August 2004 Activity Log
I have been corresponding with Matt Wilder in Sparks, NV about a Europa that is being parted-out at a junk yard there. He has salvaged the taillights and will ship them to me so I can replace the pitted ones I have. They appear to be in pretty good condition with some green overspray from a past repaint of the car. I think the green paint will come off with some cleaning and polishing. Sent Matt a check today for the lights. He also salvaged the tube header, a Warneford intake for a Weber DCOE, and the DCOE. They might be available if anybody is interested.
Worked on some intermittant Lucas connections this morning. One of the rear brake/turn/backup lights had both an intermittant ground and an intermittant connection to the backup light. Tested the brake/tail lights and the backup lights. Cleaned and polished the housings but the left light is pretty badly pitted. Another re-chroming job for a future time. Cleaned, polished and tested the front parking/turn lights and replaced the burned out lamp in the side marker. I'm beginning to run out of things to polish.
Polished and waxed the bumpers today. They look pretty good but have scuffs in a couple of spots. One winter day when there's lots of snow I'll remove them and have them re-chromed but for now I need some seat time. Hope the paint is finished next week.
Received the Prostripe molding and the parts from R.D. today. Added them to the large stack of stuff to be installed when the car comes back from paint.
Spent some time this morning polishing assorted trim pieces. Did the rear side markers and attached them to a 12VDC power supply to test the lamps. Polished the front side markers but one of the lamps is burned out. The engine cover letters were pretty badly pitted but they polished pretty well. I noticed that the PO had apparently used vise grips on the bumper bolts and the chrome is pretty messed up.
Called Ray at R.D. Enterprises, Ltd. and ordered eight bumper bolts and fiber washers, two engine cover lock gaskets, two 4 1/4" rubber plugs, one 1 3/4" rubber plug and two side marker lamps. Tried to order new LOTUS letters but they are out of stock. He will call me when they arrive.
I've decided not to use the chrome trim I bought for around the windshield. It is narrower than the original making the corner trim look too wide. I'm also concerned about it discoloring. Instead I ordered four rolls of Prostripe M372402, 1 3/8" paintable flat black molding this morning. The part number means style M37, length 24 feet and color 02 (black). I will use one roll to trim around the windshield (maybe two if I screw it up) and keep the other two in case somebody has as much trouble as I had finding it. None of my local dealers stock it and nobody would order it for me. I finally convinced the factory to sell it to me and ship it from Canada.
Stopped by the body shop this morning on the way to work. All of the prep work is nearly completed. This week they will primer the whole car then sand one more time before cutting in the doorjambs, and the boot/engine cover lips. Once the areas that are cut in dry they will hang all of the panels and it will be ready to paint. Looks like it will go to paint sometime next week. The inside of the doors, boot lid and engine cover are already painted Millennium Yellow.
Finished polishing and waxing all of the lug nuts today. Next buffing job is the bumpers and chrome trim pieces.
Polished a half-dozen of the lug nuts this morning. Used a variable-speed drill mounted horizontally as the polishing motor. First used a 4" wire brush attachment to take most of the surface rust and crap off the nuts then followed with a 4" sewn buff and Tripoli then White Rouge compound. Finished with polishing compound and wax using a clean polishing goblet. The difference is amazing. I'm not going to chrome plate the nuts now that they are polished. Will use the polished and waxed nuts and see how they hold up. If they discolor I'll polish them again and chrome plate them.
The body shop called today. They had just painted the inside of the doors and wanted me to verify that the color is correct. It looked very good to me and I told them to go ahead and paint the car. They are still sanding and priming but now that they have the correct color they can paint when it's ready. Forgot to take my camera to document the visit.
Didn't do anything related to the Europa today. The Dakota brakes started grinding so I removed the left front wheel to inspect the brakes. The rotor is totally shot and there are no pads left at all. The dealer just replaced the ball joints in the left front less than 2,500 miles ago and did an "inspection" of the front end but did not notice that the brakes were worn out. While I had the truck in the air I discovered that the right front ball joints are shot as well. Took the truck to the dealer and expressed my dismay at their "inspection" procedures. Unfortunately, this is the one marginally acceptable dealer service shop (of two) within driving distance. The other is abysmal. They will replace the front rotors and pads, install new ball joints, adjust the rear brakes and change the fluids. Chrysler Corporation ought to be ashamed of their Dodge division. The Dakota has 24,850 miles on it and has now had all ball joints replaced at my expense. I understand this is a recurring problem on the Durango as well.
Cleaned and polised the wheels today. Removed all of the wheel weight residue left by the PO when he stuck the weights on the outside of the wheels. The wheels don't look too bad for being 20 years old. They have a few scuffs but are generally in good shape. One day I'll have the tires dismounted and repaint the wheels.
The body shop called today. They need to up the price $200.00 due to the cost of the paint from GM. I expected the call since "Millennium Yellow" is an $800.00 option on the 2004 Corvette. Drove by the shop and they are still sanding, filling and priming.
Body shop called this morning. They were unsure of the procedure to remove the doors so I drove over there and pulled the pins for them. They were afraid that they would pull the pins too hard and break something. They made good progress yesterday. Many of the dings and waves have been sanded and primered and they have glassed several cracks. Still on schedule as far as I can tell.
