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Lucy, Lucy, Lucy


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It's been no secret to notallthere, Indymanjoe, and JUSTA, that Lucy has been giving me more than my fair share of fits this car season. Last night before leaving for Charleston was another dandy. My wife invited her girlfriend and her daughter over to see Lucy (since I had it home to pack it up to come to Charleston). It seems the daugher has been elected to her homecoming court and each "princess" must find their own convertible to showcase them in the homecoming parade. So they came over to check out Lucy if she will do for the parade. So I put the top down and the windows down for the daughter to check out. Turns out Lucy will do just nicely. Great.

I go to put the top up and it won't go (which I figured would happen based on what occurred at the Sellers show). I had the new top switch so I proceeded to remove it (not so gently I might add). I connected up the new switch before installing it in the car and it works fine but I had a real hard time with the connection plug that goes  to the pump motor. I put the new switch in the dash and the damn motor connection fought me all the way. I suspect the new blades could be the wrong size, not sure totally. That is something I will have to look into when I get home.

Next thing I hear what sounds like fluid leaking (again) from the rams! Aggg! I have no time to fix the hydraulics, so I mange to get the top up with a combination firm yet gentle manual effort and the use of a lacrosse stick to push the power top button.

Now the top is up, I go to roll up the windows and she's a no go. No sound of any of the window motors, nothing - dead quiet. I think I have a blown fuse but I can't find one. Finally at 1 am, I had to put the car away and get some sleep so I can drive 7-8 hours to Charleston.

Now let me give you some history about Lucy. I've owned her 22 years now (since 1995). In most of that time, its had the unique ability to power cycle the power top and power windows with the ignition off and keys out of the ignition. I just figured the previous owner jumpered something to do that. I know this is not the norm but hey it was very convienent.

Well I ended up having to drive Lucy with the top up and windows down all the way to Charleston today. I didn't escape having to drive thru some rain along the way. Fortunately for me it was not gushing!

Once I got to the cruise-in event tonight here in South Charleston, I asked one of my buddies if he had an 12V electrical guru that I could get in touch with to look at Lucy while I am here. Turns out he did and the guru was standing 10 feet away from us. His name is Kevin. Kevin teaches auto mechanics and works on British cars mostly. Kevin was kind enough to look at my car. 

He and I both learned something. He learned that GM A-body cars have power relays between the fuse block and the master window switch (I learned this last night surfing online before going to bed). The power relay (for cars built with power windows) is located behind the driver's side kick panel. He quickly determined with his voltmeter that the power relay was the problem.

I was lucky enough to stop at National Parts Depot in Canton MI on my way down to Charleston and I had enough forethought to  purchase a new master switch and power relay. So once he plugged the new relay in and he hit the master switch, nothing happened. Then he turned the key into the "on" position, and viola, the windows worked again. Kevin said that the power relay actually failed all those years ago and allowed direct battery current to let the top work and the windows roll up and down bypassing the ignition. It just took all these years for the relay to completely fail.

 

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Failed Power Relay

 

Edited by Frosty
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Okay no talk of power relays they are an occuring nightmare of mine right now.

 

Sitting in line to go back home from Michigan in the Truck.  Look over and the temp gauge is going up.  Holy Stuff.  So I leave the line up hit the highway to get some cooling and make it to O'reillys.  Fire in a new relay.  Works good go home.  6 weeks later exact same scenario.  On the bridge and cannot leave.  Holy Stuff.  I got through just in time.  Now I carry a thirty amp relay with me at all times in the truck.

 

Glad it was something simple bud.  We gotta do lunch soon.

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I was very lucky indeed.

This morning I unbolted the rams from the convertible top frame. It took all of 10 minutes. I then went to a buddy's house to wash the car (the rain got a lot of schmutz on the car) and then had lunch with him and his wife. I got to my "Michgan" parking spot (I will tell that story in the show post), and put the top down with no problems.

