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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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