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Thanks Richard, I'm glad that I'm making some progress! I've set a deadline of sorts for getting the mechanical work done. Whether I will make that self imposed deadline remains to be seen, but I'll try!

P.S. I like your site - that Mini truck is especially cool. I'll check out your site more in depth in the coming days (when I take a break from the Avanti!)

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I decided to take advantage of the mild temperature today and spray some Rust Reformer on the fuel tank. First I scuffed off the worst of the rust, wiped it down, and sprayed Rustoleum Rust Reformer on the rusty areas. Nothing pretty, just want to hold up the rust from it's interminable march forward, destroying all in it's path. I think I'll do another coat, then forget about it. It'll be tucked away in its cubbyhole behind the rear seat, hopefully for another 50 years.

I bought a new fuel sender unit but I am not sure if I am going to use it. I may check out the original sender and re-use it, if it checks out. For my own reasons. Tomorrow I have to solder the vent tube back onto the tank, it came out of its spot, apparently from all the handling of the tank in recent weeks. In the picture you can see the tiny hole for it in front of the sender unit hole.

On another note, I got a call from FedEx looking for my address. Seems they have a package for me. From Georgia. Yes, a supercharger awaits my arrival home tonight!

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The supercharger came home! All shiny and new! Nimesh Solanki did a super job on it - looks new from the factory. Thanks Nimesh!

A couple of more steps on the front end - removed the sway arm mount at the A-arm and removed the shock. The tie rod end is holding on though, refusing to give it up. Don't make me bring out the 8 pound sledge again!

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As I returned home today from my lunchtime walk (brrr, that was cold) I spied a box on my stoop that wasn't there when I left. "Hmmm, I thought, I think I know what this is..."

Last week, after I lost out on the air cleaner assembly for my Avanti I started to look around again. I found one and jumped on it, no waiting around thinking about it. I needed it, so I bought it. And that was what awaited me today when I returned home from my walk. It's beautiful!

Thanks Bob Ziff, from Avanti Parts & Restorations!

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I took John's advice and got some JB Weld to fix the vent tube on the fuel tank. I brought the tank back home from its storage spot where I was working on it. It's good to see it back home, cleaned and sealed and almost ready to go back in the car. The JB Weld fix worked great, I'm glad John brought it to my attention.

I also took a couple of more steps on the right side front end, compressing the coil spring and removing the king pin nut. The lower A-arm would not release from the king pin though. The tie rod end also is being difficult, and I decided to remove it from the steering knuckle after I get the spindle assembly off the king pin.

Today's goals are to get the king pin out and install the new fuel sender unit in the fuel tank. That's right, I changed my mind on that again after really thinking it through. Those two goals are probably going to be it for today, I'm kind of dragging today...need to relax a little and take a long walk.

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Well, I wasn't able to get the fuel sender unit to work according to the directions. If you have a 10 and a half inch deep fuel tank the length that the sender bracket is supposed to extend into the tank is 5 and 3/8 inches. The sender bracket is adjustable, but will only adjust down to 6 and 1/8 inches. I must be missing something. I wish I could find a NOS sender unit. That would be nice!

On a happier note, I was able to remove the king pin on the right side. Yay! The bottom A-arm would not release from the king pin so I had to remove the top A-arm mounting and come at it that way. It all worked out in the end.

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Chris, I also bought the SI gas level sender. I tried adjusting it, but ran into the same problem as you. Mine reads 1/4 lower than it should be. So my full tank reads 3/4 of a tank on the gauge. On the plus side I know that when the gauge reads empty I still have a 1/4 of a tank left. Better than the other way, I will live with it.

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Yes Roger, the float arm is adjustable. There is a chart with the unit that shows the length of the sender bracket and a length for the float arm. So, I guess I can get a combination of the two to work - it just won't match the chart that came with the unit. A good question - thanks for asking.

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Chris, here is a pic of my old and new fuel sender. Does your new one look like mine? Got it from SI also.

I think that you could lay yours side by side and adjust the new arm to the same angle as the old one that you have to give you a full reading on the gauge. I could not do that as the old wire was so thin it just drooped and would not give me the correct full angle to measure from.

