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Here it is, Friday, September 7 already! Soon the leaves will be 'a fallin'. Okay with me - maybe it'll get cooler too. I made room in the schedule after a work get-together lunch to run by the storage unit. This time I brought my sockets with extensions. That made all the difference, and made short work of removing the exterior door handle. Now I can take it home and have fun replacing the lock this weekend.

I also threw the door panel in the trunk of the car to take home too - that's gonna be a fun project itself. Not sure what I'll be able to do to it, but I want to at least clean it up and maybe stabilize it some. Try to dress it up until I can get a better one, maybe? We'll see - now I have a couple of things to work on this weekend.

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Yesterday was Saturday, September 8. Plan for the Avanti: Clean up the door handle, stick a wire into the lockset release hole and remove the old lockset, then install new lockset. Drive over to the storage unit and bolt on the door handle, fire up the car and go fast.

Reality for the Avanti: Clean up door handle, stick a wire into the lock release hole, repeat that procedure forty times until the realization sets in that the lockset ain't coming out. Maybe a stiffer pin, like a drill bit, will work. Forty attempts were made with a drill bit - after twenty times it was a much shorter drill bit, after it broke off (jeez, those were the worst drill bits I ever got!). Meanwhile, a freight train of a storm came barreling through - brought some cooler weather with it, but also ended any hope of a drive in the old Avanti. Ah well, I'll just get this lockset situation sorted out - then call it a night. After it occurred to me that the lockset wasn't coming out I resolved to remove it the old fashioned way - tear it out. But carefully. These door handles are just not available any more - or at least not where I'm looking. So, I grabbed a screwdriver and ripped the front face off the lock. So far, so good. Then I grabbed the drill and a bit and drilled right down through the center of the lock. Not too far. Then I grabbed a bigger bit and drilled down through the center again. Now the lockset came out in pieces. Yay!

I inspected the handle - shouldn't there be a hole in the bottom where the little nib on the lockset fits in? Maybe I drilled too far? Nah. Maybe I scarred everything up and covered up the hole. I pulled out a drill bit that was the same size as the nib on the lockset - the hole should be right about here. I gently gave it the bit - a hole opened up nicely enough. OK - let's see if the new lockset will fit in here and lock into place with its retainer ring. The new lockset would fit in only so far - the nib would engage the hole I punched through, but the retainer spring would not find its home and begin its job of holding the lockset in the handle. At least 70 minutes was spent on this fun endeavor, until, disheartened, I headed upstairs for the evening, vowing to "sleep on it".

I have found many times in my life that there is a real benefit to "sleeping on something". Take last night, for example. In the night the Answer Fairy came to me carrying a sledgehammer.

Bonk! "You the guy looking for an answer to a puzzling dilemma?"

"Why, yes I am!", I replied, rubbing my head.

"First, let me ask you a question."

"OK"

"When you removed the old lockset pieces did you happen to see the end piece, the one with the little nib sticking out of it?"

"Um, no", I said, the answer suddenly coming to me (the Answer Fairy is like that - let's you figure these things out for yourself).

Seeing the light bulb come on over my head the Answer Fairy said, "That's righhhht....the end piece to the old lockset is still in there - that's why the new lock won't fit all the way in!"

"Doh!!"

"Hehe....tonight's a bonus night - you get two answers for the price of one."

"Oh?"

"Yeah, you know all that time you wasted trying to get the wire and drill bit to release the retainer spring through the little hole?"

"Uh, yes, I do remember all that wasted time."

"Well, that only works if you have the key to the lock and you can turn the lock to the side, thereby lining up the retainer spring to the access hole for the wire. Something they don't tell you in the shop manual."

"Doh! That means I'm going to have to drill the passenger side lockset out too."

"Yep, looks that way - carefully now."

Poof. The Answer Fairy was gone. I drifted back to sleep.

Sunday, September 9. I had a relaxing morning, had some coffee, watched a little TV. Before long I moseyed downstairs, found my scratch awl and inserted it into the hole I drilled in the back of the lockset. I pulled outward once. Twice. A third time. The remaining piece of the old lockset fell onto the work table. I just grinned and shook my head. I wiped everything off, puffed some graphite onto and into the new lockset and slid it into its new home. She locked right into place. Just like it belongs there.

