Tuesday, May 28, 2013


 This is the classic "Before and After".....the top photo is the before, as you might suspect. It is a square body Lucas windshield wiper motor out of a '68 Saab 96V4, just as it looked when I took the sucker apart---YUK! This one had more GREASE--old, nasty, hardened crap--in it than any wiper motor I've ever worked on before. The owner said it only worked on one speed, sometimes.  Given the amount of nasty gook inside it is a pure wonder that it worked, ANYTIME!  I suspect that some "wrench", at some time, figured that "if a little does a little good, a LOT has to do a lot of good", and applied grease by the handful....
The second photo shows the same unit--cleaned and ready for reassembly, adjustment and testing. There were NO bad parts, just greasy parts, in this one. Even the armature and contact brushes were quite good.
 This shows the wiper motor on my test bed. The different switches, and the relay that you can see duplicate the wiring for ANY Lucas wiper motor that I rebuild. This one passed all the tests with flying colors.
Isn't that one pretty! Ready to go to the customer, LOOKING, and WORKING like a new one. Good Stuff. 

Monday, May 13, 2013


 Time for more fiberglass fun on MR T, my 1937 FIAT Topolino Cabrio....In this photo I have the back fenders mounted [and each held in place by two bolts]  and the valence between the fenders at bumper level in place. Now it's time to build the spare tire cover. If you look closely you can see a fiberglass ring around the spare tire, right at the body surface. I laid up the ring first to get a nice "fit" to the body of the car, which is really a compound curve in that area.
 I attached a 0.375" center pin to a mounting structure that will hold the pin exactly centered and vertical. You can see the mounting structure attached to the ring. The shaped board [light color, top right] can spin around and  will cut the foam [see next photos] to get an even shape for the spare tire cover. 
 I used urethane foam [of the type used in constructing composite aircraft] to make the basic form of the cover. Here the foam--mounted to the ring--is ready for carving to the final shape of the cover. [You can see MR T behind the table].
 There is always some rough--but careful--cutting to be done before the spin cutter is used. That's what I'm doing in this photo, using a "Sureform" rough file for the job. The action here is to rough file a pit, then check it with the spin, which you can see mounted to the center pin in the photo above. The spin arm makes the final, fine cut of the foam.
 The foam shape is done. The check template shows a good "fit", all around what is essentially a male mould for the cover. Time to lay on fiberglass cloth now.
 AHA! It's laid up!  I laid on seven plies of aircraft bi-directional cloth, directly to the foam mould. Five plies are of 8-ounce cloth, the final two plies are 4-ounce cloth. The dark band is of 8-ounce bi-directional GRAPHITE cloth, to give extra strength on one side for the hinge, and opposite, the latch. You can see a band of graphite around the base, at the junction of the new cloth and the original 'glass ring. I give the lay-up a minimum of 24 hours to complete the cure of the aircraft epoxy that I used.  I used NO polyester resin on ANY part I made up for this car. Epoxy resin makes a lay-up at least twice as strong compared to using polyester resin. Two further benefits: This particular epoxy has almost no odor, and the working time is easily 20 minutes. 
The new cover is cured, trimmed and setting in place on MR T. The fun stuff now is to mount the hinge [which will be centered on the LEFT] and build and install the latch mechanism [which will be centered on the RIGHT].  More on that in further adventures with MR T....