Chapter 18. Home stretch?

Unlike my usual disappearances, the break since the last post for once isn’t due to a lack of progress. Truth be told, since the last post I’ve knocked off a bunch of things on the Val. Just none have been large an interesting enough to dedicate an entire post to.


Manifolds, Headers and carb all fitted

The most important update is the mighty slant six has been plumbed, wired, prepped for take off and is officially running, and quite nicely too. First point of order was adding the manifolds…well, manifold singular now as i installed the fresh painted set of headers in place of the old, restrictive cast iron exhaust manifold. I retained the old single barrel intake the car came with stock, as i knew it ran nicely prior to tearing the engine down and it was one less unknown to deal with.

The job was pretty easy with the graphite manifold gasket i sprung for. These apparently don’t need any sealant like the pressed tin ones, and so far it looks like i have no leaks. It’s a fiddly job getting to all the fasteners as some are in very fiddly positions.

Anyway here’s a little vid i made on it. I have meant to do a few more of these but I usually just want to get stuck in


Lets see what else. Lets burn through these:

  • I rebuilt the clutch linkage and fitted that all up. Works like a brand new on now.
  • Set the timing (thanks for the gun to my workmate Craig). I have set it up on premium fuel at about 8 degrees BTDC. Probably pretty conservative but can always sneak it a bit more further advanced
  • Plumbed the fuel tank back in
  • New rear shockies to match the front
  • Rebuilt universals and new boot on the driveshaft before fitment to the car
  • Finished the front end, setting the suspension height, greasing the ball joints, reset the wheel bearings.
  • Rebuilt the master cylinder again after it started leaking

The biggest (and messiest) job was cleaning up the floorpan before install the new carpets I had delivered from knox auto. The main problem area was under the back seat,which (as described in an earlier chapter) had housed a family of mice for what was likely decades. Their years of occupation and filthy habits (poo and wee) had not only caused a stink, but also a fair bit of surface rust. First job was to get in there with the shop vac and suck all the left over poop out. I even found a few skeletal remains in some nooks and crannies. Then i popped the floor plugs out and just scrubbed everything clean with a heavy duty truck wash.

Then  out came the angle grinder and a ceramic stripper disc. If you haven’t used one of these things, they are a car restorers best friend, powering through paint and rust, but not as harsh as a grinding or flap disc, so you don’t eat up all the good metal that remains


Once that was done i was left with a nice, shiny, albeit pitted surface. No drama though as this was all going to be hidden by seats and carpets. Another scrub down with strong soap, and then a hit of rust converter, and it was ready for an application of KBS rustseal (another one of my oft used, and favourite products).


Rear floor pan cleaned up and coated with KBS Rustseal

It wasn’t necessary to do the whole floor as the rest was pretty solid. So i got to work laying out the sound deadener/underlay, and then the nice new black carpet. All in all that was a pretty easy job. A good pair of scissors is essential to trim the excess out, as well as cutting reliefs for the steering column, throttle pedal, seat holes etc. The whole job came out really nice, with my only regret being not being bold and getting bright red carpet to match the door cards. That said a carpet set is under 200 bucks, and it’s an afternoon’s work to change it if i get motivated.


New carpets fitted and trip replaced

After hosing out the smelly, dusty seats and letting the warm spring sun dry them out (one advantage of vinyl), they went back into the car. My back bench looks awesome however the cracked front bench has seen better days and was shown up by the nice new carpet. That’s a job for the list, but i don’t need it for rego (a cheap cover will sort it out for the time being) so it can wait.


Well worn front bench refitted

With 99% of the jobs done, it was time for a much awaited road test, which the old girl handled with aplomb. I only did about 20 miles, but the fluids stayed inside the mechanicals, the temp gauge stayed cool and i didn’t have to walk home. Throttle response was a bit sluggish, but that can apparently be put down to the rowdy open headers. The slants are supposed to run nicer with some backpressure, so the lack of exhaust was probably leaning things out. I’ll soon find out once i get the new exhaust installed, but in the meantime a couple of clicks of the manual choke has things running smoothly.

The exhaust should be done in the next fortnight, then it’s just a few little jobs prior to rego, like sorting out a windscreen washer and the dodgy earths in the front indicators, and i am good to get some plates on her.


That will hopefully be the next update!

(PS, so it took me a while to post this one. Exhaust now fitted and I sorted the sluggish throttle response, but we’ll keep that one for the next instalment)


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