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Sunday, September 9. After finally resolving the door lock issue (at least on the driver's side) I could move on to cleaning some things. As best I can, anyway. I took some steel wool to the interior door handle and window crank. Not much is going to help these two - too much pitting going on. Oh well, I did the best I could. I cleaned the rest of the pieces - the door latch chrome surround, the door lock lever and escutcheon, even the various screws. Fair, that's the best score I can give the pieces - just too many years of neglect. Speaking of neglect, I then turned my attention to the door panel. I made a mixture of water, bleach, TSP, a little soap and put it in a spray bottle. I soaked the door panel and gave it a decent cleaning - removing the mold spores and mildew that had grown over time. After I was satisfied with the cleaning I turned the panel over and had a look at the bottom left corner.

This particular corner had gotten wet over time (left side of the car - it got wet) and the panel backing board curled up like a wilted flower. And hardened that way. I wanted to see if I could flatten that corner, so I took a towel and soaked it in a bucket of water, then placed it on top of that corner. Then I treated the rest of the back of the panel with the bleach solution and scrubbed off the mildew. When I figured the curled up corner was wet enough I flipped the panel over, put it on the floor, and put the heaviest object I could find (a tool box) on top of it. There she sat - still there now. We'll see if she's flat in the morning.

This afternoon I stopped by Home Depot and got a roll of cheap enough carpet, in black, and I plan on cutting pieces out to replace those rotten pieces on the bottom of the door panels. Not perfect, certainly not show quality, but another step in the rescue mission. Good enough for a fun occasional driver. And that's what I always wanted.

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Monday, September 10. I had a quick drive-by at the storage shed to see the Mightyfast Avanti today. It's been over a week since I drove it and I'm getting irritable - actually, some people would say that is my usual demeanor. But I digress. I didn't get to drive it today either, which is irritating (see?). Tomorrow, I promise myself. Today, I just did a quick re-install of the door handle - everything went back where it belongs and, more importantly, the lock works! Locks, unlocks, locks, unlocks. Hurray! One down, one to go. Now I have an Avanti with a Chrysler door key - kinda funny, actually.

Next, it was a trip to the house to check out the door panel. It's still warped, but not like it was. I think I can probably get the screws to hold it down flat at this point. While I was there I went ahead and soaked it with some vinyl restorer, basically like Armor-All. Wiped it down and left it to soak. Next I want to find some extra screws with grommets to attach the panel back where it belongs. Tonight I may try out the carpet cutting exercise for the carpet that fits along the bottom of the panel.

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Tuesday, September 11. Time marches on - last night I started fooling around with removing the old rotten carpet from the door panel. I got it all off, or most of it, and started cutting a piece to fit in the bare spot. I ran out of time and called it a night, but not before deciding the best way forward. Since it's just something to cover up and not anything for show I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it. Just make it presentable for now - who knows, maybe in the future I'll be flush with cash and can get the door panels done right.

At lunch today I finally got to bring the old Avanti out. I stopped by the storage unit, got everything ready, hopped in a tried the ignition. A few cranks and she fired. I brought the car out and let it idle while I put the daily driver in the shed. Then I returned and just stood there a moment listening to the motor. Just sounds perfect to me - a really nice sounding engine.

I drove to the bank, got out, locked the door (that's a good feeling), and went on in, content that the car was locked just like any other car. I came out, unlocked the door and tried the ignition - she fired right up. I allowed myself a little smile - it's the little things in life that count, eh?

After that I had a nice ride, just cruising here and there - content to have a nice ride in the old Avanti on a perfect day. Soon enough (too soon) I had to put my toys away and get back to work. Sigh, there's always tomorrow, right?

After I parked her back in the storage unit I had a look at the passenger side door panel since that's the next area I'll be working. The passenger side panel is not too bad - the carpet all seems to be in one piece and the panel itself doesn't seem to be too bad. We'll see in the coming days when I take it off. I'm thinking I may just leave the carpet on that panel and dye it black. We'll see - I'll post some pics of that panel in the next few days.

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Tuesday evening - I cut up a perfectly good piece of carpet. It was for a good cause - to make the door panel look a little better. The jury's still out on whether that's gonna happen, but it's too late to go back now. I already put glue on it! After fooling around last night and getting an idea of how I wanted to proceed I jumped right in tonight and did a cut and paste job. I figured I couldn't do much more damage than the dampness did that this car had to endure. What a shame to see damage to an iconic car from neglect. What can ya do? Rescue it!

