Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Progress on RACE car.

This weekend we hit a major milestone with our race car code-named Lazarus. Shh… you don’t know that. It’s an MGB. Shhhh… You don’t know that either.

John Condren graciously agreed to help me weld in the Autopower roll cage I got from Raceport on Saturday. I say help, but I really mean I watch and stay the hell out of the way, and try not to burn myself a SECOND time from hot pipes. “Oh, it’s only a flesh wound!”

(Keeping a bucket of cold water handy was one of MANY a good ideas I learned from John, thanks!)

My original plan was to finish up bleeding the brakes and fix the clutch on Friday night, and nurse the car onto the trailer for the half hour trip south. However I was delayed by the bad news concerning Tigger-cat, and we spent the evening with her instead.

Saturday morning I got the brake job done, which meant we could now STOP the car, but discovered the clutch slave cylinder was shot and leaking like a sieve. The repair kit only costs 5 dollars, but I had no parts and no time. So I stole a battery out of the infamous Datsun – Bluebie, and proceeded to wake the entire neighborhood while I loaded it on the trailer with no clutch. As a bonus I was able to conduct a “Wicked-Hot-Starter-Test”. Result: Pass. Good old Lucas Electrics.

After unloading at John’s house we attempted the same thing to get it up his driveway. To my surprise the engine even started. It would sputter, but not really move the car. So, between the intermittent engine, a wicked hot starter and the two of us pushing, we were able get it up his driveway and across 100 feet of soft grass to where his garage and welding equipment were. I was wheezing for breath a long time it seemed. (Gotta quit eating them Mother’s cookies I stocked up on.)

I say garage, but what I mean is “Cool-ass-shop/man-cave.

It is everything that mine is not. I marveled at the fact that I did not have to step over crap or duck underneath anything. Bright, clean, well lit… and organized. Twice a year I get a vision in my head like that, and spend DAYS cleaning mine up. Best I can manage is “mild catastrophe”. Maybe I should practice on this focus thing I hear so much about.

I watched him weld, helping when I could, and taking in as much as possible. It is one thing to read about welding or to see it on film, but is better to see it done up close live. Having several decades of soldering experience and certifications, I know a bit about fusion of metal. However other than that, the two skills are about as dissimilar as you can possibly get. So it was a good class, so to speak. I plan on finally doing it myself soon.

Of as much value, was listening to John’s stories and advice. We were pretty busy so I did not get a whole lot of the stories but they were keepers. And his advice was spot on, which I appreciate. Thanks John! The Condrens were very gracious hosts.

On a worrisome note, he told me with a chuckle, he admired my gumption and naivety.


No time for pondering; On to the next task! Let’s see if we can get this thing to RUN!

Next: Brakes, and other things that break.

Previous: Progress being made, (on support vehicle)

From the Beginning: The Hook... (Part 1)

Kitty Still here....

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