Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Another full round of jinxes

I had become increasingly annoyed at the looseness of the gears. In neutral, the shifter flopped in a rectangle about 4x4 inches. I also ended up in the wrong gear sometimes, because the movement was so loose. Everything else was fine with the car, or so I thought, and I didn't want to jinx it, but I went to Phat Phoo's  anyway and asked what could be done. He said the bushings would need to be replaced. Ok, I thought, it would be great to get that taken care of after all these years.

When I picked up the car after the gear repair, Mr. Phoo said it shifts real nice now, but to me it didn't seem that much different. I wasn't totally sure - maybe the only improvement possible isn't that noticeable. A few weeks later I noticed that the second gear had trouble engaging. I had to double shift it, meaning put it in and out a few times until it stuck. This was extremely annoying because it meant that at an intersection, I had to start in first, try to get into second, and run in neutral a few moments until I could get the gear in, while the rest of traffic accelerated past me, or was stuck impatiently behind me. I learned a different method, which was to put the car in second while waiting at a stop. This required testing it with a slight gas push (since it didn't engage predictably), which required a certain minimum distance to the next car. I then started in second, which is of course not nearly as peppy as starting in first, and there's a higher risk of stalling, especially uphill.

I asked Mr. Phoo again what my options were. I forget exactly what he suggested, but it was expensive. Once again I thought maybe I had hit the reasonable limit of what is fixable on this old car. I decided to wait some more and ask around.

After the summer I returned to Gainesville and by then had decided to just fix this problem once and for all. I wasn't very happy that I had the gears fixed, couldn't notice a difference, and then the second gear malfunctioned. But, Mr. Phoo is the only shop that is nearby that has been willing and confident enough to work on the car. On the other side of town there are more options, which I had explored the years before, but the long distance really discouraged me. Also, Mr. Phoo had been very good so far, and lots of people recommended his shop. So I returned.

One day I was about to get in the pickup, which had been sitting in the hot and humid summer in a shady spot by my wooden shed (it will stay in the sun next time!). I opened the door, and it was very moist inside. To my horror, some kind of mildew had developed on the seats, both of which had been in pristine condition ever since the interior custom job. I was very upset. I looked into how to remove this stuff. Distilled vinegar was the non-toxic recommendation. I put on a mask, gloves, and sprayed vinegar everywhere. This is supposed to kill the organisms and then one can wipe them off with soap and water. I was able to get all of it off, but it has left some stains, which hopefully Wally can re-stain at some point later on. Some paint areas have chipped anyway, so the interior could use a touchup, anyway.  Again, I was in a quandary, because I had to decide whether I should just declare the pickup as my "dirty car" or whether I wanted to keep on going making it a beautiful "classic". I decided to put this off a little while and get the gears fixed first.

After about two days of letting the car fully dry out after the cleanup I brought it to a detailing place to let them shampoo the interior and give it a professional once-over. The car looked and smelled really nice now, except for the remaining stains. I check in on Mr. Phoo, who is nearby, but he wasn't in, which meant another day of waiting to get started the task which had started this round of problems.

The next day I got in the car and my son got into the other car so he could drive me home from the repair shop. Just outside our property gate I noticed that I couldn't feel the gas pedal. It had just disappeared. I couldn't tell if it had fallen through or disconnected from the piston. My first thought was "problem number three, here we go." My second thought was: "I didn't even know this was possible; what a traumatic idea - the gas pedal can just disappear like that? Glad it wasn't the breaks. Glad it wasn't on the road." I called AAA. The guy who came with the tow truck was very into the car, even asked about  buying it, but I wasn't ready for that. As usual, I felt I was just a one repair session away from a perfect car, so why sell it for less than all the money I put in? As he was loading the car up, he noticed that both front tires had been worn down on the outside edges, due to camber. He said the left one is about to blow. Ok, good, I thought. Problem number four. Maybe the jinx is turning around in that the need to get the gears fixed prevented me from driving the car on the road without a gas pedal and with tires about to explode. "Glück im Unglück" as they say in Germany, "Luck in bad luck" meaning "every cloud has a silver lining." The tow to the shop was certainly worth my time now. And my son didn't have to drive me back; I could just drive along with my other car. All tasks were no longer accumulating but contracting neatly. This is the moment which I call "reaching the top of the hill." I can see what's ahead and it's a smooth downhill roll from here. Or another analogy: "I've got all my stuff together and I can pack my bag."