So, as I said, I cut and pasted the carpet piece and put a bunch of heavy stuff on it. After I see the results I plan on trying to "nail" down the edging around the, well, the edge. The edging is a bit cracked and crusty, some is even missing (imagine that), but I'll do the best I can. Probably just glue that on - maybe staple. We'll see.

A happy day overall, got to drive the fast car. Fast. Ha!

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September 14 - a quick drive-by at the Avanti shed to grab a couple of things. One, the stainless strip that runs along the door panel where the carpet meets the vinyl. I also picked up the screws for the door panel - I have a feeling the screws I have are a mish-mash of screws found here and there, and are not the original units. Some are original I think. Yesterday I searched the bins at Sears Hardware for some replacement screws but I couldn't find any suitable. I did find some "finishing washers", the metal grommets that fit between the screw head and the door panel. Now I just need to find some chrome oval head sheet metal screws...

Also today, while at the storage place, I took a few pictures - some of the passenger side door panel and its condition, pictures of the stainless strip for the driver door panel, and some pictures of the rotten rubber seal on the windshield. The reason that I am going to replace that rubber soon.

I didn't take the old car out for a drive - probably should have, though. Ah well, there's always this weekend...

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Sunday, September 16. Another Avanti Sunday! I went early, as usual, and set about reinstalling the door panel on the driver's side. It looks better than it did, that's about the best I can say for it. I also have to get a couple of more spots attached better - probably going to have to carefully drill a couple of holes and tap some screws in tight to hold the bottom part of the panel. It's just too curled up from moisture to lay flat - it's better than it was but still kind of busted. Maybe someday I'll have the money to get new ones made or maybe I'll find some decent used ones?? Time will tell....

After getting the door panel on I checked the old car over, fired her up and headed out. After cruising around a bit I decided to head west. Then south. Then east. Basically made a box of bout 50 miles total - the last leg being on the Interstate highway. She seems to like that best - running higher RPM's in the power band, just runs nice and without missing a beat. She's a good runner - I'm hoping after a few thousand miles of shakedown she'll stop smoking on the left bank. Probably wishful thinking there, as the valve seals are petrified and will need replacing. I know John Byrd on this site suggested using Restore Engine Treatment - not sure if I should or not. Maybe I'll just let her smoke until rebuild time.

An ominous sign when I returned to the stable. Before I put her to bed I inspected the engine compartment for any leaks, small fires, etc. I noticed some liquid on the intake manifold, on the front right side, and a few drops on the valley cover. Hmmm, what's this - I ran a finger across it. Oil. Now where could that be coming from? I hope and pray not from a cracked head. Or that head gasket on the right side. Something to think about at 3 AM tomorrow morning.

And before leaving the Avanti shed I removed the right side door panel and exterior door handle so I could replace the lock. When I got back to the house I sprayed some carpet cleaner on the piece of carpet on the bottom of the panel and scrubbed it some. I left it to dry. Tonight I vacuumed it off, then I cleaned the rest of the panel with the bleach/TSP/soap spray. That door panel is not nearly as bad as the left side, but there is some evidence of moisture on the backing board. Oh well, what can you do? Just clean it and put it back on. After cleaning it I sprayed some vinyl restorer on it and shined it up - looks pretty good actually.

I don't think that right side door panel has ever been off the door - I wonder what that number marked on the inner door means?

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Chris, looking much better. On the little cut in the vinyl on the door panel. I had a big cut on mine, and also in the leather of Suburban. I used Loctite vinyl, fabric and plastic adhesive. It is flexible and dries clear. Put it on your door panel and then cover with plastic and put something heavy on top until it dries. Works great and fixes that cut. I bought my at Home Depot for about $5.

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Thanks John - I'll check that out. There are several cracks on the top side of the panel as well. I'm beginning to envision how the car was situated for a couple of decades - left side to the northeast facing water and right side to the southwest facing the sun. And all of it facing the sky when it rained.

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Today is September 18, AM. No visit to the Avanti yesterday, and only some cleaning of the various door pieces last night in preparation of putting it all back together after I replace the door lock. I took steel wool and a little wire brush to the pieces, along with a little chrome cleaner, and buffed them up some. Not much you can do with neglected 50 year old pieces, but they're doing OK for what they've been through. The chrome piece that fits against the door panel at the door latch has a small crack in it - the driver's side one had an even larger crack. Must be due to hazardous duty - all that door opening and closing causing cracking. All in all, the passenger side door pieces are in a bit better condition than the driver's side. No real surprise there - driver's side gets more action, plus it's on that hurting left side of the car.

