Car Show Call Out

Last weekend we were promised a another bright sunny day at Stonham Barns for another car show. This time is was just for American cars and always surprises me on the numbers that turn up. There was a clash of other shows on the same day, so it would be a choice of shows for most people.

As it was an early start the night before I had already uncovered the car and unplugged the battery’s trickle charger. I placed the cool bag in the trunk which was primarily full of cold drinks, closed it and jumped into the car. Sunglasses on at eight in the morning was a bit of novelty, but a welcome one it has to be said. The drive to Stonham was one of the best yet on the way there; not much traffic and nobody tailgating me as I set my own pace and just enjoyed my drive. There was a newer Mustang that went passed me at a rate of notes with a Pontiac following close behind, we exchanged the obligatory wave and continued on. Stonham also has a car boot sale on most Sunday mornings, so there is always a little bit of a queue to get in. Not this time as I almost drove straight in without stopping.

Once through the entrance I was directed to the hard standing area of the field where the Mustangs would be parked. I turned up and parked next to Racoon Red ’65 Fastback with two older gentlemen setting up their chairs. I gave my car a little wipe down with some quick detailer to remove the road I had accumulated on the way to the show. As I was finishing up and taking the first couple pictures of the day, a much newer style red S197 Mustang parked up the other side of me. Cars were now arriving in thick and fast just half an hour before the public was allowed into the event. It was going to be a good day.

I decided to sit in my new chair, have a cold drink and watch the cars park up and perform the rituals I had just finished. I need to get some pics so I started a wander round as the public were allowed in as pretty much all the cars were now in place.

There was quite a few truck at the show so I thought I would group them together for this gallery.

Back to the cars at this point I wandered into the dark side of the Chevy guys with the odd Dodge thrown into the mix. Only joking, Some real nice cars in their own little area like the Mustangs.

There was some more Mustang owners parked up that didn’t want to come and play with the rest of us and parked the other side of the main ring.

The rest of the cars that I liked the look of.

Can somebody explain this to me please?

There was four cars which I spotted and in my opinion, shouldn’t have been there. Yes they can turn up where they want, but surely they should have been turned away from an “Americana Show” by the show’s marshals! German cars, a standard VW Golf with a set of wheels on it and a bog standard BMW Z3.

The Triumph Stag is British classic, and they have V8’s under the hood, this one looks to have some thing nice under there, but I couldn’t be sure. Most of the time they had the Triumph engine, occasionally they were swapped out for a Rover V8. Did this Stag have some American iron under there, I wanted to find the owner and ask, but sadly I couldn’t find them. Besides, I like Stags.

Then there is this example below. A new Volvo that hadn’t even been cleaned. Why on earth this was deemed as acceptable I have no idea. Perhaps he got lost on the way to the general public car park? The owner was quite happy sitting in his deckchair looking pleased with himself. Yes, it’s a nice car and all that, but I can and often do see a car park full of them at the local supermarket. There was plenty of space for all the cars, but this car is not American and it certainly didn’t belong there on the day.

Am I being too harsh?

It was another great day out with lots of fabulous sunshine, although there was the odd cloud that turned up to spoil the day! 😉

I met some really nice people, my new chair was comfortable and I managed to chilled out in it for a few hours while looking at the back of my car. I even had an ice cream and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I left a little early to avoid the inevitable line of cars trying to leave at the end of the show. I managed to drive straight out of the venue this time and had a perfectly chilled cruise home. Awesome day out.

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Stop Right There

A little while ago at a car show I was told that my brake lights didn’t work. I was concerned for obvious reasons. The cars behind me can’t see me slowing or stopping, and the fact I’m running LED’s was a concern. It’s not as if I had a blown bulb or something which would be an easy fix. The guy told me that while we were in a long queue to get into the show he “didn’t see my lights come on at all”.

After he left explaining it to me my fellow Mustang mate David heard what he said and suggested I pressed the pedal so he could take a look. I pressed the pedal as I normally do when braking and the thumbs up and a “yep fine”, no problems there then. We swapped places and he pressed the pedal, no problems again as the lights came on as expected. This is now turning into a puzzling scenario. Perhaps an intermittent switch fault, or is it the fact I am very light on my brakes? I don’t pull away with a boot full of revs and I don’t jump on the brakes to stop me either. In traffic I pull away gently by just letting the idle move me forward, when I brake it’s just a light pressure enough to stop. Less wear and tear on the engine, less fuel used, it will help avoid a boil over and the big positive is there will be less brake dust on my chrome wheels to clean as well.

