Monday, November 7, 2011

Strictly for shade tree mechanics



I'm STILL working on the Weber carb conversion on the '71 Volvo wagon. It will idle like a dream...give the gas and it stalls out. I put the rebuild kit in two weeks ago. I took the carb apart and cleaned it again. I checked gaskets, tiny little holes, jets, O rings, connections. I put new gas lines from pump up to carbs, blew out fuel lines, and added new filters I took the pump apart, looked good. I even added an electric pump at the tank, still not running right.

JR Blue says it's fuel. It is. There is a hole about the size of a small guitar string that's got varnish from the old gas plugging it up.  Frustratingly, it could be not enough fuel pressure, I have no way to check it...shade tree mechanics call that  a specialty tool. Volvo says the fuel pump puts out 3 lbs of pressure, enough to run the Weber, but the pump is old, and tired, like me.

Might be the vacuum advance on the distributor, but all lines are new, I know, that don't mean it's right. Maybe I ain't holding my mouth right?

I have learn a few things in my years of shade treeing. To Wit:

If you drop it, it will find the most inaccessible part of the auto to drop into. I have dropped a nut down the carburetor, or worse down the manifold, Never in a spark plug hole, but only because they are in the side of the block since about 1953. Yesterday it was a screw into the front end "A" frame, and a hose clamp between the grill and radiator. During the rebuilding of the Weber on the work bench, the choke plate screw fell in the dirt at my feet. I usually stand on a big piece of cardboard...just not this time. Half hour later I found it with my magnet. This points to the next Law of the Universe.
    Whatever you drop will be the same color as what you drop it on...and this isn't just for mechanics...this will work in the house, shop or in the air.
      Extension cords will hang on anything. You don't need a parachute in an airplane. Take an extension cord. Jump out, and it'll hang on something before you hit the ground. Just wait for the helicopter to come pick you up.

      The "rough service trouble light" bulb is something you just pay more for. The bulb will blow just as you are bent double under the car, as you are putting the first bolt in the transmission, holding it with one hand and start the bolt with the other.
        Small complicated fasteners like trim fasteners, small springs,"hairpins", cotter keys. windshield wiper fastener "do dads", tiny nuts and wire fasteners will break the minute you touch 'em, or go to what ever heaven or hell keeps those things.

        Don't ever drop a spring. That's why they call 'em that, they spring out of your life forever, my shop is full of them.

        Small clips springs and  parts are irreplaceable. Even the dealer won't have any. "Don't make 'em, ain't got none, can't get 'em any more. This is why you by TWO old cars when you only drive one.

        Parts cars and chat rooms are a necessary evil...and the only option. You got a windshield wiper clip for an 82 ford Ranger"? "Yeah, I'll trade for a choke rod  for a  Stromberg " 97"  2 barrel throttle linage for a 50 Ford Coupe"

        Your car will never be worth what you paid for it, or have in, it no matter how long you live. The day you die, the kid next door will get your '57 Chevy convertible for $150.00 'cause you wife, bless her heart, "hated that damn car".

        A car is never finished. There is something wrong with it when it was driven off the dealership lot in Seaside California. Mr. Robert Hope bought the Volvo new for
        $3100.00 in 1971. He is not THE Bob Hope, THAT Bob Hope wouldn't drive a '71 Volvo Estate Wagon. Oh, Mr. Hope probably knew the car was faulty in some way; he was  in denial, The dealer was banking on the car not being perfect. There were 1000's of other suckers buying cars. The dealer was in the cat bird seat, and money was rolling in...still is. Ever seen a poor dealership owner?

        So why the old Volvo? I have three now...in various states of disrepair...sorta like a moth balled fleet...can be reactivated without much trouble.

        Vovo's are cool, and always have been. The new ones are a far cry from the old 444 PV544's and the beautiful 122's and P1800's. They got junky about '74, or so, and expensive to fix. They are "luxury cars" now...more's the pity.

        Volvo's are safe, even Click and Clack attest to that. My '71 has 4 wheel disc brakes and seat belts were standard fare back in the 50's for Volvo.

        Parts are relatively easy to find, cause the are still hundreds in service all over the world. some parts are expensive.

        I have messed with Volvo all my life, and have gotten to know them, and the shop manual well. People ask what in the world I want an old Volvo for. I can see the ground around the engine when I look under the hood.  They are a bit  fickle, especially the old, worn out, SU Carbs. That's why I'm putting the Weber to work, without much success...under my shade tree...which is losing leaves rapidly.

        Volvo's have great heaters. In my hippie days in W V most hippies drove wore out trucks locally and had the "wife's car" which was usually an old  Volkswagen. Winter, no heat, made road trip miserable in the Volks. Germans must like to be cold.

        Swedish Volvo's have GREAT heaters, and were built to take cold and abuse. I was a very popular guy road triping the band around in the winter. We could get the bass and 4 people inside and the rest of the instuments in the trunk. Just like four wheel drive with chains on.

         If I were to change to another kind of "junk", as most people see my collection, I'd have to throw away 30 years of experience. I'd  have to buy new manuals...and throw away all those good "used" parts. I'd have to  buy two more parts cars. Right now that looks inviting! Both '54 C are ailing, not bad, and the Volvo is DRIVING ME CRAZY! (short trip)
          OK, I have convinced myself to call for "HELP"! I'm called J R. He makes house calls...and drives a customized bright yellow '73 Volkswagen with some kind of Porsche engine that will outrun the word of God. We'll get all my stuff running.

          There's another Law of the Universe...one person cannot make an old car run, you need to team tag it. Shade tree mechanics love each others company, and the car likes the attention...in a way, sorta' like a cats. Sometimes old cars just like to sit in the field on concrete block and watch the world go by, offering up little bits of themselves like a mother ship...to keep the fleet going.

          A noble gesture!

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