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I'd play with lifting or pushing down til it latches. then figure out whether it needs a shim or a bushing. You can make (or have made) a new bushing for the interior of the hinge to take up the slack.

In areas that are too small for my hand, I use my grandson. He is now 6, but his hand still fits placed mine doesn't.

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Hi Richard - I hope to get to the Avanti stable tomorrow for a little fun. No driving, but I'll try the pushing down on the door to see if it latches fully. Then I'll see what I can accomplish, if anything, on affixing the Studebaker emblem on the trunk lid. Then I'll have to go back to work - slow and steady and I'll make some progress. It's nice to have tiny hands around for those tight spots - unfortunately I don't have anyone I can press into service so I'll have to use the needle nose procedure. Tomorrow I'll post any progress, if I make any!

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Well, I got down to the Mightyfast stable today, as promised. And, as promised, I didn't drive her - just checked out how my script attachment job turned out the other day. On Sunday I paid a visit to the storage unit and fooled around with attaching the Studebaker emblem on the trunk lid. I had a fair amount of difficulty getting any of the emblem mounting posts to take the speed nuts I got. Most of the difficulty stemmed from the tiny access holes for the posts as well as the posts not having much length left once they stick through the trunk lid. All the fiddling around with the thing produced a crack in the middle of the unit, which upon more fooling around, went ahead and cracked clean through. That's right, the emblem was now a 2 piece unit. No big deal, it still fits, and I no longer felt much allegiance to it. So I glued it on with silicone, clamped it and left. I wasn't sure if it would stick (still not real sure) but I wasn't too concerned with it. It is just a reproduction, and not a very high quality one at that. I will continue to look for a NOS (?) unit, one made by Studebaker, for Studebakers, for installation in the future.

So, when I checked things out today I removed the clamps, removed the masking tape, and was happy the script didn't fall off. Seems pretty tight - hopefully it'll stay put. Then I started with the driver's door again. The first picture shows how the door hangs partially open all the time. I pushed down and tried to get it to close tightly. Nothing. I pulled up (I tried that before). Nothing. Then I pulled the crusty old rubber seal off the side and bottom of the door. I tried to close it tight. Nope. The only thing left to try was the striker plate adjustment again. I adjusted it all the way toward the interior. Didn't help. I tried adjusting it all the way toward the outside of the car. Worse. Then I took the striker, loosened it, and twisted it as much counterclockwise as it would go. Tightened it down and - eureka! The door closed tight! Whew! Glad that is done - now I just have to see what happens when I put the new rubber seal on. Will it still close tight? We'll see....

I still have about a dozen items on the list to do - I think I will probably always have a dozen things on the list. When I get a couple of things done I think of a couple of more things to do.

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Hot, hot, hot! It's broiling outside! Wish I had a swimming pool, hehe. At lunch I went by NAPA Auto Parts and ordered a couple of things I need for my list - a dimmer switch for the headlights and a horn relay for the horn. I have a feeling the horn relay is not going to do much good as the problem is most likely in the steering column (so I've heard). Then I went by a locksmith and had him cut a key using the ignition code from the build sheet. I used the key blank I got on ebay a while back. Unfortunately, the key didn't work - it's the right key blank, but not the right cut, I guess. That was a $30 gamble - I knew it was taking a chance, but I really was hoping for a better result. Oh well, I'll keep trying - it'll be worth it when it finally gets done.

It was too hot to try to drive her - maybe I'll get to take an early morning drive this weekend.

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The storm ripped through here Friday night, late, and left a lot of trouble and some heartache in its wake. Saturday morning we awoke to a slightly different world - we were lucky, we didn't lose power. It was so hot out, and the traffic lights weren't working, so I didn't get to visit my baby over the weekend. Plus, I had work to do for my regular (paying) job, so we stuck pretty close to home. We did get out each day for a couple of hours to see the damage and gas lines (!). Yep, gas lines, something I haven't seen in a few decades.

Today I resolved to visit the Avanti, to make sure everything was still in one piece where she resides. Everything was OK so I decided she should have some exercise - out we went. My, that was fun, I don't care if it was 118 degrees in the cockpit!

