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Saving Reattas from the crusher is a family project.


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Ronnie

This is one of the best topics we've had on ROJ in a long time. It was in the "What did you do with your Reatta today" topic but I moved it because it really deserved to be a topic all it's own. Thanks 2seater for allowing us to follow you on your journey of bringing Dave's old Reatta back to life. Good job!

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  • Ronnie changed the title to Saving Reattas from the crusher is a family project.
2seater

Both cars returned today for some small issues or continuing the previous work.

We carefully examined the black car of #1 son and determined the top of the rear strut mounts are deteriorated enough it is allowing the top of the struts to move inwards causing increased negative camber. Had a nice conversation with Woody, 89Maui, about swapping the rear suspension with the donor. That may wait a while, potentially next spring. On the upside, we evacuated the a/c system and it appeared to hold vacuum well, but not perfect. We could not find any obvious leaks from the dye in the system so opted to bring the system up to a minimum charge state and see how it goes from there. The system is cycling normally but I am pretty sure the low side temperature sensor is off by quite a bit. Even with the compressor cycling down to -2*C the outlet air temperature was 48*F, a large discrepancy. The sensor accuracy will need to be verified and possibly changed. A partial victory.

Grandson brought the red car by to look at an a/c temperature code and an inoperative left headlight. The headlights open normally and the right side lights up properly, high and low, but the left side had no lighting. Since the right side worked, power had to be present on the left side as well. Checked the new headlight plugs, installed last weekend, and the ground proved out so installed a new bulb and everything worked properly. Odd for both hi and low to go at the same time so must have been the ground terminal on the bulb. The high side temperature code turned out to be a disconnected plug on the hi side sensor. Looks like it was moved out of the way to aid access to the blower motor module for plenum cleaning.

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2seater

As Columbo would say, “just one more thing”, the PROM in the black car is 1094, the latest version which appeared after the model year ended? Funny how reading the correct spot cleared up all my confusion 😖

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Ronnie

The good news is both cars now have AC. That was odd that both hi and lo went out at the same time. That's the way it is with these old cars. You never know what to expect.

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DAVES89
5 hours ago, 2seater said:

As Columbo would say, “just one more thing”, the PROM in the black car is 1094, the latest version which appeared after the model year ended? Funny how reading the correct spot cleared up all my confusion 😖

The '89 Black got a 1990 engine/tranny swapped in by a P.O. so maybe they swapped in the prom as well? But that wouldn't be right either as the miles of the engine has 100,000 miles less then the body... 

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2seater
23 minutes ago, DAVES89 said:

The '89 Black got a 1990 engine/tranny swapped in by a P.O. so maybe they swapped in the prom as well? But that wouldn't be right either as the miles of the engine has 100,000 miles less then the body... 

I don’t know why or how, but there are apparently three stock PROM’s and we have all three between the cars and donor, plus they follow in the correct order to vin sequence. All seem to run well so must be small tweaks.

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2seater

Just a small update. The instrument cluster failed on the red car the grandson has and it was installed from the donor right at the beginning. I bought a replacement from Dave a couple days ago and it was installed just a few minutes ago and we are back to full functioning again.

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DAVES89
1 hour ago, 2seater said:

Just a small update. The instrument cluster failed on the red car the grandson has and it was installed from the donor right at the beginning. I bought a replacement from Dave a couple days ago and it was installed just a few minutes ago and we are back to full functioning again.

And as 2seater knows I found one at a salvage yard and other then ugly buttons it seems to work fine. I will be swapping the buttons from a back up speedometer and run it until it fails. Thge '88/89 speedometers are quite robust and seldom fail so hopefully I will get years of service out of it. Interesting thing noticed on this latest purchase, it had a wasp nest in it. Cleaned it up and replaced 4 warning light bulbs, and everything seems to be fine.

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2seater

Miserable all day rain today so #1 brought the black inside the shed where at least it was dry. The steel roof is not insulated so the sound of the rain is magnified but at least we were dry. He reported the a/c system continues to work so our minimal charge of the system is still holding as it should and no dye leaks are evident👍
 

We decided to explore the console lighting situation which is non-functional. We had three shifter assemblies and a couple of inverters to use and we found the inverters, two black and one pink are all functional. The electroluminescent portions of the shifter assembly actually do work but are dim enough they appear to be out. Cleaning the moving contacts does little to improve so we conclude the lighting capability simply wears out. The two functional shifter strips both showed better lighting at the ends where the shifter spends little time but the drive positions were extremely dim. The layout of the circuit board and contact slider look tailor made for an inventive person to make an led conversion, but it won’t be this guy. My son mentioned he has a tinkerer friend with 3D printers and is going to try to get him interested. I did test the three inverters on the bench which appear functionally the same despite the different case colors. I did notice the two black ones put out 128vac no load and the pink was right at 120vac. They look interchangeable but perhaps there is some difference in load capacity? The wiring pattern is exactly the same too.

 

Off topic: we had some time left and was still raining so we turned to a broken bolt for the intake/exhaust manifold on my 1938 Allis Chalmers WC tractor. This bolt has be broken for about thirty years and in the process of installing a new manifold assembly, my old work around from thirty years ago would no longer work. I must mention, the broken bolt also has a broken drill bit in the center🙄 #1 worked on sharpening prick punches and gradually chipping the drill bit out so the bolt could be drilled out and retapped. Only took two hours. The patience to do so was beyond me.

