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We just got back from a fortnight trip with out Spartan Manor to Pennsylvania and Mid Ohio, to test the A/C and fridge in hot, muggy summer weather.  The A/C passed with flying colors, the fridge, not so much.  We used it last fall, in cool temps, and it did fairly well, but it struggles to keep it’s cool in warm weather.20728230_10214593978665809_5666013374635989023_n

These gas/electric fridges need air flow over the cooling unit in order to operate, and the consensus was that I didn’t have enough airflow.  The exhaust stack was a 4″ vent through the roof, to which I added a small fan, which helped a little, but still left us with temps in the fridge cabinet in the low 50’s.  Then we added a fan to the cabinet, which makes noise but doesn’t seem to help at all.  In a last ditch attempt, I took the freezer door off the interior, which made the fridge compartment a little cooler, but a freezer that wasn’t below freezing and frosted up.

Yesterday I took the back of the cabinet off again, and made a new exhaust plenum.  This one is 3 1/2″ x 14″, three times the size of the old 4″ flue, and I kept the little fan, which is on a thermostat.  It turns on when the stack temp is greater than 100 F.  It certainly LOOKS like it should work better.

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This morning, after running all night, and with a case of (cold already) soda and 6 pack of beer inside, the interior is 46.  The freezer compartment is cold, the partial bag of ice and  inch of water that had melted from that is frozen solid  again in the Tupperware container I put it in, so the freezer is once again below 32.  I’d be happier if the cabinet temp were 40 or slightly below, but if this is as good as gets, we can live with it now.  We may resort to keeping a block of ice in the freezer, and one in the crisper drawer to help with getting the fridge cold, if we have to.

In retrospect, I’d have left the original compressor and coils in the fridge and simply run it on 110V, as I just got a 2000 watt inverter which would easily power the fridge while traveling.  Which was the only reason we had it converted to gas in the first place.

So, live and learn.  It has given me something to do this past couple of days, as opposed to working on the roadster, which I wanted to have ready for next weekends “Relix Riot” car show, but there’s always next year…

Addendum:  I discovered, via a Google search, and You-Tube video that there IS some temp adjustment these “automatic” control RV fridges.  Inside, on the fins of the cooling unit, on the fin next to the right hand wall of the fridge, is a little plastic clip.  In the clip is a little gizmo called a “thermistor”, which, by sliding the whole thing up, or down, the fin, lowers,  or raises, respectively, the cabinet temp.  This one was just over halfway up the fin, so I slid it all the way to the top.  If I’m fortunate, and have said the correct incantation, the fridge should get colder.  Or, I’ll be drinking warm beer…

Faithful readers will recall our last episode, when our plucky hero (that would me) was left in a pickle.  Carburetor linkage that didn’t fit, brake hoses the wrong size, a driveshaft tunnel in the frame that wouldn’t clear the shaft and similarly flat floor.  

Did we mention the owner of the driveline local shop hurt his back and couldn’t make the driveshaft?

Well, the Cavalry arrived (in the form of the UPS truck)!  Steering shaft support bearing and bracket made and mounted!  Throttle linkage fabricated, looks and works beautifully!  Driveshaft tunnel in the frame modified and new floor tunnel in progress (thanks to another chunk of cardboard shipping tube and a yard of fiberglass mat my friend Steve [Mutant Brothers] gave me),and new brake hoses from the local NAPA store! 



And yet, he persevered.

…and some days the bear bites you.

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Yesterday I was planning fitting the brake lines and measuring for the driveshaft.  I got the front brake hoses (’40 Ford) out of their packages, and discovered they don’t fit the wheel cylinders in the Wilson Welding backing plates.  The fittings are too big.  So, scratch that, now I need adaptors, or correct size hoses.

Moving under the car, with trouble light and tape measure in  hand, I set out to measure for the driveshaft.  It was immediately apparent that the driveshaft wouldn’t clear the flat top of the X member at the rear, nor the flat floor.  I had plenty of room with before the body was mounted, but that and the engine settle the suspension enough cause  interference.  So, out came the cut off wheel and the torch, a little floor removed, a little bit off the back of the X member box, and we’re good to go there.

After adding a bit to the back of the cardboard and fiberglass trans tunnel/floor hump I made the the other day.  Good thing I’ve got the rest of the cardboard shipping tube laying around…

Then I moved on to the steering shaft.  I’d bought a double U joint to connect the Vega box to the ’59 T’bird column, and short piece of double D solid shaft to correct for the slight mis-alignment.  Great plan, but, I hadn’t noticed that the column has it’s own flex coupler hidden at the lower end, this gave me 3 U joints, not two, and the shaft flops and binds, so now I need a support bushing to hold the shaft solid between the box and column.

