Tuesday June 12, 2012
I got the seats out with only one small injury. I got my hand smashed when the seat back decided to close as I was pulling out the driver's seat. I tell ya, that hurt like hell!! For a few minutes I thought maybe I broke a finger, but today its better, still hurts but its useable. Once the seats were out, I pulled the seat belts, the trim and the center console. The console was tough since it would not clear the shifter knob and it wasn't obvious how to take the knob off. I looked for hidden screws or clips like my Z has but there was nothing. I went on-line, Goggled "remove AMX shifter knob" and up popped The AMC Forum with the answer. You pull the lock out button off and around the shifter stick there is a clip ring, or as I call it "dammit ring". I used some small long nose pliers to get it off and the shifter knob slide right off. Ya gotta love the internet. After that it was simple to pull the carpet. I spent the next few hours and some time today pulling out 54 pounds of 1970 sound deadener. I will POR-15 the entire interior and put some more modern, lighter sound and heat shield. The weather stripping for the windows which in these cars is called the roof rail weather stripping was totally shot, I ordered new. Getting the quarter windows out was reasonably easy, two screws and pull....hard.
Wednesday June 12, 2012
I spent most of today cleaning the interior panels for POR-15. There is no rust on the floors at all but as most 70's cars the inside of the fenders are not painted, I doubt they were even primed and there is surface rust. It doesn't look bad, no scaling so I sanded the best I could and covered what I could reach with POR-15. I didn't get too far, just the inside of the rear fenders and the rear behind the seats. I will have to get more of this stuff before attacking the passenger compartment and the trunk.
Thursday June 14, 2012
A slow day for sure. I managed to get a little more POR-15 down but that is about all I got accomplished. I did order some FatMat sound deadener to replace the 54 pounds of the stock stuff after I get the rest of the POR-15 down.
Friday June 15, 2012
Not a whole got done today either. Other commitments took me away from working on the car. I did get a rear speaker panel made and ordered some Kicker KS65 speakers. Of course I only have an AM radio right now but I will upgrade eventually. I went to my usual Friday night Cruise-in at Sonics tonight. Naturally everyone was thinking I would bring the AMX. I would have if it had been able to be register and was in streetable condition. Hopefully all those issues will be taken care of soon.
Saturday June 16, 2012
Car restoration and age are not a good combination. Three days of crouching inside the car scrapping and powering out the sound deadener has taken a toll on my back. Today I finished removing all that stuff in the passenger compartment and laying down a nice coat of POR-15. I am exhausted!!! Year One's Braselton Bash is this evening so I will head up there and take a break from the AMX. Maybe there will be some AMC cars there. There were no AMC cars at the Bash but the Z took a top 15, I was shocked but happy.
Monday June 18, 2012
I took Sunday off, went to another cruise-in and this time the Z took a top three. I think the Z might be trying harder since it knows the AMX is the new kid on the block, LOL. Today I attacked the trunk area. I sanded and scrapped as much of the stock "undercoating" off that I could get at and hit the whole area with POR-15. Just like the passenger compartment was there was surface rust on the inside rear fender on the passernger side but none on the driver side. Man that stuff is very messy when you have to paint upside down. But at least I am finished with that part. I will get a trunk mat since the car has nothing back there now. While I am waiting for the FatMat to show up I decided to see if I can diagnose the lighting issue. No, headlights, no tail lights, no side markers. I have looked at the FSM and it says there is no fuse for the headlights, just a circuit breaker on the headlight switch. But the rest of the dead lights are fused and the fuses are good. However there seems to be no +12v on several of the fuses and I can't get at the headlight switch to see if I have +12v there, but the buzzer does come on if I turn on the lights with the door open. I am confused. There seems to be a disconncet somewhere.
Tuesday June 19, 2012
Color me frustrated. I spent almost the entire day chasing the lighting problem to no avail. I did find a blown fuse but didn't think that wasn't the problem, I was right. I also found some bad bulbs and the tail light sockets are somewhat corroded. I Then pulled the headlight switch, not the easiest thing I've ever done and ordered a new one. There is not schematic in the FSM to tell me what connection does what. But some of the connections don't seem to work consistently. While I was under the dash I found the wiper switch, just hanging there, that's scary! Again no clue if it is good. But one of the loose wires I previously spotted looks like it goes to the wiper switch which had a connector on it with no wire. Another possibility is the fuse panel. The panel is 43 years old and if the light sockets are corroded there is a good chance the fuse panel is as well. It might be a good idea to upgrade to a more modern fuse panel anyway.
Wednesday June 20, 2012
The only real reason I tore the interior out of this car was to change the color. Alright, I was also curious about the condition of the floors which turned out to be perfect. Changing the color will involve more than a simple upholstery and carpet change. All the trim pieces, the dash and the dash pad will also have to be changed. The seats will require a lot of work. The foam will have to be replaced, there are no turtle backs and the side trim is missing. In order to paint the dash I needed to pull the dash pad and use vinyl dye on it. After I got the overlay off getting at the bolts for the dash pad was fairly easy.
Thursday June 21, 2012
Man, there is a lot of stuff to change the color to black. This morning I got the kick panels, the the lower and side rear glass trim panels painted. Looks like I am going to need to order more of the VHT dye. I have used almost two cans and still have a lot to paint. I have searched around and short of spending a small fortune on new parts in black there is little to choose from out there, so I guess I will continue to paint. After those panels dried and I had more room I painted the rear quarter moldings. I got the console apart and taped up the wood inserts. I don't think I have enough paint to do much more, so I sent in another order. UPS dropped off my new roof rail weather stripping and the trunk mat.
Friday June 22, 2012
I made a pull and mounting bracket for the hood release. Not factory but it works. I will continue to search for a real one. I painted the console lid today, getting very low on vinyl paint. The re-supply should be here soon. In the mean time I started pulling the door panels. I will get a new set of these rather than painting these. I read the FSM about removing the door panel. I took the window handle off, took the armrest off, pulled the door lock lever off, took out all the screws and now I am supposed to be able to lift the panel off. But no-o-o-o! Maybe the door handle needs to come off, little scary (don't want anything to go SPRONG!!!) and is seems like something under the grab handle might be holding it. I posted a help request to AMC Forums and they came to my rescue. Turns out there are secret two screws under the grab handle and one holding the door handle on. One added feature on the drivers door was the mirror remote controller, but it has a nut with a spanner type slot so it was easy to remove. The good news is the inside of the doors were perfect, no rust and even very little dirt. There was no protective sheet on the driver side indicating this door panel had at some time been removed.
Sunday June 24, 2012
I met Kenny Stevens at the car show today. He runs an upholstery shop with a good reputation in the Atlanta area. He said he could get the seat covers, door panels from Legendary and get carpet and the headliner. I think I will pay the expert this time. My experience with doing this sort of work has not been that good. After all if you mess up body work, wiring or even most mechanical things you just redo it. With upholstery if you mess up you throw expensive stuff in the trash!
Monday June 25, 2012
I took the weekend away for the AMX to attend several car events. In addition to changing the upholstery color the complete dash also needs a color change. Most of it will simply require taping up things and spraying it with paint. However there is the top dash vinyl cover which is glued in place. I really do not want to remove the complete dash to paint that, been there, done that on the Z, its no fun. But since the windshield is getting changed anyway I was able to sand the cover and use trim paint to get a flat black finish. Some of it I had to spray the paint on a brush, like around the VIN number and next to the windshield, but the rest I just sprayed. It actually came out pretty nice. I spent the rest of the day sanding on more stuff and used the rest of the vinyl dye I had to paint the dash and door grab handles.
Tuesday June 26, 2012
When you think about changing the color of an interior you should be aware that there is an awful lot of stuff to change. I am at 20 pieces that still have the sun visors and paint the dash, headliner windshield trim. I have spent over $100 on vinyl dye alone!!! Of course that is small compared to what new black stuff would have cost, assuming I could even find it all. One thing about dying the trim is that is actually how AMC did it back in the day. These plastic parts were all molded out of the same color and painted to match the interior. My attempt to save the sail panels and rear side panels failed. They fell apart during the cleaning phase. I guess 43 year old cardboard doesn't hold up to soap and water. No clue what the "vinyl" is on the sail panels but it flaked off as soon as I started scrubbing. I found new ones for around $100. Today I put the console back together. Since the supply of dye came in I dyed the armrests and the rear headliner trim. Three coats of dye and two hours of drying time certainly slows down the process. I am thinking I should spend the small fortune and get new overlays for the dash and console. This is the time to do that while everything is apart. I know if I don't down the road I will regret not doing it. However nobody seems to have it, figures. I did get some good news today. The seller finally has sent the title so I will be able to get this car registered....I hope.
Wednesday June 27, 2012
I started painting the dash today. I went with satin black using Dupli-Color wheel paint. I have had great luck with wheel paint, it seems to hold up much better than regular auto rattle can paint on any surface. I painted the glove box door and hinge, the main dash and the shifter handle. One thing I noticed right off about the glove box, AMC used no primer on this at all, just a very thin layer of paint and nothing at all under the hinge.
Well, the title arrive by FedEx around 1:00. I gathered up the bill of sale and the title and headed for the DMV. I was all excited about getting it registered but that excitement was short lived. While the seller did sign the title he didn't sign everywhere he was supposed to, like the odometer declaration. I called, he told me he would send a power of attorney that will allow me to sign the title. The POA arrived by Email as promised, I will make another run on the DMV in the morning, hope this works.
Thursday June 28, 2012
That little exercise in POA totally backfired. The POA said I had permission to sign the title so I did. The DMV said I couldn not do that because I can not sign as both buyer and seller, I guess that makes sense. So they told me I could register the car without a title but I had to get a cop to verify the VIN. They gave me a number to call, within an hours one of Gwinnett county's finest was at my door. Cool cop, loved the car and the Z, he checked Georgia and California to make sure the car was not stolen, checked the VIN, filled out the paperwork and was on his way. So tomorrow I will make my third trip to the DMV!!!!!!!!!
I pulled a few things off the main dash and started taping to get ready to paint it. At least I found out why the radio didn't work. No speaker and the wiring is totally cut. I'm betting the previous owner had a different radio, pulled it and put the original back in when he sold the car. No big deal I don't plan on keeping that radio either. Then I screwed up. The ignition key is supposed to be broken off in the ignition but at least it turned. I never turned the ignition to "lock".......until now. Opps, now it won't come out of "lock". To get the ignition out I need to pull the steering wheel, which I was going to do for painting anyway. Of course the wheel puller I made for the Z won't work on an AMX, O'reilly Auto Parts came to my the rescue with a free loaner.
Saturday June 30, 2012
The panel interior painting and dying is almost done but I still have a few parts I bought from a guy on the AMC Forum that haven't arrived yet. When I pulled the steering wheel in order to get the ignition out I noticed several cracks in the rim. It is the rim blow wheel and although it isn't the prettiest wheel I will keep it since it is iconic to the car. The cracks are not horrible but they need repaired. I used my mini grinder to widen the cracks and filled them with JB Weld. The rim and the wheel will be painted black. We'll see how this works, I am relying on the wheel paint to hold up to the abuse a steering wheel takes. I also found a crack in the dash below the glove box, probably caused by some passenger holding on the the grab handle in terror!.
Sunday July 1, 2012
I sanded the JB Weld on the dash and steering wheel and got them painted. The steering wheel was a pain to sand, getting around the finger grips took a toll on my hands. At first glance paint doesn't look as good as I hoped. The dash may need some touching up to get its color more consistent, there seems to be some streaking in the large sections. I'll see how it looks after a night of curing.
Monday July 2. 2012
Not a good day. I went to Northern Tool to get some hardware for the car only to discover the store is gone, great, that was one of my main sources for tools and stuff. I then tried installing the roof rail weather stripping and the quarter windows. Again that did not go well. Either I have the wrong stuff or there is a trick to this I have yet to discover. In total frustration I gave up on that too and went to the forum for help. Not much help, they just said it isn't easy to get the window up inside the weather stripping, hmmmmm.