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DAVES89

2seater next time you are in town give me a call as I have done LED installs on the shifter strip to back light and will show you one I made years ago.

 Just looked in the "How to" section under "Interior Lights". Step by step and easy to do.

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2seater
9 hours ago, DAVES89 said:

2seater next time you are in town give me a call as I have done LED installs on the shifter strip to back light and will show you one I made years ago.

 Just looked in the "How to" section under "Interior Lights". Step by step and easy to do.

We actually have the strip lights that came with the car and it works as described. The rainy day was the inspiration to explore the original system design to see the failure point, primarily from curiosity. The led mod being considered would light just the single shift point presently engaged or just discard the whole idea.

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DAVES89

I thought you had the LED mod I had done all those years ago. As you know the LED strips lights up all the settings, so you just have to know what gear you are in. I recently picked up a factory original and I do like how it lights up the gear I'm in, but I do miss the extra illumination I had with the LED mod.

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Ronnie
1 hour ago, DAVES89 said:

As you know the LED strips lights up all the settings, so you just have to know what gear you are in.

Although the lights would look pretty, if they don't tell you what gear you are in wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the lights? 

 

I've not looked recently but I don't think my gearshift lights work at all or are very dim when you have the dash lights dimmed where they need to be. Not a problem because I rarely drive at night in my Reatta. Too many deer around here. :)

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DAVES89
27 minutes ago, Ronnie said:

Although the lights would look pretty, if they don't tell you what gear you are in wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the lights? 

 

I've not looked recently but I don't think my gearshift lights work at all or are very dim when you have the dash lights dimmed where they need to be. Not a problem because I rarely drive at night in my Reatta. Too many deer around here. 🙂

It takes just a bit of a different mindset. Start the car in Park, then shift back one click and the car goes in reverse to get out of the driveway. 2 clicks and you are in Drive. Set the CRT to gauges and watch the tach to be sure you are in the Overdrive setting and you should be good. I also listen to the engine and learned what "looks" right with the shifter position.

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2seater

Shifter position has become a bit of a feel issue for me too, even though my shifter lights just fine. I rarely drive at night either. Part of the motivation for exploring the shifter lighting is I am pretty certain the red car the grandson has are inoperative so it became a rainy day project. 

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2seater

I guess #1 son with the black car did continue to investigate the shifter lighting. It turned out he found something that was a variation of the led strips Dave had invented. He found electroluminescent sheets on the Walmart site of all things. Used the 12v feed Dave had provided and it comes with a little black box that is either an inverter or transformer? In any case, when cut to size it just slips between the two parts of the original assembly and backlights the entire assembly. Example below. The lighter color is a good match to the dash and while well lit, it isn’t obtrusive or overpowering. 70ED799C-C043-4DD3-9685-4CABC9E89D4B.thumb.jpeg.8ee364de367c242ca65f7a3834fb8096.jpegA04F6C1D-61D0-4695-B16E-6EF242C4D45D.thumb.jpeg.a859ad408894f0861a6feefe4b0fddca.jpegHe is going to try the same tech on the switches in the console but not high hopes for that.

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Ronnie

Cool. Don't you love all the new technology that is available now.

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2seater

Yes, the stuff available for little money is impressive. A quick look reveals multiple colors, sizes and configurations. I should have clicked a pic of the actual shifter. It does lack the selective lighting for the gear position but the look is very nice. He has a neighbor that has a 3D printer and he showed me one of the replacement pieces for the ends of the door straps like a few others have done. Apparently he is a tinkerer like my son but the funny thing was this same guy came back with an excerpt from the ROJ where he was looking for a replacement for the dimming photocell and came up up with a Kdirk Radio Shack thread. Funny how a guy uninvolved with Reattas came here anyway 

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Ronnie
20 hours ago, 2seater said:

...the funny thing was this same guy came back with an excerpt from the ROJ where he was looking for a replacement for the dimming photocell and came up up with a Kdirk Radio Shack thread. Funny how a guy uninvolved with Reattas came here anyway 

I think a lot of people come here to read but they hardly ever post. It's good to know ROJ is helping people solve their problems. I wish more visitors had something to post.

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Apparently the red car the grandson has is working well as I have heard of no ills in approx. two weeks.

 

The black car of #1 son started giving a low brake pressure warning that was intermittent and then became permanent in just the last three days. Today we went over the system and installed my test gauge. We found the system pressure was operating in the 1000-1700psi range and the pump did not sound healthy. He reported the braking was adequate  and not alarming except for the red light. 1700 psi is just a bit below the pressure needed to turn the low pressure light off. When he pulled the plug to the pressure switch in preparation for replacement, we found the plug was full of fluid, a sort of Ah Ha moment. We installed a used spare switch, the pump responded reasonably well and reached the ~2600psi shutoff. We decided to let the pump cycle on and off by cracking the return line from the gauge back to the reservoir. The pump sounded progressively  worse and worse and we seemed to be getting air bubbles occasionally from the discharge drain line. At that point we decided to change the pump assembly itself with the good used parts. The pump sounded better right off the bat and the fluid ran bubble free after a couple cycles. The existing accumulator proved to be very good with ~900psi gas charge. I do intend to dissect the failing pump assembly to see what may have failed or is it possible to get air into the pump through the leaky switch? Air entry shouldn't happen since it is on the discharge side but it does relieve into a return passage. 

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