Are you using power relays or solid state power relays? Different beasts (and reliability) but I don't know what the truck takes. The Envoy has power relays and one solid state power relay - just for the low beams.

Yes we need to do lunch. Pity you can't make the fall color tour.

Edited by Frosty
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All i read was Lucy got wet and the ram went soft..or something wouldnt go up? 

 

Glad ya got her fixed! 

Oh and someone is treating us to lunch!

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Lucy is in the shop this morning having the electric switch and the hydraulics looked at and repaired. I have to have it repaired and working reliably before Thursday night.

A friend of my wife's is coming over to learn how to drive it on Thursday so it can be driven in my old high school's homecoming parade on Friday. My wife's girlfriend's daughter is in the homecoming court. Her dad will be driving her.

So to add insult to injury, just as I pulled Lucy into the driveway last night, the brake light comes! Sigh. So that is being looked at too. I suspect it is low fluid (the reason why is low also weighing the back of my mind).

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The brake line was leaking near the rear diff. It's fixed and the brake fluid has been bleed.

They found another problem. Seems my motor mounts are shot. The oil pan is close to resting on the frame. One good bump and I could've rip open the oil pan...

The hydraulics should be fixed today or tomorrow. Seems that one of the lines was not tightened enough or got cross threaded (my bad). They think they can fix it with the existing hose.

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1 hour ago, Frosty said:

The brake line was leaking near the rear diff. It's fixed and the brake fluid has been bleed.

They found another problem. Seems my motor mounts are shot. The oil pan is close to resting on the frame. One good bump and I could've rip open the oil pan...

The hydraulics should be fixed today or tomorrow. Seems that one of the lines was not tightened enough or got cross threaded (my bad). They think they can fix it with the existing hose.

Glad you were able to find these prob's before putting Lucy away for the year.  Make sure the PROM QUEEN is NOT wearing high heels!!!!!!

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Got a call from the shop a few minutes ago. The hydraulics and electrical are fixed along with the brake lines. The motor mounts will be in tomorrow morning. So it should be fixed tomorrow after work.

The high heel thing is something I hadn't thought about JUSTA. Good point. Of course Lucy's never had a prom queen in it either before.

17 hours ago, JUSTA6 said:

Justa can't imagine shoes on your white seats and butts on your custom top cover, let alone someone else driving Lucy.  UGH.....

Trust me, this pains me a bit too. Of course the wife feels I can't leave work early for this - since she is certain I will loose my job over it. Sigh.

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Lucy is fixed, I will pick her up tonight.

I an concerned about the brake lines and motor mounts most of all. Clearly, I need to bump up my priority to totally replace the hard lines on Lucy now. I've been meaning to do for awhile now, but time and money have been the excuse. I can't afford to delay any further with the brake lines especially.

The motor mounts were said to have split. The engine was practically resting on the frame. I am told that the bolts wore the paint off the oil pan on both sides and have caused rust spots in those areas. With the new mounts, the engine is away from the frame. Those are the original motor mounts I got with the car when I bought it 22 years ago. So perhaps they were past due too - especially if they are the original mounts from 45 years ago.

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Frosty, when you redo the brake lines I presume you will change the fluid? So food for thought, the best non silicone fluid I ever use was valvolines SynPower 5.1, but it's not available any longer, but this past winter I redid the Indians brakes because I replaced all the lines in the car. Which didn't make me happy because the SynPower was in the car. So the search was on. What I found was pretty close to SynPower. It's Bosch ESI6 and Autozone carries it. You might take a look at it.

0936E997-D51E-415B-82AA-E01F96BFF81A-1221-0000019F304FD61C.jpeg

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You are right Last Indian, I will replace the entire fluid in the system at that the time I replace the hard lines. 

Quick question, how well does SynPower or Bosch resist absorbing moisture compared to normal DOT3 or higher standard, off-the-shelf brake fluids? I know most are good for about three years before they absorb enough moisture that warrant the system being flushed. Just curious.

