Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fans of All Types

There are very few times in my life that I’ve really hoped to see a large dead mouse but that was exactly what I was hoping for as I pulled the heater box from the TR6 on Saturday. I didn’t want to do it. In fact I ignored it as long as possible. It wasn’t until Friday evening when I pulled on the heater fan and saw that all the dash lights dimmed and there was no fan noise that I really started to pay attention to the problem.

I have known for a long time that there was a problem with the heater but as the car is going to have a fairly relaxed retirement, weather wise, and there was a grocery list of other things wrong with the car, the heater has been sitting pretty far up the pyramid on Mazlow’s (TR6) Hierarchy of Needs. With the dash out and the new dash panel six weeks down the road now was the time.

It was surprisingly easy to pull the heater box. I’ve pulled a few in my time. They are never fun and you always end up pulling more dash off than you intended. But that wasn’t the case here. Three bolts, one nut, two hoses and the whole thing popped out.

When I opened I was disappointed to see no dead mouse pinning the fan form turning. I pop the fan out and bench tested it and it didn’t spin the whole thing just heated up. If I helped it get started with my hand it would turn slowly. So with little to lose I took the motor apart.

Spinning fans make me happy

There are two brass bearings at each end and one was stuck on the shaft. I freed it and put the little motor back together and it worked again. It was still heating up a bit and sometimes would stick so I think I’m going to take it apart again and try some lithium grease on the shaft. Failing that I see that some cat in Seattle has a shelf full of them on EBay for about $120 each*.

With the heater box out of the car it was a little less mobile than it was previously. Although a leaky clutch master cylinder made it pretty immobile before this – at least it hobbled the car’s range. That being the case I might just throw it up jack stands this week and tackle resealing the rear diff cover with “the good stuff”.

Before I am able to get to that I have to finish the little project I started. Ever so gingerly I have started to install the interior I bought from Bob Danielson more than a year ago. I’ve started with the rear wheel arches. Last night I finished the passenger side and I’ve just started on the driver’s side. I’m using contact cement to install the foam underlay and to adhere the vinyl to the foam. So far (and it seems to be working) I adhere the foam and clamp it with some tape until the contact cement dries. Then I glue the bottom corner of the vinyl to the foam, let that dry. After that I glued the rest as I then had something to pull against. I like the way it is turning out but it is slow work.

Sunday Krista and I cleaned the garage out as she’s has been like a terrier about getting the Rav back in the garage before it gets too cold. Out of good excuses and down to irrationally throwing myself around, I had to let her have her way. I’m not happy about it but what can I do? – the damage has been done – this utilitarian-vehicles-belongs-in-the-garage-thing is a product of bad parenting – it’s too late. Take this as an important lesson to all the fathers of daughters out there: don’t let this happen to their future husbands. Make those kids park outside.

Anyway, part of this abomination of car justice was that I had to move the TR6 out on the driveway to clean in the garage. It was such a beautiful day and boy did the car look nice out in the sun. Before Krista joined me in the clean I had to sneak out and give it a quick wash to get all the dust and finger prints off.

Over the course of an hour I had several people stop and ogle the little car. A couple neighbors stopped and chatted. Of course there I am standing there like a grinning fool, any time someone said something nice about it, all I could say was “Thanks! It’s my dad’s car!” I questioned myself later on why I kept saying that but thought it best to not dive too deep into it.

This long weekend we’re home for most of it and I’ll have some time to work on the car. Hopefully my latest order from TRF will come this week but either way there’s lots to do.

Stay tuned…

* It makes me a little sad to think that each one of these fans might represent a car no longer on the road.

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