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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: September 5, 2020, 9:06 pm 
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Joined: July 17, 2008, 9:11 am
Posts: 6196
Location: West Chicago,IL
I am always interested in how people get started in the hobby. Thought it might be a good topic to share our stories

My mechanical background: I am told that I took the wheels of my brother's wagon and traded them to a boy down the street for a frog. I don't remember that. I do remember taking apart a Mickey Mouse watch to see how it worked. The parts flew everywhere and it never went back together. I was maybe 5 or 6 years old at the time. That may have been the start of my fascination with windup clocks and watches. I actually fixed a circa 1890's ladies pocket watch owned by my mother when I was in my 20's. I was then told that I broke that watch back in the day too. I don't remember getting into that one though. My wife still wears it every now and again and it still works and keeps good time. When I was 10 my brothers and I broke into my father's WWII foot locker by prying the locked latch apart. Parts went flying (again! story of my life) Scared as heck, we gathered up all the pieces and I managed to figure out how they were supposed to work and got it all put back together. We kept silent and never mentioned it to Dad. That is until maybe 30 years later when we were all together. He vehemently declared it couldn't have happened. That many of his Marine buddies tried to get into it and not one ever did. This may have been his denial, but my brothers and I knew we did.

But my first real success story for analyzing and actually fixing an engine was when I was maybe around 11 years of age. The older boy down the street had an outboard engine that had been serviced a few years earlier and had never run since. He told me that if I could get it working, I could use his rowboat and motor on the lake whenever I wanted. He knew I wouldn't be able to so it was a safe bet. The engine was a 1946 era Mercury KD-3 3HP outboard. This was the first Mercury motor that had a streamlined cast aluminum lower end.

Attachment:
kd3.jpg


I did a lot of wrapping the rope around the exposed flywheel and pulling with all kinds of throttle settings, all to no avail. I ventured into disassembling and cleaning the Tillotson carb. This one used a real cork as a float. Wrap and pull again and no luck. I checked the spark there was plenty. I spent several days working on it and trying to start it with no real luck. I asked how deep he wanted me to go into the engine. He said "it doesn't work now so what's the harm in going deeper. SO I removed the power head and found the power head gasket to drive unit covered the exhaust path. That didn't seem right to me. there was no place for the exhaust to go. I cut out the area where the exhaust was supposed to go as it was well defined. I reassembled her back together. Added the 24:1 fuel in the motor mounted gas tank and on the 2nd pull, off she went. I ran up and down the lake for a couple of months that Summer until one day it just died on me. Upon later teardown, I found No spark. The ignition points arm had broken off. Off I went to the local Mercury dealer only to find the parts were NLA. What? the engine was less than 20 years old at the time. This was decades before help was clicks away on the internet. With no way to fix it, it was returned to the owner and then sent for scrap. I Googled today, the points are still NLA :mrgreen:

If it were mine today, I would try to adapt some other type points but I didn't know enough to even try back then. In the next few years I put a 2-1/2 HP B&S on various vehicles including and English Racer bicycle and a hollow core door. I also owned and rebuilt a couple of motorboats by the age of 15.

In modern terms I sometimes feel like I lived like the kid the Dilbert cartoon:


That's my real 1st success story. So what is your first?


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Chuck.

“Any suspension will work if you don’t let it.” - Colin Chapman

Visit my ongoing MGB Rustoration log: over HERE

Or my Wankel powered Locost log : over HERE

And don't forget my Cushman Truckster resto Locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=17766


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PostPosted: September 5, 2020, 9:20 pm 
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Mid-Engined Maniac

Joined: April 23, 2006, 8:26 pm
Posts: 6210
Location: SoCal
After my engine quit on my new/old car, deciding to replace the fiber cam gear on the old Chevy straight-6 knowing nothing about engines. Got it replaced, then it wouldn't start. After a very long process, discovered that a previous mechanic had installed the distributor gear wrong and instead of fixing it, shifted the spark plug wires so that it would run. Of course when I put everything back together, I timed it right, so all the spark plug wires were wrong, but I didn't know that. Good times...

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PostPosted: September 6, 2020, 1:10 am 
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Joined: December 24, 2007, 5:11 am
Posts: 1300
Location: Seattle area
In 1954 my cousin, he 15 at the time me 14, picked up a 1932 Chevy 4 door for 5 bucks. Not running and no title. The car was the PO's grandfathers and it was handed down to him. It was in pretty decent shape. The deluxe model with chrome louvers in the hood sides and twin side mounted spares.

