Monday, May 1, 2017

mini love - part 3

It is getting close to D-day. Nearly all the needed parts have arrived. As all well laid plan, something bounds to go wrong. There are currently three show stoppers.

1) The adjustable rear lower control arms have not arrive, but the vendor said that the drop ship is underway.
2) The release bearing in the Exedy clutch conversion kit was damaged because of poor packaging by Exedy. I contacted the retailer and am awaiting their resolution. I am hoping that they would send me a replacement release bearing instead of exchanging the entire clutch kit.
3) One of the two bearings that I ordered from Rock Auto that are needed to install the Quaife LSD is a wrong part. Someone in Rock Auto warehouse pulled the wrong part. I received a B35 wheel bearing instead of BD35 differential axle bearing. This kind of mistakes should not happen in auto parts industry. I hope they would send out a correct part and not to wait until my return of the wrong part arrive back to them.

I ordered two BR35 bearings for the LSD, but someone pulled one wrong part as they came from different warehouses

no amount of "make America great again" if all you most important job description is to pull the right part; B35 is close enough to BR35 - ship it!

I am crossing the t's and dotting the i's right now. The weather here is entering spring where there are stretches of dry days which I would like to take advantage and get this project done. I dislike working under the sun when the temperature gets warmer.

As I decided to pull the entire engine and transmission together to perform the drivetrain modification, I purchase a 1-ton Harbor Freight shop hoist. Lucky for me there is a sale with significant discount so even if I purchase it for only this job the cost is only a small percentage compared the overall expense of this project. Tomorrow I would assemble this foldable engine hoist. I estimate the project would take about 2 days if all goes well and I would not need to procure parts for something that I have not anticipated.

I plan to use a 1/2 inch air impact wrench as well as a 3/8" air ratchet wrench to speed up the work. However my Craftsman 3/8" air ratchet is currently out of commission. I bought it 15 years ago and it saw little use. A couple of years ago I needed to use it but it just hissed air when I pull the trigger. Then a strange feeling with the trigger and it hissed air without the need to depress the trigger.

I first did the most simple thing, removing the round cap behind the trigger plunger steel pin. In side I could see some wax-like material which I initially thought is dried grease. It turned out it is a plastic air valve that the trigger plunger activate to open or stop the air supply to the vane motor. It obvious failed because the plastic was not formulated to withstand pneumatic tool lubricant. I chose this wrench at the time and paid a premium for it because it was the top end model made in Japan.

I did a search on the web and were very surprised Sears still sell parts for it. I bought 2 of this plastic air valve and a vane motor service kit. The air valves arrive first and I immediately installed one. Now the air trigger works but the wretch still does not turn. The air still hisses out of the exhaust port.

I believed the air-vane motor is seized so I have to rebuild it. There are two faults with the tool.

I tried the least labor intensive way to free what I believe the seized vane-motor in the Craftman air ratchet wrench. I first try add some pneumatic oil, which I was very skeptical that would do anything. I tend escalated to injecting ample amount of WD40 into the air nipple while holding the trigger and orient the tool to let gravity to do the work of getting the WD40 low viscosity fluid into the vane motor. None of these wishful shortcut worked. I very reluctantly begin breaking down the tool relying on nothing but just Sear's parts order diagram. I wanted to disassemble as little of the tool as possible to get the job done. The very few video on Youtube about servicing air ratchet wrench offers no help as they are all very different design. As always I relied on my own self-reliance.

Getting to this required a vice and a big wrench as the ratchet front end and the main body thread is tightly secured with red Loctite - understandably the last thing you want happen is accidential launching something under 100 PSI.

here are the reduction gear box with planetary gears

the round piece is the yoke that holds the three small planetary gears

the top bearing of the vane motor

focus on the bearing

I tried to inject more WD 40 into the blades of the vane motor to wash out the contamination and work the rotor loose by turning the gear of the rotor. When I started the rotor was hard to turn and there were many spots of resistance. After awhile the rotor can rotate freely as it should, however I just could not free the vane motor blades from their respective cavities. I knew infusing more WD40 was not going to help.

I resort to my favorite chemical - Coleman camp stove white gasoline. This is what I use to de-grease MINI's intercooler for the supercharger. I never buy those specialty automotive magic fluid like brake cleaner and fuel injector cleaner.