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Hey Chris - 1553... door number, that doesn't coincide with any part of the VIN does it? How about julian date - 155 = June 4th; 3 = 1963. Do you remember any other 4 digit, ending in 3, numbers elsewhere on the car thus far? Curious for input from John and Greg on those numbers and if they have seen them on their doors?

Chuck

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Hi Chuck - no, the number doesn't coincide with the VIN that I can come up with. I thought it might have been the 1,553rd unit off the assembly line, but if you take my number (2710) minus the 1000 starting number, mine should have been unit 1710 (I think). And the date doesn't work either - this car was ordered the day after Christmas, 1962 and delivered in Feb., 1963. The 1553 is probably just a factory number, inventory or employee or the like.

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Lunchtime, September 18. I decided to go ahead and drill the old lockset out of the door handle while I had a few minutes to spare. I put a piece of tape on the two drill bits I planned on using - sort of a depth guage to keep from going too far and damaging the rest of the unit. Last time I winged it and I think I got by with one that could have bit me. So I played it safe.

Only problem this time was: after drilling the first hole I moved to a larger bit and started drilling, then the little nib at the rear of the lockset that engages with the lock cylinder apparently sheared off, thus allowing the lockset to spin freely. Meaning, the drill bit engaged the metal it was trying to drill, then the lock spun instead of the metal being eaten up. Now, play nice for once, will you?! So, I fooled around with that for a while and got nowhere. So I gave it the drill again, this time leaning the drill back and forth side to side to bind the lockset from moving as well as chewing up the retainer spring that holds the lock in. It worked! Out came the lock.

Of course, the little nib was still in there. A couple of raps on the work table and it wasn't in there anymore. A few squirts of WD40 cleaned out the metal shavings and chips. After drying the inside off and inspecting things it looks like it's ready for the new lock. But that will have to wait 'til tonight - this little exercise took longer than expected (doesn't it always?) and it was time to run back to work.

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September 18 still, in the evening. I grabbed the new lock and key and applied some graphite to it, then put it in its place. It fit right in, just like the other side and the key turns nicely. So now I'm close to having two door handles that lock - just like it was designed. After installing and checking out the new lock I worked on the crack in the door panel. I added a little cloth backing and glued everything - not sure how that's going to turn out. Might still have to tape it - no big deal, she's just a fun driver for me!

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September 19, another lunchtime Avanti visit. This time it was to re-install the exterior door handle with its new lock, and to put the inside door panel and assorted parts back on. First, the door handle went on - I was careful not to drop the attaching nuts down into the door cavity. The handle went on nicely - in the picture you can see the original color of this car. After installing the handle I gave the lock a test run (several, actually) and it locks and unlocks like it should. Now I have lockable doors and keys that work! Hurray!

After that it was on to the inner door panel - that went on pretty straightforward, the only problem being that the small screws that attach the panel along the carpet at the bottom are no longer sufficient to hold the panel. A couple of the screw holes are enlarged and the screws won't bite and a couple of the screws pop through the backing board. No problem, I'll just get some bigger screws and take care of it - I also need a couple on the driver's side.

I'm glad to get the door lock situation fixed - now I can drive it somewhere and lock it up if I need to. Next up: some interior cleaning, then prep for the front and rear window seals. I'm already scanning the calendar for a block of days I can pencil in for the work.

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It's Friday, September 21. TGIF. Really - TGIF! I've started accumulating the items I think I'm going to need for the windshield removal and re-install. I ordered some 3M Bedding and Glazing Compound to use on the re-install - that arrived today. Also today, I stopped at Home Depot and picked up a couple of suction cup handles for glass and a couple of different sizes of rope. I feel the suction handles will help when moving the glass around while installing - we'll see if I'm right. I got 3/16" rope and, feeling that might be too thick, I went ahead and got 1/8" also. I feel pretty confident I can get use one of them to do the trick of "roping" the gasket into place over the body lip. I was also looking for some sort of keyhole saw to cut the old gasket, but I decided against using a saw around fiberglass - I decided to use a utility knife to cut the rubber off.

