May 17, 2015

1968 Camaro - time for a shake down!

Whenever you take a vehicle apart - or build one up from scratch - there's going to be issues that need to be figured out -  and repaired - at the end - and sometimes even later. It's known by various names: Shake Down, Debugging and the Road Test, being just a few.

The Camaro went to my go-to AC shop, ADVANCED RAD, where Darren and Len attached, routed and crimped all the hoses, then custom-fabricated and aluminum-welded the March compressor hard-lines, tested and re-toqued the entire serpentine system and then filled and leak-tested the cooling system, then vacuum-leak-tested and filled the AC system. Lastly, Darren set the sliders on the retro-fitted controls and left me some notes to complete the installation back at my shop.

Above, the March stamped SANDEN compressor with newly welded ends.
Below, Advanced Rad connected everything at the firewall bung, routed the AC hoses and even gave the wiring a nice finishing 'twist' ;)

Below - Added to the "still to do" list, is a fan shroud. This open-rad setup will not do once the AC is running on a hot day.....

The Camaro then went next door, to Paragon Auto, my go-to alignment and initial run-up guys. The alignment went smoothly and they doubled-checked all fasteners and re-set the cotter-pins on all the new parts as required. Safety First!  On running the engine for the first time, they found a missing ground strap to the engine and noticed gas leaking form the fairly new carb. After 2 years of sitting during the restoration, the big Demon carb's seals had dried out and were no-longer sealing. A carb overhaul ensued, along with a timing check and it was running....but not without issues...

The new gauges are all electric - and the oil sender was showing no oil pressure. The mechanic was understandably wary and called me immediately upon noticing the issue. We agreed they would drain and re-fill the block with the 7 litres capacity of the MOROSO pan and - after I assured him it was running prior to the restoration and that the engine remained sealed - he started the engine.

Before the Camaro came back to my shop, the Camaro went to my new glass man, Mike. I finally found a guy who has been doing glass all his life and is a muscle-car fan, owner and builder himself. The Camaro was towed to his place and he re-insalled all the moulding clips - which is the part I was most concerned with. Get them wrong and the chrome surround mouldings will never fit properly. Get them right and everything fits flush. Even the factory got it wrong on many occassion - but Mike got it right. He then urethaned in new back-glass, the windshield and then fit new back mouldings and most of the new front mouldings. He showed me how the front bottom moulding and clips are all messed up and so that little mess will also be added to the list to be done at my place....


Back on the flat deck for  - hopefully - the final time!

   As soon as I got the newly-coined Ultra - Camaro back to the E-tek compound, I began to troubleshoot the gauge issue.  First thing I did was confirm Oil Presssure by  removing the electronic bung and hooking up a manual oil-filled gauge to the same hole, confirming 50lbs of pressure:

Pulling paopart the dash again to gain access to the back of ther gauges was NOT fun - but apart it came and my trusty meter was pressed into service. I had a signal at the bung when the car was started - about 3-4 Volts. Kinda low, but a signal none-the-less. At the back of the gauge - no signal. So, I hooked up a jumper wire to test the wiring I installed from gauge to showed a signal, though eratic. I then tested the actual gauge by grounding the pin - which pegged the needle - all good there. So I re-read the manual and all I can think is that the sensors are not getting a clear ground. So tomorow I'll clean the threads on the water and oil sensors and maybe add a ground strap from engine to body and see if that works....stay tuned.

The towing adds up, but there's little alternative when the project nears the $50,000.00 most of them do.
                                            Below - Women tow-truck there anything they can't do?