Whack! Windshield Repair

Broken windshields are not fun. Left unrepaired, chips easily, turn in to cracks, which requires windshield replacement. Windshields for older cars are becoming harder to find. Modern windshields are glued in place, requiring professional installation.

Windshield chips can often be easily repaired at glass shops. Some insurance companies will cover 100% of the repair. Insurance companies consider a windshield chip repair as a claim and may use this as a justification to increase your rates, just ask me how I know this.

Recently I tried my luck at do-it-yourself windshield repair. The results were very good. I had 7 chips in my Saab windshield and two on my Subaru. Having these fixed at a glass shop would have been expensive. I tried a $10.45 “Rain-X” windshield repair kit from Amazon.

The kit came with a surprisingly high-quality suction cup, mounted resin injection tool, very clear instructions, a bottle of repair resin and a good supply of materials to make the repairs.

The tool mounts to the glass with four suction cups, and the directions were very clear and helpful. The resin is activated with sunlight. I highly recommend doing this repair on a dry, sunny day. The repair cannot be done in direct sunlight.

The instructions recommend the actual repair be made in the shade, then placed in direct sunlight to cure. The repair only needs about ten minutes of sunlight to cure. I found doing the actual repair in the garage, then moving the vehicle in to the direct sunlight worked well. I did my repairs in the afternoon and was able to move the car to directly face the sunlight.

So, how did it work? Surprisingly well. The repairs were at least as good as professional repairs I have had done. Some of the chips virtually disappeared. It was very hard to see them after the repair. Some of the larger chip repairs were still visible, but much less noticeable.

A Franklin Automobile Enthusiasts

Do you remember the TV series Mash? 

Did you know those helicopters that flew in wounded soldiers were Bell 47s units….and the engines they used were Franklin engines

The Franklin O-335 air-cooled aircraft engines were six-cylinder, horizontally-opposed displacing 335 cu in with a power output of around 225HP. 

When the Franklin auto company went bankrupt in 1933, two of Franklin’s employees purchased the rights to the engine and continued to use the name Franklin. The engines were used in trucks and as stationary units, until WWll began and then went into production for use in over 15 U.S aircraft and helicopters. 

Republic Aviation Inc. purchased the Franklin engine rights in 1945 and produced the Franklin engines for light amphibious aircraft. This company was short-lived with the war ending that year. 

In 1947, the Tucker Car Corporation purchased the engine rights, where the 50 cars that Tucker produced, were powered by Franklin engines. The home of the Tucker Car Club is now at the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA. Tucker reworked the engine from air-cooled to water-cooled and many examples can be seen on the museum floor today. 

In 1961, the Tucker family sold the engine rights to a company called Aero Industries and from there to the “Government of Poland” in 1975. The Polish engine manufacturer is today called “Franklin Aircraft Engines” and are manufactured in Grudziądz city in Poland. 

Driveshaft Fail – Don’t Ignore the Warning Signs

Absent any questions this month, I will share a story about how costly it can be to ignore warning signs and delay needed maintenance

0819 broken driveshaft

A friend of mine has a towing and recovery business. He recently picked up a Subaru from out of state after it broke down on the interstate. The owner told him to keep the car. Why did the Subaru break down? The center drive shaft bearing failed, and the driveshaft came undone from the carrier bearing, flung around, came out of the transmission, hit the pavement, and punctured the floor. The drive shaft punched through the floor and up between the front seats, at highway speed. 

Fortunately, nobody was injured. This problem most likely made considerable noise for some time before it catastrophically failed. This could have been a $100 repair, taking less than a half hour to fix. Someone decided to ignore the warning signs, and ended up walking away from the car. 

I considered buying the vehicle and repairing it. I probably would have, but looking at the car it was very clear the car had never had any maintenance. I don’t think it was ever washed or vacuumed out. 

I can not understand how anyone can invest thousands of dollars in a vehicle and not maintain their investment. 

Saab 900

Absent any questions this month, I will briefly discuss some cars in my shop this month. Both of my sons now have cars. I wanted their first cars to be something durable, safe and inexpensive. Somehow, each of them ended up with a Saab 900 four door. 

When I learned how to drive, people maintained their own cars. Times have changed. Today, people don’t work on cars; they either take it to someone to have it repaired, or they replace it with another car needing less work. 

My older son has a strong interest in cars, and has a nice 900 Turbo. It needed some work when we got it, and while fixing it he was able to learn some basics on how things work and how to maintain a car. My younger son was just looking for basic transportation, and he found it with a base model 900 with an automatic transmission. This car needed a lot of work, and he and I have been working on it for the past year or so. This car was not really worth saving, but was almost too good to scrap. 

