Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1954 Imperial Home Page -> Kerry's '54 Imperial Restoration -> Kerry's '54 Restoration - Part Six
This chapter takes place of a couple weeks up until 5/4/01.
Stone Cold Broke!
This is result of a leaky wheel seal. It pretty well trashed the linings but I did clean them up with Ray's machine and they will be fine a spares..
After I got the new wheel cylinders on, and shoes fitted, I still could not get the brake drums loose enough. Spent a day or two screwing with it and finally decided I had two choices: 1- remove more material (throw away good brake pad??) or increase the amount of adjustment by 'loosening' the shoe. In the first photo, which is poorly shot, you can see that the slot in the shoe has a bulge in it. The second shot shows where I ground the slot flat in the bottom. This allowed the shoes to move closer together about 1/16 inch each and did the trick. The wheel now turns nice and free and is easy to adjust.
Now to bleed the brakes. My handy dandy power bleeding tool had ambiguous results or so I though. I pumped a quart of fluid or so through the brakes and still could not get a pedal. Finally decided the master cylinder had a problem so I ordered a kit for it and rebuilt it. Same process but still no pedal. Ray came out and we bled them the old fashioned way and finally got somewhat of a pedal.
OK Ready for the maiden voyage. Off the lift and down the road. Humm brakes are still tight and getting tighter. Once around the block and they were so tight that it would barely move. We parked the car and it would not move again and we had to crack a bleeder to let the pressure off. #$&*^^%$#.
The next week I troubleshot the brake lockups. Oh, turns out my bleeding problem was due to three overlooked bleeder screws on the booster. A BIG bubble of air was in the booster. My locking problem pretty much had to be the power brake booster so the next day I got a short length of brake line and bypassed the booster. On this car the booster is vacuum operated but is totally disconnected from any mechanical operation. Any compression of the fluid is amplified by the booster. This is the beast itself. Given that some of my brake lines had crud in them, I suspect it is plugged up. In the meantime I have a manual brake system that works fine although it does take a lot of leg to stop the old girl.
The good news is that the car runs great. The hemi is very strong and smooth, trans shifts fine. Tires are BADLY out of round. First chance I got I pulled the old wheels and took the "new" old WWWs in to have mounted. With some trepidation, out the driveway I went on the new tires. WHAT A DIFFERENCE. Very smooth with a SLIGHT vibration about 60 but it will probably smooth out as I only drove about a mile or two. Even if it doesn't I can live with it. Saves 5-600 bucks.
Took a day off to spend a day with Robert Soule in Chattanooga. We drove up to his friend Ron's farm to look at some of his cars.
This one would probably be called a 'challenge'
Believe it or not, this is a town and country woodie
Back to the 54, I had pulled the AC belts off when I was trying to get the car started and wondered if by some miracle, the AC actually still worked so I put the belts on and to my amazement, there was cool air! However, it was only cool and I wanted cold. I put the gauges on it and they showed a full charge but I suspected it had air in the system. That being the case, I evacuated the system and pulled a 28 pound vacuum on it with my buddy's vacuum pump. The Remember this is an R22 system. The compressor turns about 1/2 engine speed (look at the size of the pulley) The system expect head pressures in the 400/500 PSI range vs. 300 for a more modern system. Putting some freon in the system in just a few minutes I had cool air. With considerably less than a full charge I had 45!!! degree air out of the vents (see the little round thermostat. The big one is ambient) I'll run it a while with what I have and then decide if I want to top it off. The story I heard on these old R22 systems is that they cool VERY quick and are VERY cold so I don't want to make it uncomfortably cool. These things work neat. There is a little thermostat in the unit that senses interior temperature. When it reached the preset level, compressed freon is diverted directly back to the compressor without going through the evaporator. This explains why there is no clutch. When the compressor is not 'needed', it basically just circulated already compressed gas which does not load it down. Pretty slick. To change the interior setting, there is a hole in the unit behind the seat that has a screw that you turn to make it cooler or warmer.
So here I am, Stone Cold (AC working) Broke (brakes work)! Next week I'll try and drive it into town and get the exhaust system replaced. Hopefully I will also put a tune up on the engine.
Kerry's '54 Restoration Saga Main...
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