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Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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The sending unit can be modified in various ways. On my Corvair I tried to salvage the old one, patching it, but was not successful. Since none were being made at the time, I bought one from a 56 Chevy to modify. The one that came and I brought to Bolivia was not the same as the one shown on the Corvair forum, so my modifications were more severe. Add to that the fact that I fabricated the bottom half of my gas tank and the angle of the opening for the sender was not exact, which changed the angle of the float.

Once I had it looking basically like the original, cutting the tube, welding it, bending it, etc. I bent it a little more than it should have been and held it in place, feeling it touch the bottom as I pushed the face plate in place, then pulling it and bending it back a little until there was no tension when I pushed the unit against the tank to fasten it.

Then I bent the float arm til it was the same place as the take-up tube (for the empty position), measuring the tank height and the arm movement so it would also measure full. I bent the arm with that little curve you see until it was short enough to not hit the top too soon.

Hope this helps

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Thanks Richard - I'm thinking of trying to salvage the original, it's not really in too bad of shape considering its age. I tried to check it with an Ohm meter last night but was getting nothing. Either the Ohm meter was bad or I don't know how to use it, because I wasn't getting any reading from anything else I tested. Basically, an Ohm meter tests the resistance of a wire, or any other conductive surface, to electricity. Any info on how to test the conductivity of the the sender would be appreciated. Bob Ziff at Avanti Parts and Restorations told me that at empty the unit should show a reading of 30 ohms and at full the reading should be 230. Those numbers are approximate, because I stored them in my memory, and that is not what it used to be (sigh). So, I'm going to work at little more on this problem, as I would like to have A) an original unit, and B) one that works. The picture below shows the unit I bought. Its a tiny picture, captured from the website. Basically a generic unit...

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Last night, before fooling around with the fuel sender unit, I removed the lower king pin knuckles from the A-arms. they came off relatively easily, as I applied the 2 foot Pipe 'O Leverage to them. Now I can concentrate on removing the A-arms so I can take them to the machine shop for cleaning and bushing replacements. At the same time I'll take the spindles in for fitting of the king pin bushings. The last picture below shows the core exchange parts read to be packaged up to send back.

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Chris, re your original fuel sender. Why not put in a battery or use jumpers to your battery wires to energize the car by turning on the ignition and hook up the old sender outside of the tank. Then you can manually move the lever and see if it registers on the gauge in the dash.

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I teach just outside of Youngstown, Ohio. I remember sometime in the late 80's or early 90's Avanti had a manufacturing plant and dealership on Wick Ave. Anytime I drove by the University (YSU) you could see the newer Avanti's driving by and in the showroom windows. Wish I could have bought one back then. I'll have to yahoo the 'Avanti' and read it's history. I have to say 'yahoo' and not 'google' because my brother works for 'Yahoo'.

thanks for keeping up informed of your progress.

Bill

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John, I tried that the other night. My gauges seem to be "dead". Not sure if it's a fuse issue - the only lights I could get to work were in the radio. The red lighted dial!

Bill, first time I've heard "yahoo" something - funny! Thanks for checking in with what I'm doing.

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Chris,

When you reassemble the outer pin/bushing assemblies on the control arms, be sure that you spread the ends of the control arms as shown in the Avanti Shop Manual. If this isn't done, there may be a significant bind between the bushing & pin threads. Also note the torque that is required on the bushings.

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On a working ohm meter the needle will go up when the two probes are touched. Battery was dead in mine, requiring a 1 day delay at the time.

Inside the box is a little potentiometer and the arm moves along it. Sometimes they get worn, sometimes it is just touching-up the contacts on the end to restore it. But sometimes the wires are worn and shot. And sometimes you get lucky and can just solder a wire back.

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Ah, I took a quick look under the drivers side dash looking for fuses - I'll check the other side when I get a chance. Paul, that's something that has been puzzling me about the bushings on the A-arms. I understand that the arms can't be over tightened or the bushings will squeeze the shaft and it will cause binding. I need to relay that to the guys at the machine shop - hopefully they've done a couple of these old setups before.

