Monday, September 20, 2021

Braking the Shaft

We had our first "nice" day this weekend - it was only 95 - and it was a perfect day for working in the garage.  So I did.  Yuck.

Not many photos this time - I was too dirty to hold the camera.  But here's a rundown of my productive day:

  • Replaced handbrake cable
  • Rebuilt driveshaft
  • Replaced brake light switch
  • Cleaned heater controls and installed heater cable

First, I replaced the handbrake cable.  This was probably the grossest operation, because it was filthy and... well, that's enough.  The cable was not frozen, but the pivot was (I fixed that a while back).  The PO just loosened the cable so it wouldn't work at all.  I ordered a new cable - so in it went.

But first, the seat came out.

That's the original carpet, folks - look at the fade on that tunnel carpet where the console goes.  It's gonna go, eventually.  I vacuumed all the crud out.

After pulling the seat, I removed the linkage under the car and then removed the lever.  It got a good cleaning, too.

There's a couple of nuts and a clip holding the cable in place, which fortunately are accessed from within the cockpit.  I removed the linkage pins and the retaining bracket, and out it came.  The new one is next to it for comparison.

Reinstallation was not difficult.  I spent more time cleaning stuff under the car.  I lubed the new cable and hooked it up, then reinstalled the handbrake lever.  The tensioner went together easily (being clean), and I adjusted it to 4-5 clicks to hold.

Clean things are nice.

Moving on - since I was under the car, I pulled the driveshaft.  I figured replacing the U-joints would be simple; I've done it a few times before, so piece of cake.  Right?


The front yoke came apart easily enough.  The retaining clips came out, and I was able to knock the cups out.  Putting the new ones back on, though, was a real bear.  I twice had the roller bearings slip and fall into the cup and had to take the cups out, which are a tight fit.  I did get the front yoke done and working smoothly.

The back yoke was a different story.  Being exposed and not covered in crud meant that it was rusted together.  The clips broke when I tried to remove them.  So after struggling and not a few choice words, I got out the cutoff tool and cut the center of the U-joint right out.  I was then able to knock the cups through into the center and remove the remnants of the broken clips.

After cleanup, the U-joint actually went together easily.  The cups were not as tight of a fit (but snug) and things lined up nicely.  After a clean, it went back in the car and all should be well.

Being tired, I decided to tackle an easy job - replacing the brake light switch.  The hardest part of that job was trying to figure out why I had no power to the switch (which was bad, so I felt better about it).  It appears the PO's mechanic did some creative wiring and moved some stuff around at the fuse block.  After sorting that out, I had a working brake light switch - and once installed, working brake lights!

Finally, I installed a new heat control cable.  I cleaned the controls so they move smoothly and hooked it up.  It's hanging there until I reinstall the dash, but it works.

My next jobs:
  1. Remove the heater box and replace the seals and the air diverter cable, which is frozen.  Then I can have heat, or not, and have it come into the car, or not.
  2. Reinstall the (new) dash wiring, test it, and reinstall the dash with instruments.  One nice thing - I can plug all this stuff into the dash before installing it, then just plug in the harness.  Finally, something smart about the engineering on this car.  Once installed, I will reinstall the header controls and have a fully sorted dash.
  3. Rebuild the old set of SU carbs I have once I can piece together two good carbs from four (A friend is bringing me a set - and I traded for manifolds).  Kits are on order.
  4. Pull the air pump, carb and exhaust system, and replace with decent stuff.  Not the air pump, mind you - that goes in a box.
At that point, the car should go and stop again, and I can work on suspension and steering.  This project is a real project, all right!
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Tuesday, September 14, 2021


 After a looong pause thanks to weather, I'm back to working on Alice.  This time, it's the dashboard.

Not everything works.  Most things do, but there's some funky behaviors that can only mean one thing- the ghost of Joe Lucas!  I decided the best thing to do was to pull the dashboard and take a look.

Boy, I'm a masochist.

The first thing I did was remove the console and center console.  Those went surprisingly easily - a few screws, some delicate maneuvering, and out they came.  The center console is pretty fragile and will require some reinforcement with glue to keep it intact until I can replace it, if I ever do...

But my fears were not alleviated when I got the consoles out... the PO didn't do me any favors...

Not all of these wires actually go anywhere.

After a little work to remove the dead wiring and a couple of easy patches, it looks much better.

All of these wires go to something.  I hope I can remember what...

On to the dash board itself.  Ugh.  This was held in place by being cobbled together, and not well.  The most difficult part is the nuts under the top of the dash that you need to be Ant-Man to get to, and one of the studs was twisted when the PO (or his mechanic) tried to install the nut and it didn't fit.  I spent two hours in various body configurations trying to get those nuts off... nevertheless, I persisted, and the dash came out after disconnecting and removing the tach and speedo.

It doesn't look so bad from here.  But it's not good.

Here's why I think I have a case of Lucas-itis.

"Well, there's your problem."

So I have a new dash harness on order.

I also pulled the heat and vent controls, and they're functional but gummed up.  At least, they were.  They work great now!  The cables don't, of course - so they're on order too.  Lots of stuff is on order.

I did get the dash dimmer switch unstuck too, but I don't know if it actually works.

Once I get the new harness, I'll test things and if successfully will reinstall the dash (properly). I will also be replacing the radio with something a little more modern, and running the speaker wires properly.  And that will take care of the interior wiring--but there's some more patch work to address under the car, namely for the fuel pump and brake lights, that I have to spend some quality time addressing.  Later.

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