March was a short month. Or it passed quickly. Or I was too busy with actual paying work.
Whatever the case is, there was limited progress throughout the month with a flurry of major activity at the end.
TW200- The bike was reassembled, plastics were painted, and the motor was fired for the first time. I cut the side stand switch out of the wiring harness because I think such a switch is stupid. Other than that, the wiring was very simple. I like the idea of working on a complete bike and not having to piece together 50 year old relics….
Upon first firing I noticed two major oil leaks both due to me not putting in a proper seal. These were quick and easy fixes. The motor still leaks a little from the side cover which I assume is a gasket sealing issue. I’ve not checked it.
It does run and drive though. I need to get a proper riding area to seat the new piston rings and cylinder. I’ll also need to put a proper dinosaur based oil in (has a synthetic now, as that was what I had on hand. All accounts say don’t break a motor in with synthetic. Who knows what the scientific truth is to this though as oil is as much witchcraft as it is science. )
The motor starts easily and runs well. The porting job is noticeable at higher RPMs, leading me to think that the intake port was widened too much. Low end throttle response is reliable but sluggish. At 5-6k RPMs, the motor seems very happy.
All lights are LEDs. The taillight was built from flexible LED strips and wired with a variable resistor so that the brake light function works as it would for an incandescent bulb.
Pinto- I still have it.
DT360- No progress
BW350- No Progress
KLX400- Heading off to Market
Bronco- This is where the flurry of work comes in. The work has been cut out- the body needs a lot of attention and the frame needs the usual repairs: bushings and a good de-rusting.
I’ve debated whether or not to use the current drive train (289/302 and a C4) that was swapped in to the bronco at some point. It is all there and runs and drives, but a 2013 Modular 5.0 v8 with fuel injection sure sounds nice for reliability and drivability. I’m strongly in favor of the latter, but costs add up-
Engine and Auto trans from a 2013 F150 – 4g
Transfer case adapter- 1g
Engine control pack- 1g
Trans controller- 1g
So that’s $7,000 American pesos. I’ve not yet sold the 302 and C4 (it’s on the market) but it would need a rebuild at the least, and some go fast parts while we’re in there.
Drive train aside, the frame is the foundation and has been the focus in the last week. It should be under a coat or two of nice epoxy paint by the end of today.
It’s clear the rubber parts (body mounts, bushings) have not been off of this car since 1968, and the vehicle lived a very hard life somewhere in a land of red dirt because it keeps mysteriously pouring out of the frame rails. An impact gun was able to get most of the job done, though the cutting wheel was taken to3 body mounts (A reciprocating saw to all the other body mounts because the bolt rusts to the collar. Terrible design) and 3 leaf spring hanger bolts.
The frame saw a lot of attention from an assortment of wire wheels, flap discs, grinding wheels, and about 120lbs of abrasive blasting media. It received a phosphoric acid bath last night and will get a light sanding today followed by a thorough sponge bath of acetone. You’ll see the results next month.
Next steps are the media blast the body and replace the worst of the panels. I did spend a good but of time trying to de-bondo the body work. If there's anything that's slightly encouraging, it's the clear realization that the body work was done by an idiot and that the 1/2" slabs of bondo are sheer incompetence and not a cheap cover up for rust. There's solid metal under there...
Chassis components are to be ordered today and include suspension components that will raise the vehicle 2.5 inches as well as appropriate bushings, all graphite-impregnated polyurethane.
The axles and radius arms need a good shining up as well. Once that’s complete, they’ll get a shot of Rust Bullet as well. Realistically the frame will be a rolling chassis again near the end of May.
I’ll be traveling for work from April 14-May21st , so the April and may updates will be a bit lean.
There is some conjecture in my own head about moving motor operations in to a warehouse in Houston and living there. It sounds possibly illegal, ill advised, and very abnormal, so there’s a high likelihood of this happening.
Til next time...