I made a trip to Mustang Maniac to be in the company of fellow petrol heads and I explained what had happened to Adam. He suggested a swap over of the switch for the power assisted disc version. When I asked what the difference was he told me the spring for the switch was not as strong and the wires were on the other side of the switch bracket. This translated means that the normal drum brakes need more pressure to apply the brakes with a longer pedal travel. That switch is stronger as the brakes don’t actually apply until a reasonable force is used. The power assisted disc brakes need less pressure before the brakes apply, so the switch needs to be activated a little earlier. Simple when you think about it. So with advice from Adam of course I was going to replace it.

Here the two are side by side. Old drum brakes on the left (still working when tested with multi meter) and the new one for powered discs on the right. It’s also the same switch for a 67-68 as well.

I got to work where the switch is attached to the pedal via, which is in turn mounted around the master cylinder lever, which is also attached to the pedal via the same pin. The switch and the lever are held in place by a fairly strong retaining pin which needs to be removed.

Depending on the state of the pin it could be rusted and a little penetrating oil may help with the removal. I used a long pair of angled pliers to pull it out, be careful you don’t slip and take a chunk out of your steering column.

With the pin removed the connecting bar to the brake master will be able to be pulled off the pedal to the side.

Move the brake lever halfway off the pin. This will release the closed part of the switch casing, a hole which the pin fits through in order to stop the switch from coming off the pedal itself.  The switch itself can now be pulled down as the opposite side of the switch is open at the top of the casing to allow the switch to be removed. This saves having to completely remove the brake lever bar if you didn’t want to. While I was at it I decided to regrease the pin and plastic bushings. When removing the pin take care to retain the plastic bushing inside the lever bar. There are also a nylon washers on either side of the pin which don’t need to be removed, but you can if you want to. Below is the pedal push rod to the master cylinder being removed.

I sprayed the pedal pin with some white grease ready for reassembly later and also the inside of the push rod and bushings. If they haven’t been replaced for a while, replace them just for the sake of it  as they are very cheap replacement parts. That would also eliminate and play in the pedal, if you have any that is.

Side by side with the closed side of the switches compared. The powered disc brake version on the right with the terminals on the closed side of the switch. The left has the terminals on the open side.

The other side of the switch where you can see the open side as it were. Notice the terminals on the left manual switch are now facing up.

Once the removal has been completed now it’s a simple the reverse to fit it. Apply grease to the pedal pin that locates the push rod bar and the bushings. I used plenty and can always wipe it up after. If you go mad with the grease you could drop or run grease onto your footwell carpet, be careful or lay some old rags around, just in case.

Place the switch up to the push rod bar which will sit between the open and closed sides of the switch. Align the holes and slip it back over the brake pedal pin. You may need to slightly rotate the switch so that the open end is located all the way up to the pin. The switch itself should sit square at the end of the brake push rod, in line at the end of the lever bar as shown here. If the switch is not located square, the lights could be on all the time or not come on at all.

The push rod lever bar has straight edges deliberately, this means when the pedal is depressed the lever bar moves on the pin’s axis and the edges press the top of the switch down to make the contact.

Check the motion of the pedal and you should here a very faint click as the switch engages. The retaining sprung pin can be located into the hole in the pedal pin. This retaining spring is quite a tough to open around the pedal pin in order to be properly located. Here just the retaining pin tip is located in the brake pedal retaining hole.

You may need the pliers on the spring a little to get it passed the pedal pin and snap it into place.

A little more spray on white grease and pump the pedal to make sure full and correct operation.

Lastly you just need to swap the connecting block to the other side of the switch. It’s possible that you may need to free up a little more cable but you should have enough slack in the loom to allow you to do this. Here the switch is fully assembled with the connector in place with the red and white wires showing, before I re-wrapped them again. The connecting block can only fit on in one direction as the male terminals are set at angles.

From a slightly different angle.

