A Deep Dive

We meet again . . . but this time the advantage is mine!
We meet again . . . but this time the advantage is mine!

It was a cold week here in NorCal–much colder than we’re used to and cold enough to keep me out of the garage much of the time. With a little warming on Saturday, I was able to get the brake master cylinder back on the booster, checking that the plunger adjustment was correct. The vacuum nipple on the booster broke off when I removed the vacuum line, so this is not quite complete yet. I’m making a (final?) list of small items to order when I start to wrap up this project, and setting this aside until I have the last part.

I also had time enough yesterday to remove the steering column, a job that is incredibly easy with the dashboard and booster out of the way. It took me about an hour, with most of that time devoted to looking for my 7/16″ wrench (and swearing at myself for not putting it back). While working down by the steering box, I found a socket that I dropped (and lost) when I did this job last, over a year ago.

I will be combining the best parts of my old column (bearings, shifter) with the best parts of the new column (turn signal switch) and installing it when the dash is back in to avoid scratching the cleaned-up column with the heavy ungainly dashboard.

Now I just need to learn how to weld!
Now I just need to learn how to weld!

While waiting out the cold snap, I decided to purchase a welder. In the long run, it will be cheaper (and more fun) to do bodywork repairs myself rather than depend on a shop for the work. After a great discussion and many good tips on the VTCI board, I ordered a mid-range MIG welder from Longevity. I also visited a local welding supply shop, where I will be able to purchase safety gear and consumables like shielding gas and wire.

Floor pans, I figure, are a great place to start–they are non-structural and my welding, which may be a little unsightly at first, will be permanently hidden under the soundproofing and carpet. With the column out, I only need to pull the old carpet and fuel line to start the floor pan repairs. Once they are done, I’ll have reached the turn-around point on this project and reassembly will begin.

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