Monday, July 30, 2012

Wings and Springs: Final assembly of the shocks

This weekend we finished off the assembly of the shocks. After having received the original units re-built by Koni USA (see old post) we replaced the springs for new units and with great care were able to put everything together without any scratches.

A few details to note. While it is not clear in the photos the shocks were re-painted the correct shade of orange/red that Koni used in the 1970's. New replacements come in a much more red colour. Also the correct winged KONI decal was applied as new replacements either have the new Koni logo or the decal 'Koni Classic' on them. Neither is correct to original.

First a pic of what we started with.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wal-Mart does its part: The rear view mirror restoration

Every once in a while there is a part that consumes just a crazy amount of time and effort to do. In this case the internal rear view mirror (the only mirror to be fitted to the car) was a lesson in patience and persistence. Lucky for us Paul has these qualities in spades and directed them towards making the mirror like new again.

Our first challenge was that the flip lever that changes the mirror angle was not working. Upon opening the unit we found a broken piece in the mechanism. Luckily our American friend Randle had a spare and sent it our way; THANK YOU.

Now it came time for the new mirror and glass. When we went to buy glass the person working there was very knowledgeable and told us that we need 2mm thick mirror and that it is a very hard thickness to find because most mirror is much thicker. Given that the mirror is not too large he told us that the solution lay in an inexpensive vanity mirror that can be bought at Wal-Mart in the beauty department. You see the mirrors sold there are made as cheap as possible so to save money they make them very thin. Sure enough $4 later we had a mirror that was the EXACT thickness as the original Ferrari part.

Alas we were not going to get off that easy. Finding a glass cutter with proper attention to detail proved impossible so after 3 failed attempts (and as many scrapped mirrors) we finally found one place that got it close enough to our liking that a few hours of polishing with oil and abrasive stones got the edges of the glass perfect. Also particular to this mirror is a light bevel on the top and bottom that allows the plastic mounting clips a surface to grasp on to. We gave up early on having this done and did it ourselves during the edge polishing.

In addition to this came endless hours of stripping, polishing, priming, sanding, powder coating, and plating to get the mirror looking perfect. Today it all came together and it is finished and ready to install. Another part down and we pray that the others go a little smoother and faster than this one.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hill Engineering Wheel Bolts: The finest of the fine

With our old hardware looking tired we recently received new wheel bolts from Hill Engineering purchased through Ricambi America and are pleased to say that they are of extraordinarily fine construction. Everything from the machining to the chrome finish is fantastic and it is good to know that we will be riding with our wheels being held on with new fasteners.

We have bought from Hill Engineering a number of times over the years and their products never fail to impress. I cannot recommend them strongly enough and customers in the US can buy their products from Ricambi America that has and equally good reputation for service. Website links to these companies can be found on the left menu.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Luigi does it again. Winner at the Dana Point Concours

After winning the La Jolla Concours and the FCA Bella Italia event in San Diego we decided to enter Luigi in the very prestigious Dana Point Concours. This time though there would be a twist as Paul would be showing the car and it would be his first experience as an entrant in a judged concours.

The day was typical perfect California weather and Paul was ready for the challenge. At shows end Luigi again won his class and the accolades of the judges. Perhaps most touching was that our fellow competitor, whom has a collection of over 150 cars and his own museum, took one look at our Fiat before judging and proclaimed that 'I might as well go home now'.

Luigi is now back at rest and work on the Dino continues.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A gift for Dad realizes a dream over 50 years on

Today we got to do something really special. Our obsession with cars and Ferraris runs long and deep with much of it fueled by stories our father told us as we were growing up. Among these tales is one of his friend getting an authentic set of factory Ferrari work overalls back when he was a teenager. His friend was SO excited to have these overalls that he wore them everywhere including to bed; such was his passion for Ferrari. As we started work on the Dino he recounted this story and mentioned in passing that he would like something to be able to wear when working on the car.

