So, things have improved on the car. Thanks to Alex, I have a replacement rack in the car. What a cast iron bitch. Not because the rack was difficult to take out but because it was so messy!

I had let the leak fester for way too long and it showed – there was hydraulic fluid everywhere and it mixed with dirt. More on the dirt: there was a rainy night back when the county was redoing the intersection o La Cholla and Ruthrauff and I was driving with one of my kids and it was really dark. So dark that I missed the traffic re-direction away from the dirt side of the road and I went right over this pile of dirt on the border. I thought I’d bent the cross member but fortunately it had only scraped a layer of dirt off the pile and embedded it into the cracks and crevices between the rack and the cross member. Fast forward to present day – I spent at least an hour breaking out pieces of caked greasy mud and nearly vitrified mud chunks. What a pain in the ass.

Mud removed, I moved on to disconnecting everything from the rack. This included hoses, the steering column joint, sway bar, and the tie rod ends. Yeah, about those tie rod ends – nothing was easy on this little project. Normally, you hit the locking nuts with the impact and then tap on them and that loosens them up. Not this time. No amount of beating on the ends was working – time to think outside the box – then I had a Eureka! moment. :). HEAT! I pulled out the torch and hit them with a little heat and all I did was tap the ends and the ends just popped off. Go figure! Problem solved.

Re-assembly was anti-climactic. The only hiccup was that the tie rod ends didn’t have their nylock nuts – not a problem when you have an Ace Hardware nut and bolt selection :). The hardest part was re-assembling the joint on the rack to the steering column. There’s a section on the coupling that has a couple of missing serrations that need to line up so that the steering wheel is in some semblance of ‘straight’. Doing it upside down, even when you have lighting – it was a bear. Everything got put back together, down to the cleaned up metal gravel shield. Best of all – no leaks!

Swapping out the radiator was anti-climactic – just a simple swap. It took me longer to get the radiator repaired at Performance Radiator on Ft Lowell. Only $40 and a couple of days and it was done.

And just like that, over a weekend, the car was almost leak free. There’s still a minor oil leak, need to find where it’s coming from. I know that the rear main seal needs to be replaced and it looks like the oil lines going to the remote oil filter. In addition, it looks like the cam seal is leaking and the water pump is failing. Looks like there’s another weekend of work in my future.

And we’re up and running…

So now I’ve got the car on the road. The combination of the catalytic converter and the oxygen sensor did the trick, along with some updating tuning. It passed the idle emissions test with flying colors. My only downside was that the registration on the car had lapsed and the state charges you $8 for the first month and $4 for each additional month, so my charges came go $48 plus the original $19.95. It was either register it now and go through again or wait and hope the van didn’t crap out by then. We bit the bullet and registered.

I still have to replace the radiator and power steering rack but I’ve got those two handled. Performance Radiator on Ft. Lowell took care of it for me for only $40.91 – much cheaper than a new 3-core radiator! This is the better of the two radiators that I have for the car, they’re both 3-core, but the repaired one is a Nissens and the quality of the radiator is much higher. The power steering is another matter – it’s leaking like a sieve and the left inner ball joint is loose, causing the front end to shimmy at speed. Fortunately, my friend Alex had one in great shape for $60. Again, can’t beat that.

I got the tag today (06-MAR-2013) so it’s officially street-legal. 🙂

My plans for the weekend are to replace both the radiator and power steering rack. It’ll be messy, but hopefully, fruitful.

It begins anew…

So, I’ve started getting my Bertone road-worthy again. I started by ordering a replacement catalytic converter and getting a wide-band oxygen sensor from Oreilly’s (old Checker Auto). This past weekend I cleaned off the hood and the trunk (still can’t find my damn cordless screw driver). After I cleaned it off I popped the hood and pulled the battery out to charge it. A few hours on the charger and the battery was up to 12.42 volts and as of today (28-JAN) it’s holding at 12V. Good news. Now the bad news. Looks like the radiator is hosed, the thermostatic switch that screws in to the radiator is corroded and the retainer that screws in just came off in my hand. I’ll need to replace the camshaft, layshaft, and crank seals in front and the rear main seal. They won’t cost much, but will take a lot of time to fix. It’s worth it because the car is still pretty solid. What makes it worth it? When my kids get excited that ‘Daddy’s working on the car!’