Brakes are finally happening.

Several weeks ago, we had pulled one of the wheels off to see how badly stuck the brake caliper bleeder screws were. If one gave us trouble, it was highly likely that all of them were going to be like that. So we started with a rear caliper and promptly sheared the head of the bleeder right off. This was before the car had been moved into the garage, and it happened to be raining when we cracked that bleeder, so this time around we were feeling a little more motivated to actually check each individual caliper.

But before hitting the bleeders, we took a good look at the caliper pistons. The rear ones had been left unbolted, hanging aside, presumably as part of Ron’s efforts to move the car to the top of the hill where potential buyers could see it. By the time we got around to looking at them, those rear pistons had already started to rust. We soon decided that it was not worth checking the other rear bleeder, since these pistons were likely to chew up the seals, and replacement pistons were unavailable for a bench rebuild anyway.

Yeah, we just let the calipers hang. Bad habit, I know. But these hoses are getting replaced anyway. We’ll be more careful once those are installed.

The front calipers were a different story, though. The pistons were not extended or exposed. The dust boots were intact, and with a little bit of torch heat and penetrating oil, we managed to get the bleeder screws moving. These ones are candidates for bench rebuilding after all!

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But there was one more thing standing in the way that might necesitate getting new front calipers. The caliper brackets are unavailable by themselves, and can only be acquired through the purchase of an entire caliper. And as luck would have it, the lower guide pins on both front brackets were very stuck...

The LF one came out with a little extra persuasion, but the RF one was seized tight. My brother managed to twist the head of the guide pin off before we even got around to applying heat.

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So we unbolted the bracket and clamped it in a vise. There was just enough of the pin still sticking out to grab with some vise-grips, so we applied penetrating oil to the pin, and heat to the bracket. The pin started to budge, and finally came out! I then picked out a perfectly-sized drill bit to carefully clean the bore. Good thing replacement guide pins are available!

So we drew up a new brake parts list. Instead of four new calipers, we would only need two now. But we’ll still rebuild the front calipers with fresh seals so that they at least work like new.

  • 2x rear brake calipers
  • 2x front caliper rebuild kits
  • 1x pair of new front caliper guide pins
  • 1x pack of guide pin boots
  • 2x front brake hoses
  • 2x rear outer brake hoses
  • 1x rear inner brake hose
  • 1x set of front pads
  • 2x front rotors
  • 1x set of rear pads
  • 2x rear rotors

TBH, we should probably be focusing on doing the exhaust first, but I can’t help but get excited about these parts coming in.

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As for that shifter not moving into 5th... sadly, that’s still the case. We did find the shift lever latch rod to be out of adjustment. Unfortunately, putting that back into spec didn’t fix it. With the shift lever out of the car, we moved the main shift rod around, and found that even without the lever in place, something in the transmission is hanging up, preventing it from going into 5th.

We are extremely hesitant about pulling the transmission out to fix this at the moment, so it’s very likely that he’s just going to live with it like this for a while until it drives him batty enough to do something about it. We have yet to road-test the car, but all of the other gears seem to be fine, so driving it around town should be no trouble.

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Anyway, since the problem isn’t in the shift lever, we proceeded with getting the rest of the interior put back together. My brother applied another round of leather treatment to all of the seats, and vacuumed the temporarily-exposed reaches of carpet before bringing the other bits back in. The console parts all got wiped clean prior to reassembly, including popping some switches out to get previous owner grime out from the crevices.

It’s starting to look like a car again!