Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » September 15th, 2023, 10:31 am

Interesting that you should mention Bill....since his father happens to be Greek. :lol:

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » September 16th, 2023, 11:40 pm

This will be a different kinda post. None of the usual complaints. None of the usual braggadocious falderal. Just good ol' wrenching...

just the way mom used to do it. :lol:

Oh! SorryI For some reason, my mind was on pumpkin pie....

I went to bed late last night, thinking about the fact that I was finally in a position to take quite a few parts out of the living room and get them back on ol' Nickel. Radiators and fan shrouds, no matter how clean and shiny, these very important pieces apparently clash with the harmonious feng shui of Casa del Doctor. So, with my mind working on tractor matters, I slept rather fitfully and woke up early. 7AM. 7AM is early. And where is the guy who went to bed at 10PM in Afghanistan and woke up 2AM to prepare for convoy ops? Long gone, I'm afraid. I am no longer 'high speed'. I am no longer 'low drag'.

2AM-7AM smells differently than the rest of the day. It definitely smells like.....worms.

But there was method to this early-to-rise madness. Weather was supposed to move in around 1PM and I wanted to wrap this cooling system up by then. (Of course the weather never showed up and losing sleep over the matter became just another one of those things ya gotta deal with in this world.) And how best to deal with an unexpected spate of sunshine and blue skies? Why, take a nap, of course!... Just as I would have done if the weather had turned foul. It's best to stick with the plan.

So, it still being morning-time, I slid out of bed and went out to the kitchen for my cuppa, with a small herd of gatos locos circling in loose formation around my ankles. Once everybody got something put in their yaps, I headed out to the tractor with a radiator in one hand and a fan shroud in the other. Went through everything I had done thus far and checked those items for tightness and found one forgotten bolt....thus, this extra bit of checking was indeed worth the effort because once the radiator goes on, everything up front becomes completely inaccessible. In this regard, Nickel is unnecessarily compact.

I even redid a couple of fasteners that had nothing to do with the project at hand; removing them, cleaning them up and tapping out the bolt holes, filled or unfilled because now would a really good time to do that. I finished truing up the radiator fins, because I want it 'just so'. I installed the new overflow line (with an extra 6" of reach because it seemed a shame to cut the extra bit off and I also installed the new radiator pads. Naturally, because I was fawning over the radiator, it will leak like a sieve when all is said and done. So be it.

I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Took a final look at my new fuel lines, one of which I felt was unreasonably close to the fan belt so, with a little tuck here and there, I picked up an extra 3/16" of clearance. ./ jbh dsfw SD1

(...pay no attention to the babbling. Buster, my little feline wingman, is just saying hello to every one of you in G838 Land)

Then I went on to the matter of the brand new radiator hoses, prepositioning them and their clamps which also had to be 'just so' or I would have to face having the tensioning bit completely inaccessible. Gingerly hung the refurbished fan shroud on the fan (it quite possibly sporting one of the best rattle can paint jobs I've ever done) plopped the rad' into place and fastened it down. This radiator is a bit weird as there is no vertical support beyond that of the rad frame (the one I so dutifully de-rusted) and the two fasteners at the bottom of it. Beyond that, only the hoses serve to stabilize it but, this isn't a race car so I'm rather sure that's just fine....because Henry Ford's guys said so...

Mated the shroud to the rad, checked fan clearances and once satisfied, fastened that down. Suddenly, a whole lot of things were (theoretically) done. This is the part when I always feel a little bit sad because I really enjoy all the business of making things right again.

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » September 18th, 2023, 1:50 am

Wow. What a day. A high school chum of mine (a devoted Chrysler-lover) trailered his absolutely stunning 1958 Chrysler 300 D convertible all the way down here from St Louis, Misery for the Chrysler 300 Club's annual gathering which is being held in Fredericksburg, Texas.

That's "quite a haul", as folks from up north would say.

He also owns a 1960 Chrysler 300 F that was formerly mine and he had sat on this car for YEARS doing nothing with it until he finally retired and began the restoration process. I fully admit, as a teen, I too often treated my Dad's place as The Home For Wayward Automobiles and eventually, he put his foot down and even though the 300 F was mine, he forbade me from bringing that monster home. Dad was a sensible fellow but the fact is, he had no idea how big a mistake he was making, considering the ridiculous value those early 300s now have. So, I was forced to sell it. There's a lesson in this story and if you are an otherwise sensible and caring father who thinks that saying NO to your kid is always the correct answer, well...

...think again.

Because my buddy and his wife had come all this way, I thought I'd better show him some Texas hospitality so I got presentable, gathered up Sir Billiam, grabbed the keys to the Doctor Car and headed up for a lunch date at the Gillespie County Airport which has a very satisfying lunch menu in it's cafe...and airplanes...which are the natural progression for people who love automobiles. What could be better?