The final bill was high, but it was a long list of fixes, which now, once again make me feel the car is complete, which means I feel complete —however pathetic that sounds. The camber was due to faulty tie rod ends and lower ball joints, the need for an alignment and other stuff, which I had been told about before. I also had them change the oil, which looked low and hadn't been changed in a few years. I am especially excited about the gears which feel like those on a new car now, very precise and tight. I asked about why this improvement on the gears couldn't have been done in the first place — this was what I had in mind originally, and Mr. Phoo's guys explained that initially they replaced some of the gear bushings, but this time around were able to locate a pristine, complete kit of bushings and didn't charge me the full price for the second attempt. I will accept that. The rabbit lives on.

Here's the final list of repairs:

Replace rack and pinion boots
Replace inner tie rod ends & lower ball joints and outer tie rod ends
Install shifter bushing kit
Replace gas pedal bushing
Replace 2 tires (Michelin)
Perform alignment
Change oil + oil filter

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fuel starvation again

I've been having the fuel starvation issues again. It was such a deja vu that I can't even retell the whole, groundhog day sequence with any confidence. Long story short, the car gets weak power, then stalls. I wait a couple minutes, turn on engine, with difficulty, let it idle. It can idle indefinitely, but when I get back on the road the drop in pressure/power happens again. There are bubbles in the lines. The first time it happened, years ago, I tried adding some Marvel Mystery Oil to the fuel filter and lines and that helped short term. Back then the final issue seemed to be a fuel tank obstruction.

I brought the car to Phat Phoo, but by that time the problem had disappeared. This happened twice, so every time I picked up the car, it was running fine, but the problem hadn't really been solved. This speaks well of Phat Phoo; as cars get closer to him, they fix themselves. I have the same influence over computers, so I can relate. Last time the diagnosis involved gelling. It had been fairly cold a few mornings, so I wouldn't be surprised if some serious jelling had built up. I've been running on regular diesel since the problems, without issues, but of course it's dirty, so next time I use bio again, the soot will build up due to bio's cleaning properties.

My current outlook is this: It's probably jelling from the biodiesel (or less likely dirt from the diesel). Everyone had warned me that I would have to change the oil filter a lot. Every time it happens I fear it's the fuel pump, which has been rebuilt, or the tank which has also been rebuilt, but completely from scratch.

So my present solution is this. Take along an oil filter filled with Marvel Mystery Oil; keep a bottle of the stuff in the car, too, and of course my homemade little funnel, a flathead screwdriver, pliers, paper towels. Then, if the problem starts again, I'll just replace the filter on the road and pour some MMO into the lines, instead of trying to somehow flush the filter out.

I am also looking into attaching an inline fuel filter, so I can better see and predict what kind of gunk is getting into the fuel filter.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Tank pretends it's full

When I recently put more biodiesel into the tank with an electrical pump, some of the biodiesel spilled out. I put the nozzle further inside, and the problem went away. Soon after, I had those fuel starvation problems, which the fuel filter fixed. I don't know if the two events are related or not.

