Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Success, finally success. I can hardly believe I've had the car almost 5 months; and that it has taken me this long to get the car inspected... but it is done and the car is legal to be on the road finally. So the goal over this upcoming winter will be to really address the existing leaks, replace the electrical socket(s?) for the tail lights -- but in general, try to keep the car generally drivable; and not get it in a position where there are several projects going at once keeping it off the road. I fear having it sit in the garage for years at a time, and getting the car back into the position that it is off the road for 6 years.

When I think back at everything that has been done to the car to get it on the road, there really was quite a bit of effort put in; but at least for now that this is a good hobby for me because all this effort really doesn't seem like work, it feels good to get things working or fixed, and I am enjoying the experience. It sure seems a lot easier to enjoy the effort when you can take the car out on the road and drive it around.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Exhaust pipes corrected, brakes and head lights.

I did get the car back in to have the passenger side exhaust fixed up; since it was too tight to the body and was banging and rubbing when it was rolling down the road. The exhaust has a beautiful sound now that really mellows out going down the road. It is just a touch too loud at 55 and the motor is only spinning about 2000RPMs, but hey, what is a muscle car without a little engine noise?

I've bled the brakes a couple of times now and they still seem squishy. I got some advice that when I'm bleeding that I should open the bleed value, and have a partner slowly push down on the brake; but then HOLD it down; while I tighten up the bleed value. Repeat until no air comes out. This prevents air from sucking back into the line, which I think may have been happening on my previous attempts. This makes a great deal of sense, so another bleed sounds in order. If this doesn't address the issues; it looks like a new master cylinder is soon to be in my future.

I did have the headlights go out on me driving down the road again -- and my foot wasn't on it this time :-), but I still suspect that the foot operated switch is part of the shorting issue; and given it is really easy to replace, I may just go ahead and do that.

And as a final note, I did try to slip it through an inspection this past weekend. I lost a cable hanger, and so to keep the cable off the drive shaft, I had installed a spring where the hanger used to be. The eBrake pedal would set and I thought maybe if they weren't too careful or lazy they might miss it... but when you roll into a service station with a 2002 sticker in 2007, they kind of get suspicious and put it through the paces. The kid was cool though and didn't charge me for the failed attempt...

Friday, October 12, 2007


I've been perplexed by the 68 Tempest/LeMans/GTO signal and flasher wiring for some time. I thought I understood the circuit; which lead me to believe that the flasher switch which is integrated into the turn signal switch in the steering column as shown below:

(Apologies for the blurry picture.) At any rate, I was able to use jumper wires below the steering column to get "flasher" behavior and this said to me that the problem had to be in the steering column turn signal switch and harness.

When I got the new repro harness and switch, I was astonished that it did not address the problem. I tried a number of different alternatives to diagnose where the problem was -- and I did notice that while I had a good fuse in the hazard lights slot, I did not notice the actual slot was dead; when it should have power. At this point, I went to the wiring diagrams to try to figure out how the wires went into the fuse block; with the idea that for now; I would bypass the fuse block and run an inline fuse to the flasher... bypassing whatever problem was actually going on in the fuse block -- saving that problem for another time -- like a winter time project.

At any rate, I went to the performance years forum to get advise. Unbelievably, it turns out there are actually two different flasher units; one for the turn signals and one for the hazard lights. One complication of the circuits is that different power sources are required for turn signals and hazards. Hazard lights are operational at all times for the car; whereas turn signals only operate when the ignition key is switched.

At any rate, the T/S switch is up near the steering column and this is the one that I've replaced and played with these past months. There is also one which is mounted to the fuse block which drives the hazard lights. When I looked at my fuse block, the flasher unit was missing! Well this is certainly at least part of the problem. I happened to have a spare flasher, plugged it in and viola! Flashers.

I believe that I'm now down to finishing the backup lights to pass inspection. I have that whole circuit wired, I just need to install the switch in the "exact" spot that causes the switch to trigger when the shifter is in reverse. That "exact" spot I've played with already, and there isn't a lot of room for error and I'm looking forward to alot of excitement getting it installed.

All in all it has taken me way, way longer to get the car into this shape; and while I think I am disappointed it has taken so long; I sure have gotten a variety of things fixed on the car through the journey.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Blown Fuse and Blown Mind

Took a few minutes and looked for a blown fuse to see if that was causing the dash lights from working. Sure enough, blown fuse. Had to run out to the gas station to pickup a 20-amp version and viola! Dash Lights.

It was so nice out the other night, I took it out with my dash lights fixed and noticed something interesting. The 68 has its bright light switch on the floor, a foot activated switch, just up under the emergency brake. During night driving I got used to driving with my foot on the switch -- so when encountering oncoming traffic, you can just flick your ankle and switch from brights to normal lights; and then back when the car passed. This habit was one that was burned in from when I was a kid, driving my 67 Mercury Cougar, which had the same bright light switch.

I noticed that when I braked, the lights would flicker. Then I realized, that when I put on the brakes, my body weight would transfer forward and cause my foot to depress the switch slightly, causing the circuit to the headlights to fail -- thus shutting off the lights. When I let off the brakes, they would jump right back on! When I moved my foot position away from the switch, the lights behaved perfectly; I had to laugh. It kind of blows your mind the funny things that go wrong with old cars.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Brakes bled

I went to another auto store to buy some hose but they only had a very expensive kit; but the guy at the counter said, all you need is the hose and bleed it into a jar. Keep the jar higher than the bleeding screw and pump out the brake fluid until there are no more bubbles in the hose. Well, this I already knew, but I needed the right size hose, and they didn't have any. The clerk did suggest I try going to Home Depot and get some.

I picked up some 3/8-inch transparent hose in a 20ft loop -- no it wasn't worth trying to find it by the foot :-) Worked really good; although I seem to be clumsy because I keep spilling the brake fluid... this makes every project 2 times as long, because it takes me as long to just clean up my stupid mess.

Brakes are good -- but in driving the car at night; the dash lights are out (they were working previously) and the headlights seem to have a short while driving as they go out for instant and back in... not exactly warm and fuzzy driving on a dark night.

Anyway, I guess it's progress -- the brakes are much better and don't feel spoungy any more.