Down and dirty

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The sad before picture, showing the oil and mud encrusted diff and gunky underbody

Before i got this new tank mounted I really wanted to get stuck into cleaning up the underbody, which had been coated in 40 years of the finest wheatbelt red mud. The leaky diff seals had sprayed a bit of oil around to make a real job of it, and in places it was like greasy chewing gum. I’d scored a 2500kg trolley jack and a pair of 3000kg stands from supercheap for 119 bucks, so this was as good a job as any to give the new toys a test run. A nice spring day today meant I could get the old girl out of the shed and get stuck in.

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Hover Valiant! Up on the stands ready for pressure washing

I bought some CT18 truckwash, which i heard is the best option for this job. However the build up around the diff was going to need some assistance, so i popped the back end up on jackstands and spent an hour with a large flat bladed screwdriver scraping off the worst of it. Some of the mud was also de laminating from the body so i took the opportunity to get into that too.

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Post clean up, You can see the black underbody coating clearly now, the uncoated bit is where the fuel tank is mounted.

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Mud glorious mud

I prepped up a nice strong mix of CT18 in my garden sprayer, and liberally coated every bit of the underbody aft of the tranny. I heard this stuff was pretty good, and a fair bit of gunk was moving with just the pressure of the sprayer so it was a good start. After giving it an hour to soak in I donned the wet weather gear and googles, and looking like Walter White before a cook, got down to business with the gerni. As mentioned previously , the entire underbody has a thick coating of a black rubberized deadener/anti rust coating. The mud came off this stuff pretty easy exposing an undercoat in reasonable nick (for a Harold Holt era paintjob). It must have something pretty nasty in it, like asbestos or something, to have held up so well. Interestingly the rear shocks were covered in the stuff too, so they’re obviously factory originals haha. Looking at a lot of other restoration blogs some guys strip everything off, sand it back and paint it in the good gear, like POR15 rust preventer. But I figure that this stuff has lasted nearly 50 years with minimal rust, and although the pressure washer blasted off some, it is probably 80-90% intact. I figure a good clean, and a basic chassis black once everything is complete will take care of most things under there. Its not like this is going to be a concourse restoration, its mainly about getting the old girl drivable and registered, and then I’ll bother bringing it back to 100%.

Overall the pics show it is a huge improvement. I didn’t get a chance today to do the front end so that’ll have to wait for another day. I think I might hook up to a hot tap in the laundry for that job as the oil buildup on the crossmember will take some shifting

To finish things off today, I filled the old fuel lines with metho and let them soak for a while before blowing them out. Some wee yellow old fuel got blasted out but no solids, so hopefully they should be clean enough to do the job. The fuel filter should catch anything I missed anyway.

My fuel sender from my Victorian connection (thanks Matt) arrived this week too. The resistor that picks up the float level looks brand new so hopefully its a goer. The pick up filter is a bit dodgy but thankfully the one i got from the wreckers with the dodgy resistor, has a perfect filter. So I should be able to cobble together a operational sender and get the tank in next week (or realistically next time i get a spare hour). Then I can finally start her when i need to and move it around without using people power, which will be a bit of a relief.

Oh and the cheapy jack and stands were a winner, bargain.

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The old girl out in the sun for the first time in months

See you next time

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New tank

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So I ended up biting the bullet and grabbed a tank from the wreckers to replace my munted one. Not cheap, but cleaning,  panel beating, sealing and painting the old tank would have cost more. And it still would have been an old worn out tank.
I got a sender and new seals with it, but the level resistor is apparently dodgy. Seems like it is a common problem with these old valiants, and many guys get around it by carrying a 5 litre tin of juice in the boot!
I found a cheapy on gumtree via a fellow vc restorer in Victoria. Hopefully I’ll get that this week and I can get it all remounted soon.