Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Making Some Progress

I finally got off my dead ass and put the new to me instrument cluster in the also new to me Rat Mobile, the eighty El Camino that caused so much marital strife a ways back.

What a mess.

No gas gauge, not one dash light and all because some rookie took it out some time ago and completely destroyed a flexible printed circuit board behind it.
There are wires hanging out from under that fucker all over the fucking place.

I had to completely disassemble both of the fucking things and swap gauges, the circuit board and about forty screws and fifteen light bulbs.

I finally got the sonofabitch in and really weird shit was happening.
About six lights come on and stay on when ya turn the key on.

I don't have the faceplate and the lens in yet so I can mess with it.

I took it down to the gas station and put 32 bucks worth of gas in it until it was topped off and the fucking gas gauge still only registered 3/8ths of a tank, which disappointed me, I absolutely hate not having a gas gauge that works.

I brought the fucking thing back home and crawled under the dash again, looking at a multi colored plate of spaghetti hanging down and saw a big black one with a big brass eye on the end.

Black generally being the ground on American cars, I turned the key and touched the end to an exposed bolt and viola!,
The dash lights suddenly got really bright and the gas gauge went straight to full.

Like I said, some progress.
I bolted that wire down and will deal with the rest of the electrical problems at a later date.

My biggest concerns now are no fucking license plate light still and I keep hearing I have a brake light that ain't working.

The front seal on the crank is leaking pretty good and the first damn thing I did when I got home was to tighten an oil soaked alternator belt that squealed like a bitch all the way to work this morning.

That shit is just embarassing.

Just for fun, it got cold enough for the windshield to ice over and the heater fan has it's own schedule.

That won't be a problem after next week as the folks will be gone and I will be parking it inside a garage, right after I move my wife and kids from 85 miles away and fix that leaking seal so there isn't oil all over the floor.

Understand, I am not really bitching here, I knew this thing had issues but it starts right up and drives good.

It's a typical old Chevy and I like it.

Just for a giggle, it currently has a two tone paint job, primer grey and mostly primer black with Center Line wheels and a guy I work with has a six year old girl who loves old Hot Rods and he stopped me on the way by at work and told me that his little girl said she likes my car.

Ya gotta love it.


  1. You got into a fight with the wife over this?

    Thought you wanted transportation. Didn't realize you really wanted a project.

    Have fun.

  2. Correct on all three points
    I hope you have a safe and fun trip.

  3. carguy407:59 PM

    Happy to give the old Ford back

  4. We made a deal pal......

  5. I would just be crying by now if I had those car problems. Thankfully, there are people who can deal with car problems and not cry.

  6. I miss my old Chevys. I almost miss crawling under the buggers to shim the fucking starter this way or that to keep it from grinding the ring gear to filings... But I really miss that a rebuilt starter or alternator could be had for 35 bucks!

    Centerlines, eh? Cool : ) Now slap some Hooker headers and some Flowmasters on that bad boy and let it breathe deep. Gawd I miss that sound...

  7. If I didn't have a good, honest mechanic here in Outer Whitelandia of New Jersey, I'd be begging you to move to NJ just to keep my 2001 Civic and 2003 Corolla running forever.

  8. Anonymous5:31 AM

    What is it about Chevys and their electical systems that go bat shit crazy from time to time. My Chevy was a '86 4x4 Suburban that would decide not to turn on very occasionally, only to start 20 minutes later like nothing happened at all. Same story with my current GMC 2000 - great truck, but same deal, decides to take a siesta every now and again. Battery cables tight, as well as the other wire connections - WTH?

  9. dash work is never fun, especially when it's after someone else fucked things up.

  10. What'd I tell ya about those damn 80's Chevys again, 'nucks? The engine and transmission and axles are rock solid, but the whole damn car around it is a piece of crap. You can watch rust spread in front of your eyes, the electrical system might as well be by Lucas, the alternators pop like fucking popcorn, the starters, eh, let's not start on that, okay? About the only good an 80's Chevy truck is, is as a donor source for transplanting a V8 engine and transmission into a Jeep (after installing an aftermarket throttle body fuel injection system on the beast, of course, since those computer-controlled carburetors were an atrocity and a half).

    Just sayin ;).

    - Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin