Cars are dangerous. Yes Iā€™m a tard.

Ok, so I’ll start with what I got done yesterday. One two syllable word comes to mind.


Ok, so it was raining, which meant I couldn’t go to the wreckers to search for parts to suit the gemini build up. That was fine, rain = mud = unable to walk around wreckers. So instead, I went to Bob’s house and talked to him for a while, the usual planning and talking shit session ensued. I had gotten up early to go to the wreckers and get stuff done, and as usual had fucked around and wasted time all over the place.

So to make up for it, I went to Repco. The guys at the Springwood store are great - they’ll try to find all sorts of solutions for whatever we’re planning this week - this time I got myself a coolant temperature sensor for the gem. We went through three or four different ones before actually finding it, which was fine, in the end I got one that is a generic GM part, using a bosch connector (same as the injectors) which makes it easier to wire up, and neater.

Just before I had gotten to Repco, Denise had sent me a message, whinging about the fact that her shopping spree hadn’t gone terribly well, and that she couldn’t spend money on anything - as usual, I laughed and made fun of her. Thinking back on it, I probably shouldn’t have made fun of someone’s misfortune, because as soon as I drove around the corner from Repco, and stopped at the lights, the van promptly sputtered and died. “Weird” I thought, as I pumped the pedal twice, throwing it into neutral and hitting the “go” button at the same time. It started, but any thought of going anywhere wasn’t on the cards, which sucked, because I was in front of a whole row of cars and trucks, and I had to go UPHILL to get anywhere.

Eventually after much swearing and revving and throwing it into the wrong gear and so forth, I got it going forward. Just. I rolled it up and around a little corner onto a service road and tried to work out what it was. As far as I can tell, it was just a bit of crap in the carburetor, because changing the tune didn’t do much, and I had to wind the tune out to “super rich” and then back in and out a few times before I could get anywhere with it. At the moment, I’m guessing it’s running on super rich still because it doesn’t bog down as much when trying to go off the lights, and smells like unburnt fuel when it’s cruising - I’ll have to check it more later.

After all that screwing around, I’d gotten the shits with cars completely, stopped at super cheap to buy a new rotor and distributor cap for the van and installed them when I got home. Another day wasted! Hooray!

Ok, so today was slightly less of a write-off, I got some things done. Rocking up mid-morning, I got into it a little, deciding that installing the gearbox was a good idea. It’s something that’s not getting modified before I start the car, and it’s something I don’t need to spend money on to get working (about the only thing, geez!)

So we found the best flywheel/clutch/pressure plate combination out of all the bits that I have. It seems that the “crap” clutch I got off someone for free is a heavy duty one with brass flecks through it, which should grip nicely. I gave the flywheel a going over with a little grinding wheel, taking off a whole lot of glazing and crap that was all over it. As I went looking for the bolts, I realised that the engineering place had returned all but one, meaning I had to break up another set to get enough to put my flywheel on šŸ™

I lined it all up, lifted the ~8kg monstrosity onto the crank, got it all bolted up, and then realised that the smaller backing plate (which sits on the engine side of the flywheel, making sure that crap doesn’t just flick up onto it and into the gearbox) wasn’t on there. Off comes the flywheel again! Big backing plate off, bash knuckles, attach small backing plate to large, bolt combination plates back on engine (more bashing knuckles) and then the flywheel goes back on.

So the gregory’s manual said to torque the flywheel bolts up to ~94nm. I did them up with my little handy-dandy Sidchrome ratchet, planning to torque them up properly once I’d gotten them done up a bit. I hadn’t used the Snap-On torque wrench I was using before, so I wasn’t used to its little clicks. The ones I’d used before went “BANG” and you thought the world would explode. Setting it to ~50nm, everything went click easy. Setting it to 94nm, everything STILL went click nearly first go. Well, that was strange *double checks everything* Yup, I’d basically torqued it by hand with a 8″ socket wrench to 94nm. Go me!

Next to go on was the clutch plate and pressure plate - those were easy, just point them in the right direction, then bang the pressure plate onto the locating dowels and do the bolts up finger-tight. It holds the clutch nice and tight like that, so Darren was able to show me how to line up the clutch the easy way (line up the plate to the edges of the pressure plate)

Doing those bolts up, the next thing to do was get the gearbox under there. Grr.

I jacked the car up as far as I possibly could, with some wooden blocks on the jack (making sure they were super-stable first) and putting the car stands under the front crossmember to make sure it didn’t move/drop/try to kill me. That meant that I could slide the gearbox under the car, ready to mate it up to the engine, and finish the job. If only it were that easy.

Gearboxes are big heavy cast metal items that are full of metal. That means they are really quite heavy. The M20 - the four speed gearbox I’m using - weighs at least ten to fifteen kilo’s by itself. It’s not hard to lift off the ground, put one hand under the rounded part at the end where the tailshaft meets, and one hand in the top of the bellhousing, and it’s actually quite easy. Mind you, you’ll get covered in grease and oil that way, don’t forget that I told you. The problem with installing a gearbox into a car that you’re lying under is leverage.

Leverage is related to torque; leverage is a factor by which lever multiplies a force. The useful work done is the energy applied, which is force times distance. Therefore a small force applied over a long distance is the same amount of work as a large force applied over a small distance. The trick is converting the one into the other.”

I love Wikipedia. Now that you know what leverage is, try lying next to something that’s about a meter long, weighs roughly twenty kilos, and doesn’t have handholds, while you’ve got about 40cm of clearance from the floor to an obstruction above you. Oh, and it’s not evenly balanced, and it’s rougly cone-shaped, so not only will it roll, it won’t roll straight - and squish any body part you leave in the way.

Enough of my ranting - I was nearly there, lifting up the back of the box through a snazzy little tie-down-strap-pulley that I’d hooked up, which left me with my right hand to lift and guide the front of the box onto the back of the engine. I was so close! All I had to do was guide the locator dowel from the starter motor mountings into the back of the engine, and I’d have it all lined up, gearbox input shaft into clutch, bellhousing to motor, and a spare hand to work on the rear gearbox crossmember.

But as usual, my friend Murphy had come to visit. You know Murphy, he’s the guy with all the laws. I fuckin’ hate him. As I was saying, I nearly had it there, only had about an inch until it was in the right spot, and I could push it up and in, ready to go! I don’t really remember exactly how it happened, but something slipped. And bashed me. Somehow the gearbox ended up swinging down and hit me on my forehead, up near the scalp line. It doesn’t really hurt, hasn’t at all yet, but it bled a bit. I’ve got a BIG lump on my head, and if I could find my camera (I have a sneaking suspicion that someone’s actually stolen it) I’d take a picture. Suffice to say, I gave up for the afternoon, packing things up and nearly killing myself again in the process.

Keeping it short - I’d lifted the car a little off the stands, put them down two notches just in case, then started lowering the jack. As I said before, the jack had two pieces of wood on top of it to give it extra height - somehow they had slipped and in doing so had made the balance of the whole arrangement… not balanced. The wood slipped more, then just popped out cleanly, dropping the crossmember (and the whole car) about two inches down onto the stands, leaving a small ding in one side of it, and me (luckily) still with a body. If I’d just pulled the stands, the car probably would have dropped the whole way, and landed on the jack, then probably bounced off and hit me, or pushed the jack into me with quite a lot of force - bad things happen.

Anyway, I’m safe, the car’s safe (stupid gearbox, I’ll fix you yet) and I’ve got a headache. Time for me to have a shower and get some sleep! šŸ™‚

#Gemini #The Pimpmobile