She's fast - she's Mightyfast!

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Thanks for sharing that, Bill. I enjoyed that, it's always good to see the Avanti make an appearance on TV - I've gotta get out to that museum one of these days. I wonder if my baby would make it out there?? Speaking of my girl, I still have her, I still long to hear that rumble and feel that quickness. I've just been lying low, waiting out this brutal heat wave we've been having. I had some hope for this weekend but alas, it's going to be hotter than it has been so far, with temps approaching 110 degrees! So, I'm just gonna have to wait it out - the little wheels in my head have been turning, though, and I've been formulating a little plan to bring the old girl home to the garage for a week so I can get some of this work done. It would be great to have her right downstairs again where I can get my hands on her and spend some quality time with her. Shouldn't be a problem, I'm sure my lovely wife won't mind at all, hehe. I'll be sure to post any progress I make on my plan right here.

On another note, when I drove her on Monday, I found myself driving slowly past a paint shop. Drove by a few times slowly, as a matter of fact (sorry, West). Not saying I'm going to run right out and paint her, but I finally settled on a color and now I feel the itch to see what she'll look like all pretty. It'll probably have to wait, as I spent more than I should have on the mechanical fix-up and I probably should wait until I save up some money. We'll see - if I hit the lottery she's going in the paint shop! It can't hurt to get an estimate, eh? Just an estimate, I swear!

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Nothing much to report on this Tuesday evening other than that the brutal heatwave finally cracked and I was able to get down to the Mightyfast stable and see my girl. I went at lunch yesterday thinking I would be able to do at least one thing on my list, but alas, the time ticks by too quickly. So, I just fired her up and took her out for a few minutes. I love this car. I really think I could drive her for 6 or 8 hours straight and not get tired of it. That motor! That rumble! That supercharger! What can I say - I'm in love!

I checked in on this thread mostly to see if it was still open - I was checking out unimogjohn's thread (R2 '63 Avanti Refresh) and I wanted to comment on the picture he posted of Greg Cone, A.A.E. (Avanti Aficionado Extraordinaire) driving the Stoddard-Dayton race car at the Milwaukee Mile Speedway. However, it says the thread is closed! Hope not, that thread has been around for awhile.

Anyway, great picture - Greg seems to have forgotten his helmet whilst driving, which is fortunate for us, as we get to see his flowing locks indicating the speed he was traveling. I'm sure it was a lot of fun, too!

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I too noticed that John's thread was locked. I can't see any reason why that would have been done -- not like there was pornography, politics, bashing other posters, etc. :confused: :(

Maybe one of the administrators will see our posts and provide an explanation. John's was one of my favorite threads (along with yours too Chris).

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Thanks Paul - I'm glad you've enjoyed reading my thread. I just hope I can get back to posting daily - never enough hours to cover all the responsibilities.

I agree - nothing untoward on John's thread - must have been mistakenly closed (?) Or maybe it got too big?? Dunno, like you said, maybe an administrator will take notice. I hope so - it's always fun to see what John is up to (ah, retirement!).

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Friday the 13th. So far, so good. I had another hit and run visit to the Mightyfast girl today. Always leaves me smiling after I visit her. Today I decide to take care of a small item that bugged me every time I looked at the front end. Apparently, when the Avanti was in the shop, someone must have been fooling around with the headlights (probably when the switch wasn't working) and they left the driver's side headlight cocked a little. Which means it wasn't set in the bucket correctly. A little thing, but annoying to me. So, I removed the cover and straightened it. And used some of the new screws I bought for the purpose. One wouldn't "grab" the speednut so I just used the old screw. And it still wouldn't grab. Ah well, I'm going to re-do the covers, screws, gaskets, etc. after the paint goes on. Whenever that is....

Then I decided to throw the new horn relay in, just to see if it would magically make the horns work. It didn't. I couldn't get the old horn relay loose, the screws being welded fast by corrosion, so I just hooked up the new one and stuck it behind the wire harness for the time being. Hmmm...I wonder if that relay box needs to be grounded. If so, how does it ground to a fiberglass car? More work to do on the horns - I guess the next move is to bring a straight wire from hot to the horn and see if she responds. If not, time for a new set. I left a message for Dave Tbow today about a couple of other items I'm looking for - I might have to add horns to that list.

