Saturday, June 28, 2008

Differential Plug.

The old differential fill plug was a little leaky. I replaced it with an ordinary, galvanized 3/4" NPT pipe plug from the hardware store ($0.98). The plug is taper-threaded, but for good measure I put some Teflon tape on the threads. No more drips!

underbody needs a good cleaning

While I was under the car, I drained the differential and transmission, and filled them with fresh 80W-90 gear oil. (Everyone loves Redline MTL, but the local parts store was out and I'm cheap, so I used a synthetic blend from Valvoline.) FYI, there's no drain plug on the diff, so the fluid had to be siphoned it out.

Friday, June 27, 2008

PCV Valve.

I've been struggling with my SU's for a couple weeks now. I just can't seem to get the mixture right - the motor feels weak under load unless I set the carbs so rich that I can smell strong fuel-ey fumes.

Even though I'm 99% sure that I've got the dreaded throttle shaft leak, I thought I'd replace the PCV valve and eliminate a potential vacuum leak in the crankcase ventilation system.

I was able to pick up a replacement PCV valve at my local auto supply (Fram FV237) and 18" of 5/16" vacuum hose for about $4 total. While I was at it, flushed plenty of gunk out of the flame trap with some carb cleaner.

Well, I've still got carb troubles, but for under $5, I've got a PCV circuit that'll hopefully last me another 500,000 miles.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


OK. I had a moment of weakness. I admit it.

I've been intending to save some of the "fun" parts of the restoration for last. For example, polishing and repainting the "122S" insignia badges. But... I just couldn't resist and I pulled the badges off the car yesterday.

looking kind of rough.

The badges were in pretty rough shape, but being actual metal (not plastic like the brightwork of today's cars), I figured they could be restored.

They had a film of white paint on them - left over from a pretty shoddy paint job which afflicts the rest of the car as well. In addition, they had some pretty deep gouges in them.

I started by cleaning them up with lacquer thinner to remove dirt and all the old paint. Because of the extent of the gouges, I decided to even out the surface by sanding, even though it'd mean having to sand through the chrome plating. Because areas of the chrome had already been worn away, I figured I might as well.

notice different sheen where chrome is worn away at bottom of the "S"

I wet sanded, starting with 320 grit, up to 800 grit, and finally 2000 grit sandpaper. I finished with polishing compound. Because the soft aluminum is now exposed, I'll probably end up re-plating the badges at some point.

I used Testors model paint to color the badges red and black as they were originally. (The smell of the Testors paint reminded me of childhood the entire time I was painting.)

completed badges

I'll probably still wait until the car's painted to put them back on.

Fuel Filter.

I'd read on Brickboard that an often overlooked cause of poor performance is a clogged fuel filter. I'd been experiencing poor power, but I'd checked my filter and it looked clear, so I didn't suspect it was a problem.

Given the fact that fuel filters are less than $3 at the local auto supply (Fram G4164), I figured it couldn't hurt to get a new one. I was glad I did. After removing the old filter and comparing it to a new one, I realized it was dirtier than I'd thought.

notice the dark matter at the bottom of the old filter

While I was at it, I decided to throw an extra filter on the line before the fuel pump and change all the fuel lines (5/16" from the tank to the fuel pump, 1/4" from the pump to the carbs). The old lines, it turns out, were getting pretty hard. Total cost for filters and lines was under $10. Inexpensive fixes that I hope will prevent future problems.

filters before and after the pump, new lines and toothless hose clamps all around

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Piston Lifters.

When I had the carbs off the car to fix the choke boss, I discovered that the piston lifting pins were missing. Apparently, the carbs run just fine without them, but the idea of a missing part (not to mention unfiltered air entering the carbs) was driving me nuts.

Conveniently, while I was digging around inside the car last weekend, I found one of them and was able to use it as a model to make two new ones.

I started with a 1.5" length of 1/8" diameter brass rod, soldered a 0.54" length of 5/32" brass tube over it, then soldered another 0.54" length of 3/16" tubing over that to get the correct diameter "shoulder." I used K&S Engineering's rod/tube, each size of which conveniently nests inside the next successively larger size. It's available at most hobby shops and many hardware stores.

K&S tubing/rod nests neatly inside itself

I don't have a lathe, so I chucked the tube/rod assembly in a drill mounted on the handy Crafstman drill stand I got for my birthday this year, and worked it with various files. I used the tip of a needle file to machine the groove for the e-clip (located 0.20" from the end of the pin).

ghetto lathe

I got a couple of 1/8" brass washers, o-rings, and springs from the hardware store. I couldn't find any small e-clips, so I had to buy a 20-piece e-clip assortment from Kragen.

Everything fit as planned. Now, if I could just figure out how to properly tune these darn SUs...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Fuse Block.

Even after cleaning it with a wire brush and sandpaper, my fuseblock was looking a little crusty, and I knew there was even more crust deep down in between the terminals.

I decided it was time for a rebuild, and while I was at it, I decided I was going to modernize the block to accept 1/4" glass cartridge fuses. (I have visions of blowing a fuse in the middle of nowhere, in the dead of night, and not being able to find euro-style fuses at a gas station...)

As usual, the process started with disassembly:

I wasn't careful when drilling out the rivets holding the terminals to the block, and as you can see in the picture, I ended up damaging a corner of the relatively brittle Bakelite block. I started reading up on Bakelite repair, only to discover it's supposedly impossible. Just as all hope seemed lost, I decided to try gluing the piece back in place with Zap-A-Gap.

Bingo. It turns out that Zap-A-Gap (which I swear is superior to other CA adhesives) mends Bakelite just fine. I glued the piece back in place, sanded the area with 800 grit sandpaper, and the repair is completely invisible. While I was at it, I patched a previously broken corner with some black plastic (I used some ABS I had lying around) as well.

Next, I set to the dull- albeit rewarding- task of cleaning each terminal lug with a wire brush attached to my Dremel. Seeing the amount of oxidation that had developed in between the lugs, and the difference before and after cleaning, made me feel that my efforts would be well worth it for the long term health of my Amazon's charging system.



I had a hard time finding cartridge fuse clips, so I ended up buying a fuse block from Radio Shack, and using just the clips. Because the Amazon's original fuse block is sized for euro fuses, I ended up having to do a good amount of modifying the clips by fitting, drilling, filing, refitting, redrilling, and refiling to get the spacing right for 1/4" cartridge fuses. At first, I was obsessed with centering the fuses in the block, but in the end, I ended up offsetting them.

Before reassembling the block, I followed Ron Kwas's excellent advice, and tinned and soldered all of the terminals to prevent future oxidation between the lugs. Then, I reassembled everything using screws so that future disassembly would be easier, should it ever be necessary (i.e., in another 580,000 miles). I searched to find super-flat pan head screws (necessary to fit between the fuse clip and the fuse itself). After scouring all the local hardware stores, I gave up, bought flat head screws, and countersunk the terminals slightly.

back together - terminals were tinned, assembled, then heated to fuse the solder.

Back in the car, with the cover on, the fuseblock looks stock. Hopefully, this bit of preventative maintenance will save me from having to deal with a charging system calamity or, worse yet, engine compartment fire.

De-Ox was applied to all of the fuse clips and spade connectors