atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2127: Car stuff!

No politics here!

* * *

Ever since finishing the jalopy project, I've been kind of hesitant to do anything else with the vehicles. My idea for a subwoofer box stalled. I haven't looked into getting an A-pillar gauge pod for the Escort. I haven't done anything.

I still want to do things, but I can't think of what I want to do; and I'm kind of tired, anyway. It just seems like shit keeps cropping up, keeping me from doing anything interesting or useful.

I'm jealous of Rich, who has both time and money to fix his '67 Mustang. He hasn't got a lot of big things to do on the car, really. He's got the engine and transmission to rebuild, but the body is pretty straight and rust-free; and otherwise he's got a lot of minor restoration projects to do like the shifter, as mentioned in the linked post.

I really honestly wish I could have done anything with the '86 Fiero, but after having the damn thing sit in my garage for five years I realized it was time to let it go. *sigh*

So I idly wonder how much it would cost to add the '85 to the Jeep's insurance, and I also think about fixing the rear brakes and making one modification to the car: replacing the brake booster with one from a late model S10.

Apparently it will fit, if you persuade a little bit of inner fender to move aside. It costs around $100 for the part, and it's supposed to greatly improve the feel of the Fiero's power brakes. Let me tell you: the brakes in the Fiero are heavy; it takes a surprising amount of effort to apply them. (Yes, the booster is working, exactly as designed, in fact.)

I wish the Fiero's brakes were like the Escort's. The brakes in the Escort are light, easily modulated, and have plenty of feel. The Escort could use a bigger contact patch, but with the stock tires it handles and brakes well.

With the brakes at 100% in the Fiero, it stops on a dime. The rear brakes don't auto-adjust very well, and there is a service procedure for correcting this--but it requires that your parking brake system be in working order, and mine is not. So I'd have to replace all the parking brake cables first, then adjust the rear brakes, and after all of that I could change the booster.

It's an important thing to remember: get the system working correctly first before you make modifications. You save yourself an inordinate amount of trouble by doing this.

Unfortunately, this plan requires $200 worth of parts. The brake cables don't grow on trees; neither do the brake boosters. So that'll have to wait until I find a job.

...not saying anything about the job market or anything here...

Originally I had thought about fixing the Jeep's A-pillar this summer, the one that got crimped some time before it was mine. It's not even July yet so I suppose I can still do it, but I want to get the Escort into a non-leaky state before I take the Jeep out of commission for what will probably be at least a week, if not longer.

I intend to have the windshield removed by a professional before I start. The Jeep will be in the garage but I'll roll it out of the garage for the body work.

Basically, I need a stud gun; then I can use a slide hammer to coax the metal outward. Once it's in approximately the right shape I can do a little work with a hammer to level out any high spots; then fill pinholes with a bit of wire from the welder. A good metal-impregnated body filler will smooth over the remaining dips; it'll get a thin finish coat of Bondo before being primed and painted with properly matching paint. I'm confident I can blend the paint well enough that the repair won't be bleeding obvious, but if not, so what? It will still look a damn sight better than it does now.

...have the windshield reinstalled by the same guy who took it out. Done.

Sand paper, sanding blocks, a lot of elbow grease.

If I can do this repair and have it come out looking decent, it would embolden me to try my hand at fixing the other booboos that the Jeep's got. Again, it's a case of, "I can't make it much worse, can I?"

Eh? "Why have the windshield removed?" Because if I use a slide hammer on that A-pillar with the windshield installed there's an excellent chance it'll crack. The metal has to be coaxed back into position and the vibration could be enough to break the glass. Why risk it? It should cost less to have the windshield R&R than it would to go get a new one installed.

My original thought had been to find an XJ in a junkyard, cut out the necessary piece of metal, and have it welded in by a body shop--but that would require a hell of a lot more work than simply pulling the dent, and it would doubtless cost an asston of money in the bargain. Shops charge $60 an hour or more, and I'd either have to have the thing flatbedded over sans windshield (and flatbedded back!) or else I'd have to pay them to R&R the windshield. Either way, it's too much money, even if I did all the work of removing the inner trim.

So I have a major project I want to tackle, same as last year. We'll see how I do.

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