Walter Mencken 10:03 a.m., March 27
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It's a Runner
I had the Chevy back and was able to drive it. It was making a horrible, grinding racket and when I’d drive it the inside of the car would fill with exhaust… but damnit, I was having a good time.
It also would bounce all over the road when I’d hit 40 MPH. The bounce seemed to be coming from the rear. The previous owner had replaced the front tires with beautiful new Coker Classic wide white walls. The back tires were old worn Cokers. I figured that the tires were out of balance. (hoped!)
Off to my friend David’s shop. Chappelle’s Exhaust in El Cajon does exhaust, mufflers, tires and Dave is one of the best damn hot rod builders I know.. to see the evidence, check out his website: http://chappelleskustoms.com. I built the site.
We took the rear tires off and put them one by one on the balancing machine. Yeah they were out of balance, but not from having thrown a weight. Bias Ply tires eventually fail when the layers start to separate and the tires are not round anymore… No wonder I was bouncing all over the place.
Two used 15” tires (thanks Dave!) later and I was down the road sporting shiny wide white bias plys in the front and skinny white radials in the back. Good thing I have skirts, those radials were u g l y.
The Chevy was a real kick to drive – I was having too much fun to resolve the other issues, until one night I was out cruising and instead of the pleasure that I usually get from driving on a warm summer night, I ended up stinking like exhaust and rocking a headache from the howling. Exhaust from an old L6 engine has a special kind of stink. Time to face reality.
When I had picked up the ’52 from Luis after he did the clutch job, he told me that I’d need to replace the transmission and the rear end. I had the parts, but no loot to have it done and it was too big a job for me to do in my driveway. Back down to Car Connection again… I’m in luck – he wants to do the work on trade plus a little cash. Now to get a little cash…
I borrowed a truck from work to take two 3 speed transmissions and a torque tube rear end down to Car Connection. I also took the 8” Ford rear end that I owed Keith to his house in Chula Vista (and got lost on the way). Keith is building a killer ’41 Chevy Sedan.
A week and a half later I had scraped up some disposable income and this time I was able to drive the car down to Barrio Logan. Luis picked the best transmission of the two I provided and swapped the bad parts out. 3 days later and I was back on the road – Racket Free!
I talked to David about the messed up exhaust and was instructed to buy a new exhaust manifold gasket and bring the Chevy over to his shop… He would rebuild the entire exhaust system. He was busy, and I’d have to wait a week… I couldn’t wait. I decided to try replacing the gasket myself. It turned out that that was the fix. No more stink. Luck!
The old gasket was trashed… once it was replaced my Chevrolet was so quiet, amazing what a change it is having the spent gasses actually travel to the back of the car instead of exiting into the engine compartment.
I was really excited that the gasket was the fix, like I said in my earlier posts, I hate doing things twice, and when I put the 250 in I’ll have to get the exhaust completely redone.
Time to Drive!
More to come…
Oh, and thanks to the Reader for picking chapter 1 one of the July winners!