Analysis - Part 3 - 05/24/2014

Here we go again. I needed new tires. The sizes on the front were 205-60R14 and the back had 235-60R14. A 23.7" tire on the front and a 25.1" tire on the back. Factory tires were G78-14, which roughly translates to a 27" tire. No real radial equivalent for it, the closest is a 215-75R14, which is a 26.7" tire. I don't like smaller fatter tires nor do I care for bias plys (which you can actually buy), so I went with close to the factory equivalent of 215-75R14.

They make the car have a better stance in my opinion. It isn't slanted towards the front anymore! I also had the shop do the brakes on the car since it liked to wander quite a bit when you stepped on the pedal. Not cool! They indicated that both calipers had been stuck for a while and wearing unevenly, so all of it needed to be replaced. Since the rotors and calipers were being done, might as well change the hoses too as they're cheap. The parts were a bit pricey, but they included all new bearings and caliper hardware rather than reusing questionable rusty parts I had. Normally I'm a fan of reusing everything, but this isn't a rare car with hard to come by suspension parts like a wagon or full size car.

As they say: trust... but verify! So I'm verifying. The shop didn't mention the rear brakes needing any attention, so let's see if they were right.

Driver's side drum. Factory drum.

Hardware isn't too bad, decent life left in the shoes.

Good, whoever did the brakes put the shoes on correctly. A little weeping is evident from the wheel cylinder, so that will need to be done eventually.

A little weeping on this side too. It's not fresh, so it isn't a big leak, but could stand to be done eventually. The line in the shoe isn't a groove and doesn't catch a nail, so I'm not overly concerned about it. Since we're here we lube everything with PB Blaster to make sure the assembly moves freely (it didn't before).

No evidence of scoring or uneven wear. The mark inside once again isn't a groove and doesn't catch a nail.

While we're here, crack open the bleeder and make sure it isn't stuck. Fortunately it wasn't! I also cheated and lubed all the bleeders with PB Blaster last week to make sure it would have a fighting chance...

Take a look at the gas tank while we're here.

Gas gauge doesn't work, so we need to find out why. Using a multimeter connected to one end (the ground) going to the tan wire in the trunk reveals that it's an open circuit. To go any further requires dropping the tank and opening it up - I ordered a new sender and it will be here next week.

A little wire brushing of the ground point and the wire itself. Note the PB Blaster on the gas tank strap, since it will have to come out eventually, might as well get it ready.

Ground all cleaned and reinstalled, too bad it doesn't fix anything.

Fuel lines have been replaced sometime in the (quite) distant past. They'll eventually get redone again.

The tank vent is behind the strap here in the photo, just vents straight to atmosphere.

Monroe Radial-Matic shocks. Judging by the corrosion and the colors\labeling, these are the same era shocks from the outlaw advertising campaign in the late 1970's and early 1980's. More modern Monroe shocks are blue from what I can find. Either way, these shocks have been here a good long while.

Coil spring and rubber boot appear to be factory, and wouldn't surprise me if they were.

I don't really have any words for this other than a heavy sigh.

Kind of hard to tell, but someone put a pretty good fist sized dent in the gas tank too.

Hmmm, not really sure what was being mounted here. The metal strap is for the factory exhaust hangers and the worm clamp is someone's rigging.

Passenger side drum.

Passenger side drum looks decent.

Very dusty here.

A little PB Blaster on all the pivot points cleans the grime off and allows everything to move freely. Wheel cylinder isn't showing any signs of weeping or failure.

Since we're here... another shot of PB Blaster on the other tank strap.

The frame mounts for the backdrive linkage, clutch return, and brake distribution valve. Why someone would remove all of this and leave the valve unbolted like this to bang around? Don't ask me. New hardware and brackets are on order from Ames to solve this problem.

Now we get to where the money is... Passenger front brake looks good. All new hose, rotor, caliper, and pads. They didn't skimp on the grease in the bearings either.

Factory ball joints - you can tell because they riveted them in. I'm amazed they are 45 years old and have next to zero play in them.

Driver's side front brake setup looking good too with its new hose, rotor, caliper, pads, and plenty of grease.

Driver's side ball joint is still factory too. Once again, no noticeable play in it. Ought to be done eventually, but not in dire need. Guess the shop was correct when they said the suspension didn't have any obvious needs!

Old bad speedometer cable removed in preparation for the new one coming in next week. Re-used the grommet from my '72 instead of the thickly painted red one that was on this car.

Anti-rattle spring. It's the wrong one, another thing being remedied this week when the parts cache arrives.

Investigating the brake booster and column revealed that the oil pressure wire and a TH400 kickdown are just dangling and stuffed back inside the inner fender. Not sure why someone would go to the trouble of replacing the engine harness and do such a half-ass job on it.

Steering column coupler has easy access to get it out. Note that the z-bar has no return spring on it (another item to be remedied). Rubber grommet for the reverse lockout rod is missing from current column. New column will have the hardware. Brake booster is wet, I wiped it down and we can hope it's only like that from the bleeding operation and not because the master cylinder is leaking...

Old car in my house has to mark its territory right away.

Steering box is leaking pretty bad, hard to tell if it's the hoses or the box itself. A new box is on order because this one wanders all over the place. The new one is 3 turns vs. the 4 turn original, so quicker ratio! They had a 2.5 turn box... but $90 more for 1/2 a turn off the steering? Seems a little pricey. 3 turns should be just fine. Power steering hoses are only $50 for the set and take an hour or so to change out, so if the lines are leaking then I'll change them. Rag joint looks good with no evidence of slop, no need to replace that right now.

So the shop did a good job. Replaced what they said and used good parts to do it. Can't complain one bit! New hardware is a bonus. As the tech who did the work said "It's better now, it doesn't want to change lanes for you anymore." Lots of prep work and investigation done today, on Tuesday the parts arrive to get everything ready for safe operation - new steering column, backdrive lockout assembly, new clutch springs, new steering box, new throttle cable and return springs, new speedometer cable, ralley gauge wiring for the new cluster and tach, and other little doo dads. Then the car should be mostly done and ready to drive anywhere - first stop to the exhaust shop to get rid of the Flowmaster 30s and put on a set of Dynomax Super Turbos ("old man mufflers" the exhaust guys say since they're so quiet). And new tail pipes too.

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Last updated May 24th, 2014