Tuesday July 3, 2012
After a hell day of failures on Monday I was left with a sinking feeling. But my new ignition lock arrived in the mail so even though I can't work on the car much today I thought I would install it...should be easy...it wasn't. There is a little spring loaded tab you need to depress to remove the lock but of course that prevents the lock from just sliding back into the column. I used a small razor box cutter to depress it while sliding the lock past the stop. Close but still not in, still 1/8" to go. The hole on the lock and the stud in the column were not lining up, turning the key did not help. I had to use a small screwdriver the raise the stud up a little while turning the key and finally it seated. This should not be that complicated, but at least I figured it out. I also managed to get the glove box and dash grab handle and cigarette lighter back on.
Wednesday July 5, 2012
No work on the car yesterday, July 4th celebration stuff, or today. I took my seats and door panels to Kenny Stevens the upholstery shop, where we ordered seat covers and door panels in black. He will have to rebuild the foam since it does not seem to be available for the 70 cars. I searched for the seat turtle backs for the seats and finally found American Performance who had them . I decided to get new Magnum 500 wheels for the car to make it look more period correct. Mustang Unlimited has a good deal on wheel and tire combination. Since they are local, within ten miles of my house, I went over and negotiated the package for 15x7 chrome Magnum 500 wheels with 215/65-15 BF Goodrich T/A radials all mounted and balanced. I was able to have them take off a few bucks by eliminating the wheel caps. I have the ones off the original wheels that I will get new AMC inserts for. I tested the caps at the store so I know they will work using stock mounting hardware.
Friday July 6, 2012
Ever get the feeling you are biting off more than you can chew? I have messed up so many things working on this car I am wondering if maybe I made a mistake taking on another car project. Simple things keep kicking my butt. Since I got the new ignition switch installed I decided to put the steering column stuff back on. Not the wheel just yet, I will wait to be sure I have all the electrical issues solved, makes it easier to get under the dash if the wheel in removed. But I totally trashed the turn signal switch in an attempt to reinstall it. Not too sure what I did wring but the thing just fell apart, I've ordered a new one. I guess I better learn how to get all this stuff back in before I attempt it with the new switch. I made another attempt at the roof rail weather stripping and quarter windows with no different outcome...grrrr, I think I need help on this. The parts I ordered from the guy on the AMC Forum came today, inside mirror, sun visors and the top front headliner trim pieces. WOW, there was some sort of gooey, sticky black stuff all over the trim pieces and the mirror. The visors look decent, dirty and a little rust on the metal clamps and mounting hardware but totally usable. I also setup an appointment with Safelite Auto Glass to install a new windshield, they will be here on Monday.
Saturday July 7, 2012
I cleaned the black goop off the parts I got yesterday. I started with lacquer thinner, no good, so I reverted to gasoline. Yeah, yeah, I know, but it worked. After cleaning the gasoline residue off I sanded all the metal pieces and painted the back sides with POR-15. Since the back of the mirror was covered completely with surface rust I hit it with POR-15 too. Then I used the satin black wheel paint on the front of the headliner trim and the mirror bracket. I think that is the end of parts to the color changed. I am still waiting for the sail panels and the rear side panels, but they will already be black.
Sunday July 8, 2012
Sometime logic does not work. Most threads I read about the headlights and tail lights not working said the headlight switch was probably the culprit......not this time. I installed the new switch but the results were the same, buzzer sounds but no lights. Back to investigating. Using the schematic for the wiring and an on-line picture of the headlight switch I traced the headlight problem to the dimmer switch. I cleaned the switch terminals and its connector with contact cleaner and it worked!!! However it seems to be somewhat intermittent, so I bought a new one, its cheap. However I still have no tail lights and only one brake light. I changed one of the bulb sockets and the brake light on that one now works but still no tail lights, I will change them all.
Monday July 9, 2012
Ok, color me stupid or lazy. Several days ago I stated that the fuse block could possibly be the issue in my electrical problems. Today I pulled all the fuses and connections. I shot everything with contact cleaner and squeeze the fuse holders together, remember I also stated that some of the fuse almost fell out. I then replaced all the tail light sockets for the same reason. Low and behold I have lights, front and back, brake lights, dash lights, I think everything. I can't test the turn signals since I broke the switch but I'm betting they will also work. After all the same sort of issues I had on the Z you'd think I would have known to start with the fuse block. I have ordered a modern individual fuse block and will make a replacement for that antiquated one that is in the car now. I have also ordered LED replacements for the tail lights, LEDs rule!! Safelite came over today to install my new windshield but as usual with this car we ran into a problem. A minor issue, but its delayed the installation. He got the old one out without much difficulty but the trim clips will need replaced and for some reason they don't provide them. I had to order new ones and it will take a few days. Not really a bad thing, this will give me time to POR-15 the windshield channel and do better job painting the top of the dash. I missed a few spots that weren't obvious until the windshield was out. I shot it with several more coats of SEM trim paint.
Thursday July 12, 2012
Sometimes life takes you away from what you want to do. In this case other chores took me away from the car for a few days. Safelite came back today to install the windshield. It had taken two days for the new clips to arrive. I had not noticed the corner clips were a little bigger than the rest and only got the small size. But he was able to use the old larger clips which fortunately did not break when he removed them on Monday. The rest was easy, apply the butyl rubber, drop the windshield in place, smooth out the butyl and install the trim. Still no word from the seller who said he would pay for the windshield, I am not holding my breath on this.
Friday July13, 2012
I got a bunch of stuff delivered today. My new dash pad, seat backs and American Motors wheel center cap inserts all came today. I installed the wheel inserts and the dash cap. The dash cap looks so much better than my attempt at "fixing" the old one and since its made from newer technology materials it should hold up better. Testing the seat backs will have to wait until I can get up to Kenny's, he has my seats.
Saturday July 14, 2012
As much as I dreaded this I swapped out the turn signal switch I had messed up during the ignition lock install. I must learn to slow down so I don't continue breaking things. Its expensive to replace things that didn't need replacing! As I suspected this endeavor was just as difficult as I thought it would be, The FSM of course made it sound easy, but the problem was snaking the new cable down though the steering column. But eventually I got it in. The replacement cable wasn't an exact replacement and required an adapter which Delco provided and the tranny kick down wire had to be moved to that adapter. I mentioned before I thought I found the issue with the wiper switch having a broken wire which I reconnected. I was correct, sort of. The switch does run the wiper motor now but the linkage is missing something that connects the motor to the wiper arms, I think its just a clip. Naturally the cowl on this car does not come off,. According to the FSM I need to remove the motor from the firewall to make that connection. Hopefully I can find whatever it is that holds the motor to the arms.
Monday July 16, 2012
Changing the dash lights requires you to pull the gauge cluster which once again sounds easy but I know it won't be. All that just to change a light bulb, what the hell were the AMC engineers thinking? But these lights are probably the originals and who knows if they all work, I did test the one that fell out and it is blown. So now is the time to replace them, naturally I ordered some green LEDs. There are bezels mounted to the back of the dash cover for both the headlight and wiper switches. But when I looked at them I noticed the paint on them was cracked very badly, obviously from the bulb heat. I looked around the internet with no success for new ones so I am going to try to re-paint them. Factory method was first a coat of white, then a coat of black and the letters were wiped so they remain white. I got some acrylic paint and am hoping I can pull this off and the white will be translucent enough to allow light to shine through.
Tuesday July 17, 2012
Today I painted the messed up bezels and it looks like it will work, cool. Then I decided to pull the gauge cluster. I disconnected the speedometer cable, took out the four screws on the front and gently pulled it out the front of the dash. But of course there are issues. It all came out so effortlessly I'm sure I didn't do anything wrong. But then again I have been under the dash moving wires and cables around. When I pulled the cluster out I immediately noticed a single wire was hanging loose, it looks like it broke off a post on the PC board. Also there was a bulb attached to two wires hanging loose, I think that is the e-brake bulb that I thought was just missing. And there is some mystery plastic fitting, what its for I have no clue. I'm pretty sure I can fix the broken connection by simply soldering it back together, there is still some of the pin sticking out of the PC board. A quick inquiry on the AMC forum cleared all this up. Turns out there was a second loose bulb and wire which was actually the e-brake light, the one I originally found was for the low fuel light which goes in that plastic fitting. I was right about the broken wire and soldered it back in place. I added a couple tie-wraps for strain relief on that wire.
Wednesday July 18, 2012
When I bought my new dash pad I never thought about the tinnerman fasteners which capture the screw for the dash cover, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!! So once again I had to take off the dash pad and put it back on. The good thing is with the gauge cluster removed it was easier. I am becoming an expert at this, my bad right shoulder however is not happy! While I wait for the LEDs to show up I mounted my speakers in the back panel I made. I need to get these in before I install the new black carpet.
Thursday July 19. 2012
I got all the LEDs and installed them in the gauge cluster, side markers, front park/turn signals, clock and the wiper and headlight bezels. The turn signals were working for a while but have now stopped, no clue what is wrong there. It might be I have the wrong flasher, I did change it to an "electronic" one but I got one that is rated for a LED setup just in case. Also the front parking/turn signals do not work unless I run a ground wire from the light housing to a good ground. As it turns out the late built cars had the extra gound wire in the harness that plugs directly into the back of the housing. But my car was built in December of 1969 which makes it the early style so I need a ground wire that runs from the mounting stud to the grille support. I thought I was all done with the color change but today I found the ashtray in the parts bin unpainted, so I painted it. I also had to slightly modify the under dash light housing to allow the LEDs I got for them, they were about 1/32" too big. The same style fit perfectly in the console.
Saturday (I think) July 21, 2012
Somewhere along the line I missed a whole day this week. No clue when or how, but when I got up this morning I realized it was Saturday, not Friday. First thing I did today was make the ground wires for the front park/turn lights. It didn't take long to see the previous owner had been in this area too. Many different types of screws and several missing. I better take a good hard look at this car before driving it any distance! Next I mounted the clock and had to make a ground wire for it too since the little spring thing was missing, good thing I had read about that before I put the whole dash back together. I wired up a new lighter, the old one was rusty and didn't look safe. After what seemed like a perverted IQ test I finally got the courtesy lights installed. You know, square pug in a round hole except neither the peg or the hole is either round or square, even pictures were of little help. Of course when I finally figured it out it was obvious! But the LEDs I got from China are wired backwards, figures. The red is ground and the black is +12v. I can't fix the LEDs so the adapter I made has the colors correct.
Sunday July 22, 2012
I got the courtesy lights wire and installed. They actually worked with the door switches, that surprised me since it seems everything on this car so far has been shaky at best. But the wires coming from the leds are so small I have no faith they will hold up. This will be the last time I order directly from China! I mounted the Magnum 500 wheels I got from Mustang unlimited, I will be putting the Weld Wheels on Craigslist soon. That was about it for the day, lugging all those wheels around pretty much wiped me out, damn I'm getting old!
Monday July 23, 2012
I did some rebuilding on the center console. Several of the mounting places were broken so I made an alternative mounting method for it. I also wired the leds for the shifter and the rear cabin light. Speaking of shifters, I have several piece missing in the shifter. There are three pieces that make up the gear indicator. There is a holder for the sliding lens, the sliding lens and the P R N D 2nd 1st housing which also holds the light. I have none of these. I posted a "wanted' post on AMC Forum and someone responded who had it all. It was a little expensive but I pounced on it anyway. I found another light bulb the switch the led, the truck light.
Tuesday July 24, 2012
I swear this car is trying to drive me insane. Still fighting electrical stuff. I finally got the hazards to work by swapping out the flasher to an electronic one, but still have no turn signals even with a new flasher. I think there is a disconnect in my fuse block to the turn/backup fuse. There is no +12v on either side of the fuse but there is on the fuses also connected to the same switched +12v source. I gave up for the day on the turn signals and moved to figure out why my backup lights don't work other than having no +12v going to the neutral safety/backup switch. Missing is the actuator that attaches to the bottom of the switch that connects it to the shifter. No clue where I can get that. I will try the forum, who knows. Makes me wonder if the previous owner swapped transmissions in this car. The one in there now is the correct one but there was a kick-down linkage for a Chrysler 727 transmission (common swap for performance upgrades) in the truck when I got the car. I'm thinking he at one time had the 727 in there and pulled it for some reason and lost that actuator during the swap back.
