As with other operations of restoring your collector’s car, restoring the mechanical assemblies requires good preparation, lots of patience and the ability to get information or help fairly quickly so that you don’t lose momentum in your work. This article will take you through how to assemble the different parts of a car’s mechanics.
Brake systems: Cars manufactured before 1967 had a different brake system than later cars. They had one chamber of a master cylinder that created the hydraulic pressure that expanded the “slave” cylinders at the wheels to force the shoes into the drums thereby increasing the rolling resistance to stop the car. If a leak developed anywhere in the system, the fluid became
incompressible and all brake action was lost.
Beginning in 1967 the federal government required a “dual master cylinder” type of brake system. When you push the pedal you are actually pressing one piston which
compresses fluid to compress the second piston. Each piston compresses fluid for one half of the brake system. Some cars are separated front & back others diagonally, front; rear. There are actually two independent hydraulic circuits. If one brake hose failed, and cannot hold pressure there will still be an intact system for two wheels allowing for a safe stop.
You may need to add a dual master cylinder to your car by physically bolting the dual cylinder so that it can effectively be actuated by the brake pedal.
This may call for altering the entire underframe pedal assembly. Next, you run new brake lines to achieve two independent circuits. Most collector cars use the front/rear format (it required the least amount of tubing). One half of the master cylinder went to the front and another was routed to the rear. The fluid was routed through a pressure differential switch. This was a spool valve that received pressure on each end from each side of the master cylinder. A finger from an electrical switch touched the spool valve and if it was slid in its bore because one half the system has pressure and the other does not, the circuit is made and the “brake system failure” light on the dash is illuminated.
The other alternative is to give your collector car a high quality repair, especially if you will not use it to much. High quality means all new components including springs and flexible hoses. The car can still operate well as the original manufacturer designed it
Fuel pump: If you need to work on the fuel pump, drain all the gas (the battery will be disconnected by now) and isolate the leads to the pump.
Open the panel to the fuse box and remove the fuse for the fuel pump. Start the car and wait for it to stall. Do this a couple more times until the car no longer wants to start. By doing so, you are releasing the fuel pressure from within the fuel line. Once the car is stalled, put the fuse back in. Make sure you car ignition is in the off position before continuing.
Raise the hood and disconnect the negative terminal of the battery. Open the gas cap to release pressure in the fuel tank. Locate the access plate normally in the trunk area of your car and disconnect the wiring harnesses. There will be hoses attached to the plate. You will need to loosen the clamps and then remove the hoses. Gas will squirt out when you remove the hoses so have a rag ready. Remember which hose goes where. You can use colored electrical tape to remind you. Now you should be able to pull up the tank access plate. There is a fuel level sender attached to it. You must gently work the whole assembly out of the hole. After you remove the fuel level sender you should see the white fuel pump holder. Take a flat head screwdriver and snap it open to release the fuel pump. Now you have to turn the fuel pump so that the siphon bag comes out from underneath the pump holder. The stock pump will come out and you can remove the power harness. There is a small clip that holds the siphon bag to the stock fuel pump. You must remove the clip to take off the siphon bag. Using the same clip, put the siphon bag on the new pump. Attach the harness to the pump and work the assembly back into the holder in the fuel tank. Reassemble the tank access plate, secure the hoses, and reattach the harnesses.
Reconnect the battery and turn ignition to the on position without starting the car. You should hear the pump go on for a second. Look and make sure the hoses are not leaking.
Air intake system: Make sure the engine is cool before starting. Turn your steering wheel all the way to the left or remove the wheel closest to the air intake to gain access. Now open your hood and locate the existing factory intake box. Release the metal retaining clips on intake box, lift cover and remove the factory filter. Trace the intake pipe across the engine compartment and locate the plastic molding holding the plastic to the engine as well as the point where the air flows into the engine. Use a flathead screwdriver and loosen the hose clamp. Remove the intake. If any wire are attached to the pipe, carefully detach them and be sure not to damage them (This is the breather valve or tube; this tube will be replaced by a piece normally included in air intake kits). In the air box, you will see screw-type clips. Loosen those screws to remove the air box. (You may have to hold the nuts from under the wheel well.) Now remove the protruding screws that once held the air box to the fender to prevent the risk of tearing a hole into the filter of the new intake.
