Archive for April, 2013

Half way there…

Posted April 30, 2013 By dad

Left the Redding Holiday Inn in the morning,
lunched at Benbow Inn
finished the day in room 123 at the Little River Inn (our favorite stop along the entire route)

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last gas for 60 miles

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waiting for gas

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waiting for our turn at the pump

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relaxin’ before gassin’

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in the queue; the black hot rod was Newport Beach’s Steve Schmidt’s last minute substitution for his 1957 Porsche 356GT, which was disabled just before the event

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Our intrepid team arrives hot and weary at Benbow Inn

enjoying a relaxing lunch at Benbow Inn

enjoying a relaxing lunch at Benbow Inn

view from the back patio at Benbow Inn

view from the back patio at Benbow Inn

somewhere along the Mendocino coast line

somewhere along the Mendocino coast line

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much needed break to cool off

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Home of the best rubber duck collection we’ve ever seen.

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Jack needed some “convincing” before he agreed drive the Rally across coast highway between two blind turns to get gas when we arrived at Little River Inn

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happy to make it alive to dinner at Little River Inn

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late night McGyver fix for our differential oil leak; this photo is just before we wrapped it with Silicone Tape (in French Racing Blue of course!)

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If it’s Monday, this must be Redding

Posted April 29, 2013 By dad

Day one is complete and it was BRUTAL! We covered 300 miles in 8 hours of driving.

The start was very exciting. As the oldest car in the event, we were assigned car # 1 and were the first to depart the San Francisco Fairmont, waved off by the Italian Vice Consul in San Francisco.

moments before the start

moments before the start

We turned north on Van Ness, left on Lombard and within minutes were crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on an beautifully clear and Sunny day.  In the morning, we covered 160 miles (averaging almost 20 mpg!) to get to our lunch in Williams. The road noise is really loud, but the wind noise is deafening.  Even worse is the constant flow of 200 degree air mixed with some burnt oil billowing into the cockpit from the engine compartment because there is no firewall. It is INTENSELY HOT. Driving this car feels like stoking coal for a huge steam locomotive. I would estimate the temperature at our seats to be approximately 150 degrees for the duration of our drive. Our legs and arms felt almost burned. We were so dehydrated, we drank at least 8 bottles of water (and a delicious bottle of Mexican Coca Cola–the one with real sugar!).  No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t drink enough to satiate my intense thirst.

The Rally performed like a champ and delivered us to our lunch and dinner destinations without any drama. It handled winding country roads and 80 mph amidst the big rigs on Highway 5 without complaint. The afternoon drive, however, took us on some much rougher roads which together with wind advisory-level cross winds were knocking us around like a ping pong ball in a washing machine. The scenery was beautiful, but I was eager to get to our final destination in Redding. When we arrived, we cleaned the bugs off the headlights and wind screens, checked and cleaned the fuel filters, replaced about 16 oz. of differential oil we have lost over the last two days, and checked to make sure all the bits that were supposed to be on the car were still there. It appears we only lost a threaded cap to one of the hood latches (which we can get by without for the remainder of the event).

Several of our fellow participants retired today, including the #2 car, the 1928 Bugatti driven by the two Martins from England. They get to finish the event in an air-conditioned rental car. I’m SOOOOOO jealous. The cold shower in our hotel at the end of the day may have been my best shower EVER!

We are back in our room after a banquet dinner with all the participants. It’s 9:30pm and I can barely keep my eyes open. We are going to sleep SO WELL tonight.

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our intrepid companions Mike, Peggy, Linda and Will

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“Must be in the front row!”

Posted April 28, 2013 By dad

It’s Sunday, the day before the start of the California Mille. Jack and I arrived to learn we have roundel #1, because we will be driving the oldest car in this year’s event. We beat the 1928 Bugatti by one year! Of the 70 cars which participated in the 2013 California Mille, only the first 6 were pre-war cars.  Stay posted for some other interesting stats on the distribution of cars after the event. For more information, you may wish to check out:

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best dressed entrants at the opening banquet Sunday night

Our route for the next four days: Day 1: Lunch in Williams & finish in Redding (300 mi) Day 2: Lunch in Benbow, Mendocino coast & finish in Mendocino (236 mi) Day 3: Lunch in Boonville, finish in Calistoga (189 mi) Day 4: Sonoma Coast, lunch in Petaluma, back to Calistoga for end of California Mille (224 mi) We’ll keep you posted…

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Top 10 Signs You Should Pull Over Immediately 

By Tom and Ray Magliozzi, Car Talk

Cars are so reliable these days; it’s easy to forget that you can still have an emergency.