Attempts to start it only resulted in mucho backfires through the carb. The PO ( a kid our age) had painted the engine. Not wanting to get paont on the plug wires he removed them. When he reinstalled them he just put them where they fit. Not knowing anything about firing order. Another friend of his mentioned something about it, we checked and of course it was way off. It started right up. Cuz took to a ssemi rural area where it spent the last of its days chasing rabbits and the like.

Seems minor but it made me realize there was so much I didn't know. Still don't but I'm still working on that.

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PostPosted: September 6, 2020, 11:10 am 
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Joined: January 11, 2017, 11:06 pm
Posts: 170
Location: Alberta
As a kid I was always fascinated with machines and wanted to know how everything worked. I would constantly bother my grandmother with questions about how things worked, and I recall thinking the power antenna on her Buick was the most amazing technical marvel I had ever seen. Since I always wanted to take things apart, my parents kept broken appliances long enough for me to tear them down. I knew intuitively to turn the screwdriver counterclockwise to remove the screws, but had to stop and think which way to turn it when I needed to tighten something. I think I got interested in cars because they were the most advanced and complicated machines I had any kind of access to.

My first memory of a 'success' is when the old lawnmower quit and my dad decided to go out and buy a new one. Before he left, I asked if I could play with the old one and was told yes. I don't remember how old I was but it was probably borderline if I should have been trusted to be alone with a swinging blade. He probably thought it would be fine because it wasn't running. Anyway, I took out the spark plug and thought the gap looked pretty big so I pounded it on the wood deck to close it up a bit. Then I pulled off the air filter for 'more performance' and my dad came home to a running lawnmower. The plug gap was probably fine and the filter was probably just clogged, but I felt very pleased with myself.


Last edited by ZiG on September 6, 2020, 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: September 6, 2020, 11:36 am 
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Joined: December 4, 2010, 1:53 pm
Posts: 87
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
When I was about six, I took the forks off of a broken tricycle, and lashed the back half of it to another tricycle to make a tandem.

I had a Mickey Mouse watch as well. Of course I over-wound it and broke the main spring. I took it apart and bent the end of the spring, put it back together. It worked, but didn't keep time any more.

When I was twelve, I bought a non-running 1952 Pontiac from a guy at school for $10. I had to borrow the spare tire from my Mom's station wagon so we could tow it home. I took the service manual out of the library, and took everything apart to see how it worked. I cleaned up the old Carter carb and managed to get it running. The exhaust came straight out of the header on that flathead six. I'm sure the neighbours didn't appreciate the racket. I found out what happens when you hold an old 6 volt battery between your legs to bring it home on a snowmobile.

cheers
Doug

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PostPosted: September 6, 2020, 5:44 pm 
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Joined: March 19, 2011, 10:22 am
Posts: 2208
Location: Holden, Alberta, Canada
When I was a kid my dad said to me "if you ever get as good putting things together as you do taking them apart, you'll make a great mechanic"
The rest is history..........

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Perry

'If man built it, man can fix it'
"No one ever told me I couldn't do it."
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Perry's Locost Super Che7enette Build
Perry's TBird Based 5.0L Super 7 L.S.O.
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Perry's 4th Build, The Topolino 500 (Little Mouse) Altered
Perry's 5th Build, the Super Slant 6 Super 7


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PostPosted: September 9, 2020, 5:01 pm 
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Joined: January 1, 2012, 12:44 pm
Posts: 531
Location: Boise, Idaho
My dad bought late model "rebuilders" from the junkyard regularly so, I got taught how to do body work and welding from a young age. I got my first "total" when I was in high school ( a '71 Vega with less than 2,000 miles) and repaired the left front frame rail using a railroad tie, some chain and a hydraulic ram. When the rottenchester carb proved to be garbage, I adapted a Holley 5200 progressive 2-barrel from a Ford. And yes, the cylinder walls scored right on schedule at 50,000 miles, so a 283 ci V8 fixed that problem.


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PostPosted: September 10, 2020, 12:06 pm 
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Joined: July 17, 2008, 9:11 am
Posts: 6196
Location: West Chicago,IL
Great stories. Keep 'em coming. So far, it looks like most of us had to figure things out for ourselves before the invention of the internet or by using an FSM.

I still have my 1970 Chilton's which I referred to when restoring my Cushman Truckster a couple of years back. It had a GM 10DN alternator with external regulator.

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Chuck.

“Any suspension will work if you don’t let it.” - Colin Chapman

Visit my ongoing MGB Rustoration log: over HERE

Or my Wankel powered Locost log : over HERE

And don't forget my Cushman Truckster resto Locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=17766


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