To install a new aftermarket intake system, position the new intake so that the filter is pointed towards the outer part of the car closest to the fender. Place the rubber sleeve provided with your intake onto the appropriate end of the pipe (This piece will connect to the throttle body). Don’t tighten any of the hose clamps which will connect the air intake together. Position them loosely so that you have easy access to tighten them later. Connect the supplied hose to the intake. Now connect the intake to the throttle body, ensuring that you have the sleeve firmly attached. Once the intake is in place, navigate the small hose to where you disconnected the breather tube and connect it. Slide the filter forward on the intake pipe leaving enough room for the hose clamp to secure the filter tightly to the intake pipe. Tighten all the hose clamps and you are done. Fuel Filter: Begin by removing the fuel pump fuse from the fuse panel. It should be a blue 15amp fuse. The fuse panel is inside your car, to the left of the steering column. Once removed, start the engine. After the engine fails to start (i.e. it stalls on you) don’t worry, it just means there is no fuel going
to the engine, so the engine is going to die. Attempt starting the car at least three more times and if the car doesn’t start, then the fuel pressure has been released successfully. Make sure you turn the ignition to the off position before continuing.
Now locate your fuel filter, it will be along the fire wall. It is a big cylinder with hoses on the top and bottom. Using an old towel or large rag to absorb all of the extra fuel, loosen the hose clamps and remove the filter and the hoses. You may also want to check the hoses at this point to see if they are worn or deteriorating. If they are hard, you need to replace them. The hose on the bottom will be attached to another hose with a bracket, remove the hose and replace later.
Replace the fuel filter with a new high-pressure fuel filter in the correct direction and reinstall the hoses in the reverse steps. Put back the fuel pump fuse. Start the engine and check for leaks. Crank the starter to put fuel pressure back into the car as you did to release it. It will take a few tries for your car to start. If you have a fuel pressure gauge, normal is around 30 +/- 3 psi.
Checking Frame Dimensions: A badly distorted frame can be replaced more economically than by attempting repairs. If yours is not too damaged, go ahead and adjust it. Find out the original frame dimensions – if possible from the factory service manual. Take the diagonal measurements when aligning and straightening your car’s frame.
Any two diagonals compared represent exactly corresponding points on each side of the frame. You should compare your 2 diagonal measurements and they should be within 1/4 inch of each other. You can then straighten the frame parts which have been ent to achieve the accurate measurements.
Steering Box: Adjusting the steering box is necessary if it has too much play. You can test to see if the play is too much and then decide how far to adjust it. How do you see how loose the steering is? The top of the steering box has a screw that is locked by a big nut. Loosen the large nut with a screw driver to free the screw. Tighten the screw about a 1/4 of a turn and hold it to prevent it turning. Now start the car. The wheel shouldn’t move more than an inch before the front wheels move slightly. Repeat this until you get the desired amount of play at the steering wheel. However, ensure that you do not tighten the screw too much as this could later overburden the pump and boil the power steering fluid.
Radiators: If your car’s radiator is still pretty solid without obvious leaks and tears, you can go to a radiator shop and ask them to “rod out” the radiator so as to restore the cooling capacity. To do this, they will remove one of the tanks and run a thin flat rod down through each tube to scrape or push out the accumulated scales.
Some radiators are too weak from corrosion and cannot withstand this procedure. In such cases, tell the shop to “recore” the radiator – replacing the tube and fin middle section of the radiator and using the original top and bottom tanks. This will restore the radiators cooling problems.
Shocks: Installing new shock absorbers in your collector’s car will sometimes be necessary if the car has lost any parts of the shocks. Sometimes, the car may lose the bushings – rubber donuts at each end of the shocks- or the washer or even one of the nuts on the shocks. In this case, driving will lose its comfort and worse still, the surrounding parts could also be worn away, so you have to replace the whole shock absorber. You can use KYB shocks effectively in most models of collector’s cars. Just ensure that they fit into your car before you try installing them. First remove the front tire and compress shock and slide the strap off. (You’ll need them later).
Remove the old front shock and use it as a guide for grinding down the lower mount of the KYB to the proper width to fit into the lower suspension arm bracket. Cool the mount frequently by dipping in cold water to avoid damaging the rubber bushing.
There is a proven way to compress your KYB shock so that it fits into the shock tower. Install the bottom portion only of the bushing/washer set on the shock top. Compress shock and re-install the leather cap and retaining strap and then insert shock into shock tower and position upper mount as close to upper mounting hole as possible.
Next, cut the retaining strap and the shock will expand swiftly. You’ll have to guide the shock through the upper mounting hole while simultaneously guiding the expanding shock into position onto the lower mount. If you failed to get remove the retaining strap from the upper mounting hole, compress shock slightly to ease tension and pull remainder of the strap through.
If you did not successfully guide the shock into the lower mount the first time, secure the upper mount loosely, installing upper portion of the bushing/washer set first to ensure it doesn’t slide out again. Next compress shock and slide it into position onto the lower mount. Cinch down upper bushing until bushings have expanded to the width of the washer/retainers. Insert lower mount bolt and tighten nut to proper fitting. Installing rear shocks takes about ten minutes and should give you no trouble.
