MVN – Most Valuable Neighbour

“… and the award for Most Valuable Neighbour goes to …. George!”

There was just no way that I was going to be able to do it myself, so I borrowed my neighbour for 15 minutes and together we lifted the rear differential into the chassis. It’s not light – cast iron, reconditioned and with all new 3.55 gearing. It took a while, trying to work out the angle that it needed to come up through the network of chassis tubing to end up correctly positioned. We didn’t do too badly – a few scratches, but on the whole pretty successful.

Once that was all bolted in, I then moved onto the rear lower control arms. These were pretty easy to install too – bolted on and torqued to spec.


Next up are the Koni coil over springs. In disassembling the parts I realised that I’d actually not fitted the front ones correctly and that I was going to need another tool to add to my arsenal. A trip to Lowes and a set of bent nose pliers, used to extract the split rings on the shock assembly. Fortunately I managed to fix my mistake on the front ones without having to take them apart. Shocks are not installed on the rear yet, hopefully I can get to that next weekend.

Another job I had to do was drill holes in the chassis for brackets to hold the brake lines. This had called for 3/16″ stainless steel rivets. The kit from Breeze Automotive included the rivets I needed, but I forgot to use washers with them that increased the amount of grip they had. So I had to drill them out and find a set of new rivets. Something I’ve discovered is that finding 3/16″ stainless steel rivets with a 1/4″ grip is next to impossible and people look at you like you’re talking Greek when you ask for them. Fortunately Mr Google came to the rescue last weekend and I found that the online site for Ace Hardware stocked them. The local store didn’t, I checked. So $3.50 worth of rivets, $5.50 in shipping and they arrived last Friday. FROM Brooklyn! $@#$@%$%

Anyway, old rivets drilled out, new ones – with washers – in place, I started pumping the hand riveter. For a good 5 minutes. And then I realised that 3/16″ rivets are tough – really tough – to pop. So I went in search of the hydraulic air riveter I’d bought last year and not used yet. Found it, opened it up and put it together. I needed hydraulic oil for it, so another trip, this time to Sears for a bottle of hydraulic oil. All put together, air compressor charged, I put on my safety glasses and prepared myself. Pushed the riveter onto the rivet, gently squeezed the trigger … BANG. At this point I wish I had my Staples ‘That was easy!’ button handy and kicked myself for not having used it in the first place. Strike another one for ‘it’s easier if you have the right tool’.

So there we end the update – other than an injury report. Today I sacrificed to the great Cobra god. I gave much sweat – even with a fan blowing, the garage is over 90 deg F. I also gave a fair amount of blood today – from a 1.5″ gash in my head from sitting up getting out from under the car when I wasn’t quite clear, 3 sliced finger tips from who knows what, and a very fetching 2″ slice in my knee from the edge of a sheet of aluminium. As I was kneeling down the fix the front spring, carefully watching I didn’t bump my head, I felt a searing pain in my leg, looked down to see man and machine as one, with the F-panel on the car embedded in my leg, a clean slice and pushed all the way to the bone. It hurt. I think I might have said a bad word.

20. July 2008 by Jens
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