But here’s a quick update.

The front brake calipers are finally rebuilt and painted (I’ll post up some more pics later). We’re still hesitant to fully assemble the brakes though, as we’re not quite ready to unpack the new rotors and expose them to the atmosphere where they could start rusting. Those will have to wait until after the big purchase: tires.

Fresh starter motor assembly w/new solenoid

We found a local rebuilder to freshen up the starter, which saved a few bucks compared to what it would have cost to ship a remanufactured one and ship the core back. Instead of just replacing the failed solenoid, this one now has a new lease on life thanks to a complete overhaul. We can finally run the engine again!

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After bleeding the brakes, we decided to bleed the clutch as well. Fortunately, I’ve been in the habit of using Valvoline brake fluid on my cars, which came in very handy as this car takes DOT 4, (my cars have always had DOT 3 systems). The Valvoline stuff is compatible with both.

The brake bleeding went well, but not without a few hiccups, which I’ll go into more detail in a later post. The clutch, however, is a different story...

We began the process by loosening the bleeder, which was nowhere near as badly stuck as the ones in the brake calipers. I hooked up my Mityvac to start sucking the fluid out, as I didn’t have a positive-pressure bleeder to push fluid from the reservoir. But only a dribble came out.

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We played around with the clutch pedal, pushing it, pumping it, holding it, but nothing helped. The pedal had been successfully disengaging and re-engaging the clutch earlier (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?), but now that we had opened the bleeder, we’re past the point of no return. We have to finish what we started.

I happened to have a garden sprayer, so I searched around and managed to find a vitamin container that was a nearly perfect thread match for the brake fluid reservoir cap. I drilled a hole through it and cobbled up a fitting from the sprayer handle to attach the hose. Ta-da, instant pressure bleeder.

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I cut the bottom ring off of the cap to release the inner child safety mechanism so that I could glue it back together. The plastic was rather brittle and wanted to shatter instead of cutting cleanly, but I managed. Unfortunately, I didn’t do a good enough job gluing the pieces together, and we’re back to having to firmly press down on the cap in order to unscrew it.

I got the new DIY positive pressure bleeder working, but alas, it wasn’t helping push fluid out the bleeder. Something else is going on here.

Clutch slave cylinder assembly

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With the bleeder screw completely removed, we can hear fluid movement in the slave cylinder as the pedal is worked back and forth. But it’s not pushing fluid out of the bleeder port, which suggests to me that the clutch master cylinder is not drawing more fluid from the reservoir to push forward. It must have had enough fluid downstream to disengage the clutch earlier, but now that we let some fluid dribble out, the MC is not replenishing the circuit with fresh supply from the reservoir.

If my guess is correct, then there’s either a problem with the MC, or the supply hose coming from the brake fluid reservoir (shared with the brake system).

Aside from that, we’ve got other parts on the way, including a new exhaust from the cat rearward. And there’s a pinhole in the downpipe that my brother’s going to try to see about welding back up. In addition to all that, he’s also decided to go with the wheel stud conversion kit. Yes indeedy, it turns out that he’s already grown tired of these lug bolts.