So I go out to the garage yesterday to get going on my Rambler Marlin’s rear wheel cylinders. I turn on the battery and give the carb a little squirt of starting spray since I haven’t started it in a couple of weeks. I was going to back the car out of the garage a little so I had more room to work.
Anyway, it starts to turn over and then cuts out like it has a loose battery connection. So I get back under the hood to clean and tighten them. I get the negative cable squared away and when I put a wrench to the positive cable end, the cable end cracks and falls apart. Nothing lasts anymore. I search high and low in the garage and can’t find a spare that I know I have. I send my wife out to get me a new one even though I hate encouraging stores to be opened on holidays by shopping in them when they should be closed.
While she is out getting the cable end I suck it up and take the one side apart that I have room to work on. Everything comes apart easily because I had it apart only a couple of weeks ago to put the new shoes on. I give the brake line a hosing of PB Blaster and it loosens right up, no problem. I get the wheel cylinder out, pop it apart with a shot of compressed air in the port and everything comes right out. It’s vile inside with a brake fluid/water combo that is Yoo-Hoo in color. I clean up all the bits and pieces, and put it back together. I decide to loosen the bleeder screw with it on the bench so I don’t have to struggle with it under the car, and despite being hosed with PB Blaster penetrating oil…the screw snaps off flush with the surface of the wheel cylinder. Frustrated and dejected, I put it back into the car anyway as I didn’t have a screw extractor handy that I can break off in the frozen bleeder screw remains which would make matters worse and start to button up the one side.
But at this point, the coupler on the air hose for the impact gun decides this would be the perfect time to break, which it does, emptying most of the air tank before I can uncouple the other end of the hose from the compressor. I dig up another coupler and change it for the broken one on the hose. Now the air tank doesn’t have enough air in it to run the impact gun so I can reinstall the tire. I plug the compressor in, flip the switch and the compressor runs for a moment then blows the circuit breaker for the garage. I walk back to the house, reset the breaker and bleed off some of the air in the tank so that the compressor will start easier, which it finally does. I finish putting the first side back together, all the while waiting for other shoes to drop.
My wife had already gotten back with the battery cable end, so I fixed that mess, get the car started and turn it around so I can back it into the garage and work on the other side which goes exactly the same as the first side with the lone exception that the bleeder screw does not break. No, really, it didn’t, and everything went right back together easy as pie.
By that time, my wife came out to see if I was still alive and to ask if I needed some help. I asked her guide me while I backed the Marlin into the garage. The unique, hard to replace and expensive if you have to parts of this old car are at the back so I wanted to be sure the day didn’t end on an even more sour and possibly expensive note. I advised her NOT to stand in front of or behind the car while it was moving, as I hadn’t bled the brakes yet and I had already had all the fun I could stand for one day. After all, I had been out there for five hours and it was only 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity.
Stay tuned as there is more garage fun in the upcoming weeks as I attempt to make the Marlin road worthy.