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1951 Pontiac Chieftain - Fuel gauge

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5 hours ago, PhilA said:


Freed up the leading shoe and exercised the pistons a little. Needs copper grease. Lower adjuster isn't seized, surprisingly.



there's something oddly satisfying about that GIF :) 

also I think its the first time iv actually seen drum brakes "working" as in to see them operating but without the drum on so you can see the shoes moving

its very interesting to see, even tho I did know how they worked beforehand etc

is that how much they move max or are only just partly pressing the brake pedal?

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No, that's just very gingerly on the pedal.

Stamping on the pedal would just pop the piston(s) out of the bore.

They hardly move when they're correctly adjusted, they lift off the inside of the drum just a fraction of an inch off pedal. That's significantly more movement than normal.



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I have a love-hate relationship with drums. I can appreciate their simplicity and self-servoing effect, but corrosion seems to be the order of the day when dealing with ones that have sat for any amount of time and I also hate dealing with adjusters(manuals are a pain, autos like to seize).

I was talking to a friend the other day and he got to reminiscing about his 57 Bel Air that was "warmed up" a bit. Way back in the 60s, he and his wife were on their way back to Chicago from up in Wisconsin. She drove much of the way back, and he took over close to home. On taking over, he found that he had no brakes at all. His wife reported that they'd been feeling "funny" for a while. Upon getting home(safely, amazingly enough) he found that a snapped leaf in one of the rear springs had grabbed the e-brake cable and was causing the shoe on one side to drag. It finally heated up enough that on coming to a complete stop for them to switch drivers, one of the cylinders had blown out, which of course gave them no brakes at all(single circuit system). At some point, the drum had become so hot that it peeled the red paint off the steel wheel and turned the metal underneath it straw colored.

I also heard fond stories in that same conversation of his 73 El Camino(which he still has) with 4 wheel drums and into which he'd put VelveTouch linings. I'd not heard of those, but apparently they are a metallic type pad really meant for racing that has to be warmed up a fair bit before it will grip.

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Finished up adjusting the brakes. 


Locknut now doesn't bind, cleaned up too. 


Leading shoes against the drum, trailing shoes fifteen thou' gap. Handy little slot in drum front to measure.



New distributor cap arrived. Slight improvement in running but misfire still present. Had a thought and moved plug 8 to position 6. 6 is immediately after 1, fired up the engine and got a different misfire.. from fubbafubbafubba to frubfrubfrub. Moved it to 2 and got a different pattern yet.


Pulled the plug and wedged it against a head bolt. Cranked engine. No spark across gap, plenty coming from body of plug to head bolt. Bad plug.


Went inside and grabbed the only spare plug I had, a BPR6ES from the GTA and screwed it in 2/3 the way, as it has much longer threads. Started up and got very smooth running. 


So, victim of my own advice. New don't necessarily mean good.



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3 hours ago, Zelandeth said:

Result on the missfire! 

Can't help but note that the brake flexi in the photo above looks about one good stab on the brakes from going pop...though given the work you've been doing I imagine that's already on the list.

Yeah, all the flexis need renewing. I want to see if the system will adjust up first before disturbing them- I have a feeling they may have hacksaw in their future.



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Well, either the guide/stem are dirty or corroded. Or oval.

We'll find out. I know why #8 is sticky. I think I know why #6 intake is too. 


Need to drop the valves out and give them and the guides a thorough polish first though.



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Diode pack for the alternator also arrived. I'll fit that and see if it charges correctly.

Started it up just earlier and it runs like a bag of smashed crap.


Yup, off with her head!



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Spent a bit of time on the car yesterday afternoon, CCTV caught me working.



Pulled the head off.


A couple hotrod guys suggested try put some Marvel Mystery Oil on the stems of the valves to try free up any crud, it's really thin, has good wicking/creep properties and does dissolve a moderate amount of gunk.



Did that and got all the valves freed up. Slathered everything in engine oil to stop it rusting and left it for the night. Gonna put a bit more on tomorrow morning if I have time and then hopefully reassemble it all tomorrow evening, again time pending.




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1 hour ago, xtriple said:

I can't recall which bike forum it was but the lads on there swore by Marvel Mystery oil, seemed to cure just about anything!

Good luck.

Considering its composition, it's surprising- it's mostly just white spirit, from what I read.



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Busy week this week full of family visits and other amusements.


The replacement 6v converter arrived this morning so tonight I pulled the dash out and fitted it, this time with a connector.



Powered up the fuel gauge does what it's meant to, so that's great.

Just needing to put it all back together now.



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