Thinking I’d make a solid fuel line from the pump to the fitting for the carbs, and thinking I could use one of the hose bibs I took off one of the E-carbs, I found that the new fuel line has 3/8″ NPT threads, and I don’t have THAT fitting, so no fuel line connected either.

No problem, add that to the order from Speedway, and I got the box of progressive linkage for the dual quads out of the box from Edelbrock.  Piece of cake right?

Wrong, Edelbrock makes this to fit THIER manifolds, which place the carbs tight together, this old Offy intake has them an inch further apart, making the Edelbrock linkage, nice stainless and brass bits, too short.  So, now I need to get some 3/8″ rod and make new links for that too.

So now, with the car setting on jack stands, a new hole in the floor, and nothing accomplished, I’m waiting for parts.

Again…

 

img_2201I got the instructions for the ’34 Roadster the other day, so I jumped right in on it!  Sadly, I repeated what I used to with model cars, and the full size equivalent of getting glue on the windshield, and am now mopping up the mess.

I had ordered some 5/8″ LH jamb nuts for the front shock links from Speedway Motors, and some rear shock mount steps.  The order came today, and all excited to hook my Houdaille front shocks, I made the connector link (5/8″ LH all thread) and opened the pack of jamb nuts.  They wouldn’t screw on, and it was obvious when I looked, they were RH jamb nuts.  On top of that, I only ordered one shock stud, thinking they came in pairs, so a couple of errors on that order.  I need to get some steering shaft and a couple of U-joints anyway, so it can be steered, so I’ll be calling tonight to set things righ

Meanwhile, the trans tunnel  I made out of cardboard is ‘glassed, it looks and fits fine.  I succumbed to peer pressure and swapped the single 4 bbl. intake and Holley carb for the ancient Offy 2-4 intake and the pair of Edelbrock 500 carbs I bought for it.  I ordered a small diameter electronic distributor, wires and coil which should be here tomorrow, so that’ll be ready to fire up.

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Finally!  The 283 is nestled permanently between the frame rails!  It was a bigger job than I’d anticipated, since I’d had things only loosely assembled before, I had to move the bolt holes back on the engine mount pads on the frame a quarter inch, but it’s good to go now.

I think the cream color firewall with the three gauges looks incredible, and the low mount alternator gets rid of that ugly lump up on top of the engine.  I opted to leave the single 4-bbl Edelbrock Perfomer intake on for now, I’ll put one of the new 500 CFM E-carbs on and get the thing sorted out before I tackle getting dual quads sorted out on a 283.  One thing at a time…

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I have enough cream enamel left to paint the ’59 T’bird wheel, which will tie that into the color scheme.  I dig the red engine and polished aluminum against the cream firewall, and the little dual quad air filter element looks better than the bug ugly chrome air cleaner the engine came with.  It’s starting to come together.

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When the tires were mounted on the Dayton wheels, the high pressure blast used to seat the bead blasted a couple big hunks of chrome off the right front rim.  I was bummed, but had been considering media blasting and paint the wheels anyway.  Then, a buddy suggested a product called “Rub and Buff”, sold in hobby shops as an ersatz silver leaf.  Probably powdered aluminum in a waxy base, the stuff worked amazingly well.  From five feet away, it’s almost impossible to spot the “repair”.  I’ll probably end up getting one new wheel from Dayton Wheel, but for now, I’m good to go.  The car is going to sport some light “patina” overall, so, this isn’t out of place.

I’m getting excited.






Summer is here and we’re enjoying the fruits of the hard work of winter!  The season is short , so we’re packing all the adventures and excitement we can into the season. 

The Spartan is all we hoped, it’s comfortable and practical.  Kim looked beautiful in the period dress our friend Cheryl gave her, perfect for the trailer.  

We’ll be getting ready for a trip east to Pennsylvania in a few weeks, and a short trip to Gun Lake for the 4th, and many more fun times after that!


Busy couple of weeks here, getting the winters dust off the Spartan, rebuilding the Diamond T’s brakes, and incidental aggravating things like a new battery in the wagon and a shorted fuel management module in the lawn mower.  


So, the work is done, we’re waiting for the weekend with our Tin Can Tourists friends!