AF: Got A '69 Valiant (4dr.) Signet! | Page 12 | Allpar Forums
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Got A '69 Valiant (4dr.) Signet!

Discussion in 'A Body: Duster, Valiant, Dart, etc' started by Volunteer, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    Hi, all. Thanks for visiting last update of 2018. I recently put Signet away for the winter - as insurance expired Nov.30th. The last three months of driving have been pretty much flawless. The car is functioning so well it is almost shame to give it up due to (impending) weather. Unlike a year ago, I could drive right up to last day and, could easily be driving it now - as yet to snow in main (lower) part of city.
    Still got looks of appreciation and 'thumbs-up' from strangers (even on N.30) and more than one person asked if it would be my 'winter' car? Of course I had to explain to them why it's not an option. Maybe we drove our (new) A, B and E-bodies all year round 30 or more years ago - but no way today - especially when snow, ice or gravel and salt on roads. I would expect most of us with these older 'classics' tend to have a newer 'all-season' vehicle anyway, right?
    So, as my insurance ran out Aug.10th, I was not in a big hurry to 'activate' it again so car remained parked until Sept.01. In British Columbia, we can buy insurance for 3 or more months at a time. Sept.01 would expire Nov.30th. - but they still add on (greedy) surcharges for 'short-term' insurance and registration - (about $30. extra).
    Anyway, I got around to troubleshooting the sudden fuel delivery issue. Yes, I initially pointed to the pump itself - likely being a check valve issue. If diaphragm failed, gas would leak externally. I did have a couple other pumps to try if need be. Strangest thing was that carb was definitely dry inside as nothing coming out the 'squirter' - unless I filled it manually via the air vent tube. Then, it would squirt, start, run and then, about one minute later, it would stall - dry. But, when cranking engine with line off, gas would shoot out (as it should) into a container. Hmm. Never had this happen before. But, until Nov.2004, I'd never had a vehicle with the Holley single-barrel carb. I did 're-kit' this one in fall, 2012, mainly 'cause it needed the fuel bowl gasket, and only problem since has been the (pesky) periodic idle-feed tube failure (as documented in previous posts).
    So, as logic dictates, good fuel supply AT the inlet of carb should allow fuel to enter via needle valve. Well, not in this case. I removed the four screws from fuel bowl and only a couple drops of gas fell out. Float assembly worked okay so what would be preventing fuel from entering through needle valve? Only reason would be float (stuck) in UP position and, I soon pointed finger to the (yes, 'homemade') bowl gasket. When I made it up months earlier, it fit and worked fine - through both trips to the Coast and back. But, as time went by, the material managed to swell and distort enough to (apparently) cause a part of the gasket to wedge against the float body. Never would imagine this could happen. The (OEM) gasket supplied in kits is a choice between thin or thick. Right away, 'thin' can causes float rubbing issues and hense 'erratic' fuel flow. Yes, I learned this the hard way back in 2012. So, from that time I used the thicker one. Then, when playing with the idle-feed tube, gasket had to be replaced as it will change 'integrity' depending on whether wet or dry. We all know those 'cork-rubber' engine gaskets tend to shrink when used and then allowed to dry out. Holley two and four-barrels also had metering block and fuel bowl sealing issues (with used gaskets) so this one-barrel not exempt.
    Anyway, I had good gasket material so measured as precisely as I could to get the inside and outside diameters as close to perfect, and, used the sharpest 'exacto' surgical type knife I could find. You want nice, smooth, sharp edges - to prevent tearing or gasket particles from breaking off. It takes a bit of time but results well worth it.
    So, with this done and car back on the road, I haven't had any trouble over the past three months. The car has never run better. It starts good whether warm or cold. The power steering, as 'dialed-in', is biggest improvement in past 14 years. It is so smooth and quiet (for almost 50 yr.old vehicle). When idling, even in gear, I find myself glancing at oil pressure light - to see if engine in fact has stalled.;)
    The coolant leak stopped and no heat issues, but, still not a permanent fix. I may or may not have the head re-surfaced next Spring. I'll decide that when the time comes.
    So, with loss of family member in early October, there are just the 'two of us' in the home - and Christmas going to be - - - different. My 14 yr. old daughter is my priority and wouldn't change it for anything.
    I do not log in as much as most others but hope to do it more often as things slow down here. So, with that in mind, to everyone who takes some time to read my periodic 'blogs', please enjoy a safe and happy Holiday season, and all the best in 2019. If any questions or comments, do not hesitate to message. :)
     
