19: More Fixes?

Once the need-to-do issues with the gas tank, fuel pump, parking brake, heat riser valve (did I miss something?) finished up, and before we started anything else, we began to notice little things.

This is a problem EVERY SINGLE vintage car owner has.  

You start asking questions like:

Why are there no screws in that section of the blah-blah-blah?

The knobs for the this-and-that are missing.

OoOooo did you see this? (Insert any automotive word for the ones in bold)

The point is, everyone will decide where their own stopping place is. 
For us, we haven't reached it yet. 

Knobs, rubber bumpers, grommets, pedals, hoses, gaskets, lenses, brackets, screws etc. ...are just the trimming for this wonderful truck. We knew from the beginning that some of the major things already tackled would need to be completed and tossed in the extra do-dahs along the way. 

While we don't have immediate plans for any other major item (wiring excluded, and maybe an interior job, or possibly the differential, okay maybe we do have some big plans) ...never say never.

Today's conversation with TD went something like this:

He was reading Illinois Auto R & V (the free magazine that I always ignore located at exit in the local grocery store).

TD:   Hey!

me:  What?

TD:   We can get a Corvette engine pretty cheap.

me:   Why would we want a Corvette engine?

TD:   To stick in the '49!

me:   That would be freaking AWESOME!!

*Evil laughs from both of us*

... okay here's the deal. Under normal conditions I'd question the soundness of a comment like that, but I'm afraid car-fever has caught hold of me.


18: Heat Riser Valve

Noise from the garage:

*clang, clang, clang, clang, clang*

I discover TD hanging over the side of Abbey with his head in the engine area.

me:   Whatcha doing?

TD:   Trying to free up the heat riser valve. It's stuck.

me:   What happens if we just leave it alone?

TD:   The engine overheats.

I tried to educate myself more on this and found online forums that discussed things in such detail I was lost right after the words: "I have a truck with a stuck heat riser valve."

Choosing to use a penetrating solution called PB Blaster, and optimizing lots of patience, TD would tap on the stuck valve a few times a day for just a few seconds: *tap, tap, tap, tap*

Then later in the day: *tap, tap, tap, tap*

This went on for a week. 
PB Blaster, then *tap, tap tap*

Being careful to not "mushroom" the end of the shaft by all the tapping, he made a brass hammer from miscellaneous brass pieces he had on hand. (Brass metal being softer than the shaft, so any metal damage would occur to the hammer not the thing being tapped on...get it?)

One week later, the valve moved freely.

Next up, replacing the coil that should be on it.
I was all excited about this news until TD said,

"Yeah, but I still think your truck is going to throw a rod someday."


17: This Is (Still) Fun

Some of you asked if we are actually having fun or if this whole new acquisition is giving us headaches. 

The very quick answer is: THIS IS FUN! 

Sure, sure, we didn't expect all of the things discussed so far. 
...Wait, TD is correcting me as I type. 

He did. I didn't. 

It's what I said earlier, unless you're buying a new car, or a vintage one that's been Overhauled by Chip Foose, you have to expect issues big or small.

Thankfully I married a car guy who loves a neat vehicular project, and to prove it I present this: 

TD back in the day, working on a wrecked Corvette project


16: Parking Brake

TD recently worked on the parking brake.

When we bought Abbey, we thought the brake was frozen (typical, and not surprising) - also missing was the rubber pedal. On closer inspection under the truck, TD found that the parking brake cable itself was gunked up and just unhooked. 

He removed the yoke and link, and soaked them in a little Liquid Wrench solution which cut through the rust and freed everything up so the threads would work again. (If you understood that kudos. I feel compelled from time to time to sound like I know what I am saying so quote directly from the Car Guy himself.) 

Kardashian-Sized Update: PB Blaster solution has been newly voted much better than Liquid Wrench. Alert the Press. 

Once the cable had been fixed, the real fun began...assembling the new parking brake pedal. As mentioned, Abbey came without one so receiving THIS delivery was seriously awesome.

This is an actual vintage parking brake pedal - not a reproduction.
Neat eh?
TD replaced the pedal, brake boot, boot retainer and gasket (all MIA from the vehicle).

The photos below were taken in black and white because:

(1) We were recently on a vintage Twilight Zone TV-episode kick...and
(2) They don't show how dirty the bed of the cab is under the floor mat.

I highly suggest you take photos of your home in black and white if you haven't vacuumed. 

Rod Serling should have used a Black & White photo like this for a scary car episode. 

I cannot tell you how much fun it is to mash that little pedal down and release it with the lever. 

Oh and on the levers and knobs...those are all new too! 

