Sunday, 25 March 2012

July and August 2011

Activity on the jalopy rolled on through July and continued into August, and the tasks were starting to look like a true restoration check list. 

July and August saw me working on the following jobs:

- Wheels and Tires
- Originality versus Practicality
- Indicators
- Spark Plugs
- Steering
- Possible Gas Leak

This period saw me  prioritising tasks I wanted to complete, and in what order.
There were also decisions to be made such as what style of replacement wood tray should I make, and do I repaint the Jalopy or keep it as is.

While all this was going on I was undertaking jobs such as the steering make over that I previously would have considered way outside my comfort zone. Little did I know of the scale of activity and hard work that was to follow in the months ahead



1st July - The Weather Has Beaten Me Today
It is thundering and storming out at my house so there won't be a test drive today for the jalopy. Maybe tomorrow!

5th July - Now if I do this and then do that
I want the Jalopy to run smoothly and if I needed I will  change the spark plugs to achieve that. Driving smooth, now that a different matter. The poor old jalopy shimmy's and shakes down the road and I know the tires and wheels are not balanced properly. I don't need to go fast (because I can't stop fast), but I can feel the tires on a cold morning...thump, thump. I am not entirely happy with the front left wheel. I've replaced the wheel and new lug bolts, still not happy that they are long enough.Think I will replace them with longer ones. Ah so many jobs to do, and so little time.

8th July - The Ageing Jalopy and Driver
The jalopy is only 18 years away from being 100. I feel confident that she will still be "putting" along. The driver, well not so sure. My friend, Ray from Australia with the Red Chev says it will probably take us about an hour to climb into them.  I think he is being a bit generous there. They'll have to lay me out in the bed of the truck if I'm gonna be driven anywhere! Ha! I'll be 82 by then.

9th July - The Jalopy's New Bed. What Style Should I Do?
I emailed someone here in the states that has a completely restored '26 pickup and recently bought a un restored '28. He is a woodworker by trade and did a wonderful job on the woodwork restoration. I questioned whether I should replace my pickup style bed with a flat bed, or a stake bed like all the other '28 1 tons I see on the Internet. But then, I decided to do it the way I want it to look and that is with the pickup style bed. To me that looks the best and I have no intentions of showing it in anything other than a casual get together. That is one of my next projects, to replace the plywood with solid white oak.

14th July - Wheels and Tires
The jalopy has what I think are car tires/wheels on the front and truck tires/wheels on the back. I was thinking about putting the larger tires/wheels in the front to complete the look, but I am not yet sure what I need to replace to get all four wheels the same. While deciding what to do, I may simply drive it as it is. How I noticed this was the front has only four mounting bolts in the rim, and the back has six. The tires are the same size, even though the overall height is different. I am thinking only the wheels and spokes are different. Not a top priority, its  a job I can think about down the track.

I haven't gotten the old jalopy out of the garage yet. We are in the rainy season and every afternoon it threatens rain. I don't have a windshield washer yet and the windows do not seal shut, etc.

15th July - Practicality Versus Originality
I am aware that the jalopy isn't totally original but that is okay with me because I'd rather be able to drive it (modified) than not drive it original! I don't want racing slicks on it but it had been changed over to a 12 volt system before I got it and I am actually glad it is. I figure I am not going to show her (enter in shows) and if she looks good going down the street, it is less important how she looks sitting still.

Hopefully this weekend I will get to drive the jalopy around around a bit. Yesterday my new 3077 plugs came in the mail. I will check out the 3076's before I open the 3077's however.

18th July - Test Drive with Good Results
I did get a break in the weather yesterday (Sunday) and took the jalopy out for a little spin to check out the back firing, etc. She definitely runs better than she did before but I don't yet know if she would run better still or worse if I had the 3077 plugs installed. I didn't notice back fire but then she isn't the quietest running thing around either. That and the usual shimmy and a little bit loose in the steering department and a few bumps in the road here and there and by golly it is a full time job just getting from point A to point B. However, I WAS encouraged and want to venture out a bit further next time and hopefully gain more and more confidence in knowing I will probably actually get back home (eventually).

19th July - What type of Indicators to choose
I've been researching indicators and lights. I see that cowl lights make a great front indicator but what about the rear lights? I only have one brake/tail light. Do I buy a 2nd one to get around the issue? I have also discovered that like most of us that drive modern cars and trucks, we forget to cancel the turn signal (indicator) after we've made our turn. Radio Shack has a buzzer or flashing light or something to tell us to turn it off.

20th July - Indicators ordered
Last night I ordered just a turn signal (indicator) on eBay, along with front fog lights/turn signal and two brake light/turn signal units for the back. I am very impressed with the ones for the back, they are vintage and should look great on the back of the jalopy. Maybe I'll get to work on the spark plug replacement this afternoon when I get home.