Since I was crestfallen that the horns wouldn't work I decided to bring her on out of the stable to make myself feel better. She fired right up and soon I was sailing down the road, feeling much better. I only had a limited time so I made it as much fun as I could. Toward the end of the run I really got on her in second and third gear. The resultant burst of speed left me laughing in exuberance. Fun in my mighty fast girl.

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Chris, the relay is all hot wires, no ground. Each horn is grounded to a ground wire, which in turn are grounded to the frame. The horns are easy to test off the car too, a hot wire and ground the horn and each should blast away. Glad that you are able to drive "Mr. Go Fast". No fun just having him sit.

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Sunday, July 15th - another visit to the Avanti, this time I was able to get there early and do a little of this and a little of that. First off, I took my electrical test meter and stuck the hot probe into the wire harness connector for the horn relay. I touched the ground probe to a brake booster assembly bolt, then I depressed the horn bar on the steering wheel. Nothing. I tried several configurations of this and still got nothing. As I suspected, the horn circuit is broken somewhere between the horn bars and the relay, most likely in the steering column like Alan Himes at the Avanti shop said was a possibility. He said there was a real problem with that, and on many Avantis they would have to pull the wire harness out of the steering column and perform the fix. Still unsure if the horns even worked, I took a length of wire and held it on the positive post of the battery, then touched the wire connector terminal blade on the horn. A solid low blast - nice, it works! I clamped the jump wire to the positive post, then threw the wire to the other side of the engine compartment, unhooked the right side horn wire terminal and touched the connector blade with the jump wire. A solid, higher blast - nice again! Now I don't have to buy a set of horns for $135 plus shipping! Since I am not motivated at this time to pull the steering column and fix the wire harness I will get a simple horn button setup, run a hot wire from a free spot on the fuse block, then run a wire from the horn button to the horn relay. Since I don't want to cut up the wire connector for the horn relay I'll run a jump wire each from the "out" posts on the horn relay to each connector on the horn relay connector. Or, I may be able to simply turn the relay connector around and plug it in - I'll have to post pictures to illustrate the setup. I'll mount the horn button on the side of the steering column where I can hit it easily with my hand (or knee). Not a stock fix, but it will do for now until I do get the motivation to pull that steering column. The horn fix is next on the agenda, as having a horn around here is almost as important as having a steering wheel. As a matter of fact, I made up a joke: How do you get someone to stop texting? Honk your horn at them! (Only works sometimes)

Next, I had a look at the headlight dimmer switch, which, like most movable parts on this car, is frozen. On high beam. So, a couple of weeks ago I got a new dimmer switch from NAPA. I went to remove the old switch and of course the screws are frozen tight, just like the horn relay screws, just like all the other screws, bolts, nuts, etc. on the car. Ah well, I'll have to get on the other side of the screws and spray some Kroil on them - that should do the trick. Until then, I unhooked the dimmer switch connector and hooked it up to the new dimmer switch. I clicked the high beams off, then left the switch hanging out of the way for now.

Then I moved on to the steering box. When I picked the car up from Alan Himes' shop one of the things he told me was that the steering box felt a little tight. I can't remember the exact terminology he used, but I thought, "Well, if a race car driver (such as Alan) tells you something feels strange with the steering box, then you better have a look at it. When I was at the York meet earlier this year, as I was browsing the Studebaker International displays, I saw some "Steering Box Grease". I almost bought some, but decided I could always get some shipped to me anytime from S.I.. After Alan told me about the steering box a couple of months later I wished I had picked it up when I had it in front of me. No worries, a few weeks ago I ordered a few things from S.I. and that was one of them. Today I decided to have a look and see if the box needed grease. It did. Took the whole tube of 12 ounces. Now the steering feels much better, smoother. I'll get another tube of the grease just to top off the box, or just to have on hand.