But first, we would get an up-close-and-personal view of the big 300 D. It was an older restoration which had been completed in Sweden, of all places. This car had really been around! But, it had not been my buddy's restoration. I got under the hood and drank it all in. He complained that the brakes weren't really behaving as expected which is a serious problem in a car that weighs about two tons. So, with him in the driver's seat and pushing on the brake pedal, I observed the wonky bellows of the brake booster. It was undeniably lazy and only somewhat impoved when the RPMs were up....and the engine ran rough. Not bad, but it just fretted and raised a little hell throughout what was supposed to be a smooth turnpike cruiser for bankers and their wives (or secretaries). I raised an eyebrow. Something wasn't right.

He wrote the engine's misbehavior off as it having some sort of performance cam which seemed rather incongruous considering the previous owner's great care to keep everything bone stock. But everyone was hungry and it wasn't going to get fixed while we were staring at it Once in the car, Bill gave me some rather questionable directions to the airport (which I followed) and that took us the wrong way but, by a stroke of my unusually lucky luck, the route took us past a small herd of 50s and 60s Chryslers, DeSotos and Imperials.

Everyone missed them but me.

I pulled an unexpected bootleg turn which earned me protests from everyone else in the car and I replied in a very cop-like tone that I had "spotted something". Ol' Bill has heard that tone in my voice many times. He has seen my antenna wiggling. He has seen my pupils dilate and my jowls tense. When that happens, he knows it's best to get ready for some action. So we were suddenly back to being two cops in pursuit again and his head was on a swivel trying to figure out what had caught my attention.

There, behind a building, was a row of really old, really cool Detroit steel. Dilapidated all, but the style lines were unmistakable and beyond them in the next lot over was an even bigger herd of even MORE 50s and 60s Chryslers, DeSotos and Imperials. The chrome! The badges! The fins! The 'Forward Look'! I turned the car around again so as to get over to them, which took us behind a now defunct car dealership. No gates. No fences, but at the entryway to that particular lot, there was a cable on the ground, strung between two poles. That was good enough for me. I was going no further and said as much but no matter! My buddy was already bailing out to have a closer look on foot...with us or without us.

We sat in the air conditioning and watched him. He was grinning like a dog trying to poop out a peach pit. Welcome to Texas, where all your dreams may come true! By my count, there was no less than 25 cars present (not including the first five). Three of them were bonifide 300 badged cars and all but one of these many cars seemed amazingly complete. I had stumbled us into someone's cache of treasures. And I can almost assure you that they belonged to the organizer of this year's gathering of 300 owners. Who else could it be?

After a nice lunch I took my pal and his wife back to the hotel. They were clearly tired from the long trip, and now fed, they were ready for a nap before event registration opened. Bill and I headed back. I let my brain begin working on the brake and rough running engine issues and couldn't come to any firm conclusion other than there was a vacuum leak. He had explored that avenue in the usual ways and had put a new gasket beneath a carb and then wrote the theory of a vacuum leak off as being proven wrong since he had 'solved it'. But a vacuum leak would still explain a lot of things that were going on and sometimes, these things just require a fresh set of eyes. But, because I was headed home, I just didn't have a good mental picture of the engine bay of his car to reflect upon..except for one particular thing that had lodged itself in my brain.

I hit the internet and looked at a lot of pictures of 1958 300 D engine bays. As they say, one of these things is not like the other. YouTube offered one really good look but that particular 1958 300 D, that unfortunately for me, had been retrofitted with front disc brakes (a wise decision) and had a modern aftermarket power brake system. Jay Leno's channel finally showed me a view of what I was looking for. On the car Leno was discussing, the vacuum service hose joined to the vacuum reserve canister with what could only be a check valve whereas my buddy's car just had a the vacuum hoses (in and out) clamped to the canister. That was what my eye had caught but because I was not entirely familiar with his car, I was unable to identify it as being in error. No check valve....which meant his car was drawing raw air into the intake below the carbs through a hose 1/2" in diameter. Let that sink in. A 1/2" hole and that big, powerful engine only grumbled about it a little bit. Still, it was no small wonder the engine was unhappy! I can only imagine how rich those twin four barrel carbs had to be set in order to keep that engine running.

Yikes

I called him after allowing him a reasonable amount of time for a nap and found he was out in the parking lot of the hotel with a bunch of other 300 owners who had only just arrived.

