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11-06-2005 06:08 PM The Crusher and other CARnage
I took a few photos of the mighty crusher. Around here, they just pancake the cars flat, they don't crush them into little cubes like in other areas.

Looking into the business end, I see the front of an orange Ford van peering out. The color of it clearly identifies it as a Laclede Gas Utility truck.

At the exit end is what appeared to be a 90s vintage Lincoln Town Car, and at the upper right corner just visible is the back end of the flattened van. The crusher is not running this late in the day, but it is fun to watch in the daytime. If you really love cars, it's a strange, slightly morbid thing to watch it run and listen to the glass pop, the plastic crunch, the metal buckle, to watch someone's once-new family car go in and a twisted metal pancake come out.

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  [Entry #54]

11-06-2005 06:02 PM Project Winding Down.
Although I still have the top and the whole interior and dash to do, this day still marks the end of an era. The exterior of this long project is just about finished. Today I loaded up the old doors, one of the fenders and some other scrap-to take to the junkyard. These have been taking up space behind my garage for a long time. I cut a slit inside and pulled the metal away so I could get at the backsides to remove the plastic door panel installation clips, and the rubber door bumpers. I had planned this trip to get the center bumper stiffener brackets from a '70 Cutlass sedan I had spotted there last weekend. At the last minute, I found my originals, all painted and ready to install.

But the scrap was already loaded in my truck, and I really love the junkyard, so off I went.

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  [Entry #53]

11-03-2005 12:40 AM Late Season Grilling.....
On Wednesday, I had the whole day off to work on the car. I was determined to get the grilles and stone shield (grille surround) installed. It took a good portion of a whole day to do. It involved alot of fabricating, bending, grinding, swearing, heating, melting, bending, drilling, parts and hardware searching, etc. I don't want to go into too much detail and crash anyone's server, but I've got to tell about the melting part.

I installed the plastic headlight frames first. It was fairly straightforward, they fit decent. The passenger side is a repro, bought at the same time as the center shield. The driver side is an original, because no repro was available at the time. It wasn't broken, so I used it anyway, and painted it and all the other parts the same day as the car. Wisely, I bolted the grilles to the radiator support without attempting to fit the center piece first to test the fit. I wanted to know what the relationship between the outside edges of the grilles and the plastic headlight surrounds was going to be like. The repro passenger side fit excellent. The driver side, not so much. The hole for the tab was broken away. I drilled two tiny holes and made a piece of wire into a loop to receive the grille tab. The wire was too thick. I also ended up grinding the back edges of both grilles due to bent edges and factory casting burrs. These Supreme grilles are metal. They are heavy, and I wanted to be sure everything fit right so nothing got broken.

Since it was old and warped, the driver side headlight bezel did not line up with the edge of the grille. I taped a yardstick to the fender as shown, then bolted the grille in by itself. I determined the front edge of the bezel needed to move to the right about 3/4 of an inch. I removed the grille, and then I ended up heating the back side of the headlight bezel with a propane torch. I was worried about bubbling the paint or cracking the plastic, but I got lucky and it didn't happen. In order to get the plastic soft enough to move, and stay in place, I had to heat it enough to catch the backside of it on fire! As soon as it started to turn black, I blew out the fire and held the front edge about an inch to the right, using the taped yardstick as a guide. When the plastic cooled, I released the edge and it stayed in place, right where I wanted it.

Hours later, after dark, I had the grilles installed for real, all bolts and screws proper, in place and tightened. I don't have the center brackets to help finish the front bumper alignment, so I may have to make them. I installed a repro gas tank earlier, and had been running the car from a can this whole time. Late tonight I finally poured a few gallons into the real tank and hooked the fuel line back to the car and did away with the gas can.

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  [Entry #52]

11-03-2005 12:36 AM Speaker and Dash Wiring.
I already had the under-dash wiring harness plugged in so the car would start and move under it's own power. Today I unplugged it and routed it through the dash frame. One leg of it will be forward of the frame, sandwiched between the plastic dash panel and the metal frame, just like original. I'm not ready to install the dash just yet though.

The speaker was a big problem. The original was shot, with a bad cone, and the coil was frozen. I looked at Radio Shack and all kinds of places for some kind of generic 4x10 speaker to replace it with, and could not find one. I ended up buying one on ebay, a Cerwin-Vega. When I received it, I noticed the magnet was way too large, and would never fit under the dash with the A/C vents. I ended up doing what I should have done in the first place, and headed to the junkyard. Lots of cars have 4" round and other sizes of speakers, but I quickly discovered the late 70s-mid 80s big GM station wagons had the speaker I needed. I found a nice clean Buick Estate Wagon, and removed both speakers, one as a spare.

The junkyard speaker was slightly taller than my original, so I used my grinder to shave off a corner of the magnet. I was not able to drill a hole in the dash structure to mount it, so I ended up cutting the original bracket in several places, and bending the tabs over to fit the larger magnet. I was then able to stuff it up in the dash like it belongs. It looks like it should clear the A/C vents. I'll keep you posted. Having a speaker in the dash was important to me because I found a factory AM/FM radio, and I have an uncut dash to put it in. Of all my car's many, many problems, somehow no one ever got around to screwing up the dash.

I will probably put some kind of modern stereo/CD player maybe hidden under the seat, or somewhere.

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  [Entry #51]

11-02-2005 07:09 PM Cutlass Bumper
Because of the previous frame damage, and the shims under the radiator support it took to get the fenders to line up along the rear edges, I've decided to test fit the bumper first before installing the grilles and the grille surround and headlight bezels, because those parts are made of fragile plastic, and I don't want to end up breaking a corner off of one while I mess around trying to get this bumper on straight.

As I suspected, it does not go up, or back far enough, and the center is too high. Some of this is probably the bumper itself, but I will need to use the die grinder and a de-burring bit to egg-shape out the bumper bolt holes a little bit. The frame is original, but the fenders, brackets, and bumper are from 3 different cars.

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  [Entry #50]

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