The pictures show a couple of older pictures when I was working on the engine - I show them because I was reading a thread a few days ago and some folks were talking about how, on the R2, the factory was installing the horn by the supercharger with the bell facing up. Both of mine are facing down, shown here for the record. The other pics show the steering box filler plug, steering box grease, and a couple of shots of the Avanti taking a break in the shade.

Since I had made some progress I felt I deserved the reward of some driving around, so I checked the oil, lights, etc., fired her up and took off. I drove around here and there for about an hour, until the heat drove me back to the stable. I had a couple of "hole shot" like take offs from stop lights, running pretty hard up through the gears. She responded as usual, fast and furious, and, like the monster she is, she wanted to destroy more roadway in front of her. The only thing that held her back was my fear of death and the police. The usual stuff.

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Edited by SeventhSon (see edit history)
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Chris,

Regarding the horn: usually if the horn wire is broken/frayed going down the steering column, the opposite will happen - the horn will blow when you really don't want it to........like going around corners. My first check would be the contact system for the horn ring (bar) under the steering wheel. The column does not have to come out, but you will need a steering wheel puller. Check the Shop Manual and Parts Manual for what the various components look like and what the functions are.

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Thanks Paul - I should make a correction to my post where I stated that the steering column had to come out. I must have misunderstood what Alan Himes was telling me (old age is setting in). I just called Alan and asked him about the horn and he said the problem they saw was the grounding would be lost somewhere down the column. The fix they would perform would be to install a ground wire on the exterior of the steering column case from just before the "rag joint" to just past it. My mistake - no steering column pulling here. I think I confused it because I believe John Feser pulled his column for a wire harness problem, or maybe it was Greg. Anyway, it was on John's Avanti thread some time ago.

Alan Himes also touched on what you mentioned Paul, he said it could be in the horn contact system under the steering wheel. So, I have a few things to look at, starting with that ground on the steering column casing. I hope that's what it is, so I can have the stock horn setup working again.

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Chris, Couple of thing that you need to do. The wiring harness that goes through the steering column terminates just about half way down the steering column and has a connector. Disconnect and reconnect to make sure that you have a good connection. Then visually check the wiring under the dash and follow the horn/turn signal wires to the point where they are wrapped and go into the firewall. This is to make sure that your wiring is in good condition and not cut somewhere down the line.

Yes, you need a puller. You are welcome to come out to the farm and we can pull and check the plate/connections. I have the puller. If the horn is not working it is usually the lever contact under the wheel and it just needs to be bent back so it makes contact with the mating part in the wheel. Worse case we can run a new wire from the steering column to the horn relay and bypass the harness. It is a ground connection. By pressing on the horn on the steering arms it completes the grounding circuit for the relay, which is hot and passes the electricity to the horns. I think I have pics of the steering wheel. I will take a look.

Uploaded the pics. The brass colored ring plate is for the horn. When you press on the horn arms, they must make contact to the horn ring plate to complete the ground circuit. When the circuit is completed at the relay, the horns sound. (ps, I think that the circuit is a ground, not hot, but you will need to check the manual, my memory may be failing).

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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Thank you John - very informative. Now I know how to proceed, I can look at the several possibilities and maybe narrow it down to one spot. I'll keep you updated and let you know if I'll be paying a visit for that puller!

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Chris, Couple of thing that you need to do. The wiring harness that goes through the steering column terminates just about half way down the steering column and has a connector. Disconnect and reconnect to make sure that you have a good connection.

John, after disconnecting this harness you speak of, could you not use a test light checking for fire at one of the contacts, then make a jumper to jump the hot wire to each plug to test for a "horn sound"? It would prove that the dashboard wiring is ok.

Wayne

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Now that John has pointed me in the right direction by virtue of his experience with his Avanti I will be checking that connector first. I'll go from there to try to isolate the broken connection point. If I can stand the heat we're expecting the next 2 days. May have to hold off 'til Thursday.

