Many parts on these wonderful cars were date stamped or date coded by the manufacturer. When this is found on the part, it's easy to tell if it's original or otherwise. Please check out the Engine & Trans Section of the website. If you head there and scroll down a bit (below the Kardex), you'll find 18 photos of date stamped and date coded parts on Miss April.
.... the engine is back where it belongs- in the car! It's great to hear engine music again. There is a long list of work to do, but the car starts and runs. The engine compartment will look better once I make some insulation for it. Still have to finish the interior, mount the rear bumper, finish the engine lid grills, etc. etc. etc.
But, this sure felt like a BIG step forward!
Video below is a bit shaky, but what the heck. Make sure your sound is on to hear the nice idle!
I have bought several rolls of shredded coconut fiber to use as matting under rear seats, behind carpet, etc. It was the closest thing I could find to original material that many people call "horse hair". The only place it actually shows is if you lift up the seat pad for a rear seat.
Now comes the time for doing the padding under the main rubber mat in the cabin. Many restorers use peel & stick sound deadening pads from places like Dynomat. Too modern for this originality freak, even if it makes the car quieter and provides a nice cushion for the mat. It's just not my style.
Fortunately, when I removed the original horse hair mat, I was very careful. I was thinking I wanted to keep it is good shape to make a pattern for the replacement. But, no close replacement is available. As you can see in the photo, it is actually in good shape except for one hole at the drivers foot area.
What should an originality nut do? Restore the original pad of course.
I painted it all black again and glued a layer of roofing felt on the back (under) side. Next step was to cut out the hole and insert a section of the shredded coconut (called "coir"). I then sprayed it heavily with undercoating and then another coat of black paint covering that area.
Happy with the results. Time for the rubber mat!
Photo below shows the repair patch where the hole was beneath the foot pedals.
Next step was the floor mat. I took care to remove the snaps from the original and reuse them on the replacement mat.
I was also able to save the original rubber pedal covers.
Was able to get the seat belt anchors installed this week, so I snapped in the restored TEKA 3 -point seatbelts. I'll get some better photos later, [ NEW PHOTOS NOW ADDED] but just wanted to share that this step is complete and I am now turning my attention to the padding for the rubber floor mats and then finally, I might get the front seats installed! That will be exciting!
Note, there are three pieces behind the actual anchor bolt. An outer flange, a collar/sleeve, and another flange that is hidden behind the carpet. The carpet is then sandwiched between the flanges, with the tightening being limited by the collar. First photo below shows the parts to assemble (before clean up and painting). Second photo shows how the carpet is squished between the flanges.
Spent just enough time working on the battery box this weekend to finalize the area. It is DONE! I installed a 6 volt battery with a vintage appearance VARTA battery logo. The logo piece is a fairly large plastic emblem (not a sticker) that I bought some years ago. The 19L battery size fits nicely.
The freshly chromed rims now have Vredestine tires mounted, and the spare tire is held in place by an ORIGINAL leather spare tire strap.
For better pictures of the tool kit- look here.
Here is how it used to look--
Well, not a Carpetbagger in the strictest sense. The term Carpetbagger was first used after the Civil War to describe people from the North who headed to the South in a opportunistic way for self gain.
I've actually become a bagger of carpet! I am using Weldwood contact glue to install the carpet, and with all the bends and contours of the interior, it is difficult to maintain pressure on the carpet against the padding. The weather here is not helping much either, we had rain with a high temperature of 50 degrees yesterday, so it's still cool and it takes much longer for the glue to set.
We have a Traeger bar-b-que and it burns wood pellets for fuel. Really like it, and we buy bags of pellets on-line in different flavors. We also have a wood pellet burning heating stove (looks like a wood stove) that we use to supplement heat in the home. Both of these come in 40 lb bags, and the bags are very pliable.
Using the 40lb bags, I can heap on the glue, get everything in position, and let the bag sit on the area for days. I am sure professionals have a better system, but that's what is going on in my garage.
Yahoo!!!! Bling, bling, bling!
My date matching chrome wheels are back from Perfect Custom Wheels in California. I had all 5 of them stripped and re-chromed back to their original luster. Opening the boxes was like Christmas morning!
I used a set of 5.5" rollers while the car was getting painted, and now these original 4.5" wheels will be mounted to Miss April.
