March 2014 Newsletter

newheaderAww Shoot!
We picked up the Magnuson’s ’59 Sunroof Coupe at the mechanics where they had done the final adjustment and test drive.  We knew there were remaining electrical issues so we asked Joe Leoni to make another trip.  Joe and BJ found some more problems in the turn signal switch and extra wires under the dash.

BJ finished the electrical repairs and verified everything worked except the wipers.  The Magnuson’s would be driving down from Casper to pick up their 356 so we decided to take a test drive.  Aww Shoot! The ’59 would not start.  Pulled the air cleaners and primed the carbs; still would not start. No voltage to the coil.  We called the mechanic and asked how they could have driven the 356. They reminded us that they had to run a wire from the ignition switch to the coil.  We had told them we  had repaired the wiring at the rear and would have Joe look at the problem.  We forgot to have Joe look at this problem. It took one minute and we found the problem.  The green coiled wire which is the correct coil wire had no power.  A spare short wire by the voltage regulator, which is reserved for the optional Carrera engine, had power.  We ran a jumper wire from it to the coil and the engine started and we took it for a test drive.

Now to check out the wiper motor.  We pulled the wiper assembly which involves removing the radio and detaching the wiper arms. We checked the wiper motor on the bench. Nothing!

We opened the case and the wiper motor was fried.  We checked our inventory of wiper motors.  We had six B/C motors but only one A motor.  We bench tested it and it worked.
BJ installed everything and the new motor would not work!  We tried different wiper switches and still no go.  Finally BJ found wiring issues with the hot lead and replaced it.  The wipers worked but wouldn’t stop and park, they continued to run.  We found a way to stop the wipers with the switch and decided this was good enough as we don’t expect 356s to be driven in the rain often.

Our analysis was that someone at sometime had really messed up the wiring under the dash.  The turn signal switch had been modified.  There were extra wires, the connection to the coil modified and some of this probably caused the burnt wires at the back that we had to replace.  The best solution would have been to replace the whole wiring harness.  But on over one hundred 356 we have only replaced two or three.  There is nothing wrong with fifty year old wire that hasn’t been messed with.  A new wiring harness runs about $1500 plus removal of the old and tricky installation of the new.

Speaking of electrics, we strongly recommend you replace your turn signal flasher with a new electronic flasher.  We have been installing these in all our restorations for the last four years.  Takes five minutes to install. Available from Stoddard or Zim’s for about fifty dollars.  It gives you brighter more reliable turn signals and you can hear it working.  Your original flasher was a can with a filament that heated and made contact then cooled. After fifty years it is tired.

Speaking of parts and Stoddard, we are impressed with the continued improvements in products and packaging.  They continue to provide new parts, keep competitive price and stay in touch with their customers.  We have used Stoddard for over twenty years and highly recommend them.  Check out their website.

BJ and I went to the painters to check out the Shop ’56 Speedster.  It looks real good. We just found some minor issues inside the doors and some covered over holes.  They made some improvements and we went back.  A few small things and we should have it in paint in the next few weeks.

Jim continued to install parts on Viney the Shop ’64 Signal Red Coupe.  We replaced the rubber and metal brake lines including the steel brake line thru the tunnel.  We replaced this line in segments as it is easier to make the correct bends at the front and rear.  Napa sells metric steel brake line in various lengths and connectors.

BJ continues to work on Casper the Shop ’61 Coupe.  From all the grinding, it sounds like he is getting close to body work.

Speaking of grinding, this is a loud noise that we intend to minimize in the new shop.  Presently, grinding can be heard in the living areas and we try to do this when Barb is gone.  Construction on the new home remodel and shop should start in a few weeks.  We intend to take some metal and the grinding tools to the new shop location and see if we need more sound proofing.  The air compressor is another noise factor and we plan to convert to the new screw type air compressor rated at 60 db. (The old air compressor will be available cheap, needs 220v)

The contractor is starting on the shelves for the new shop.  It will take quite a few but this means we can start moving parts to the unfinished walkout (will be 356 in) basement while they work on the remodel of the exterior and main living area.  We have the parts, move and organization in our head and will have plenty of time to make it efficient.

Grandpa News
Only had  a few sentences last month due to the newsletter length.  We continue to be impressed with how intelligent these young girls are.  Alex studies hard, does her homework and gets straight A’s.  Sammy will see new things, pick them up and determine their function.  She will ask questions about new objects.  My favorite expression of hers is “Grandpa will fix it”.