Despite the cold and snow, I’ve managed to get a few more things done.
As I adjusted all the brakes (the old “tighten bolt and loosen a bit” technique), I discovered that the left front brake was a self-adjuster system. Have no clue why three wheels are manual adjusters, and one is self-adjuster. Maybe one froze up and had to be replaced “in a pinch”.
As the left front brake “sticks”, first I’ll try to adjust it. If adjusting fails, I can install a replacement manual adjuster system. The self-adjuster is a strange mechanism: each shoe is set in a slot, held tight by friction washers. Those washers allow the shoe to gradually move in the slot, out toward the drum, as the shoe’s brake lining wears thinner. But it’s a real pain to try to adjust – which I learned on Blue Angel, the 1958 220S.
As I’m waiting for brake parts to arrive, I asked my neighbor Ernie to see if he could repair the air cleaner canister. The previous owner got a bit careless, put it in the garage floor … then drove over it. Here’s the sad result:
Ernie worked a miracle – got it back into round shape. Here’s the unit – which I’ve now cleaned and painted – back in place on the engine:
I’m also waiting for some metric fiber washers for the carburetor. The Royze rebuild kit didn’t have the right size washers, so a few of the jets and plugs leaked. In the meantime, I did some research on how to improve the condition of the Bakelite window surrounds. Bakelite is the first “artificial” plastic material, developed around 1900.
I found that after cleaning with soapy water, you can greatly improve the finish by (1) rubbing lightly with Vaseline, and then (2) polishing with Kiwi brown shoe polish. Contrast the left side (untreated) with the center and right side (treated):
February 8-9 Connecticut had the heaviest single-day snowfall since the 1880s. Took me over four hours to clear the driveway.
Now recuperating by fixing up some things inside the house. Hope the brake and carb parts arrive soon.
28 February. Brake parts still not here, but carb parts came a few days ago. After finishing the carb and re-fitting the air cleaner unit, I eagerly cranked it up. Unfortunately, the engine was very difficult to start, and had a very poor idle. As there was *no* fuel flow problem, I figured maybe a plug wire was loose.
While the engine was idling, I decided to wiggle each plug wire and connection. Not smart.
When I ran my hand along one wire and reached the connection on the distributor cap, my arm jerked back and (what’s left of) my hair stood on end. I don’t necessarily recommend this method – but this revealed a major crack in the wire’s rubber insulation; my hand received the full 12,000 volts directly from the copper wire inside the insulation. I later found several other cracks in the wires. New plug wires, cap, and rotor ordered that evening.
Never a dull moment.