Friday, September 23, 2022

New carpet for the PV544

 The rubber mats in the Volvo were looking a bit ratty after sixty years of abuse .

Yea I could order a new set from VP Autoparts , but where's the fun in that when Marden's discount has all I need for about twenty five dollars .

Got about eight square feet of nice soft black leather for twelve dollars and started tailoring.

Not bad for a first try .

Took a couple tries before I got it to fit right

A bit better the second time around

Another twelve dollars of carpet was easy enough to cut to shape but looked a bit plain


 Did manage to get a nice seam on the back of the gearshift boot .

So I added some leather trim to spiff it up a bit

There that's a bit nicer 

The knob was something I made out of black walnut about forty years ago for my first Beetle and somehow managed to hang on to it all these years . Changed out the nut to fit the Volvo gear stick and added the shift pattern badge I found in the spares box .

I glued the carpet to some rubber door mats to add some more body and weight to them.

  Took the non functioning radio out and was lucky to find a cover plate in mint shape also in dad's junk pile .

Managed to repair the old radio but since I got used to not having one I will leave it out for now . Not much for music I care to listen to these days and no sense in ruining a nice drive listening to the sewage mainstream media passes off as news these days .


Even made a "Art Deco" tray out of an old bakers cooling rack and some varnished dowels to park the phone on .

Pearl approves .

Friday, July 29, 2022

Cabin Air / Heat in the PV544


A few years ago when the brake fluid reservoir sprung a leak and I had to fix the resulting mess , I yanked out the heat and fresh air system in the Volvo . It was in the way and the heater core was giving off the sweet molasses smell telling us it was leaking . At that point trying to get things done I cut a plate and caped the firewall opening and called it good . This resulted in no fresh air in the cabin other than from the windows . And the firewall gives off a fair amount of heat too. I needed to do something about that .

Sooooo . . . .

A tin can  . . . yes escargots . . . as in snails in a tin can

 . . on an appropriately confectioned piece of aluminum

Times two . The intake that goes to the left of radiator needs a bit of an angle to it .

There that will do the job . 

Yea it only provides flow when you are moving , but heck its better than nothing .

 Now about the Darth Vader heater box . . . yea that's one half of the mess .


A couple hours going at it with the drill and abrasive wheel gets us this far .

lots of grinding later . . 

Coat with rust neutralizer to eliminate any pin hole rust I missed

Good thing I snagged about half a dozen cans of this stuff when it was on clearance for $1.25 at Wallyworld .

Yea good as new . . . don't look too close or you'll spot the runs I had to sand out and re spray .

Then there was the leaky heater core itself 

 That one took about two dozen tries before I got all the pin holes soldered up not just where the cap meets the top plate but were the individual tubes meet the top plate . I'd get one done and the next one down the line would start leaking too . Never took photos of that process .

The fresh air intake up front next to the radiator was all mangled up from sixty years of life . Yea I forgot to get the "before" photo . Mended the missing parts with JB Weld putty, filed sanded and painted with the same appliance epoxy paint . The hardware cloth screen on the front was a mess too . So I made a pattern out of cardboard .

Copied it in aluminum 

Hole sawed  . . . .

Hole-sawed some more . . 

snipped . . .

Filed . . .

Epoxied some new bronze hardware cloth . The yellow bits come off after a few minutes of curing. They are HDPE from an old kitchen cutting board to get the JB Weld to lay flat and embed in the hardware cloth .

What it was and what is now .

And once installed it wont even be visible . It never had a frame like that from the factory but it was the only way I could come up with to hold the otherwise floppy bug screen in place .

Then there was the blower motor too . See those arms that hold the carbon brushes ? Both  are missing the top hook on the hinge point .

JB Weld to the rescue again . Let it cure about four minutes til its just hard enough to hold together . Peel the tape off and start carving very carefully with an Exacto knife .

Not ideal but it will have to do till I source a new motor .

New rubber bushings

 Almost like I knew WTF I was doing

Looks smart don't it ?

