Monday, January 5, 2009

shifter and other body work

It's been -30C outside (and in my garage) these last few weeks, so I'm mostly working on things I can do inside the house.

Finding a shift lever for a Chevette 4-speed (i.e. the transmission I am using) is a real challenge. The recent hike in the price of steel has sent a lot of these cars to the crusher. "You should have come 6 months ago" I was often told while searching for this part. My transmission supplier was able to find something close (the parts on the right), which I have to fit into the control housing on the left.

With a little bit of cutting and turning, a workable solution was obtained.

The inside of the steering gear box. As per my Yahoo Group contacts, the lubrication to use here is gear oil.

The existing seal for the pitman arm shaft would certainly not hold oil, so I renewed it.

In this North American version of a British car, the steering and foot pedals are all on the left hand side, however, for some reason the manufacturer didn't switch over the door lock to the driver door. Thus, locking and unlocking the car by key has be done on the passenger side (there's only one lock). Seeing this would not be convenient, I decided to move the lock over. By rubbing a card over the holes for the key and handle assembly, I am making a template to mark the hole locations for the other door.

Using the template, I have cut the hole for the key lock.

A pic of the lock mechanism inside the door. The only modification required was to add a copper bushing to the handle to better guide the shoot bolt.

I now have my door lock on the driver door.

While most of the car is relatively undamaged, the front fascia was a rather twisted piece of metal .

After some hammering, it got reasonably straight. The rest will have to rely on putty filler.

Making new interior door panels. The old ones were water damaged, and as I found out too late, had shrunk rather significantly such that they weren't reliable to use as templates for the new ones.

I thought I would use a stiffer material (5 ply veneer) rather than Masonite, however I didn't notice the panels need to have a slight bend at the top end, to which my panels resisted. Using a router, I cut grooves where the bend needs to be (see previous photo), and used a clamping jig to form a permanent bend.

The panels are painted, and then covered with a padded vinyl.

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