September, 2004


January 13, 2008

Home Beginnings Clean Up Repair & Paint

Chassis Assembly Top Tonneau Links


Engine-Trans Seats Susp-Brakes Dash
Side Curtains Windshield Heater Wiring

Trips Repairs


As is probably normal with any restoration especially with a car that is driven regularly, some things didn't continue to work as planned. I thought it might be helpful to at least pass along some of these problems since they probably aren't all that uncommon. I should comment that I've tried to stick close to the recommended maintenance schedule with a few small changes. I try to spend some time on the car about every 3,000 miles doing all the things that the shop manual recommends at that point. The car has enough miles on it now that I've been through every maintenance item listed at least once. I'm keeping a log of each item, when it was done, and the mileage when it was performed. I'm sticking to the idea that doing that should save problems in the long run.

These are some of the items I've had happen and had to fix. There are also a couple of changes I made because I learned from what others had done. I mention some of these in other parts of the web site, but repeat them here for completeness. These items are more or less in order of when they happened, but I made no note of the time or the mileage in most cases. I'm sorry in advance for the length of the list. The number of problems may give you a different idea but I really feel like the car has been good to me in terms of things gone wrong.

  • Speedometer Failure - I think this was the first thing that went wrong after I started driving the car. I had about 100 miles on the odo when it just locked up and quit recording miles or speed. I soon discovered that it had also snapped the speedometer cable when it locked up. I hadn't done anything to the speedometer during the car's restoration so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. I sent it out for repair and had it back in before making any of the longer trips. I had installed a 3.9 rear end during the restoration, so I also took this opportunity to have the internal gears changed during the repair so that speed and miles were correct.

  • Leaking Water Pump - This also happened very early shortly after I started driving the car. It started out as a noticeable leak underneath the car and it took me awhile to figure out it was the pump. I'm not sure of the cause of this problem, but it's not all that unusual to have a water pump of this vintage fail. I bought another used pump from a local club member and the replacement pump has been fine so far.

  • Trip Odometer - Sometime during the trip to GT-33, the trip odometer just stopped working. I decided to take it apart myself and managed to fix it. There are some small flexible metal "tabs" that hold the turning miles wheels in place until it's time for them to rotate. One of these was no longer doing its job and a slight tweak to the metal tab seems to have fixed it. I've put a lot of miles on it since that repair.

  • Wiper Arm - During a heavy rain enroute to Key West, the left side wiper arm just popped off while the wipers were going. Luckily I was going through a small town and managed to retrieve it. I've since found out that this isn't all that uncommon. I haven't made any changes except that I now carry a spare one with me just in case I lose one again.

  • Wiring Problem - During the restoration, I had added a cigar lighter socket under the dash to power up the GPS we sometimes took with it. On the trip home from Key West while at a stop light in southern Florida, smoke started pouring from underneath the dash. This really scared me as I was afraid the whole car was gone. I had added the socket without an inline fuse figuring that the car fuse would take care of any problem. It turns out that a metal terminal in the circuit lost its protective plastic sleeve and fell against the sheet metal. The resulting short circuit burned up the wire and put the socket out of service for the rest of the trip. Luckily, no other wires were burned. I've since added an inline fuse and better protected the metal terminal to make sure it doesn't get exposed so easily.

  • Tachometer - The tachometer started squealing on our trip home from Key West. In hind sight, I should have stopped and disconnected it. At the time I thought it might be the cable but of course it wasn't. Eventually, it just stopped working completely. I haven't sent it out for repair and ended up using one I had on hand from the parts car.

  • Side Curtain Fix - The left side curtain wasn't lined up correctly to the door because I had not positioned the fastening screws correctly for the attachment stud. I ended up using a bungee cord to hold the front of the side curtain in place during the first year. The end of the bungee cord ended up partially damaging the leather along the top of the door because of how it was attached. I modified a bracket on the parts car to make it work with the (incorrect) location of its attachment. As a result, I now have a painted bracket on the left side and a chromed one on the right side.

  • Water Intrusion - This seems to be a fact of life for these cars during a rain storm. Our car leaked along the top of the windshield where the top is attached. I've since added a strip of foam to the top that gets compressed when the top is put in place. It hasn't stopped it completely, but has helped a lot.

  • Rear End - The rear end started making noises in mid 2009 and I noticed I was leaking differential fluid. It turned out the fluid was leaking at the front of the differential where the drive shaft attaches. At first, I thought it was just the oil seal that's located there, but it turned out that the bearing internal to the differential had failed. I had never tackled one of these before so a friend helped with the repair. We changed both the inner and outer pinion bearings. It was the outer that had failed, but as long as we were in there, it was sort of a preventative step.

  • Engine goes Dead - While returning from a short tour with club members, the engine stared missing and finally quit in the middle of Ann Arbor, MI. We had a few others stop and suggest fixes. I only had the problem isolated to an electical problem, but couldn't get any closer than that. I replaced both the coil and the condensor, but I finally had to get it on a flat bed truck to get home. I eventually discovered that the rotor was bad. I almost couldn't believe that was the problem, but I managed to confirm it by swapping it in and out a couple of times. The engine failed to run whenever the "bad" rotor was in. Ironically, I had another rotor with me when it quit but never bothered to replace it because I'd never heard of a rotor going bad. Another lesson learned.

  • Oil Leaks - This isn't that unusual in one of these cars, but it's also one that I don't have solved. It's a little different from others I'm aware of in that the leak seems to only happen at higher engine temperatures. On a cooler day in Michigan, for instance, I don't normally have a problem even when the engine is up to temperature. I only have a 160 degree thermostat in the engine so it's only on warmer days when the engine temperature gets into the 190 degree and higher realm that I start using oil.

Questions? Click here to contact me: Larry.