I remember helping a friend replace the windshield seal on his '54 Ford pickup - he used a piano wire that he fed through a hole in the rubber, then wrapped around a stick. The other end was inside the truck, also wrapped around a stick. With me inside and him outside we "sawed" through the old rubber all the way around. Then we "roped" the windshield back in after putting on the new rubber and some sealer. That's how I remember it anyway - it's been 35 years or so. On my Volvo P1800 I just pushed the windshield out with my feet, but it was broken anyway and headed for the landfill. Then I in "roped" the new windshield in - went in nicely.

I also ordered some DumDum sealer - I believe that was used under the stainless trim on the windshield pillars. I also ordered the rubber for that area - not sure if I'm getting the right thing, but I'll check it all out and make adjustments where needed. And in the same order, something unrelated to the windshield work, I ordered a clutch boot, as mine is just a hardened rubber piece hanging on the clutch rod. I'm getting a lot of exhaust/fuel fumes in the car, especially at slower speed, and I've gotta try to seal the cabin up as much as I can. I'm also going to use that DumDum for that, sealing up little holes or gaps around hoses, wires, etc. Sometimes I just stick my head out the window, the fumes are so strong. Whew!

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A few days have flown by with no Avanti fun - I did get to take her out on Sunday evening, the 23rd. A nice cool fall evening it was and the Avanti ran perfectly. Temperature held cool at about 175, engine ran smoothly and strong - getting into it pretty hard from a takeoff I could feel the rear tires losing grip. Maybe getting into it a little too strong I guess...

Then things picked up at work, so I've been picking up the slack and neglecting the old Avanti visits. Ah well, work comes first - have you ever been too tired to sleep? I have. This week. But, not all has ground to a halt on the old car - on Monday I received the order from Studebaker International of the clutch boot, some DumDum, and the window seals. And yesterday, on my way back from working on a 100 acre site, I dropped in on the Avanti to say hi. I took a few pictures of the spots I hope to seal up from the fumes that are threatening to asphyxiate me. A spot where a vacuum hose and a windshield washer hose enter the cabin could use some new DumDum, the clutch boot can go on, and there is an access panel on the floor of the passenger side that has been gaping all this time. Now, what can I cover that up with, I wondered. I moved the old carpet aside and, whoops, there is the cover plate. That's what I'll use to cover the hole with.

So, with this latest order from S.I. I think I have everything I need to tackle the window seals. Except one thing - the thing all people need more of. Time.

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Chris, that is the dum dum I bought too. You need to put it in the refer or freezer and get it cold before you try to pull it off the paper and use it. It will not come off the paper cleanly if it is at room temp, even worse when it is hot outside. And it sticks to everything. To include the paper it is attached to. I lost 1/3 of the stuff as I could not get it to release from the wax paper they put it on. Been there, done that as they say.

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Thanks John - a couple of extra hands are always good to have. I just have to work out the logistics of it all, like when and where. I have some family events coming up, and I wouldn't mind heading up to Hershey for a day myself. I would like to go for the whole event but.....

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It's Friday - TGIF again! I made another drive-by stop at the Avanti shed. I brought along my bleach/TSP/water mixture to try on the interior and see if it will clean it up. What a mess that interior is - it's going to take a few passes to bring it back. As far back as it will come. Some of it is beyond saving, but I think it'll be kind of presentable anyway.

I decided to work on the area around the windshield first, as that is coming out in a matter of days now. I sprayed the windshield pillar, sun visor and area around and underneath the visor. Dripped a little on my shirt, which I noticed turned a different color within minutes. Whoops, I have some 'splainin' to do. Anyway, I took a couple of brushes and scrubbed away at the black mildew and mold. The cleaning solution worked pretty quickly, but it is apparent that it will take a few treatments before I get most of the crud off. No problem - I can work it out. I just have to wear old clothes in the future!

As I said, I will concentrate on the area around the windshield first. When I get ready to do the back glass I will clean that area as well. I'll do it like I did the gauges - every time I visit the car I'll give it a cleaning treatment. Before long it'll start looking good - I hope.

Before I left to return to work I had a closer look at the windshield rubber. I'll be glad to get the rubber replaced - I think if I had to slam on the brakes at 60 MPH the windshield would pop out. That's how cracked and shrunken the rubber is - I'll be glad to get the job done. I think the glass will come out fairly easily (knock on wood) because of the condition of the rubber. Getting it back in will be the trick - I'm going to remove the sun visors and light switch panel to make room. The only other thing is the defroster vents, they are going to be tricky to get around. I wonder how hard they are to remove?