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Friday, July 20th. Got by the Avanti garage at lunch today to have a closer look at the horn situation. It was spitting rain so no driving, just piddling around looking for some sound. Kind of rhymes, eh? I picked up a couple of items before I went - a standard horn button and a grounding strap. The button to see if I could bypass the horn setup in the steering wheel and maybe isolate the problem. I got the grounding strap because Alan Himes, the Avanti guy, said they had several Avantis that lost their horn and they fixed it by grounding the steering column. I fooled around a bit with that, seeing if a direct ground from the steering column would make the horn work. Nah.

Next, I unplugged the connector to the horn relay and tested each slot for voltage. One slot showed 12+ volts. So, it has juice. Then I checked for continuity through the relay, but that may not show because I believe it has to have juice in order for it to "relay" through. Just my thought on it as I figure this out. After that I hooked wires to the horn button, stuck one in the hot side of the connector and stuck the other in one of the other slots in the connector. I pressed the horn button and got a weak sound from the left horn. OK, so the wires have connectivity through to the horn. I continued to try to get sound, but after that all I could get was a little precursor to horn sound - like a buzz grunt. Sort of. Of course, I was just jamming bare wires down in the connector slots, not like I was getting a decent connection. After a couple of minutes of that I felt the relay connector getting hot and I remembered Courtney the mechanic telling me that a hot wire means a poor connection. As in, the wires jammed in the connector weren't making a good connection.

So, it's starting to dawn on me that there are some dirty, corroded connections at play here, like at the horn relay. Then I remembered John Feser's advice to check the connection where the wires come out of the steering column. The only light I had was a crank up flashlight that I carry in my car. So I cranked it up and had a look under the dash. And there is the connector, the 2 pieces of which were not firmly seated. I disconnected and then re-connected and tried to get it to seat all the way, but not today. Try as I might, she would not seat. I looked in my portable tool box ( a cardboard box with a bunch of tools thrown in) but I did not have my Channel Locks with me. Nothing with a jaw wide enough to bite down and close the gap between the 2 connectors. As I was squeezing and cajoling the connector I reached up and pressed one of the horn bars. I heard a little click come from the front, like the horn was trying to sound off.

So, I think John was on the right track when he told me to check that connector. And, as I learned from fooling around with the other areas, I have now formulated a plan for the next time I visit. I'm cleaning all the connections, from under the dash at the steering column, to the horn relay, to the horns themselves. Then I'll see what happens.

One of the other pictures shows a little black knobbed lever under the dash by the hood release. I assume that is the windshield washer switch?

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Chris, that windshield washer thingie is much different than mine. Mine is near the floor and is actuated by your foot. It also has numerous wires that go to the wipers to turn them on and off when you press the washer pedal. Looks like yours is just a pull/push for fluid when your wipers are working. Does the same job.

And do not try to really force the plug together because for some reason the two halves will not completely go flush with each other. I would just take it apart, clean and lube it with WD40 or similar product. Then see if a miracle occurs and the horns work.

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John - I figured the windshield washer control on mine was probably the standard equipment. My Avanti didn't come with any extras, oh, a rear speaker was the one option. In a way it is good (manual steering = more power), in a way, not so good (wish I had posi-trac). But I got the two things I really wanted - a supercharger and a 4-speed, so it's all good.

Tonight, upon arriving home from work, I saw a sight I haven't seen in a while - a parts box on the stoop. Takes me back...I knew what it was because I talked to the lady at S.I. the other day when I ordered the stuff. I got a set of locks for the door handles. When I took the gamble and had a locksmith make a key by code for the door lock and while I was finding out that the key did not work I realized the lock on the driver's side seemed to have "issues". I'm not sure if the lock is busted, or if a good cleaning would make the key fit tight. As it is, the key wobbles up and down and doesn't fit snug like it does on the passenger side. So, I called S.I. and inquired about any door handles or locks - they said they would get back to me (which, by the way, is something I really like about S.I., as some folks never reply to my emails where I want to give them money. But I digress...). So, I heard from S.I. the next day, and they said they had a set of locks that fit - from a Chrysler. I told them I would take them - I'm not proud.