He: Hello?
Me: Brakes! Your booster! Have you got a check valve on that vacuum line?
He: Brakes? Huh?
Me: I've been hittin' the internet and working on your car's problems. Take a look at your vacuum canister! How are the input and output hoses connected to it?
He: Well, they're just clamped on there.... but they're tight.
Me: (Hearing happy 300 owner's voices in the background) Look at one of the other cars that's closest to your year model and see if there's a check valve on the service line to the vacuum reserve canister.
Unidentified voice in the background: Check valve? Well yeah...right there. That's the check valve.
He: You're right. I don't have a check valve.
Me: Well, you've got one helluva vacuum leak there, fella. If you fix it while you're here, your mixture is gonna end up being REALLY rich. You'll have to make some adjustments.

I wanted him to sort it out because, come Tuesday, Doc and I are gonna ride in style in the big back seat of that big fin car and I want to feel the power of the D...and also have good brakes doing it because Texas Hill Country roads are rarely straight. I'm very pleased to be able to contribute just a little bit to my buddy's ability to enjoy his wonderful automobile to the fullest...even if he did have to drive halfway across the country for mechanical advice.

And for you, Dear Reader, another lesson. If you're looking at something you might take home and make your own; something that has been lovingly restored, or maybe only mechanically restored, or like my tractor, just fiddled with...just remember, sometimes all the parts don't make it back onto a vehicle during a restoration, no matter how good the work is. Accidents happen. People get too busy managing all the many things that make up a restoration and things can and will get overlooked.

I'm just glad he didn't buy an airplane.

Cheers,
TJ
Last edited by m3a1 on September 18th, 2023, 11:07 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by rickf » September 18th, 2023, 9:18 am

You don't have an A&P cert? I guess mine is not really any good either, it expired probably 25 years ago.

I am surprised he did not have backfiring through the carbs with that big of a vacuum leak and dual carbs. I am guessing he didn't push it much past idle and light cruise.
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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » September 18th, 2023, 11:25 am

I only play an A&P mechanic on TV, Rick. You know that! :lol:

He's only had this car for a very short time and according to him he's only put maybe 100 light miles on it. He's also a very methodical person so you can bet he didn't just jump in, slam the door and put the ol' Go Foot down when he got it. Thus, we can be assured he's still in the 'getting-to-know-you' phase with this car.

He's a fairly competent mechanic in his own right and I think he would have landed squarely on this problem eventually but he began as part of the slide-rule crowd in high school and he never really gave up the scientific method for being a 'seat-of-your-pants' mechanic. I'm really hoping he has some old shop manuals for it because where there's one thing missing, there may well be another and I'm a big believer in having The Book.

Anyhoo, I'm glad he's now on the path to getting this fixed because these cars have a reputation for being surprisingly powerful (for something that big). It would be a rare treat to experience that. I'm hoping he'll sort it out today and maybe tomorrow we'll see what it can do on the straightaways.

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » September 20th, 2023, 7:31 pm

Well, Doc and I got invited back to join my buddy and the car club for another day of their annual 300 Club soirée; a convoy of big fin cars running through the Hill Country. At the pre-convoy meeting, Doc and I were immediately asked to join the club, probably because I had a pulse and liked things with wheels and knew which end of screwdriver was which and Doc was an equally worthy candidate. At the meeting some guys figured out I was the guy they'd been hearing about. The guy with the big green things. So, I engaged in a little show and tell before the meeting got under way. One guy came over and said he had always wanted a WWII command car. Oh boy. Here we go. So I said, "How soon do you want it?", which sort of put him on the spot. Within a few hours, I had made sure that the club member and the guy selling the command car had the information they needed to reach out to one another.

Be careful what you ask for. Right?

These guys may be knowledgable and passionate about their cars but they sure don't know how to organize a convoy, much less participate in one. For those of you who don't know about such things, one of the premier rules of unescorted convoys is - NO Left Turns. Left turns will destroy a convoy quicker than you can say Jack Robinson. So, the thing to do is set up a tour that goes clockwise on the map. Since we had been organized to go COUNTER-clockwise, In short order the convoy was carved up by traffic lights, uncontrolled intersections and other motorists who were in a hurry to be somewhere else. Soon, we were spread out all over the county and apparently going every whichaway. Some cars turned where they were supposed to. Others did not. The only saving grace was a small, turn-by-turn book of instructions and if the driver assumed that his passenger would navigate (without having been asked first) it would be easy to end up in Johnson City...

or perhaps even Abilene.

We wound up in the rocking chair of what remained the convoy, with the top down and our ladies looking stylish in the back seat. First they enjoyed sunning themselves but eventually came to the conclusion that they were being blown to pieces by the wind with conversation nigh impossible. Eventually, the fellas up front discovered this so, we rolled up the windows which created a nice block of relatively still air and everybody eventually discovered that the chicks in the back seat could actually talk to the two dudes in the front seat.