20th July - Spark Plugs
Yesterday I stopped by the parts house and bought a spark plug threader. Made in Australia of all places. I took that as a sign of good things to come until I discovered it was the wrong size and had to return it.

21st July - Demands on My Limited Time
I haven't been able to spend as much time working on the jalopy as I would have liked to. My mother passed passed away November a year and 1/2 ago and we have finally just sold her house and  had to sign all of the papers to transfer it to the new owners. I can now devote my time to my own place, an old beat up 1 ton truck and Sadie (not necessarily in that order).

22nd July - Spark Plug Changeover
I changed the plugs over to 3077's yesterday afternoon and moved  the vacuum tank for better access to no 4 plug. I set the the plug gap at around  32 thous. If too wide I will adjust. Have since heard 30 to 35 thou is fine.

She started right up but that isn't unusual. I took her out and about and she did fine. After she warmed up and I reduced the hand throttle all the way, she might idle a little high but not alarmingly high and maybe not at all high. I could adjust the distributor if needed but I'm going to drive it a bit before I make any additional changes. To be honest, if she runs better it would probably be that in 3rd gear she has a bit more power and I don't have to down shift as much. In other words if I'm moving along slowly and accelerate, I can increase my speed without shifting and she doesn't bog down. I am even considering driving her to work this afternoon, but the concern is that traffic on Friday afternoon can be a bit aggressive and people get impatient.

26th July - Steering
I am going to take a look-see at the steering mechanism very soon. There must be pictures somewhere on the dis assembly and re-assembly of this unit? Would certainly help. As part of my learning curve I am really hoping I can do this job on my own and have it come out right. As for the distributor, I think I will need help me on that one. Running is important but then again so is steering! I am going to take pictures with my digital camera for each step as I go.

27th July - Steering  Make Over
I removed the drag linkage from the pitman arm but so far have not been able to remove the pitman arm from the steering box shaft. It has a very slight movement front to aft, less than 1/4 inch at the bottom of the pitman arm, which my friend from OZ, Ray, believes I can reduce. I will spray the arm and shaft with penetrating oil to see if that helps.. I tried a pry bar last evening and when it didn't move I gave up afraid if I forced it I might damage or break something. I've never done this before and not knowing if the arm was on a spline or if there was a secret to getting it off. After an email  briefing from Ray I feel more confident this morning. If I still can't get the arm off, I will get a gear puller as I need one anyway.

28th July - Steering Box Make Over
After finally being able to remove the pitman arm I followed the first process to

Reduce any slop in the steering box caused by wear on the gear and worm drive.

1. With the pitman arm removed, the steering wheel will continually keep turning in both directions, as there is no stop.

2. Where the steering wheel has been the straight ahead position the gears in the steering box will be most worn, with the most slop on the end of the pitman arm.

 3. By turning the steering wheel say 1 turn, you will be turning the worm gear on the bottom of the steering Column one turn, but the larger gear attached to the pitman arm will only turn about a qtr of a turn.
4. By turning the steering wheel away from the straight ahead position, which is where the gears are most worn, you will find a spot on the larger gear that is less worn, and same again to a lesser degree for the worm gear.

5. Until you get the least amount of forward and aft movement keep re-fitting the pitman arm back on and off, but not gorilla tight.

6. Once satisfied there is minimal play back and forward, refit the pitman arm to the drag link and with the wheels in a straight ahead position, refit the pitman arm to the steering box shaft.

 The second process is Steering box adjustment

1. Jack up the front end so the wheels are just of the ground, remember one side at a time as you can bend the axle if you jack in the centre in one go, ask me how I know.
2. Set your steering with front wheels straight ahead.
3. Take notice of how free or stiff your steering feels by turning the wheel side to side, remembering its the straight ahead or half full lock your worrying about, never make the call on full lock.

4. Photo 1.
Highlighting the outer adjustment ring that should remove more play from the steering.
5. Photo 2.

Highlighting again the outer adjustment ring.

Disregard the damage done to the inner ring by a vintage Australian butcher.
6. Photo 3.

Loosen off this bolt to enable you top move outer adjustment collar.
7. Photo 4.

With a round punch (or screw driver if your a roughie) gently tap the adjustment collar clockwise to tighten, anti clockwise to loosen.

Bit by bit, baby steps, move a little bit, see if any difference in play in the steering.

If you adjust too far you will bind up the steering, if you do, a few taps anti clockwise.

Now there is nothing wrong with making the steering a bit firmer, providing you are happy with the feel.

