Archive for September, 2011

Inch by Inch

Posted September 20, 2011 By jack

Charlie is almost, if not, taller than I am. With brothers, height is all-out warfare. And every inch counts. The tape measure is the battlefield, and hair gel is strategic weaponry. And as my brother and I inch along, so too does progress at TLG.

Another milestone day this past Sunday. The interior is finished (well, except for the rear lap belts and brake pedal, but that’s pretty much it). Thankfully, I remembered to take pictures this time. Dad brought the camera with him to the Goodwood Revival, so I was forced to used my phone, but we nevertheless have photographic coverage.

Your assignment: match the following pictures with their description (answers below, but don’t cheat). 

a) windshield wiper motor (requires much wiggling and many blows with a mallet to separate from the wiper arms beneath the cowl vent)

b) steering column (held in with a bracket attached to the underside of the dash and bolted to the firewall—don’t forget to disconnect from steering box)

c) transmission (I only steam-cleaned this, it was pulled months ago)

d) fuse box (finally removed the last part of the wiring harness—this pops out after you loosen a single screw on the cabin side of the firewall)

e) heater core (be careful not to damage the core fins when removing–also, the fluid hoses must be completely pulled off to remove this; don’t cut them like I did)

f) heater assembly (some five bolts on the engine side of the firewall hold this one in place)

g) front windshield defroster duct (remove two nuts under the dash and the whole duct pops right out)








ANSWERS: a) 4; b) 6; c) 2; d) 7; e) 1; f) 5; g)3

Don’t expect too much progress next weekend: I have plenty of part inventorying to catch up on…


Posted September 18, 2011 By jack

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of stopping by the 55th annual Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance with my camera. The range of cars was incredible, but one in particular caught my eye:

Beautiful plumage!

Our son Oliver has brought to our attention that for his last few teeth, the tooth fairy seems to have totally dropped the ball, often taking DAYS to make payments for teeth left under his pillow.  Several mornings he woke up looking to collect his bounty, only to find that the assigned tooth fairy was not attending to his/her duties punctually.  Well…this morning Ollie finally learned that his tooth fairy is a male (name not disclosed presumably to protect his TF’s privacy).  He also learned how badly his tooth fairy was really performing, but now that management is on it, he shouldn’t have any persistent service issues…

Our other vehicles need love too

Posted September 5, 2011 By dad

True Confession time: It’s not all vintage vehicle fun at the Three Lions Garage.  Our newer vehicles need care too.  While I’ll admit that I’ll rarely decide to sacrifice any of the few precious hours I can manage to dedicate to the garage each week on projects as routine as oil changes or tune ups on our Prius, I’ll often make time for performance upgrade projects and repairs.

I guess I just spilled it: yes — we have a Prius.  For those of you who don’t drive one, you should know it’s a terrific vehicle which comfortably seats all 5 of us.  More importantly, it offers Linda a daily opportunity to offset my substantial carbon footprint.  But I digress…

Now that Jack has been building confidence (and expertise) on his 1969 Mustang project, I often have time for my own small projects which I can complete in a couple of hours. In my experience, when working on long, complex vehicle restoration projects it’s important to setup small interim goals to stay motivated.  I suspect this is why so many restoration projects start with an enthusiastic hobbyist and a totally complete, perfectly good project vehicle but end up as a collection of unorganized parts in several boxes that are sold off to the next enthusiastic victim (I mean “hobbyist”) for a price which validates the “greater fool” theory.

Great intentions are simply insufficient.  In order to maintain focus and effort on any extended project, I find it helpful to break up the project into smaller, stand-alone components. On Jack’s ’69 Mustang, for example, we break up the work into smaller “sub-projects” that can be finished in a day (e.g. remove interior, remove wiring harness) or a few weeks (rebuild the engine).  In this way, as we complete each sub-project, we celebrate small interim victories which keep us motivated to continue down the very long road which comprises the full restoration.

In addition to breaking the long complex restoration project into smaller, more digestible chunks, I also sometimes insert very small, completely unrelated projects on a different vehicle altogether.  This helps motivate us in much the same way.  We get the satisfaction of completing another small project and these projects are easy to fit in while we working on our much longer-term vintage vehicle projects.  Because we perform these small projects together at the garage, we also get the pleasure of each other’s company (and access to that invaluable “spare pair of hands” that really seems to comes in handy a few times during each shift at the T.L.G.).

Here are a few examples of the side projects I’ve fit in over the last few weeks:

  1. K&N High Flow Air Intake system (F-250 turbo diesel pickup)
  2. in-dash battery cutoff switch (London taxi)
  3. OBD-II diagnostics and trouble light reset (Porsche Carrera 4 & F-250 turbo diesel pickup), and
  4. two so-far unsuccessful attempts at fitting a passenger seat in the London taxi–perhaps the third time will be the charm?

back strengthening exercise while installing K&N Air Intake