58. That didn’t go as planned …

In December of 2016 (almost 2 years ago!) I wrote post 7, “build planning & order process”.  I had a much different idea of how this SLC build was going to go.  I had carefully thought out how I was going to build this car:

Phase 1: Build it

  • It would be a somewhat rough build.  The car would be streetable, registered and insured, and I would drive it as often as possible.  Fit and finish levels would be just enough to drive the car.  I expected the car would have issues that I’d have to address – more significant than the normal teething issues.  Leaving things unfinished would mean less of a tear up to dig in and re-wire electronics, re-plumb cooling, etc.  I didn’t plan to paint the car.

Phase 2: Drive it

  • Drive it as often as possible.  Make note of all the issues.

Phase 3: Fix it and finish it

  • Take that big list of issues I’d generated during phase 2 and fix them ALL.  Tear the car back down and really dial the car in so it could be considered “finished” (as much as any of these projects can be considered finished anyway).  At this point things like the interior and exterior would be DONE.

Boy did I wander pretty far off the plotted path!  I basically smashed phases 1 and 3 together and tossed phase 2.  After really digging into this project and getting neck deep into it, I realized this was not a project I could “do rough” then tear it back down for a real go-over.  I realized I didn’t have the energy or spirit to do it.  Not only that, life circumstances would likely never give me another opportunity to dedicate on this car until I retire – which isn’t going to be for a good number of years.  So I have to FINISH the car now – final paint notwithstanding.

So now the car is “finished” and I’m going through the initial sorting out work.  I’ve already encountered a few teething issues but nothing insurmountable so far.  In my last post I had issues with my AC compressor not kicking in.  Sometimes the easiest solutions are the best solutions.  It turns out I it was a wiring issue – of sorts.  I have a toggle switch on my center console which diverts power to either my AC or heat control knobs.  I (thought) I had wired it up so if the switch was flipped toward my AC temp knob that would turn the AC compressor on.  If the switch was flipped toward my heater temp knob that would control my heater control valve.  Eeeeh … so I had the wiring reversed.

Switch toward heater = AC on.

Switch toward AC = heater on.

No caption necessary.

Unfortunately my joy at discovering my silly mistake was short lived.  After cycling the AC system a few more times I detected a leak coming from one of my #6 lines located inside the passenger foot box.  Unfortunately there wasn’t much I could do – I had to disconnect the line to inspect the fitting so I lost the fresh charge of refrigerant!

At first I figured my original leaks were due to an issue with my crimping of my #8 lines. Maybe I’d used the dies for a #10 line or there was an issue with our #8 dies.  But now that there was an issue with a #6 line things were starting to look more like user error or some other systemic tool related issue.  I pretzel’d my way into the footbox and re-crimped the offending #6 line.  Not wanting to charge the system again and waste a bunch more money, we visited the local Autozone to rent a vacuum pump.  After getting the system pumped down to 30 in-Hg we let it sit for a few hours.  The news wasn’t great – I lost another 2 inches of vacuum.  There was still a small leak somewhere.  Screw it – I popped the remaining lines and re-crimped everything.  This time I made sure to bring the crimping tool down to just a little past its recommended crimping point.  This is how I’d fixed the other crimps which became leak free so why not?  While the system was apart I also replaced any o-rings and thoroughly lubed them before installation; I wasn’t going to take any more chances!

We pulled vacuum once again and this time loaded the system with R134 mixed in with some UV dye.  The UV dye will make it easier to hunt for leaks later using a blacklight.  After getting the system charged and blowing cold I did an initial search for leaks – none! We left the car for a few hours to stabilize and thermal cycle before doing another search – still no leaks!

I won’t fully chronicle all my teething issues in this blog because I hope whatever other teething issues I encounter will also be relatively minor/simple to fix!


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