Home Restoration, Log 19

Restoration, Log 19

A quick post-holiday update. Because of the hectic holiday schedule, I haven’t done a whole ton of work on the car lately. Besides, it’s been too nice here to have her all ripped apart! 66 degrees, every day, for all of January so far? That’s driving weather.

But, of course I can’t resist tackling little things here and there… so, I installed all my new solid state electronics from Dave McKeen. I got an RPM relay, fan fail detector, and dome light timer. The RPM relay is cool because he takes the original relay, guts it, and installs his custom designed circuitry inside the OEM case. So now I have a more reliable fuel system that primes every time at key-on, and I should never be stranded with a failed or overheated relay.

The fan fail detector replaces the 3-blade jumper wire that was installed immediately after the car hit the streets in ’81. The original detector was meant to flash a light on the dashboard if a cooling fan went out, but in practice the detector was extremely failure prone itself and would actually cause the fans to die – with no indication on the dashboard. Great. This updated design from Dave provides individually fused links to each of the two fans, and restores/improves on the originally designed factory functionality.

Then, the dome light timer. The original wiring had a simple resistor installed that would time the dome lights and dim them to off after the doors were closed. But this design doesn’t work with LID bulbs, which i have upgraded the dome lights to. The temporary workaround was to remove the resistor completely, But Dave’s timer is a real solution. Besides restoring the factory functionality of dimming the dome lights after the doors are closed, his design provides a fully programmable delay time as well as battery saver (lights off after 10 minutes) and parade (all courtesy lights flashing – cool while driving with the doors up in a parade!) modes.

I also finally fixed the flickering lights behind the A/C panel. Turns out when I installed the sockets into the new radio mounting panel, I pushed them too far out. This was causing the bulbs to stick out and push on the A/C faceplate, and the pressure on the sockets was causing intermittent connection to the bulbs. Pulling the whole center console again (ugh) and wrapping each socket in a bit of electrical tape before reinstalling it limited how far it could push through and completely solved the flickering issue. An added benefit of this repair is that the HVAC faceplate now lines up better and sits flush.

So those were my planned upgrades over the last few weeks. I also had an unplanned repair when a friend who shall remain nameless flopped into the passenger seat too hard and accidentally broke the armrest extension clean off the rear interior quarter panel. Fortunately I was able to fix it up better than new with a few well placed rivets, and the need to pull that panel off finally gave me a chance to install my last new speaker.

Last weekend I also spent a day with Clint working on #1768. He designed some new Heim-jointed supports for the front lower control arms with the intent of improving handing. So, we spent Saturday in the shop fabricating the braces and getting them welded to the frame. The design still needs some tweaking but has a lot of promise. And as an added bonus, while i was there he removed the outer throttle spool return spring from my throttle body – which has improved throttle response about a million times, and it’s now much easier to accelerate and maintain highway speeds. Best free mod i’ve done yet!

As always, pictures are in the gallery.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.