Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Eye sockets: Restoring the headlight buckets

A little over a year ago we posted our special find of NOS headlights. For those who missed it the post is here:


Today we managed to finish the housings that these lights reside in. Not that it took a year to do it but some of the pieces took some time to source out so now we have a complete assembly. Among these are correct to original brass rivets that hold the spring clips that fix the large headlight rings in place. These rivets were set with a special tool Dad made on the lathe from an old bolt.

Once installed they look OEM perfect; its just too bad they cannot be seen. In addition every part was either powder coated, re-plated, or cleaned. Note the large dish shaped ring which is galvanized and not plated. Another assembly ready for final installation.

Now for some before and after photos

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas tale...

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the shop, not a ratchet was turning, not a Weber did pop.
The shop coats were hung on the hangers with care, knowing restoration work would resume in the New Year.
Dino shirts were folded all neat in a stack, as gifts for the helpers to cover their backs.
When near the hoist, there arose such a clatter, I stopped staring at gearbox castings to see what was the matter.
Then I lifted my cap away from my eyes, I saw a most welcome surprise…
A speed shape in yellow, some leather and rug, all samples to show the assembly to come.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us working on the Dino

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Top tip: Properly sealing the inboard CV drive flanges

A common problem on both Dino's and Ferrari 308/328 cars is the contamination of the inboard CV joint by poorly sealed drive flange splines. If gear oil leaks through the flanges it dilutes the grease in the CV preventing proper lubrication and causing premature wear.

To prevent this I would like to share a procedure that I thankfully learned from David F. at Ferrari Service of Bedford (www.fluentinferrari.com)

First up is using the correct sealant and in this case we use Permatex RTV sealant that is resistant to gear oil. Gear oil has certain friction modifiers that attack regular RTV sealants so it is necessary to use the appropriate material for the application.

Next up is a look at the spline that leaks. The outside diameter is kept dry by means of a seal but oil can still creep through the splines and into the CV.

The RTV sealant is spread neatly but liberally on the inside of the splines of the CV flange. Note also the mark made to show the location of the indexing hole.

The CV flange can now be slid into position. Leave the overflow of RTV as it will serve to act as a final seal.

With the drive flange installed now the mounting bolt and washer must be installed. Note that the notch in the large washer goes in the hole marked by the line. Also you can see the overflow of RTV has been flattened by the large washer making a nice large continuous seal under it.

Lastly using some bolts and a large pry bar, the flange is held stationary while the prescribed torque is applied to the fixing bolt.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

One last look inside: Finishing the gearbox

Before closing the gearbox we had a chance to shoot some photos of the inside before it was all shut tight. It is a real pity we cannot display the internals as the Dino gearbox is really quite a nice looking piece of engineering. Alas it has a job to do and is now ready for many miles and surely many smiles.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Restoration tip: Change all of the seals!

When working on an Italian car you will find that there are seals and o-rings everywhere. Some are obvious and others are a little harder to find. To find them all it is important to get a parts book and check EVERY assembly piece by piece to make sure you have not missed anything.

Case in point is an oil seal that is in the speedometer drive unit on the gearbox. Previous 'experts' had just tried using more and more silicone to try and stop a leak without knowing that there is a dedicated oil seal deep in the assembly. Sure enough disassembly revealed a seal that was hard as a rock and crumbled upon touching it.

We found such mechanical sins all over the place as previous maintenance and re-builds only replaced the most obvious seals. We are adamant of replacing every millimeter of rubber on the car so it is essential to use the parts book as your guide.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The value of time: Saving money and earning satisfaction by re-building the clock

One of the jobs I did not look forward to was the clock restoration. I knew that I would be restoring some of the external bits but was pretty sure that the mechanicals would be sent to a watch specialist for refurbishment. The problem is that it costs some $400 to have the service done on a Veglia clock and that was a sum that I was not looking forward to paying. This weekend in a moment of inspiration I decided to tackle the full timekeeping overhaul on my own. The clock had not run in over a decade so I knew I was in for a rough ride.

First step was to take everything apart and categorize everything. There was evidence of previous work attempts and the case had been painted gold rather than the correct yellow zinc.

After taking the entire movement apart, it was re-assembled and lubricated with great care. Below shows the moment of truth as power is added and the clock operated for the first time this millennium.