These projects are teaching basic auto mechanic skills, like brakes, suspension, electrical and exhaust and also more advanced body work skills with rust and dent repair and painting. They will not only learn skills to maintain a car, but also will have some personal investment in their cars. 

These projects also provide an opportunity to spend time with them. Cars come and go, but quality memories last a lifetime. 

The 12,806 Mile Quest for Old Cars by a couple of VAEers….

Gary Olney and Vin Cassidy have “the old car syndrome” that most of us have. Our level might be called a “melody”, theirs might be called a “fever level”….just an opinion, mind you. 

Here is an attempt to track their travels that took place in about a period of one month. Please excuse us if this sounds like envy. 

#1…Gary leaves his home in Derby Line the first part of March to meet Vin in Rowley, Massachusetts (2). They are heading out early because a snow storm is heading in and they need to be in New Jersey (3) to meet Fred Hock and check out all his Mercers. 

Then off to Mitch Gross’s garage in New York (4). Mitch is in a deadline race to finish his White steam car and get it on a ship bound for China. The steam car will be the first to do the 9300 mile Peking to Paris race, that will be taking place this June to August. You can watch the race progress on the internet. 

Then, off to Richmond, Virginia (5) and Reggie Nash’s Nash collection. The truck/tractor museum in Southern Virginia was next. A needed break for sleep happened in Kingsland, Georgia (6) then on to Amelia Island in Florida (7) and their big annual auction. A couple of $800,000 old cars sold and a couple of others for only one million and oh, did we say the two VAEers are pulling a trailer? The trailer was handy when someone asked if they could haul a 1906 Pope Toledo back to New Jersey. So the two, head back to New Jersey (3) for the delivery and back to Rowley (2). 

In Rowley (2), they load the trailer up for the Chickasha show and head for a stop in Buffalo, New York (8) and Pittsburgh, PA. (9) for a ‘few car-parts purchases” of the show. Next, a sleep-over in Perrysburg, OH (10) and then on to St. Roberts, MO (11) and Edmond, OK (12) for a few more purchases. And….finally their destination, Chickasha, Oklahoma for the Annual Spring pre-war show and parts sale (13) Sadly, next year is the last Chickasha Swap Meet. A spring shackle breaks and the trailer is stopped in its tracks. Along comes a gent by the name of Ryan Ersland from the swap meet. A welder is produced, the repairs are made and they are on the way again. Ryan would not accept proper payment for his work because “he will not take advantage of someone broken down”. Vin and Gary both agree there are really good people everywhere in this world. 

There were a few more stops over the next three days before arriving back in Rowley , Mass. (2). The end of their east-coast motoring….but there is still a little more….they were not done yet! 

They got on an airplane and headed for another car show and swap meet in Bakersfield, California (14). There was also a ‘luxury break’ in Hermosa Beach (15) to view the pacific and remove some road-dust. They then went home to their respective homes,……and they were done! All 12,806 miles contained antique cars and parts that were picked up and delivered all over the United States that only Vin and Gary can keep track of. Can you imagine the stories that can be published from these adventure; maybe if we had 100 more pages! 

Timing Is Everything!

A co-worker of mine just had an expensive experience with her Volkswagen. 

vw 5v timing

The car has the two liter twin cam engine, with a timing belt. The car had 85,000 miles on it, and had the original belt. This engine has five valves per cylinder, and it is an interference engine, meaning the valves will hit the pistons if the camshafts turn out of sync with the crankshaft. 

Unfortunately, the timing belt broke. When the belt broke, the valves hit the pistons, bending the valves. What should have been a several hundred dollar preventative maintenance repair, just became minimally a $1,200 repair. Minimally, the head needs to be rebuilt with new valves, if it can be saved. The head may well have to be replaced. The pistons could be damaged as well. 

If your car has a timing belt, it is not worth delaying the timing belt replacement, especially if it has an interference engine. A proper repair may involve replacing the water pump, camshaft seals and the front crankshaft seal. 

A Positively Good Idea

Recently I attended a SCCV driving event. Part of their pre-event inspection is verification of a cover for the hot battery terminal. I checked my car a few days before, and realized the positive battery terminal was not covered. I spent a minute thinking of all the possible ways the positive terminal could be accidentally shorted to ground. If nothing else, when working on the car, a wrench or other tool could easily be accidentally dropped, causing a direct short. 

The positive terminal is just a few inches from the aluminum A/C lines, the inner fender, and numerous bare nuts and bolts. I can understand the concern, the battery could easily be accidentally shorted out. 

I went to the local auto parts store and bought a pair of universal battery terminal covers. I had to cut it a little to make it fit my car. Just for good measure, I used a red zip tie to hold it in place. 