Recently I tried putting more fuel into the tank with my own hand crank and the fuel spilled out again. The tank was about one-eighth full at the time. I tried forcing it in, and also dripping it in slowly. It kept spilling over after about 8 ounces was put in. I went to a gas station to test the electrical pump, but it just clicked as if the tank was full. I brought it to Terry's Automotive, but they said it could be many things causing this, and that I should go to Best Motor Works, which is the place that put in the tank; they'd know what kinds of valves and fuel lines are involved. I dreaded having to drive all the way across town, with very little fuel left. I figured out, though, that if I slowly put in about one cup of fuel at a time and waited a few minutes, that the tank did actually take in the fuel. A quick calculation told me that a gallon would require 16 cups, and each cup needed about 5 minutes to fully drop in, so one gallon would require about 80 minutes. A daunting task, but worth the security of having a more than a few gallons in the tank. Each gallon should get me about 40 miles and a stress-free ride.

Sometimes the fuel went in quietly, sometimes it gurgled — clues to what is happening inside. After putting in about 10 cups I heard a gurgling and a mechanical "kachink" sound. This was exciting, in that it could be some kind of valve popping open, or some obstruction releasing. I put in the cups in little more quickly, and there was no spillage. Then I tried putting in fuel directly from the nozzle (which puts in about one cup for every two cranks, a gallon takes less than a minute, so there is a lot more fuel going in at once).  Again, no spillage. This was very encouraging and it meant that not only did I have enough fuel for a longer trip, but I wouldn't have to take the trip to the mechanic at all.

I take away the lesson that I shouldn't let the tank get down to less than a quarter full, even though I don't know if that was the problem here. My sense is that some valve system in the tank needed to be surrounded by fuel in order to open up properly, or maybe a certain maximum of air inside the tank had to be avoided, in order for the tank to be able to receive fuel. Another speculation is that the biofuel's sticky, gelly deposits caused the valve to stick and that enough fuel dissolved the sticking. Who knows?

I had heard that one shouldn't fill the tank up all the way, and also never let it get all the way empty, but not that a quarter tank is already a problem.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Electrical problems

I've been having a lot of battery problems lately, ever since I had the dash gauges installed. For a while, the battery would slowly lose power, even if the car wasn't being run. The battery light was still going off after acceleration, as it should. But, I had to keep charging the battery externally and bring a second one along just in case. Then, eventually, the battery light wouldn't go off anymore. I cleaned the battery connectors and reconnected the battery wires, but without any results. Then I wiggled some wires under the dash, and that solved the problem. I felt proud of myself for having "fixed" the problem, like a real amateur. Soon the battery light stayed on again. I tried the wiggling again, but this time it didn't work. Since I never really diagnosed the specific problem, I didn't know how to fix it this time.

One day I went to Terry's Automotive with the hope that they would just do a bit more of a professional "wiggle" of the wires and fix the situation. But, they felt that the wiring was so unorthodox to begin with, not following any schematics, and jerry-rigged by so many mechanics that they didn't think they would be able to fix it quickly. They recommended an electrical expert, Circle R Auto in town.

On the way to Terry's I had stalled on the road. I thought maybe I had let go of the clutch and didn't think that much of it. The day before I had gotten a new batch of biodiesel and I think its cleaning properties clogged the fuel filter, so I was now dealing with the fuel starvation problem again. This meant that the car could only drive for a mile or two, would stall and then the undercharged battery would have to start the engine again, as well as heat the glow plugs. This compounding of problems grew quickly, and I stalled out on the road about six times on the way home. I had a second battery in the truck box, fortunately. I learned that after the truck stalled, that it helped to wait about 5 minutes, and then it could restart and go for another mile. My son Bruno was with me, and he really didn't enjoy this experience. He hasn't been in the truck since. I never quite knew if we'd make it home or not, whether to call a tow truck, or keep on trucking. I broke down one last time in front of our gate, and then made it home.

I changed the fuel filter, filled up the filter and the lines with biodiesel and the fuel starvation was fixed. But, I still had the problem of the battery not charging. Two days ago, I finally had the time to bring it to Circle R Auto, where Roy said that the alternator was already partly damaged and the wiring was creating a permanent drain on the battery. The money damage shouldn't be too bad and I am looking forward to a more robust electrical system.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Do you want to run your car on biodiesel?