I thought they were being unusually quiet back there. What a difference four feet of glass on each side makes.

We tried our darnedest to be the link between the lead cars (which wandered ahead at breakneck speed) and the tail cars (which just sort of moseyed along, apparently looking for wild red Indians or derelict Chrysler 300s for sale) and they soon disappeared completely from view. Did I mention that there was no cellular service? Yeah. THAT. So the convoy eventually degraded into every man (or woman) for themselves and came together, accordion style, only at the various 'points of interest' which translated, means restrooms because most of us were up in years and old guys have to pee every 17.8 minutes or 2 miles...whichever comes first.

After schlepping around in our big gunboats, we began to realize that everyone was getting hungry and since someone finally told me I was supposed to be navigating (which, all things considered, seemed a lot like work) I found that there was no provision for a lunch break in this gira por Tejas . After revealing that to my tourmates, we all pretty much came to the same conclusion all at the same time. We were HUNGRY and we decided to bail out because I figured out we were only half way through a three hour tour and don't we all know about what happens on three hour tours!

Well, hello, Gilligan!

My pal began complaining that the car was sort of wandering and his job at the tiller was becoming increasingly difficult. He chalked it up to a leaking power steering pump. I remained unconvinced but kept my mouth shut. Happily, the map ran us straight back into town and there, we began looking for sustenance. We weren't alone. As all the other big fins began dribbling in, they were headed for gas stations and driving up and down der Hauptstrasse, hungrily looking for an open restaurant. Apparently, options are limited on Tuesdays in Fredericksburg, just as they are in Ohio. Weird. We found one that was open and judging by how parked up it was out front, appeared to be popular. We parked a block down in front of the courthouse, got out and made our way up the sidewalk towards the promise of good food.

A gang of other participants drove by in a bright red 1955 300-C, whoopin and hollerin at us, hanging out the windows and slapping the car's door skins as they went by, acting like a bunch of crazed frat boys. Their car was stuffed. Stuffed, like a phone booth; all the looneys in one can big. "WE'RE GOIN' TO GET MEXICAN FOOD!" they screamed with glee. As they passed, I stopped, turned and hollered back, "THANKS FOR WARNING US!"
I imagined somebody was gonna recreate the famous campfire scene of Blazing Saddles whether they knew it or not....

....because frijoles and old guys don't mix well in polite company.

Had a good meal. Lunch really hit the spot. So, we returned to our big, blue gunboat and clambered in. My buddy backed out just a bit (angle parking) and turned the wheels hard left. POP! I felt it, whatever 'IT'was. It resonated right up through the floorboard on my side. Everybody in the car heard it and went silent. I turned in my seat and told my buddy, "You know what? This car really is a piece of shirt."

....You should sell it to me."

Naw, I didn't say that. I didn't want to kick him while he was down. The fact was, this car had been restored to a level which, at first blush, one might assume that everything had been gone through. BUT...the truth was, there were some things that had not been addressed and, since the car had been sold shortly after the restoration had been done, it had never been thoroughly wrung out.

Well, we were wringing it out now!

We tippy-toed back to the hotel. Every time he braked, the right front began singing. From my point of view the steering was obviously encumbered. Undefeated, we eased back into a parking space. The car's right front wheel had taken on a decidedly negative camber. I pointed it out and he said he didn't see it. Poor fella. He's in denial. I opened the hood, half expecting to find the upper control arm's shims missing and it flopping around on its bolts. Nope. I thought, well, this ain't my car and my buddy seemed tired. Not defeated. Just tired. Nothing would be served by my pursuing the matter. It's just a machine that needs more attention in the right places. Simple. In an hour or so, he was gonna be surrounded by a bunch of guys who were far more knowledgable than I, where 300s are concerned.

We retreated to the lobby of the hotel and sat around for a while and chatted while Doctor Smith spent a little bit of time on the phone doing 'Doctor Things' and once she was done we finally said our goodbyes. He would go take a nap. I would go home and take a nap. The wives would do whatever it is they do while the old guys took 'old guy naps'. It had been a full day and because the heat was coming up, siesta-ing was the only civilized thing to do. But, once I was vertical again and with Doc recharged heading off to take a fancy-pants cooking class (where does she get the energy?!) I hooked up with Billyboi for dinner.

I was regaling him with the tales of the day when my phone rang. It was that dude with a POS Chrysler, again. Won't he EVER go away?!
He: You'll never guess what the problem is.
Me: DO tell!
He: Well, after everyone got back, me and the boys went out and removed the right front wheel and the upper ball joint was so worn it pushed right through the top of the socket.
Me: Whaaaat?!
He: Yeah, and..
Me: (interrupting) Dude! I can't believe you took us out in that death trap! (I was having him on) We could have been kille-
He: (as though I hadn't said a thing) Apparently that's not uncommon in these. But, guess what. I called around and there are two new ball joints for my car at an OReilly's in a little town called Boerne, Texas.
Me: Oh SURE! (laughing) You nearly kill all of us and now you want me to save you!

