Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The NOVA Project Part 6

 Ok, some of you know from my previous posts that when Mr. Hanky shows up, it's crap day.
Well, today is that day.  It's one of the thing I detest the most....electrical wiring.  An old mechanic I used to work with years ago told me,  "If you hate doing something, it's because you don't understand it well enough."  That did ring true with me, so I spent a significant amount of time watching the guys that were good at electrical and asking questions, until the mystery went away. 

 I am a firm believer in new wiring in ALL my projects.  I hate wiring and I hate troubleshooting electrical problems, so I always install a new harness. I'm not a muscle car purist, I'm a hot rodder. If I see something that can be improved on, I do it. 
  Plus, it's insurance.  I would hate to spend $10-20K on a build only to watch it burn to the ground, due to cheaping out on wiring.
So, first things first.....out with the old.
I am hanging onto it for a while, just in case I need some of the obscure connectors etc.

I sometimes do product or service evaluations on various vendors.  I don't pull any punches, if their services suck , you will know it.
We rate each vendor/supplier/campground on a 1-5 Bubba system. 1 being the worst to 5 being the best.

I ordered a universal fit harness from Haywire, Inc in Joplin, Missouri.  I have bought several kits over the years and Haywire is my kit of choice, mainly due to the availability of the tech guys. 
 Very approachable guys and they speak redneck, my kinda folks.
This earns them a 5 Bubba rating.
I had bought a wiring kit many years ago from an unnamed source back east and we had a language barrier.  You would of thought I was from a foreign country.  The guy was rude and I swore to never buy from him again. That was a long time ago and pre-blog or I would have thrashed the guy on here.

The kit from Haywire arrived here very quickly and is very complete.  The kit is pretty self explanatory, but if you run into a question, give them a call.  They are always willing to help.
The next thing I did was to read over the instructions, which is foreign to most men, but I didn't want to cut something and regret it.
I wanted to sort of lay everything out and go from one central point, so I found a place to start from.  I mounted the fuse box up under the left side of the dash, close to where the original one was located.  I screwed it in place and started sorting out my harness branches.  Haywire does a good job of having it pretty much pre-sorted for you.  All of the wires are stamped with the final destination right on it.  That helps tremendously to the electrically retarded, like myself.
I wanted to do this initial routing etc. due to the fact that the seat is still out of the car and I am not a fan of standing on my head to access stuff under the dash. I'm too old and too fat for this.
At first, things are a little overwhelming, but just breathe and focus on one branch at a time.
I ran the engine compartment loop out through the firewall.  
 I will build a cover panel with a small hole in the center for a grommet.  That will have to wait though.
Little by little, it starts to look less ominous.

 I started tying up the harness with a few clamps, while I decided what needs to go where.  Don't be afraid to cut tie wraps after you have already routed your harness. Make it flow.  Nothing is more frustrating than having to work under the dash that looks like a birds nest.

To keep things simple, I opted to buy a headlight switch that matches their terminated plug, rather than rewire mine to match it.  After a quick phone call, the tech guys gave me several part numbers that would cross to a later model headlight switch.  Way easier and I was able to reuse my existing bezels.
I had to build a snake to pull the wiring through the inner quarter panel on the wagon for the rear tail lights and fuel sender unit. I routed everything down the trough on the left side of the car.  The door sills and carpet should hide this nicely.

I won't bore you with all the laborious details.  You guys get the gist of it. I'll probably spend a few more days on this terminating the wires and tying it all up.

 Just take your time, it's worth it to spend a little more time hiding the wires.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The NOVA Project, Part 5

Around here, in the cultural center of the universe, old guys have a saying that "it's colder than a well digger's butt." Not sure what that means, but this picture has to be what that feels like.

Well, it has been like that here, for the last couple of days.  It's never this cold, this early in the season, so, I decided to do some indoor projects until it warms up a bit.
The rear window on the wagon needed some attention.  The original design was lacking.  It used glass setting tape to hold the glass in place, and when water ran down the window it gravitated towards the lowest point and thus caused rust.
It must be a common problem, because I see a lot of guys looking for new ones on the web.
The original was in pretty decent shape, I thought, until I removed the glass, revealing 50 years of decay.
They make these new frames aftermarket for about a hundred bucks.  Not cheap, but it's pretty amazing that someone re-pops them, as complex as they are.  To make sure this doesn't happen again, I changed the way I installed the glass.  
Instead of using the old timer cork, window setting tape, I opted for a more modern approach.  I filled the channel with windshield urethane and pressed the glass down into the channel.  This stuff gets on everything, so be careful or you will be wearing it.
It's pricey, but I think it is worth it.  It's about $25 per tube.  I picked mine up at NAPA.  
I used an old sheet to keep it off the table.  My wife already threatened me.  Doodle the wonder dog is waiting for me to screw up.
The sealant keeps the water from ever getting between the frame and the glass.  Some guy, fifty years from now will thank me.

I covered the backside of the tailgate close out panel in fat mat and the outside in coin mat.  It looks pretty good and functional, too.

One other thing,  If you ever decide to use a portable heater to turn the bathroom  into an autoclave for curing the windshield paint, first, remove your wife's candles from the walls. 
 I'm not sure at what temperature the candles start to melt, but they do.  Trust me, it's hard to explain.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The NOVA Project Part 4

So things have been pretty hectic around here lately.  There seems to be very little progress happening.  No matter how hard I try, stuff just seems to get in the way.  I am shooting for this car being roadworthy by April, but I worry about that. 