Richard, I got a different meter tonight and I was get a reading on some objects laying around - wrenches, toolbox, etc, but nothing on the sender unit. There is a post on Bob Johnstone's website where a guy rebuilds his sender. I'm going to check that out tomorrow. Thanks guys, for checking in and the advice.

Tonight I was able to remove the left side A-arms. Whew!

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Well, the right side A-arms are off! Whew, I'm glad I bought some long wrenches before I started that. A breaker bar with socket won't fit in the tight area on these A-arms so it had to be wrenched. With long wrenches, for leverage. So I stopped by Sears and picked up 3 long wrenches in the sizes I estimated the nuts and bolts to be, and I got lucky! They worked! Now I need to gather up the parts and bushings and carry them to the machine shop.

I ordered a Stewart Warner sender unit on Ebay today, just to see if it's a better fit than the SunPro sender I just bought. I read about the SW sender on the Bob Johnstone site today, so I looked for one. I got it for $25 new, and that includes shipping. I'll look it over and decide which one to use.

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Not too much accomplished tonight except for collecting all the old parts in need of refurbishing and the new parts that will be needed for the refurbishing. I guess I will have them remove the tie rod that I could never get to let loose, clean the parts, install the trunnion bushings, install the lower outer control pin that holds the king pin, and install the king pin bushings and bearings. Then I should be able to install the king pins after I reinstall the control arms. I hope.

I also removed the gas filler in preparation for the gas tank reinstall. The guys who busted the locking gas cap off kind of mangled the filler neck where the gas cap fits on. I'll see if I can straighten that a bit. You can also see the original color of the car where the filler tube came off.

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Yep - Avanti Turquoise was the original color of this car. Ah well, I guess someone wanted a little change of pace. I kind of like Avanti Red myself....

I normally don't like turquoise colored cars but it is one of my favorite colors on the Avanti. Same thing applies to the white interior. :o

Edited by straight shooter (see edit history)
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If you don't want to damage the boot or the joint on the tie rod end try smacking the side of the part where the tapered shaft for the tie rod goes through with a 2 lb. hammer. Usually a few good smacks and the tie rod end will pop right out. If you are not worryed about damaging the tie rod end the pickle fork works too, if you have one.

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The best way to free up the tie rod end is to hold a large metal hammer against one side of the holder part and then strike it with a ball peen hammer on the side 180 degrees opposite, the trick here is to momentarily deform the tapered body that clinches the tapered tie rod end with the hammmer strike and the tie rod will fall out of the holder part. Works every time for me.

Stude8

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Yes, I have a pickle fork and it worked great on the 3 other tie rod ends but this last one wouldn't give up the grip. And since I'm working with limited space, no vice or anvil, and lots 'o neighbors I thought I would just ask the shop mechanic if he could pop it out. He said, "No problem, sometimes ya gotta heat 'em up." Which I've also done before. But it's all good now, I dropped the control arms and spindles off at a shop that Dave Thibeault recommended and I'm happy to have that part of the work in the right professional's hands.

So tonight I received the Stewart Warner fuel sender unit. I was going to put the SunPro sender unit and the SW unit side by side and compare them and make a decision on which to use. But, when I took the SW sender out of the box and started looking it over I decided it was the unit I wanted to go with. It's a simpler design but looks like it is well made. About half the cost of the SunPro. Also, the original sender is an SW. So I followed the instructions, cut the float rod to the prescribed length for the tank depth, bent the float rod at 90 degree angle and inserted it through the center of the sender unit. Then the float rod is supposed to lock into 2 plastic "grips". As an added precaution I took some of my new best friend, JB Weld, and applied it to the rod at the grips, just for extra hold.

I then checked the resistance and I was getting around 240 ohms when the float was all the way down (empty) and around 30 ohms when the float was all the way up (full). So, I'll install the sender in the tank tomorrow night and put the tank back in the car.

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I ordered some strangely named rubber refresher from Amazon and received it today. It's a German product - hence the odd name. Not that Germans are odd, just a different language. I thought I would see if I could coax some semblance of pliability back into the rubber seals around the windows, etc. However, I think the bottles are too small - I need it by the gallon. I also need a paint brush to apply it liberally. Oh well, I'll rub it on and see if it helps any.

