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The First in the Deck Series

Our most recent DIY experience through the process.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Gotta love a new beginning, right?

Peppermint Shortage

Just a funny afternoon.

Coffeyville, KS

I loved this experience so much that I had to write about it. Then, through e-mails it spread to Coffeyville itself.

Photo Restoration

I had a lot of fun with this "old school" photo. It turned out too cool to not blog about it.

Kitchen Remodel (part one)

This is the first of a nine-part series documenting the remodel of our 50-year-old kitchen in our 100-year-old home!

A Valiant Restoration: Day 3 & 4

According to Google, valiant is defined as "possessing or showing courage or determination".  In addition to literally restoring a Plymouth Valiant, I believe that the restoration itself is a valiant act.  It's Jacob trusting that I know what I am doing and am able to help him know what he is doing.  It's taking something apart that most people wouldn't dare in fear that they'd never get it back together.  It's knowing that there are risks but valuable rewards to be won.  Maybe, I'm being too deep here, but I just think that the name of the car is significant for this endeavor that we've taken on.

We continued pulling parts off the engine and cleaning them up. Many of the hang-ons got cleaned up and painted.  Both Jacob and I were pretty impressed with the turnout.  This thing is going to shine under the hood.

I borrowed a couple lifting eyebolts from work and an engine hoist and engine stand from Daniel.  It wasn't too bad pulling the engine out, but it took a bit to figure out how to get the transmission all the way off of the block.  We figured it out, though.  We bent the eyebolts into a nice J-shape so I bought some new replacements from Fastenal to return to my work.

With the motor out, I feel like I could probably benchpress the car right off the jack stands, not that I will be trying that or anything.

I realized during the third day that I had a shop manual from 1962 for the car.  I bought it in an ebay auction probably 7 years ago or so knowing that it would come in handy someday.  I read through some of it concerning the engine and discovered a way to find out which motor it is.  As it turns out, it's not a 225 like I always thought.  It's a 170.  It's the exact same motor except for the height of the block is shorter than a 225 and the connecting rods are shorter.  This gives it a shorter stroke which gives it better fuel economy, less torque at low RPMs but greater power at higher RPMs, less engine stress which means greater durability.  It won't be a super-power for Jacob which is good, but it will last a long time, be easy on gas, and will have good passing speed capability.

Jacob mentioned that he would like to get some bucket seats for it to replace the bench seat in the front.  So, I'll be on the look out for some period buckets seats.  It would be nice to find some Valiant bucket seats, but in order to keep them on the cheaper end of the spectrum we'll likely have to find something else more common.  I like the idea of replacing the bench with buckets because it would allow for a custom console to be built.  And, I could see Jacob and myself getting pretty creative and fancy with that.

A Valiant Restoration: Day One & Two

The rules were simple:
  1. I would buy Jacob a vehicle of his choosing when he was 14 years old up to a decent yet frugal dollar amount.
  2. We would spend the next couple of years fixing it up to his satisfaction.
  3. I would only work on it when he was working on it and I would match him dollar for dollar for replacement parts.
My goal was for him to gain two important lessons from this process:
  1. He would learn to appreciate the vehicle more since it had his own sweat equity in it and would hopefully treat it with a respect one rarely sees from a new teenage driver.
  2. He would learn some advanced mechanics and be able to diagnose and repair any future issues himself thus saving an unforeseen amount of money over the course of his lifetime.
This has been something that I really looked forward to doing.  Not only will the lessons be great ones to gain, but the time spent together on a project like this will be incomparably memorable.  So far, it's not been a tel down at all.  It's been a lot of fun showing him the ropes.

Jacob chose the 1962 Plymouth Valiant that I bought for me and Jodi back in 2006.  I never did get it licensed because I was really only driving it for a month or so while I was working on my '59 when the clutch went out and needed replaced.  After that, it mostly just sat.  I think it was 2011 when we had a neighbor move in on our street who called the city and complained about all of our neighbors, us included.  In Springfield, you have to have a vehicle licensed and insured that is on your property unless it's garaged.  So, I had 30 days to comply.

Well, I didn't need to drive it, so paying to have it licensed and insured was unnecessary.  So, we decided to move it out to my mom's farm in Elkland.  It never leaked a drop of oil so I didn't bother to check it before I headed out.  I wish I would have.  The motor locked up just north of Fair Grove.  A friend helped me trailer it out to Elkland where it's been sitting ever since providing a nice home for a family of mice, several hundred mud daubers, and an ant colony.  Apparently, it was also being used as a shelter for groundhogs that were seen traveling in and out from underneath it.  As much as I hated to disrupt the habitat of so many creatures, we pulled it out of the weeds and proceeded to pull it back to Springfield via my Harbor Freight tow bar.

Back at the house, after a fun game of musical chairs with the vehicles, we started in on the engine.  First step was bagging the carb and the alternator and then proceeding to spray down the engine to wash a good portion of the gunk off.

We started pulling parts off one by one, cleaning them up, taking them down to the bare metal, and then giving them a fresh coat of paint.  Jacob did a great job.  Lyric even helped for a while.  The parts we worked on sparkled and shined like new.

We tried getting the oil pan off, but couldn't due to the location of the framework of the car.  So, we made a call to "uncle" Daniel and got loaned an engine hoist and an engine stand.  I was hoping that we wouldn't need to pull the engine out, but it works out anyway.  It will be much easier to work on the engine with it out of the car.  And, it will make prepping the engine compartment for a paint job so much easier, as well.

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