At the same time I ordered a whole bunch of work - the front and rear glass gaskets. They showed up today along with the door locks. Hoo boy - it fills me with trepidation to think of that job. But, I'll prepare for it and pencil in some time and tackle it. It'll be a great feeling to get those petrified old gaskets off and some new fresh rubber on. When I first saw this car in the light of day I kept shaking my head and thinking, "What have I done?" And those hardened and cracked gaskets are one of the reasons I was thinking that - along with a few dozen other things. I'm thinking I may go ahead and make a final decision on the paint color (probably a silver color) and paint the window frames while the glass is out. Then, when I get the car painted the overall paint will blend when the window rubber contracts or moves a bit. I told you the list was going to grow.

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Sunday, and another visit with the Avanti! Woohoo! I arrived at the storage place at 9 AM - I like the early Sunday time, traffic is light and there are few folks going to work in the industrial area where the storage place is located. I got right to it - trying a few things I thought might be causing the horns to be silent. I tried various connection schemes, none of which worked. I figured I might as well bring her home where I had various tools and electrical connectors I could try out. So, I fired her up and headed out - toward home I thought. After about a mile it began to drizzle pretty hard. I turned the lights and wipers on - the first time I've used them since the car returned to the road on May 1, after a 24 year hiatus. It's funny to not have intermittent wipers, or even, it seems, a higher speed for the wipers. Just one speed - good thing it was just a heavy drizzle. I haven't wanted to drive the car in the rain, simply because of the terrible condition of the front and rear window gaskets. But this rain was light, barely wetting the pavement. I wouldn't drive the car in a deluge though - probably wouldn't even do that after I replace those window seals.

So, a couple of miles into my ride toward home I decided I wanted to just ride around some. And that's what I did, just a nice easy cruise here and there. I jumped on her pretty hard at one point and she responded strongly - nice fast pickup. Another time I pulled out onto a major highway with a wall of traffic coming - I got on her pretty hard, and even though the road sure looked dry, she began to break loose in the rear. I lifted off the accelerator a bit, she barked a bit when the rear tires grabbed and the rear end straightened up. "Easy baby, easy", I said out loud. We took off up the road, my foot taking a more measured approach on the gas. She behaved herself after that - I kept it cool - no need to spin out in front of everyone!

A couple of things of note during the 30 or so miles I drove today. The carburetor seems to be "loading" up - after some highway speeds when I bring her down to a slower speed or lower gear the engine wants to cut out. Like it's flooding. It did cut off on me a few weeks ago when I pulled into a parking lot to turn around. It only happens when I bring her down from an extended period of higher speeds. After the engine gets accustomed to running at the lower speeds it clears up and runs/idles very nicely. Alan Himes from the Avanti shop said I should drop by after a thousand miles or so to have the carb fine tuned some - after it has broken in. Looks like I'll be taking him up on that. The other thing - the old girl likes the cooler weather, she barely cracked 180 degrees the whole time I was driving. And, when I was cruising down through this wooded park area the temp even dropped to 175 - I was very pleased with that. The cockpit was still hot, though.

After I decided, reluctantly, to put her away for the day, I returned to the stable, back her in, and began to put her to bed. I then decided that it would be nice to have something to show for the visit, so I scraped off the old, crusty cowl seal, cleaned the area, and affixed the new seal. Hopefully that will make the cabin a little cooler on future rides.

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I've been studying the electrical schematic for the Avanti. A very useful thing to have if you're chasing a dead circuit. Now I can identify the three slots in the connector - I already was able to find the hot one by using my electric meter. Now I know where the other two go - one to the horns and the other to the horn button. I figured that was the case - I just didn't know which connector slot went where. Now I can check for continuity to from the horn relay connector to the horns and see what I have. I believe the schematic also shows a fusible link (?) near the horn button. The schematic shows a rectangular box in the line - I looked it up (man, I love the internet), and that symbol is shown as a fusible link. Unless they used a different symbol back in those days. So, I have more things I can check before I pull the steering wheel - which is probably where I should have looked to begin with, as Paul said he would. But then I wouldn't have had all the fun checking out all the other stuff. Right.

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Chris- I don't want to steal your's or Unimog's thunder but I could use some help with my Avanti and figure your audience is a good place to ask! So I started a thread on the Technical section with my questions and would appreciate anyone flipping over there and looking at it.

