Having fitted the air cleaner assembly to the engine to test, I decided that there was no time like the present to finish cleaning it. I had done the main body but had the air cleaner element and the oil bowl were still dirty and as-found.
The caked-on dirt- very fine prairie dust mixed with decades-old oil had done a moderately good job of protecting the metal from corrosion but it was time to clean it up and use paint for that purpose instead.
All the dirt came off with some elbow-grease. The metal is in good shape for its’ age.
The outside was given a coat of etch primer, after having been wiped over with rust converter.
Final coat in black enamel. It hardly looks black, it reflects so much light. This enamel gives an incredible gloss straight from the spray-can.
Next up, the filter element assembly. Again, more of the same scrub, scrub, scrub.
Again, it came up remarkably well to bare metal with just a wire brush.
All of the original filter mesh was gone. I’m not sure if it was cotton wadding type or steel, but some mice had been in there and had left none at all.
The inner element assembly is visible from the outside, so again, primed and painted in gloss black to match the rest of the assembly.
All together and looking rather good, for the first time in many years.
I adjusted the mounting bracket that I had made, having seen a photo of a factory install. the filter sits almost directly over the mounting stud, with just enough clearance for the water pipe to the top of the radiator.
Next up, I did a little research and found that only the later Trico model screen wash brackets were blue. The early ones were plain mid-silver.
I chose a very pale blue instead, keeping the the car’s “blues” theme.
I experimented with some new paint colors. Off-the-shelf is a poor match for any bodywork colors on the car. On the left of the arch, by the washer frame is French Blue. On the right is navy. I think the navy will possibly tie in better because it’s close to the color of the roof.
I bought a used washer pump/bottle off eBay for a good price. It was complete and looked to be in good shape. I took it apart, found the seals to have dried up over the years. Pressed them flat again and cleaned it all up.
The outside of the jar was covered in under-seal over-spray. It was left to sit in gasoline for a couple of hours and it all wiped off.
Keeping with blues on blues, it was filled with fresh screen-wash and tested. It works in a strange fashion- there’s a spring-loaded double-ended plunger into two separate cylinders. Vacuum is applied to the top cylinder and the piston moves up, bringing the lower piston up and drawing fluid in from the jar. Release vacuum and the spring pushes it back down, expelling fluid from the top pipe in a stream until the piston bottoms out.
Next “new” item was a radio set. the car did come fitted with a radio but it was a “modern vintage” style tape deck. First, it didn’t fit, second it was missing a dial knob, third it was ugly. I decided I was going to retrofit the original AM Sylvania/Delco radio. They pop up on eBay from time to time in varying states of disrepair. This one looked moderately good and had the correct dials to match the rest of the dials in the car. There are four variants of knobs that I’ve seen, depending on what model variant you bought. Plain black plastic for the basic model, black plastic with a silver insert for the standard, silver outer with a black insert for the Deluxe (what mine has) and all silver (I think for the Catalina Coupe).
Disassembly of the unit was straightforward, just a number of 1/4″ bolts and a few nuts holding things in place. My idea was to gut it and fit something modern if it was in bad shape internally, or refurbish and restore if it was in good shape.
Inside, it’s in really quite good condition. It’s pre-PCB so all the components interconnect each other and solder directly to the chassis in places. The tuner was jammed up solid.
All the moving parts were lubricated. The tuning mechanism was then free to move, including the preset buttons. Unfortunately the metal case that holds the tuning coils has what is known as “zinc pest”, where lead impurities in the alloy react and cause crystalline fractures to grow. The metal then becomes weak and breaks like shortcrust pastry. It has expanded a little and bent out of true but for now isn’t too bad.
The rear of the case is painted silver and is in very good condition. the front had been painted black and was covered in surface rust. I sanded it down with fine grit paper on my DA.
Back to solid, clean metal. Most of this will not be visible as it is mounted behind the dash, with just the chrome dials and scale showing at the bottom. The sound passes out through the large circular grille in the middle of the dash.
It was given a coat of primer and then a coat of satin black paint, to match the original finish.
The speaker mounting screws would have been untreated steel originally, and as such had also gone rusty. I scrubbed them down with a wire brush, cleaned them further with ionic removal in a salt/vinegar bath and then plated them with copper.
The copper coating was then given a nickel coating to protect the screws and give a modestly shiny surface.
The dial knobs were very grimy.When the set first arrived, a cursory glance looked to be missing chrome in places. It turned out to be thick dirt, all of which cleaned off with a wire brush.
I test-refitted the front panel, bezel and knobs. Looks much better than it did.
I turned my attention back to the circuitry. It’s a bit of a mess of seemingly randomly-placed components but there is a degree of logic to the assembly. I had started to measure some of the values (the Rider manual uses M notation for resistance in the k scale, and Meg for M) and quickly discovered that my tube meter was not functioning.
I took it apart and had a poke about. The tubes both lit so the heaters were all good, there was voltage at the plates and no signs of any stressed components on the board. I twiddled the calibration pots but that was not the problem. It ended up being a poor contact on the connection to the meter. There’s a battery in the circuit that gives a permanent positive bias and that had made the brass peg of the meter’s terminal corrode slightly.
I cleaned the terminal up, re-calibrated the meter as per the factory manual and checked the voltage of a 9v battery I had on the desk. Both meters agree, which is good. I ran out of time to carry on, but all the test equipment is in place. What I need now is a 12V power transformer, the 12V variants of the tubes, possibly replace the rectifier with a couple of diodes and add a modern solid-state vibrator to generate the high voltage.