Daily Archives: December 17, 2012
Thursday we started the project El Camino up for the first time and the motor sounded like a deranged gnome was inside pounding on a piece of metal with a hammer. Kelly and Josh Murphy arrived and diagnosed the noise as the crank hitting the oil pan. If you want to hear the noise for yourself you can see the video on my youtube channel here. The video is only 90 seconds long, but let me warn the petrolheads out there … the sound will make you cringe.
We don’t do heavy mechanical repairs like this here at JMC Autoworx because we simply don’t have the time and I don’t have the inclination. I’m a painter not a mechanic. However, on Friday Jordan, a former employee that long time readers may remember, volunteered to replace the oil pan for the customer for some additional Christmas money. The owner of the car agreed and a deal was struck between them. I allowed Jordan to do the work in the JMC AutoworX shop since it was a customer’s car and he was a long-time and valuable employee, but the caveat was the car had to be done by Monday morning so we could move it around in the shop like normal.
I don’t know all the details, but I do know that there were a couple of very long days involved because the engines didn’t give up the oil pan willingly. You can see in the first picture that a engine hoist was involved, which is never a good sign. What you can’t see it the rest of the car scattered around the shop. Jordan told me that the transmission had to come out first, then the bell housing second, before the engine could be raised enough to get the pan out from under the engine. Jordan claims that if the Murphy’s put the engine and transmission in the car in one piece (which they did) the are decedents of Harry Houdini because he couldn’t figure out how they did it.
The really scary part of the work is there was no way to know for certain that the problem was in fact the crank hitting the oil pan, but as you can see in the next two photos, it was. In the second picture you can just see a mark at the front of the oil pan. The third photo shows the mark better. The mark, the silver looking dash near the center of the picture, is where the crank was hitting the pan. The mark is about a ½-millimeter deep, maybe one across and perhaps six wide.
We started the car again today. We still have a problem with fouled fuel-injectors and the clutch still isn’t working properly, but the deranged gnome? Jordan took away his hammer so he left. Once we get the car running properly we will have a new first start video … one where you can actually hear what the car will sound like when everything is working properly.
The three pictures to this point were taken on Saturday. The next five photos were taken today.
Picture four shows the car with the header panel installed. We had to fuss with the hood, fender and header panel to get decent gaps all the way around. These older cars, especially with replacement sheet metal installed, don’t have tight gaps like modern cars do, but I still try to get them as tight and even as I can.
In picture five all four head-lamps are installed and the bezels are attached. Now the car is starting to look like it should.
In picture six Chris (left, in black) and I are mounting the front bumper. Most of the trim and chrome work on this car is either reworked original pieces or NOS (new old stock … original replacement parts that were never installed), including this bumper. Because this is an original General Motors bumper it is heaver than a dead preacher, but it will last, and will look and fit better, than any after-market bumper ever could.
The last two photos, numbers seven and eight, show the car with the complete front end installed. We still need to hook up the turn signals, you can see the wires dangling under the bumper, plus there are a couple of other small jobs to do, but the car is basically assembled. And brother, does it ever look sharp.
The car still needs an interior, the clutch is going to have to be sorted, and the owner is going to have to get some new wheels and tires for the car, but the JMC AutoworX stuff … that’s nearly done.
It is supposed to rain most of the week … but if we can catch a nice pretty day we are going to have to get this thing out in the sun so we can truly see what we have wrought. I think it is going to be a real looker myself.
We had just received this Sante-Fe back from the car chiropractor … the frame straightener guy. The SUV wasn’t all that twisted up, just a little bit around the driver side head-lamp. But rather cut and replace it was quicker, cheaper and easier to tease the structure back straight on the frame machine. In the first photo you can see Chris attacking the air conditioning condenser. The radiator survived the crash but the condenser didn’t.
In the second photo the oil cooler has been removed and surround on the radiator has been loosened to give Chris some working room.
In the third photo the new condenser is going back in. I turned my back on Chris for 10 minutes and when I got back he had already had the old one out and the new one in. But trust me, that’s the new one you see even though the photo makes it looks a little dirty.
In the fourth photo I have wheeled out the Snap-on ECOPlus Air Conditioning Service Center … or as we call it around the shop, EG-6. We use this guy to recharge damaged air conditioning systems so the car is cool on the inside in the summer and defogged in the winter. This machine is so smart I’m not certain it even needs us around except to hook up the hoses.
The next two photos show something else that was being done concurrent with the repair of the air conditioning … the painting of the replacement bumper. In picture five the new bumper has been scuffed so the paint will adhere to the bumper. This scuffing is not supposed to be necessary, but being a firm believer in doing it right the first time, I know that if I scuff the bumper then paint the paint will definitely adhere. Knowing that gives me one less thing to worry about.
Picture six shows the bumper after it has been painted. The bumper doesn’t look particularly shiny because it one of those semi-matt bumpers you see on some SUV’s to show how rough and tough they are.
The last photo, number seven, was taken today. We have the car put back together with the exception of the broken head-lamp and the bumper, which will go on last. The car still needs to go to clean up, but it is very nearly ready to go home.
Just in time for Christmas with the family.
As a bonus they hold slightly more stuff … making them perfect for a little light packing for a trip out of the open road.