December 2, 2011

Finished?? Not by a long shot!!!

Even though I've named a few threads "near completion" or some such thing, the details involved in getting a total resto 'road ready' add up to many hours of work and it's mostl the stuff no-one ever see's. Projects always "look" finished way sooner than they ever get finished. Of course some will alwas say: are they ever really finished?

Over the past couple of weeks - and especially the past couple of days -  I've done a bunch of big and things, front to back, that still needed doing. As well, there's the things you catch on a go-through that take longer than expected. During the run-up to this stage, I kept a list taped to the windsheild where I kept track of a lot of little things that needed doing. Such items included final brake bleed, checking the tranny mount bolts and bending up the safety tabs, checking annd filling the tranny and diff with gear oil and cleaning up any wires that where run down the frame rails.

Besides another two trips around the brake bleeders, including having someone pump the pedal to get that final "hard-pedal" feel, it was the box tie-downs that took the most time. After putting nuts and washers on most of the nearly 70 carriage bolts that go though the bed strips (2 stringers are awaiting missing cross beams), I got to work positioning the entire bed to line up with the bed to frame holes.

The front holes where relatively easy as I was able to line up and drill from the bottom with my short, 90 degree drill:

Above: Lining up the frame to box holes from below.
Below: Drilling up through the box wood with 90 degree drill.

Unfortunately, no matter what I tried, I could not get a drill in from the bottom on the rear holes. I tried shorter bits, putting the bit in first and even using a drill adapter - with no luck. So, with a level, a square and a tape measure, I pinpointed the entry point of the holes and drilled them from the top. God forbid I got it wrong, as there's no hiding a hole here!

As it where, the old adage "measure thrice, drill once" worked.

The owner also brought the new battery over. I switched the one I was using out, which fit perfectly and we put the new one in. Unfortunately, even though the dimensions where the same, the new battery has rails on either side for a plastic carrying handle, which are now in the way of the top hold-down frame. We'll either have to remove them, or find one without those rails....  Add that to the list.

During all this work, I was also doing some final prep on the original 1956 "farm" plate. After sanding the yellow to expose the white lettering underneath, I masked it all up again to do a final coat of white on the large letter and numbers:

In case ou missed the procedure, the plate was first sprayed white, then a few coats of clear where applied. After that, the entire plate was coated in yellow.

Finally, the raised letters and numbers are wet-sanded to reveal the white underneath:

As the plate is so old and had sustained a lot of damage over the years, it was difficult to remove all of the yellow from the large letter and numbers without going through to the metal. I opted to mask it up once more and spray several more coats of white on those areas. Better too much paint than too little!

Unmasked, here is the (near) final product - I'll just touch up the smaller letters and it can be mounted on the front of the Chevrolet again!

Today in the mail was my own plate, for our '46 Merc Truck, When we got the truck several year back, my youngest son Colton named it the "Old Man" and we've referred to it as that ever since. THAT's how memories are built!

I wonder how long the undersides of these trucks looked like this after purchase....and then I wonder how long this one will too.....

While under the truck, I checked the gear oil levels and added half a quart of gear oil to the pumpkin and nearly a quart to the tranny! You can bet these haven't been topped up for 30 or more years - if ever!  The "Old Man", (our 46 Merc truck) drank 1.5 quarts when I got him, which made one hell of a difference in shifting ease and decreased running noise substantially!

Another detail was routing and protecting the rear light wires:


After wiring up the taillights, I installed all the wires in corrugated wire wrap. This will not only keep them protected, but, mabe more importantly on this vehicle, looks clean and organized!


Finally, I spent some more time in the engine bay. The owners wanted to be here when the engine fires and runs for the first time - which is a great idea for sure, but it can go south quickl if you invite everyone over and the troubleshooting takes 8 hours!!
So, in order to facilitate that day, I put some gas in the carb and kicked it over, only to get a couple more back-fires, even though I rotated the dizzy 180 degrees. So, once again I removed the #1 plug, cranked it over to get it to TDC and then re-strung the wires as per firing order. I also noticed a little gas leaking around the phenolic carb spacer, so I quickly fabbed up some gaskets for that too.

Once the carb was removed and gasketted, I cinched it back down, added some more fuel and cranked the engine over - success! The engine fired and ran for a few seconds.....however that RARELY means it's ready to run for any longer than that....

Then, as if to confirm my suspicions that it would be ready to run quite yet, as I tried to relight it, the starter began to act up. It would either get hung up on the flywheel and not turn, or release and then not re-engage. Then, just as I was going to remove it to see what was happening, the 3 o'clock bell sounded  - time to pick up the kids from school!

It'll have to get pulled tomorrow!

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