March 21, 2016

What’s Up Next with the Econoline?

The last couple of weekends have been very busy around the Do It Again Garage. Now that the Econoline has taken its official spot up on the lift, in place of the 1969 Pontiac Firebird that recently returned to the road, Matt and Bill are fully immersed in their new renovation project.

A week ago Saturday, our mechanics started working to remove the van’s entire front axle, rear axle, drive shaft, shocks and springs. The front axle came off easily, but the rear axle proved to be more difficult. There was a lot of decay, and one particular rusty bolt wouldn’t give way. First, Matt tried to cut off the head off the bolt to get it out and when that didn’t work, he tried to remove it with a hammer and pin. Still not finding success, Bill thought he had the answer and lit up the acetelyne torch to show the bolt who’s boss.

Hard to believe, but the blow torch technique didn’t work either. That was one stubborn rusty bolt! In a last ditch effort to extricate the rear axle, Bill decided to crank up an electronic grinding wheel to cut the bolt’s head off. Here’s where things got a little dicey.

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In typical Do It Again Garage fashion, akin to Murphy’s Law, the wheel shattered, nearly cutting Bill’s finger off. Trying to stem the profuse bleeding as well as certain infection, Bill rummaged around for the first aid kit. Not finding it right away, probably because he was in a great deal of pain, he got resourceful with a strip of duct tape and some gauze instead. Unfortunately for Bill, the salve he thought was Neosporin turned out to be burn cream, but we’re confident his finger will eventually heal okay.

Once the drama was over, our team returned to less life-threatening endeavors. Digging in deeper to the inner mechanisms of the van, they found out that it had an unusual set up of rods running from the throttle to the carburetor, unlike any other vehicles they had fixed up before. These types of surprises help to keep things interesting. What the boys enjoy most about their work is that no project is ever the same.

Matt and Bill closed out the weekend by stripping off and repainting all the brake hubs until they look like new.

Next step is to replace the brake cylinders and pads and install all new hardware. Once they successfully clean the years of mud and debris from the bottom of the van, they will give it a good undercoat.

Check back soon to hear more news on the Econoline’s restoration. We have plenty of stories to share here at the Do It Again Garage.