Chavannes

After a long hiatus one of the best funk bands from La Plata, Chavannes, is back!

I missed their return last year but this one I managed to catch them as a birthday gift for myself.

The sound and crowd were great. The food too.

While walking to the car I spotted a cat on the street. I whistled and without hesitation she came to me:

Grandpa’s 504: new hydraulics

Even before taking apart the clutch cylinders I knew I needed (and wanted) to change them for new parts. And today they arrived from the mail. But with a small twist:

Peugeot 504 wrong style of brake and clutch cylinders

Fortunately the seller agreed to exchange them, so I repackaged the wrong parts (because the hoses and the other pump were the right ones) and dropped the box at the mail.

I’m amazed that even with that hiccup it was cheaper to order them from a parts store at the other corner of the province than buying locally.

Just for kicks I wanted to see what’s inside the brake master cylinder but it was really really stuck.

First I enlarged the recess on the piston a bit and used a half inch tap to try and grab it. It turned slightly but then the threads snapped.

My curiosity called for extreme measures and I conjured the power of the air to aid me.

Rummaging through the jar of pipe fittings I found a combination that allowed me to connect the cylinder to the pistol I use to pump the tires.

I gently increased the pressure until the innards flew across the table. This was sketchy and unsafe as fuck. Think of a potato cannon but throwing a chunk of metal.

Peugeot 504: using compressed air to remove brake cylinder piston

The pistons were more or less acceptable save for rubber and dirt deposits. But some of the seals almost disintegrated when touched.

Peugeot 504: master brake cylinder pistons

Grandpa’s 504: hydraulic clutch cylinder

Surprisingly the master cylinder for the clutch was in very good condition, not scraped nor corroded and the seals looked fine. The piston came out with a light tap.

However in the slave things were quite different. Using lots of penetrating oil and a vise as a makeshift press I was able to move the piston but it refused to come out completely on its own.

So I decided to pump it out using old engine oil and the working master cylinder. I clamped it to the drill press and slowly filled it with 15W40.

Getting rid of all the air bubbles took a longer time than I expected.

Peugeot 504 hydraulic clutch: pumping master cylinder with engine oil

Finally, the slave piston was released. The seal was ok-ish but both the piston and the inner walls had pitting and scratches.

I hung everything upside down and loosened the purging screws to collect the oil. I thought it was a lot more than this but it’s about a small coffee cup.

Peugeot 504 hydraulic clutch: all the oil in the system

Weekend worklog

This weekend was a bit slow.

A couple of days ago I started to learn FreeCAD, mostly for its FEM analysis mode and to build a couple of construction plans.

I made another part of the cable trays for our comms closet. Initially I wanted to use FreeCAD for that but at the end it was faster to do a bit of trig and sketch the cuts on paper. It’s held in place with a couple of rivets. I also added a layer of pvc to shield the cables from the metal edges. Fits like a glove.

Cable tray bend

I also started to build a steel support for one of the walls. We made a big opening for cables and I’m a bit uneasy about the lack of support.

Fun with a plasma cutter follows:

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Glass door

These doors were waiting a long time to be installed. Now this looks a bit more professional than before, except that on the opposite side there’s a chunk of wall missing and a lot of dust on the new hole to feed another cable tray.

Sunday worklog

Today I started to build the rope guides for the lightning fixture. I have some nice ground rods from a textile machine that are perfect for this.

Rope guide with rollers

On the evening I went to Futura and cleaned up a bit the stage, moving most of it to one place:

The Museum Corner at Futura

Then I started to install real cable trays instead of our improvised version with halves of water pipes. I need to cut a small section with a special bend to accommodate the opening on the wall.

Cable trays

I emptied most of the rack cabinet and installed the patchbay I built earlier. I had to drill and tap another set of holes as the power outlet interfered with the movement.

I also finished that small table:

Lamp fixture: done

At least for now. The next step will be adding another support for the roof frame and rollers to guide the ropes around it to unblock the light path should we want to project from there.

Today I hanged the lower frame and then attached the cable trays with a set of bespoke clamps and self tapping screws.

Door handle

We have a discrete, and new, metal door but the inner handle is one that was in the house since the 1950’s.

On the outside there’s just a simple knob but it’s not linked to the lock. The handle works as intended but if we are not careful when pulling we end up with it on our hands.

I made a simple plate and kept the rod in place with an M4 screw threaded through it.

Looks like it came with the door:

Door handle

Assorted clamps

The last two days I finished the welds on those clamps,  built some to hold the other end of the ropes and four sturdier to screw to the roof trusses. All the screws are paired with either a nylock or two nuts locked to each other.

I painted the pieces for the bottom frame with black enamel and the ones for the roof with white to match the rest of the room. I know they’ll rust in some weeks but I left the blued surface exposed. I never tire of looking at them.

Side table iron legs

We had a nice wood slab from the kitchen remodelation and wanted to make a small table with it.

I did a quick sketch and started to build the base. I goofed a bit when cutting the intersections but it ended up fine and level on the first time anyways.

Sometimes I flunk on the easiest of the welds and others, I make a perfect one in a very hard spot. I did this one on a single pass with a bent rod and even had slag peel:

Ceiling lamp fixture: now on steel

For the last couple of weeks I worked on building a steel version of that fixture in order to hang some cable trays and a couple of other things.

After a bit of measuring I prepared all the cuts. For the sides that aren’t at a square angle I left a bit of extra material to fold over the corner. The clamps for the trays will be made with cutouts from square tubing to have a consistent size and some flat stock. I spent quite a bit of time on this phase but I’m pleased with the outcome.

For this welds I tried as much as possible to either manipulate the rod with my left hand only and sometimes with the right, but I still need a lot of practice with that. Some were awful, but others like this one are quite passable:

Lamp fixture: corner bracket, weld detail

A quick test fit and everything fell into the right place. I love it when a plan comes together.

Lamp fixture: trial fitting

Grandpa’s 504: The beginnings

During the last week I began to clean and dismantle the engine of that Peugeot 504 using whatever spare time I had.

I started by removing the battery plate, water and vacuum reservoirs and the hoses connecting them. I took a couple of detailed pictures so I don’t forget how to put it back together later.

I spent a while trying to figure out how to remove the radiator, it’s bolted to the car frame and there’s a plastic cover around the fan blades that doesn’t let it move up. The most obvious way seemed to remove the front grill and the body panel behind it but in order to do that I would have to tear apart the original glue and make a couple of cuts. I kept looking and feeling around until I discovered that the air guide is only held by two nuts on the top and locking pins on the bottom.

After removing them, it glided freely upwards and then to the back. With nothing else holding it, the radiator also came out.

That freed up some space in the engine bay. I moved on to the belts. This is a very good time to take note of how everything is installed.

Then I moved onto the hoses. Some were hard and brittle and others felt like new. But all were filled with rusty mud.

The water pump was no better, the impeller stayed inside the block.

The radiator has a lovely copper corrosion growth. After draining it I poured hot water on one side and let it flow, touching along the fins to see if there were clogs. Except for a small hand sized area on the bottom everything seemed fine.