While digging for parts we came across an original set of factory work overalls as delivered to employees of Ferrari. Sadly they were size small so we knew that it would take a small miracle in order to have them fit. Lucky for us our magic dust came in the way of a master seamstress that we call Mom. Massively experienced, and with an ability not often seen anymore, she opened up the garment and modified it by skillfully adding a black gusset on the side thereby increasing its size as needed (mind you this was all done by eye without the luxury of fitting). Once completed things were topped off with dad’s name fittingly embroidered on the breast.

After a pile of work it was all done and given today. The fit was tailor-perfect and dad was so excited to have the overalls that he insisted to keep them on for the drive home. I’m sure he never could have imagined that over 50 years after his friend got a set that he would have his own. It leaves me to wonder what he will wear to bed tonight?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Restoration tip: Indexing the flywheel to increase ring gear life

In life you never stop learning and this little tip is an example of that. Recently a very experienced mechanic clued me in that the flywheel on a 6 cylinder engine will always stop on one of 3 approximate places when the engine is turned off. As a result every time you go to start the engine, the gear on the starter motor engages the ring gear not randomly on the flywheel but on one of three areas. Once we removed our flywheel this was perfectly visible. There was engagement wear on the flywheel in exactly three locations and everywhere else the teeth were factory fresh and like new.

Now for the money saving tip. If you find excessive wear on your ring gear it can be removed and turned by a sixth of a turn (or turned one bolt on the crank if re-balancing the engine) exposing brand new teeth to the starter motor. In our case the wear was so minimal that it was not necessary but if you ever priced out a ring gear from Ferrari you will know how useful this tip can be.

On another note the butcher mechanic of the previous owner showed his colours again. This time it was in the form of Grade 8.8 bolts that were used to hold the flywheel in place. For those not familiar with bolt grading, using these bolts in this application ranks up with using wooden tooth pics as nails in the framing of a house. Way too weak and we were lucky to catch the fault before a catastrophic failure. Needless to say appropriate new bolts have been purchased and they will be going  on.

The first yellow paint: Building the front spindles

Today the first yellow paint went on the Dino but sadly it was not on the body. Instead it was a small amount applied by brush to the castle nuts on the front steering spindles. Ferrari later went on to use yellow paint to indicate that fasteners had been tightened but when 01464 was born this practice only applied to the spindles.

Another Ferrari mystery as to why this is the case but many restoration shops apply yellow paint to bolts and clamps on Dino's and while it looks impressive, it is not historically correct.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A hot water bath: Restoring and testing the radiator fan switch

We decided to restore and test our radiator fan switch rather than replace it figuring that if it worked well there was no reason to change it out. First step was to restore it. This was easily done with some elbow grease for the hard grime and a low pressure blast with glass bead to give it its final finish.

Below the grime we revealed the operating temperature for the switch and tested it using heated water, a thermometer, and a continuity tester. The switch works in a very simple way; it is screwed into the radiator and comes in contact with the engine coolant. When the coolant reaches a pre-determined temperature, the switch is activated and completes the circuit to the radiator cooling fans thereby turning them on. When the coolant cools enough the reverse takes place and the fan motors are turned off.

Another part done and ready to join the soon to be painted radiator.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A most knowledgable man: Meeting Dino expert Matthias Bartz in Germany

In multiple posts I have referred to Matthias from Germany as one of our primary sources for information in restoring our Dino. Last week, while in Germany, I had the chance to meet up with him to discuss Dino's and the wonderful experiences that he had in putting the famed Dino Compendium book together over a period of 2 years.

After this encounter I am quite confident in the belief that Matthias is certainly the worlds foremost authority on the subject of the Dino marque. It was a real pleasure to spend some time with him and for that I am very thankful.

Our meeting did leave me with a moment of pause. The German people are often seen as stern and regimented but, as seen in our second composite image, it appears as though some Italian exuberance has rubbed off on Matthias as his expressive gestures would suggest that it is he rather than I that is of Italian heritage.

These cars really bring out the passion in you.