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Tell me about it Dave - glass can be unforgiving. And yes, expensive. I'll go easy and do my best, though.

Today was another Avanti Sunday, this time an evening visit. Another nice, cool evening - perfect for a drive, so that's what I did. Nice ride around here and there, just seeing how she's holding up. All the gauges showed normal throughout the trip, the engine ran smooth and strong, just another good run. Some pretty fierce winds kicked up, blowing leaves across my path and buffeting the old Avanti. I drove through it though, it started to get pretty cool though. I started fooling with the heater and defroster controls while driving - I realized the third set of switches on the "cockpit" set is for the heater fan motor. I clicked those on and was happy to hear the blower motor come on and start pushing out heat. Good, that'll come in handy when driving in cold weather this winter.

I reluctantly took her back to the stable, I had planned to begin the windshield removal process (remove the stainless trim from the pillars, remove the windshield wipers, etc), but it dawned on me that it was getting dark. The change of seasons is creeping up on us, making the darkness come earlier every day. That, and the fact that dark, brooding clouds had blown in. Which meant my fun was over. But first, let me have a look at the engine compartment. Everything looked OK, except that oil that started appearing on the intake manifold last time I drove it. Well, let's have a closer look - arrrgghhh. It appears the valve cover gasket has slipped into the valve cover, leaving a section to blow oil out. Ah, such fun - means I have to pull the air filter assembly, ignition shielding, supercharger hose, and valve cover. Just to straighten the gasket and get it back to its rightful position. But wait, maybe an easier answer just came to me - maybe I can loosen the valve cover enough to pull that gasket back out where it belongs. I'll definitely try that first.

Looks like the old girl's gonna be out of service for a couple of weeks while I take care of the windshield gasket, the valve cover gasket, and seal up some holes in the cabin. Sounds like fun!

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Slow start to the windshield removal. Maybe that's a good thing - go sloooowww with glass. I drove the fast car on Sunday, then had to work out in the field on Monday, so no Avanti visit that day. Then yesterday, Tuesday, I was able to get by the storage place, with the intention of removing the trim pieces on the pillars. Best laid plans of mice and men....

First, I removed the windshield wipers. So far, so good. Then I moved on to the trim pieces. I was only able to remove four screws out of ten that hold the trim in place. Seems I didn't have a wide enough selection of phillips head screwdrivers. I had two, but the screws were so corroded fast that I couldn't get anywhere with either screwdriver. So, I gave up for the day and resolved to return with more screwdrivers (and a drill with bits, just so I could break bad if I needed to).

I figured I would stop at Sears and pick up a couple of things to assist me in my fun pursuit, so I stopped there at lunch today. I saw a great deal on a bunch of phillips head screwdrivers. I looked around for a couple of screw extractors. Man, they're expensive! Deciding I didn't need to break that bad on the screws I just opted for the multi-pak screwdriver set. I took it to the counter. The crickets chirped, the wind whistled gently through the trees. It was a ghost town. Nobody around. If I was the felonious type, I could have picked up the cash register and carried it out (and come back for the other cash register). After scouting around a bit I gave up on the new tool acquisition and headed out. Oh well, their loss.

I stopped by the house and searched my tool boxes, retrieving a half dozen phillips head screwdrivers. That should do it! I grabbed the cordless drill and some bits and headed out to the storage unit. Once there I tried the different screwdrivers - the last screw on the left side (the left side again) wouldn't budge. I tried to drill the screw head off. The drill lasted 10 seconds, then died. I put the backup battery on - it lasted 15 seconds. Ha! And I didn't have the power inverter in the field truck I was driving. Great.

So, I did what I should have done in the first place - I broke out the Vice Grips. The screw came out then. I moved to the right side and tried several screwdrivers. I found one that got the proper bite and 4 more screws came out. The last one, same screw as the other side, refused to budge. So, out came the Vice Grips again. In a moment the screw head twisted off and the trim was free. Geez, what a fight! I removed the trim pieces on both sides and examined what was underneath. A lot of crud, rust, and petrified rubber. Whew! What a mess!

One more step forward. I hope.

