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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

And the Javelin it is! (As long as it lasts)

My last post was quite long and technical; this one will be similar. If this is boring to our readers; please let us



know!

Tuesday started with a quick trip to Walmart for some tools, lots of water, some odds and ends (like Lunch-ables for lunch). We got to the Javelin mid-morning and Jon quickly swapped the carb while I installed new rear brake cylinders that we had purchased Monday night. 

Both systems continued to have problems and we spent hours troubleshooting. Personally I estimate I spent 3+ hours laying under the car; not counting the time spent kneeling beside it doing brakes etc. 

I'll discuss the fuel problem first. The car has a fuel pump mounted on the engine that creates suction and pulls gas from the tank. We can see how the pump is performing because there is a clear plastic fuel filter on the top of the engine. After the new carb was installed we fiddled with it for a long time trying to get it to run. Most of this work was done by Chris (more on this later) as he is a master mechanic and knows these systems better than any of us. The car would start; the fuel would flow, and then it would slow to a trickle. We had already determined the pump was good with the fuel-in-a-bottle test the prior evening so we expanded that test by moving around the car. After a couple failed tests, we finally determined there still had to be some restriction in the line from the left rear wheel to the engine; the same line we blew the mud dauber out of. After repeating the process (see my last post) of blowing air through the line a couple more times from front to back and back to front we still had the same problems. Chris finally went along and tapped and pinched the fuel line with a pliers along it's length. We then pumped the air compressor to 120 PSI and FINALLY got some more "chunks" out of the line. My guess is that a small crimp in the line held something back and squeezing it slightly opened it up. That effort took probably 3 hours or more.
Jon under the hood

The brake problem ended up being the significant one. After replacing the rear cylinders we still couldn't get the brakes to bleed. After hours of fruitless effort we gave up and carefully drove the car down the road to one of Chris' houses that was nearby where there was a big garage to work on. Jon drove and made good use of hills, neutral, and the emergency brake to make the trip. 
The Javelin with Jon and Marty; driving away from the yard

Chris graciously moved his beautiful 1972 Duster out of the garage so the janky Javelin could take it's place. 
The pictures don't do this justice; it's a beautiful ground-up-restoration

Marty and Chris took the wheels and tires from the Javelin into Albuquerque to have Pep Boys swap them with the new ones we'd put on the Catalina and Jon and I tried to figure out the brakes. We had no luck and other than a nice chat with Mike who stopped by looking for Chris we didn't make much progress. About 3 hours later, after Marty and Chris returned we tackled the brakes again with Chris' guidance. We had determined that the problem was likely the master cylinder we had replaced on Monday so we returned to the junk-yard for that cylinder and reinstalled it. We were still unable to get any pedal feel whatsoever; in fact it was worse than before.  

Finally Chris jumped in the car and rapidly pumped the brakes for several minutes and then had me start bleeding again. Slowly we started to make some progress; his rapid pumping caused the brake fluid to foam and each time I'd open the bleeder foaming fluid would spray out but it was progress. Working around the car about 4 times got us a decent pedal for the first time in two days. At this point it was dark but we had a running car that had brakes. I took the car out for a test drive.

That was a trip. I pulled on to the high way and gave the car some gas; it was pretty gutless but not much worse than our 2014 Corolla rental car. The low beams were pretty dim so I hit the high beams to be rewarded with worse lights; in fact the high beams seem to be aimed 20 feet in front of the car. I had no mirrors and of course someone immediately pulled out behind me so I felt I had to try to maintain a decent speed but wait; I couldn't see the speedometer because there were no dash lights! Finally I saw a road sign and was able to pull over and stop and let some traffic pass before heading back. It's hard to describe that experience but the lights were so poor that it was very uncomfortable. 

When I arrived back Chris had the title out and the guys were packing up. We hadn't expected the car to get fixed honestly so we hadn't talked about what the next step was. The consensus was to drive the car back to Albuquerque and get a hotel again. Frankly I wasn't in agreement but I could see how that could save us a lot of time so I agreed and said I'd drive. I was not at all excited about the prospect but it was better me than one of the other two and I'd already gotten a feel for the car; so I followed them down the mountain. Yes, I said mountain. I was allowed to drive the car whose drum brakes we'd just "repaired" downhill for 40 minutes. It was epic. However, it wasn't the brakes that kept things interesting; it was the fumes. About half way down I realized that the exhaust leak was going to be a problem. It was subtle before that. I had the drivers side window down but that wasn't enough; the huge fenders on the Javelin keep the wind away from the window. I tried directing air with my hand, I tried cutting the bottom off the water bottle (using the sharp edge of the automatic gear shifter) and directing that at my face but nothing helped unless I got a direct wind that blew into the car. By the time we got down my eyes were beet red and I felt "funny." We'll have to fix that.

Anyway, for the second night in a row; Jon, Marty and I arrived at the hotel physically and emotionally beat. Jon and I were dirty from head to toe from laying in the dirty junk yard most of the day on rocks and in brake fluid. Marty faired better because . . well, watch this video to see why Marty doesn't get dirty.

Now Jon and I are about to try to return the rental car. I guess we'll see how the Javelin faired the night in front of the Super 8 (where we parked it hoping nobody would try to steal anything since we can't lock it.)

We'll let you know how things go; thanks for following along!


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