To do the environment the least bit of harm, I chose the smallest container to hold just enough white gasoline to complete submerge the vane motor assembly. Note that I want to avoid the need to disassemble the vane motor as this involves pulling at least one of the two ball bearings, which requires special tool or driving out the rotor shaft with a punch which run the risk of damaging the ball bearing.

submerge the vane motor assembly in white gasoline

I work the rotor by turning it to encourage the gasoline to dissolve the dried up pneumatic oil and contaminants that caused the vane blades to be stuck. Slowly some blades began to free. Eventually I got all but one blade to free. The last one just would not come free however hard I tried to spin the rotor. I know I can rely the centrifugal force to free it if I can just get the vane motor to spin under air pressure. I temporarily reassembled the wrench so the motor does not become a pneumatic projectile - remember the cattle pneumatic gun in No Country for Old Men?

That did the trick. The air ratchet wrench is as good as new.

red Loctite thread locker is used to on the threads between the handle and the ratchet assembly

I dropped by the dealer to drink their free coffee

my house now looks more like a auto tuner; there are boxes and parts everywhere and yet more parts arrived

replacement headlamp assemblies for Brunnhilde

more soggy Pacific Northwest April

this Sunday is one of the few dry days in April; I bit the bullet and picked up this 1 ton engine hoist from Harbor Freight
 comes in two boxes
 the air ratchet wrench that I just repaired came in handy for assembling the hoist

all assembled - I went over all the nuts and bolts and found a few that were not tighten (I missed them); like driving simple oversights can be expensive, if not fatal

folded up

 I took advantage of the good weather and proceed to replace the headlamps on Brunnhilde

the driver side new lamp installed

this small painted trim piece requires to be removed to change the headlamp, in addition to the front grill

the difference between the sun scorched and the new one is astonishing

All went very well, too well. Just as I was putting the front grill back with the very last fastener I realized that the passenger side headlamp has a broken plastic tab. This tab is to fasten one of the screws that secure the front grill.

a broken plastic tab on the driver side headlamp

I went and looked for the broken plastic tab and it is laying in the carton

this is the packaging with the foam sheets for padding

off it went back to the vendor for a replacement

It surprised me that out of the number of auto parts I ordered, there are three problems. The broken Sprinter headlamp and the release bearing in the clutch kit were both due to poor packaging by the manufacturers. I don't fault Hella for the broken plastic tab as I think the occurrence is very low. The broken plastic tab of the release bearing in the Exedy clutch/flywheel kit is simply due to brain-dead package design. I do understand that the kit contains of items from different countries of origin, and the cheap release bearing ends up in the big box that contain the flywheel, as well as the small box that contain the clutch kit from Japan. They should at least have a small carton box to protect the bearing from the two heavy items in the box. I have saw other people experienced the exact problem on a MINI forum.

nice MINI went shopping in the Asian grocery district

steamed live grouper that I prepared

I call this grouper but I would like to know its proper name. There are many different groupers in the world's water. I think some are called rock fish. This fish was 1.8 lb live before cleaning.

I like a lot of scallions and thinly slice ginger.

my very delicious soup noodle - with braised flank, cow stomach, and live clams; the yellow bits are yellow chives 韭王 which adds a delicate fragrance to the broth

While I still waiting for  a few long-poles-in-the-tent parts to begin working on the MINI, frankly I am getting very tired of waiting. I am considering starting even though some parts would not arrive when I need them. I am entertaining staring with the rear suspension modification first as I have all the parts for that, except the lower control arm.

While I will be pulling the entire engine/transmission on the MINI, there are a lot of things that are candidate to be replaced while they are easy to get to. The problem with that approach is a lot of extra expenses which I am not a believer to just change them regardless. These includes:

- changing or topping up the supercharger oil
- replace the supply and return power steering fluid hoses
- replacing the engine oil pan gasket
- replace the harmonic balancing main belt pulley and the front main crank seal
- replace the engine's valve cover gasket
- replace the thermostat housing gasket/o-ring

I will look for signs of these items and only carry out the work if they warren service. I have already carefully check the power steering hoses for trace of oil and I could see none. I have never have to top off power steering fluid which is also another supporting evidence that there is no leak so far.

this year I remember to harvest the onion buds before they pass their prime

I serve them with dock confit

I tried to harvest some dandelions from my yard, but none was edible; they are all too tough

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