Wednesday July 25, 2012
OMG. The turn signal failure keeps getting worse. I pulled the wire for the +12v that is supposed to be feeding the turn signal off the fuse block and started following the wire. It ran over the steering column and behind the center of the dash. Then I saw it!! Someone has added one of those dreaded crimp on in-line connectors on this wire and the output of the connector is gone, broken, cut, whatever. But trying to hard wire +12v directly to the flasher I still get not turn signals.....I am so confused. I have returned the turn signal switch I got from Rockauto and ordered one that does not use an adapter from American Parts Depot. I'm really not that confident the switch is the problem, but I am at a loss at this point. I also ordered a clip for the windshield wiper arms, amazing they stock that.
Thursday July26, 2012
I posted this turn signal issue on the forum last night hoping someone could point me in the right direction. One of the guys told me what I already knew, check continuity to everything. So today I was back at it. I have continuity from the flasher to the switch, from the switch to all the lights and I have +12v going to the flasher. So I'm thinking what else is new here........the flasher is new!!! And it is wired backwards from what it should be, or at least what AMC used!!! Apparently there is no standard in the flasher industry, who knew. I simply switched the +12v side and the switch side and I have turn signals.
Friday July 27, 2012
After the week long struggle with the turn signals I took today off. But Kenny, the upholstery guy, called to tell me my seats and door panels were done. He had to rebuild much of the insides of the seats with new burlap on the bottoms and all new built up foam to replace the 42 year old stuff. The door panels have new boards and black upholstery. The black seat covers and door panel all came from Legendary Auto Interiors. I test fitted the turtle backs and as usual with anything aftermarket and fiberglass they will need some minor "adjustment". They fit on the seats fine but the holes for the back release do not line up well. It should be an easy fix. It all looks great, had a flashback to my old AMX when I saw the seats, LOL.
Sunday July 29, 2012
I made a bracket to hold my LED license plate light. Then I attempted to install the seat turtle backs. The passenger side went on fairly easy. I had to enlarge the hole for the back release but it fit pretty well. The driver side however is way off. Again the release hole needed work but the whole back is not lining up. The top of the back is not sitting down far enough which makes the bottom about 1/4" from clearing the frame. Plus the place that is suppose to fit around the bottom mounting holes doesn't look like the passenger side at all. I may have to do some fiberglass work on this to get it to mount right.
Monday July 30, 2012
After a little messaging with the air tool on the fiberglass hooks inside the turtle back I managed to get the turtle back on the drivers seat. It doesn't fit perfect but its the best I can do for now. Getting the seat installed in the car however has proved to be a monumental task. The first problem was the seat tracks. One set is pretty good shape and moves pretty easily, but the other set would barely move at all. I hit both sets with some penetrating oil and used a scribe to dig God only knows what out of the sliders. They are now totally free to move. But the link between the two tracks needed to make seat adjustments was missing on both sets. Coat hanger steel to the rescue! After several attempts I got the length right and it worked like the factory linkage. After that I made my first attempt to get the drivers seat installed, it did not go well. There is way too much play in the track to seat mounting holes and no way to adjust anything once they are in the car. Mount the tracks on the seats first and it just a guess how they should sit and even come close to lining up with the holes in the floor. From the looks of the holes in the floor someone else has had this same issue since they have been elongated. Oh yeah, did I mention these seats are heavy? After many hours of failure I finally mounted the tracks loosely on the floor first. Then although it was nearly impossible to get to the track rear studs I got the nuts for the seat tightened to the tracks. Only then did I tighten the track to the floor......... success. Of course I will have to pull it again to install the Fatmat and carpet. Hopefully if I take out the track nuts and bolts it will sit back in with no alignment problems.....yeah like that will happen!!!!
Tuesday July 31, 2012
Since I got my door panels back from Kenny I installed 4 mm plastic moisture barrier on the doors. That took much longer than I thought it would. Right after lunch UPS dropped off my new turn signal switch from APD and after the usual hassle I got it installed. Yahoo!!! I have turn signals. I hope I never have to go into this steering column again!
Wednesday August 1, 2012
I had a pretty productive today. Certainly not without some problems but I figured them all out. The first thing I did was rebuild my speaker board to make carpeting the rear easier. I added a one inch spacer under the speakers so the carpet has something to sit against rather than the speaker grille. If I need to I can add a ring around that spacer to cover any flaws in the carpet installation. Then I attacked the door panels. I figured getting Legendary upholstery and having a professional install them would make installation a snap.....wrong. While Kenny did an awesome job with the door panels Legendary did not have a knockout for the grab handles. I had the old upholstery and was able to transfer those holes to the new panels. Lining up the five snap-in clips to the proper spot was a trial and error exercise but not terribly hard. All the knockouts Legendary put in the door panels worked great except for the four screws along the bottom, I had to drill new holes in the door for those. It seems the PO simply used what ever hardware he had on hand and there was not an identical set for both doors. A quick trip to ACE hardware for stainless hardware solved that. Both doors are done except for the missing wood insert on the passenger door armrest. I found one on EBay for only $9. I figured it wouldn't be great but its useless.
Thursday August 2, 2012
I finally got the quarter windows in the car but I'm not real pleased with the way they fit. It looks like the roof rail seal opening for the bottom of the glass is too wide and the overall width at that point is too narrow. There also is a gap at the front where the seal reaches the door opening that will have to be addressed. Some added rubber and polyurethane will probably work for all these problems. I got the passenger seat in. After the major hassle with the driver's seat this was a piece of cake....lessons learned. I started putting in some of the inside trim pieces that I died or painted, this is not going to be fun either. What magical spell makes these sail panels fit is so far beyond me. The ones I pulled out have an arc, I'm sure because they have been in there for forty two years, but the new ones are flat. I think once I figure out the install sequence it will work out. Of course I still have to get a headliner installed so most of this will have to be pulled out again for that. But I'm sure Kenny wants to know what will cover the edges of the headliner so they need to be in there before he works on the car.
Saturday August 4, 2012
I installed the new wind lace on the doors frames, that went very smoothly. However the pinch weld/headlinder trim did not go at all. I died this black thinking I could reuse it but for some reason it will not stay in place. I fought with these thing for quite a while and finally managed to get the passenger side on. But there is only one screw holding this thing up so I might add a few more. That would make installation much easier on both sides. Okay, what the hell is the deal with interior sail panels? These things are held in by nothing but the shoulder harness bolt and the have an arc to them. Of course the replacement ones do not have the arc and are rather stiff so getting them in place and attaching the window trim is difficult, like you need 5 hands. I solved some of that by trimming off about an inch from the top and adding two screws along the bottom all of which will be covered by trim. Much like the installation of the seats this took several hours of trial and error. The sad part is I have to pull them out again to be upholstered. The driver side trim piece that runs from the door along the bottom of the quarter window to the rear window broke when I first pulled it out. My attempt at fixing it have proved to be a failure, I will order a new one after I install the other side in case I break that one too! Since I only had one of the wood overlay armrest cover I picked up one off EBay, but it was in horrible condition. I bought some walnut vinyl and added that to both sides, looks pretty good. I might attempt to add the silver stripe around the perimeter later. I made some aluminum strips to reinforce the areas on the dash top mount the previous owner had broken. Then modified the map light to add a missing switch and LED light. Getting the interior back in is taking much longer than I thought.
Tuesday August 7, 2012
I got the dash cover back in the car. The glove box door does not fit all that well and I can't seem to make it any better, maybe I need someone with better geometry skills!! I also got the passenger side sail panel fitted. Now if I can get the headlight switch, and wiper switch attached, the wiring all tucked back under the dash it will be time to pull this thing out of the garage for its shack down trip. And then its back to Kenny for the headliner and carpet.
Wednesday August 8, 2012
I got the headlight and wiper switches back in the dash. The headlight switch is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I have ever tried to put in a car. You can't see where it goes from under the dash because the climate control is in the way, you can't maneuver the switch while looking at the hole from in front of the dash, arms just don't have enough flexibility for that and the damn thing has to be in the perfect position for the long threaded hollow bolt/nut thing to thread into the switch. What I finally did was lie on my back under the dash, slide the bolt/nut thing it onto the plunger/knob thing, insert it through the dash and feel around until I got the plunger/knob thing into the switch. With many failed attempts it finally lined up enough able to get the bolt/nut thing started. Then I carefully pulled the plunger/knob thing and used my homemade spanner to tighten the bolt/nut thing and reinserted the plunger/knob thing. AND THE LIGHTS STILL WORK!!!! However the wipers do not work now, very weird. I guess some more investigation on the wipers is forthcoming. I also cleaned up the wiring under the dash, tied up the flashers and reattached the low fuel relay and key buzzer. No clue why the relay and buzzer were just hanging loose. Apparently they got unattached by me or the previous owner while playing under the dash.
Friday, August 10, 2012
As stated before I had painting the main part of the steering wheel black to match the rest of the interior color change. But when I started to install the wheel I looked closer at the wooden rim and the finish has worn quite a lot, so I decided to sand it off and re-stain it. But of course this car is not a high end sport car and after sanding I realized the wood is not real but is painted plastic. But strange as it sounds after sanding I hit it with some walnut stain and it actually came out pretty nice. After I let the stain dry overnight I laid on three coats of POR-15 Pelucid which is a protective clear, same stuff I used on the gearshift knob. Now of course the center bar looks a bit lame by comparison so I taped off everything and shot the main part with some silver. The three black circles still look good and the center AMC emblem is perfect. The steering wheel went back on and the driver seat was bolted in again. I converted the dash Map light to a 4 LED setup and installed it. Just when I thought I had all the electrical issues sorted out (other than the wipers) I found a new one. The trunk light has power all the time. The wire going to the bulb is orange which should mean its switched +12v. There is no switch to turn it off which means the light would constantly be on and would eventually discharge the battery given enough parked time. I decided to just redesign the whole thing. I like the ability of being able to turn the trunk light on and off without turning on the ignition so I added a switch and changed the bulb to an LED array. At this point I am pretty much done with the interior until I can get the headliner, FatMat and carpet installed.
Sunday August 12, 2012
Well its finally time for a road test. I charged the battery since I've been playing with lights and other electrical stuff for a while. I pumped the gas, dealing with a carb after all these years of EFI is weird, turned the key and it roared to life. The first thing I saw was the alternator light is on all the time, I don't remember that when I pulled the car into the garage, then again that bulb could have been burned out and I have changed them all to LEDs. There is +12.4 volts at the battery and at the alternator with the car running, not sure what it should be but I'm thinking it should be higher. I shut the car off and tried starting it again and I get nothing. Even just turning on the ignition I get no dash lights, not a good start for sure. I disconnected the battery and put the charger back on, it started charging at full current, looks like I have alternator charging issues. The AMX of course uses old school alternators and an external regulator and it only pumps out 37A. While doing some on-line research I found a link that talked about faking out the alternator to put out a full charge. Looking for the connector they were talking about and guess what? ITS DISCONNECTED!!!! The terminals don't look very good, kind of rusted, but I plugged the connector in anyway, hooked up the battery and fired up the engine, bummer, light is still on. I pulled the alternator, cleaned up all the connections but it still doen't clear the light. I took it to Oreilly's for testing.......... it failed. So I will be converting to a Delco 3 wire alternator. Plus there seems to be an exhaust leak on the passenger side. The headers are a bit rusted, I hope they aren't trash.The shake down cruise is going to be postponed. Hopefully this will not take too long to remedy.
