Random bits of progress
I haven’t posted to the blog in over a month, and given the tone of my last entry, you could be forgiven for suspecting I hadn’t been making much progress. And in a way, you’d be right. I’ve been working on the car consistently and have made tiny bits of progress in multiple areas.
I took the holidays as a chance to really dig in and sort things out. The car is now on the road and drivable, but I’ve still got some bugs to work out.
Front suspension gets a do-over
One of the things I’d noticed when I was farting around with the power steering was that the ball joint boots had already cracked on my control arms. Marlon Mitchell at Marlo’s Frame & Alignment had warned me that I wouldn’t get more than 1,000 miles out of them. He was right. With front spring replacement on my radar, I figured now was as good a time as any to go ahead and fix the control arms correctly.
Marlon installed polyurethane bushings and boots in my upper control arms, but the lowers turned out to be non-serviceable. I ended up having to buy new lower arms in a furious rush so that I could put the car back on the ground. Luckily Marlon was able to turn the new arms around overnight.
The new suspension made one hell of a difference. Now that the rubber bushings are gone, everything just glides up and down.
Power steering pump gets sealed up
After chasing leaks with multiple replacement pumps, I finally took the situation into my own hands and sealed up the pump myself. Using Permatex The Right Stuff and some patience, I now have a leak-free power steering pump. I’ve got sealant under the o-ring, on top of the o-ring, and around the case. The pump doesn’t leak…and it may never come apart again.
I broke the a/c switch when putting in the radio
The radio that was in the car works, but it’s too far gone cosmetically to use. I ended up buying a 1965 radio, which is identical once installed, on eBay several months ago. However, much to my dismay, the 1965 radios are larger than the 1966 radios (or at least the Motorola radios are larger than the Philco models). I knew they were deeper, but I had not realized they were wider as well.
So…when I tried to put the radio in, I ended up breaking one of the terminal studs on the a/c blower switch. That meant sourcing a replacement switch and then replacing the multiple terminal connector with individual insulated spade terminals. Once the radio was in, I could install the console.
Console-ing the car
My car was a deluxe a.k.a “Pony” interior car from the factory. In addition to the upgraded seat upholstery, wood grain dash appointments, and upholstered kick panels, deluxe interior cars came with a long plastic console. I bought a reproduction console body because my original was too frail to reuse, and I’m glad I did. I surely would’ve cracked to old one trying to put it in.
Fitting the console normally isn’t that much of a problem, but with the air conditioning and the thicker carpet and the stick shift, it was a pain to get it in. I had to completely disassemble the shifter and then reassemble it with the console in place through the shifter opening. Talk about an exercise in patience!
Getting ready to pile on the miles
Thanks to these bits of progress, it’s time to start racking up some miles. With everything put back together I took the car for a front-end alignment. Now it tracks straight and true, thanks to Marlon’s help. I’d actually managed to get the caster and camber spot-on, so Marlon only needed to set the toe (which I had tried and failed to set myself).
I’ve fiddled with the brakes and how have them working decently, but I still hope for better actuation. Adjusting the rear brakes and setting the air gap between the master and the booster made a big difference. That being said, after I get through the beginning of the power assist, there isn’t much more that the front brakes have to offer. SSBC customer service suggested I may have low vacuum. I doubt it, but I’ll check just to be sure.
Two other major issues remain: the leaking back window and the metal banging coming from the left valve cover. I’d thought I’d had the back window sealed (finally!) but after installing the stainless trim, it’s back to leaking again. I’ll address that at some point soon. The metal banging at the valve cover is somewhat of a mystery in that I can’t see any evidence that a rocker adjusting nut is making contact. But I can hear and feel it, and I’m sure it’s something simple. Now all I need is time and patience and some more bits of progress to squash these bugs.