Here’s our Top 10 list of the things that should cause you to pull your car over immediately.

(We know, this was supposed to be only 10 reasons to pull over immediately, but we thought of a few more. So sue us!)

12. Losing Something ‘Essential 

We’re sure this has happened to you. You’re driving along and you reach into your glove box to grab your Sleepy LaBeef CD. As you’re fumbling to open the CD case with one hand, the CD pops out and falls on the floor, under your legs.What do you do? Too many people bend down while they’re driving and try to find Sleepy’s greatest hits. Don’t do it. Remember that at 65 mph every second your head spends down between your knees your car moves almost 100 feet without a driver! Besides, if your head is down there when you crash it could end up firmly implanted somewhere embarrassing. One might even argue that it already is in that dark place if you engage in this risky behavior.

So if you drop something — a CD, your keys, your phone, a french fry — either let it sit there until you get to your destination or pull over before you fish it out.

11. Cabin Chaos 

Sometimes things get exciting inside a car. The kids, who normally slap and pinch each other suddenly pull out kitchen knives. Or your Labrador sees a cute little poodle crossing the street and jumps into your lap to get a closer look. Or your mother-in-law announces that she’s just filled her Depends. Don’t try to solve problems like these and drive at the same time. You can’t. It’s tempting to try to reach the kids in the backseat and separate them or toss the dog into the backseat or help your mother-in-law ... nevermind. It’s much wiser to pull over and get things back under control. Then get back on the road.

10. Medical Emergency 

If you think that you may be experiencing a medical problem, pull over right away. We’ve heard too many stories about people who have all the signs of a stroke or heart attack, yet they decide to try to “make it home” before calling for help. This is a recipe for killing yourself and other people on the road. If you have any reason to believe you’re getting seriously ill, pull over and call for help.That’s what 911 is for.

Even less deadly medical problems can make us lousy drivers. So consider pulling over and resting if you have something in your eye, a migraine headache or intense heartburn. Pull over if you can’t sit still because you need to use the bathroom (or the bushes next to the road) or if you drop cigar ash between your legs. Anything that causes you to worry more about some part of your body than what’s happening on the road in front of you is a good reason to pull over and stop driving until the problem is solved.

9. Lack of Visibility 

We tend to forget that when we’re driving we’re piloting a 3,000-pound projectile. And when you’re going 65 mph, you’re covering 96 feet in one second. It’ll take you 316 feet to come to a complete stop under ideal conditions.For that reason, it’s good to be able to see!

Your visibility can suddenly become impaired for all kinds of reasons: a sudden downpour, thick fog, broken windshield wipers, a big splash of mud and an empty windshield washer reservoir, a flying projectile that cracks your windshield or a hood latch that breaks and sends the hood flying up while you’re driving. And this doesn’t even count the most common source of poor visibility — failure to clean off the windshield when it’s snowy or icy. Bottom line: If you can’t see well for any reason, pull over right away and either fix the problem or wait until the weather changes before getting back on the road.

8. Any Loud or Sudden Noise 

Unless you’re driving Tommy’s MG , your car is not supposed to make any loud, sudden or unidentifiable noises. A loud or sudden noise can be benign. It could be a plastic milk jug that you ran over. On the other hand, it could also mean that your engine just launched a spark plug into low-Earth orbit.

Unless it’s a milk jug, it indicates that something has just changed. It’s changed from one piece to several pieces or changed from attached to unattached. Either way, it’s best to pull over and try to figure it out.

7. Temperature Light or Oil Light 

There are very few things that can wreck a car in less than two minutes. There’s a direct hit by a meteor or a Caterpillar D9. Fortunately, both are very uncommon. But there are two common things that can ruin cars — severe overheating and loss of oil pressure. Your dashboard has idiot lights for both of these conditions. They’re talking to you, pal.

If either of those lights comes on, don’t try to make it home before investigating. Driving with no oil pressure can wreck a car’s internal parts in minutes. Or less. Severe overheating can blow your head gasket or warp or crack your cylinder head or block just as quickly.

A customer of ours had the oil light come on and drove home before calling us.We asked her, “Why did you try to get home?” She said she felt safer at home.That’s understandable, we said, but that feeling of safety just cost you $7,000! If you see the oil light or hot light, unless it’s unsafe to do so, pull over and call for help.