  2. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    About time I updated. Nothing earth-shattering to report. Survived winter alright. The way our (northwest) weather set up from December thru end of January, I could easily have kept Signet on the road. As any of you in this area (Pacific N.W.) would agree, it was a complete turn-around on or about Groundhog Day.
    So I guess I made the right call to not renew insurance too early. All good things come to those who wait.
    I eventually 'uncovered' the car in mid-March and insured it on the 21st. It did not start as quick as I hoped but that was due to my laziness. I always pre-fill a carb (via the vent pipe) and then work the accel. circuit to prime the venturiis - but I did not see any 'squirts' this time and just went ahead and 'cranked'. Ten seconds and then another 5 and it started okay. Suppose that extra time allows the oil system to prime itself but I still like to have the gas squirt inside. At the very least I could have dripped some inside the venturi when it was evident the (accel.) circuit would not easily prime. I never just pour gas into carb. throats and attempt to start. Others can do this but not me. I always like to have gas inside the carb so engine can start and run and then, within 30 secs. the main inlet circuit takes over - as fuel is drawn out of the tank.
    So much for that lecture. Anyway, I did have lots of fuel in tank (sitting since last Nov. 30). I use stabilizers whenever I anticipate more than a few months of 'down-time'. Never had any troubles in past. This time the car started and nothing unusual. I generally do fluid changes and other maintenance prior to parking for winter so really nothing else to do except put the new 'tags' on and drive. No carb troubles (fingers crossed) and no leaks.
    I still can't believe how smooth and quiet it runs and drives. The P.S. conversion made the biggest difference. I will soon explore my braking options. First choice is to leave the 9-inch drums and install power (vacuum) booster. Second choice is to convert to the 4-piston discs as removed from Swinger. I also have a really good (2.93 ratio) drum-drum, freshly detailed with new seals, to replace the original 2.76. It is a very low miles unit and much 'tighter' inside than what I am now using.
    I don't know if and when the Swinger will get worked on but I hope to use the Signet as a 'guide' for putting some stuff back together - most notably the interior/doors/ side glasses and dash area. It's been over 4 years since (Swinger) was stripped and, although most small parts bagged and tagged, it is still going to be a real challenge to do much of the assembling and adjusting.
    I may soon be posting questions in the Restoration category as it's getting more and more difficult (or futile) to access many new or used parts.
    I should also mention that we just returned from a 3-day trip to Bellingham, across North Cascades (SR20) to Omak and then back to BC and home - via Princeton and Merritt. It was adventurous as many things never seen before. However, we drove the RX - and not the Signet but I am fully confident (the Signet) would have survived the 550 mile trip with no issues. I think I said it before - it is for sure more comfortable and fun to drive (with the P.S. and Auto.) than the Mazda - so most of our shorter (less than 200 mile) trips are by Signet.

    Have a good rest of May.:)
     
  3. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    Well here we are - nearing end of September and cannot believe how time seems to be moving along. Had some successes and some let-downs over the past four months, however, the Signet still running as good as ever. I did go ahead and install the 2.93 rear at end of August. Noticed a slight improvement in acceleration and better on uphill grades. Mileage about the same with the final drive calculated to approx. 3.10 from previous 3.00. Main improvement is that the unit is totally quiet. No more pesky noise between about 35 and 45 mph.
    We were returning from an annual agri-fair (about 75 miles away) on August 28th. It was about 8pm and mostly dark. Road very curvey in places so just a safe 50 mph. average. Steering straight ahead seemed normal but when having to crank it a bit farther, left or right, it seemed to be a bit stiffer - kind of like manual. I didn't think much of it and wasn't convinced the power system had failed - for one of several reasons.
    Got back into the city and when turning 90 degrees at slow speed, didn't take long to determine something definitely not normal with the P.S. Got home and soon opened hood for look-see. My first thought was that the belt had come off but when I saw the oily mess inside I pretty much knew we drove last 40 miles without any fluid in system. I couldn't tell right away where the leak was since the hydraulic hose appeared intact. Most of the fluid was well below the level of the exhaust manifold, so there was no smoke or no 'smell'. But, it was very messy around steering box, linkage and inside the left wheel well area. I got a piece of cardboard to place underneath where it continued to drip (from chassis).
    Next day I got some more fluid and put enough in pump so I could start it and quickly look for a leak. Didn't take long as it was foaming out from the fitting as it exits the pump/reservoir. Fitting was tight so it could only be a 'crack' in the metal tubing. I removed the hose assembly from pump and box to have a closer look. I've had failures before but only in the tubing portion - never (so far) a blown flex-hose portion. This time the 'leak' was right between the fitting and the tubing. I couldn't slide the flare fitting far enough back (from the flared pipe) to uncover the damaged portion. I will cut the flair off and then slide the fitting right off and examine the tubing. Not a big deal but really one would expect a leak to occur in the hose itself or the connections - not in the tubing portion.
    I purchased two hoses from R.A. so I could also replace the one in the Challenger (as precaution) since it was approx. 30 years old. Both vehicles now have new (Gates) hoses so that gives a bit more peace of mind. Now I turn my attention to the fan belts. No reason to wait for one of those to fail. Water pump is the critical one. I will check my notes for age and miles and then remove and inspect. If I replace any (sooner than later) I will still keep the old ones since you never know when you may need one. Paranoia? Not really. Just good preventive maintenance. Spend a few $ now rather than (very likely) a lot more later. Finally, l have yet to make any changes to (front) brakes but considering the several options. Will do something, hopefully, by next spring.
    That's about it for latest update. Hope all is well with everyone - as some of us await the cooler weather and eventual winter season. (sigh). Still nothing to drive on snow or ice but not at all a problem. Walking is healthier anyway. Challenger insured to Oct.31st., Signet to Nov.30th. and RX7 parked since July 20th.
    :)
     