Well, it was either save my buddy or go watch yet another episode of American Pickers after dinner. We elected to be the heroes of the story so I bought the parts and Bill drove 'quite a haul' back up to Fredericksburg, dodging deer in the growing darkness and giving The Billmeister an opportunity to see a whole pack of big, beauteous cars under the rosy glow of LED parking lot lights. We arrived to find most of the 300 Club guys gathered in the lobby's comfy chairs and made a show of blowing the dust and cobwebs off two boxes of upper ball joints. As I handed them over, I told my buddy, "You know, I reckon these here parts make me a 'part owner' of a 1958 Chrysler 300 D." He eyeballed the receipt, whipped out his wallet and laid out some money.

"And now you're not." :P

...AND you owe Bill some gas money. He cut loose of another $10 bucks. These Chrysler 300 owners are a cagey bunch. You've gotta watch them like a hawk or they'll try to take advantage. :D So, Wednesday is scheduled to be the 300's public car show at a local Chrysler dealership. He's going to see if he can get them to install the parts and I'm waiting to hear how that went.

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by rickf » September 21st, 2023, 7:51 am

Do you really think there is a mechanic left in a dealership that knows how to install ball joints? Let me rephrase that, do you really think there is a "mechanic" left in a dealership? They are all "technicians" now and they replace the parts the computer tells them are bad.
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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » September 21st, 2023, 10:47 am

I could replace those right here in my driveway, without a lift. The car has a torsion bar suspension so the upper control arm isn't a big problem to remove and with the ball joint already separated from its socket in the upper control arm, the only thing left to do is dismount the upper control arm from the frame and have at it. The procedure for R&R-ing the ball joint assembly to the control arm is only too self-evident. It screws into a socket in the control arm. Granted, there are 52 thousand oogah-doogahs required to torque it down to spec but I have been told the modern safety net for such an installation is three tack welds to ensure it doesn't begin to unscrew...which tells me some of these guys have attempted to do the work without adequate tools and had experienced failures.

My buddy said, "You don't have a wrench that's big enough."

Ha! Out of the mouths of babes...! These Big Fin boys assume (erroneously) they're driving the biggest rigs out there. I have tools big enough to work on things like tanks, as do many of the other members of the MV hobby. So, there's definitely a disconnect between a lot of disparate groups in what might otherwise be all characterized as being members of The Vintage Vehicle Crowd. Disparate, simply because very few of us have had the opportunity to walk in the shoes of others. And that's not an indictment of anyone being actually ignorant but better said, they're just lacking information. Even the largest turnpike cruiser offers zero opportunity for learning how to replace a track...or remove a turret....or wrangle a final drive. Right?

Thus, we only know what we know....and sadly, we can't know what we don't know.

But, that's fine. There is always room for screwing something up and my buddy would probably be far more comfortable trailering his car back home and dealing with it there.....a decision which left me time to get back to sorting out my own stuff. Good ol' Nickel awaits a tender touch.

Yup, yesterday I used my spare time wisely and pulled the tractor's carb back off which allowed me the room I required to run a bit more fuel line to the tank and also became an opportunity to sort out the carb's issues. Among them, I think I had the float set wrong (darned close, but still wrong) and after removing the bowl, I found that the a bit of the cork gasket (which came in a kit and never really fit as well as I would have wanted) had ended up being down in the bowl, in pieces. Frankly, I don't think theirs was top-quality cork gasket material. It shouldn't have come apart like that. Made me go cold thinking about all those little bits of cork maybe finding their way into the carb's guts. I think I dodged that bullet. Between the float issue and the chewed gasket, I had myself a genuine leaker. But - Oh happy day! - the business of having to upend my garage in order to replace the dryer the other day finally revealed my missing kit for cutting custom gaskets.

D'ya see how these things always work out for me? Gotta love it. Mmmm Hmmm!

So, I pulled out some quality gasket sheet that would be appropriate for the job and whipped up a gorgeous new gasket for the bowl of the carb (while sitting in air conditioning, no less!) and friends, my gasket was FAR better than the cork gasket that came in the kit. Beautiful, in fact. And, I tweaked the float. So that's all done. And while I was working at this side of the tractor, I removed the final section of air intake conduit so that it could be blasted inside and out and then recoated. This isn't for making it pretty, mind you. The interior of the tube was rusty and needed some attention because rust never gets better, right? Yes, yes....I could have gotten along nicely without doing it but there is that extra ten percent of any job that is the difference between a Good Job and a GREAT Job, right? So, I'll be standing at the Billmeister's blast cabinet today, doing the thing...

