Brake work and uncovering the lost mouse city

It’s been tough finding time to work on the Val lately. The young fella being born, exam time coming up for uni and a heap of carbon tax crap at work has meant a lot of late nights and no free weekends. Just being able to get a couple of hours here and there to work on the old girl is a blessing, so I took the opportunity while everyone was asleep on a lazy Sunday to have a look at the rear brakes.

After driving her out the shed (oh its great not to have to push it) I jacked up the bum and dropped the back wheels off. Interestingly the left hand wheels on the VC have left hand wheel studs. I’d heard it as a rumour a while back so didn’t spend too much time looking like an idiot trying to wind them off anticlockwise before I flipped the wheel brace over.

Man the brake drums looked pretty ugly from the outside, but they popped off reasonably easy with some work with the persuader tool (hammer). The insides were a bit grooved but I will give them a shot before getting them machined/replaced. If they stop the car ok I’ll leave em on for a while. I was expecting the shoes to be worn down to the metal but they still had a fair bit of meat on them. The rest of the mechanics also looked pretty sanitary, down to the red paint being still on the retainer springs. I stuck on the dust mask (yay asbestosis) and brushed the brake debris off the internals and the whole thing looked pretty solid. If the wheel cylinder doesn’t leak when I fill the system I reckon I’ll leave the rears be.

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The sight i was greeted with on removing the rear wheels

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The interior looked pretty solid though

A quick bit of wire wheel work and a can of kill rust later, and the drums were looking pretty sweet. Back on the car, job done in under an hour.

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Wire wheels and rattle cans, a restorers best friend

Looking for another quick job I turned my attention to a bit of interior work. The cabin had smelt a but musty from day dot so I wanted to freshen it up a bit. I’ve been watching a lot of a Hot Rodding show called Fast n Loud on Discovery where they turn barn finds into beasts, and one of the most common issues they run up against is rats building nests in cars. One car they did, an old ’59 Rambler Wagon was an absolute nightmare, the time was rat city and stunk the whole garage out. Given the mouse nest I found in the muffler, I was starting to think they may have found their way inside the car as well, ergo the smell.

A small hole chewed in the side of the back seat seemed to support that theory, so out it came. Wow…it wasn’t Rambler bad, but it was pretty rank! You could tell the car came from a farm because the mice had dragged in a bunch of wool scraps to make their nests out of. I pulled two garbage bags of the stuff out along with a couple of hefty piles of dirt and turds. A liberal application of Simple green and a good scrub later had the floor looking clean again. Little bastards.

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The lost mouse city of Atlantis

Anyway, next on the agenda is to pull the front drums and inspect those, then hook up the new master to see if this brake system will hold fluid. Fingers crossed.

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