The purpose of this Blog

This blog is to detail my 46 years (1973 - 2019) with a 1928 Chevrolet tourer, affectionately called "The Red Chev".

The acquisition, restoration, improvements and my experiences over the years are covered in as much detail as I can remember.

Some of the later postings include car club outings and other vintage car items that I hope will be of interest to people.

If you have the time, scroll back to where it all began in 1973 and follow the journey so far.

Thanks for dropping by.

Regards Ray Dean

See my new section "The Red Chev - Repairs, Improvements, Maintenance and Technical Details" located on the left hand side of the screen.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2007. Part 2 Most Important Year For The Chev. (The Realisation)

Let me set the scene. Its a Friday afternoon, early February 2007. The Chev has been laid up, off the road for 8 years and my daughter has asked for it to be used for her wedding car in October 2007.

Here we go.I finished work at 1pm, put down a quick lunch, changed into the overalls, and into it. The first thing was to get the engine running. I throw in 2 new batteries, pull out the plugs, squirt a bit of oil in the bores, turn the engine over a few times with no plugs, fill up the petrol tank, pump up the perished tyres, press the starter, engine turns over and hey presto, nothing. Pull the choke fully out, pump the gas pedal a few times, hit the starter again, still nothing.

Like all simple engines from years ago there are only 2 reasons why they won't start, fuel and spark. Checked the dizzy, spark there, checked the plugs, spark there, then checked the carby, oops, dry as a bone. What did I know about petrol crystallizing. Nothing, but I was about to learn. Pulled the bowl of the carby, lots of white powdery crystals, not a good look. Cleaned out the bowl, needle and seat and inlet filter, re-assembled, hit the starter, engine fired, rough as guts and would not idle, generally not a happy camper.

Pulled the carby off and stripped it down. All jets and everything else covered and blocked with the same powdery crystals. Cleaned everything, re-assembled, refitted carby, hit the starter, engine fired and ran like a top, well sort of?

Good, that jobs done, next.

It was at that moment, within several hours of picking up the first tool to work on the Chev in about 8 years, I was back, the passion had returned. I had a date. I had a deadline. I had a challenge. I'm Back. Should I strip down the vac tank, no, its working, leave well enough alone.

I am on a roll

What's next. The radiator has a leak, worry about that later, lets do the other big jobs first. Checked around the rear wheels. Not happy. Oil was seeping from the rear axle onto the brake linings. I was about to learn another valuable lesson in maintaining a 28 Chev. I was unaware that oil can run from the gearbox, through the uni joint, down the torque tube and overflow the diff and back axle.
I removed the fill plug from the diff cover, and instead of putting oil in, it came out, about a litre of the stuff.

Still feeling pretty positive, even though I knew the rear brakes were shot, pressed on regardless. Stripped off the rear linings and soaked them in petrol to see if they could be salvaged. No way, they were full of oil. No matter how much I brushed, oil kept bleeding to the surface. Still, not a major set back as the brakes were always pretty average anyway, so a brake job was not the end of the world.

After all, its February, plenty of time till October. Famous last words, maybe.

Little did I know that things were about to take a turn for the worse.

It was then that I also noticed oil around the springs, which I thought was coming from the linings, must remember to check that out later.

What happened next was the most significant decision I made during the whole pre-wedding preparation, and had I not followed the path I did, the wedding day for the Chev may well have ended up on the back of a tow truck, or even worse.

Although not completely convinced it was required, I felt the best course of action was to remove the complete rear end, including springs and torque tube. If nothing else this would give me access for a good clean up and paint job. There was also a bit of wear on the top of the torque tube, where it fits into the universal joint housing, and this would be a good opportunity for a bit of repair and maintenance.

The Chev is put on jack stands, and unbeknown to me, would remain on them, without wheels until late July. If I had known this at the time would I have panicked, got cold feet, advised Melanie and Justin to make back up arrangements. You bet I would have.

Still feeling reasonably calm about proceedings so far, the rear end is lifted onto stands so that I can remove the axles, replace the wheel bearings and seals. Off comes the wheels and the first area of concern was the key ways on the rear axles, they're about twice the size of what they should be. Not happy as I know the job is getting bigger by the moment. I removed the diff to inspect the crown wheel and pinion. Give the diff a bit of a spin by hand, something was not right, there was a clunking noise every half turn.

After all how bad could it be. The car was still running when I put it away in 1999.

That turn for the worse was getting bigger. The crown wheel was loose as the 12 or so rivets securing it to the carrier were about half way sheared off. This means that for some time, or maybe even years, the crown wheel had been sliding back and forward each time I changed gear from 1st to reverse.

My pride and joy was not in very good condition, and to be more precise was unsafe. Could you imagine what may have happened if the crown wheel came adrift at 35mph, and I am talking safety as well as mechanical.

I removed the diff from the housing, and separated the torque tube so I could have it repaired. The machinist said he could repair the torque tube by machining it back to a uniform diameter, and there was no drama in taking metal off the torque tube as he was making up a new uni joint bell as well. The only requirement was that he wanted me to remove the tail shaft, which I thought was a pain, but it had to be done.

After all, how much more drama could come my way, things must start looking up soon.

Nuh no way.

As I removed the tail shaft it looked ok, the pinion looked good, but just to be sure thought I would remove the pinion from the tail shaft. Found what I thought was a deep scratch on the tail shaft, three quarters of the way around the entire circumference.

That's no scratch its a bloody crack.

With the feeling that this was becoming as loosing battle I dropped my bundle. It was the lowest point I had ever been to in the 34 year history of the car, and the most distraught I had been about the condition of the car, and my ability to fix it. I had no idea what was the best course of action.

What do I do now?

Are spares available?

Have I got enough time?

Do I tell the kids I can't make it?

All of a sudden the words "Its February, and I had plenty of time till October" were starting to cause a bit of a panic.

Yes it was lowest point in my time with the Chev, but it was going to get better, much better

And anyway it was February, and I had plenty of time till October, I hope.

1 comment:

  1. Bloody hell ray, when it rains it pours. Great read to BTW so please keep going