Monday August 13, 2012
I got the GM 12SI alternator for a '84 Camaro 305 today. I knew I had to modify the mounting bracket so I pulled the old one to do some measuring. I cut off the back and will splice in a 1" piece of material as soon as I get hold of my welder buddy. But there were still some fitment issues. The alternator is a bit longer than the stock Motorola one and it hits the oil filter if I use the stock belt. I think to fix that I will just get a slightly longer belt that will allow the alternator to swing up a little. Wiring is another thing. There is lots of talk on-line on how to hook this up in our cars, lots of different opinions. I still have not decided on how I will do this. A dedicated switched +12v for the excite connection seems to be the best method.
Tuesday August 14, 2012
I stripped off the paint from the alternator bracket and took it to Chris, my welder. He said he would weld it up tonight and I will have it back tomorrow. In preparation I took the battery to have it checked, it measured marginal. I have no clue how old this thing is so I just bought a new one. I pulled the battery tray and hold down bracket since there was the inevitable rust associated with batteries. There was even some tiny little rust through holes in one of the dimples. I filled them with JB Weld since it is minor and not a stress point. I stripped all three pieces and coated them with POR-15.
Wednesday August 15, 2012
I didn't do much on the car today. I picked up the welded alternator bracket from Chris. But when I took the bolt out that was holding the three pieces together the alignment washer/spacers did not move. I had to beat them out with a hammer, stuff warps when its welded and this sure did. I certainly did not want to alter the alternator so I hit the insides of the bracket flanges a little with the angle grinder and it fits fine, better to be snug than loose. After that I laid on some black POR-15 on the whole bracket.
Thursday August 16, 2012
Watching paint dry is boring! So while some more brackets were drying from POR-15 I started looking over a few things. The first thing I noticed was the previous owner had cut one of the transmission cooler lines, no clue why, and rejoined the two sections with rubber fuel line. I know that tranny fluid will eat fuel line so as a stop gap I picked up a couple compression fitting and replaced ththe fuel hose with some real tranny line. The hoses coming from the radiator are old and starting to crack and I can get the real hard lines. I want to add an aftermarket cooler so I will wait until I get that to figure out what all I need in the way of stock parts. The PO also changed the distributor to a Mallory Unilite ignition system, a good thing because it gets rid of the points. But he grounded the whole thing at the coil mounting bracket which bolts to another bracket that then bolts to the intake. I moved that ground wire a spare hole in the engine block giving a direct path to ground, you can't have too good or too many grounds. All the heat riser stuff has been removed from the car but it still has the snorkel to the air cleaner pan. Back in the day I removed that, blocked it off and took the vacuum activated door out of the ram air scoop. This relies on outside air only. Hey, I live in Georgia, really cold air is not an issue here, even in winter.
Saturday August 18, 2012
Wiring always seems like it will be easier than it usually is. Granted playing with wiring is what I did for a living for forty three years, but car wiring is different than computers. I cleaned up the wiring associated with the old alternator and external voltage regulator. This removed five wires and two connectors and shorten and rewrapped a couple harnesses. I ran a new wire from the fuse panel to the excite connection on the alternator and connected the old "alt" light wire to the other connection on the alternator. I fired up the engine, the ALT light went out, looks like the new alternator is working great. Since I have removed the under engine air inlet to the air cleaner I blocked off the hole in the cleaner pan and painted it black.
Monday August 20, 2012
My little fix for the tranny lines did not work, still leaking. So I have ordered now hard and rubber lines. Unfortunately it will probably take a week to get them. While I was under the car I thought I would see if I could determine where the exhaust leak was coming from. I suspected the header collector gasket and I was right. They were those cheap fiber ones that always blow out. I replaced both sides with copper ones. Talking to Doug at APD I asked him if he stocked the neutral safety/backup switch activator. He does not but told me where to look in the shop manual to get an idea of how to make one. I found another loose wire hanging near the transmission. It turns out to be the wire for the kickdown solenoid. Word is that because it is an electric kickdown other than having no passing gear you can't hurt the tranny if its not hooked up. I think I know where it goes but I need conformation on that.
Tuesday August 21, 2012
Total failure on the home made neutral safety/backup switch actuator. Looking a little deeper there is only a cotter pin holding the shifter to the tranny linkage, I think I will pull the shifter to make it easier to fabricate this part. I've done a lot of searching on how to change the color of seat belts and apparently its not easy. Some say RIT dye, others that will not work. One suggested soaking them in lacquer thinner and then painting them with regular enamel paint, that just sounds crazy. Then there was the guy who used a black Sharpie and swears it works, others say the black will come off on his clothes. But I am going to attempt using my tried and true method of color change and painted one set with VHT vinyl dye. The first coat didn't seem to do much on the belt itself but applying two more heavy coats seems to pretty much turned the brown to black. I will let it sit for at least 24 hours and see how pliable they still are.
Thursday August 23, 2012
The seatbelt color change didn't turn out as well as I hoped. They are black but are also pretty stiff. I will install the one I painted and see if it loosens up some with use. Since I ordered the new tranny lines and hoses and a B&M external cooler I pulled out the old stuff. Getting at the cooler lines on the tranny wasn't easy with the headers. I don't think I could have gotten the lines out without taking the dipstick tube off, it also allowed me more hand room to get at the lines at the tranny. I also attacked the neutral safety/backup switch actuator. I pulled the shifter this time to make it easier to get accurate measurements and to attach the new part. It works, sort of. I played around with it for a long time and got it to at least light the backup lights most of the time. I even took the switch apart and cleaned the contacts which really weren't that dirty. For now I'm calling victory but I can't test the neutral safety part until the tranny cooler lines are done and I can start the engine.
Friday August 24, 2012
The B&M cooler came from Summit so I started fabricating a mount. This car is supposed to have AC but all the equipment has been removed. I need to think about the condenser in case I actually put AC back in the car. I used the mounting brackets that came with the cooler attaching them to the radiator support with 1/4" nutserts. This gave me room to run the cooler lines without any stress on the lines and enough room for an AC condenser to sit behind it. I painted the mounts with black POR-15 and since it was already out the tranny dipstick tube got painted too.
Saturday August 25, 2012
After the paint dried I mounted the cooler so its ready for the hard lines. There are no holes or places to get through or around the radiator support and I do not want to start cutting stuff out. So the plan is to extend the hard lines under the support and then connect them to the cooler with short hoses. It looks like its a pretty straight shot. Using hard line extensions will make the "exposed" area much thinner than if I ran the hoses there.
Tuesday August 28, 2012
The new tranny hard lines arrived but for some reason they don't really fit all that well. It might be the headers and that might explain why one of the old lines had been cut. I used the "stock" lines and some 5/16' brake line to make my own. I ran the hard lines under the radiator support and then used about three inches of 3/8" hose to connect to the cooler. I added line insulation the both lines and the dipstick tube to help protect them from header heat. Working around those headers was not fun. I think this would have been much easier if I had pulled the passenger side header off. But dealing with long tube headers can sometimes mean getting the car very high in the air and I wasn't going to attempt it.
Thursday August 31, 2012
The cooler lines certainly were a lot more work than I thought. Just getting them in with the header in the way was tough enough, but then after all that I had two leaks. One at the front tranny fitting which is almost impossible to get to with the other line and the dipstick tube in place and the other at one of the couplings going to the cooler. The cooler fitting was a simple matter of tightening it some more but the tranny fitting was a test of my ability to contort and work blind but I eventually got it to seal. So now for the maiden voyage! The first thing I did was take it to the closest gas station and filled it with 93 octane. This car is certainly different to drive than the Z or my Ranger. The steering is very light, the gas pedal takes a lot of effort and it handles like a 1970 car. The speedometer is not working and neither is the water temp gauge but at least the fuel gauge works. Hopefully these are just connection issues or the water temp sending unit. There also is a miss every once in a while when I add a little gas, and a total bog if I hit the gas hard, it probably needs some carburetor work. I hate carburetors!
Tuesday September 4, 2012
After my little cruise I pulled the plugs out to see what they looked like and they don't look real good. The electrode is brown like it should be but the ceramic is covered with black soot. That indicates I am running very rich which explains the bog on sudden throttle and maybe the miss at cruising speed. I also pulled the fuel filter which has a removable screen filter and although the screen was clean there was debris inside, probably from not being run for over a year. I am going to rebuild the carb and have an expert look it over for jetting. I dumped some fuel system cleaner in the tank. But the biggest disappointment was there is still a tranny leak. Of course I was thinking it is coming from the cooler lines. I put the car up on stands, started it and crawled under to see where the leak was coming from, it didn't take long. The pan is leaking at the gasket, figures. There is no real way to fix that right without removing the pan and dumping all that new fluid I just put in there. Against all odds I smeared some RTV along the leaking section. I will let it sit overnight and see what happens in the morning but I know I will be looking for a new gasket!
Wednesday September 5, 2012
While the RTV did stop the tranny pan leak I decided to change the filter and the gasket anyway, no clue how long that RTV fix would last. The fsm says "Remove the screen retaining screws and Alnico magnet. Remove the screen and clean as required. Install oil screen and magnet". Seems simple enough, but when I got the pan off even before I took the screen out there was this half moon shaped magnet lying in the bottom off the pan, not screwed to anything. Man, I just can't get a break with this car! I posted on the AMC message board asking about this magnet thing. I don't want to put it all back together until I know where this is supposed to go. Then I start the search for new parts, shouldn't be difficult....right! Three parts stores and two wrong parts ordered I finally got the right one at NAPA. Even there the first three we looked at were wrong. How many different transmissions did AMC use on the AMX in 1970???!!!! While the pan was off I cleaned it up and painted it with black POR-15. I received a conformation from the AMC message board that indeed these transmissions came stock with a magnet sitting in the bottom of the pan. It should be donut shaped, but have been seen just parts. They attach to nothing just sit in the pan to collect metallic particles since the screen is just a screen, not really a filter.
Thursday September 6, 2012
I was able to find some very strong earth magnets at Hobby Lobby of all places. These are much stronger than the one I found in the pan. I put several around the pan since they are only 1" in diameter and 1/8" thick. I bolted the pan and dipstick tube back on and filled it up. My plan to catch all the brand new fluid I just put in for reuse failed horribly. I had the one gallon bottle from my previous fill and a funnel to catch the fluid running out of the dipstick tube as I removed it, but much more than that came out and I lost a lot to the floor before I could get anything else in place. In all it took 7.5 quarts to fill it back up. Since the car is already in the air I used some brake cleaner to attempt cleaning off stuff under the car. I think there are several things that might be leaking a bit. The engine oil drian plug and the power steering unit and the oil pump itself might need work.
Saturday September 8, 2012
Totally discouraged by the transmission issues I moved on to other projects. I pulled the carb off to take it to my carb expert for rebuilding. I have rebuilt Holley carbs in the past but I don't have the equipment to clean it properly. I picked up a set of VDO gauges from Summit, voltage, oil pressure and water temp, and I am going to install them where the radio used to be. I will pick up a remote music system later. To accomplish the gauge setup I made an aluminum face plate to hold the gauges and modified the radio frame to mount the assembled faceplate. I used some of the same walnut vinyl I used to upgrade the console on the faceplate. This seems like an easy project but it did take most of the day.
Monday September 10, 2012
In an effort to save some money on new carpet and as an experiment I dyed the carpet piece under the rear window where my rear speakers will sit. The experiment did not go as well as dying the vinyl. Its black but its also very "crispy". This may work on loop pile but not so much on cut pile. Oh well, at least I have a template for the speakers on the actual new carpet. I also made some bezels for the speakers which will give them more of a finished look.
Friday September 14, 2012
After several attempts at getting the neutral safety/back up light switch to work I finally found the correct actuator. I had to buy the whole shifter but it wasn't that much plus it had some foam attached to help keep heat and debris out of the interior. The foam wasn't in the best shape but it gave me what I needed to make a new one. I swapped out the whole shifer rather than swapping parts. Georgia has a cool law which allows you to run a 1970 or older license plate on your vintage car. I picked up a very nice plate from one of my buddies to run on the AMX. I have to go back to the dreaded DMV to fill out the paper work.
