April 2013 Updates

Throttle cable and notes on brakes

A pending problem gets fixed, and an existing situation considered.

Throttle Cable

Funny, there was quite a discussion of clutch cables on the VirtualVairs discussion list.
The Toy has an automatic trans, but it does have a cable for the throttle.
It was just some stranded steel cable of no particular heritage, and it finally failed Sunday.
It was in service for 3 1/2 years, and had shown distress and fraying where a pulley wasn’t well aligned.

I was able to re-route the cable through an access door and I tied it together so I could limp it home for repair.

The smallest stranded cable at Home Depot is substantially larger, but the individual strands might be smaller than the old one.
So, for about $3.50 it has a new cable.

We’ll see how long this one goes.


A discussion (again on VirtualVairs) led me to consider the master cylinder setup in the Toy.

It (’61 Corvair platform and master cylinder) is feeding Tempest wheel cylinders in front, with 1 1/16 bore) and disks in back (from front of 87 Olds) with a proportioning valve in the front circuit. The brake system works ok, except that  it has more pedal travel than I’d like.

I thought the pedal travel was mainly due to the fact that the front brakes are tired and I can’t adjust the front shoes farther out without them dragging.
Then I realized that the large bore cylinders in front are part of the problem – it takes 70% more travel (of the master cylinder) to move them than it would a stock Corvair cylinder due to the greater fluid volume required. I don’t know how the rear disk affect pedal travel. Edit: The rear disks shouldn’t  require much pedal travel, because they are always adjusted up.

I went and adjusted the brakes again, and got the pedal back up to a decent level. The real solution will be to upgrade the fronts to disk.


New Firewall

For expediency, I used the engine cover and bulkhead the car came with when I bought it. It enclosed the entire middle of the car from just behind the front seats.

Since I installed the transverse 3.8 package, there was a huge amount of empty space back there. Now it’s time to change. The new covers will provide room for groceries and rear seats. The reworked brake lines and water pipes were a first step.

Construction will be plywood panels with metal framing. For fire protection, I’ll face the plywood with sheet metal on the engine side.


A.K.A the never-ending story.

I’m re-doing the water pipes to the motor. I’m arranging them so there will be room for back seats and giving them metal ends so the hoses will stay tight. Since PVC wants to creep at engine operating temperature, any hoses that are clamped directly to it must be re-tightened every week or two.

I’m re-doing the brake lines, too. Once I mock up the new firewall, I’ll see if the shift cable needs to move.

Half Price seats and transaxle

Some of the local salvage yards had a half price sale recently. I chose Ecology’s Santa Fe Springs site for selection and access.

I recruited a friend to help on Saturday, and we removed the transaxle from an 86 Olds.

Funny/strange: The place doesn’t allow people to bring jacks into the yard, so we had to find a couple of car jacks to work with. I can’t believe that enhances safety, but there you go…

Sunday, I returned and fetched a nice pair of seats from a ’92 Mercedes. Light gray leather, full power. Pretty!

That afternoon I installed the driver side seat, and discovered that the Toy is much shorter than the Mercedes is. I’ll need to modify the floor and/or the seat to lower it. (I want to lower it one inch, or more if possible.)

Interesting how much a change of seat height affects the feel of a vehicle.

Transaxle installation will happen sometime later. The current unit is not healthy, but it is drivable.