These are your options regarding running your car on biodiesel:

First, know the difference between biodiesel, and SVO/WVO. Biodiesel runs on normal diesel cars (with some hoses changed at most), straight or waste oil needs a converted diesel car.

Biodiesel works in regular diesel engines. It has been processed so it ignites at the same temperature as regular diesel. It is processed from a large variety of plant or animal sources, such as animal fat, soy oil, or waste vegetable oil (wvo) from restaurants.

SVO/WVO means straight vegetable oil (as opposed to biodiesel) or waste vegetable oil. Think of it as "crude oil" or "biodiesel before processing." SVO/WVO runs only on diesel engines that have been "converted". The conversions heat the oil to the right temperature. Many conversions have a system which starts the engine on regular (or bio) diesel, then switches over to a second tank of SVO/WVO.

Here are the options for each type of fuel.

1. Get a diesel car (ebaymotors, craigslist, thesamba, etc). Older diesels are more likely to work, late models tend to have fancier systems which may get clogged by biodiesel. Many new models void their warranty if biodiesel is used.

2. Make sure the fuel lines are the right ones. Standard fuel lines will corrode from the biodiesel. Some model diesels already have the correct fuel lines, others need them replaced. Viton fuel lines are one option. Replacing the fuel lines is fairly easy job for any mechanic.

3. Buy biodiesel. You can buy biodiesel (craigslist, ebay, greasecar.com). If you are very lucky, you can actually go to a station and fill up the car (but that's rare), otherwise you find a producer or supplier from which to pick up or maybe get deliveries from.  In that case you'll need storage such as 5 gallon jugs or 55 gallon drums.

4. Or, make biodiesel yourself form SVO/WVO. You'd need to buy or find (from restaurants) vegetable oil and use a processor, which you can make or buy, to clean and chemically convert the oil into biodiesel. This is a more space and time consuming process than just buying the biodiesel, but under the right circumstances you can save a lot of money this way.

1. Get a diesel car, either one that can be converted to SVO/WVO. or one that already is.

2. If the car needs conversion, have it converted to SVO/WVO, or do it yourself.

3. Find a source of oil. You can buy bulk straight vegetable oil, or buy or get free waste vegetable oil from restaurants. Waste oil needs to be cleaned, which is not a complicated process, but it's work.

Advantages/Disadvantages to each option

Biodiesel is better for the environment than regular diesel, but not as good as WVO/SVO. The production involves methanol and lye. Its great advantage however is that existing diesel cars can use it (some with the fuel lines switched out, which is cheap). This makes it a very viable fuel for a large number of people, right now! By driving a car with biodiesel, you are modeling a cleaner way to drive that anyone can adopt without much effort.

WVO/SVO as a direct fuel requires modification of a car, and this is somewhat costly (up to $2500). But it is the more environmental option because no chemicals are involved in its production, you are recycling waste oil. Driving an WVO/SVO signifies more of a commitment on your part, but may be too much to ask of the average driver. It's inspiring, but impractical for the majority of people (unless we get large numbers of industrially produced straight oil cars, which isn't likely to happen).

Some links:
SVO vs. Biodiesel
SVO vs. Biodiesel 2
Find biodiesel in your area
Convert a diesel to a wvo car (two tank system)
Good Grease
Buy a readymade processor
Build your own processor

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Longest trip yet

I had recently driven to Ocala, FL, about 40 minutes each way, and the car held up well. Last time I drove that distance one of the tires popped. And the last time I drove to Ocala, the fuel lines popped. It felt like it was a taboo to go beyond a certain distance. Yesterday, in order to be able to stock up on bio, I drove to Williston, FL, to buy two more 55 gallon drums in Williston, which is about 40 minutes away. This drive also served the purpose of testing then car once more.

Today I drove all the way to Jacksonville airport, a two hour drive, the longest trip yet, and I had not problems. This drive completes a certain circle: when the car was originally shipped from California, it arrived in Jacksonville and I had the choice of driving it home myself. I was tempted to do it, because it would save money and I'd get to test the car. In hindsight, I am so glad I didn't because it didn't even start and had a very long list of hidden problems which I would have had to discover on the highway, barely knowing how to drive stick. Now I have driven that road for real without problems, giving me a dose of confidence for perhaps a longer trip in the future.