Monday September 17, 2012
I got the carb back Friday but only got time today to install it. I had taken pictures of the vacuum lines but the rebuild guy told one of the lines I left on the carb that ran from the base to the air horn would cause a vacuum leak and he plugged both fittings. As I was bolting the carb on and looking at the picture I had taken my memory for back in my carburetor day came flooding back. The vacuum advance line just didn't look like it was going to the correct port. Several searches on-line proved I was correct. It seems the PO had this line and the vacuum line to the transmission reverses, that can't be good. That might explain this car's somewhat lack of power, I had no timing advance and Lord knows what that was doing in the transmission. I did some adjusting with the float bowls and idle screws, hopefully I did that right. But just as I got done it started to rain and without working wipers I didn't want to attempt a test run. Besides I am still dealing with the low voltage at the coil caused by the distributor. I guess I need to call Mallory support and see what they think.
There is an issue I noticed a long time ago with the remote control driver side door mirror. It sits on a weird angle and just doesn't look right. I pull it off, fortunately its held on with self tapping screws, to get a better view of everything. The gasket is a molded part and is a little thicker on one side than the other. Unfortunately the thick part of this one is on the bottom which compounds the problem. It looks like this gasket is for the passenger side, and the way the mirror base is made you can't flip the gasket. After a long list of posts on the message board the consensus is I have a Gremlin or Hornet mirror and the correct AMX gasket, apparently not a matched set. They make the AMX reproduction mirror but at $155 I will pass. I will attempt to make a workable gasket from fiberglass using the car itself as a template.
Tuesday September 18, 2012
To save a few bucks on the headliner project, which I am hiring out, I decided to cover the cardboard sail panels myself. I got some black textured marine grade vinyl I had used before, some 3M 80 spray adhesive and set to work. The 3M 80 adhesive was rated for headliners by being better able to withstand heat than 3M 77, we'll see. I rough cut the vinyl, sprayed both the sail panel and the vinyl, waited 5 minutes, stuck them together, trimmed off the excess and cut out the holes for the shoulder harness and mounting screws. The only issue was the 3M 80 is a rubber based product and tended to puddle some making it more difficult to get the vinyl to lay flat. On the second panel I used a paintbrush to smooth out the puddles before it dried, that worked much better. I will let them setup overnight before installing them.
Wednesday September 19, 2012
Self tapping screws have one major flaw, they will eventually strip out whatever they are screwed into and this car is no exception. I noticed that the back screw for the door mirror was stripped the first time I tried to tighten it. Back to that old standby the nutsert. I drilled the holes a little bigger and added some 10x24 nutserts. The area where the nutserts went are raised up a little, only AMC knows why, and that gave me an area to "adjust" the angle this mirror sits. I screwed in the screws and very gently persuaded the raised area to move a bit toward the bottom of the door. A couple test fits and its perfect, I made a sealing gasket out of some rubber I already had, mirror problem solved.
I got the sail panels installed but the new fiberglass side pieces don't fit worth a damn, figures. One of these days I will learn about after market fiberglass stuff, it never fits right. I will attempt to make this stuff work but that will be after I get the headliner in, I don't want to have to install these more than once. I also worked on engine wiring some more. I ran the coil wires from the back of the engine along the intake to the coil rather than having them run all the way around the right side of the engine bay and then back to the coil. This eliminated two feet of wiring and looks much better. While I was doing that it seemed like a good time the fix the alternator hitting on the oil filter issue. I picked up a little longer belt Gates 7435 11A1105 which is 44 1/8" long. That gave me enough room to barely clear the oil filter. But what a pain. To get the alternator belt off you have to take the PS pump belt off and fish them both around the fan, they barely clear the fan and fan shroud. The adjustment for the PS pump in no less than four bolts, one of which like the alternator bracket goes through the water pump and into the water jacket! But I think the PS pump belt needed tightening anyway.
Thursday September 20, 2012
After rereading the instructions on filling my transmission I realized I had over filled the tranny. I needed to get the transmission fluid hot before checking it and I did not do that. So I drained a little over a quart out. I will take it out for a drive, check the level and adjust accordingly. I finished up the wire clean up in the engine bay, it looks a lot neater now. I also changed the vacuum line going to the distributor, the PO used a hose that was too big. I guess that's why he had tie-wraps on it! I picked up a fire extinguisher and installed it in the trunk. I also registered the 1970 Georgia license plate so I can legally run it. The other big issue I have been dealing with was the low voltage at the coil. Turns out AMC uses a resistive wire for the ignition and the Mallory system needs that to be in place. So the low voltage is what I should have. I moved the choke wire from the coil connection to another switched line to get +12v at the choke.
Friday September 21, 2012
After a little more cleaning under the hood and washing the car for the first time since I took it back on the road. The carb rebuild and or the correct vacuum connection made a difference for sure. I got back home and checked the tranny fluid, weirdly it was low by about the same amount I took out yesterday, I am so confused. I filled it until it was in the middle of the safe zone, I will keep an eye on it. Of course since I just cleaned the engine bay my arm hit one of the heater hose and the inevitable jerk cause me to spill some tranny fluid all over the fender well, frame and headers. After it burned off the headers and the engine cooled down I cleaned it up again. I also put the driver seat belt and shoulder harness back in. I had forgotten was a PITA that should harness and seat belt combo was. I will be looking for a modern replacement. I was thinking about taking it to the Sonic cruise-in tonight but the thought of a 50 mile round trip in Atlanta traffic didn't seem like a good plan for its first trip. I will take it to a cruise-in Sunday morning.
Sunday September 23, 2012
Its is finally time for the car's first real trip. Granted its only a 50 mile round trip its still exciting. I took it to two local cruise-ins to show it off to my fellow car nuts. These guys have been on me for months stating they don't believe I actually have an AMX! This was a shakedown cruise and there were a couple things I noticed. There is something rattling when the car is stopped, possibly the exhaust is hitting some where. On the ride down I could feel hot air coming from the heater and no amount of control maneuvering made it go away, the heater was stuck on. The cable going to the valve on the intake manifold did not move the valve. The valve needs some lubrication, at least I hope that will fix it. The other weird thing was I could not get the key to turn to the lock position so I could not get it out. There is a lever on the steering column that looks like it should have a rod to the transmission. If the lever is not fully up the ignition will not go in lock. I may just wire it in place or if possible just remove it altogether. None of the gauges are working except possibly the fuel gauge. I knew that before the trip, but I checked the horn and it isn't working either, I may have a blown fuse. All in all it was a successful trip, everyone said they liked the car.
Monday September 24, 2012
I took the choke apart and for some reason the lever that is supposed to fit inside the heat spring was not inside it. I reassembled it and now the choke plate moves when you turn the adjusting cup. However the mark on the cover is way off???? I lubricated the heater valve and it now will move by hand but the cable still will not move it. I think there needs to be something more to hold the cable in place to allow the inside wire to move.......more investigating. I could not see any way to remove the steering column lever so I wired the up so it can't move. I will post a message to the AMC forum to see what it is that is missing and if there is any possibility of getting the parts.
Tuesday September 25, 2012
Before I can get carpet in this car I need to hook up everything that will require wiring from the front to the back. This includes the Secret Audio system. The main unit sits in the trunk with the antenna on the rear shelf under the window and the display resides on the console. But priorities dictate I need to get the VDO gauges hooked up first. Wiring being wiring just hooking up the 355,974 connections to the gauges and the audio unit took most of the day. The rest was spent making a bracket to hold the audio unit on the back of the trunk wall. Right now I don't have any front speakers, I have no clue right now where I will put them. But I ran the front speaker wires for future use since they will be under the carpet. Hooking up power and testing to follow.
Wednesday September 26, 2012
I didn't get much time to work on the car today. In fact the only thing I did was make a bracket for a junction strip for battery +12v, switched +12 and light power which will make hooking up the gauges and audio unit as well as any other stuff I add easier. I also mounted the gauge panel.
Thursday September 27, 2012
Wiring sucks! Its hard to believe I designed and built new electronic stuff for 43 years! But then again I wasn't old and didn't have to get under a dashboard to work! I got all the gauges wired to my new junction block and the sender wires run through the firewall. I got the water temp sender installed and the engine sits right at 160 degrees. The volt meter also reads good but installing to the oil pressure sender is going to be tough. The one from VDO is much bigger than the one on the car, I sure hope it fits. That will have to wait until tomorrow, my back is killing me. I want to get that installed so I can take the car to the Sonics cruise-in Friday night.
Friday September 28, 2012
I got the oil pressure sender installed, it barely fit. The GM alternator is bigger than the stock one and it sit very close to both the oil filter and the sender. I planned on changing the oil anyway and removing the filter made it easier to get at the sender. The old one came out without any problem but the new one which is at least twice the size of the old one was hitting on the alternator. Well not the alternator itself but the battery wire and a rubber cap on one of the assembly bolts. Moving the cable 90 degrees fixed that issue and pulling off the rubber cap gave me enough room the get the sender in. After it was seated I was able to get the rubber cap back on. The car had a Fram oil filter and I don't like Fram so I optioned for a WIX filter. Amazingly there is more alternator clearance with the Wix filter than there was with the Fram, cool. Oil pressure is 60+ psi at cold idle which is what it should be, that's good. Then I had to route wires in the engine bay for the gauges which of course means I had to undo all the wire cleanup I had previously done. Planning ahead is not one of my strong points! After all that I decided to take the car to the cruise-in at Sonics. All was going well until I had to apply the brakes kind of hard, no panic stop, just harder that usual. Shortly after that I started smelling something odd. Thinking it might be the bus two cars up or maybe some wiring I just did was touching something hot I tried to ignore it, but knowing it was not good. Then the next time I applied the brakes the car pulled to the left quit hard, uh-oh feels like I have a locked brake. Sure enough when I stopped at the next light and the guy beside me told me my front brake on the passenger side was smoking, great. I was close to Sonics so I continued on. The guys immediately came to my rescue. Between us I had a jack, and enough tools to get the car up in the air, the wheel off and relieved some pressure by bleeding the caliper a little. That didn't help. Next three of us tried pushing the piston back into the caliper, eventually that worked and the hub was spinning free. I took the car out for a test and all was good. Its awesome to have friends like these guys. The advice Ken gave me was to pull out the inner pad. Carefully push the brake enough to get the piston to come out a little and see if they are corroded at all. If so it might be a good time to pull the calipers and check them out.
Sunday September 30, 2012
After some hair pulling and confusion I got the gauge, shifter, and rear console lights hooked up. I had to tap into an existing dash light to get the gauge and shifter lights to work. For some unknown reason the wire I had hooked to the shifter light would turn on when the brakes were applied or the turn signals with working, very strange. I thought I knew the connector I needed for the console light but that connector had +12v all the time. Then I realized the door switches switch ground and it was the right connector. That console light comes on when the doors are opened. I started laying down some Fatmat insulation in preparation for carpet. It is a slow process. I got maybe one third of it done and I don't think I have enough Fatmat.
Monday October 1, 2012
Unfortunately I was right, I ran out of Fatmat. I ordered more, it should be here by the end of the week. I thought I would install the console shifter indicator I bought for massive price. Of course it doesn't really fit. With no real indication of which way these three pieces are supposed to fit I tried every combination I could come up with, none of them worked. The main issue was the shifter did not line up with the gear logos if I used the existing holes in the light and logo piece. After 2 hours and failed attempts I went my usual method and modified it. I drilled a new hole in the gear logo part which allowed me to move in forward so everything lined up. This also allowed me to use the slider mounting holes to screw it through the light and logo part and into the existing console mounting holes. With that accomplished I have only one more electrical project. The Secret Audio still need +12v hooked to it. I would like to have a dedicated wire for this but there are no unused connections at the fuse panel.