Like you I was thrilled to hear my car run for the first time in two years last nite! And now I want to get it finished up and home, been gone too long!! I have enjoyed both threads from the start and even used pics from John's in the shop last nite trying to figure out the ignition electric.

So if anyone can jump over and offer ideas I would appreciate the help-

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Hey avantey - I'm glad to see another Avanti owner here. The more the merrier. I'll have a look at your thread and if I can I'll help out. I know there are several other Avanti folks here who know much, much more than I do about the Avanti. I know they were, and are, a big help to me.

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Whew - another hot week is in the books. Makes working on anything kind of difficult, especially for old guys like me! I did get to the storage unit on Wednesday to remove the clips holding the cowl seal in place while the glue cured. Didn't get to stay long - then back to work. Then Thursday and Friday were blazing hot, so no quick drive-by work on those days. And no driving either - I was starting to get depressed and thinking of putting her up for sale or something! But I resolved to go pick my Avanti up early this morning and bring her home to get something accomplished. Which is what I did. To back up a bit, on Wednesday when I dropped in on the Avanti, I fooled around a bit more with the horn wiring and basically isolated the problem in the steering wheel horn assembly. So I decided to get a puller and have at it this weekend. I stopped by Sears after work on Friday and picked up a steering wheel puller. Then early this morning I went and picked up the old girl and brought her home. It was good to have her back in the garage.

First thing I did was clean all the wire connections, the spades with steel wool and the slide on connectors with a small screwdriver and sandpaper. I was sweating profusely the whole time - but I didn't mind. After cleaning all the connections I hooked up the new horn relay - the screws holding the old one still won't release their grip so I'll have to drill or grind them off. Future fun. So, with all the connections nice and clean the only thing left to do was take the steering wheel off and see what I found. I managed to get the center cap off with a screwdriver and rubber mallet ( to persuade the cap to turn the 1/3 turn counter-clockwise). I slipped the screwdriver under the cap and tapped upwards with the mallet (that was after brute force with my hands didn't budge the thing). With the cap off I removed the two screws holding the cap retainer, then took the breaker bar to the steering wheel nut. That came off nicely - then I checked out the several bolts that came with the steering wheel puller. Two were a nice match for the cap retainer screw threads (I love when things go smoothly) and I fitted the puller to the steering wheel. A couple of turns on the puller and the steering wheel popped off (I really love it when things go smoothly). I had a look at things and it was clear that things could use a good cleaning. The brass horn plate was all cruddy, and I figured things on the horn bar were probably not so great either.

I took everything apart and cleaned the spider web pods, mildew and tarnish off. When I figured things were adequately spiffed up on the steering wheel horn assembly I had a go at the contact that makes connection to the horn plate. I shined up the contact surface with steel wool, then brushed off all the grime and crud around the turn signal assembly area. When everything looked good I put it all back together. Did it work? Check the next post and we'll see.

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After re-assembling everything I hooked the battery up and gave it a try:

Avanti_Steering_Wheel_Removal 033 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Success! Like I said, I love it when things come together! Next, I backed her out of the garage and went for a ride before putting her away for the day. I know she's fast but sometimes it's nice to get in the right lane and just cruise. This car runs straight and true and just rumbles along - a pleasure to drive.

Next: Install the seat belts, then put the new door locks in. Sure wish I was going to the South bend meet - oh well, next year. Maybe I'll take Princess Mightyfast out there - how's that for a road trip!

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Hey John - I got the feeling that only one was working at the beginning. When I took it back to the storage unit I tried the horn again and it sounded like both were working. I'll investigate further this week - just glad to get this far!

