Power window fix?

The drivers door window stopped working for some reason. So was it the motor or switch. In one case I had to remove the door panel and cover and the other I needed to remove the seat so I could take off the console side panel to get at the switch. A 50/50 chance that I didn’t want to take and end up doing both.

Fortunately there is a connector for the power windows under the dash

The following photos are poor – apologies. I ran a lead from the + battery terminal and connected it to the shaft of a one time screwdriver that I had shaped into an awl. I touched each side of the power window motor lead and the window went up and down OK. So I only had to remove and replace the kick panel to check the motor out.

So the problem was in the switch – if it was getting power. I removed the seat and console side panel. I then removed three screws on the left side of the console cover. I used a block of wood to prop up the panel a bit to make it easier to get at the switch. I didn’t want to remove the whole cover if possible.

I could just get at the screws holding the switch. Unfortunately the rear screw boss broke off – I must have over tightened the screw when I last had the console apart. Bummer.

I first bench tested the switch and it showed that it was working. So I just plugged it back in the the circuit and darned if it didn’t work OK. So I added a blob of epoxy to the remains of the rear screw boss and put it all back together. I’ve ordered a new console cover and when it comes in I’ll overhaul the switch before reinstalling it – many of the switches on early vehicles are purely mechanical and can, with care, be disassembled, cleaned and put back in the car.

This is the passenger switch that I replaced earlier. I opened it up by carefully bending out the pot metal tabs just enough to wiggle out the bottom plate. I cleaned the contacts and put a new piece of plastic in place (the plastic keeps dust and dirt that gets by the switch toggle from getting into the switch contacts). Once done I reassembled it and bent back the tabs. The tabs being pot metal will likely break off if I try to open it up again. Still I should be able to use some epoxy to hold the switch together next time.

AC woes

This is about the AC on my ’66 Studebaker, but much will apply to the Chevy systems.

My AC started to squeal when it was engaged and then stop when to compressor cycle stopped. That was bad enough, then the compressor started to cycle on and off rapidly. I have a period evaporator in the car with a modern Sanden compressor with R134A.

The Sanden website suggested that the problem might be in the evaporator temperature control switch (This switch isn’t part of the Chevy’s system). Fortunately I have another switch available. Unfortunately it didn’t make any difference.

Going over the wiring I realized that the power to the compressor passed through the low pressure safety switch located at the top of the dryer. When I jumped the safety switch connectors the problem of the off/on cycling went away. I won’t bother to replace the switch as I will need to empty the system of gas and do a recharge. I’ll do that a bit later. I’ll watch the system and if the cooling drops off I’ll check the system to make sure there is enough gas in the works.

The squealing problem is still present. I installed a 12 volt relay temporarily in the system to see if the compressor clutch was not getting its full 12 volts. That wasn’t a problem. I happened to run a feeler gauge between the clutch face and the body. What came out was a thin coating of grease – the upper photo shows the grease on the feelers and the middle with the feelers cleaned. The bottom is a shot of a cotton rag I was able to stuff between the clutch face and body. There shouldn’t be any grease in that area at all. On the next test drive the squeal was present, but the tone had changed and it wasn’t as consistent as before. I’m thinking I’m on to something here. I’ve sent away for a tool kit to remove the clutch from the compressor so I can check out the situation inside. Might be a compressor seal leak. We’ll see after I get the kit and pull things apart.

Dizzy woes

Second rotor destroyed as well as the dist. cap button – one on left has had it’s tip cut off by the rotor and the one on the right is a new one.

The old capacitor setup doesn’t accept the new capacitor with the pin connector.

So I needed to buy the complete harness that has the capacitor integrated in it. Hopefully it will stop the damage to the rotor (by eliminating the sparking between the cap button and the rotor connector).

All back in place. I didn’t have any new special contact grease to put under the electronic module, but there was just enough of the old stuff to smear around 🙂

As to the engine miss. I have done everything I can think of to be rid of the problem, but it still persists. The engine has 144,000 KMs and without hardened valve seats I can only assume that there is a burnt valve in one cylinder. I am replacing this engine so I won’t bother to do a valve job as it is still driveable and ‘good enough’ for local driving. If I do go on a road trip I will add some lead substitute so another valve doesn’t burn.

Checking for an air leak

I used a common propane torch to flow gas around each manifold inlet runner. Unfortunately I couldn’t detect any change in the engine idle at any point.

What I did discover was the cause of the engine shake at idle. At some point when i was swapping out the spark plugs and the spark plug wires I must have broken off the vacuum line to the heater controls.

This added a wee bit of air to the back side of the intake manifold and must have caused what I understand is called a “lean air misfire” in one of the rear cylinders. Once I fabricated a temporary fix the engine idled much better. The vacuum fitting is available for CDN$5.95

Now to get back to some nice summer driving 🙂

Chasing the misfire

Setting the lifters hot is messy and even with rags on the exhaust manifold I was getting spillover onto the floor. So I took and old valve cover and cut the top off. More at the top than the bottom.

Fits like a charm. Just enough room for the rocker clips to miss the top edge of the valve cover. I ran a rag across the exhaust manifold in case of splatter, but since I wasn’t revving the engine all the oil stayed in the valve cover.

I adjusted each valve to zero lash and then added one quarter turn. I’m not sure if any of the lifters are collapsed so I didn’t want to tighten too far. The valves are nice a quiet, but the misfire is still there!!!

Next I will test for an air leak at the intake base runners.

