Monday, December 05, 2011

Bel's New Baby

The Kilner family picked up a new family member today. With Bel moving to a new job in the resorts above Park City, the little MX-5 was never going to cut it. Sadly, after a year and a half's faithful service, we had to trade the Mazda in for something bigger and with more driven wheels. After an intensive 3 hour search where the car gods determined Bel was NOT destined to drive a Jeep, we found this nice Audi Allroad. She's done a few miles, but the price was right and she's already got snow tyres fitted.

Now Bel will be good to make the climb up and down the canyon each day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tearing it Down to Build it Up

Work started on the Mustang this month to get the front end tidied up before Mum and Dad's next visit in 2012. It all started with the simple idea to whip the front fenders off and apply some rust proofing. This proved to be a major exercise as the previous owner was an idiot and had painted right over everything including the panel joints. I certainly spent some time cursing him over the last few weeks.

It's been a real learning experience to get the panels off. I read the workshop manual, but it is way too general. The number of little bolts and screws was amazing. Then there was the matter of all the extra bits and pieces that had to be taken off before you can get to the bolts. Things like splash guards, brackets, lights and wiring before you even get to the mud and rust. Despite all the mud and rust, there was only one bolt that had to be cut off.

After managing to get the panels off, it was time to attack the suspension. I needed to get everything off in order to get the build up off the inner guards. After successfully making my own ball joint splitter, I got the springs off and removed the masses of dirt that had built up over the last 40 years. The inner guards turned out to be OK, but the rust holes in the top of the guards was not a good sight! I've cut it out since the photo and it's ready to have a patch welded in. I just need to go buy a welder and find the time to get organised to do it.

Now that it's all torn down, it's time to start painting the parts and put things back together. The new angle grinder and wire brush have been getting a work out and there's plenty more to go. I have all the components to strip back and clean up. I want to get them all painted before I start work on the car itself.

The original paint is a matte or satin finish in the engine bay and it's hard to tell under the guards. It seems to be black with sound deadening bitumen, but it's also got layers of paint, especially the white over spray from the stupid owner. There's also a good layer of dirt and surface rust on everything.

I've got a gallon of Chassis Saver paint which is supposed to be the best for painting over light rust. I need this as I won't be able to completely clean up the surfaces under the guards. I got this in satin to match the classic look.

The components which are hard mounted to the car will be painted in satin as well. Things like brackets or supports. I decided that the parts that are not hard mounted - like springs, control arms, shock absorbers - will be painted in gloss to give a bit of contrast. The paint shop is a bit rough (since it's the garage) and one of my biggest problems is that it is bloody freezing which is not good for painting. Can't do much about that, so it's time to push on.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Lots of News and New Cars

It's been an absolute age since the last post. Four months to be exact, and hasn't some action occurred since then!

Firstly, and the biggest news is that there has been a major addition to Team Orange. Dad made the outrageous purchase of a classic e12 M535i! What a car it is too. The first of the real M cars for the road. 3.5 litre M30 in the still fairly light body gets this thing along in a real hurry.

Dad imported "Black Beauty" from England where it was sold by a typically crazy car enthusiast who wanted to get it away from England's salted roads!

It successfully made the journey and has since been imported, quarantined, washed and registered. Of course, being an e12, it has also burnt out its ventilation fan and has a misfire that is proving difficult to track down.

The only work completed so far is Dad covering the bottom of the car in a good layer of fish oil to keep the rust away and the remedying of the misfire. I've sourced some fresh badges for the rear and a new set of bellows for the rear CV joints and they're on their way to Dad to get installed.

In Mustang news, the old girl spent 2 months at the shop getting a new dash installed. Turned out to be slowest dash repair in history. By the time we got it back, we'd moved into our new house and Winter was long gone and it was stinking hot. I had to pick it up on the same day I got a root canal and it was 100 degrees outside. Nice timing by the workshop! Whatever; the results look really good (the dash, not the root canal) and it is a very respectable place inside the cabin now.

While it was in the shop, they also fixed the heater controls and fitted a new speaker in the new dash so the old dodgy speaker on the floor could go. I haven't had a chance to try the heater out since it's still in the thirties and there's no way to tell if it's working.

While I had the e46 in the shop getting the transmission serviced and the next worn out part of the cooling system replace and generally making a massive donation to BMW's service department, I had to fall back on driving the Mustang to work. Apart from losing several kg and nearly passing out from heat exhaustion, I also noticed the mysterious brake shudder had disappeared! Maybe the brakes were just tired and needed a couple of months to rest up? Unfortunately, it also developed a bad habit of overheating and embarrassing itself on the garage floor when I got home or stopped for any significant time. I flushed out the radiator and replaced the lower hose, but it didn't help. The fall back plan is just to leave it in the garage until Winter.

