Suck Squeeze Bang Blow


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer check up

It was a tight squeeze but I got the van onto the ramp at Tjeerd's short-cut shop. European ramps are clearly not designed to acoomodate american vans with 295 rubber...
I checked the usual stuff and re tightened the suspension nuts and bolts I fiddled with last week to change the springs. The Green Machine is now ready for the 400 km trip to Chimay, for the Bugin! See you there.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Feelin' High....

After the initial shock of the off-roader-height of the newly installed rear leaf springs, I got to work on the front coils. I had a hell of a time loosening the lower ball joints to get the old coils out. Took me the better part of the day to get it done, using big hammer, lots of heat and, in the end, a sort of clamp I borrowed from my good buddies at Kieft and Klok.

Check out the difference between the old and new coils:

Somehow, it seems the old springs are softer, because the difference in height is bigger when the car is on it's wheels. Check out the stance with the standard coils. It is actually level but it looks like it's leaning back, because of the front wheel being smaller than the rear.

I didn't like it like that so I decided to cut the coils. I cut off half a winding, mounted them and still didn't like what I saw so, I ended up cutting a whole winding off. Here's how it looks now:

The difference in ride and handling is like night and day! I can't believe how comfortable it is NOT riding on the bumpstops but actually having suspension travel! I shoulda done this a long time ago.

Another update: thanks to BajaCharlie of the VanGraveyard blog, I finally have those chrome taillight bezels I've been looking for. He sent them to me, along with some stickers and other Van Goodies, thanks man!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ducati Flakes

Apparantly, at some time, the Italian bike builders at Ducati were caught by the glitter and glamour of custom paint. Literally. They finished their bikes in several shades of Metalflake, cast into the polyester tanks.

A belgian Ducati lover gave me a tank and 4 sidecovers to paint in the original Metalflake colours of Kelly Green and Bright Red.

The tank was badly dented and had several badly repaired cracks and a small hole in it.

After sanding down, repairing with fibreglass and tank-curing the inside to prevent leaks, it was time for flakes once again.
And that's the end result. Hope to get some pics when the bikes are fully assembled!
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Green Machine in surgery

I have been driving the Green Machine for almost two years now and the low suspension was bothering me more and more. Banging and rattling of the suspension, the smell of burned rubber as the thread of the rear tires was being scrubbed away by the wheelarch...

I decided enough is enough and after a few tries 'the easy way' by putting rubber blocks in the coil springs and pumping up the hijackers in the rear, I decided to raise the damn thing.

Now I know, low=cool but I want to enjoy driving the thing. In fact, I spend way more time driving it than looking at it so I took the plunge.

I got some used leaf springs and coils and some new bump stops (the old ones were pounded to dust by the suspension arms) and got to work.

Dismantling the rear suspension was easy, the underside is still really clean and rustfree and I had no trouble loosening the nuts and bolts and getting the old leaf springs out. Check out the difference between the old one and new one:

At this stage, I was getting a little worried about the amount of extra height I was gonna get by fitting this new pair. Even though the new pair has one leaf less, it looks like it's going to sit a lot higher. I also noticed the non-original shackles, probably fitted by someone who wanted to get some extra height the easy way. Doesn't look that safe to me, compared to the originals...

I fitted the springs, lowered the van and my fear was reality...
Next week I'll fit the front coils and try to get the right stance, stay tuned....