Brake light switch (again!)


So way back in September I found out the original brake light switch on the car was bad.  So I replaced it with a new one.  Then this last weekend my wife and I were filling tires and checking lights and found the brake lights were not working again.  I quickly tracked the problem back to the switch.  Evidently the new switch suffered some infant mortality.  Dammit.

Continue reading “Brake light switch (again!)”

Alternator and steering work


This morning I started back in on attaching the new alternator.  First step was soldering in the fusible link.  The first wire on the right went really well,  The second one not so much.  The red wire is original to the car and the solder did not want to stick to the old dirty copper.  By the time I got it soldered it was a big mess and the shrink tube would not fit over it.  Rats.  I should un-solder the whole mess and start over but I am ready to wrap it in electrical tape and move on.


Looks pretty nice.  Then I realized I had not put the wires below the alternator back in the loom so I had to take it apart again and fix it.


So then I put it together and realized I forgot to tighten the bolt on the alternator bracket behind the coil.  So I took it apart again.  This time I put spacer washers in there to make everything line up better.  The red circles show where the washers are.


The mount is nice and tight, wires are loomed, and brackets lined up.  Then I realized I had the belt on the wrong pulley.  At least this time I did not have to take it apart completely.


I do NOT want to take this apart again.  But it looks good this time.  I checked the wiring and the ground on the alternator with a meter.


On my last parts store run I also picked up a ground strap.  I don’t see on on the engine so I figure better safe than sorry.  The plan is to use one of the holes in the frame where the snow plow used to mount for one end and a bolt on the engine for the other.  The hole in the frame is pretty big so I rigged up that stack of washers to make it work.  I nee.d the big long bolt because the frame is fully boxed.

So here is where the picture of the installed ground strap would go but that picture did not turn out well at all so we will just have to imagine it.


Speedometer cable time.  With the instrument cluster out of the way it pulls right out.


I wiped down the cable then fed it back in.  As I put it in I lubed it with cable lubricant.


Here is the transmission end of the speedometer cable.  I took it loose to make sure the cable got back into its hole correctly.  No problems I hope.


I still don’t have the bulb sockets for the instrument cluster so I moved on to the steering.  I took out the reach rod.  This comes out by removing the cotter pins and unscrewing the end caps until the socket is loose enough to pop off.  The sockets are pretty worn but I have a rebuild kit.


I removed the steering bell crank as well.  I removed the pinch bolt then the big pivot bolt.  I expected the bushing to be badly word but it is nice and tight.


I popped the tie rod end with my nifty tie-rod-end popper.


And we have tie rod ends.  I measured these and marked the positions of everything so I could put it back together like it came apart.  Then I settled in for a parts cleaning and painting party.  Then while the paint was drying it started to rain.  So the end  result was no pictures.  But I take some putting things back together tomorrow.

Test fitting new alternator


I want on a NAPA run and scored a rebuilt 65A Delco alternator, a fusible link, and the alternator electrical connector.  Now I have to install it.


The first step is to figure out the existing wiring.  What we have here is the factory alternator wiring adapted to the ammeter my dad installed.  The positive battery cable is connected to the starter solenoid.  A red #12 wire runs from the solenoid terminal to a ring terminal that has been bolted to a blue wire running back to the ammeter on the dash.  That joint is the silver blob in the upper middle of the picture.  Another blue #12 wire runs from the other side of the ammeter to that ring terminal in the upper left of the picture.  So that is the battery side of the circuit.  The other loose red wire with a ring terminal supplies power to the rest of the car via the circuit breaker back on the kick panel.  Both the loose ring terminals used to attach to the output terminal on the old alternator.  The thin grey wire feeds to the amp light on the instrument cluster.


This picture I took before ripping out the old alternator shows how the wires were connected.  We are going to do something similar but more safely and with (hopefully) better reliability.


First step is get the old regulator out.  We will not need this any more, the Delco is internally regulated.  Three screws and it is gone.


Second step replace that bolt and two ring terminals.  I soldered the wire from the solenoid (and battery) to the ammeter wire and protected it with shrink tube.  That white stuff all over the valve cover is debris from the tape that was insulating the old connection.


