JULY - AUGUST 2007
I think I went backwards this summer. Sometimes I feel like that Greek guy, Sisyphus, who kept pushing
the boulder up the hill but never reached the top. Actually, this summer was more like one step forward, two steps back.
I put the hood on, but the hinges were not aligned correctly. As a result, the hood bound against the cowl and
chipped paint off both. It did that a few times until I got everything adjusted. What I didn't notice was
that my hood buckled a bit at one spot on the back end where it was binding.
Not I have a hood with chipped paint and a dent. I'll
work on that one later.
While the hood was on, I decided to get the latching mechanism lined up and also to install a hood catch with a cable
release in the cab. I got those parts from some import pickup in the junkyard. After hours of fussing I could get
one, but not the other to work. I decided to forego the stock latch and stick with the cable release latch, so
I removed the stock latch. Then I got to thinking that it would not be good if the catch accidentally released
while going down the highway and the hood flew open, so I put the stock catch back on. I still need to get the
release mechanism working. I'll work on that one later.
Since the hood was on, I put the hood sides on to see how everything would look. ARRUGH. There was like a 2-inch
gap between the hood and hood sides. I removed them, and loosened up all the fender and grille bolts and
tried to move everything upwards. I tightened all the bolts, put the hood sides back on, and noted only a
minor improvement. I took the hood sides and the grille assembly off. I'll work on that one later.
I got the glass in the windshield and all of the windshield pieces put together. That was not an easy task.
I wrapped the edges of the glass in rubber glass setting tape. I coated everything with soapy water and gently pounded
in the glass. Next, I attempted to put the rubber gasket around the outside of the windshield frame, but
there was still some bits of old rubber stuck in the groove. I cleaned out the old rubber and got the new
gasket installed. Again, not an east task getting the rubber in the grove. I set the windshield in the cab,
and it was not flush! There were big gaps between the cab and the windshield assembly on
both sides. I pulled the frame apart and took the glass back out. I'll work on that one later.
Since the grille was off again, I decided to install the finished headlight stands and
run the wires to the stands and headlights. When I finished the wiring last winter, I left all of the wires dangling
out the front. They were all tested, they all worked, and they were all labeled. The headlight stands are from the
1940-41 big trucks. They are identical to the 38-39 stands except that they have a built in parking light. I got the
stands bolted on and the wires cut to length and spliced in. I also ran the headlight wires to where they should
be as well as the wires for the fog lights. After everything was hooked up, I inserted the bulbs, turned on the
ignition, and tested my new installation. One parking light came on, and the turn signals did not work. I guess
I will have to rip out all of the wiring and trace every wire to see where things went wrong.
I'll work on that one later.
Just call me Sisyphus.
SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2007
My new goal is to be in December where I was in April. Lofty, huh? Taking one thing at a time...
I figured out the hood alignment problem. the radiator was set too far forward at the top. I purchased
stainless steel radiator support rods from Bob Drake and set the nuts as far back as they would go. Unfortunately,
it was not far enough. I removed the rods, cut an additional 2 inches of threads on each, and cut off 2 inches
of thread from the front of each one. When I reinstalled them, it moved the top of the radiator back 2 inches.
The hood fit much better, much of the gaps disappeared, and of course, the electric fan motor was well into the
serpentine belt. That meant moving the fan, which meant purchasing a new shroud, which meant draining the cooling system
and removing the radiator. I believe that there is a corollary to Murphy's Law that states "Before you can do something,
you have to do something else." Anyway, I bought a new shroud, positioned the fan so it would not be in the way
of the drive belt, cut a hole in the shroud, and remounted everything. One problem solved.
While I had the radiator off, I ripped out the wiring in the front. That turned out to be unnecessary
as I EVENTUALLY traced the problem to faulty plugs in the steering column. One that was fixed, the lights
in the front worked as they were supposed to. On the bright side, I did a much neater job of bundling and
routing wires the second time. A second problem solved.