I installed the sender unit - after comparing the two to see if they matched on the low end. The new one is a tad higher than the old one - that's good, right? A little higher and it'll show empty when I still have a couple of gallons left.

One of the mounting holes got some tank sealer in it and the screw wouldn't fit any more, so I took a drill and knocked some of the sealer off. No problems after that. I know I'm going to have to remove one of the screws to put the ground wire on - easy enough to do. The tank is back in - not all bolted in, but well on the way.

Next up, the dreaded oil pan removal. Remove the 100 lb. starter motor, the greasy inspection plate, the breather tube. Someone beat me - I'd rather do that than take this oil pan off. But, once it's done, it's done and I'll be happy it's done. I do want to see if there is any sludge in the pan. I also want to see what the drain plug threads look like, I haven't taken a close look at the plug but it looks like some vice grips have been gnawing on it.

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I ordered some strangely named rubber refresher from Amazon and received it today. It's a German product - hence the odd name. Not that Germans are odd, just a different language. I thought I would see if I could coax some semblance of pliability back into the rubber seals around the windows, etc. However, I think the bottles are too small - I need it by the gallon. I also need a paint brush to apply it liberally. Oh well, I'll rub it on and see if it helps any.

Strange world: you buy a German product for your rubber and we, in Europe, are buying an US product to do that!

Don't be fooled by such products: I may be wrong, but you never will get your weatherstrips like new. It's like a beauty cream: even applied everyday with a large brush on a 80 years old face, the skin will never turn back like it was when 20 years old...

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Roger, that's a great analogy. If someone could find the formula to turn an 80 year old face into a 20 year old face they would be very, very rich! I didn't think I could get the rubber to like new - I was just hoping to find something to soak into the window seals and maybe swell them up some. All the door, trunk, and hood weatherstripping is going to be replaced in the coming weeks.

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Rubber conditioning is possible to an extent. To start off with, buy a bottle of Automatic Transmission Sealer/Conditioner (not the cheap stuff, which is probably mineral spirits or kerosene). Soak some parts in it for a while to see if it is enough. I put this stuff in power steering units to soften up the seals on the steering rack, and in automatic transmissions to swell the seals and stop the leaks. It also restores dry windshield wiper blades (just wipe and let it soak in and dry before smearing the windshield).

I actually make the conditioner I sell. 1 part of an Ester/Diester Group V synthetic oil (very solvent) and 19 parts Dexron.

That way when you put 16 ounces in a transmission, or 1/3 of that in a power steering system, you can't really screw up. In certain special cases I use a hypodermic needle with a small amount of the pure synthetic in a hydraulic system or differential. I never use a lot because it is strong, and costs $400 a pail in the US (wholesale).

Check this chart

Products in the column on the left won't show much change. Be careful with the products in the list on the right if you buy the synthetic full strength, but they will soften and expand in the Automatic Transmission Conditioner.

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Thanks Richard, I'm going to experiment with some things, if only to hold off the inevitable, which is, buy all the rubber for the car and install it. The hardest thing to do is always the right thing to do.

Today I finished re-installing the fuel tank, except for installing the new rubber fuel lines in the various spots. I thought I would get by the auto parts store today for the fuel lines but I didn't because of the weather. So, I used the time around the house to work on the tank re-install. I finished tightening the holding straps, put a new electrical connector on the lead wire to the sender and hooked the wires back up. While I was in the back of the car I decided to see how the interior would clean up. Some good, some not good - ah well, more fun inside the car once I get the mechanical stuff sorted out.

After I goofed off for a while I returned to the tank and worked on fixing the filler tube where previous people had sort of mangled it while getting a locking gas cap off. I was able to straighten the lip enough to take the gas cap, then I used a Dremel tool to smooth the lip so the gas cap would go on smoothly and stay put. Not perfect, but it will do. Then I installed the filler tube along with the rubber filler hose. Then I got under the car and installed the brass petcock. Enough for today - more fun tomorrow!

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