If you go for a drive and it seems too tight, loosen the locking bolt and back off the collar a fraction.
The above process took a heck of a lo of play out of the steering. I still have some at the steering wheel but it is much better. I could try tightening the linkage some more but I don't think it will move. The gear puller paid for itself in the first try! 

29th July - Steering Box Final Result
I eliminated 90-95% of play in the steering. I can't wait to drive it and now instead of 32 mph, I'll be able to go 35 mph. Whew, I'm gonna be flying around Tallahassee now.

29th July - Timber Tray
I might be picking up my white oak this weekend. Once I get that home, there will be all manner of cutting, fitting, finishing and re-installing things to do. I am more of a woodworker than a mechanic.

1st August - Time to Learn Something Else Mechanical
I will be removing the valve cover to oil up the overhead rocker gear, and take a look inside the four bolt gear box to check it out for wear and oil level.

3rd August - Possible Gas Leak?
Lately I can walk into the garage and smell gas. Also when I drive somewhere I can smell gas when I stop. When I recently filled the tank and drove a short distance I noticed it was leaking gas onto the driveway. I assumed I had just over-filled and as the gas expanded and it over-flowed. I've walked around the truck and looked under it. I see no gas dripping. I've also looked at the carb and do not see anything dripping or even wet around it. Will have to look into this as it is worrying me.

Foot note: This will cause me dramas over the next few months until the guys at the body shop would discover a leak and fix the problem once and for all

14th August - The Jalopy Steps Aside for Domestic Tasks
Not much Jalopy activity this weekend. I have been putting down flooring all weekend. About 700 square feet of the stuff.

17th August- To Paint or Not Paint?
When I first bought the jalopy I was originally happy to go with the old truck look and keep it original looking. On the doors for instance is the company logo where I bought it from. It looks like a working truck and to be honest I liked it. It was in all honesty just a parade vehicle but still it was unique and a rather handsome lass.

Now that I've had the girl for a while I am thinking maybe put a nice new, shiny paint job on her and let her live her life anew. I realise I need to get her mechanically sound before I start thinking of a new skin but there is plenty of time. I would come back with the exact same colour scheme that she is wearing now because I believe that is and was her natural colours.

The interior is a vinyl type material that is hot in the summer and cold in the winter but I don't know if I want to change that (it is pretty much the right colour) and it might take away the vintage look, unless I came back with the same material as she has now. It would seem almost foolish.

I have been talking about wanting to replacing the wood bed, and maybe it is a good time to think about a new paint at the same time. With the bed off I would be able to touch up anything on the frame needing attention. I've been under her belly though and everything looks painted and purty.

18th August - Now What Job Do I Do Next
I have a few little things to do yet and the poor old gal. She has a few leaks that need tending to but what the heh, she's got some age on her, and there is always something to do. Also the rear end could use some paint when the tray comes off.

20th August - Leaks and Gas Fumes
I am hoping to track down some little yet annoying little leaks this weekend. I also am still concerned about gas fumes when I walk into the garage and sit in the cab.

20th August - Thinking about The Jalopy's Inherited Condition
When I bought the truck, it had been converted to 12 v and already had the fuel pump. Somebody took a lot of time and effort to spruce her up. I believe all the wood inside the cab has been replaced, a relatively new paint job (although not a good one), and even the frame is fairly freshly painted. I'm guessing several thousand dollars of work has been done on her. Of course I am elated because I don't see any old body work having been done and if I wanted, I could drive her just as she is and she would look good, but I want her to look showroom good!

21st August - Re Painting the Jalopy
I mentioned to my wife that I wanted to repaint the Jalopy. Currently painted in the traditional green with black trim it reminds me of the John Deere tractor colours. I want to keep the same colour scheme when I repaint it. I just haven't found anyone yet that I want to do the work or to get any estimates from. Don't want to settle for just anybody, as its much too important to me. I think it would give the truck a showroom look. I probably need to repaint the motor at some stage but will do this later. I wouldn't tackle the interior because I am not a painter.

22nd August - Indicators
I'm having a bit of a problem getting my indicator wires attached. With a little help from my engineer friend, I'll have this little jewel all wired up and safely running down the road. She'll be the prettiest lass in the state.

26th August - Paint Shops
I have not heard back from any of the paint and body shops I contacted about having her painted. Guess they just don't need the work...or are too busy.

28th August - Indicators
It is so darn hot over here during the day and this part of Florida is so humid and dry right now, we were actually wishing for some of the rains from the hurricane. We badly need rain. I am still working on the wiring of the indicator switch but it is so hot in the garage that even with two fans blowing on high, I can't stay out there for long. But I would rather have the heat than the cold and it gets very cold in the winter here!


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