Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lemförder to the Rescue

The title you see anticipates my next effort, which will appear as soon as I crawl under the car in earnest to get into trouble monkeying around with the front suspension. That, or I'll report with an excuse for doing something else that's easier.

Later:  I have a proper excuse as it works out, so here I am reporting it:  Two herniated disks, and two impinged nerves that have nothing to do with them. A bad back on this scale is a nice gift that keeps on giving; it hurts and takes time to heal, so the delay with this post, or any other one here, will provide you with a little relief, too. I will have to figure out some light cosmetic jobs for the short term, perhaps flicking a feather duster in the car's general direction. Regrettable, but I didn't do it on purpose.

Still later: No, no work has happened, but at least I'm thinking it all through too much as my back heals. This offers certain rewards and, of course, alibis to go with them. For me planning is a comforting thing; when there is a good plan of what needs to be done, and good solid work to go with it fully understood, then there you have half the pleasure of actually doing the thing already in your pocket.

Mark Twain understood this and he was the perfect paradigm for this philosophy. He said, "I love to work. Why, sir, when I have a piece of work to perform, I go away to myself, sit down in the shade and muse over the coming enjoyment. Sometimes I am so industrious that I muse too long." Letter to John T. Moore, July 6, 1859

Remarkably, Twain comprehended repairing old Porsches very well, because at another moment he pointed out that, "Work and play are words used to describe the same thing under differing conditions." That would sketch out the whole process nicely, wouldn't it?

But I can't blame only Twain for all of this. Tom Clancy got in on this act when he said, "The difference between fiction and reality?  Fiction has to make sense." I rest my case. 

A good amount of time has melted away since the previous update to this on and off, multi-theme post, but that's okay, because a few things have actually been happening. With my Porsche, that is. To see it now you would think that I have been wrenching away steadily at the contraption, but this illusion is the result of a clever distribution of tools and parts left lying around the shop, to fool the eye, so to speak. If it looks like a busy workshop, then it must be such a place . . .

But it is, in fact - I'll stick in some pictures below to prove it. Here are some issues being tackled at the moment: Gear shifting has been unpleasant; stiff and stiffer the warmer the car gets, so the first attack on this frustration involves a new clutch cable, shifter bushings, shift coupler, and all of that. Then, there is a leak of air, road dust, and noise entering the car at the bottom corners of the rear window - the result of inattentive work when the car was repaired/updated at some prehistoric moment; I will be happy to seal this off. Plus, the trunk's gas struts, that hold up the lid, have expired and the lid hits me on the head while I'm rummaging around in there. Also, I am switching to 'turbo tie rods', seen above. Plus tune-up items, random small springs, seals, filters, new brake fluid, and a further list of doodads not interesting enough to mention - and there is cosmetic work, too. Oh, and I'm going to install a new third brake light. Necessary, all of this, if I want this car to continue to wow the locals, as well as be reliable, and actually fun to drive.

My back is a little bit better, and I'm even going to work out in a gym to regain faded muscles. With a trainer.

This first photo reveals the interior, minus the seats, carpeting, floorboards, and shifting mechanism, but the new clutch cable has already been installed.

The second image simply illustrates the process of adjusting the clutch cable. I moved the clutch release lever - to which the clutch cable attaches - one spline of rotation toward the front of the car, in order to put the adjustment nuts in the center of the threaded end of the cable, thereby giving me more 'fore and aft' adjustment. Therefore, the adjustment is totally off, and it will be black magic to get it correct when the car is back on the road in the spring.

The process of replacing the trunk's lid-holding struts is straightforward; remove the little clips from four pins, pull the pins out, and remove the struts.  Installing new struts is the reverse of removal, except for the miserable bottom pin on the left side of the car. You can't even see the silly pin, nor can you feel it, because your hand won't fit down where it is. Not even a dramatically long needle-nose pliers will do the trick, because of junk in the way. I'm going to have to read up on this.

Okay, reading up was no help, but I figured out a clever method, unfortunately I didn't photograph it. Here it is: With the strut out of the car, I took the pin that fits through it's bottom end into my hand and threaded a strong sewing thread through the hole in the end of the pin and tied it. Then I strung the thread through the bracket into which the strut fits, then through the bottom of the strut, then through the other side of the bracket. Being cautious to avoid tangling the thread, I then installed the strut into its bracket. It was then a simple matter to pull the thread, which pulled the pin through the bracket and strut. I cut the thread and it was installed, just like that. Then you slip on the clip that holds the pin in place. Prior to inventing this method, I had wasted hours on this simple little project.

There you have it for now. Next I'll rant about trying to seal the gap at the bottom of the rear windows. Not as easy as I had hoped, naturally.

A pickle fork is a crude fork-shaped wedge that is driven
into the tie rod-to-steering control arm joint to pop it apart.
March 4, 2014. Never mind the gap seal business for now. Finally I installed the Lemförder turbo tie rods that are pictured above. The one on the right side of the car was the easier of the two, so I did it first as a learning process, and all of the difficult issues that people mention are true. I had to buy a pickle fork tool to get the tie rod end off, because all of my penetrating oil and hammering failed to pop it out of the tapered hole in the end of the steering control arm. But once the tie rod end was off, the right side tie rod unscrewed easily.

You screw in the new tie rod (using some Lock-Tight), then the fun begins. Getting the new rubber boot that covers everything and its retainer spring into place involves some learning, ingenuity, tool fabrication, and a lot of cussing. I quoted the Pope. . .  At last I completed the job on the right side, but the left side offered an endlessly entertaining proposition. The reason is that on my car, the brake master cylinder and attendant jumble of tubing is under the car and beneath the left side tie rod, making access 'interesting'. 

In the photo below is the end of the new rubber bellows that encloses the steering rack and tie rod (I know it doesn't look new, but it is); it keeps dirt and water out of the rack, so that your steering doesn't fail. No human on Earth has fingers with enough joints in them to fit up under there, especially when it comes to fitting the end of the bellows onto the steering gear box, and positioning the tight spring that goes around the bellows-end. It looks easily accessible here, but it very much is not. 

The bellows' coil spring is in the middle here. Click to enlarge.
So, this is where the tool fabrication comes in. I invented a number of tools and they did the job, basic though it is. Not easy, however. I'm proud of those simple tools, so if anybody is struggling with this installation, send me a message via the "Post a Comment" thingy and I'll describe them for you.

Most of this stuff will get finished eventually, if I keep my cool. I'm starting to enjoy thinking outside of the box once more in order to create tools, and the like.