 I had a pearl of wisdom from a friend one time that said  "The way to finish a big build is to make sure that every time you go in the shop you finish 3 things.  Eventually, you will run out of things to do".  That made sense and stuck with me.  So, lately I have just been trying to do that.  I just pick something and work on it until it is done, regardless of the importance.

So, I decided to start trying to get the inside of the car presentable.  The whole car has been insulated in Fat Mat etc. and I didn't want to glue my coin mat directly to it, in case I wanted to remove it in the future.  I decided on building a false floor of sorts out of 1/4" Masonite.  It's light weight and smooth, which worked out perfect for gluing the rubber to it. 

 I had a heck of a time figuring out the math on this tapered panel, so I did my best and then I did what I do best.......I guessed.
I had ordered just enough material for the rear cargo area of the Nova and I couldn't afford to screw up.
I am going to use Fat Mat in every thing I build.  It makes a world of difference.

The coin mat is pretty indestructible, it will work good for hauling the groceries around town.  It will come in handy for my calendar shoots as well, after I have to pose on the beach, the sand and wet speedo won't hurt the rubber flooring.

I'm off the week of Thanksgiving, so maybe I can get something done.....we will see.  I may end up comatose on the couch.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The NOVA project Part 3

 I decided if this was gonna be a daily driver I needed to update the  braking and steering.    I ordered up a kit from Speedway Motors and the new coil springs and new sway bar from Summit Racing.  
A pretty daunting task at first glance.
The original drums were fine in 1963, but driving habits are a lot faster now.
 The old sway bar was 5/8" in diameter.  Pretty puny in my opinion.  I upgraded to a 1-1/8" sway bar.  This would cut down on body roll.
The hardest part was getting the original coil springs out of the towers.  We ended up building our own spring compressor.  It took a few days, but we rebuilt all the bushings, tie rods etc.
I changed the front spindles to 5 lug.

I figure if the wife is going to drive this car, a power booster and dual reservoir are a must.

I switched the wheels out to 15 inch.  I bought Wheel Vintiques 15x6 with a chrome out lip.  I painted the inner section black.  I finally decided on 195 65 R15 tires. I usually run big and littles on everything but, I wanted something I could rotate, since this is going to be a daily driver.  The scary thing is this is the stock tire that comes on the Toyota Corolla these days.
Sitting back on the ground.  The springs are still pretty stout.  They will settle down over time.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The NOVA project part 2

It's been a while since I did an update on the Nova Wagon.  I have been traveling a lot with work, so progress has been slow.  One thing that was driving me crazy, was knowing that the underside of the car was still covered in that good old Austin dirt.

  Nothing I hate more than having dirt fall in my eyes while I am trying to work on something.  SO, I started researching different options and finally made up my mind to use a DIY bed liner spray to finish out the underside of the car.

The first thing I had to do was to sand the underside of the car.  I power washed the car the night before to try and get the majority of the dirt off prior to sanding.
 It was the worst part of the job.
 I used my DA sander loaded with 80 grit to remove the majority of the original paint and road grime.
 I read pages and pages of reviews on what the best bed liner material is.  Lots of opinions out there.  I settled on Raptor.  Made in the UK.
I ordered it from TCP Global via Amazon.  It comes as a kit with 4 short quarts and one quart of activator.  It's super easy, you just split the activator into fourths and add 1/4 to each container, put the lid back on it and shake for 2 minutes.  It makes it easy, because you can mix up a little at a time.
 After it is mixed you just screw the container on the gun and you are ready to spray.  The higher the pressure, the flatter it lays out.  I sprayed at 70 psi, which is the max recommended.

It took 1 kit to cover the entire underside of the wagon from the firewall to the rear bumper.  If you wanted really thick coverage 2 kits would be better.  I spent $105 including freight and the gun.  I am happy with the outcome and it is an excellent sound deadener.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Avalair goes home

It's been a few years since Avalair left Texas, but this weekend it made it's way back to where we found her.  It was a little over 2 years ago we found the Avalair in the panhandle of Texas.  We drug it home on a  prayer, with no trailer lights to speak of and no electric brakes.

This is a pic of the trailer where we found it, Mother's Day 2011.

We decided to head out the Wellington, Texas and visit some friends and take in a concert with legendary blues man, Jimmy Vaughn.  This would be the perfect opportunity to make the journey and revisit Avalair's home place.

We stopped off in Shamrock, TX for the obligatory photo op at the recently restored Conoco station.

So, we stopped off at Bob's place to set up camp.  Then it was off to the recently restored Ritz Theatre in downtown Wellington, Tx.
Jimmy put on a stellar concert, as usual.  amy phone takes pretty crappy pics, but here are a few pics.
 His brass section is pretty impressive.  Having done my time as a band dad, I kept watching these two more so, than most other people probably did.

 He went into a 20 minute guitar solo, completely behind his head.  Very tough to do.

Jimmy and his band dropped by afterwards to shake hands and meet all of my hot rod buddies.  Jimmy is actually a car guy himself.

All in all, it was a good trip.  Short but sweet.  We had a great time and Avalair got to strut her stuff in her old hometown.  People that knew her before, were proud to see her restored to her former glory.