But that's a story for another day. 


15: Have a Seat

I find the underside of the seat benches fascinating. They must--of course--come out when you do anything gas tank related.

They are very comfy!
The old springs, burlap and basically everything else on the benches are original...right down to the cotton batting. Only the outer vinyl has been replaced, and it looks like only once. Amazing. Nothing to do to them but flip them right side up and bolt them back into place. 

See how nice? 
We noted that most of the vacuumable rust in the cab came from the seat springs bouncing up and down for decades. If you Google "49 Chevy Truck Restorations" you'll find photos where owners rip everything off the seat frame and paint the entire metal structure (springs and all) before reupholstering. This is so the cab floor stays nice and clean. 

As I type this, the seats are already bolted back in and will freely cast some occasional rusty spring dust on the clean cab floor like a '49 Chevy Rust-Fairy. 

I can live with that.

My Education Process So Far:

I know about: The odd looking clutch head screws because we had to remove them to get the seats off. 

I know about: The seat springs and burlap being in such wonderful condition because you have to remove the seat benches to get at the gas tank.

I know about:  The sliding mechanism for the seat not being "smooooooth" because you have to slide the mechanism forward in order to get at the gas tank.

I know about: The fuel float and sending unit condition because we had to remove them to get at the dregs of dirty gasoline left in the tank.

I know about: The gas gauge actually being in fine working order like the other gauges because of the missing fuel float/sending unit. (No float meant no correct reading).

What was that term TD used again?

Old Car Domino Effect. Yup.

It's an education in increments.


14: Plates!


Okay not those kind of plates... LICENSE plates...and receiving them in the mail was as exciting as seeing a Publisher's Clearing House man deliver a gigantic check to your door. 

It's taken the entire 7 week waiting period for former Illinois Governor now Illinois state inmate # 40892-424 Rod Blagojevich to make my Route 66 personalized plates.

Thanks Rod! We love them!

The Route 66 ones were a much better alternative than these:

Hey, I live in this state, I'm allowed to say these things

It was thrilling to get them and put them on, right up to the point where we found no place to mount the front plate using the newly purchased front license plate bracket.

Many trucks of this era opt to have a gap-filler body piece (called a splash shield) behind the front fender where a license plate bracket is mounted. Since Abbey was a working truck and didn't come with this filler piece, we opted not to purchase that filler piece and went with a different solution.

Being the engineering person he is, TD turned to his basement workshop to make loud noises and manufactured a bracket... that holds the bracket... that holds the license plate. 

I married a genius.

This would be the first time Abbey has ever had bling on her front bumper.

You GO Girl! 


13: Before and After Photos

The gas tank is in. The install (according to TD) was not bad at all. You might want to consider removing the seat frame before you drop in the new tank. Having that mechanism out would've made tightening the tank straps much easier as the nuts and washers are located at the bottom. 

Side Note on Parts:
We chose to purchase many of our parts from Classic Parts of America.
(No we don't get any perks for saying that)

Just like Christmas 
(only without the paper and ribbons)
We’ve been pleasantly surprised at the ease in which our parts are ordered and the turn-around time it takes to get them. Nothing is more exciting than having UPS dump three huge boxes of parts at your door on one day. 

I now understand why car guys get giddy over this type of thing. 

However the jury is still out on receiving truck parts as gifts... for Mother's Day.

Back to the gas tank...

The new tank is beautiful as gas tanks go. Also my dog enjoys the very large box it came in, but I digress.

TD took the old rusty tank to a salvage yard here in town. He said after the dregs of the gasoline died out, the amount of rust inside was considerable. We definitely do not mourn the decision to purchase a new one.

Before and After Photos:

Out with the old
In with the new

The gas tank straps had very old cloth material under them -  presumably to keep the shake-rattle-clank to a minimum. Thankfully I had some nifty suede material left over from a side-chair upholstery job that worked really well.
(Good thing the chairs weren't floral eh?)

View of the seat frame at right, the tank straps arced at top, and the rubber donut on the bottom. 

When the truck was repainted many, many years ago they painted over the rubber grommet surround as seen in the left photo.

Um, okay I should've cleaned that up a bit before taking the "after" photo, but you get the idea.

Neat discovery, the original color of the truck exterior WAS green! It's a unique truck, with a wooden bed, green exterior and blue interior. Once we started digging in, we saw that her outer original paint was indeed green and interior had been cream. Someone had painted it blue along the line. 

Visions of putting the interior back to the original cream color run through my head like Sugarplums do for a kid at Christmas, but that is not a necessity for getting Abbey back out on the road.