Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Caveat Emptor

Back in La Place, I stopped by my local usual muffler shop and handed the owner a sketch of what I wanted made up.

They have a neat little machine which slips into the end if an exhaust pipe and expands it just enough that another piece of pipe the same diameter as the original will slip right in. Then they can weld it in place and as a result can make pipes of all sorts of lengths and configurations.

What I was after was a five inch long pipe with one inch expansions on each end and three inches of regular pipe left between. I wanted four of them. I was assured that it would not be a problem, but they where busy right then and I would have to wait.

I had expected something like that to happen so I told them I would stop back on the following Friday, and to fit it in when they had slack time. I did stop by on Friday but they had already closed so I missed them.

I was on the way up to Hammond on Saturday morning and stopped by to pick up my “stretchers“. They had forgotten all about them. Not only that, it turned out that they had neither the expansion dyes to fit my sized pipe nor did they even have any one and one half inch diameter exhaust pipe in in stock.

I hate it when people waste my time. I could have gone somewhere else and gotten the job done, but now it was too late. I was due at the Wizard’s in forty five minutes.

The view didn’t improve from there.

After looking further at the configuration of the headers we began to realized that just stretching out the pipes wasn’t going to solve the whole problem. We still had to find a path around the starter and between the zero roll supports on the left side.
Gary started the process of bending, cutting, welding and patching bits of header pipe together.

I am very envious of people who know how to weld. I don’t and it is a great handicap. I am going to have to learn. One should expand ones education.

With Gary busy doing magic things with a torch, I had time to further study the car.

The first thing that I picked up was that the zero roll had been improperly assembled. All the parts were there, just put together in the wrong arrangement. Not a big mistake but one that would take some time to set right.

On the other end of the car I started looking at the connections to the master cylinders and got a surprise.

David had told me he just rebuilt the master cylinders for the clutch and brake lines. The connection to the clutch peddle was just hanging from the rubber dust cover and was not connected at all. I guess he forgot to reinstall the snap ring the holds the master cylinder assembly together. It was there, loose inside the rubber boot. There had been a small spring holding the clutch peddle in place. He could have used a rubber band and accomplished the same thing. All it did was keep the peddle from falling over. That given, my confidence in the master cylinder rebuild went down.

From that joyous revelation, I went on to the brake and clutch lines themselves. Guess what. That was going to have to be redone also. The lines which carry the hydraulic fluid from the master cylinders to the to the slave cylinder in the brake drum were half the diameter we usually use.

It was becoming very obvious that who ever had been working on this car was not a formula vee driver.

So where does that leave us?
1. The body needs to be sanded, primed, and painted.
2. I need to decided about whether I am going to shift to rack and pinion steering or not. If I do then that needs to be fabricated and installed. It might alter the bodywork.
3. I need to decide what I plan to do about ducting air to the oil cooler. If I am going to use a roof scoop, it needs to be done at the same time the bodywork is done.
4. I need to complete the installation of the head cooling ducts. The previous owner had them but obviously didn’t know what they were for.
5. Rework the brake master and clutch cylinders and connecting lines.
6. Disassemble and properly reassemble the zero roll set up.
7. Do the usual checks of front wheel bearings and brakes.
8. Check the camber, toe in and front end settings.
9. Check rear cambers settings. Make sure the car is square.
10. Replace the seat belts if needed.
11. Rebuild the dash. Make sure that all gages are correctly connected.
12. Relocated the fire bottle to a better location and re plumb the lines.
13. Install the transponder.
14. Go racing.

It’s looking like Hugh still has pulled off the best deal. His car was ready to race when he got it. Other than a non racing accident he has not had to do a damned thing to it but change the oil and drive it.


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