Again, check the FULL motion of the pedal and make sure everything is clear from snagging. You should now be able to check that your brake lights are now working correctly. Lastly you can either clean up the grease on the visible parts or leave it as is. I left mine for a couple of trips in order to let it all work around, then I cleaned it up, but not to much as you need the lubrication there.

The noticeable difference being that the pedal moves less now before the brake lights come on which suits my style of driving. Also even if I just cover the brakes it should give the car behind earlier warning that I am actually slowing down and avoid being rear ended.

In total it took around just over half an hour plus taking the pictures to complete. It took a further few hours for my back to recover after laying upside down in a Mustang footwell and twisting into positions that any circus contortionist would be proud off. The cost of the project was £16.80 from Mustang Maniac, click here for the link for the switch I used. A small price to pay to be safe.

Quite what the issue was with the brakes not working or just the switch playing up i don’t know. Replacing the switch is simple and like I just said, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Quite what my next project will be I’m not sure, but I will find something no doubt, hopefully without having to book an appointment with a chiropractor! 🙂

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Strike Three – But Not Out!

Last weekend I went to a car show at the Enfield Pageant of Motoring, and guess what? It rained; OK it wasn’t a bad downpour, but it was still wet stuff from the sky which landed on my car. That’s the first three shows this year that I have attended and rain has appeared, although to be fair it wasn’t until later in the afternoon. This won’t put me off car shows, it just makes me check my useless weather apps more to see what lies they are going to tell me. It seems as though my luck this year with car shows is not going very well at all. I drove to the end of a field and parked up on the Mustang Maniac stand where I meet Adam, Yogi and Paul who were busy getting their priorities right, making the cups of tea. My priority was to start cleaning my car. Simple reason being that the previous day Saturday was a hot day for a change at the show and the entrance car park had dried to a dust bowl. The show cars that were driving into the event were going slowly so as not to kick up much dust and gravel. In other words, showing respect for other people. However some selfish a-hole in a van decided to do mini burnouts every time he moved. Needless to say the dust cloud that enveloped the car park was like cloud of nuclear fallout and just as toxic. Not a great a great start to the show, I wasn’t best pleased.

I have continued to review lots of car cleaning and detailing products as I get a few questions now and again about what products I use on my Mustang as well as the daily driver cars too.

Contrary to popular belief I am not a one brand product devotee, far from it in fact. A big pet hate of mine is where somebody will buy a single product and be brand loyal refusing to admit that some of that brands products are in fact a useless waste of money. Those same people will have blinkered and tunnel vision when it comes to trying other products. My outlook on the matter is simple, I’m still looking for the perfect combination of products for each step I perform whether it be; snow foam, drying, decontamination, cleaners for paint, cleaners for wheels, glass cleaners, polishes, waxes, microfiber cloths, brushes, carpet stain remover, rubber restorer, vinyl cleaner etc. Just about everything I use is in a combination of many products such as Meguiar’s, Auto Finesse, Chemical Guys, Poor Boys World, Mirror Bright, Valet Pro, Dat Wax and so on depending on what is need, and what I intend to do to get the results I want. This time I decided to use a Chemical Guys EcoSmart which is a waterless wash & wax product I have been using for a while now, but just couldn’t get it right to use it properly. The results are amazing (now) which have improved a huge amount since I started to use top quality plush, deep pile microfiber cloths at £5 each and not the 25 cloths for £5 scenario, which aren’t much better than toilet rolls if the truth is to be known. Round two was onto the quick detailer, a brand new product recommended to me which is Chemical Guys – P40. (Yes, I buy ALL my own car cleaning products, and I am unbiased in my reviews.)

The car finished and it looked quite clean again.

The Mustang Maniac stand was starting to get full as I was almost done and was easily the Mustang place to be. There were customers who turned up for a chat, people interested in getting a Mustang, and people who were just happy to be around the cars.

With the car finished some one and half hours later I went for a wonder around the show to look at the cars and stalls.

It was an fairly good show in general, but I think that this show is getting more mainstream rather than car focussed stalls. There were lots of house clearance stalls selling cheap rubbish, stalls that sell plenty of plastic toys and stalls selling a selection of tools (I use that term very loosely), which were aimed at people with an extremely tight budget should we say. For once I didn’t buy anything at all from anybody. The wife says I should take her out for the day with the money I saved, she’s right of course, there is a car show this weekend, I could take her there and maybe get her a burger and buy more stuff for the car.


