Monday, June 19, 2006

It's alive...ALIVE!!!!

I'm in a mild state of shock right now. I'm not sure I can even believe the event myself, but I know that the Chevelle is now parked in the garage so that it faces out, which means it had to have been moved, which means I did not dream that I drove it on Saturday.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but it's been about two years since I pulled the rear end out to have a new posi unit installed. While it was in the shop I decided I'd have them put rear disc brakes on it. I already had a front disc setup sitting at home waiting to be installed, so this didn't seem like a big deal.

Well, the new rear discs meant new hoses, various adapters, brackets, etc. The swap also required a new master cylinder and distribution block/metering valve. Now, I already had a power booster, but since there's a larger engine swap planned for the future, it seemed prudent to install a new smaller brake booster at this time. All of these parts required that I bend new hard lines for everything. I also had to fabricate/modify some brackets. I had to buy more adapters. Fabrication of everything took far longer than wanted or expected.

I finally got all of this done sometime around February of 2006, but about two or three weeks later I was out in the garage and realized that THERE WAS RUST ALL OVER THE BRAKES!!! They were brand new RUSTY brakes!!!! Aaaaargh! I came to the realize that there was far too much humidity being trapped in my garage. To fix the situation I had to install eaves venting as well as a powered gable vent with a thermostat and humidistat. It was only when all that was done that I was able to go back and clean all the rust from the discs and truly finish the job.

Saturday all I had left was to clean up the rear discs and reinstall them. That took an hour or two, and then the moment of truth had arrived. I threw the street slicks on the back (they were the only rims I had that would clear the disc calipers), and lowered the machine to the ground. I nervously went and got the keys, settled in behind the wheel, keyed the starter. It took a little prodding, but after a minute or two the engine sputtered to life and settled into its customary growl. I was smiling. So far, so good!

I let it warm up a little bit. I tested the brake pedal. It felt like you'd expect. Another thumbs up.
I put it in reverse and slooooowly eased out on the clutch. The Bow Tie started to move backwards out of the garage. I could hardly believe it. The sun was going to shine upon it for the first time in two years!
I tapped the brakes lightly as a test. Hoo! Stoppage! Right on!
I eased the 'Velle the rest of the way out of the garage and gingerly brought it to a stop. Excellent.
I hopped out of the car, went into the garage, and rearranged the large blue tarp that dad gave to me to put on the floor under the Chevelle. I'd gotten advice from him and some other car guys saying that this would help prevent moisture from rising through the floor and damaging the car.

With that little bit of housekeeping out of the way it was time for the Maiden Brake Voyage. I backed down the driveway to the front of the house and out into the street, creeping especially slowly so that I could stop the car at a moment's notice if the brakes suddenly failed to respond.

My reward for two year's worth of procrastination punctuated with moments of hard work (including work from Ben) was two trouble-free trips around the block! If I'd had more time I certainly would have made a few extra circuits of the neighborhood, but those will come later. For now it's more than enough to know that the Chevelle is once again rolling under its own power. Now the real fun can begin.


Post a Comment

<< Home