Monday, April 12, 2010

Shoes and Drums

I came up to Red Deer Thursday night backed by a spring storm. I beat the worst of it. Shortly after I made it to Red Deer they closed Highway 2. By eight PM there were more than seventy cars in accidents, stranded or a combination there of.

When I reached the acreage the shop doors had been blown open by the storm. I ran to shut them but in my haste I neglected the wind and my glasses were blown from my face, hit a pole and broke into two pieces. I spent the next 40 minutes crawling around with my mom to find the missing lens to no avail.

I was now blind. Significantly near-sighted and having astigmatism I was quite useless. I taped my glasses back together and replaced the missing lens with a piece of paper I blacked out with a marker pen. This rig worked well enough to watch television but it was good for little else.

Friday morning I was able to get a hold of my optometrist’s office. My last prescription was from 2003 so the receptionist was resistant to giving me a sample pair of contact lenses as the prescription was quite out dated. I countered with the fact that was going to be heading back to Calgary and the prescription I was using up until yesterday would be better than squinting and honking. My sister brought home the contact lenses on her lunch break.

By twelve-thirty I was back to working on the car. If I had to pick a theme for the weekend it would be “dust in my eye”. Without the protective properties of my glasses I wasn’t able to keep anything out of my eyes. My safety glasses are tinted and are annoying to use indoors.

Beyond the time-consuming experience related of the lesser of my two handicaps, I was slow to want to start on theTR6 this weekend. I really liked how the car looked with the front tires on the ground and most of the right-side back together. I had to push myself to get to work pulling the fenders off the driver’s side. It seemed like going back into treacherous and well-travelled ground.

I started with the rear fender for no reason as other than the trunk was open and most of the bolts heads were exposed. The good thing about working on this side of the car is that it’s faster as I now know how everything comes apart. The bad thing is that it’s a little bit boring as I’ve done it already.

Like any long-term relationship there are unmemorable moments that are more mindless and laborious than anything else. I am in one of those moments. If I could compare fixing this car to shampooing my hair I would be at the “Repeat” stage.

By late Friday afternoon I had both fenders off and by Friday evening I had the front suspension removed. Inspection of both fenders proved I was right in saying they were in good shape. The front and rear wheel wells looked remarkably similar to the other side – similar but better.

I have yet to cut out the rocker but inspecting it from the outside it looks like I won’t have weld in a filler piece as I did on the other side.

As I worked I took full advantage of my new workbench and already have it quite cluttered. I find it hard to imagine how I worked without it. It’s especially nice to have the vice in the shop now as it came in handy to pop bushings out of the front control arms.

Saturday I cleaned the front suspension parts with both the drill/wire wheel and the bench grinder /wire wheel setup. I can’t express enough how handy a sandblast cabinet would be but I slug on with my various wire heads.

I also was careful enough to again use the notorious grinder and wire head to remove the undercoating from the front inter wheel well. All I have left are the areas that have been historically too treacherous to tread with the grinder.

I painted most of the lower and upper control arm parts Saturday afternoon. Next weekend I will be able to reassemble most of those parts.

After spending most of Saturday on the front left suspension and wheel well I got really bored of working on something that I had been through in such detail weeks earlier. The process felt quite repetitive so I decided to break my day up with cleaning the areas of the chassis that had I had yet to paint with POR15.

Again, about an ice cream pail load of dirt fell off this car. I got most of it in my eyes. I removed the front-to-back brake line and both the fuel line and the fuel return line.

I felt good with what I had got done and rewarded myself by watching the final day of The Masters with Brother Neal and his family back in Calgary. I drove the Lebaron up to expose it to a bigger market just to get a call from someone back in Red Deer who is really interested. Looks like I’m taking it back down. Selling cars is sooo much fun.

Today (Monday) my rear drums and my rear fender mounting kits where on the front step when I went to walk the mutt – Thank you Drakes. If the Lebaron sells there is a Drakes order that needs to go in next week. That order will include all the six u-joints, new mounting hardware for the diff and other such things. Also I need to get the beefed up hubs from Good Parts.

Also my birthday present from Krista came in today. She ordered me a pair of Piloti driving shoes. I picked them up today at a custom tuner in the south of Calgary. It looked to be a place to go and get a turbo installed in a car that has no business having a turbo. As I’ve mentioned before I have one leg and use a prosthetic leg (below the knee) being that I can’t tip my foot to push in a clutch standard shifts are sometimes a bit tricky. I figured the shoes would give me a bit of an advantage. Until I drove the Red KC TR6 it wasn’t clear that I would even be able to drive these cars.

In the other news, the job huts continues and I’m getting to the point that I might look into supersized miniskirts and standing out on the corner down the block. Although I’m not sure I want to meet crowd that is interested in large men with one leg.

Stay tuned…

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