This test also confirms that the car's purpose of "a second car" is now confirmed. I can always it take to the airport on short travels, as long as the parking cost is less than a two day car rental cost. Today's trip plus the return trip cost about 10 dollars in gas, and 40 dollars in parking. A rental car would have cost about $60 in rental cost and about 20 in gas. Add to this the convenience of not having to rent the car using a second car, return it, etc. The truck is starting to pay for itself, especially because of the fuel efficiency.

At the jacksonville airport after a smooth ride.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why biodiesel?

The reason I chose biodiesel as an alternative fuel is that it can be used immediately: one doesn't need to be a serious hobbyist or car expert. It is much better than regular fossil fuels in terms of carbon use and emissions, and provides enormous flexibility of sourcing. It is not "the solution" to the energy question. In fact, what makes it appealing at the moment, is that it isn't burdened with being the only, or ultimate, solution. If everyone, overnight, chose biodiesel as their fuel, it would be a disaster. But as a smaller scale, temporary solution it is ideal.

Now is the time for biodiesel. It is a realistic, less polluting option, while humanity comes up with cleaner solutions. It really doesn't make sense to drive around wasting valuable petroleum, and contributing to you-know-what until a "magic bullet" is found. "The solution" is a path of intermediate, imperfect but improving adoptions. Moderation and innovation are what's needed, not bickering over perfection.

Here are biodiesel's advantages over many of the other alternative energy sources for automobiles.

Regular diesel cars can use biodiesel right now. They are commonly available as new and used models, unlike battery driven, hydrogen, compressed air or compressed gas cars. Gas/electric hybrids are now very available, but used ones are scarce and have the hybrid battery expiration problem (replacing a hybrid battery is expensive). New cars are often cleaner overall, but making a whole new car is very polluting. Diesel encourages buying or using older cars. Also, large commerical trucks, which use an enormous amount of fuel per mile because they require more strength to pull their weights, are very compatible with biodiesel. The "reduce, reuse, recycle" paradigm fits biodiesel more than any other alternative at this moment.

Biodiesel is very flexible. Ethanol, which is also very flexible in terms of sources, is a great option in that it works with many regular gas cars, but then one relies on regular gas engines, which are less efficient than diesel. Ethanol, too, can be produced from a variety of sources, but not from as many as biodiesel.  A diesel car can use biodiesel AND always has the option of being converted to a SVO/WVO, which in turn does not exclude using biodiesel or regular diesel as a backup. Biodiesel protects a car's backwards and forwards compatibility.

Biodiesel is non-toxic (well, just a little) and not explosive (at normal temperatures). If regional or occasional scarcity is a problem, carrying around containers of biodiesel in the car itself is a relatively safe option. Having larger amounts of it on your property does not involve significant hazards. There are no fumes, nor risks of sudden explosions. This "harmlessness" is actually very important, because it means that ordinary people can experiment with committing their car to biodiesel without fear.

Most importantly, biodiesel is a more democratic source of energy, because it can be produced from so many types of feedstocks or waste oils, and be produced by so many non-corporate elements of the population. It can be "home brewed" and even "home grown"(meaning the oils themselves are produced from seeds, grasses, algea, etc.)  In this regard, it resembles solar and wind energy, which can be produced privately, and distributed back into the market. With biodiesel/SVO/WVO/homegrown fuel there is the potential of a large number of people producing themselves and competing with larger conglomerates, undermining their monopoly. Ethanol and hydrogen are not democratic, they rely completely on a corporate elite of expertise and capital, not to mention on troubling government subsidies. Electric and plug-in hybrid cars also have the democratic sourcing potential, when individuals use solar, wind, or thermal energy to charge their cars,  but the car models aren't very common yet (although I expect this path to be the ultimate winner). The ideal car for the next 5-10 years, which no one seems to be producing yet, would be a biodiesel compatible, plug-in hybrid. Biodiesel and electricity would in such a case exponentially multiply each other's flexibility.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The flat tire

