Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tail Lights , Reverse Lights, and Seat Belt Bolts

Tail Lights

I am learning (perhaps relearning) that work on a old vehicle can take forever; and I can see it will take me quite some time to get this car road worthy. Continuing my tail light adventure a few things become clear. Firstly, at least on the driver's side, power is reaching the lamps and directional signal sockets, and they appear to have a reasonable ground. If I hold the bulbs tightly into the sockets the two lamp/directional bulbs light up. As I mentioned before, socket problems seem to be endemic on the 68 Lemans body style according to the forum at Performance Years. Pictured below is the rear bumper with driver's side lens removed.

The far right hand socket is in a state that makes it virtually impossible to spin a new light bulb into it. I figured, well maybe the original bulbs weren't 1157 bulbs. So I examine the bulb I'd pulled out of the socket the other day (still functional). See picture below (you will probably need to click on the picture to enlarge it enough to see the detail ):

The bulb is indeed an 1157 dual-filament directional, however at location 1 above, a lump of solder was added to hold the bulb firmly in the socket, but furthermore, at location 2, the socket guide nub has been sanded off so it no longer has to get into the socket groove to hold the bulb. So, rather than pull the bumper, the previous electrician has cheated in a manner in which I was hoping to do -- in an effort to get it on the road. I think one of the "winter" projects will be to pull the bumper and replace these sockets with modern sockets that can be serviced easily without pulling the bumper. I will be sorely tempted to re-chrome the rear bumper if I take the time to pull it, which appears to cost on the order of $350. I think I will experiment with various solder patches to get me through the inspection.

Reverse Lights

The reverse lights are not operating, but I've tested the bulbs. I need to crawl under the car and diagnose from the tranny up. Since this LeMans has a TH-400, and not the stock transmission -- I'm sure it will be pure excitement as nothing as been very straight-forward so far.

Seat Belt Bolts

I ordered 3 sets of lap belts to install in the rear seat. There are only places for 2 seat belts, but I was going to double up the middle set of bolts to allow for 3 smaller passengers in the rear seat. Because the LeMans is a convertible, the rear seat is not as wide as the hard top and 3 adults simply would not fit back there. I figure either there will be nobody back there, 2 adults or 3 children. Either way, the seat belt assemblies should be plenty sturdy to hold those potential passengers. I will take a look at shoulder belts at some later date. As I had mentioned in a previous blog, the old seat belts had been cut off. See below:

All 4 of the seat belt bolts are frozen. I will be trying to use a technique to free them which involves propane torch, using extreme heat to loosen the bolts, and vice grips to break them loose. From my readings, the bolts are tapered and are extremely painful to remove and even install for that matter. Snapping off the bolt head and having to resort to drilling the bolt out is a likely outcome for at least some of the bolts. I could not begin this effort this evening because I will not torch the bolts without a fire extinguisher handy... that would be an idiotic thing to do, even for me.

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