Tuesday October 2, 2012
Using a relay I ran the least used +12v I could find to the Secret Audio unit. It works really well and puts out an awesome sound. The jury is still out on the hidden antenna however. The car is in the garage so reception isn't anything to write home about. I stuck in a USB memory stick full of MP3 songs and it works great. I will add a USB extension cable so I can have access the port from inside the console.
Wednesday October 3, 2012
Not much accomplished today. I tried reseating the speedometer cable in a hope that will fix it. I couldn't test it because of all the rain we had here this week has turned the approach to my garage into a sea of mud. I got the seats and the console back in and have started looking at a way to build a panel for the trunk to hide the wiring for the Secret Audio. But while I was out in the garage UPS dropped off the rest of the Fatmat so I did get that installed. I think the next car I do, assuming there is a next car, I will use a spray on sound deadener, its got to be easier!
Wednesday October 10, 2012
Car stuff was put on hold for a while because of other commitments but I finally got back to it. I picked up a new set of modern seatbelts but it took some modifications to install them. They have a retracting mechanism that require it to be orientated in the vertical position. I made a right angle bracket to mount them on the floor behind the seat close to the outside wall. I added a plate under the floor to make the attachment strong. The lap belt attached to the normal outside fitting ob the rocker. The inside belt and latch is a flexible cable that will keep it from being lost between the seat and console but of course that meant modifying the console. I removed the ashtray portion of the console, no need for it anyway and bolted the cables to the stock locations. While I had the seats out I painted the seat tracks that are exposed with some POR-15, can't believe I didn't do that long ago. I also ran the USB extension cable to the console for the Secret Audio input. I found the problem with the horn not working. The spring loaded ground wire had work its way out of its hole. I'm not sure what is supposed to really hold that in place but I rigged up a way using a piece of foam that should work, well see.
Friday October 12, 2012
Looks like I may have fixed the speedometer, at least it is registering now. I will take my GPS on a ride to see how accurate it is. The seat belts are a perfect fit. The horn is working but the tach is still not functioning. I took the car to Kenny Stevens, the upholstery guy, to have him look at installing the headliner and carpet. He will do the headliner in black vinyl to match the seats and I requested he use black loop pile carpet, I hate cut pile which is what the '70 AMX used.
Problems never just go away, at least not forever. A couple weeks ago I had that brake caliper lock up and falsely concluded the problem was a simple minor corrosion issue and by simply moving the piston back and forth fixed it,,,,WRONG. Another trip to the same Sonics cruise-in resulted in the same problem. This time we couldn't fix it in the parking lot. We pulled the caliper off, took it to on of the guys garage, put in it a vise, used the vise and air pressure to move the piston but it would not really free up much. We tried finding a new caliper at four different parts stores but nobody had one in stock. Turns out a 78 Ford F100 caliper is almost the same and Advanced Auto had one. But almost was a problem because the bango fitting is a different size and no store had the right size...grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. So we reinstalled the old one and I managed to limp home with out any lock up. Conclusion......we think what is happening is heat build up be simply a long drive is enough to expand the caliper bore which is probably corroded and that causes the binding. I need the correct caliper, probably both sides. Oh yeah, one more weird thing happened on the way to Sonics. The speedometer was working fine and according to my GPS registering perfect speed. The odomter had 119980 miles on it when I left the house. When it clicked over to 120000 all the numbers rolled and suddenly I had 200000 miles!!! Not the best cruise-in I have been to. But at least I didn't have to deal with this alone, my thanks to Joel, Ken and Ray for their help.
Saturday October 13, 2012
I learned this lesson with the Z, someone else's work will always come back to bite you in the ass! OH MAN!!!. I posted my brake issue on the AMC message board and it looks like I have nothing close to stock for these calipers. They are either '71-74 or 75 and later and they appear to be on the wrong side. I was wondering about the side thing since the bleeders are on the bottom and I know that is not right, makes it a bitch to bleed the brakes. I attempted to do it today using my one man bleeder, it did not work either. In addition one of the guys thinks they should be mounted in front of the rotors not in the back, that would move the bleeder to the top. I have no clue if removing the entire caliper mounts and switching them will work, I know the hoses will not reach so I would need longer hard lines.
Sunday October 14, 2012
I was finally able to get the "bad" caliper bled by removing it and rotating it until the bleeder was at its highest point, why didn't I think of that yesterday! Consensus from the message board is I have a 75 or newer single piston Bendix brake set-up mounted with the calipers swapped in the wrong position. Swapping left and right will correct that. According to the guys this is a real good brake set up. I will hunt for new calipers tomorrow.
Monday October 15, 2012
The only reason I bothered bleeding that "bad" caliper was I had planned on the car making its debut car show on Sunday. I made the show and the car won "best work in process" trophy, cool. So today I went to Oreillys and picked up a new set of calipers for a 1977 AMC Matador and the hoses are from a Jeep CJ7. I will still mount them on the rear of the rotors but will switch sides so the bleeders are on the top. I mounted one of the old ones just to make sure the hose will reach after swapping sides, no problem.
Tuesday October 16, 2012
I got the calipers installed but I'm not all that sure I got all the air out. I used my one person bleeder that worked fine yesterday but the pedal just seems too low. It does not pump up like it would if there was a bit of air still in the system and it stops fine, just that low pedal. Of course this is just another example of things that were done wrong on this car by the previous owner. I'm holding my breath that this will be the end of it and I can get on with stuff other than fixing someone else's mistakes, not that I always do everything perfect either.
Friday October 19, 2012
After two trips to the Sonics cruise-in resulted in caliper failure I took the car to it again this evening. Yahoo!! No brake problems. I did get harassed about the car NOT being jacked up with the right front tire off, but it was a good feeling to have the car perform well.
Saturday October 20, 2012
I played around with the engine trying to get better manners from it. I bumped the timing up to 10 BTDC and that helped throttle response as well as cold starting. I also tightened up the alternator belt using a pry bar for leverage this time, that took care of the obnoxious squeal on start up.
Sunday October 21, 2012
After installing my rear speakers and the Secret Audio unit the back of the truck is quite a mess. The SA unit has a ton of cables coming out of it, most of them not even used, and the back of the speaker panel isn't the prettiest thing either. The plan is to make a removable panel to hide all that and probably cover it with the same vinyl I used on the sail panels. I made a frame using aluminum angle which will attach to the top inside trunk panel and to the floor. I started making a cover panel made of fiberglass,it will be upholstered in black vinyl.
Monday October 22, 2012
With Federal Jury duty hanging over my head for the next two weeks I have been unable to start any project that might get stalled in the middle. It would be nice if they would tell you when to show up rather than having to call every day for two weeks, makes it tough to plan anything. I did work a little more on my trunk clean-up panel. This thing is going to be the most expensive panel known to man. My decision to make it out of fiberglass may have been a mistake money wise. Kenny, my upholstery guy, called today to tell me my carpet came in and as soon as he is done with the car he is working on I am next for the carpet and headliner, yahoo!
Tuesday October 23, 2012
I finished up the trunk wall and prepared it for the black vinyl covering. I then realized I messed up. You know how you plan how to build something, then you build it only to discover you now can't install it? Yep, on to plan two! The original plan was to have the aluminum bracket mounted in the trunk and then to screw the covered fiberglass to it. But somewhere I decided to rivet the fiberglass to the bracket and now I can't get to the aluminum bracket to mount it, gr-r-r-r-r. Plan two is to use angle brackets to mount the whole thing, workable but more difficult to remove once installed. I also thought I had enough vinyl left over from the sail panels to cover this but I don't, I ordered more. I think I have figured out how to mount some front speakers. I ordered some Kicker 4" speakers, same as I have in the Z. There is just enough room on the bottom of the front kick panels below the vents for these to fit. There is metal right against the back of the kick panel so I can screw the speaker enclosure to something solid.
Wednesday October 24, 2012
I was able to partially install the trunk wall. I was able to get to the top bracket, drill some holes in it and the trunk roof, installed some 1/4x20 nutserts in the roof and bolted it in place. The bottom will prove tougher. There is very little room between the trunk floor and the fuel tank and I am very apprehensive about trying to drill holes through the floor with the tank in place. I planned on dropping the tank and change out the hoses anyway and maybe find out why I smell gas ever time I fill the tank, I think the filler neck is leaking. So this might be a good time. I made the bottom pieces for my front speakers. They fit inside the lower portion of the front kick panels. As soon as speakers get here I will make speaker enclosures that will be glassed onto those pieces much like I did on the Z.
But just as I was feeling real proud of myself for coming up with the front speaker solution I suddenly realized there are a couple things in the way on the driver's side. Like the emergency brake and the headlight dimmer switch, DOH. I might luck out with the emergency brake but the headlight switch will have to be moved inboard a bit if I ever plan on using it. It would be nice to have it on the steering column where it should be, LOL.
Thursday October 25, 2012
The stock huge rim blow steering wheel has got to go. Its like driving a milk truck with that 16" skinny wheel. I am keeping the wood look and switching out to a Grant collectors mahogany, 14.75" wheel. You would think that swapping out a steering wheel would be easy. This one was not. I bought a Grant wheel, I have had several Grants in the past and they are awesome. I also bought the recommended adapter, like I have in the past. However this time it was not so easy. The adapter fit fine, no problem, but when I attempted to install the horn stuff things went down hill rapidly. The little horn retainer and its spring in the kit would not even fit inside the wheel mount and obviously is not used with this wheel. The horn button on the wheel has two hook-ups for wires, one for ground and the other for the existing horn wire from the car. AMC uses a spring loaded wire thing which has the be the stupidest idea I have ever seen. The instructions said you have to reuse the plastic sleeve and retainer, opps I do not have those. So I made my own using a piece of tubing and a small piece of fiberglass to apply tension to the spring loaded wire, it worked.
Friday October 26, 2012
Along with the mirror on this car being the wrong one the paint had a scrap on it that I wanted to repair. I took off the mirror.........again and sanded the whole thing down. Well guess what? Its chrome under all that paint. I used 60 grit followed by 220 to still allow some tooth for the satin black wheel paint to adhere. It came out pretty good, we'll see how well the paint holds up. If it doesn't hold up I will see if I can figure out how to get the glass out and have to whole thing powder coated. Plan two on the trunk wall mounting. Instead of trying to drill through the floor I extended the wall to curve around at each end. This will allow me to put my mounts on the side instead of the bottom and it looks more finished as well. Of course this will make upholstering the wall tougher. My front speakers arrived today. I will make the housings for them and then try to find a solution for the headlight dimmer switch the emergency brake clearance. I can pick up about 1/2" by cutting out the fiberglass and the kick panel to let the speaker sit deeper, that might be enough to clear the E-brake. This will not affect the housing structure.
Tuesday October 30, 2012
If I ever decide to make another "wall" I will not use fiberglass. First it ends up being very expensive and trying to finish it to remove all the imperfections take hours and sanding, filling and more sanding. After all that I finally decided it was good enough and applied the upholstery. I used the same vinyl I used on the sail panels. It wasn't as easy as the sail panels since this was not just a flat surface. On the bottom where the panel take a rather sharp curve up I could not get it to lay down on the curved part. There is obviously tricks to upholstery I have not learned yet. I will attempt to get to to attach better tomorrow.
Thursday November 1, 2012
Well the wall upholstery is attached, lets just leave it at that. One of the issues with this car when I bought it was two small dents in the driver side front fender. I was referred to a guy that does paintless dent removal. He didn't say it would be easy but thinks he can do it so I set up an appointment for Monday. I hope this works, painting the car is way down my list of things I want to do. On Tuesday I will be taking the car to Kenny for the headliner and carpet. So in preparation for that I moved the headlight dimmer switch inboard about an inch and a half. This will leave me room for my kick panel speakers.......I hope. I will also pull out the console and seat belts for the carpet install.