    #223 Volunteer, Sep 23, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
    saltydog likes this.
  4. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    Hi again and I hope everyone is enjoying a safe and happy Holiday season. Been enjoying walking to wherever I/we need to go. No snow and around freezing temps. I indeed parked the Signet as of Nov.30th. But, before then I re-lined the front brakes - complete with new (yes, 9-inch) drums. The shoes weren't bad for thickness but too many rather wide cracks on the bonded linings. So I decided on the new parts - including the (15/16") cyls. I still would like to add power-assist so have to read up on which booster and reservoir to go with. If anyone reading this knows of a good link then just message it to me.
    Everything else about the car still fine. No more carb issues and good all-around performance. I still could use a rear bumper but do not want a brand new one as it will look too 'phoney' - unless, of course, someone selling cheap. I don't expect to re-insure it prior to March but it will depend somewhat on the weather. Right now I could drive it if insured but it takes long time to warm inside as heater unit not as good as should be. I flushed it out few years ago and it made a big difference so will possibly replace it along with two-year coolant change in late spring.
    One more thing. If anyone knows of good (and cost-effective) instrument bezel detailer, please message me. The prices I see on eBay are waaaay out of line - but that may well be the 'norm'. :eek:
    Have a good rest of the winter.
     
    saltydog likes this.
  5. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    Well here we are - exactly one year from putting car on the road after the previous winter. I uncovered and started the Signet yesterday. Didn't fill carb this time but it only took 5 seconds of cranking and started with no pedal and didn't stall. All seems fine. Just no insurance yet. I think there is about a half tank of gas. I'm 3 blocks away from station so could carry a couple cans over - or wait until driving. Price down from about $6. a gallon to $4.35, and it's not likely to recover in short term. Not sure when I will be driving as it seems to be a week to week thing. When I do insure, it will be four months - likely to end of July - then another four to end of November, but each time will be just over $400. I'm just not looking forward to paying that much all at once, what with all that's going on with our planet these days. Then, there is the Challenger (as collector) for 3 or 4 months - but that is only about $35. per month. All my vehicles have storage insurance. Three of them thru end of April and the Dart to end of November (and it's just an empty body shell). Been mostly walking since last November. I figure close to 130 miles in total - not counting the frequent 2 or 3 block trips. The more I do it the easier it gets. Cannot imagine driving everywhere when I really don't have to. The exercise can only do good.
    As far as the temporary shutdown of most sporting events, I don't really miss anything. What I can imagine is the many 'fans' who are simple 'lost' or hurting. Too bad. What are we missing more? - the no Dodges in Nascar or the no Dodges in Pro Stock? Virus or not - - these two facts will continue - indefinitely.
    Stay safe, everyone, and keep your distance, and, make sure your immunity is uncompromised. FX works for us - - but not for everyone. :D
     
    #225 Volunteer, Mar 21, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2020
    saltydog likes this.
  6. Volunteer

    Volunteer Well-Known Member

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    Hard to believe already into June. . Got the SIgnet insured on the 1st. after full 6 months without. Didn't really need to drive all that much - what with everyday stuff slowed right down. Had (and still have) access to the '68 Power Wagon. Not a city vehicle for sure but gets us from point A to point B, with plenty of smiles, comments and 'thumbs-ups'. So, as in the past several years, car licenced to end of Nov. Drove it the first time yesterday and, compared to Fargo, felt like in full-sized early seventies Chrysler. Very smooth, quiet and comfy. No issues at all ('cept for slight pinion seal weeping). I did order a replacement last August to install before doing the drum to drum swap but did not use it. I also did not remember ordering so of course went ahead and re-ordered few weeks ago. Then (of course) while waiting for new one to arrive, I almost trip over the one I got last summer. (sigh). I will consider replacing once Challenger gets out of garage. Doing detailing and maintenance on front suspension, steering and brakes on that one. Add to that the usual yard work plus domestic stuff and, of course, 'parenting'. (Sweet sixteen in two more days.) And, what comes after that? Why, Driver's Ed. of course. :eek:. (couldn't fine emoji 'banging head on wall') ;)
    Had some dialogue with Just Dashes and the estimate for the Dart's bezel and glove box is just over $1000. (U.S.) I would have to add about another 40% on top of that. Entire dash package between $1500. and $1700. But, not a lot of options available - except perhaps someone parting out recently restored car that got 'written off'. Just have to play wait and see. Over five years now and still not even sand-blasting damaged areas. Hopefully some progress this summer, but I'm always short on optimism. (glass half-empty).
    Well, that's about it for now. Truth be known, I spend a bit more time on FABO or FEBO - and I know I'm not the only one.
    Have a great early summer and stay safe - and don't hesitate to message me.
     
    saltydog and dodgeismycar like this.

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