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » September 23rd, 2023, 10:12 am

Saw Expendables 4 yesterday. It was awful. But it was fun to imagine what might happen to Megan Fox's pretty face when she was looking down the sights of a folded MP5 and had the thing to her nose. Yikes!

But with the bad comes at least a little bit of good. Feast yer peepers on this...

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/produ ... -sQAvD_BwE

Yeah, yeah...I know. For that kinda money you could bring home a flat-fender project but could the grandkid drive that? Nope.

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by rickf » September 23rd, 2023, 1:41 pm

Is that a chain drive under that 2500.00 body??!!!!! So basically it is a go cart? Yea, I'll pass. I saw one there the other day for something like 13,000.00!!! for a Chinese UTV. Uh-Huh, They need to stick to horse feed and Chinese hardware.
1964 M151A1
1984 M1008
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12/1952 M100- Departed
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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » October 7th, 2023, 10:56 pm

My life is one long roller coaster ride of stupid stuff I should/could do without...but don't.

So, tis the season where my wife pouts if I don't decorate the front yard for Halloween and fellas, I have a LOT of Halloween stuff and actual experience to draw upon but, every year has to be something different. Enough is somehow never enough. The 'why', and the 'for whom' of it has long since passed into the ethereal antiquity. Gone are the days of trick-or-treaters or finding Halloween-centric strangers walking in my front yard; slightly odd people who are just there to take in all the sights and sounds. Sadder still, if anyone does pay any attention to all of this madness, they simply drive slowly by, phone out the window taking video. I ask you, where is the fun in that? So, I have been tip toeing around putting up some stuff that transitions into support of the annual Christmas party and avoiding the other stuff that is only suited to Halloween. Stuff, such as the Victorian iron fencing and gates - THAT stays up for Christmas party. Some headstones ('some' means a lot)....and not those el Cheapo styrofoam ones, either and some iron fencing around certain special burial plots; those sorts of things get put away immediately after Halloween. Those sorts of things make more work for me.

But.... Doc "wanted something different" and Dear Reader, 'something different' is what she is getting.

Some of you who follow along may recall that that fella down at the tractor junkyard. You may even remember the deal. A brand new, never before used, right angle gearbox with the pulley for running belt-driven stuff off of my antique tractor....for the low low price of next to nothing. Can't recall exactly the words Rick used but, it implied theft perpetrated by me on a grand scale. So, I went back down to make things right. He had mentioned that he had a farm wagon built on a Ford Model T chassis and, since we host the local Model T Club at the annual Christmas party, I put two and deux together and thought, Jeez I might pull off a triple whammy to (1) get square with the man who makes sure I have my tractor parts, (2) have a VERY antique farm wagon in the yard for a Haunted Hayride-themed Halloween Display and (C) have something on hand to wow the Model T Club because by the time the party rolls around, I'll have that wagon re-decorated to become the foundation for a Christmas Tree Farm-themed Christmas decoration.

This might just work.

I made arrangements to drive 60 miles down (one way) to visit and to see said Model T farm wagon. I was not disappointed. This was a buckboard (more of a grain wagon actually) narrow, with a basic floor, side-boards with stakes and end panels that fit in channels on the side board. It was VERY well constructed, painted in Case Tractor colors (which were and are very suitably Halloweeny) and every inch screamed out Depression Era thinking...when you made do or did without. So, a derelict Model T had become a farm wagon and once again, became useful. Totally Old School.
What's not to like? Naturally, I fell in love with it at first glance. He hit me with a high price and I wriggled around like a worm on a hook, not wanting to seem a pushover but, because I am a thoughtful fellow, I also wanted to get square with the man over the previous low-low priced Grand Theft purchase. So I did not squirm too much. He came down a little bit, I stopped wriggling and said, "I'll take it." Everybody came away happy.

"Grease for the skids," as my Dad would say.

When I got home, a fellow called me inquiring about my wretched old Suburban which had recently been put up for sale. I gave him my Very Fair Price because I just wanted to be rid of the darned thing. He acknowledged that it was a good price and would I consider doing some horse trading? "Well," I said, "sure. Waddya have?"

And down the rabbit hole we went....

He - "Some old Jeep stuff."
Me - "What flavor of Jeep?"
He - "Oh, some really old stuff.."
Me - "Like, flat fender Willys stuff, or more modern Jeep stuff?"
He - (sounding embarrassed) "Um, mostly old CJ2 or CJ3, I think... and a bunch of other stuff."
Me - "Wanna go have a look?"

So we did.

