Sunday, 1 April 2012

February 2012

February- Yippee!! The jalopy is looking like a million dollars and will soon be back home. You could see my grin from the moon.


2nd February
As of last night the jalopy had one beautiful coat of green and she was about to get a 2nd coat. Tonight she was supposed to get the trim (fenders, bumper, radiator shroud, running boards, light buckets) all painted. I was at the paint shop until after 9:30 but didn't go tonight due to some errands I had to do. I did get to drive it onto the trailer and haul it to the paint shop myself. That means she runs and also means that moving the gas tank from under the seat to the back works! None of those guys could figure out how to start her. Ha, ha. Unfortunately, she had a near dead battery so we had to keep jump starting her and when we tried to unload, she ran out of gas! I am taking my battery charger and a full gas can with me tomorrow and hopefully if it doesn't rain I will be able to take it back to the body shop for installation of all the parts taken off.

The colour she is painted is so attractive and the black is going to highlight the green. I was so impressed with the colour choice. Whomever picked that colour is a near genius....he's writing this blog I think! Heh, heh, heh.

OK, these guys are such perfectionists that last night I wanted to just scream out...."alright already just paint the damn thing. Remember all of the sanding I have been doing? Well, the old gal was already as smooth as a baby's bottom and covered with a last coat of primer. So we got to the painting shop and we took 400 sandpaper and lightly buffed the entire surface. Then we wiped and blew the dust off. Then we pushed the chassis inside of the painting booth and wiped the entire surface down with a liquid cleaner and immediately wiped it dry with a cloth. Then they taped and papered her off. Then she got wiped down again. Then the doors closed and she got wiped down again. Then she got a good, good coat of sealer all over the body (it was black). Then she got wiped down again with a tacking cloth. Then a coat of paint. Between paint cups, anything not painted with the first cup got wiped down again with the tacking cloth. After that I got to go inside the booth and take a quick see and the owner (of the body shop...he was also the guy painting), told me to go home and get some rest. He stayed around to put on a second coat and I bet he wiped her down again before the 2nd coat.

Today, I know they painted a rough texture on the running boards to keep them from getting slick when damp or wet. They were supposed to paint the black tonight but at this point I don't know for sure what they have or have not done. It has been pretty exciting though. Oh, and I was invited to watch him mix the paint according to a computer recipe. It had green, blue, yellow, black, golden yellow, white, clear, reducer and something else that was clear. That was bizarre to watch and see it come out the most beautiful green you will ever see.

8th February
I went over Saturday morning early to the body shop thinking I was going to be driving her home right away. Of course she was not ready and there were still things to be painted. I worked on the things that I could do and didn't make much progress, and the parts that needed painting were still hanging and not painted. I was getting more and more frustrated by the moment. Now I am thinking it will be the next week before everything is painted, allowed to dry and finally installed.

Long story short, the hood is not on, the rear fenders not on (because they connect to the bed and not the frame), headlights not on, etc. We did reinstall the cowl lights and cleaned up some of the wiring so that was a good thing. The doors were hung (one side window has been broken from the start and has not been replaced yet). The window was a last minute thing and because it hasn't been replaced yet, the door handle hasn't been the passenger door doesn't latch (it is taped shut)! Well, because of my moaning and groaning, the young fella working on it decided to get me and the jalopy the hell out of there and Saturday afternoon (door taped), we shimmied on to the house to complete the work.

The final pieces were painted that afternoon late and they called me. So, I went over and picked up all the parts and took them to the house too. As it turns out, the hood is still at the shop (even now) as I could not find stainless steel rivets to attach the handles (we took them off to enable them to be painted) to the hood. We are still looking but when we find them it will be done and the hood brought to my house and put on the truck. I mounted the headlight buckets, went inside the cab and replaced the largest piece of floorboard because it was never cut quite right, put some door bumpers on the door to make it latch better and not rattle and just did some general stuff. It gave me the opportunity to feel like I was involved. There is still some wiring to be done and clean up but all in all she is coming to the end of that long (expensive) road to completion.

I also need to look at the driver's side rear wheel. I think I may have a wobble when she goes down the road.  Possibly it is not mounted all the way on the axle taper or, there is something not quite tightened up properly. I am going to spend some time in the next night or two and see what is going on. I will pull off the wheel and take a look inside.