Thanks for the tip BTW. I had not heard or read anything about either product before.

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Aw hell...what's the fun in that? Have you repaired / bleed the brakes on your GMC yet?

Actually my question had more to do with any actual or perceived superiority of the SynPower/Bousch products vs. the rest. 

Your point is really well taken though.

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Frosty, SynPower was the better product in my opinion. It was a full synthetic, but not silicone. Unfortunately Valvoline stopped making it at least three or four years ago. 
For current day I would use the Bosch if you’re not going to use silicone. The Bosch ESI 6 is a synthetic, but I don’t believe it’s a full synthetic, but again they don’t say. Chemical companies are very protective of what they tell about a product for several reasons, so sometimes I can only look at the specs of a product and make a calculated guess based on what I know. 
The Bosch product says it surpasses 5.1 brake fluid and it does! It’s even comparable to Dot 5 (silicone) for wet and dry boiling point, and compared to some Dot 5, its better in that regard. 

Attached are a couple docs about the Bosch product.

https://www.boschautoparts.com/en/auto/brakes/esi6-brake-fluid


Silicone is nice because it is hydrophobic where as ester based fluids are hydroscopic, also, silicone won’t damage paint were as esters attack paint. I ran silicone fluid in my Z, but to tell you to do that is tough. There is a lot more to running silicone fluid as a brake fluid than just buying some at the parts store! So if that were to be your choice I’ll share my experience an knowledge, but for now I’ll assume not.

Also a little FYI, I’m not sure how you do brakes, aka bleeding, but most folks that I know make it way to complicated. The simplest way is fill the master cylinder reservoir, dah, using a vacuum ball with two     check valves, one side in not out the other out not in, a container for brake fluid to bleed into and Tygon tubing to connect tightly over the end of the bleeder valve and the other end to the vac ball. Also Tygon for the other end of the vac ball to the container. Starting with the farthest brake, with Tygon/vac ball connected to bleeder valve loosen the bleeder squeeze vac ball, make sure check valves are in the right orientation. The vac will start to pull fluid, squeeze the ball again, the fluid that entered the ball will be pushed into the container below and new fluid will be pulled into the ball. Prior to starting this you should put anti seize on all the bleeder valve threads and reinstall into caliper. This prevents air from getting pulled around the threads appearing as though there is air in the system. In using the clear Tygon tubing you can see the air bubbles as well as when they stop. If you can’t get the brake fluid or the vacuum ball and Tygon tubing let me know and I’ll get them to you.

ESI6 Brake Fluid Flyer.pdfESI6 Brake Fluid Flyer.pdf

 

ESI6 Brake Fluid Flyer.pdf

82415FC7-50D9-477E-A187-AB9C2E11CEDC-2023-000001BDB723AEAE.png

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Actually, the personality keys for my snap on scanner just came in today. Now I'm ready. 'cept that tomorrow I've got a church meeting after supper, and then the wife's birthday.

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Last Indian, thanks for the data and the tech. I would plan to completely replace all the brake fluid in the system once I install all new hard lines.

Pro - so you gonna' get up bright and early tomorrow and bleed them suckers before the big church meeting? Wife's birthday is sacred. You screw that up, you are sleeping on the sofa for at least a month.

Tonight is the big prom ride for Lucy. I hope I get some pictures of it even though I won't be there to see it. I have to pick up the kid from college after work plus the parade starts at the same time I get out of work. Ironically, the homecoming parade is at my old high school and only a mile or two from where I purchased Lucy 22 years ago.

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What is this vac ball of which you speak? Personally I'm not a fan of vacuum bleeding.  When you lower the pressure on a fluid, any dissolved gas can boil out.  This can lead to more gas pockets in the lines than you started with.  Shouldn't really be a problem unless you're dealing with the worst case scenarios, but my gut won't let me take that chance.

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