Monday November 5, 2012
I finished making the speaker cabinet for the driver side today. I made this side short enough so the speaker itself set back against the plastic kick panel. This picks up about 1/2" more clearance. This plus moving the headlight switch gives me the clearance I needed. After I get the other side made I will paint them with SEM textured black to match the rest of the panels. The passenger side will be much easier since I don't have the clearance issue. The dent removal dude was supposed to come today but that didn't happen, sort of a miscommunication thing????? Hopefully we can reschedule soon.
Wednesday November 7, 2012
Today I took the car to Kenny for my headliner and carpet installation. It took all day, from 9:30 until just before 7:00. We did take a break for lunch but it took a long time, and he and his helper know what they are doing. First they pulled out the old foam headliner carefully as to not damage it any more than it already was. They then glued a 1/4" piece of new foam the that. Kenny went though his massive stock of vinyl and found one that matched the dash pad almost perfectly. Then the famous Boyd luck hit, the roll as about 1 1/2" too short! A quick phone call to his supplier and a ride to their shop we had headliner vinyl. Back at the shop the vinyl was applied to the foam and the carpet install was started. The carpet came from Auto Custom Carpets Inc from Birmingham Alabama was nicely constructed with a lot of extra size to allow a good fit. Kenny started fitting at the firewall and worked toward the center cutting around the shifter. Then the wheel well pieces were massaged and heated to fit better and glued in place. The rear section of the carpet went in with a lot of holes cut for the seatbelts. The carpet under the window was cut for my speakers and some redesign was needed to allow it to slip into the grove in the window trim, there seemed to be an abundance of glue used during manufacturing that caused the banding to be too thick. Kenny cut the banding threading off, trimmed the cardboard and stitched back together. The areas at the outside were the last to be trimmed to assure a perfect fit. This was actually done after the headliner went in. The headliner install went pretty easy until it came to attaching the sun visors and mirror. Just finding the holes took a while but Kenny never panicked, I think I did. The strange pinch weld was put into place along the outsides and all the trim was installed. The Door sills were put back in place and the seats installed, project finished! I had debated as to weather or not to do all this myself. I mean how hard could it be? Damn hard that's how hard!!!!! Thank God I did not attempt this myself. I think I would have been lost at step two. Kenny is a true professional making sure at every turn it was done right, I am very very please with the results. I still have to put the console and seatbelts back in, polish the door sills and finish and install my front kick panel speakers, but the interior is finally looking like a real car.
Thursday November 8, 2012
I put the console back in today along with the seatbelts. After driving the car a few miles the grant wheel is a little too close because of the 2" adapter they use. I called Grant to see if they had an option, they do. I bought a 1" adapter, you wouldn't think it would make much difference but it does. I did some final filling and sanding on the passenger side speaker cabinet so they are about ready for paint.
Friday November 10, 2012
Nothing happened with the car today. I took it to the Sonics cruise-in tonight. I swear the car runs better now, maybe its happy that it has an interior now, LOL. It certainly is much quieter.
Tuesday November 13, 2012
The paintless dent removal guy and I were finally able to hook up. He came over this morning to attempt getting the two small dents in my driver front fender out. The way things have gone on this car I really didn't think he would be able to pull it off, but he did. I was glad it was done here so I could watch. Its amazing how he slowly tapped on the areas to remove the dents. One was pretty deep and he was concerned about being able to fix it. That one isn't perfect but you really have to look closely to see anything wrong. I had noticed another dent on the driver door right at the body line. But I thought I would have to remove the door panel to have him work on it but he said he could go down the window. Too cool, that one came right out with no problems.
Wednesday November 14, 2012
I attacked the interior rear side trim panels and kick panels today. The ones that came in the car were not salvageable so I bought new fiberglass ones from APD. As with all fiberglass stuff these needed "adjusting". But it wasn't too bad, with a little shaving where the headliner pinch weld meets them I got them mounted. The rear kick panels were from Legendary and they fit perfectly.
Friday November 16, 2012
I mounted the passenger side front speaker, finished the driver side one and wired it for installation. I ran out of time but wanted to take the car to fill it up for the weekend car events. All went well until I tried flipping on the turn signal, it didn't work. I then noticed my audio display was not on and my gauges were all dead. To make things worse Exxon had no 93 octane???? So I took the car home and found a blown fuse. I put in a new one but still nothing works, but the fuse didn't blow. I guess I'm back in electrical debug hell. Its like I am right back where I was when I got the car. No parking lights, no tail lights, no brake lights, no dash lights, nothing is working but the engine and the headlights. So much for the weekend car events! I may be converting the old fuse block sooner than I wanted.
Saturday November 17, 2012
After a rather sleepless night I reassessed the problem. As I have said before "if you have a problem suddenly pop up ask yourself what's the last thing you did". In this case other than running speaker wires under the dash I had removed and reinstalled the door sill plate on the driver side. There is a wire bundle that runs under that sill plate. Sure enough right in the middle a screw had penetrated the bundle and went through three wires. The short took out three fuses! Fortunately no wires were cut so I was able to wrap them and replace the fuses. I finished installing the driver front speaker and declared victory. Too late to make the car show I had planned on attending but it least the car was back to full function. After I got that finished I decided to address the grille. The grille is in tact, not broken at all. But someone had removed the color from the four silver horizontal bars. I like those and asked on The AMC forum what people used to repaint them. Several suggested silver paint sticks and some suggested pinstripe tape. I tried the tape first but it wasn't sticking well and seemed like it would take forever. I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up acrylic paint stick made by Decocolor in silver with a medium width. It worked great, I applied two coats, we'll see how it holds up to the weather, after all it is water based.
March 13, 2013
Now that winter is coming to an end in the south I've decided to attempt to fix my heater. The blower motor does not run at all using the controls on the dash. I pulled the positive wire from the blower motor on the firewall and ran it straight to the battery and the blower works as does the Heater Resistor also mounted on the firewall. I checked the fuse that is supposed to send +12v to the heater control switch on the dash and there is no +12v on either side of the fuse, that's not good. Its tough to see up in there but I finally realized one of the spade connectors on the fuse block was bent and was not inserted into the wiring connector...uhh that would be my fault! Apparently when I was debugging all the wiring issues I had earlier I messed that up. So the fan works now and I have heat. The only other issue is the cable running to the water temp valve on the engine is not clamped down so it doesn't work. I will investigate where the clamps are supposed to be and if I can get them or if I have to make something.
At this point I think I can call the restoration done. There are still many things I want to change but I these are more in the role of upgrades rather than restorations. Check out Upgrades to see what is next.
June 6, 2013
Well not completely done. After a year of driving my 70 AMX with no wipers I decided to see what was wrong. Turns out it was simply the ground missing from the switch. I soldered a wire to the switch case and will ground that to a spot under the dash. When I got the car the wiper link was not connected to the motor so I got a new clip. But after pulling the motor and looking at the hole in the wiper arm where the motor shaft goes there seems to be a problem. The hole in the arms is way to big for the clip to hold them from slipping off. Apparently I am missing the wiper eccentric, no clue where I can get that, grrrrrrrrrrrrr.
June 7, 2013
While I search for wiper motor connection parts I cut the motor cable and inserted an in-line connector on the firewall to make service a bit easier. Pulling the wiper switch just to get the motor out of the car is insane, what were the AMC engineers thinking! Later in the day once again the AMC forum comes through. One guy posted a picture of everything I need. Another guy offered to send me much of what I need, maybe all of it, and would not take anything for it, not even shipping. Some people are just too cool. So maybe I will actually have working wipers after all.
June 11, 2013
This car has the shadow mask option, or at least its supposed to. The hood and fender tops were repainted a gloss black and the job was done by someone who obviously never painted anything before. Not only is it gloss black when its supposed to be a semi-gloss there is so much debris and overspray it ridiculous. So before I just sand it all off and repaint I thought I would attempt to "fix" what is there. I was hoping the gloss affect is just the clear that was used and sanding it with 1000 grit would dull it some. Of course sanding just the clear is not an exact science. I worked at it for a few hours and managed to get the imperfections out of the clear, but I was left with sanding scratches, even though I used 1000 grit. I then attacked it with 3M Perfect-It 06060 cutting compound and a polisher. It helped but there are still a lot of scratches and its glossy again! Gotta think about this again..
June 13, 2013
I got my free wiper motor stuff today. Unfortunately its not all of it but it is the major pieces, the nylon part and the eccentric. What I don't have is the cupped washer that fits under the nylon part and the dammit clip that holds it all to the shaft. The dammit clip is a standard part so that should be easy. None of the AMC suppliers have the cupped washer any more but one of the board guys told me how to make one, we'll see how that goes.
I also did a little more sanding on the hood and got many of the scratches out. However as usual when sanding paint I went a bit too far along the edge of the fender and sanded right through. It looks like a repaint is in the future.
August 27, 2013
At long last I HAVE WIPERS!!!!!!! After receiving the motor parts from the board member and making the cupped washer I recruited a friend to help with the install. That proved to be pointless, there is just not enough room to get the cupped washer and that over-engineered clip on the wiper arm. So I pulled the wiper arms out and attempted to install it on the bench. I then discovered my homemade cupped washer was over-cupped (is that a word?). After lots of filling I got it all together. However as soon as I started to put it back on the car the clip popped off and went who knows where. I decided a normal "C" clip would work just as well if not better and seems to be fine. With the motor installed on the arms it was a bit tricky getting the wiper shafts to come up through the cowl, they only go in one way. But with the help of a long screwdriver, a flexible magnet and more than a lot of luck I finally got it all in, AND THEY WORK!
September 11, 2013
Brake hose routing is important! I went to a cruise-in last night. One of my buddies notice something dripping out of my passenger front suspension. Yep, its brake fluid. NOT AGAIN!!! That is the third time I have had brake problems with this car. When I put the front end back together after the drop knuckle install I didn't pay attention to the brake hose routing and it was hitting on the upper a-frame and split the hose. Of course none of the local parts stores had a hose so I limped home once again using a lot of down shifting and the e-brake. Using the caliper part number the hose I need is BH38160 for a Jeep CJ7 that uses banjo bolt attachment.
January 22, 2014
What's the deal with me and brake lights???!!!!!! A few weeks ago my Z brake lights quit working resulting in a major hunt for a brake light switch which is no longer produced. Now the AMX brake lights seem to stay on all the time. I adjusted the switch and it seems to be okay now. But just to be safe I ordered a new switch.
June 28, 2014
After all the rear end work there is still a noise I donít like coming from the rear of the car. Iím hoping against hope that is just the u-joints and not the differential. I pulled the driveshaft and will take it to my driveshaft specialist to have the u-joints replaced and have the driveshaft balanced. The main reason I am having it done rather than replacing them myself is the balancing. In the factory shop manual they talk abot putting hose clamps on the drive shaft to balance it! WTF!! The things they did back in the day are just plain scary!
While I was under the car pulling the driveshaft I happened to spot a potential problem. Where the fuel line drops down right on the corner of the passenger floor area the line has been crushed. No leak but this canít be good. The line is one piece all the way from the tank to the fuel pump. The front part looks simple to remove but the rear part looks like it might be very difficult without removing a lot of stuff. I will have to do some investigation and thought process about repair options.
August 6, 2014
After much effort to fix the messed up shadow mask paint on my hood and fender tops I have started preparing for a repaint. I patched some major chips in the passenger side fender and am filling the antenna hole in the cowl since I donít use that antenna for my sound system.
August 8, 2014
Iím having flashbacks to stripping the paint off the Z. I wish I had the nerve to use a DA to remove the paint but I donít. So all that hand sanding and my fingers are worn raw! It took me several hours today to get the clear and the black paint off the top of one fender down to what looks like the golden lime paint without the clear coat. Of course a smart man would have gone out and bought some sandpaper with a bit more bite than the 220 I used, maybe I will do that tomorrow.
August 9, 2014
I did go out and get some 150 grit to attack the clear coat and it did help. I got the driver side fender top stripped today. I have also stripped the cowl up to the louvers, those will be tough. Since I canít take the cowl off I will have to somehow hand sand them, not going to be fun. After spending 3 hours getting that fender done, I realize this is not going to be a quick project.
