July 2004 Activity Log
Grand opening of the Laurel Harbor Freight Tools store (less than two miles from my house). I've been buying tools from them via mail for a long time, but I still wasn't prepared for the in-store experience. Must have had 30 employees running around finding tools for folks. Free screwdriver sets to the first 1000 customers, 10% off with a coupon I received in the mail. Literally tons of tools in the store. Spent too much and will spend a lot more in the future.
Broke the front sway bar this morning. The PO who built the bar welded the ends to the bar with tack welds on each side of the end. The weld on the right of the car broke and the bar separated from the end. Removed the bar, welded the end back on and reassembled the bar. Tough job getting the bar back on by myself but managed with the help of my floor jack and a crowbar.
Received a settlement check from USAA insurance today. Will hold it for a while until I'm sure there is no more damage.
Met with the insurance adjuster this morning. They will replace the wheel and repair the fiberglass damage as well as some stress cracks that were present before the accident since they are in the same panel. I'll wait a few weeks before having the repair done to see if any other cracks develop.
First time I had the Europa out in rush hour traffic. Not nearly as enjoyable as a blast down a country road! People either stop and stare at the car, or don't see it at all. No problem with overheating on the trip and the radiator fan cycled on/off several times. There were no unusual sounds from the engine or transmission and the car runs perfectly straight when I let go of the wheel. Put the car on a lift, thoroughly inspected the suspension and found nothing bent. Still plan to get it to an alignment shop.
Called USAA (the insurance company of the kid who hit the Europa) and reported the damage. Their adjuster contacted me and made an appointment for me to take the car to Beltsville tomorrow morning.
Put a dial indicator on the wheel that was scuffed. The runout is almost 3/32" in the area that is scuffed. Removed the wheel and remounted it 180° out and the runout stayed with the wheel. Mounted one of the steel wheels and there is virtually no runout so the wheel is definitely bent.
Jacked the car up today and tried to move the rear wheel side-to-side and top-to-bottom. There is absolutely no play in any direction. I'm going to have an alignment shop check it as soon as I can find one that knows a lot about alignment. The alignment procedure in the workshop manual will not work on my car since a PO replaced the lower links with tubular links and Heim joints. He also installed a rear sway bar and drop links. In an article he wrote for reMARQUE about the car he mentioned that the rear camber is set at negative two degrees. It will be a good place to start when I find an alignment shop.
I'm going to put off the paint job for a few weeks just to see what new cracks might develop.
When I was on the way to work today a Honda Accord attacked my Europa.
A young kid decided to make a U-turn in the intersection just down the street from my house just as I was in the middle of the intersection. He hit the Europa just in front of the left rear wheel well. The impact creased the lip of the wheel well in front of and in back of the wheel, scuffed the wheel, and cracked the wheel well to body bond.
He said he didn't see me and I don't think he ever hit his brakes.
On a brighter note, during the test run the radiator fan came on so the rewiring of the fan circuit was a success.
Decided to tackle the radiator fan circuit today. The PO had installed a switch under the dash and wired it directly from the battery to the fan. Either he didn't understand the function of the fan switch on the dash or he didn't understand the wiring. He totally bypassed the thermostatic radiator switch so the only time the fan would run was when his switch was turned on, and it didn't turn off with the ignition. Armed with the workshop manual I removed his mess and reconnected the system according to the manual.
The fan switch has three positions. Up is off, middle is fresh air blower and down is fresh air blower and radiator fan. The fan now comes on when the fan switch is in the down position. It also comes on when I short the contacts on the thermostatic switch but I didn't have time to start the car and wait for the switch to act. Will check it next time I take the car out.
While I was working on the radiator fan circuit I found the connections for the fresh air blower. When I install my new blower I'll add a relay since the new blower draws 15 Amps and delivers 250 CFM of air.
It's interesting to note that the Europa switches the ground side of the circuit, not the hot side. Must be a British thing.
Moved the horn, which the PO had mounted where it would best interfere with a spare tire!
Noticed while I was working in the boot that there are no hoses connected between the fresh air ports in the boot and the dash. Will have to find some new hoses and dive under the dash one of these days.
Picked up the wheels and new tires from Mr. Tire today.
Received the new lug nuts from RD today. Now I'm ready to put the steel wheels on the car when it goes out for paint.
Ordered some super-cheap ($19.00 installed/balanced/new valve stems) tires from Mr. Tire today. Took the original steel wheels to their shop. They will install the tires on my wheels tomorrow and I'll use them to send the car to the paint shop.
Found a package from UPS on my deck this morning. It's the fresh air fan I ordered from Aardvark. Looks like a really nice piece. Opened the boot and trial-fit it but will wait to mount it until I have a spare tire installed so I don't block access to the tire.
Took the engine cover off again and started looking at the jute-covered beaverboard firewall. I think I'm going to cut a couple of aluminum sections to attach to the existing firewall. This will cover the jute and provide a stable mounting area for the electronic heater valve and remote battery cutoff switch. I'll make a pattern with poster board first so I can determine if it will be possible to slide the panels between the engine and firewall.
Ordered a set of lug nuts from RD for the original Europa wheels I received with the car. Will mount some cheap tires on them and send the car out for paint with the steel wheels on it. This will allow me to get the DB wheels cleaned and repainted while the car is out. The painter is supposed to look at the car and give me a price next weekend.