rest of the story" here is a report from Greg on his uplifting experience.


" Yes,  been busy taking advantage of the Spring weather with some heavy lifting.  I've decided that it's just not fun anymore to lie beneath a car on jackstands.   Because it isn't,  some things just don't get done.


I deserve a lift  like John Feser  and Rob Burchill.  Did some research and decided on a four post type.  They are free standing and don't need to be anchored to the floor.   Drive the car on, push a button.   They are also convenient for added storage when used for double decker parking.   They also come with a castering attachment to allow moving it around.  A call was made with a Social Security check in hand.


Delivered by truck freight,   it took five or six of us to uncrate and unload it piece by piece.   Shipping weight heading towards a ton.


So the past few days have seen me working on the hill where it is being erected outside where there's room and with help today from John Feser and Scott,   it should be ready to rock and roll.  Now to make room for it inside the tin barn.


Hasn't been much time for anything else.   Need to get it indoors before the rumored rain tomorrow evening."






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Thursday morning.  Looks like Greg has achieved "lift off".


" Got the hydraulic fluid, a contractor's grade extension cord and after some circuit breaker problems, was able to lift the lift.    Seem to have the release rods working and this morning I was able to lower onto the casters, and manhandle it into the building by myself.   Now it is parked with a Dodge on it.


Thanks for your help,  glad that's over with."



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