Sunday, June 27, 2021

Brakes III

More parts means wore work. Rear brakes are up!

Other than cleaning years of grime, there’s not too much to it. I started by doing that cleaning. While I would love to make everything perfect, I’m going to get Alice going and work on pretty a bit later.

I installed the cleaned up and lubed adjusters and the slave cylinder. The little clip flummoxed me until I found an old circlip pliers, and was able to spread the clip just enough to fit. One cylinder didn’t have a groove for the circlip!  So I cut one, no problem.

Time for brake shoes and new springs and retainers.

Boy, fitting those springs is a pain. I finally did it all on the workbench, including the parking brake “spreader”, and it went much more easily.

Top it off with a new brake drum and retaining screws, and that’s it.

The other side went faster, aside from having to grind down a lip inside the drum that just barely touched one of the springs. 

I also replaced the brake hose. I don’t think it had ever been done… the lines themselves look okay.

Front brakes are next, as soon as I have parts.  Then I can bleed the system and voila!  Alice will go and stop. 

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Monday, June 21, 2021


I'm a little suspicious of the mileage showing on the odometer.

I'm pretty sure that a few miles were put on this car after it was essentially rebuilt back in 2001.  Receipts for things like tires tell me that it was at least driven to get those tires installed, but the mileage hasn't changed.  So I decided to test the speedometer.  I pulled the cable from the trans and spun it with a drill, and sure enough - the needle moved, but the odometer didn't tick.

Okay.  This means I don't have exactly 43569 miles on the clock, but I don't think it is that far off given the condition of items like the brakes (which look almost new aside from years of sitting).  That means I need to repair the speedo.

The first job was to get the thing out.  This isn't exactly easy in a 1975 given the construction of the dash and the extra bracing behind it.  To get to it, you have to remove the bottom dash cowl, then the defrost control knob and control.  I found that a very specific size of 5/8" deep well socket was needed to get the control's nut free. I also found that I had to (gently?) pull the dash out while sliding the control out of the hole, because it won't just drop out.  But it did eventually work free.  Then you need to make your hand really small to get to the nuts that hold the speedo in place, manage to not lose them behind the dash, and then remove the brackets.  Finally, you can pull the speedo forward and unhook the cable and lights, and remove it from the dash.

I do not want to put this thing back in.

But here you go.

Once it's out, the fun begins. I removed the mechanism and spun it with a square bit in a drill.  As it moved, I could see a couple of things:

  1. There was a periodic dip in the needle.
  2. The odometer was not advancing when the little arm came around to push it.
  3. The gear that moved the arm was cracked, likely because the odometer itself got stuck.

The crack is slightly visible at the 6 o-clock position.

Of course, none of this matters if the odometer itself doesn't work.  So I futzed with it, and while I am not exactly sure why it stuck, I got it free and it appears to spin okay.  I hope it stays that way.

The gear needed to be replaced as it's not repairable.  Fortunately, gears are available from Odometer Gears Ltd. for Jaeger/Smiths speedos.  The gear has to be fitted to the shaft, and it's a bit of a delicate operation.  Fortunately, I have a few spare (broken) gears from Gidget's various adventures into speedometers.  I just pulled one of those and removed the gear.

I very carefully increased the diameter of the hole where the gear fits the shaft to allow a press fit with only a little effort.  I didn't want to add stress to the material.

Then, I used a little superglue (Gorilla Glue, to be exact) on the tip of the shaft, and pressed it into place making sure the gear was properly and fully seated.  I compared to the original and the heights matched, so I think I got it right.  Be very careful here, as that little knob is easily broken off.  Ask me how I know.

I installed the new gear and spun everything up.  The needle stayed stable at 70 and the odometer ticked over nicely.  The mileage has changed!

I cleaned the dial and reassembled the mechanism into the case, and now it waits for cooler weather to be reinstalled into the dash.

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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Brakes II

It's a good time to get the calipers done now that the master cylinder's sorted.  So that's what I did.

The calipers are a two piston design and very effective.  Rebuilding isn't all that hard as long as you start with good cores.  All the parts needed for a rebuild are readily available and of good quality.

Disassembling the calipers is easy enough.  First, take them off the car.

Ugh.  But this car has sat for a long, long time, so accumulation of crud is a given.

After a little cleaning, the next step is to remove the pads, and then the pistons.  These should pop out under a little air pressure.  Fortunately, mine did; that good-luck train keeps on rolling for me.

Once the pistons are free, the calipers get split apart by removing the two bolts holding them together.  Many people say you should never do this - but I have done this when rebuilding Gidget's brakes, and it's no big deal.  There is a seal that fits between the two halves, and that seal is readily available.  Here, I have done this for both calipers and cleaned the bores, which thankfully look good.

That's it for disassembly.  Now, it's time to meet Master Blaster for a good cleaning (protecting the bores, of course).  Here's a before-and-after shot.

Once both are clean and washed, a coat of caliper paint makes them pretty and will keep them from rusting.  Be careful not to get paint in the bores...

The rebuild kits include all the seals and the pistons, which unless the originals are prefect are definitely to be replaced.  The kits do NOT include the little seal between the caliper halves, so don't forget to order them!

Assembly is straightforward, but requires care.  Here's where I started.

There are two seals per piston; an inner and an outer seal. The inner seal is the solid one, and the outer is the grooved (it is a wiper seal).  The inner seal does all the heavy lifting.  The wiper seal is held in place with a retaining ring, and the two halves are joined by that little seal in the bottom of the image.

Each half gets a piston.  Lubricate the seals with a little brake fluid and insert the inner seal.  The wiper seal is tricky to install and takes serious care to keep the retaining ring from being distorted, which is way too easy to do.  My trick is to chamfer the bottom of the ring a bit to help it locate in the opening, and to gently tap into place with a block of wood just wide enough to span the ring.  If the ring does not want to seat with gentle taps on the block with a light hammer, STOP AND RESET.  With a little care, a good result is obtained.  If the ring is distorted but not badly, it can be gently massaged back into shape with a small hammer (not pliers!).

Once the seals are fitted, the pistons can be inserted.  Lubricate the pistons and seals with a little brake fluid and gently press the pistons into place.  This should not require too much pressure, so if the piston does not feel like it will go in, STOP AND RESET.  It is easy to pinch the wiper seal.

Also note that the pistons have an orientation.  The indented part faces in towards the hub, which is towards the mounting holes.  In the image below, you'll see that the indented parts face each other when oriented correctly.

Once the pistons are in place, install the caliper seal and fit them together, then bolt them up.  I used a little Loctite (blue) on the bolts since they do not have lock washers.

And there you have it.

All I need are the rest of the parts for Alice's whoa-ers (rotors, pads, drums, shoes and wheel cylinders).  These are all easy to obtain and low cost, so there's no real reason not to replace everything else in the name of safety.  I was hoping to save the wheel cylinders, but they're trash, so that's where they went.  I did manage to save the adjusters, which just needed a good cleaning.

I'll do some cleanup on the car before installation, and then it's time to bleed the system.  Stay tuned!

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