Home Restoration, Log 15

Restoration, Log 15

Been a while since the last update. Between our trip to NYC, camping, and Colleen getting sick, I haven’t had much time to post. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had time to work on the car 🙂

After finishing all the maintenance on the engine, I took a few quick road tests. It runs so happily now – smooth revs (even all the way to redline, when I chose to), quick acceleration, no hesitation or stumbling. It’s like a whole new car! The only issue i noticed was that at extremely high revs, the battery light would start flickering. Since it only happens at very high RPM, it must be a slipping belt. But I can’t tension it any further? I’m using the correct belt for the new alternator, but it must have stretched or something. It’s on the list…

I did eventually find the leak in the A/C system – turned out it was a loose connection at the accumulator in the passenger wheel well. Of course, it was the worst possible connection to tighten down properly. That’s most likely why it was loose in the first place. I was able to get pretty fair access to it through the fuel tank/pump maintenance panel in the spare wheel well and tighten it down. Then a quick leak test, vacuum and charge and the A/C is cold and happy.

I also installed the exterior caps over the seatbelt anchor bolts where they come through the body tub – gives a much cleaner look under the side sills. And new lug nuts all around – also much better looking.

New ground cables are installed too. They are a two-piece design that grounds the battery to the transmission before the primary frame ground. The improved connection combined with the incredibly high quality of the new cables (especially in contrast to the original one) has made an amazing difference in the electrical system. The starter spins amazingly quickly, and the engine catches almost immediately. It starts almost as fast as my Acura now. Also, the voltage is higher and the RPM gauge has stopped acting up when there’s a lot of electrical load. 30 bucks well spent!

Also finally completed my interior LED conversion. LEDs in the center console, HVAC panel, dashboard, external side markers and license plate lamps. The difference is spectacular – everything is bright and well lit, properly colored, and the drastically decreased power draw is a huge plus.

Another project this past weekend was to construct a new seat back for the driver’s seat. The old one was broken and warped – it would fall off every time I sat down. I removed the leather outer skin, drilled out the rivets and made a template from the old hardboard. Then, with Bo’s help, we cut out the new template. I riveted the hardware back on and re-upholstered the back with the original leather skin after cleaning it. The result is stellar! It looks exactly like factory new and holds perfectly.

The final project of note is my plan to integrate a garage door opener into the center console. I bought a small keychain sized opener, a project box, a DC jack and plug and a small pushbutton switch. I installed the circuitry from the opener into the project box and integrated the DC jack into the outside. Then, I put a hole in one of the dummy switches and installed the pushbutton, wired to the DC plug. This will allow me to route the cables easily and cleanly. The last thing remaining is for the DC jack to be soldered to the circuitry on the opener. Ryan is going to handle that part for me, since surface mount soldering is far outside my skill.

And today, I reinstalled the lower engine cover catch so the release cable will work (and any old passer-by can’t just open my engine cover, LOL) as well as installing the ‘Handling by Lotus’ badge Clint gave me. And, a good exterior cleaning. Note to self: buy more foaming glass cleaner.

pictures of all this fun are in the gallery! Particularly dramatic are the led install pictures – the before and after shots are amazing.

More soon…

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