This is the custom fusible link I put together to feed this system.  The idea behind a fusible link is to protect the rest of the car from a major short.  The link is simply wire in a extra-sturdy insulation.  If the system shorts the wire burns up contained in the insulation protecting the rest of the system.  The fusible link should be 4 gauges less than the wire being protected.  Since with are running #12 wire the fusible link is #16.  Since there are two branches off the alternator I put two fusible links on one ring terminal.  That ring terminal will connect to the output terminal of the alternator and the two branches will be soldered to the red and blue wires in the picture above that feed the car and battery respectively.


Time to test-fit the new alternator.  Fits nice and the wires will reach.


I also ran a new negative battery cable.  Here you can see it snaking down to the bottom bolt on the alternator mounting bracket.


I got a new voltage regulator in the mail so I decided to take a side trip into getting the gauges working again.  The main reason is I want to make sure the amp light will work with this alternator.  I installed the regulator and rigged the alternator wiring so the car got power.   But the gauges are still dead.  Dammit.  I checked the ground on the regulator and that was fine so the problem must be elsewhere.


I figured the next step was to remove the gauge cluster and see what is going on.  It actually came out really easily.  I unscrewed the speedometer cable, disconnected the electrical connector, then pressed the spring clips and it popped right out.


Now we can see everything.  I should have done this before, it gives great access to the rest of the dash wiring.  You can see here where the regulator goes and the electrical connector on the right side.  When I turned the cluster over it rattled.  That can’t be good.


And there is the rattle.  Three of the light bulb sockets are broken and several others are pretty brittle.  I think these are standard IP light bulb sockets so I will just replace both the bulbs and the sockets.


I tested the printed circuit board on the back of the cluster and found that the board is good but the contacts on are all pretty dirty.  I cleaned them up.  That might have been the problem but I will also check the cluster connector wiring before I put this back in.  I will also have to clean and lube the speedometer cable, which will be a messy job.  Meanwhile I will have to finish up the alternator wiring.  But I am out of time for now.



Top wiring


Time to wire up the top motor.  This is where I think I want to put them.  This up under the dash on the left side above the kick panel.  The main circuit breaker is just over on the right with all those red wires going into it.  That reinforcing bar running across there looks like a fine place to mount some relays.


The thing is I would rather not drill any holes to mound this.  So I dug around in my scrap metal and found this bit of sheet steel.  I think it is part of an old floppy drive of all things.  I measured out a strip about two inches wide.


The idea is to make a hook that clamps to the top of that reinforcing bar.  To give it some spring I mounted a long screwdriver in vice and bent the strip around it.


After some bending and cutting I ended up with this.  I test fit it and marked the length so screws would not interfere with the structure of the car.  I marked the holes and drilled them.


Two sheet metal screws and the mounting is done.


I am putting the wiring diagram in here so the kids can play at home.


The first two wires are the wires that will run from the coils of the relay (86) to the switch.  These will route power to the up or down relay depending on which way the switch is pulled.  Here are the spade connectors that will connect to the switch.  I only had one insulated connector.  I will put shrink tube over the other one.


Notice the relay sockets are marked down and up.  Next I need to hook up the leads for battery power.  The two yellow wires tie to the normally open contact of the relays (87).  The yellow wires will get power from the circuit breaker via the red wire with the inline fuse.  Here I have the wires stripped and twisted together.

img_20160927_185637  img_20160927_185736

I soldered the wires.  I used that pair of forceps to keep the shrink tube from getting too hot.  Then I put the shrink tube in place and got it too hot 🙂


The other end of the power wire gets a ring terminal to tie to the circuit breaker.


Next are the ground wires.  The black wires are the coil grounds (85) and the red wires are the normally closed contacts on the relay (87a).   Those contacts will provide the grounds for the motor.


I soldered all these wires to a foot-long 14 gauge wire.  Eventually that wire will go to some handy ground under the dash.  The problem is I don’t have any shrink tube the right size to insulate this joint.  I will have to get some.


The two blue wires will connect the normally open contacts (87) to the existing power leads going back to the pump.  These make spade connectors will  attach to the connectors that used to connect to the switch.


Here is the end result.  I taped up the wire bundles and as soon as I get some more shrink tube I will install and test this.  I am pretty happy with it.