April 6, 2009 at 10:26 am #232571Steve CritesParticipant
I’ve been putting miles on the duchess over the weekend with some friends that have some classic cars. There were some breakdowns that caused me to wonder if some of these guys realize that maintenance is more than changing oil and checking the battery. One car broke down due to an old, cracked hose that popped. One died when a nut on the coil lead fell off. And one limped home with broken exhaust hangers!
All these were pretty easy to fix but it made me wonder what else they missed. My buddy and I are not obsessive to a fault, but we do realize that our cars, (mine was one the newest) are at least 25 years old. We respect metal fatigue and realize that you can never trust the previous owner to keep up with the important stuff. I have a spring hanger that was cracked all the way through on top, out of sight, on a vehicle I bought a few years back. I keep it on my shop wall as a reminder to check every thing on a new project even one that’s running and looking good.
So, I’m glad that the shock mount on James car was fairly easy to find, and the rag joint problem was fairly obvious for Rich. But, I’m going to remind everyone, especially you guys with newly purchased cars, that before you get in too big a hurry to enjoy the spring run, do a full bumper to bumper, nut and bolt, hose and tube tightening inspection.
Although our cars have usually been taken fairly good care of, they are still a quarter century old. Breakdowns happen, but too many are preventable and could be an accident in the making.
“for want of a nail, a shoe was lost…….”
Stay safe and have fun
Ringo, (stepping down from the soapbox for now.)April 6, 2009 at 11:46 am #238518Mark HendricksonParticipant
Pretty ironic that the MG logo in shadow on our home page is “Safety Fast”.
Ringo brings up a good point. These cars, for the most part, were built from donor cars/parts that 25 years and some even older!
Rubber parts especially, do not last that long. I always caution people that are driving Ford and GM based cars to install new timing belts and timing belt tensioners. http://www.rockauto.com is a good source for these out of OEM production cars.
Cars that sit for long periods of time, especially the VW based cars have brake hydraulic problems. Brake fluid will retain water (condensation) and should be flushed at the beginning of every driving season is your car is parked all winter.
I’m sure you’ve all seen ads for Sta-Bil on TV too. This stuff works…use it!
I have all my “hobby” cars hooked to Delran Battery Tenders too. These things are worth the investment, keeping the battery fully charged and actually extending it’s life.
The VW based cars, the alternator/generator belt is also the drive belt for the cooling fan. VW cooling fans have a tendency to crack around the center where the fastening but hold it on the back of the alternator/generator shaft.
VW based cars also depend on oil cooler that for the most part on high mileage or used VW’s, is plugged up or almost plugged. It is vital for engine cooling too.
OK…who’s next on the soap box!April 6, 2009 at 12:41 pm #238519Rich BellefeuilleParticipant
This is a very good and timely topic. A few more thoughts to contribute. The person that built my car generally did a very good job. A few critiques are that he tended to undertighten and was not religious about using lock washers. Most of these cars have original or somewhat modified suspensions and tend to ride a little “stiff” so there is even more of a tendency for nuts, bolts, screws to undo themselves.
So, here’s a few additional thoughts:
1. Make sure you have a bin set up with several sizes of lock washers. If you take apart any assemblies that do not have lock washers, install them.
2. First thing I do in the spring is check all the tire pressures. Those radials can be down 15 or more pounds and not show it, until you have to make a sudden sharp turn!
3. If you hear a noise that doesn’t sound right, chances are it isn’t. I have to give James credit on the shock absorber problem. Be as persistent and he was, and it will pay off. Don’t think the noise will just go away by itself. Cars, unlike people, do not heal.
4. Take short trips initially until your car has given you a track record of reliability, and then drive the heck out of it! Cars NEED to be driven and tend to deteriorate when seldom used.
5. Finally, note to self; reread the advice given in this string, including your own, and practice what you, and they preach!
Spring is here, Safe motoring to all!
RichBelfay39909.5776273148April 6, 2009 at 5:41 pm #238520James CochranParticipant
Rich is so right, cars deteriote when they sit. It always amazes me how fast a car will go bad when not driven.
One of the first things I did was replace all the rubber components on the engine. I ordered everything that was rubber and placed it all into a box and waited for warmer weather. I replaced everything on the first warm day, except for the timing belt inside. I don’t know the actual mileage of my donor car and engine, so I inspected the timing belt and decided it was okay. It looked really good, so I slipped the cover back on, tossed the new unopened belt into my new parts box to install another time. Big mistake. Buzzing down the highway at dawn on a Sunday morning heading to a car show — guess what broke . Less than 20 miles since I inspected the belt, it failed. If I had installed that 10 buck belt before the failure, It would have saved a lot of grief and side of the road embarrassment not to mention money. Fortunately my engine is a non-destructing type, but it could have been destructive. Close inspection of the belt revealed a hardened area of the belt, about 2 inches long where the break happened. I assume this section of belt was exposed to something for a long time as the car sat for quite a long time without running. I had totally missed it during my inspection. Lesson learned – Maintenance is cheaper than repair.
I have decided to replace the components that I don’t know their age. Items such as water pump, alternator, starter, coil, points, etc. I know they are fine this minute, what I don’t know is if it is on the last minute of their unknown life. Brake pads, shoes, and clutch plate will show you what is left of their life.
I will also keep telling myself, this is a labor of love, this is a labor of love, this is a labor of love.
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