With the internals now operating the face and hands were installed and the clock was run for a day to set its time keeping. With a little adjusting it is now keeping perfect time. Well perfect for an Italian made auto clock :)

With the clock running next step was to make a new acrylic crystal. All of the gauges on the Dino have glass lenses with the exception of the clock which used plastic. This is because a small hole is needed to allow the time setting knob to pass through and glass would break. Dino's commonly have scratched, yellowed, or cracked plastic. Ours was tired and needed to be re-made. In order to execute a perfect circle I decided to turn the plastic in a lathe. A sheet of 0.080" (2mm) thick acrylic was bought at my local Lowes and I did a rough cut to get the size close. Next I grabbed a socket that was close in size to the finished lens and put 2 sided tape on the end. You will see below how this held the plastic in place for machining.

With the 2 sided tape holding the plastic in place I was able to turn a perfect circle

Here I am at work doing the final de-burring prior to dismounting from the lathe.

Once finished I drilled the hole on the surface and gave the lens a light polishing by hand. As you can see the edge looks perfect like a production part.

An now for a bit of real awesomeness. I was able to find a small number of 100% brand new light bulbs as delivered to Ferrari. These came stamped with 'FIAT' on them and I saved one for use on the clock.

Lastly here is a pic of the finished article. New lens, re-painted hands, re-plated case, and cleaned EVERYTHING. I hardly consider myself a horologist but I'm pretty proud of this result and happy to have both saved some money and learned a little about clocks.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Metaphysical decision: Restorations and the odometer reading

When fully restoring a car eventually you must turn your attention to the gauges and the odometer. At this stage there are two schools of thought:

1. Reset the odometer

Because the car has received a full restoration, then the odometer can be reset to zero. None of this is to fool anyone because a well documented resto would note this but the thought is that with the car being 'new' then so to is the mileage.

2. Leave the odometer reading alone

The mileage is part of the history and story of the car and a restoration is merely an addition to that story and not a new beginning. The mileage should continue from where the restoration started as it would be incorrect to tamper with the accumulated distance so far.

In our restoration we believe in the latter idea and are happy to start off where we left. To this end we fully serviced our speedometer and will be beginning the next phase of its life at 70496 miles. Well maybe one or two will be added on the bench as we distribute the new lubricant on the gears by turning the input shaft with a drill.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Totally in sync: Starting the assembly of the gearbox

With the gearbox casings painted, internals micro polished, and a whole slew of new bearings, bushings, and synchros to install the gearbox was assembled.

We'll have more pics in a later post but for now some photos of the early progress.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The final step: Painting the gearbox casings

After an incredibly long journey, we finally have the gearbox casing painted. Almost as time consuming as the paint process was the choosing of a correct paint. The right finish had to be of course the correct colour, the correct gloss, and extremely durable.

First came choosing the correct colour and gloss level. This was done by studying a number of original un-restored casings from which we determined a close similarity allowing us to know exactly what to shoot for.

Next came choosing the paint in which close to 30 different silvers were evaluated. Some came from spray cans (as seen below) and others through mixed catalysed paints. It is at this time that we have to give a special thanks to our new friend George B. who literally went to the ends of the earth to help us. George took a special interest in our project and rallied the top chemists at PPG to try and match the finish we were after. In the end, the newer water borne toners just could not achieve the colour we were after which left us to poll spray cans for the correct finish.

With a number of finalists we subjected the finishes to extreme durability tests until there was just two left. Again more tests eeked out a winner in the Wurth product shown below.

After painting and drying, the castings were given a final wash in preparation for assembly. The main casting was mounted to a stand that will eventually hold the final engine / gearbox combination.

It was a long road to get here and we hope that in sharing our research we can save someone the great amount of time expenditure we had to endure.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gauging progress: The first instrument is re-built

One down seven to go as we just finished the restoration of the fuel gauge. In previous posts we profiled how we repaired broken mounting studs, re plated the outside and repainted the inside of our instruments. For those who missed the old posts they can be found here:

Crazy Task #4: Micro welding the most obscure of studs

Getting messy with spray paint: Finishing the instrument housings

Today all of the nicely restored parts came together. In addition to cleaning everything we tested to make sure that everything worked as it should. Assembling the gauges is a tedious task requiring a number of home made tools that aid in the proper sealing of the case. Everything must be surgically clean so great care is taken to ensure that there are no marks or lint anywhere during assembly.

We will post as more instruments come together but for now the transformation of the fuel gauge.