I passed the safety check with no issues, they checked to ensure the battery was securely held down, that the hot terminal is covered, the front end was tight, and there was nothing loose on the body of the car. 

I have also decided that the hot terminal of all my cars will be covered, as an extra safety measure. The $5 spent for terminal covers is cheap insurance and piece of mind. These covers can easily and quickly be removed for display on show cars. 

My rear disc brakes with the emergency drum brake

disc brakes with emergency brake
An example of a drum emergency brake with regular disc brakes. 

This was the good news! Something strange happened to me last week. I loaded the garbage and the recycling into the minivan to do the Saturday trip to the transfer station, and the right rear wheel locked up when I backed up. As this happened, the rear axle made unpleasant noises. I thought the parking brake was seized, and was relieved when the wheel moved ok going forward. 

On the way home, the right rear wheel locked up while driving forward, making horrific noises. Again, I thought the noise was originating from the rear axle. I definitely heard the differential banging against the frame cross member it is mounted on. I drove up my driveway, with the wheel seized. I googled the problem, and found many stories of the rear differential failing, causing a rear wheel to lock up. Fortunately, the part is available rebuilt, but they are expensive. 

I planned on removing the differential to verify it was in fact bad before I purchased a used or rebuilt unit. I thought I should check the right rear hub first to rule out any problem there. Fortunately, I found the problem. This vehicle has four wheel disc brakes, with the parking brake on the rear. The parking brake has conventional brake shoes on a drum in the center of a “hat” type rotor. Somehow, something came apart with the parking brake assembly, and the whole assembly broke apart and jammed against the rotor. I have to replace the backing plate, caliper mount, rotor and the whole parking brake assembly. It is bad, but infinitely better than a bad differential. I have never seen anything like this before. 


A few more points about BEARINGS 

Pictured below, and the following is an article from the December, 1960, “Science and Mechanics” magazine. 

Bearing Lubricates Itself 

wheel bearings

Designed to replace ball bearings and have several times their life expectancy, this new Hy-Film bearing never requires relubrication. It utilizes the phenomenon of hydrodynamic oil film. The diagram at left: (1) Oil is drawn from reservoir through bearing window; (2) rota-tion of inner tace under load generates hydrodynamic oil film, supporting race without metal contact; (3) oil forced to bearing ends by film pressure lubricates thrust washer and (4) oil is picked up by slinger and returned to retaining cup, where it is reabsorbed by Permawick in oil return hole. Tann Bearing Company of Detroit, Michigan, designed and developed the bearing. 

What is hydrostatic and hydrodynamic bearing? Hydrostatic bearings are externally pressurized fluid bearings, where the fluid is usually oil, water or air, and the pressurization is done by a pump. Hydrodynamic bearings rely on the high speed of the journal (the part of the shaft resting on the fluid) to pressurize the fluid in a wedge between the faces. 

What are the types of bearings? There are many types of bearings, each used for different purposes. These include ball bearings, roller bearings, ball thrust bearings, roller thrust bearings and tapered roller thrust bearings. 


?????????????????????????????????????????????????????
I am running out of ideas on what to write about in this column. If you have any ideas, or any questions you want me to answer, please let me know. 

Dave’s Garage…email: dasander@aol.com 

How do I know I am getting a good upholstery job?

From CostHelper.com….. 

How much does it cost to reupholster a car interior? 

For car owners interested in a complete makeover, car owners can buy vehicle reupholstering kits for about $800, plus an additional $750 for a professional to install, Zalewski says. A custom upholstery for an entire car can cost about $2,500. There are also options for carpet repair. 

How much does it cost to reupholster seats? 

car seat frame

Having the car seats professionally reupholstered (not just adding slip covers, but completely replacing the old material with a chosen fabric, adding foam or batting where needed, and repairing springs if needed) typically costs $200-$750 per seat, or about $500-$2,000 for two bucket seats and a back bench seat. 

From Paulina at Rayco Upholstery… 

Plan ahead. Finding an upholstery shop early on, in the process, will ensure you get a better cost estimation, along with an experienced interior craftsman, who can provide pointers on making sure body fabrication or paint work will match up with the interior work. 

Use Quality Materials. Our #1 advice – DO NOT think you can save money on the materials that you bring to the shop on your own. More often than not, it will end up costing you more than you thought. Nobody will know better, on what kind of covering materials your car will need to make it look and work best, than the upholstery experts at the shop. If you decide to go with your own materials and something goes wrong, you’re on your own. 

From Ron at Goodguys Upholstery.. 

