13 December, 2015

New Toys Inbound

I received a more generous than normal Christmas bonus from work, so I decided to splurge a bit and bought a few new tools.  The biggest of the which is a new AHP AlphaTIG 200x Tig welding machine.  I love my Hobart Handler Mig machine, but I have been wanting to weld aluminum for a while now, and I've discovered a lot of the steel welding I do on my little bike projects is just a bit too small and delicate for best results using the Hobart.

Entry level TIG machines have been around a few years, and there are really three options to go with.  I did some research, including watching this video, which compares the three items:

The Alpha seemed to have the longest list of "pros" and the shortest list of "cons."  The biggest specs I needed were 115v capable, AC/DC (AC for aluminum) and something that uses standard parts.  The Alpha has a few nice features as standard, including a flexible torch head, better foot control, and adjustable pulse control.

The nicest part of the Alpha?  I purchased it off Amazon, along with about half a dozen tools and accessories.  I grabbed some tungsten electrodes in various sizes for both AL and steel, some steel and AL filler rod, a new solar lens for my welding helmet, and a magnifying lens for the helmet too.  I'm also going to pick up a few more welding magnets, and a special vise for clamping tubing together for welding.

Tig looks like a lot of fun, sort of a mixture of mig and oxy welding.  I always enjoyed oxy welding, as it felt more like "art" to me, in terms of moving the puddle around, being able to adjust how much filler rod you used etc.  So I'm sure I will have a LOT to learn, and will be spending a few hours in the garage over the xmas break practicing on scrap pieces.  I'll also need to pick up a new bottle for the AL gas.

05 December, 2015

Freddy To-Do List - Updated

I decided to create a to-do list for Freddy, the 1968 Ssaab Sonett II V4 I have.  Earlier in the year I had taken care of the big items, like getting most of the interior installed, adding fog lights, replacing the transmission, rebuilding the suspension etc.  But now I need to focus on some of the smaller details.  Some of these might be 10 minute tasks, others might take hours.  In no particular order, here is my list:

-Build a glovebox door.  Sonett II dashes don't have a door for the little dash cubby hole.  This is a perfect spot to put a soft pouch of basic tools, so I want a door.  I actually started this task today, making a template of cardboard, then transferring to some scrap aluminum sheet I had.  After a few hours of fitting, filing, sanding, fittings some more, I have a door.  After lunch, I then worked on the hinge and the latch.  All of this sounds simple, but like anything inside a Sonett, it means being hunched over to get into and around the dash area.  Tomorrow, I will finish this project by painting the door with a texture paint, to help mimic the textured surface of the stock fiberglass dash.  Then once everything dries, I can mount it.

DONE - Aluminum door, simple push/pull latch mechanism.  

-Paint dash.  The Sonett dash is a black fiberglass piece.  It is discolored in spots, and the original owner Fred Champion, had mounted a bunch of hillclimb decals/stickers all over it.  So there is lots of glue residue that will not clean off.  Well, the glue has cleaned off, but it left the dash discolored.  So I need to paint everything flat black.  It would be nice if the dash was easy to take out, but this is a Sonett, so it is very fiddly.  I've decided to use a long small brush, and do a stipple type treatment using flat paint.  Because of the textile, I don't need to have a smooth finish.

DONE - I used a small brush attached to a rod in order to get down between the dash and windshield.  I laid on several layers, then took a scotch bright pad to smooth it out.  

-Finish interior upholstery.  I still need to install the side pieces in the trunk area, and create a trunk door carpet.  I either need to find some carpet that matches the floor carpet (grey) or just use some black carpet for the trunk door.  Truth be told, you can't actually see the trunk door carpet at all, unless you open it. I also need to get some black vinyl for the A-pillars.

Nearly done.  Got the trunk area finished, had to fab up new backer boards for the trunk side panels.  Last items include a trunk door carpet and replace the kick panels up front.

-Windshield "tint" removal.  There was a 4" section of interior window film on the windshield.  About half of it is missing, so it is ugly.  I'm hoping the hair drier and some blades will make quick work of it.