There, I found the tattered remains of a 1945 MB with a CJ rear end and a civvy head on the engine. It had one civvy wheel and tire and by the grace of one single lug nut, it was the only thing keeping the poor decrepit thing from sinking entirely into a pile of leaves and then, eventually, into Mother Earth. Someone had sensibly put a flat rock over the carburetor but then left the spark plugs out altogether. They cylinders were all topped off with water....which was probably neither here nor there considering that the fuel pump was missing and the block was open to the elements. Yeah. The engine was stuck...like a fly on flypaper. The engine had been overhauled at Red River at some point in its life and bored .40 over; halfway to doomsday. The gear shifter shifted; high and low, 4WD in and out; all those levers moved with amazing ease. Frame was bent and cracked but there was the telltale MG support and the little ancillary bits, all still there.

There was a set of fenders over here, and a set of exceptional seat frames (which I need badly) over there, and a couple of much-abused military rifle racks here AND there, and nothing much else that amounted to anything. OR perhaps there was..?

Me - (sounding disappointed) "Ahhhhhhhhh...
He - "Well, how about a cap top? I have this long-bed-full-sized cap top."
Me - (I had been eyeballing the cap top which was a Leer, and a contractor job with side openings to tool trays, and finished in white (which would perfectly match my truck). "Hum. Let's have a look." It was nearly perfect.
Me - "I'm very interested in the cap top." There. I said it.

DING!

ANNNNNND THEY'RE OFF! 🐎 🐎 🐎🐎

So, we looked and poked and poked and looked and frankly, I saw a deal in the making, even with an engine that even the most positive-thinking person would believe to be no better than a boat anchor. BUT.. (and you know I like big buts, and I cannot lie) But, I just happened to have another 45 jeep chassis in my back yard with an incomplete driveline and this hunk of metal would fill that gap, no matter what its condition. Worth doing? Well, maybe. All the other parts worth having? Well, maybe. Should I take it home, cut away the dead flesh, such as the FUBAR frame, and tease out what might be of some use later on? Well, maybe.

Today, BillyBoi and I drove back down and loaded up my old farm wagon and drove all the way back up to El depósito de chatarra de TJ with it. I hosed off 52.7865 lbs of South Texas from its old bones and now it will sit and (hopefully) dry enough for me to zap it with several thick coats of Thompson's Water Seal. Haunted Hayride here we come!

Mr. I Got Jeep Parts arrived to drive the old Suburban and he pronounced it sufficient for his needs so, tomorrow I will go over and take another look to see if the engine block is cracked and afterwards I will try to wring a few more usable trades out of this deal. After all, I'm letting myself in for a LOT of work just to get the chassis moved and then broken down into parts and with the threat of Tetanus...I reckon that's gotta be worth something.

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » October 8th, 2023, 11:53 pm

Well, the block was cracked. Boo hoo hoo. So, we wandered around and I picked at things until I was satisfied that both of us were satisfied without the appearance of my being too particular about the nickel and dime stuff. I returned later with a rock jack and proceeded to haul this jeep's buttocks out of the earth and up onto some old steel wheels so as to be better able to get to the studs and lug nuts because I would need to put some wheels on this thing to get it home. With PB Blaster applied very liberally and a follow up with a wire wheel the lugs cleaned up surprisingly well and I ran the lug nuts on and off until they moved smoothly. For something that had been left out in the weather for so long, they came around very quickly....except for one stud. There's always one because, well....

Murphy.

I have had run-ins with Murphy so many times (especially in Afghanistan) I pretty much know what dirty trick he's gonna pull before he pulls it. This Murphy Stud was no longer affixed to the flange so, rather than fighting to get the lug nut off, I broke out the Death Wheel and cut the lug off altogether. Bye Bye! The former owner looked on, fascinated that I could turn this thing around as quickly as I was.

Not my first rodeo, as they say.

And, since the Death Wheel was already plugged in, I proceeded to cut away some nonsensical BS that was attached to the rear crossmember and posing as a sort of ad hoc trailer hitch. Zing-zing-zing and clunk.....suddenly the chassis was 30 pounds lighter. If I ever find one of these decrepit old jeeps without a home made trailer hitch I may just have to eat my hat.

That's where we left it - up off the ground, waiting for a set of shoes.

Tomorrow, however, will consist of some minor efforts to remove the front hub drive flanges, remove a brake drum and fish out that errant lug and to load up my new-to-me Leer commercial truck cap and get that home and readied for Longfellow (who might soon be getting some bigger side-view mirrors so I can see where I've been).