August 10, 2014
I attacked the cowl louvers today and it wasnít as bad I feared, some fine tuning will follow. As far as removing the hood goes I decided against thatÖ.for now. I got maybe a third of the clear and black removed and was surprised to see no golden lime paint at allÖÖ.interesting. It looks like one coat of black and some white that is either primer or sealer but it too is very thin. Maybe this white stuff and the black paint didnít like each other and that is what caused all the imperfections in the hood. As I was sanding I could see what appeared to be small circles of white showing through the black very similar to the imperfections. Not sure how to handle this, I may just take all that white stuff off and start over from bare metal.
August 11, 2014
As a precaution I decided to pull the grille to prevent any damage to a very expensive part. Youíd think that would be easy but it wasnít. I have no clue what the proper procedure should be but I eventually removed the hood latch assembly which allowed me the pivot the grille to clear the bumper and go it out. I also took off the hood front edge chrome and the headlight doors with their front fender edge chrome, these were not easy to get off either. I then pulled off the ram-air hood bezels and all the ram-air tubing and did some more sanding. This project seems to be getting complicated!
August 12, 2014
More sanding, more sanding, more sanding!
August 13, 2014
95% of the black paint is finally gone. Sanding the hood scoop was a pain but it is done. I have decided to take the whole thing down to bare metal so there is still a lot of white primer to remove. Then I will hit it all with primer except for the cowl which I needs the antenna hole filled.
August 14, 2014
Am I declaring victory on the sanding? If you think so you do not know me well! Sanding off more of the white primer revealed several spots that were filled to obviously level out low spots. So I just sanded of as much primer I felt necessary before I apply new primer. Of course this brought me to thinking I should take off the golden lime paint on the fender tops as well. So far I have found no filler on the fenders.
August 15, 2014
Not much accomplished today. This old body needs a rest from sanding! I did get the antenna hole patch cut out but thatís all.
August 17, 2014
After a couple days off I got back to sanding today. I took all the golden lime paint off the fenders and got down to the white primer and some bare metal. I also did some more sanding on the cowl. There seems to be a lot of paint on this. I think when the car was repainted they didnít take any on the stock paint off, just scuffed it. I took as much off as I could, got the area around the antenna hole down to bare metal. Before I fill the antenna hole I checked to see how level it was with the surrounding metal. Not so much, it is a bit higher, thatís not good. So using my extensive metal working skills, LOL, I slowly and carefully bent the metal around the hole to make it lower than the surrounding metal. The ideal way to fill the antenna hole would be to weld a patch in place but I decided to use my proved fiberglass method. I rived a piece of steel inside the cowl hole putting the rivets in that lowered area and used fiberglass to fill the hole and level the area with the rest of the cowl. More sanding ahead after this sets up.
The patch came out great. Two skim coats of Rage Gold to fill in some low spots and pin holes and a coat of primer and the hole disappeared, cool. But now I have gone my usual route of never being satisfied and started sanding on the fender tops again. I do not trust the white primer or whatever its so I sanded it off. The fender extensions came out perfect but there is some body fill on the middle of both fender tops and what looks to be fiberglass fill on the back side of the passenger fender top where the hood, cowl and fender meet. It is a really nice job, but I am disappointed to find that kind of damage. The cowl still has a lot of paint on it but I am not sure if I want to attempt to remove it all. Too bad the cowl is not removable, chemically stripping would be so easy.
August 22, 2014
At long last I am ready to put some color to this thing. Well, actually ready to put on some primer. I have sanded, filled and smoothed as much as I am going to so itís time to start putting this car back together. Other than using rattle cans I havenít painted in a long time. Using a paint gun I have only shot primer, never color, so pray for me, LOL. First job it to clean the garage to make a relatively dust free environment. Then clean the car, getting rid of all the sanding dust should be a challenge. Last thing is to mask off the car.
August 23, 2014
I ordered single stage UV stable acrylic urethane satin black from Summit and a 1.3mm paint gun nozzle for this paint from TCP. I decided it would be better to pull the hood for paint so today I did that. It will make masking easier and assure I get the edges of the hood and fenders covered. My living room is filling up with AMX parts, LOL. I was talking to some buddies last night about my plans. They think I need to paint the black that goes down the doors and wraps around the side windows ending on the roof. They think the odds of matching that paint is very slim. I may experiment before committing to that.
August 26, 2014
Getting old sucks, Iíve thought that was true before but now I am convinced! I spent a measly two hours moving stuff out of the garage, leaf blowing as much dust as I could out, washing the floor with Simple Green, sweeping most of the water out and leaf blowing the rest of the water out. This would have been much easier if the idiot that poured the floor would have slanted the thing toward the door but he didnít. I am exhausted!!! After I rest up a little I will go to Home Depot and get some plastic to recreate my paint booth like I did when we painted the Z.
August 28, 2014
I did decide to sand off the stripes. This proved much easier than the fenders and the hood. It appears the stripes like the fenders were painted after the golden lime paint was put on, the clear and the black, no primer, came off very quickly. I also will reposition the stripes a little since I don't think they were applied where they should have been. I also pulled off the bumper so reassembly of the grille and headlight bezels will be easier. Masking off the car took a very long time since 90% of the car will not be painted.
August 29, 2014
Well the paint booth is made and the garage is clean. I still have some supplies to get, like measuring cups, filters and stir sticks. But I guess it is time to put down some paint. I will primer the fenders and hood first and after I get all that ready for paint I will shoot the satin black on everything. I gotta admit I am more than apprehensive about this but Iím ready to give it a shot.
August 30, 2014
We havenít had any rain in Georgia for weeks, figures it would start just when I was ready to start painting. I will have to wait for the humidity to return to a tolerable number before spraying. In addition to that when I pulled the gun out and started checking setting the pressure adjustment doesnít seem to work at all. So I bought a new adjustment block with a gauge and this time with a built in filter. I also couldnít find my gun stand, this garage eats stuff, so while I was at the store I picked up a new one. Dammit!!!! I should have looked in my leftover primer can weeks ago. Turns out there wasnít as much in the can as I thought and what was in there was pretty messed up. New primer is on order. Since I am relatively a rookie at this I want to used what I have used before. So for now this project is on hold.
September 4, 2014
The primer arrived today so if the weather will cooperate I can finally get this project underway again. The past two days I have spent cleaning up and painting some of the stuff I pulled off the car. The headlight doors, the bumper mounting brackets and the inside of the bumper all received a coat of fresh satin black.
September 6, 2014
Paint day has arrived. Temp is around 75, humidity is down so I jumped at my opportunity. I mixed 12 oz. of primer and hardener for the first coat, it barely was enough. For the second coat I mixed 20 oz. and put on what I think is a heavier coat and had leftover. Iíll let this set for a day before I start sanding it smooth. However it looks like I have more body work to do, I have noticed some flaws that will have to be addressed before putting on the black.
September 7, 2014
For a non-painter the primer came out fairly good. There is some orange peel, no clue why but it sanded smooth with little effort and this time I only sanded through in one spot. I fixed that sport with a brush and will sand it smooth after it dries. The plan was to get the fenders and the stripe around the widows painted black before attacking the hood because it need some body work. But I decided to go ahead and get the hood ready too.
September 9, 2014
So close! I made some fixes on the hood, which turned out to be pretty minor, then I started sanding. Again there was orange peel to remove and then to smooth it out with 400 grit for the black paint. All was going good, then as usual I got greedy and hit a few spots that were still showing some scratches. Unfortunately one of those was on the very nose of the hood on the center peak. As I washed off the area there it was, a very small area right through to bare metal. Rather than attempting to fix my sand through by touching it up with a brush I decided to put down another coat of primer on everything including the fenders and the stripe. I adjusted the air output on the gun and that improved the orange peel issue a lot. Getting paint into the rain gutter proved to be a challenge, I think I created at least one run, dammit! Tomorrow I will assess all this, fix the run or runs and see if I will need to sand the whole thing again, I sure hope not.
September 11, 2014
Getting close to slapping on the black paint. I ended up sanding the whole thing with 400, cleaned it, and re-taped the stripes and fenders. There was a little bleed through of the primer in a few areas but nothing I couldnít easily fix. To solve the rain gutter issue I mixed some black and painted the bottom of the gutters using an artist brush. That area is barely visible so it wonít matter. I just want to be sure there is paint in there and donít want runs in the sprayed black paint. With the primer painting done I will take the gun apart and swap out the nozzle to the 1.3 mm recommended by Summit for the satin black. Perhaps in the morning I will actually spray the black. Of course that is assuming I donít think of anything else I need to do first!
September 12, 2014
The satin black paint is on the car. I put on three coats on which took the whole quart. I sit here patiently waiting for it to dry so I can see if I was successful or not. But a quick look revealed a lot of striping on the overlaps. Hopefully after a complete drying time these will dissipate but I doubt it. Looks like more sanding is in store for me. I know I should be overlapping 50% and that is what I thought I was doing. But maybe not, my depth perception is not the greatest especially when I am dealing with something on a vertical plain like the hood and fender tops. This may be the end of my attempts at painting!
A few hours have passed since I applied the paint. I went out to pull the tape off and discovered the fenders and stripes look pretty decent, other than the orange peel. Funny, I kind of like the rough look of the orange peel! There is a little striping on the driverís fender but Iím hoping that will fade as curing continues. The hood also looks better but I donít think that striping going away, I may have to hit it with another coat. I found some areas on the body stripes where I taped too far away and the paint got on the body color. The good thing is there is a lot of wax on the body so the black came off easily. Only one spot, about two inches long, that I taped over the primer and a thin line was showing. I touched that up with an artist brush. I feel a little better now!
September 24, 2014
Iíve been gone for a week on vacation. But now itís back to the AMX and another attempt at getting this satin black paint to look right for me. I may be insane but after looking at the orange peel effect I created I kind of like it, sort of looks like that non-waxable stuff they used back in the 70ís without paying $150 a quart. I can always say I did it on purpose! But the hood needs redone because of the striping I did due to bad overlapping. I sanded it again and re-sprayed, trying to duplicate what I did the first time but without the stripping. Of course the odds of recreating the effect are slim, but maybe Iíll get lucky, yeah that will happen.
Okay, did I get lucky? I put on three coats just like before attempting to pay close attention to overlapping. After a few hours I went out to see how it went. I see no stripping and there is the orange peel look, whether itís exactly the same as the fenders is hard to judge. But at least for now Iím happy. Iíll give it a few days to really cure before putting the hood back on and get the car fully assembled again.
September 25, 2014
The hood is looking great so I started putting this thing back together. I will need help with the bumper and the hood but the rest I can do alone. First is getting the wipers mechanism back in. After I rebuilt the wipers I had a lot of trouble getting the whole thing back in and this time was the same. After an hour I finally got all the crazy levers and keys to line up and they are installed. Next the door mirrors, very easy, followed by the and bottom grille brace. The grille and itís supports was next and other than the house apparently ate some of the screws it went well. The hood hinges went on next. All that is left in my living room now are the ram air ducts and the hood scoop grilles which I will put on after the hood is installed.
September 26, 2014
I thought just maybe I could figure a way to get the bumper on without helpÖwrong. It is just too heavy and any attempt I tried using my hydraulic jack failed. Plus it sits above the bottom of the grille and that part killed off the solo attempts. I also noticed it will be easier to remove the horns and the headlight doors to give me access to the side brace bars mounting nuts. So tonight at our cruise-in I will see who is willing to lend me a hand with this and the hood install. I spent most of the rest of the day removing my makeshift paint booth and cleaning up the garage.
September 30, 2014
I finally arranged some help getting the bumper and the hood installed. Itís tough when most of your friends that live close actually work for a living, LOL. A few of my cruise-in buddies volunteered to drive all the way over here to give me a hand, gotta like that. Things didnít quite go as smoothly as I thought but we got the bumper and hood on and pretty well aligned. I still have to install the ram air ducting and do a little work to do on the passenger side fender alignment but for now I am declaring victory.