-Install new springs.  When I built the coilover suspension setup, I used 2.5" ID coilover springs.  For some reason, I had visions of occasionally autocrossing Freddy, and fit some 250# front springs, and 150# rear springs.  The car actually rides pretty good for those spring rates, but I just don't need them.  And would prefer a softer ride to deal with all the shitty local city streets.  As luck would have it, Summit Racing had the exact springs I wanted to use on sale.  150# fronts 10" long, and 100# rears 10" long.  These are still a fair uprate over the stock spring rates, so I'm not making Freddy a limo.  In fact, the springs we used to race on measured out at 120# front and only 78# rear.

DONE.  It rides great now!

-"Fix" clutch release arm and/or slave cylinder. Since installing the new trans, the clutch slave cylinder will go soft after a few days sitting in the garage.  It only needs one pump to firm up, and is fine the rest of the day.  Mr. A thinks the aftermarket slave cylinder is the culprit, since it isn't a Saab original. But it never did this for the 6 months I owned it before installing the new trans with the new release arm mechanism.  So I might need to do some further bleeding or fiddling.

No amount of bleeding fixes it.  I'm stumped.

-Paint sun visors black.  They are currently a dirty light grey.  Luckily, I have some black vinyl paint.


-Fix windshield wiper motor.  I installed a freshly rebuilt wiper motor when I installed the new transmission.  But after getting it installed, I turned the wipers on.  It moved 1/2" then popped the fuse.  So I installed a new fuse, and it popped it the second time.  So I stopped caring, since I likely won't be driving Freddy on stormy days.  But it would be nice to find out why the fuse is popping.

DONE.  The wires at the motor harness were in the wrong position,  So I rewired the harness plug, and it works now.   

-Shorten the little bolts that mount the led turn signals to the chrome accent bar in the grill.  These have a special head that slides inside the piece of chrome trim, sort of like a T-slot bolt.  but the bolt itself is nearly 1.5" long, when in reality I need 1/2"  So if you crawl down on your knees, you see an ugly bit of bolt sticking out.  I'll either cut the bolts short, or make a t-slot bolt out of a shorter bolt.  then paint them black.


-"Play" with fuel level sender unit.  Freddy sports an aluminum gas tank, that uses a non-stock fuel sender unit.  It works, but when the tank is full, the gas gauge read about 5/8 full.  Seems to be a difference in the amount of ohms being sent between the sender unit and the gauge.  I have no idea what the sender unit looks like, but I assume it has some sort of float on an arm that moves up and down with the level in the tank.  Perhaps the arm can be tweeked to allow the float to measure more full, when full.  This is WAY THE HELL DOWN THE LIST because anything involving work in the trunk area of a Sonett II is a massive pain the ass. You either start by removing both seats, then hunch over the bulkhead and essentially work backwards on everything.  Or you crawl through the tiny luggage door, and cuss an almighty torrent about baby jesus.  Just thinking about doing this, makes me not want to do it at all.

I cannot convince myself to give two shits about this issue.  Crawling in the back of this car is not high on my list of things I want to do.

The last item is a wish list item.  I'm thinking of splurging on a wideband sensor/gauge to help tune Freddy.  These items have gotten way cheaper, and way easier to install.  In fact, I don't really to install it, as it can be a temporary install just for the initial tuning.  This would involve installing a O2 sensor bung in the exhaust, and wiring the wideband gauge.  Likely just a keyed power source and a ground.  And then find a temp spot for a small 2-1/8" gauage.  I'm thinking of using the Innovative MTX-L 3844 setup.  Only $166 on amazon prime, and comes with a nice long 10' cable.  So the O2 sensor could be back in the tailpipe piece, so I don't have to drop the entire exhaust to weld in the bung.  This might be a nice Christmas bonus splurge.

Haven't pulled the trigger on this yet, and not sure I'm going to.  I might instead visit the local dyno, and spend an hour tuning it.  I can get a few runs in, and change jets if need be.  Dyno time actually costs less than the wideband setup.

Okay, there is the list.  I'm sure there will be more items that pop up, but this should keep me busy all winter.  I'm really enjoying having Freddy.  We took him down to Midtown Local for breakfast this morning, and he is really getting civilized.  I, on the other hand, always have to get used to driving a manual trans equipped car, and one with a carburetor that is a bit cold blooded.  Those first few blocks always crack me up.      

20 September, 2015

Classic Tractor Fever

Sent from my iPhone


Sent from my iPhone

Durham Car Show

Sent from my iPhone