Archive for August, 2012

I purchased a set of reproduction Ball joints for the Ranch Wagon.  I just couldn’t find NOS lower ball joints at a reasonable price.  So I found the best quality reproductions available.  The rubber grease boots are high quality, which is important to look for in a reproduction ball  joint. Too often the boot ages quickly, dries out and becomes brittle. This leads to it tearing and falling apart. Then the grease won’t stay in the housing, and grit and contaminants can get into it and ruin the ball joint.  The vendors don’t sell the grease boot by itself, so you are usually stuck buying a new ball joint just for the boot.  FRUSTRATING!!!

I have soaked the upper control arms, ground the factory rivets off of the upper ball joints, hammered them out, and will be sand blasting them tomorrow.  I then plan on taking them and a number of other items to the powder coater.  I am cutting it close to self imposed deadline of September 15 to have the front suspension refurbished/replaced and the wheels on the ground, but I think I can make it.

  

This past week has been a real challenge. The temperature has topped 100 degrees for the last 3 days.  I have been grinding the frame with the wire wheel brush attached to the Cordless drill, wire brush, Brillo Pads, putty knives, dental picks, and screwdrivers every night after work. It was tedious, dirty work but paid off. The frame was clean metal, and I was out of energy. The heat has a way of really draining you quick!

The Eastwood products arrived Friday, and with the weather forecast predicting the temp to be in the low 80’s, I was excited to get the frame “encapsulated” & painted with their products.

I used a medium sized paint brush to paint the frame with the quart of Rust Encapsulator. It went on easy, but it is pretty thin and tended to run if I applied to heavy of a coat.  It was my first time using this product, so it took me a couple of strokes to familiarize myself with it.  The first coat is touchable dry in 20 minutes, and the second coat can be applied after an hour of drying. I got 2 coats on, and the overcast day was perfect for it.  The clouds have burned off now, and the bright summer sun is baking it onto the frame real nice.  Tomorrow, I will be applying 2 coats of the Eastwood Chassis paint.  I bought those in Aerosol cans, because I didn’t want any brush marks in the final finish.  Their Chassis Paint has the reputation of being tough as nails when dry, which is what I wanted. I want a tough, durable surface that looks nice when clean and strong enough to withstand the driving I plan to do with the Ranch Wagon when I’m done.

I bought 4 cans of Gloss, and 4 cans of Satin.  I am at a toss up as to which I should use. The control arms were powder coated with Semi Gloss, so maybe I should use the Satin so they’ll be close to the same reflective level.

Well,  I’m off to scrub my hands/face/arms/leg/ and shoulder with Lacquer Thinner. I just couldn’t keep myself from getting this paint on me.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ended up finding some NOS (New Old Stock) original suspension parts. They were new in the box, and despite some box wear, and some surface rust on some of the parts, they are in great shape. I got a heck of a good deal as well. $25 dollars per Box! The shaft kits were especially nice to find, as I needed to replace 2 of the 4 shafts on my car.

I am disassembling the upper control arms and shafts and will be sandblasting them for powder coating.  I am in  “Get ‘er done” mode and despite the weather being close to 100 degrees for the past 3 days, I am working feverishly to get the frame prepped for the paint that will be here Friday.

Here is the song I frequently hear playing in my head during this recent flourish of work on the Ranch Wagon these past 2 weeks!

Benny Hill would be proud.

I finished removing the passenger side suspension Saturday morning. The lower control arm shafts were really putting up a struggle, but with enough PB Blaster penetrating oil, and pounding with the small sledge hammer they reluctantly came out of their perches.  The passenger side control arm bushing failed, and the whole it was pressed into was completely rounded out. The arm is ruined and not reusable. That is fine, because I already powder coated the lower control arms from the parts car and planned on using them in the wagon.

I have ordered some products from the Eastwood Company to clean, and finish the frame. They are the Rust Conveter, Rust Encapsilator, and finally their Black Chassis Paint. I have used the Eastwood products in the past and have had great success with their products. They are durable, and easy to apply.  I usually wait for them to have a sale (Which they are having right now) and purchase.

 

I had to remove the steering column as a whole, because the steering shaft cannot be removed from the gear box. So out it came. It is a 3 speed column shift unit, and I am replacing it with the  automatic shift column from the parts car. I will reuse the steering wheel though, because it is in beautiful condition with no cracking.

I am scrubbing and cleaning the frame areas that I couldn’t get to before, which were under the upper control arms, and where the steering box were bolted onto the frame.  When the Eastwood products are delivered on Friday, I will be ready to get to work with them and get the frame conditioned and painted. I can’t wait!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I picked up an Internal Coil Spring Compressor to use on the Ranch Wagon. After fiddling with it for awhile, I got the hang of using it and its function.  It has 4 arms with hooks that are inserted through the middle of the coils spring, rather than the ones that mount on the outside of the spring.  My opinion is that the internal Coil Spring compressor is a safer tool, and works better.

Working with coil springs is always dangerous. They are under enormous tension, so be careful and always take safety measures to ensure that you will not get  hurt.

 

Now that the Spring is removed, carefully set the spring aside. It is still under tension with the spring compressor attached to it! I carefully loosed the tension by loosening the nut on the compressor until it loosed up. I ran out of daylight, so I will have to do the other side tomorrow evening.

Knowing it was going to be extremely hot today, I got an early start (6:30 am) to degrease the front end of the car. I started with an assortment of putty knives and large flat end screwdrivers to chisel away at the 54 years of “Patina” on the frame and suspension. I put plywood down first to catch the chunks of hardened grease, dirt, grime, grit, and decaying rubber parts I would be scraping off. It made quite a pile.

After getting all the chunky, brittle pieces off I started spraying the frame and suspension with Super Clean. I then began using some large wire bristle brushes to scrub everything. Areas that I couldn’t reach with the large brushes I used the screw drivers and smaller wire brushes to get to. Then I would soak it down again with Super Clean, let it set for 20 minutes and then rinse with a high pressure nozzle on the garden hose.  I did this 4 times until it was completely grease and dirt free.  The next step is to begin dismantling the front end and removing the coil springs, upper and lower control arms, steering gear box, tie rods, brake and fuel lines, and spindles. I need to get the frame bare so I can begin grinding it smooth ( There is a lot of factory slag on it from when it was made in ’58!) and get it sealed, and painted with Eastwood’s Heavy Duty Chassis Gloss.