6. Sudden Change in Handling 

If something changes in your car’s handling and you can feel it in your steering wheel, chances are it is serious. It could be a sudden, extreme change like a tire blowing out or a wheel about to fall off. Or you might notice that the steering wheel is suddenly wobbling or tugging in one direction. These are all potentially serious problems that require pulling over.

Not every change in handling is dire. A small wobble could be something relatively minor like a lost wheel weight or a bad tire. It could be as simple as a change in road surface. Here’s the catch: If you try to make an on-the-fly diagnosis, you risk driving over a guard rail and onto a nearby putting green. Or much worse. There are a lot of crucial pieces in the front end of the car. Because they’re attached to the front wheels you can often feel a change in the steering wheel. Pay attention to it.

5. Steam/Water Vapor 

Steam is usually an indication that coolant, which is under pressure, is escaping from your car’s cooling system. If it’s leaking slowly and hitting an exhaust pipe or something else that’s hot, it may not be an emergency. But if it’s leaking quickly, you can overheat the engine and do serious damage to your engine and your wallet. If your engine is overheating, you can sometimes save yourself thousands of dollars by pulling over before permanent damage is done.

Don’t twist off the radiator cap right away to have a look-see. If your car is overheating, or even if it’s not, the coolant is under very high pressure and can burn your face until it looks as bad as my brother’s. So if you’re not mechanically inclined, pull over, turn off your engine and find a good, local garage that can lend a hand.

 

4. Smell 

 

 

We each know what our car smells like: Mostly, it smells like us, which is why it offends other people. Or it may smell like some combination of new-car smell, wet dog, old juice boxes and maybe grandma. If you notice a new smell — especially if you know it didn’t come from you — it’s best to pull over and investigate it. It could be relatively benign such as when you drive over a plastic grocery bag and it sticks to your hot catalytic converter or a meatball sub that slid under the passenger seat. But it could be something more serious like wire insulation burning or a gas leak. So if you notice a smell that’s unusual and you can’t identify it, it’s best to pull over and make sure it’s nothing getting ready to cause a disaster.

Your two primary concerns are gasoline, which you should never smell in the passenger compartment once you’re moving, and something that’s smoldering and could catch fire. Smoldering electrical wires are the most common source of fire. Once you pull over, you should investigate the smell carefully. And if you’re at all concerned, call for help.

 

3. Smoke 

 

There are lots of reasons why smoke might be issuing forth from your vehicle.But almost all of them are bad. Some are not emergencies such as when engine oil is dripping onto a hot exhaust pipe since a small amount of oil can produce a lot of smoke. But other times where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Or there soon will be. If you see smoke, it’s best to pull over and check it out.

 

2. Flames 

 

 

If you see flames spouting from anywhere in your car, pull over immediately.Not only is your car beginning to turn into automotive flambé before your eyes, but there’s a risk to your life, as well. Even if the flames aren’t burning you, per se, the fumes may be doing you in. So unless you’re a trained firefighter, the best thing to do is look out for your own safety. Pull over, lace up your Pro Keds, get a safe distance away from your car and call 911. Then, and only then, do we advise pulling out your long, pronged fork and roasting marshmallows.

 

1. Blue Lights 

 

 

Remember what happens if you don’t pull over when you see blue lights .

 

One final note: What does it mean to “pull over immediately”? It means pull over as quickly as it’s safe to do so. Don’t swerve across five lanes of traffic. Check around you. Check the side of the road to see if there’s a place to pull off. And then pull over.

Visit CarTalk.com for the orginal article and other informative (and entertaining) automotive articles

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closed for vacation

Posted April 27, 2013 By dad

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Jack and I are driving our 1927 Rally in the California Mille this week.  We’ll keep you posted from the road.

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exhaust fans done

We finished the paint booth this week.  This comprised creating a door (using a zipper) and installing exhaust fans and filters.  The exhaust fans create a cross-flow of air in the booth which enters at the top back and exits low in the front near the front door of our booth.  I taped some masking paper on the wall to use for dialing-in our spray pattern on the HVLP guns.  I installed a 4 stage dryer system for our compressed air lines and ran the air line into the middle of the booth and sealed the penetration point.   The last penetration (still do do) is to run our breathing hoses into the booth so Jack and I have safe air to breath.  We’re using Magnapoxy, a two stage primer which is extremely toxic and can be absorbed through the skin and eyes!  Consequently, we’ll be wearing full HAZMAT style suits with hoods and supplied air.  After all, Jack’s going to need every brain  cell he has (and then some) next year as a freshman at that trade school he’s attending back East.