Carburetor: A carburetors fuel supply must be clean and unrestricted. No matter how well a carburetor has been restored, if the fuel supply is dirty or restricted the carburetor will soon not function properly. Install the carburetor when the vehicle is outside in the open air. Begin by loosely attaching carburetor to engine intake manifold, using gasket, and lock washers with two bolts – don’t yet tighten. Then connect the choke rod, spring, and sleeve to the choke driver. This is done by sliding spring and sleeve up the rod until rod can be connected to the driver, and then release spring tension.
Connect throttle linkage, which is spring loaded, to the carburetor throttle arm. Inspect ferrule on the fuel line for any damage and that the ferrule is not more than 3/16″ from the end of the line. If the ferrule has been deformed to fit a carburetor casting with a damaged fitting seat, it needs to be replaced. If ferrule is more than 3/16″ from the end of the fuel line, the line can press against the Filter Strainer causing a fuel flow restriction. So, the ferrule will need to be replaced. To ensure that a new ferrule is properly position, insert a 1/2-20 by 3/4″ long bolt into the Filter Strainer hole. Then when line and ferrule are tightened into place, the ferrule is pushed into the proper position. Then connect the fuel line to the carburetor, tightening it with either at 1/2″ or 9/16″ wrench. When a carburetor has been lying on its side, the float can catch on the side of the casting. Shake the carburetor before installation. When a carburetor is first installed on an engine and the vehicles fuel shut off valve is opened the first time, a carburetor may leak gasoline. It is important that when fuel shut off valve is opened this first time, you must observe the carburetor for the first 30 seconds to see if it leaks. Be prepared to tap the carburetor on its most forward end several times with a small hammer or other object to cause float valve to seat properly. The leak should stop in a few seconds and not reoccur.
Wiper Blades: Fitting in new wiper blades will ensure that your collector car does not have squeaky, streaky effects on the windshield. The effectiveness of wiper blades is eroded by substances such as tree sap and some hot wax treatments used by commercial car washes. You need to first tell if your wiper blades can be improved by washing.
Start by cleaning both the windshield and wiper blades using undiluted windshield wiper solution or a mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. To avoid damaging the blades, do not use fuel, kerosene, paint thinner, or other solvents. If the problem continues, it is replacing time. In replacing wiper blade assemblies, always use specified parts or equivalents. To make replacing the wipers easy, turn the ignition to ACC then turn the wipers on. When the wiper reaches the vertical position, turn the ignition to lock.
Pull the wiper arm away from the windshield and lock into the service position. Then turn the blade at an angle from the wiper arm. Push the lock pin with a screwdriver to release the blade and pull the wiper blade down toward the windshield to remove it from the arm. Attach the new wiper to the wiper arm and press it into place until you hear a click.
The Drive Train: The first thing is to get the assembly lifted off the test stand dolly with the crane. Next, position
the assembly over the frame and gently lower it into place. Then guide the mating points for the front engine mount and let it down slowly. You need patience as moving too fast here cause great damage. If you can’t lower the engine far enough to set its proper angle, the bottom of the transmission may be on the center of the car’s frame. Make some measurements of how much you have to cut out.
When the engine can be angled properly, string a plumb line in front of the pulley and measure the proper angle from it, dropping the rear portion of the assembly into the new cavity in the frame. To know proper angles, consult your photos and the factory drawings.
To create the mount, use the old cross member that had held the original transmission. All you need to do is relocate it forward and down in the frame, allowing for the new rubber mount (you can purchase one at the local parts store, choosing a mount that will fit from their catalog.)Weld the cross member into place and installed the new mount. It’s now ready for creating the new transmission mount.
Now lower the engine/transmission assembly into place and install the mounting hardware. Insert the newly-modified drive shaft into the tail shaft and fasten to the differential yoke. You can put the A/C compressor on the right side of the engine, for several reasons. The most open space is on that side, which will give you lots of flexibility in mounting the lines. Also, the heavier compressor will offset the weight of the battery (driver’s side), and routing the lines into the firewall will be much less complicated.
For a perfect fit, fashion a belt tensioner plate from scrap pieces and drill it to fit its mounting bolt in the block. Next, turn your attention to the alternator, making a bracket for it so that you can mount it was over the fuel pump. You don’t want a rigid bracket that will not flex under the load and vibration of the alternator. Get a piece of 1/4 inch flat steel for the job, heated it with a torch and bend it to fit, then weld an extension to it. Then drill holes in the two ends and mount the bracket to the engine block. This may take you three hours of work but is certainly worth the effort.
To provide an adjusting bracket for the alternator, weld an extension onto the original one so that it can reach a suitable mounting bolt. The next step is to select belts for the A/C and alternator, noting the part numbers in a shop manual so replacements will be easy to get. The new bracket and alternator are in place after a powder coating. At this stage, you may want to powder coat everything black. You are now ready to go for a test drive…