SHOPPING FOR A SHOP… Finding the right shop to do your interior work is important. “Experience is king,” Ron told us. “Look at the shop. Is it clean and organized with well-kept machinery? Also check out some of their previous work but pay close attention to the details and the final pieces that really stand out and make a difference. Get your agreement in writing. A firm price might not be possible but a “firm range” is always possible. 

If you belong to a car club and know some members who have had their cars worked on, they can be your best bet to get the initial information that you need. If there is someone in the club familiar with the process, and you are a beginner, then ask if he would go along with you. 

Choosing the material can be fun and a bit overwhelming. After looking through the 10th sample book your eyes might glaze over. You might get as much information as you can from the shop, then go home and study a bit. If you are reupholstering in leather, many times, there are sales where you can buy the three or four hides that you need for your project. Ask the shop for the hide dealer if you want to ask more questions. 

If it is cloth you are using, and you want to use the same as what came original to your car, then find the very best sample from your vehicle. 

Remember to ask for the left-overs. You have already paid for them. They can be valuable years later in making small repairs. 

What to watch for while your car is being worked on….Look for straight seams, and smooth lines on cushions, not puffy/uneven work. Don’t utilize an upholsterer who smokes unless you like the smell of smoke in your car….forever. 

Take photos of the pre-upholstery. It can help the upholsterer immensely while sending the message that you are a ‘detail person’. If you plan to do some of the dismantling, it is important the upholsterer sees your car beforehand, even if that means an extra trailer trip to his shop. Save all material that you take from your car so the shop has examples of stitch types and stich designs. 

And lastly……The shop has your car as collateral and will also most likely ask for an advance. All OK. But, be sure you have a fairly good sized “hold back”. It is surprising the misunderstandings that can happen during a project like this. 

One Thing Leads to…

With no questions to answer this month, I thought I would share an interesting story. 

Have you ever been putting off a big job, expecting it to be difficult, only to be pleasantly surprised at how simple it is? I have had this happen to me. I have also had what should be very simple job turn out to be a nightmare. I recently had what should have been a simple job turn out to be a much bigger job. 

In August I lost the clutch in one of my Saab 900s. This car was from Southern California. It has never seen salt, and rarely saw rain. It is a fun car to work on. Nothing is rusted or frozen. 

saab 900s clutch

Now, on a Saab 900 the engine is bolted on top of the transmission, and the whole assembly is mounted backwards in the car. The clutch is on the back of the engine, which is up front by the radiator. I have done a complete clutch job in about an hour. It is a relatively quick and simple job. 

I realized the problem with the Saab clutch was the master cylinder. I ordered a new one and attempted to install it. It is a traditional master cylinder attached to the firewall with two studs. I was just finishing the installation when one of the studs broke off. I was just tightening the nuts on the studs when the wrench came loose. I had just begun to snug the nut, I hadn’t even begun to apply much tightening force. I removed the part to find that the ear, the stud was threaded into, actually broke off. It was a defective casting. Ok. No big deal. I obtained a replacement and installed it. 

When I drove the car to work the next day I noticed the cruise control no longer worked. Somehow while working under the dash I broke the cruise control. On the way hone, I lost the clutch again. A quick inspection revealed the hydraulic hose between the master and the slave burst. Ok, not a big deal. I replaced the hose. As I was bleeding the clutch, the slave cylinder blew. To replace the slave cylinder the entire clutch assembly needs to be removed. When I removed the clutch assembly, I noticed the rear main seal on the engine, and the pilot shaft seal on the transmission were leaking, the clutch had oil on it, and the pilot bearing was seized. I ordered a complete clutch kit, and new seals. I resurfaced the flywheel while it was apart, and installed the new seals and the new pilot bushing. 

I had a bear of a time installing the new clutch, it just did not fit. I couldn’t align the pressure plate quite right to install the bolts, and the pilot shaft just would not fit in the clutch disk. After wrestling with it for over two hours, and cutting my hands several times, I realized I had the wrong parts. They were boxed wrong. I had ordered the right parts, but the parts supplier gave me the wrong parts. After a conversation with the parts supplier I received the correct parts, and again attempted to install the clutch. I had it almost installed, when I realized one of the dowel pins fell out of the flywheel. I had to take the assembly apart to get the pin out of the bell housing. After reassembly I was installing the slave cylinder bolts when one of them stripped. I could not understand how it stripped, as I never snugged the bolt. Again, the whole assembly had to come apart to fix the stripped threads. I realized someone had installed the wrong bolts at some point, these bolts were too short, and one was cross threaded. 

The project is almost done. Hopefully I just have to bleed the clutch and finish putting it back together. Should be done this weekend, almost four months later…