Wanted to start polishing the wheels today but the wife thought it would be a good idea if I trimmed the hedge. Just because I had to cut two feet of new growth off, she thought it was overgrown! Hauled a tuckload of trimmings to the dumpster at work. Looks better now. Maybe I can start on the wheels tonight.
Drove the car to the body shop today. It's less than a mile from my house, so with no headlights and the door seals removed I followed my wife to the shop. Once there I removed the front and rear turn signals and lights and explained how to remove the boot, engine cover and doors. Left them with instructions to paint the car "Millennium Yellow" (GM code 79U). They will keep the car for a week to ten days.
Now I can start polishing the wheels and shiny bits. While they have the car I'll also chrome the lug nuts.
Put the front and rear turn signals back on the car so I can drive it to the body shop on Monday. Reinstalled the boot and engine cover.
Started working on the pile of snakes the PO made of the wiring in the boot. Found many added wires grounded to various points on the frame. Wires routed all over the place. He added a horn relay and used brown wire for all connections. Got a lot of it sorted out this morning and installed sockets for the relays in place of the individual connections for each terminal. Soldered and covered all connections with shrink tubing. Replaced some wires that had become oxidized inside the insulation for the entire length of the wire.
Changed the hinges and re-hung the passenger door this morning, Now that I know how to do it, the job is a lot easier. Only took 1.5 hours from start to finish even with the nuts and bolts the PO had installed instead of the quick fasteners for the inner door panel. The door now closes and opens a lot easier and it is flush with the body.
Removed the wheels and installed the original steel wheels and cheap tires I bought so I can detail the wheels and chrome the lugs while the car is out for paint. Don't care if the paint shop gets paint on the old wheels as they are rusty and need sand blasted and refinished one day.
Tackled the drivers' door today. Since I bought the car the door has sagged like it was misaligned but has not displayed any tendency to wobble when open. I removed the inside door trim and disconnected all wires then sprayed the bottom hinge with Kroil. Once I pulled the cotter pin from the hinge pin, it was a simple matter to grip the pin with vise grips and wiggle it until it came out the bottom of the rocker panel. There was absolutely no rust anywhere on the hinge.
Once the pin was removed the door lifted right out of the opening and I moved it to my work area. I moved the pin up into the bottom bobbin to take this photo. The top and bottom hinge nuts and sleeves were in very good condition but I will replace them with the stainless hinge I bought from Norm Vandal.
The top and bottom bobbins in the car appear to be in excellent condition although there is a scraped area in front of the bottom bobbin where the misaligned door was dragging on the body.
The car is looking pretty strange with no door on it. My wife thinks I'm nuts!
Went to Autozone and bought Red, Blue and Black wire to rewire the power window while I have the door off. The PO had spliced brown wire onto each so that the color code was lost by the time the wire got to the window motor. Bought some Home Depot 3" aluminum flexible vent tubing so I can connect the dash vents to the plenum while I have the doors off.
This evening I made an adjustment tool by cutting the ends off the old hinge pin and attaching them to a section of 1/2" I.D. vinyl hose from Home Depot. I replaced the hinge sleeves and using the now-flexible hinge pin I was able to insert the top and bottom pins from inside the door (lock nuts not-yet installed in these photos). This made the job of alignment much easier since I could remove the door quickly and add/remove spacers as necessary. I left the flexible pin in the door so the paint shop can remove the door easily for painting. When the paint is done I'll remove the pin and insert the stainless one from Norm Vandal.
Removed the L, O, T, U, S, and EUROPA badges, lock and vent screens from the engine cover. Found original "Bahama Yellow" paint under the "EUROPA" badge so it was not removed when the car was repainted. Removed the engine cover, cover bump stops, bumper, taillights, tag lights and side marker lights. Found "Bahama Yellow" under the engine cover hinges too.
Unscrewed the catch can overflow tube hose barbs and moved them inside the rear fender.
The rear of the car is now ready to go to the body shop.
Today I removed the front bumper, signal lights, Lotus badge, grill, boot cover lock, and boot cover. The front of the car is now ready to go to the body shop. I installed bullet connectors on the wires for all lights so when the paint is done, it will be a simple matter to plug them together when I reassemble the car.
The PO had created a real mess when he rewired the cooling system fan and horn relay. I removed the relays from the boot separation panel and will clean up the wiring before I send the car out for paint. Noticed a very small amount of surface rust on the front of the frame box section. Ordered a Por-15 Super Starter Kit that I will use to treat the area before I take the car in for paint.
Ordered a Caswell Electroless Krome Plating Kit, which I will use to chrome plate the lug nuts while the car is out for paint.
The car looks pretty strange with the lights and chrome removed.
Took the Europa to a body shop owned by one of our tavern customers to get an estimate for repair of the recent minor collision damage. Also going to have them repaint the car 2000-2004 Corvette "Millennium Yellow" (GM code 79U). They want the car starting the week of August 16th and will keep it for about 10 days. I will remove all of the shiny stuff before I take it to them and they will prep and paint it. One day when I have a lot more time I'll do a body-off but for now I'll be happy with a decent respray even when the spider webs return.
Today I removed both headlights and front side markers. The body around the left headlight has been ground down to accommodate the headlight. Probably part of the crash repair from 1984. Going to attack the front bumper tomorrow. Have been soaking the bumper nuts with Kroil every few days for the past couple of weeks. While the car is in the paint shop I'll polish all of the chrome and the wheels.