I’ve had the valve covers off three or four times at least and it is a real pain getting the short bolts in place on the bottom edge with the reinforcement arms. I don’t like the long T screws used by some rodders, but I can appreciate the ease. So I made up some long replacements using stainless bolts. I ran an nut up the thread ends and tightened it a bit. I also use shake-free lock nuts.

Now it’s a lot easier to get the valve cover tied down. The only place it didn’t work was under the AC compressor bracket. I still have to use a short bolt there. I don’t use a ratchet on the bolts. I only tighten them as much as I can by hand using a socket with a screwdriver handle. Works super so far.

When I’m satisfied with that all’s well with the lifters I can always take the time to put back the short bolts.

Doors and lifters…

Back working on the doors trying to get them to close nice and the windows to seal better by adjusting the glass position. This is the right door and it is working quite well. I have it apart to compare to the left door which doesn’t close any where near as nicely.

The top shot is of the left door and the bottom the right. As you can see the door glass fits further back on the right door which helps a lot with proper fitment. There is no way I can move the glass any further back on the left door. This leaves me with a small gap at the top of the door that I can’t adjust out. In the end I had to used a length of 1/4″ foam tape on the top of the window gasket ( the section on the removable roof panel) to seal it enough to eliminate most of the wind noise. Not a good situation, but what can you do!

Back to trying to find the source of the engine miss. It is an even miss that is constant at all speeds. A mechanic told me it is likely a cylinder that is misfiring. Easiest way to identify the cylinder is to use a hand held unit like the one above to check the temperature of each exhaust point. I did this and #2 cylinder’s temperature was well under that of the other cylinders. The plugs above are the #2 plug on the left and a good used plug on the right. The #2 is full of carbon is oily. and doesn’t seem to be firing.

I replaced the plug with a good one , but no difference.

Time to check the lifter settings. I have set them cold, but this time I’ll try a hot setting. The clips along the top are something I have kept over the years from back in the ’70s when I had a 427 C2 and I needed to set the solid lifters on a hot running engine. They stop oil spurting out of the holes in the rockers. The rag along the bottom was an attempt to keep oil off the hot manifolds.

I suspect bad lifters so I just set the #2 lifters to zero lash. That got the cylinder working again, but I still have the persistent miss!

Driving season!

Time to drive the ’79 🙂 Not too much to report on bugs. Still working on the engine misfire. Trying Sea Foam products to see if it is a sticking valve. No luck so far. Car still pulling slightly to the right on hard braking. It may be that the left front pads and rotor are not contacting fully. Otherwise all’s pretty much OK. I do expect that the rear wheel bearing will need attention down the road. I’m waiting on a donor 350 engine to build next winter. I have all the gear to overhaul the AC and am looking forward to having that running. Still have issues with the drivers door. There is too much play in the window even with the new outside seal, etc. But for now I’ll just enjoy some driving.

Cheap vs good, but not best

After checking to make sure that the car had not skipped a link on the timing chain – it hadn’t – I took off the dist cap to be sure the rotor was pointing where it should and I was surprised to find that the centre contact was partially burned off! It was an economy rotor. The dark grey unit is the better quality unit (all CarQuest brands) They seem Identical.

There is a difference in the colour of the contacts. Not sure what the difference is. The old one looks to be bronze, but the new one???

I decided to replace the cap as well. The contact plates seem to be bronze where the old cap had Aluminum or stainless?

The plug posts are obviously the same as the undersides.

These are the centre contact electrodes the one on the right is the old one and it has a groove in it where the rotor contact strip was cutting its way through. Also, again brass vs aluminum or stainless.

On a good note, Carquest is refunding me for the rotor. I’m not going to gripe about the cap as I’ll keep it for a backup (that I should never need given the miles the Chevy will travel).

Thermostat fix part II

Housing and new thermostat in place. Some gasket maker squeezed out around the edges. That can be cut off later for a neater look. I followed the instructions on the sealant tube and first tightened just until the sealant started to squeeze out then left it for about an hour and then torqued the bolts to 15 then 30 ft lbs. I will now leave it for 24 hours to let the sealant cure completely. This area is leak prone so I’m doing everything I can to seal it up well. The next day the seal held and the temperature got up to 195 or so and held nicely 🙂

In the meantime I fixed the air intake pipe clamp. Some careful filing and I got the old pin out of the plastic arm.

Had a small 1/8″ rivet and washer that fit nicely. It would have been nice to put the washer on the inside out of sight, but the hose is a tight fit and so I needed to minimize on the inside.

Little more than the original on the inside.

Next: Time to do some driving and see if I can shake out any new bugs!

Thermostat fix

First the antifreeze removal. I’ll put the old stuff back in as it will do until I replace the engine.

This is a brand new $45 US flex pipe from the air cleaner to the cold air intake and one of the mounting tabs has pulled out!

Nasty looking thermostat housing and the hose clamp broke when taking it off. I’ll pull the housing before I try to get the hose off.

I have no idea what was used for a gasket, but even as it was, it wasn’t leaking.

Besides sticking the thermostat was a 160. Just too low for proper engine operation.

Scraped, cleaned and then flat filed the surface.

Cleaned up nicely in the bead blaster. New gasket and bolts chased with a die. New 195 thermostat as per the GM specs. I also chased the bolt holes with a tap. They appear to be blind holes which is good.

This is a nice little tool I picked up somewhere years ago. Really great for putting a steady squeeze on the tube so you can concentrate on laying a nice bead of sealant.

Kind of a large bead, but better than not enough.

I’m a real fan of using guide pins. They kept the gasket in place so it didn’t need to be twisted when fitting it on.

Bead on the housing and some Permatex airplane sealant to help keep the screws in place.

Time for supper – more later.