Silence of the valves

December 4, 2007

Long time no posting, here’s an update.

In late July I got Franz almost cleared by the Swedish vehicle inspection. Almost – meaning they DID object that it did run on diesel as opposed to gasoline, as stated in the title. But this bought me a month of legal driving (regulations says it’s legal to drive one month from a failed inspection) which I of course took advantage of, to the fullest extent. I did a trip to northern Sweden with two friends, all in all this took two weeks and we drove about 4000km (6400 miles).

4000km of test-driving of course provides some very valuable information about Franzes health.
I did learn the following

  • Front brake caliper stuck after about 200km. Manually hacked loose parts from the pads to clear the disc. Of course the caliper stuck again and again and again, and every time I took off the wheel, hacked away some more parts of the pads. This was seriously not fun and sunk my confidence in Franz.
  • Maximum speed is about 90km/h (56mph) and comfortable cruising is at about 70km/h. This is due to too high rear-end differential gearing. While not a problem for me, some other drivers, notably the five big rigs, a stretch of campers and mobile homes did object when they finally got to pass us after tailing for miles and miles on a curvy, single-lane road up north. At least judging from their quite sour faces.
  • Since it obviously is no rocket, it has quite modest fuel consumption. About 8L/100km (30mpg).
  • Worse is, that it seems Franz has a oil drinking habit, it consumes about 1L/1000km.
  • The cardan shaft vibrates a bit at speeds above 50km/h, but after 2000km you really get used to it.
  • Apart from these minor issues the trip went well. Sweden is a very beautiful country, the sun was shining most of the time and we played some serious rockn’n’roll with the Becker.

    Flakaberg hus
    Up north in Sweden

    How to perform brake caliper overhaul with almost no tools, no shop, no nothing. No there wasn’t even electricity at the location. Hand tools are manly.

    After we got home from the trip in late August, I haven’t done much more than fixing the stuck caliper. I was a bit discouraged by the fact that the engine drinks so much oil, that indicates for me it’s quite seriously worn inside and not very suitable for a vegetable oil conversion. But since all the hard work is done now, I am looking (although not that actively) for another engine to throw in. I have no real plan for Franz right now, but some things I’d like to do is (in order of importance)

  • Get him re-titles as a diesel car at the vehicle inspection
  • Take a compression test to determine how bad the engine is
  • Swap rear-axle from my donor 280SE
  • Do the vegetable oil-conversion
  • It’s december now and I have a quite busy schedule, so propably I’ll begin working on Franz sometime in january.

    Brakes, oh brakes

    July 14, 2007

    Bled the brakes today, and while test-driving today the rear left drum began to grind..
    “Oh no” was my initial thought. I hate working on drums. Seriously, drum brakes are the second worst job after cleaning toilets at a rock’n’roll bar. Just plain sucks, but it had to be done.

    So the brake was stuck.. disassembled the entire thingamagoo and found out the cylinder had stuck wide open, resulting in shoes worn to the metal. Uh oh… Better have them replaced. Now I don’t know where I can find shoes for a 40 year old car, but will make some phone calls on monday.

    Here’s a few pics.
    First, a note to my self how things are fit together so I don’t get lost when assembling it again. Note the left shoe, completely worn down. No, not a single fraction of a millimeter left.
    Rear brakes

    Second, inside of the drum assembly after thorough cleaning. Got the cylinder unstuck by various creative uses of .. force. Lubed it up and seems to work like a charm now. Unfortunately the cylinder rubbers were quite disintegrated, propably a serious reason as to why the cylinder was so stuck.
    Rear brakes

    Now I just have to get two pairs of new shoes and Franz will be smiling again. Meanwhile I’m cleaning out all the brake parts, they are all re-usable except for the rubbers.

    Todays favourite tool: the sledge hammer.