I got to meet my mailman about a year or 2 before he retired, great car guy to boot. He was supposedly moving to Cushing, IA where he bought a defunct Dodge dealership to play with his cars. Now, THAT's a retirement I can get with!
Yesterday I put the transmission in but I did not like the free play of the clutch fork. I dropped it to see what is wrong and I think my ball stud is too tall. When I first tried this OHC-6 bell housing the stud was too short so I replaced it with the tall one. I can't understand why the clearance changed but now it is too tall for sure. That is probably why the bearing was dry- it may have been touching just enough to spin. I know there used to be a medium length ball stud but these parts are not as available as they once were. I may need to go with the Lakewood adjustable stud. More delays and snow is coming.......
Yeah it looks like it. I scrounged around my garage and found my can of clutch small parts. I actually have the 3729000 medium ball stud but it locates the fork about 3/4 of the way back and it will hit the housing. The tall stud locates it all the way forward. I need it in between so that calls for adjustable. Unfortunately that means a trip out to SK Speed as they are the last decent speed shop around. I have been giving my Grandson driving training so maybe we will do that as a road trip.
Well today I had my Grandson drive me out to SK on the Southern State Nightmare. I had him observe the speed limit and he was the only one doing so. We got passed like we were standing still . Anyway I am glad I went to the speed shop personally because the Lakewood 15501 adjustable pivot was not what I needed. When screwed out as far as I wanted there were not enough threads left engaged for stabilty. The couterman said you really want full engagement of as many threads as possible and I would be pushing it unscrewing it that much. He suggested the McLeod model had a much longer shaft for scattershield use. He was right. Even when I unscrewed it to where I needed it there was inches sticking out the rear- plenty of thread engagement even with the locknut. So I gladly bought the more expensive 16908 which is clearly a heavy duty piece. I think the pivot bore clears the transmission body but if it hits I can cut the excess shaft off. Tomorrow I will adjust for what I hope is perfect placement of the clutch fork giving me full release and proper free play at the pedal.
And the headaches continue. I removed the bell housing and fitted the adjustable pivot. First off the threads on the McLeod housing insert were not very good. They started out easy then got progressively harder to engage. But the insert being hardened steel and the housing aluminum I figured cranking the insert down would cut it's own threads and I was right. But the second issue was the screwdriver slots on the head of the insert were not cut right. I have a BF screwdriver but if you put the driver flat on one side then it doesn't line up with the other side. I don't know how but they managed to cut the slots off center and out of line. The only way I could get the insert threaded all the way in was to screw the pivot in, bush it with some copper tubing, put a big nut on the end, and lock it together. Then I could use a wrench to screw the insert in flush with the bell housing. Then I backed it out, cleaned the threads, hit it with lock-tight, and re-tightened it back in for good. I put it back on the engine and played with the adjustment. There is a 5/16" hex end on the pivot and it is easily adjusted with a battery terminal wrench. Nice. It takes very little movement of the pivot to make a big change at the end of the clutch fork. That is where this part shines.
Then I tested the bell housing on the transmission and found that the very long pivot shaft was so long it hit the main case. This would require cutting the pivot shaft so as much as I hated having to modify an expensive part I see no choice. I did lots of measuring and testing before getting up the nerve to break out the cut-off wheel. I made sure I could screw it so far forward the fork jammed up and so far rearward the clutch would not disengage. In other words- lots of adjust-ability while still fitting in the mere inch of room between the housing and the main case. By cutting the end I had no way to turn the pivot so I ground flats on the end that a 3/8" open end wrench would fit. I test fitted this with the housing on the transmission and it looks good to go.
Another thing is I let too much paint build up on the input shaft/front bearing cover. The throw out bearing must fit over this and it is a tight fit. You can see through the fork window the paint getting smooshed and interfering so I ground it all off. Much better. Finally I re-hung the housing on the engine and adjusted the pivot so I had lots of play at the bearing and the fork was located where I wanted it in the window. It is super great to be able to adjust it exactly how you need it and the part is perfect for that. My only complaint is that a $55 part that is basically a nut, a bolt, and a sleeve should have been machined a lot better. Someone less patient than myself would have exploded in anger. Unfortunatly I am no stranger to sloppy parts. This is where otherwise good hot rodders get frustrated. The constant fit-test-fail-refit-test-fail-try something else requirement of this hobby is what confounds them. Sometimes you gotta back up and re-group.
I have been so tired after every day of this crap that I have become a zombie. Work- eat- sleep- repeat. But I'm getting there. Today I put the trans back up and I liked the free play but then found other problems. I spent most of today re-adjusting the shifter and rods. How did they get so cock-eyed from just coming off and cleaning/lubing? Then I put the cross member back up with the help of a small sledge hammer. I am doing this without dropping the exhaust so space is tight. Doesn't anyone make poly replacements for those crappy rubber cross member inserts? Finally when I was about to put the drive shaft up I noticed the companion flange was loose. How the?!? I have a flange holder so I just tightened it up again but later I should put some lock-tite on the threads. It doesn't look damp but often lube will travel out the splines and let the pinion nut get loose. Then when I tried to put the speedometer cable on (remember- the whole point of this) the inner cable was too long!?! I spun the cable with a drill and the speedo worked fine but how did the cable get longer? So I carefully held a spinning cut-off wheel while I dressed the end of the cable, shortening it. Luckilly it did not unravel, which often happens. Then it fit properly. I am waiting on the spherical rod end clutch linkage so I will work on the inside tomorrow putting the shifter and console back together.
Decision time. The linkage is coming maybe tomorrow and my UPS guy usually hits my area late in the day. So is snow due then. Followed by serious snow and a 40° drop in temperature. I am not in a hurry to install the new linkage so I replaced the old factory stuff for now. I wanted to have something in place so I could adjust the clutch linkage and free play with the new adjustable pivot ball. Notice the redundant return springs. One to retract the fork and one to keep the push rod tight to the fork. It really is a great thing being able to fine tune the mechanicals but I see why my bearing rubbed. With a good 3/4-1" of free play at the pedal my foot is all the way to the floor at full disengagement. I now remember I tightened it up because I like it up from the floor more. I probably left minimal free play at the pedal and 10 years of wear took care of that. Thus, the bearing eventually touched and spun. This is a linkage geometry problem not easilly solved. I would have to remove everything and experiment with different Z bar lengths and ratios of movement. Later for that. After dropping down the car, cleaning up, and putting all the tools away I was too tired to empty my driveway and road test the wagon. Just moving it back and forth the clutch feels very smooth so that's a plus after all this. Tomorrow I will take it out and see if the speedo works and if all this crappy work was worth it.
The linkage is still not here so I drove around feeling out the clutch. Very nice, smoother than ever, but I am not used to the pedal being so close to the floor. Otherwise I am glad I serviced the disc and bearing as well as the speedometer gear. Oh yeah- that works now! Whew! Imagine if it didn't after all that? The transmission is quieter too I guess fresh lube helps. Still hear some dull sounding rocks in the case when cold but I think the reverse idler is the culprit. Here is a pic of the manual shifter in the Bonnewagon. That was the whole point to this crazy operation- driving a stick shift G-body station wagon!