Weather is finally getting warmer, so I'm also moving forward again on the interior, but for today, it is a celebration of chrome! Kinda proud of the NOS hubcap emblem too-
In the post below (Rattle Can Hatfield) I mentioned a filter inside of the tube coming from the oil filler can. I made several attempts to clean out this filter, and did get some flow through it eventually, but I wasn't satisfied that it would perform as originally designed.
The 356 C is the only 356 that has this element (sometimes called a "flame arrestor"). Previous models did not vent to the carburetor, but instead they had a line directly from the oil filler can down to atmosphere below the engine tin. The venting to the passenger carburetor was likely do to legislation requiring a more closed system. By the year after my car was produced, this flame arrestor was moved, and was inside the outlet tube of the oil filler in the 912.
In the photo below you'll see an example of the 912 flame arrestor. It is larger than the 356 C one, and does not fit in the oil filler of the 356 C, nor in the air filter. It is obvious now that the reason the 912 hose from oil filler can to the carb has different diameters- the oil filler tube is larger because this flame arrestor was installed.
Back to my air filter housing. I decided to remove the part for better cleaning. Below is a photo of the primary screen, secondary screen (finer) and a wad of brass wool. I left the innermost screens in place and was able to clean them up in situ. The full assembly consists of primary screen, secondary screen, brass wool, secondary screen and primary screen again.
After cleaning the screens, I installed new brass wool. Photos show the cleaned original wool and my replacement brass wool.
This was not an effort to get better filtration. It was an effort to make sure my engine vents. The 356 C has unvented valve covers, so this is the ONLY path for engine venting. I guess Miss April just wanted to vent!
I made the decision not to do any powder coating on the engine. I'm not against powder coating, in fact I used it on all the black metal pieces of my last engine and thought it came out great. The process was simple too. I just dropped off the dirty/greasy pieces and then came back in a week after the parts had been media blasted and coated in a black sheen that was really close to the original. Wrote a check and was done.
My obsession with originality will not allow me to do that this time. I want to get the trim to look like it was done at the factory, complete with a few paint runs, some slight orange peel in a few spots, and wear and fade just like the original stuff. I know,,,, nuts.
This weekend I cleaned all the black tin pieces and ran into a couple of unexpected things. The first was the existence of a wire mesh filter in the bottom section of the passenger side air filter can (housing). This would only be found on 356 C cars, and it is inside the inlet that comes from the oil filler can. From having owned 912's in the past I knew there was one in the 912 filler can as it exits for the air filter, but on 356C, this wire mesh filter is inside the air filter housing- passenger side only. My drivers side can is the same construction and has provisions for this filter, but none is installed. The drivers side tube is left hollow, and there is a plastic cap blocking it off.
To inspect this mesh I first tried to look through the filter with light- no light made it through! Next I held the can on its side and sprayed electrical contact cleaner into the mesh filter. The spray did not go through, instead pooling on the top. That is not good!
I looked carefully and poked around to see if I could get the filter out, but without damaging the element, that was not going to happen. This passage must be free because the 356C has unvented valve covers, so this is the only path for engine venting. Next effort was the use of compressed air. After using 120 PSI I got the flashlight out again and still could not see light through from one side to the other. Hmm,,, got the garden hose and sprayed in there and a small stream came through, slowly getting better and better. Back to more contact cleaner and going through this process several times I finally got a good flow.
Lesson- If you have a 356C, check yours out because it is important that your engine be able to vent.
The second thing that surprised me was the date stamps on the air filter cans. They were very very faint, and difficult to see. Being the nutcase who once wrote an article on manufacturing date codes, I wanted to preserve these stamps. I started to sand the entire filter can, and to my dismay, the date stamps vanished! Seems the small impression of the date stamp was full of paint, and when I lowered the surrounding paint level to that of the date stamp, it was not showing because the paint was leveled out by all the sanding.
That would not be ok for me, so I needed a solution. Out came the Dremel. Photos are below.
Man, taking all this stuff to the powder coater sure would have been easier....
Notice in the top left photo the lousy o-ring. This is where the air filter housing rests on top of the carburetor. Mine is in dire need of replacement.
After my post yesterday (see below) I had some interesting questions about original mufflers and my work restoring this one. Why not just buy a new muffler? Well, new mufflers from Dansk are not in good favor with the 356 and 912 crowd because of quality and fitment problems. Original mufflers have also been dyno tested and they allow the engine to produce more power.
There is a good discussion of the OEM muffler on the 912 Registry site. Click on the photo below for the string of posts. The link takes you to near the bottom of the discussion, so please scroll up to the top and read down through the info.
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