Alfetta upgrades, first try

Since I’m pushing the low-cost repairs as a way to keep your old car hobby up during the recession, here’s an update on a couple of things I’ve been trying at. Minor projects, but complicated by my inexperience with the work at hand… one of the frustrations of the hobby is finding enough time to work on the cars. Between work and quality time with friends/family, there’s not a lot of time left to play with 4 cars. And it bothers me when my cars are not running properly or need repairs!

Alfetta front belt

One project is replacing the seatbelts on the Alfetta. Right now the car has the original seatbelts in it, which have spent plenty of time sitting in the sun. What’s more is, it’s a battle royale to get the front passenger seatbelt to release, which means people love riding in the car even less than they would, riding in a faded 30-year-old car whose upholstery is, um, less than intact. Anyway, my first efforts, this weekend and last, resulted in me finding that a 140-inch belt will not retract far enough to be installed in a low-profile car. The part I failed to consider is that the reel will only hold so much belt, and the amount of belt it holds isn’t enough for my car. So I’ve put in a request for a return order to Seat Belt Pros…. 25% restocking fee plus shipping to send me out the correct 110-inch belt, ouch! But of the vendors I could find, they have the best selection of shorter buckles, which is critical for safety in a car with seats mounted low to the floor.

My other effort, to get the car driveable again for its smog test, is to install a new slave cylinder… last weekend I arrived at the garage, tried to fire the car up, and got no pedal when I hit the clutch. Looked underneath, and sure enough there’s a small puddle of hydraulic fluid. I spent all yesterday afternoon (after Father’s Day brunch with my parents, sister, and our S/Os) pulling out the old one and putting the new one in. Hopefully bleeding is all it will take… and I’m expecting the master to fail sometime soon since apparently having a new cylinder in the system, with good seals, etc., puts a strain on the other cylinder. Good times.

Beyond this on the radar are an oil change, getting the exhaust manifold welded up, and a new hatch strut.


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