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Wednesday evening, just a little initial cleanup on the stainless pieces I took off the windshield pillars today. I gave the inside face of each piece a going over with steel wool to try to get most of the surface rust and crud off. It was mostly successful - there is still some type of dried sealer or caulk on some of the pieces that doesn't want to come off. But I'll keep after it until it cries, "Uncle!". Or until I cry, "Uncle!". After I got tired of cleaning the inside surfaces with steel wool I hit the exterior surfaces with chrome cleaner. Looks better than it did!

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With such a windshield channel, no wonder if there was some water leak...I don't know how you plan to remove the glass, but I would ask for a second person. This is mandatory to install the windshield: somebody must push on the glass while the other is pulling the string.

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Roger - I hope to remove the windshield very carefully. And yes, installation will be with extra folks (hopefully 2 extra) to push on each side. That's what the Shop Manual recommends too.

John - nope, the dash pad remains the crusty old self for now. It would be easier to replace with the glass out, but it just doesn't fit into the plan (or budget) right now.

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Another lunchtime run to the Avanti shed, this time to begin removing the cracked, shrunken and petrified rubber seal around the windshield. I grabbed a plastic fast food knife to assist me in this fun endeavor, which I used to run around the seal and cut any sealer that may be sticking to the gasket. I started on the outside, running the plastic blade between the seal and the glass. Then I lifted the old seal away from the glass and broke the rubber off a couple of inches at a time. After doing that to both sides I got inside the car, removed the right side sun visor, and ran the plastic knife around under the old rubber seal. For the most part the gasket was not stuck fast to the car, only in a couple of places. The gasket being thicker on the inside, I had to grasp it with my fingers and pull it away from the glass and break pieces off. Some pieces came out several inches at a time. Some were barely a couple of inches - my fingertips and thumbs were hurting after that.

After I had pulled off as much as I could on the right side I moved to the center switch console. I took the cover screws out, then the mounting screws. When I grabbed the console I punched a hole into it with my fingers - the material had become so brittle with time and neglect. Oh well, I wonder if those are still available - I thought I had seen replacement units in the Studebaker International catalog, but I have not found it yet. So, the fun continued all the way to the left side, where I decided I had pushed my luck far enough. The glass is moving when pressed, so I'm close. Just gotta take it slow and finish the removal another day.

I was looking at what I'm going to be in for during the re-installation. It looks like the dash may be a problem after all - not sure if I can squeeze by the dash and defroster vents when roping the new gasket. I might have to "Ask an Expert", someone who has done the Avanti windshield install before.

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Things are starting to move in the direction of the windshield removal and re-install beginning in the next 12 hours or so. I was surprised by the boss (the one I'm married to, not to be confused with the one who signs my paycheck), whereupon she basically gave the green light to having the old Avanti back in the garage for a spell. Took me by surprise, so much so that I had the windshield halfway out over at the storage unit. Now I'm going to have to tape it fast and hope it doesn't end up in my lap, or worse, in the street, as I bring the car here tomorrow. We'll see how it goes - wish me luck!

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I was in an excited mood this morning, as I was headed off to the storage place to get the Avanti. I looked out the window and my mood fell a bit - rain. Oh well, maybe it's just a passing shower - I headed out anyway. I basically had to un-do the stuff I did earlier this week, but I made it quick and dirty. I put a strip of duct tape on each side of the windshield and, to add a bit more stability, I re-installed the side stainless trim pieces. And since it was raining even harder I re-installed the windshield wipers. And I re-installed the over head switch console - told you I had to un-do everything I did this week. The trip home was slow and uneventful, except for all the rain that was falling.

Not long after the old Avanti resumed her place in the garage where she spent several months I had all the pieces of again and I was ready to try the window removal. A couple of pushes on the top of the windshield from inside and she popped out. Then I grabbed one side and my wife grabbed the other and we lifted and pulled the glass free. We laid it on the hood where it spent the next several hours as I cleaned and cleaned. What a day! Whew! Cleaning the old sealer gunk from the body, cleaning the old sealer gunk from the glass, cleaning the stainless trim pieces, treating the rust on the pillars with Rust Reformer, cleaning the glass more. Geez!

Finally it was time to install the new gasket - I ran a bead of the Glazing and Bedding Compound in the glass channel of the gasket and proceeded to install it on the glass. What a mess! I knew what I was in for, as I had read other folk's experience with it. But, after the "Fight of the Century", the gasket was on - then it was time to clean up all the mess I made. In the last picture you can see some of that sealer still on the glass. I only got that half done before running out of steam. It was time to call it a day and get some rest. I hope tomorrow is easier.

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