Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Motor and Transmission are In!

I was looking forward to a 3-day MLK holiday weekend and making great progress on the car, with the specific goal of having the motor and transmission mounted in the car, the driveshafts installed and the shift linkage in place.  I managed to get all of that plus a little bit.

Alert readers will remember last weekend we mounted the motor to the transmission and placed it under the car, but stopped there.  I backed the assembly out and worked on separating and repairing the bundle of cables coming into the engine compartment.

I cut the tape wrapping I applied during tear down and separated out the wiring harness that leads to the rear brake lights from the accelerator, clutch and speedometer cables.  I noticed that the clutch cable's outer plastic covering was worn, so I cut out the bad part and slipped a section of heat shrink tubing over the damaged area.

The speedometer cable has a similar worn area, but the connector on the end is far too big to slip a piece of shrink wrap over, so it will have to live that way.

I mounted the new rubber transmission mounts, then pushed the motor and transmission assembly into place and jacked it up to where it was touching the front and rear mounts.  I snugged up the transmission bolts and ran the bolts into the front engine bar mount, pushed the whole thing forward and tightened all four bolts.

I was thrilled to get to this point.  My joy was short-lived though when I realized that I hadn't inserted the front shifter shaft into the hole in the firewall.  I put the lift back in, removed the front mount bolts, lowered the lift down enough to replace the shaft bushing in the firewall and insert the shaft.  I then raised the lift and bolted the motor bar back in place.  Then I installed the rear shifter bar, keying it into the front bar and the assembly at the shifter pivot on the side of the transmission.  I bought a bushing kit from Pelican Parts and replaced the allen keys and plastic bushings.  As Edd on "Wheeler Dealers" would say "The bushes have perished".  These nice new parts will give me factory-crisp shifting.

Unfortunately the rubber boot covering the shifter pivot above was missing on the car and seems to be unavailable on the market.  I'll keep checking but if anybody knows where I can get one, please let me know.

Now I moved on the drive shafts and this is where things got, er, interesting.  The passenger side drive shaft splines went into the hub like hot butter.  I tightened up the hub nut and the CV to the transmission.

Then I went to do the other side.  First I realized that I couldn't maneuver the shaft into place with the shifter installed, so I removed the rear shifter rod.  Then I found the shaft wouldn't fit in the space between the hub and the transmission, by about 1/4".  I had to loosen the 4 bolts holding the motor and transmission assembly in place in order to get that space I needed.

Then I found that the splines on the shaft wouldn't go into the wheel hub no matter how hard I tried.  I took it back out and tried to fit it into the hub from the tire side, still no luck.  Upon closer examination, it looked like the start of the splines on the shaft were slightly damaged, likely by Rainbow tightening the nut down too tight when they removed it.  I got a fine triangle file and gently filed open every spline.

I cleaned the splines on the shaft and the hub and lubed it, then jammed it in, with some help from a rubber mallet, on the tire side and pulled it out over and over until it went in all the way.  I then tried to put it in from the correct side and could just barely get the splines engaged, but no further.  I then noticed a small dimple hole in the end of the shaft and that gave me an idea.  I drilled the hole about 1" deep, then tapped it for a 1/4" x 20 bolt.  I ran in a bolt and grabbed the bolt head with my biggest hammer and pivoted hard against the hub.  To my amazement, it slowly slid into place enough that I could get the nut on and pull it in the rest of the way.  I then bolted the other end to the transmission and tightened up all of the mounting bolts.

I re-attached the shifter shaft, and then went to work, cleaning and installing the clutch cable pulley assembly.

Strangely there doesn't seem to be a protective cover on the clutch pulley assembly.  To me, it should be protected from dirt and abrasion damage.  I then installed the speedometer cable and zip-tied it to the clutch cable.  Behold the awesomeness of the power plant of the car!