Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Introduction to the team. Meet 'The Mig'

After years of struggling with pop rivets, glues, tapes, and bolts the shop finally has a welder.

Hailing from parts unknown and weighing an indeterminate amount, we are proud to welcome 'The Mig'. From less aristocratic roots, he is the distant cousin of driving ace 'The Stig' and the less precise brother of specialist welder 'The Tig'. With a fiery temperament and auto darkening eyes we expect big things from him.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Crazy Task #2: A perfect taper

This is going to be a busy week with lots of updates. Paul, Dad, and I are all in town at the same time so we are hoping at least 3 times as much work is going to get done. Today as we got to work another task that showed our craziness came up. With that I present 'Crazy Task #2'

One of the brake caliper bolts needed to be replaced however these special Ribe head bolts are near impossible to get and we had to source one from a vintage Porsche. It was identical in all aspects but was 5 mm longer. Breaking out the hacksaw and cutting it shorter just would not do so not only did we trim it down on the lathe but we made sure to make an additional end taper that perfectly matched the OEM bolt that came on the Dino. Now all that is left is a re-plate of the bolt and it can be used.

Stay tuned as there will be lots of updates this week and I promise them to be more substantial that photos of the end of a bolt :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Taking a break to go for a drive

Yesterday I took a drive with some Fiat enthusiasts and two Dino's decided to come along. We drove through the Angeles National Forest on some great roads that reminded me of Northern Italy. Thank you to Jim and Steve for bringing out their 246's and Merkel for hosting the drive.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Finishing the fan blades and fuel tank straps

Finishing work continues. First come the magnesium blades for the radiator fans. Before starting they were pretty ugly looking but some walnut blasting and powdercoat made them better than new.

Next came the fuel straps. These were a challenge because the ends are plated but the straps go black. The soloution was to zinc plate the entire strap, mask off the ends, sandblast and then powdercoat. Yes this is an insane amount of work for parts that are bearly visible but then again no one ever said we were sane.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Radiator fan motor restoration. Giving our Lucas units new life.

Today we finished restoration of the radiator fan motors. Early Dino's had Lucas fan motors with magnesium fan blades. The blades will be covered in a future installment so today we turn our attention to the motors themselves.

The first step was disassembly and determination of the correct finishes. A little research took care of that for us.

The correct finishes for the Lucas motors are as follows:

Main Body: Hammer tone silver paint
End Cap: Raw cast aluminum
Fasteners: Clear zinc plating

Here are a few points of note:

1. Main body was dis-assembled, sand blasted and painted using Tremclad Hammertone Rust Paint in silver and it is a dead on match for original. The product page for this is:

The paint was baked in an oven to get it extra hard. Otherwise it would be needed to wait about a week for it to otherwise harden well.

We considered using hammertone powdercoat but after reviewing some colour chips we saw that the finish was too coarse compared to original. The spray can offered a perfect match.

2. The end cap was walnut blasted at a distance to avoid any pebbling of the aluminum. Once cleaned with some WD40 and ultra fine steel wool, the result is a part that looks freshly cast despite being 40 years old. Note that this part gets no paint of any kind.

3. All of the fasteners were stripped and clear zinc plated. As a tip, during re-assembly a little bit of grease was put under the head of the bolt to prevent tearing the paint below it. We could have added a washer there but that would not have been original.

Below are some before and after along with some side by side photos. They should tell the tale. We are pretty pleased with the results.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Controling the leaks with rubber lined pressure sealing washers

Take a look under most Ferrari's and you will find a drip or two of oil. It has often been said that a Ferrari that does not leak oil is a Ferrari that is out of oil. Quite often these leaks trace back to the studs that align and attach the engine and gearbox sump covers. Despite using correct gaskets, hot oil winds itself down the threads of the mounting studs, seeps through the nut and forms a little drip on the end of the stud.

Look again under the car and pay attention to the nuts that hold the sump covers in place. Almost always you will see a little drip forming just waiting to deposit itself on the garage floor. The solution comes in the way of these neat little washers (called 'pressure sealing washers') available from McMaster-Carr. They have a high temperature and oil resistant rubber seal bonded to the washer and seal against the sump mounting studs. Once installed they look 100% original and stop the leaks.

Available from and cost about 70 cents each. Money very well spent.

Hand made with a hacksaw...Only in Italy

The mysteries of Italian hand made craftsmanship never cease to amaze. We were inspecting the dash heating and ventilation levers and found that they all seemed to be cut with a hacksaw. Not only that all 4 levers (including the choke) were cut like this and there was no evidence that they had ever been taken apart.

Complicated explanations and justifications were all abolished with the help (again) of our friend in Germany, Matthias. He sent us photos of an NOS lever and certified that indeed, the Italians cut parts to fit on the assembly line.

I can only image the confusion in ordering a replacement part back in the day.