The shriek under the hood was a little harder to track down than I expected. I first suspected a vacuum leak in the stack of plates and gaskets under the carb, but an investigation turned up nothing. Then I thought that perhaps the increased height of the carb with the new spacer was binding up the throttle linkage. (The noise did have a kind of metal-to-metal component to it.) There was a bind, but it was minor and not the cause of the shriek..

Spacer Coming Out
Removing the spacer. Need to find one that matches the four ports on the manifold.

I finally broke down and removed the heat-isolating spacer and the noise went away with it. (I’m getting really good at pulling and replacing the carb.) I don’t know for sure why that plate was causing the noise, but I have a suspicion. The four barrels of the carburetor match up with four corresponding holes on the manifold. The spacer has a single opening, which must interrupt the airflow from the carb into the manifold somehow, causing the shriek. I still think a heat isolating spacer is necessary, (I’m already noticing more difficult hot starts) but I will have to find one better matched.

Underhood Cleaning
Underside of the hood, half clean, half to go.

The silver lining here was in tracing back the throttle linkage. Not only did I correct that smallĀ  bind, I also discovered that fully depressing the accelerator was not opening the throttle all the way. I reworked the linkage and found a little extra power (not to mention a more positive response to the choke).

Last item for the weekend was a little more clean up under the hood. I haven’t noticed any leaks since replacing the water pump and restoring the valve covers, so I wrapped the motor in old towels and took some degreaser to the inner fenders and the underside of the hood (which was really a mess.) Nice to open the hood see some sparkle in there.

Steps Forward, Steps Back

These rear brakes are easy to bleed. I spent more time getting my creaky old body under the car than I did actually getting the brakes bled out. When they were ready to go, we applied the parking brake, put the skirts on and jacked the car down off the ramps it had been sitting on for oh-so-long.

New Studs for the Carburetor
Installing new studs generated a lot of dirt and metal filings. We taped the manifold opening to keep it out of the engine.

There new heat shield for the carb is about a half inch thick and required longer studs in the manifold. It took a while to unscrew the old studs, cut new ones to length and screw them in, but the rest of the assembly was straightforward.

In the process, I noticed that the fuel line was touching the block or manifold in a couple of places, so I lengthened the line and re-routed it to avoid heat sources. I also ditched the the good looking banjo-style fuel inlet line (which forced the fuel line right down next to the manifold) and the in-line fuel pressure gauge (a heavy brass unit, resting on the block and transferring heat into the fuel system).

A quick test drive around the block revealed that the fender skirts rub slightly on the tires during turns. Otherwise, the car started, ran and stopped fine. I believe I can grind down the lip of the skirt a bit for additional clearance. For now, they are living in the trunk.

Ready to Run
Ready to run, cooler this time.

The brake pedal still travels an awful long way towards the floor before engaging, but the brakes stop the car securely nevertheless. I proved this satisfactorily after getting cut off in traffic a couple of times today. (Seriously? It’s a car as big as a whale; you can’t miss it!) Further proof came at a couple of suddenly-it’s-yellow! stop lights.

Best yet, the car seemed to run stronger and freer than ever, and my odd “dragging” sensation appears to be gone. I still suspect that the right rear brake has been dragging a bit with those wrong-sized springs. Final proof will come when I get the car out onto the freeway later this week. The other culprit could have been a small vacuum leak under the carburetor water jacket: I found two very old gaskets in there.

Despite the good news, there is one pressing mystery, a whistle from under the hood when the gas pedal is partially depressed–just at a certain spot. I’m not sure what it is, but it must be related to the carburetor. It’s a pretty loud noise, and went from odd to irritating to positively annoying in the space of a 5 minute drive. Needs fixed, and pronto.

Doin’ Lines

A couple of calls to local shops looking for somebody to duplicate brake lines lead me to a hydraulic line manufacturer a few miles from my house, Royal Brass. The online reviews were excellent: custom work and service while you wait. I took down my original right rear line and sure enough, twenty minutes later I had a perfect duplicate.

The only downside is that they don’t work with stainless steel, so the line they made was done in soft steel. I’ll still send my original off to be duplicated in stainless for installation some other time.

New Right Rear Line, Installed
New right rear line, installed.

With a proper fitting right rear line, I was set to get to work. Pre-bent brake lines, at least in my experience, are not simple bolt-on replacements. Even those that look to be exact duplicates take some reworking during the installation process.

The soft steel right rear went on ok–made easier by the fact that the distributer block was not yet bolted down–but had to be massaged a bit to lay flat against the axle and fit into the clip there.

I had to get out a bending tool to make the stainless left line fit into the distributer block. Once that was in, getting the other end into the wheel cylinder was a struggle, probably made more difficult by the fear I have of cross threading a fitting and having to start all over.

Left Side Line, Installed
The left side, in stainless, installed. A decent fit.

One the ends were in, there was a lot of extra bending and massaging to make sure the new line would not interfere with suspension, particularly the bump stop. I was able to clip the line to the axle, but could not attach the clip on the differential.

The last piece was attaching the new flexible line to the existing feed from the master cylinder, which was relatively simple. As for replacing that long line (which appears to be in two segments) and the left front, I’ll leave those for another day.

There was no one around to help bleed brakes, so I used the extra time to pull the carburetor and base plate, getting ready to install the heat shield I hope will fix the vapor lock issues I’ve been experiencing.

Brake Line Disappointment

After a couple of weeks wait, the “fixed” brake lines were delivered by FedEx this afternoon. Mid-October weather has been superb–86 degrees today–and I had visions of crawling under the car this evening; back on the road tomorrow.

Bad Brake Lines
Custom lines, to “match” my originals. Close, but not quite.

Unfortunately, the new lines were poorly done. Most of the fittings were frozen on the old lines, so I cut the tubing in the removal process. When I sent them in, I taped the pieces together so the technician would know which pieces went together. Apparently, whoever it was that made the new lines never bothered to separate the parts or read my directions.

As a result, they made at least one line that doesn’t fit anything, a bafflingly shoddy response to an already unhappy customer. I located a local shop that can fabricate new stainless steel lines. I’m heading down there tomorrow; just not willing to wait another three weeks for Classic Tube to get their act together.


The stereo installation is taking a while, mostly because I’m taking my time with the speaker enclosures. While they were set aside, I got out the new pins and gaskets for the wheel skirts.

I started with the pins, which were probably removed and thrown away when the car was painted a decade or so ago. The look a little odd mounted on the fender when the skirts are not in place, but all the sources I checked indicated that this was the right way to go. Bolting them on was easy enough.

New Skirt Pin
New skirt pin in place.

Originally, the skirt gasket was stapled to the skirt itself. The original hole were still there, and I know some folks do wire the new gaskets on, but I chose to glue the new rubber in place. The glue I use for weatherstrip gaskets (“Elephant snot”, a friend used to call it.) is a kind of rubber cement: coat both surfaces and hold until the glue sets. The skirts make a few odd bends that would try my patience, so I used clamps to hold the gasket in place. I started with the narrow end, towards the rear of the car. The first bend is mild, but does require some clamping.

Mild Turn
Mild turn, towards the rear.

The turn at the front of the skirt is more severe. The die-cut “V” in the gasket was not quite obtuse enough, so it overlaps a bit.

Severe Turn
Severe turn at the front.

I let the glue dry for a day with the clamps applied. The gaskets were a little long, but I will wait another day or two to trim them flush. For the rest of the drying process, I put the skirt on the car.

(Mostly) Finished
The (mostly) finished product.