I put the grille back on and realigned the front sheet metal. It fit somewhat better but the fit is still
not spectacular. I guess I will just live with it. Chant the mantra: It's a driver. It's a driver.
hood fit right, I got
the hood catch with a cable release in the cab installed and working. That problem turned out to the nut holding
the the plunger looking thingy (whatever its called) to the underside of the hood. The nut, which was a
standard size nut, was too thick.
I removed it and cut about 2/3 of it away with a cutoff wheel and then smoothed it out on the grinding wheel.
I replaced the nut, got everything lined up, and it worked perfectly! Another problem solved.
And in the midst of doing all of this, I had to repair my daughter's car. She had a run-in with a very, very
large oak tree, and the tree won. It took out the right front, right fender, and right door. It also did a bunch
of minor damage that I am not going to worry about. I replaced the air bag, air bag sensors, headlight assembly,
side marker light, bent the remains of the fender off the tire, and removed the plastic inner fender that was wrapped
around the axle. At that point it was drivable but was not a pretty sight. Several trips to the junkyard produced
a header panel, fender, and door, none of which were the right color. It seems that every car in the junkyards
had a bashed in door and fender on the right side, so I picked ones with the least amount of body damage.
After a little bondo and a little primer, I painted the parts to match the rest of the car. Off with the old
and on with the new, and her car looks almost as good as new.
NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2007
My BIG accomplishment was the installation of the battery under the hood. I was really, really, really
hoping it would fit there, and I would not have to put it under the seat or the bed or somewhere
inconvenient. I took some pictures of the installation.
First, I searched the Internet for a suitable battery holder that might actually fit under the
hood. P/N 91666007   from
looked like it would probably fit (a real solid reason), so I ordered it.
Next I needed a battery that would fit in the holder. Battery sizes are standardized by the
BCI (Battery Council International)   and BCI sizes are
conveniently listed on the
Golden Gate Lotus Club   website. I determined that a
Group 34 or 78 battery would be ideal. I looked around and found a
Diehard Gold Group 34/78 battery with 900 cold cranking amps in the Austin Healey, so it came
out of the Healy. I don't really need such a big battery in the Healy, but when a little battery
with 400 CCA and a somewhat larger battery with 900 CCA that will fit is the same
price, I go for the bigger battery.
I made a cardboard mock battery the same size as the real one and fiddled with the mock
battery in the holder under the hood to find a place it would fit. God must have been smiling down
on me that day because I found a place where it would clear the hood, the hood side panel,
and the throttle body (by a hair). I marked the holes on the firewall, and headed to the hardware
store for some 1/2 inch threaded rod. I picked 1/2 inch because that was the size of the mounting
holes in the battery holder, and a rod that size would provide good support for a 44 pound battery.
I also bought two rods because I wanted the nice finished ends protruding under the hood, and not the
sawed off jagged ends.
I purposely cut the treaded rod too long and bolted it to the firewall through the holes
I drilled. I slid the battery holder onto the threaded rod and bolted it on. I marked the rod
so I would know how much to trim off and also measures the exposed rod between the firewall and the
battery holder. I trimmed the rod to the proper length and also cut some PVC plastic water pipe (which I painted
black) to cover the exposed threads. I put everything together to make sure it would fit, took it apart,
and painted the holder black. After the paint was dry, I reassembled everything and installed the battery.
It was a tight fit to slip the battery in, and I had to bend the radiator support rod upward a little to
get it to clear. Once it was in, it cleared everything! I went to attach the hold down bar and
uh oh, the hold down rods supplied with the holder were too short. A trip to the auto parts store
netted a pair of cheesey hold down rods for $3. I cut off the excess thread and bent the hooks on the bottom
a little, and completed the installation.
I put the glass back in the windshield frame. It was the third, maybe fourth time. I am getting to be quite an expert at
it. I put the rubber gasket back around the frame and screwed the upper and lower hinges to the frame. I got the
crank-out mechanism working, but there is still a considerable (and unacceptable) gap between the windshield frame
and the cab. It will have to come apart again, but i decided to get the wipers hooked up and working in the
meantime. I just got started on that.