Since I first got the Rabbit pickup, I was unhappy with its hard, bumpy ride. Some shocks were replaced early on by my mechanic, but that didn't improve things noticeably. All the mechanics I talked to said that different shocks wouldn't really help, and that softer shocks would make the car less tolerant for heavy loads. Still, I see other pickups, which can take a lot of weight, have a very smooth ride. I still suspect that some kind of luxurious shocks should be able to improve the situation - we'll see.

As a possible alternative to replacing the shocks, I've been looking into replacing the tires. Today, having the additional motivation of prescience concerning an impending flat tire, I went to Town Tire, which has always been very helpful with advice, and good service, to ask about replacing the tires with more plush ones. They said the tires look like they're still relatively new, from 08, and that they don't recommend changing them. I appreciated the honesty. One of the tires has been losing air, though, so I said I would return soon for a diagnostic, and also regarding the question of changing the shocks. My urge was just to change the tires right there and then, for safety's sake. I should have listened to my instincts.

My wife needed me to pick up an antique bathtub in a nearby town, so I drove with the pickup towards High Springs, FL. For the first time, I drove the car on the highway. I didn't try to go past 65 mph, not wanting to push my luck. I hit some kind of object on the way -  it felt like a rock or piece of metal bounced off the bottom of the car. I decided not to take it too seriously, and the the car didn't seem to be affected by it. But, deep down it did spark some anxiety. My ride on the highway was only about 15 minutes, but soon I was glad to exit alive.

Just as I came off the exit ramp, wondering why that experiment turned out so well, a woman in a car told me my right rear tire was very low. I pulled over into a gas station. The tire was completely out of air. I added air and it just blew out of an 1/8 inch hole. I guess today is my flat tire lesson from the internship on wheels.

I called the nearby City Boys Tires and Brakes and they said they'd be available for another 20 minutes. This time table added stress to the situation. Some guy in a pickup truck yelled: "Kickass pickup!". That cheered me up a little (I chose to believe he wasn't messing with me). Inside the gas station store I got advice on some products that fix tires. A jovial, bearded man recommended this tire fix product which involves a thick, needle-like object and sticky rubber strips, as well as the tire foam solution, which he said is very effective and easy to apply. I tried the tire fix option first, but was too anxious to get it to work. The instructions didn't make any sense to me, although I understand it in principle. Then I just screwed in the foam can into the tire valve and it blew up the tire, while coating the inside. I was very impressed. I will from now on always carry one of those in the truck bed box.

I hastily made it to the tire place and the tire actually held up. I considered just driving onwards, but sensed that this might not be safe. I had no appointment, so waited a while to have the tire looked at. A guy came out and asked "What's Biodiesel?". I explained briefly. He seemed giddy at the sight of the car.

Recently some cable dropped out from under the dash, which disconnected the glow plug and the radio and iphone charger. I hadn't really cared before, but today I was very dependent on my phone since I needed directions to the place for picking up the tub, and my family was going out to dinner and I needed to stay in touch. My phone was losing battery already. I asked him to have a quick look at the cable, and he immediately found the right place to plug it back in. Then he drove the car into the shop.

After some waiting and planning the next steps of the day, I was told the tire was too blown out to repair and that they didn't have any replacements. They did notice the spare under the car, but that had dry rot and wasn't usable. Also, some of the bolts were too long to attach the spare tire anyway. This meant I was stuck there. I looked into taking a cab home, but that was going to be over $90. I called my wife arranged her picking me up after the dinner and paying for the tub in High Springs, just to ensure the sale. All in all, it was a strange day, but I always enjoy being out in the country and having a good topic with people.