Classic car owners second worse nightmare? Stone Chips.

The worst nightmare has to be rust, the second has to be the dreaded stone chips. I always drive with an extra spaces between the car in front of me and I back off if somebody pulls into that gap. It seems as though I have been caught out with the hated stone chips. Let’s just say I was pretty pi55ed off and the air was filled with the colourful language that may have slipped out of my mouth on a repeated number of occasions.

I spotted the evil craters from the previous car show and fixed them up before the trip down to Enfield. Although I got another one on the way back from Enfield, I spotted this one when I cleaned the car on Monday. I have done a walkthrough or tutorial guide that works for me under the Menu ‘How To…Projects/Fixing Stone Chips’. Here is just a taster of what I did to fix them. This is only the basic explanation, I fully explain it all here.

Identify the location of the chips by marking with a piece of masking tape.

Thoroughly clean the area with Isopropyl Alcohol (or similar) to remove all waxes and sealants, use lint free panel wipe or similar. Then take a little colour and place into a pot. I had some left from the original paint job so I was lucky in that respect for colour matching.

There are various ways to apply the paint, with a brush, paper, matchstick, toothpick or similar. I use a wooden burger skewer as they are longer, easier to hold and I can sharpen them well without splintering.

The idea is to place a tiny droplet into the centre of the chip so that it sits just proud of the rest of the paint around it. Place the tip of your choice of applicator into the paint and remove it which should now hold a tiny droplet which is held in place by the wood and not running straight off. If you get a big drop you have the chance of it dropping onto places it shouldn’t be, with a lot of recovery work for yourself later.

With the paint drop as small as possible, covering the chip itself and sitting proud of the paint – leave it to dry and cure. Not an hour or two, I’m talking a couple of days, I left mine for a week. This will also allow any waxes to apply to the fresh paint properly.

Next is to get the sanding paper out, I got a wide selection of wet & dry papers starting with coarsest being 1500grit all the way to impossibly fine 8000grit. They are different colours for identification.

I then take my special stone chip tool, a pencil eraser and mark out the width I need on the grades of paper to cut to the size I need. These erasers come in various sizes and shapes for your needs or what suits you.

The idea is to start with the courser grade and work finer to remove the previous sanding marks. I prefer the rubber eraser as it will give slightly to a contour as it’s not rigid, but firm enough to hold the paper flat to the surface. I marked the back of the papers as the cut strips may not show the grit grade itself.

Patience, then use lots more patience.

Wet the area, I use a small travel spray you can get from eBay. Then gently rub the paint drop down keeping the paper flat as possible. A few gentle rubs then check. This will give an idea of how the paint is reacting to the paper and also you don’t want to sand the topcoat or lacquer of the paint if you can help it. You can adjust your technique accordingly.

When you are getting close to the flat paint, swap the papers over to a higher grit. With the sanding the paper may shed and give you a light paste look depending on the type of paper you bought.

The higher the grit number will reduce the previous marks and stop you from rubbing the paint to hard, keep the area wet. Repeat as necessary all the way to the fine grades. When you rub your finger over the chipped area you shouldn’t feel anything at all, it should be glass smooth. If the paint has sunk and you have a pit, stop sanding and add another tiny drop of paint by repeating all the application steps above and let it dry.

Once you are happy with the sanded area then it’s time to bring the car paint back to life. Use a polish that you normally use to remove swirl marks or light scratches. This will remove all the sanding marks, I used Tripple on this occasion as it’s hardly abrasive. Rub into the area using a DA machine or by hand as in my case using the ‘Handipuck’ to get the shine back.

With the area polished it just leaves the protective wax to be applied, this after the hand polish. Pointed out stone chip area with the wooden paint pick tool.

My next step to wax and protect the area. Dat Wax which is show wax and is heavy on oils not the paste style which is ideal for this type of work. Oh, its also blue and smells of beautiful bubble-gum which I reviewed here.

The finished results:

The trouble is, I have to do it all again soon. 🙁

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