While I had the bonnet open, I took the change to tidy up a bit. I straightened out all those awful steel lines (fuel and vacuum) and re-ran the throttle switch wire to make things a bit nicer. Not a dramatic change, but all in the right direction.

In a rather strange coincidence, we developed a Mustang parking area at work during the time I was driving it. I always park over on the Southern end of the car park and then one day, there were three generations of Mustang there!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Small Steps

It's been small steps since the Mustang returned from its 2000 mile road trip. We still have a fairly firm pull to the right when you first go for the brakes which is rather disconcerting. We decided to buy in some new bushes and change the front brake drums.

It turned out the drums were chipped and worn, although the chipping shouldn't have made any difference as it was only the outside, sealing edge. I was planning on painting the drums to keep the rust away, but the spray can was missing the nozzle and I didn't have the motivation to go back and complain as we'd already been 3 times in 2 days!

We got on to the sway bar and straight away, we could see the main bushes were the wrong diameter. Back to O'Reillys but the proper ones had to be ordered. We'll get them on Tuesday. We put the old bush back in and changed the sway bar end links and bushes. The old ones were completely stuffed and the new ones certainly look better.

While we've been on the job, we changed the radio aerial for one that hadn't been snapped off, installed a battery clamp so the battery wouldn't rattle around and Dad fixed the hoses on the windscreen washer bottle so he could get some water on the screen. The washers now work so well you can clean the screen on the car behind if you want!

I also had some time to get some photos of the new head liner. It's all in and I added the new interior light to finish it off. Dad is going to get a new dash, so we didn't put the A pillar liners on as we'd just have to take them off again.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Road Trip

Despite leaving, what I thought, was plenty of time, the mustang was just not ready for Mum and Dad's arrival. A windscreen seal held up installation of the headliner, so the road trip started a day and a half late. Dad got a service, transmission fluid change and some new wipers before he left. We also installed the new front bumper which made a top difference at the front end.

The mustang took most of the road trip in it's stride. Around 2000 miles and just some new fuses, some carby adjustment and a whole lot of fuel.

They got snowed in at Kingman Arizona and had to spend an extra night. It was pretty cold the whole trip and the heater doesn't seem to be full on.
In general, the car went excellently. It even covered the "Million Dollar Highway" which included a pass over 11,000 feet above sea level. I was proud to see the old car make it back. She's bloody filthy now and needs a good wash. Dad's already had the carby rebuilt and she's done a trip with me to work. Hardly seems worth it after Utah - Nevada - Arizona - Colorado - Utah!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Getting Set for the Big Road Trip

With Mum and Dad's arrival in the US of A, the Mustang's got to be ready to hit the road. They're going on an epic 12 day road trip through Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.

I finished off the wheels with their hub caps, threw on the new rear bumper, installed the shiny chrome door lock knobs, replaced the liner in the trunk, touched up the scratches on the paint and drove her down to the shop to get the head liner installed (complete with new windscreen and seals). We're just waiting to get her back so Dad add the final touches (front bumper, new interior light and windscreen wiper blades) and head off into the wide blue yonder!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Retro Treads for the Stang

I finally got around to picking up some wheels and tyres for the Mustang this week. Those polished alloy wheels were pretty bad and once I had them off, it turned out they are generic four stud wheels, so the hub diameter and the offset were all wrong.

I got a set of old steel wheels and gave them a clean and a coat of paint. My workshop/bathroom came back into serious use again! A set of Cooper Trendsetters with their nice little whitewall sets off the car nicely. I also have some original Mustang hub caps, but they will stay in the cupboard until the car rolls out as they are worth too much and are too easy to steal.

As with all things on the Mustang, a simple job like changing the wheels turned into a 3 day event. First I had to get the new wheels there which involved a shopping trolley and a ride to the parking lot. Once set to go, it turned out the lug nuts and the tyre spanner weren't friends, so everything had to be packed into the Mustang so I could get down to the store and buy a new tyre spanner. Luckily I got a 4 way spanner because it then turned out the 4 of the 16 nuts were 13/16 while the remainder were 3/4!

They all on there now though and looking quite sweet. Just have to sell the old wheels off and get them off our patio. Headliner and new windscreen seals are booked in for Monday and then Dad arrives Wednesday to go on their road trip. Hope the Mustang's up to it!