Lessons learned:
I now know what's meant by dry rot. Always carry a quick tire fix, such as a tire foam can. Know the real age of your tires and carry a functioning spare that fits the bolts, plus the tools to change it. Practice changing a tire before you need to. Have a backup charging solution for the phone: flat tire = no transportation = phone is the most important object.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Building a home fueling station

Today I finished the long planned improvement of my fueling station. Originally I just used 5 gallon "cubies" to pour directly in the tank (maybe that's what caused the eventual "obstruction" in it.) That system was very annoying because holding the fuel containers for that long caused cramping in my hands and my back.

Then I bought a used 55 gallon drum, built a solid shelf for it out of 4x4 wood planks so it could "gravity feed" into the car using water tubes and a water gun normally used for lawn care. Those hoses and fitting quickly deteriorated due to the biodiesel.

I got more concerned about the cleanliness of the fuel and the convenience of the fueling so I added a fuel gun and fuel filter to the line. But the fuel line is too long (12 feet) and constantly sags. I tried having it cut, but no one was able to do it. Adding fuel to the drum never really worked well. I tried using a "drill pump" and ingenious little device that attaches to a regular electric drill and suctions fuel from one place to another, but it takes a while and doesn't work well with hoses that fold easily.

I remembered seeing images of people's setups with the drums on the ground, vertically, with a pump on top. I started looking into electric pumps, but the 120 V versions are too expensive, and the 12volt versions all use car starter cables and don't have a "bung" (the pipe that runs from the pump to the bottom of the drum). Online, it seemed most people were using hand pumps. These pumps are not expensive, and it looks like they are one of those classic designs that has long lost its copyright protections, so there are many versions. A design like that will probably work very well having proved itself over the decades. Many come in red, which happens to match the fuel tank nicely, as if they were a single unit. At Amazon, which had the most choices and the same prices as Northern Tool, and better prices than Tractor Trailer Supply, I chose the "Advanced Tool Design Model ATD-5009 Rotary Barrel Pump with Telescoping Pipe"  although I think most of the others would have been fine as well.

I thought I was getting an outlet with a threaded end, but it was just thickened a bit, so I had to rethink how to attach it. At Home Depot I found a reinforced 1 inch transparent tube, which fit perfectly. Using hose clamps I attached it to the outlet and the fuel gun and filter end. I kept the strong 4x4 planks on top so I could pour fuel into the tank from above, while the cubies sit suspended, and attached a (red) funnel, which greatly improves adding fuel to the drum. Then onto the funnel I can add a filter (such as an old t-shirt or sheet or a 5 micron cloth filter) which means no more bucket to bucket filtering. I also added a shelf to contain all the cubies. I can definitely recommend this setup.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The interior restoration is finished

Today I finally picked up the car from L and S, with finished interior. It looks very much like my design, except for the strip in the door panels and the armrest being black. At first I was surprisedby this, because that wasn't part of the plan. I does look nice, so I will try to live with it for a while. It wasn't easily possible to put a round bass speaker in the front of the side panels, so they had to be put in the back. Also Wally's guys discovered a very rusted area underneath the driver's side, which they replaced with a part of some metal door. They added sound proofing, which has made the ride quieter, but not by as much as I had hoped. The passenger side belt buckle that the car came with was broken and couldn't be repaired. I am still looking on for a replacement. I have one person whom I paid already, but there have been delays.

The color treatment of the plastic and all the other color related treatments look absolutely perfect. I'm very happy with it. It's actually strange to see it done, since I've been visualizing it for so long. When I show it to others, they view it as perfectly normal, as if the car had always looked like this. That's actually a good sign, because I didn't want to go overboard on the restoring, rather, keep it as if "in original condition" so some extent.

Picture 1: Before. Original, but sprayed over, "Autumn Tan". Very seventies.
Picture 2: My mockup in Photoshop. Disregard the steering wheel cover.
Picture 3: The interior gutted. A frightening sight. Notice the rusted floorboard.
Picture 4: A job well done. Looks too perfect to reveal all the work that went into it.