Fiddling with various things, and actually driving

One of the front spindles was rather worn (from a long-ago spun bearing). I had restored and installed it a couple of years ago anyway, but I had been keeping my eyes out for a replacement. Last year at Hershey I had bought a couple of potential replacement spindles, and last week I decided to install one. So I chose the best one, cleaned, bead-blasted, and painted it, and installed the kingpin bushings. Then I took apart the right front axle, removed the old spindle, and installed the new one. This was a quick and easy job, since I was not dealing with 70-year-old filthy rusty parts.
I also installed most of the 40 or so cotter pins in various nuts and bolts in the chassis. I had not bothered with them when I originally assembled the chassis, since I figured I would probably end up having to remove and replace most of them before the car was finished. Since I had to remove the wheels to reach some of them, I also double-checked and adjusted the brakes. Dealing with the cotter pins was helped by the fact that there is a published list of the size and location of every single cotter pin in the car.
At this point, I felt brave enough to actually drive the car on the road, despite the lack of the fenders and hood. I took it on 3 or 4 trips of several miles each.  I even went to a gas station and got most of a tank of gas.  It ran reasonably well, and the brakes and steering were fine, but the lack of shocks made it pretty bouncy.  Hitting bumps while going around a corner on a narrow road could get sort of exciting. There was also more vibration than I expected around 40-45 MPH, and at one point the horn cover fell off and I had to go back later and search for it on the side of the road.  Fortunately I found it, and it did not get damaged.

Steering wheel done

I put a bit more epoxy filler on the steering wheel, in a few places I had previously managed to miss. Then I sanded it, buffed it with my power buffer, and gave it a coat of floor wax. It doesn’t look perfect- the color of the epoxy does not exactly match the original plastic- but it’s a lot nicer than when I got it.

I bolted the steering wheel in place and installed the headlight/horn switch, which has a long shaft that runs all the way down the center of the steering column. Then I bolted the headlight bar to the fender braces (without the fenders, which are back in the attic), and hooked up the headlights and horn.  The car is more drivable now, with working lights and horn. Those things are functional but unrestored, so eventually they will have to come off again.

I guess the next step is to start test-fitting the interior panels, and do any necessary trimming or adjustment.

Doors all done!

I got the spring I needed for the last window regulator, and I fixed with worn part with a bit of welding and the mini-lathe.  Now all four doors have working latches, all six side windows roll up and down, and I have no more window glass lying around waiting to be installed.

I also wired up the interior dome light, and painted the front fender braces and bolted them to the frame. I also got the front fenders down from the attic where they have been for the last four years, and temporarily bolted them in place. It’s amazing how ratty they look next to the refinished body…

I am away for the next week, but when I got home I will probably finish refinishing the steering wheel (it is already 90% done) so I will be able to install the light switch and the rest of the wiring.  Unfortunately I cannot leave the fenders in place, even temporarily, because without the running boards, they can’t be securely mounted.  One of the original running boards is too far gone to be useful, so I need to start looking for a replacement, either original or repro.

Zipping right along on those doors

Over the weekend I got the last door latch installed. Then I started on the windows. I bead-blasted and painted the metal channels that go across the bottom edges of the glass. For each window, I put the metal channel onto the bottom of the glass with a rubber strip between them, fitted the fuzzy side channels into the window frames, put the glass in the window frame, and install and hook up the regulator mechanism. It went more quickly and smoothly than I expected. I finished all of the windows except the front passenger’s.  Before I install  that one, I have to fix a worn spot on its regulator and find a replacement for a broken spring.

The door latches are coming along

I’ve gotten 3 out of 4 door latches rebuilt and installed.  On a couple of them, the bolts (the part on a door latch that moves in and out when you turn the knob) were quite worn, and I had to build them up with the welder and grind, file, and machine them back to the correct shape.  I turned my mini-lathe into a poor man’s milling machine by making a fixture to hold the bolts to the tool rest, and putting an end mill bit into the lathe’s chuck. Other parts of the latches needed various sorts of welding, filing, and drilling to get them back into shape.

The last door latch is mostly done, and over the weekend I should be able to get it installed. There are some other door parts that still need attention, like the dovetails, but those can wait. The important thing is the doors open and close properly, without needing bungee cords to keep them shut.

Once the latches are all installed, I can install the window glass and regulators. Installing the glass is pretty easy, but one of the regulator mechanisms has a worn spot that needs the same sort of treatment I had used on the door latches.