December 2, 2012

Phew - What a GREAT weekend!

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Lots got done this weekend - on several different vehicles. For a change of pace, I spent some time on my 1971 Datsun 240Z, removing the badly deteriorated partially-fiberglass quarter. First thing to do was scribe around the new replacement panel so I would know where to make the initial cuts:

It took a fair amount of cutting, grinding and ripping to remove the several layers of glue, fiberglass and  fillers that connected a fiberglass panel and made up the wheel arch:

In order to minimize the dust cloud that would be created by using a cutting wheel,
I used the air saw to cut through the fiberglass and filler instead.

Judging by what was on top, it was not as bad as I thought underneath. It'll take some custom work to rebuild these inner portions, but the fiberglass work - in addition to being stored for much of the last 15 years, may have protected it from further deterioration:

 Over the years I've found the air chisel - and now those newer cove cutters 
- to make quick work of undercoating.

Cutting the quarter away gave much more access to the gas tank filler and vent hoses.


I'm always amazed at the amount of crap that comes out of a rusted car. 
This pile of metal, rust, fiberglass, glue and fillers.

 Uh oh - "Made in the USA" pieces on my Made in Japan car?!  Yikes!
I'll use the new inner wheel house to seam this area like new.

Here I've clamped the new quarter panel section on the cut-out portion. Nows the time to fit it into the exact position, then measure and make the other parts that go in and around this panel. As well, one has to decide whether to butt weld, overlap or crimp a flange into it. Butt welding leaves the nicest finish in and out, but is not always the strongest choice. Overlapping may be the easiest method, but requires too much filler to cover the lap joint and leaves a gap between the two sheets where rust can start again.

Here's something very rare on these cars original, clean, no-rust metal!

 Next I'll begin making and fitting the various pieces to be welded in under the quarter skin.....

But before getting to that, I also wanted to also get a start on the 390FE I bought from the local chapter moderator (Morris) of, my favourite truck site. Morris is one of those guys that always has a few extra's of everything and the stories to go with! I've now purchased a '53 Flathead engine (which cuurently resides in my '46 Merc) along with this 390FE.

This particular engine was apparently running when removed, turned easily and had the factory 4 bbl manifold and Holley carb on it. This would be a great exhange/spare for my '67 Galaxie Convertible.

Getting the original Holley 4 bbl carb off for an initial clean and soaking was task 1.

 I always take photo's of linkages and small complex parts in case I need to refer back to them on re-assembly.
 Duraspark Ignition wiring.
 Reluctor wheel inside distributor. Looks like it's been DRY for a while!
 Some of the hoses still had the original spring clamps!
 Carb ID plate calls out Original Equipment Holley 4 bbl.

 Also still present was the fiber (asbestos?) covering on the choke warming tube from the exhaust manifold.
Original style clamp on one side of the water pump bypass....
This photo reminds me that I need to get the lift chain back to Morris....
Pulling the carb shows little dirt and just a light coating of moisture-caused rust.
 Various other clues together make it appear that this engine has not been apart for a very long time - if at all.
Spacer below is a nice piece without a bunch of vacuum openings that would have been added later.

 Finally, time for a bath to wash some of the surface gunk off.

Detailed reference photo's for re-assembly. We'll come back to these when the engine is back together and looking like new!

The 390 really wakes up when these restrictive exhaust manifolds are replaced by headers.

Once torn down, it'll go to the machine shop....about the same time this flathead block comes back!

Finally, I got back to a few things on the 40Ford Rod, like connecting some last bits on the dash cluster.

Here I'm adding ringed terminals with shrink tubing to lengths of wire to connect the gauges to the wiring harness already in the car. When I wire things up, I always remove the hard plastic end pieces from any terminals and replace them with shrink tubing. The hard plastic ends always get crushed when crimped and not only look like sh*t, but often leave bare areas or fall of altogether.

The ground wires from the LED turn signal wires came into close contact with a power terminal, so I cut a small piece of electrical tape to act as a protective barrier between the two:

Below, this small button gets wired into the digital speedometer to calibrate and set the various parameters built into the speedo's software. It'll get mounted under the dash.

Also looked at were the seat belts would be located. It's important to look forward as you go in case you need to make any changes, adjustments or considerations as assembly continues.

PHEW!!  What a great weekend (for a car-geek)!!