Now if Jack will just find some time*, we can prime the bottom of the car, spray it with Monstaliner and get it rolling so we can send the car to the painter.  Which means he’ll have to make a choice between Bright Yellow and Calypso Coral.

* I think Jack may be boycotting the garage after putting in 55 hours over spring break.

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It’s been a looooooong week

Posted April 8, 2013 By dad
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Occupy TLG protest commences after 55 hours in the garage this week.

here’s some of what we did this week:

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Burning the midnight oil (literally)…

Posted April 3, 2013 By dad

Jack and I just returned from the garage (at 12:30 a.m.) after a very productive day installing the sub-frame connectors from Total Control Products which are specifically designed to fit the 1969 Mustang fastback.  Jack spent about 10 hours on the car today while I had the easier shift (starting at approx 5:30pm).  We had already ground away the overhangs at the back of the frame rails and removed a part of the emergency brake cable bracket.  Next we pre-fit the frame connectors and saw we had some metal shaping to complete to get a good fit.  Using a hammer and dolly, we shaped the frame rails and rear floor pans for a good fit.  I cut some shims to fit into the  rear connector mounts, and Jack ground the metal to allow for a clean weld.  We primed the ground areas with some weld-through primer and tacked the first connector into place.  In the morning, we’ll repeat the process with the second connector, measure to make sure everything is even, then weld the sub-frame connectors permanently into place.

clamped for welding

clamped for welding

DARTH JACK

DARTH JACK

 

special garage fuel: Boston Baked Beans

special garage fuel: Boston Baked Beans

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No excuses

Posted April 2, 2013 By jack

It’s finally spring break, which means I now have more time to spend working at the garage. Which means I now have more things to blog about. Which means I should be posting more often.

Dad certainly hasn’t let me forget this. But really, there’s no excuse for the lack of communication lately, other than the fact that I’d rather spend my time wrenching, not writing. Anyhow, here’s a quick post to bring you up-to-date with my progress at TLG:

I finished up the leadwork on the rear quarter panel, adding a little more lead body filler (the one we use from Eastwood is actually Lead Free) before smoothing it over with a wooden paddle and filing it down to the contour of the body panels. We had better luck with the paddles this time, coating both the bottom and the top to avoid leaving ashes in the lead. The surface still isn’t perfect, but a thin coat of body filler will leave the area nice and smooth.

Dad finished up welding the battery tray area, which had a few holes left over from Dan’s work. I still have to grind down the welds, but this one actually has to look nice; I’ll probably move the battery to the trunk, which means the tray will be clearly visible with the hood open.

We also performed a little bodywork to reinforce some corroded areas. There was a gaping hole in the rear left frame rail (it didn’t look like rust, but I can’t conceive of any other cause), so we used the Bad Dog Biter (a sturdy nibbler) to fit a piece of sheet metal to the frame. We did the same in the front of the left inner fender, which was slightly more tricky, owing to the fact that it needed to cover three surfaces converging at a corner. We tried spot-welding the new metal to the old, but it wasn’t perfectly fitted and the gaps in some places were too large for a good bond. We then tacked both into place, and filled in the rest with a bead. Both are ground down completely and looking ready for action.

Yesterday, I spent a good chunk of time fitting the sub-frame connectors we bought from Total Control Products. The emergency brake cable bracket was preventing one of the connectors from seating properly, so I ground down the part of it that was welded to the frame rail until we could pry it free of the spot weld. I then stripped away the powder coating on the surface of the connector that cups the front frame rail, and still it didn’t fit very well. It appears the connector was welded at an angle, and so we’ll have to fill the gap with some extra metal. The fit in the rear was also pretty shabby, so I’ll contact TCP in the morning to see what they recommend.

We’re scheduled to have the car at the paint shop by the end of this week or the beginning of the next, so we still have quite a bit of work left to do. Dad ordered some plastic sheeting to erect a paint booth around the car, as well as a good supply of Monstaliner bedliner for coating the undercarriage. Once the sub-frame connectors are welded in place, we’ll be ready to prep the metal for a coat or two of primer and then spray the bedliner. We also did some research on the correct paint specifications for the Boss 302, which we’ll provide to our painter.

measuring subframe connector fit

measuring subframe connector fit

connectors must fit with minimal clearance
connectors must fit with minimal clearance

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it’s important to measure gaps at all welding joints

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