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Sunday, August 5 - it's been a week since I posted anything! Not good - the heat continues to wither the grass and my spirit for doing much. I did have a visit on Friday with the Avanti, since I wanted to have a look (or a hear) at the horns, since I got a tip that one wasn't working. So, I unhooked one horn, then depressed the horn bar. A nice, clear high tone rang out. Ok, then I hooked the one horn back up, and unhooked the other horn. I depressed the horn bar - a nice low tone sounded. Hmmm...looks(or sounds) like both are working. Well, that settles that - time for a ride! Out we went, cruising here and there, as much as my limited time would allow. Then, too soon, it was time to go back to work. I put the Avanti back in her stable, then tried the horn one last time. Clearly, there was only one horn working this time. The high tone horn. I unhooked the high tone - then tried the horn bar. All the low tone could manage was a feeble squonk, then click, click. Not good - could the hot engine compartment be causing a problem? Or is the horn just dead? Maybe a poor ground connection between the mounting bracket and the frame? All things to investigate on Sunday, today.

In the meantime I had a look online for the availability of horns. I found a nice low tone "freeway blaster" at the local Advance Auto. Works for me. I picked that up on the way to pick up the Avanti this morning. The high tone horn on the Avanti works and sounds fine. So I'll just put on this new low tone blaster and move on to more fruitful pursuits. When I arrived at the storage unit I tried the horn. A nice clear, strong sound came from both horns - sounds like a real American car! Here we go again - I decide to go ahead and install the new horn anyway and see how it sounds. If it's good and loud I'm keeping it! I took the Avanti home to the garage - her second home, and, while letting the engine compartment cool down I began working on the seat belt removal. I managed to get those crusty old belts off, then I decided to go ahead and get rid of the crusty old carpet (what was left of it). So I pulled most of that out behind the front seats. Time to install the new seat belts! Except the curse of the minimal hardware strikes again. When I first got the belts a couple of months ago I was impressed that they came with the new mounting hardware, to include the "eye" bolts, etc. I didn't look closely enough - today I found out that the tiny bolts and nuts that hold the seat belt "claws" together were not included with the seat belts. Kind of like Christmas morning when you discover that dreaded "batteries not included" wordage on whatever toy you got that you wanted to play with. Looks like a trip to Home Depot is in order, but not today. After a couple of hours fooling around with the car in this heat I was drenched in sweat and getting pretty worn out. The seat belts and new horn will have to wait. Time to take her back, and plan future work on the car when temps are a bit cooler. Just too hot to do much these days.

But, I got a few things accomplished and now I will be ready to throw the belts in as soon as I get the tiny bolts I need. And I have that horn to throw in, too. When I got back to the storage unit I tried the trick of unhooking one horn at a time. The high tone comes through loud and clear. The low tone was back to being feeble again. Comes and goes.

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Chris, you need to use the cotter pins included in the kit package. No little nuts and bolts to work loose. And next time you go, take some chrome polish and start cleaning up those instrument bezels. Do one each time you visit. Cooler temps will be here in a month and it will be much better for your car fun. I am even taking some time off. Just too hot.

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HI Ernie - you're the second person who mentioned the ground wires to the horn. There is only one wire to each horn - unless I'm missing something down underneath. I was under the impression that the horns grounded to the frame through the horn bracket. I checked the wiring diagram this morning and it does show a black and white wire going to each horn, and a white wire also connected to each horn. I'll have to take a closer look...

John - do you have a picture of the cotter pin setup on those seat belt anchors? Just want to see how they go on without sticking out where they could catch a young lady's nylons - hehe, not that that would EVER happen in that beast of a car. Re the instrument bezels - I think they are a bit beyond polish! It's on the list of things to do, but most of them are too rusty to clean up much. I was going to take a Dremel tool with a little wire wheel and knock off the worst of it. The chrome, however, is mostly toast at this point, sad to say. And I agree, too hot for car fun right now.

And Joe, looks like John is going to take care of you - I got this message too late. Just FYI, I got those seat belts at Studebaker International. I think the company that makes them probably makes a whole range of belts for different older cars. Good luck!

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Chris, humor me. Clean just one. Do not use a Dremel, but use good chrome cleaner and your cloth wrapped over your finger, and then rub, rub, rub. I think that you will be surprised at the result. I was. Mine were almost as bad as your and now they are almost perfect. Here are a couple of before and after pic that may encourage you.

And here are a couple of pics of the cotter pin on the seat belt connection. You can trim the ends of the pin is you want. I just left mine as is.

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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