1st Car for My Son: Brake Jerb EditionS

I have been remiss on posting updates to the father/son project so it's time for a little catch-up. Since the last update we've rebuilt the carb and got the motor humming. This led to the discovery of a mild valve tapping so the valve covers came off for another minor adjustment to #7. All was right as rain except for the irritating tendency for the motor to bog when the choke was fully open and a little throttle applied.

I spoke to a friend about it and he said it sounded like a vacuum issue. I checked the vacuum advance and found it had seen better days. After I replaced it, same issue. Damn. After checking every vacuum-related component I could think of to no avail, I called my buddy back and bribed him with cold beer to come over and check my work. As he was checking things out he grabbed the can of carb cleaner I had and sprayed around the intake manifold with the car running. This was new to me; when he sprayed a certain spot, the idle changed. "Found the problem," he said. "Leaky intake gasket." I learned something new that day. File this tip away if you didn't already know it.

Ok, so off goes the carb and intake. A quick trip to O'Reilly for a new intake gasket and, while I was in there, a new valley pan gasket (might as well). After reassembly, perfection! The engine is now running/sounding as good as it did in 1955! I think I mentioned in an earlier post that we (the previous owner and I) think the engine was completely rebuilt before he bought the car. The compression test I did was 100% spec across all cylinders and there is no fluid leaking anywhere. The work we've had to do relates to the fact that the car sat for ~5 years without being started/moved once before my son bought it.

1st Car for My Son: Brake Jerb EditionS

Ok, so the motor's good and the last thing to do are the brakes. I had already rebuilt the master cylinder but had not bled the system yet. With the motor finally done, my son and I began that task last Monday after work. Starting with the right rear (of course) I had The Boy man the pedal while I crawled under the car (a task made much easier by having it up on 4 jack stands - Thanks Harbor Freight!). I told him what to do and started the press/loosen/tighten/lift ritual. Over and over. 20 times. This netted about 1/2 inch of fluid in the bleeder bottle. Something was wrong.

I called my friend back and this is when I get to feel stupid. "Hey, you did bleed the master after you rebuilt it, right?" "Umm ... no." Never in my life have I had to rebuild a master cylinder so this was yet another fundamental gap in my basic mechanical knowledge. So I bled the master and tried again. Only it wouldn't bleed. Another call to my buddy resulted in the determination that the bypass valve was almost assuredly hosed. So off to O'Reilly again for a new one. I installed that one on Saturday morning and waited for my son to get back from a gig to help me bleed the system again. This all went swimmingly until the last wheel (left front, of course). It would not bleed. I assumed the brake cylinder was probably frozen from sitting or something so I tore down the assembly and pulled it for rebuild or replace. Once I got it off, I could see it worked fine (I very nearly squirted brake fluid in my eye ... try to be less stupid than me when working on your cars, kids).

Flummoxed by this, I had The Boy lightly press the pedal with the brake hose to the wheel disconnected. Nothing. "Press harder." Nothing. I disconnected the hose from the hard line at the frame and immediately got some fluide trickle. A quick press confirmed that it was the hose that was completely blocked. This really surprised me; I had no idea this could happen but I was also relieved that it was an easily accessible component to replace. Waiting for the part to come in from O'Reilly's warehouse today and will be leaving work early to install and reassemble everything.

The last thing the car needs are new tires. The tread's not bad but they all have UV damage, unfortunately. Speaking of tires, does anyone know a source for whitewalls at reasonable prices? We want to go with minimum 2.5" whitewall stripes and everything I'v seen so far is pretty damn spendy. It'd be a shame to shoe the car with anything else.