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » October 10th, 2023, 12:40 am

Nothing further on the heep of jeep. Didn't even get around to it. What we did do is help a third amigo buy some roofing materials from the guy I'm trading with and, loaded a trailer with those materials and the cap top. The cap top is going to need a new set of cap-to-bedrail seals but, after a lot of discussion (so that everyone agreed upon how we were going to get the thing up onto what was already a high set of bedrails) we hefted it up onto Longfellow and I clamped it down with marginal seals. Good is good enough at the moment. I'll have to get an new set of seals but until then I can't have a huge cap top just sitting around.

Wow, what a transformation! Longfellow is a 98 Ford F350 4WD crew cab with a long bed. Add to that a cap top that extends the line of the cab roof all the way back to the end of the truck and it looks bigger than it actually is (if that's possible). Doc was all agog when she saw it. Not in a good or bad way but just kind of stunned. The truck towers over her. All 22 feet of it. The sad fact is, this cap top, which is a commercial style with side doors instead of side windows (and nifty storage lockers behind them) just screams out that there is probably valuable stuff within and wouldn't every bad guy in the neighborhood like to break into it.... Not good.

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » October 11th, 2023, 9:29 pm

I really cannot take full advantage of the new cap top because there are no workable keys with which to lock the tool lockers. So, I called up the local Leer dealer and made some inquiries. A cheerful young lady answered the phone and off we went -

Me - Hi, I recently acquired a Leer DCC cap top and unfortunately, there are no keys for its locks. Can you guys provide keys or do you sell the locks?
She - Well, we can if you give us your VIN and we'll have the keys made by Leer who will then ship them to us.
Me - My VIN?
She - Oh yes, Leer DCC cap tops come with lock sets to match the ignition key of the vehicle they're mounted on.
Me - Well, this cap didn't begin its life on my truck. It was the previous owner's truck. I recently acquired the cap top and now have it on MY truck.
She - Well, then we cannot provide a key.
Me - So that brings us down to lock sets. Waddya got?
She - I'd need a picture of your cap top.
Me - (imagining that every Leer DCC almost undoubtedly has the same sort of latch/lock mechanism) Okay, sure...give me a moment.
She - Okay, I have them. Now you know, if you'd give me your VIN I could simply arrange to have replacement keys made for you. Leer DCC cap tops come with lock sets to match the ignition key of the vehicle they're mounted on.
Me - (long pause, considering that I may have just experienced a glitch in the Matrix) Well, this cap didn't begin its life on my truck. It was the previous owner's truck. I recently acquired the cap top and now have it on MY truck.
She - Well, then we cannot provide a key for your locks

A glitch in the Matrix...or was she being badly coached?

Me - Understood, but (trying to get her back on track) now we're onto the topic of arranging new lock sets.
She - Right, well, I'd have to contact Leer and make some inquiries.
Me - Fine, look into it and get back to me by phone or text. I'll watch for it.

So, i went back to looking over the latches to see how the lock sets came out and the process was not only obvious, it was about as simple as falling off a log. A text came in. Young lady wanted the ID number from the cap top which i provided immediately. After some time, she called back.

She - Okay, here's what we can do for you. We can order three bolt-throw locks for you at $35 each bringing your total to...
Me - Um, wait. What exactly is a bolt-throw lock? Is it the whole latching and locking assembly?
She - Yes and we will have to install that for you for an additional charge. We...
Me - Okay, but all I need is three locks.
She - Leer doesn't sell just the lock sets. You would have to buy the whole assembly and have us....
Me - ...and you're about to say you have to install it.
She - (muffled background conversation overheard) Well, yes. These are not user serviceable components....
Me - Ahhhhhh...okay.
She - (more muffled background conversation overheard)...and the lock sets cannot be removed from the latch mechanisms.
Me - (rolling my eyes) Oh, I see! Well, then, I guess we're just down to that rubber seal we spoke about first and we'll just leave the latches and locks out of the discussion altogether.
She - Okay then, your parts will be in on Friday. Is there anything else I can help you with?
Me - Nope, I'm just going to finish removing these lock sets and take them down to the locksmith and see if I can have some new keys made. You've been very helpful. See you on Friday.

After six minutes went by and I had the lock sets extricated from their respective bolt-throw latch assemblies. (Cue the epic Patton movie soundtrack) I called a locksmith that had a little kiosk located by one of our favorite Northern Tools locations, explained my need for keys and he said, "Sure, bring those locks down and we'll get you fixed up. They'll be ready on Friday."

I love it when a plan comes together.

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by rickf » October 12th, 2023, 8:58 am

If they were pinned for the original Ford truck you could send them to me and I could repin them for you to your truck, I would need a spare key to get the bitting for the key. But to be honest, a local locksmith can probably do it for 50.00 for all of them. Possibly while you wait.
1964 M151A1
1984 M1008
1967 M416
04/1952 M100
12/1952 M100- Departed
AN/TSQ-114A Trailblazer- Gone

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