9th February
I discovered that the vacuum tank is not connected and is redundant as I have an electric fuel pump. I recently raised it up a bit so I could access no 4 spark plug more easily, but now I will have plenty of room. I bought a brass cap to plug the vacuum take of on the inlet manifold. This is before the Vac Tank was removed.

11th February
This is the "after" picture (post vac tank). It sure looks different (and roomier) under the hood...except that I still don't have a hood.

12th February
I am still without my hood and the glass for the passenger door. The body man was supposed to bring them today and help me install them...didn't happen! He did call me late and told me he was covered with fibreglass and was on the way home to shower because he was itching pretty badly, and will now come after work on Monday. I took the hub cap off the rear wheel and jacked the rear off the floor. The rear wheel actually wobbled. I pulled the cotter pin and tightened it as much as I could but I can't tighten it enough to align the hole to insert the cotter pin. I will fit a second washer and this will take up the slack.

I've been playing around with the jalopy most of the day, doing a bit of wiring, working on putting the headlight buckets back on, etc. Tomorrow I am going to play some more. I just need more time off to get things done. 

12th February
Maybe this weekend it will warm up (the temp went down to the 19's F this past weekend), and I can get the bed thing started. As I've mentioned, I have all the lumber planed, painted black and then sanded to get the surface black off and leave an antique looking finish. I have glued the boards together to make them wider and now have to remove one old board at a time from the bed and cut the new ones to the exact specs. Then I will drill my holes for mounting in the exact same holes so that when I reassemble all the holes should line up. I bought all new stainless screws, nuts and bolts and am ready to go. However, before mounting any of the new boards I have to seal all six sides with a sealant to help preserve the wood.

Anyway, when I get that done and the bed remounted, I will drive her around with my head held high and the biggest smile on my face you have ever seen. In time I will forget all the weeks she was gone, all the heartache, all the delays and all of the money spent to get her where she is today...BEAUTIFUL.

14th February
Last last night we got the hood mounted. I have not seen her with the hood attached in about three months. Wow, what a change a day makes. It is impressive to say the least and I have posted three pictures below of the jalopy with the hood on. I am amazed at how shiny the paint is.

I have given some thought to painting all the little things under the hood but want to get the electrical finished and the bed installed before I do too much more under the hood.

15th February
I just got a nice email from a fellow Chev guy in Australia. A guy named Grant.

He's a nice fellow and is going to send me two decals for my doors but he said he will take his time to make sure the paint is cured first.  Pretty excited and can't wait to get them put on.

18th February
Just woke up and got out of bed, it is Sat morning here and the weather although wet is very warm. Last weekend was colder than the gonads on a brass monkey but this weekend is warm as toast.

I have all the lights connected and working correctly and I bought a cover to go over the entire truck when I am not going to be using it. Springtime in North Florida (as we refer to it) is pretty tough on vehicles and lungs because we go through a long season of pollen that covers everything like a blanket. You can actually watch it fall like snow off the trees. Today I am supposed to help a couple of guys move a big compressor to a body shop. It was part of a deal some bloke with a pickup truck made for putting it back together after a restoration!!!! Heh, heh. I bought it at an auction several years ago and never used it. They need it and I don't so it is a fair trade.

The wife is going out of town to see the grand kids, so I am hoping to start cutting some boards for the Ute so I can begin to think about putting her back together and (she) finally looking like a truck. This is something I have been looking forward to doing for quite awhile now so I hope it goes well.

20th  February
Yesterday I spent most of the entire day doing something on the truck that you can't even see...I tucked all the wires and replaced some of them so that they would be the right length (to tuck them away). A whole day on my back and ya can't even see what I've done! Some of the wires under the dash are still resembling a squirrel's nest but everything else is well hidden and tucked...thank you very much?

Today I almost finished cutting the timbers to size, ripping them to the correct width, drilling the holes for the nuts and bolts (and screws), and put the first coat of sealant on them. The finish I am using is from Australia. With the boards sanded nicely, then paint black, then wiped off, then sanded with 60 grit, 80 grit and then 220 grit, they came out a nice golden colour but with the highlights of black in them. I personally think they are beautiful. I still have the front piece next to the cab to make and the tail gate After that it will be time to start assembling it and getting the old gal back together and road-worthy. I am very excited. I need good weather with lots of sunshine to dry the boards and want to put on several coats. I am not sure if I will wax it or not because of the crevices that would hold the wax and turn white on me. One more good sunny day and I could be finished and then assembling.