There , not quite good as new but it will do for now

Darth Vader's mask ready to go back in the Volvo .

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Put on some gloves they said . . .

It will be safer that way they said . . .

Got mostly done cleaning the rust out of the old Volvo ashtray when I thought ; hmmmm ! I really ought to be wearing gloves . So I put the drill down , walked into the garage and put some gloves on . Not a minute later the wire wheel bounced and bit me . It ate the nylon on that glove and just kept going til it hit raw meat in a couple spots .

And that's after washing it out with a quart of hydrogen peroxide . Burned good for about 48 hours .

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Here we go again . . .

 Yep. . . . there's digging involved in this one too .

Back in April when the basement sump pump was going full-tilt-boogie we had some spray back issues around my blue foam collar where the sump pump pipe goes into the clay drain tile .

Meaning that the clay drain tile was getting clogged with maple tree roots again . 

 About twelve years ago we had the same problem , so I rented a rotor rooter and got about two wheel barrows full of roots out of it . Evidently it was time to ream it out again . 

Called the local RotorRotter Service and they wanted six hundred fifty dollars just to send a camera down the pipe . Another six hundred to solve the problem . EEEgads . . . No thanks .

 Went to Big Orange and rented this rig for 75$ and went at the clay tile for about three hours

And pulled this mess out of the pipe . 

For a sense of scale that root on the lower right there is about 3/8ths of an inch thick

Success . . . . it seemed to run clear when I put the garden hose down the pipe . . .  

Yea . . . don't celebrate so quick  . . . about a month later the problem reappeared .

So I looked around to rent a pipe camera . . .  no one in town had one . . .

Then I hit up my friend Dave , the man in charge down at the Waste Water Treatment plant , and within a couple days he showed up at my door with this rig . 

A giant colonoscope for elephants .

Fancy rig even tells you how far it goes down the pipe and rings a bell when it hits standing water .

Measured it out from the corner of the house and to a point sighting down the side of the garage across the street . At least that was what I remembered it to be from when they laid the new storm drains ten years ago . Then went at it for a couple hours fighting roots and cursing til I was four feet down .

Yea , you should have stopped after two feet found ya nothing you retard . . . . aghhhhhh... 

OK , time put the tools away and sleep on this one . 

The next morning I thought to look at the photos I had taken back when they put the new storm drains in the street for some guidance locating my connection to the street .

 And sure enough , if you sight from the end of the fence where it meets the house right past the bricks around the maple tree , there it is .  I had been digging on the wrong side of the mailbox post .

Fifteen minutes of digging , and about two feet down I found it .

A couple more hours of  . . .

Cursing the maple roots . . .

. . . got me enough working space to try and open the pipe up

To find this mess and a bunch more of it up stream out of reach

So off to Big Orange again for a hundred feet of inch and a quarter polyethylene pipe . 

Yea I only needed about forty five feet of it and they only sell hundred foot rolls .

A bunch of whittling on a piece of inch and a half thick dowel . . .

Gets me this . . . 

 . . . that I attach to one end of the black poly pipe with a drywall screw .

and send in the basement window , down the clay drain tile . . .

. . . till it comes out thirty seven feet downstream at the far end .


Cut the wooden torpedo off .


Then an hour more of colorful language to make that pipe stub I had saved from scraps they left on my lawn ten years ago fit in place of the broken clay tile I deleted .

Cause things don't exactly line up , and the female end of the pipe stub has a big fat O-ring to seal it except it takes a bulldozer to push it on . 

I manged to bend my six foot steel pry bar trying to lever that pig on .

But I finally managed to get it all together and wrapped it with some Bituthane for good measure to make sure the roots can't find their way in that joint .

Nothing left but to back fill 


Push the black polyethylene pipe another 4 feet down to the street and tie it in to the sump pump pipe with a rubber collar . 

 Now the maple tree roots can go in the clay tile all they want to but wont as there is no water in there , and we have an unobstructed run for the sump pump to push ground water out to the storm drains in the street .