22nd February
Another picture of the wood going in the bed

23rd February
I started sanding on the spokes last evening. I lightly sanded one wheel and started the 2nd. When I say lightly sanded, it took me a couple of hours. I decided against pulling the wheels off and opted instead to sit in front and sand, then lay on the floor and do the back side. After that, I wiped-on the same sealant that I used for the bed. I don't want them perfect and believe they will be a nice match for the "other' wood that will be in the bed. I want some of the patina to show through and so far I like what I see. 

I have the two wheels in the front sanded sufficiently (for me). I have applied the sealant to the drivers side and will do the other this afternoon I hope. On that note though I got a little concern last night. I have the right front wheel off the ground and as I was sitting and sanding and rotating the tire, it suddenly dawned on me that the tire and wheel were loose. My first thought was that the last time I had it off that I had not turned the nut tight enough and it had worked loose. I pulled the hubcap off and realised that it was fine but the wheel could be shimmied back and forth almost like the wheel retaining nut was almost off (but it wasn't). As I started looking around to see what would cause this, I noticed the tie rod ends were shaky. I got a 3/4" socket and to my surprise the top bolt allowed me to tighten it several turns. This helped but didn't take all the shake out so I went to the other side of the truck and did the same thing to the driver's side...several turns. After tightening both sides, the play has been taken out of the tires?

I am going to have to implement a check-off list. I shudder to think would could have happened if I had not realised they were loose. This could be one more reason the jalopy jumps and bumps, shakes and shudders going down the road. Hopefully no more. Not long ago I had the left rear wheel nearly coming off and that added some shaking and bumping and wobble, and now this. Yikes. I may end up with the best looking non-driving vehicle in the deep south, US.

Below is a picture of the lumber for the bed.  All of them all lined up and drying from a coat of sealant.

24th February
Sanded and ready for some sealant.

 Same wheel with sealant applied.

And not to forget the rear wheel, with sealant applied

26th February
I worked most all day in the shop (again). Today was the tail gate! I started the Ute building this afternoon very late and of course it is fighting me every single step of the way. I am loving the way it looks, the colour and texture are both exciting to look at. It reminds me somewhat of the colour of the spoke wheels. The holes are all pre-drilled so you would think everything would fall into place. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! NOT! Getting the holes to line up to the metal frame is like pounding a nail into the wall while standing around the corner and hammering on the other side without being able to see the nail. The runners are a problem all of their own. They have a groove (or cut-out) on each end that has to slip into the metal framing in front and back Of course they also have to hold the individual planks down too, but to get everything properly lined up is frustrating. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit easier and it will go faster. It is supposed to rain most of the end of the week coming as well as tomorrow so the fun continues. Maybe I'll just clean the shop if it is raining. Lord knows it needs cleaning as I've been working it pretty hard with all of this building stuff. Rainy days are perfect for that.

 27th February
I worked on this thing all weekend and this is all I got finished. There are two pictures, one from each end of the box. OMG, I have never worked so hard in my life or had as much trouble as I've had with this bed. As you recall, I pre-drilled and counter sunk the holes for ease of installation. I won't make that mistake EVER again when using old lumber. If the board is "cupped" or warped or different thickness or crooked in the least bit...or any number of other possibilities --------it won't fit and the holes do not line up. I have literally fought this thing tooth and nail and some of the holes had to be re-drilled to make them fit. I bought 100 stainless steel counter sunk screws that are too short. I will have to go buy 100 more at a different length (longer so that I can put a nut on the end to hold it in place)! 

I've discovered something else, that white oak weighs more than plywood. Quite a bit more I think. There is no way I will be able to lift this little jewel onto the truck frame by myself. That means I will have to call someone in to lend me a hand and then be able to fit it to the frame! It has been very cloudy and rainy and the oil-base sealer is not drying like it should and it remains tacky to this day! I am hoping a good hot sunny day and parking the jalopy outside to bask in the sun will help dry it. I do have three of the four spoke wheels completely sanded and sealer applied. One more of those puppies and I will be done with that project. Hurrah! Actually all I have to do on the bed is put the side rail iron pieces on so that I can install the top rail piece, then the top piece across the front and I believe I will be done with the bed! I was kinda thinking about using a router and cutting the bow tie into the tail gate but I don't want to take the chance of ruining, I may buy a piece and attach it on the tail gate instead. It is supposed to rain all week so no chance of riding this week. Dang!
The hole in this picture is for the petrol filler hose. It almost disappears when installed.

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