|Measuring backspacing just takes a straight piece of wood and a tape measure.|
In reality there are a lot of things that I could be doing to move my car's progress along. All my work around the house does take up a lot of time, but I'm still able to carve out a little time for my own projects. Looking for some replacement wheels for the Mark VII was still an unfinished chore.
I measured the backspacing and and hub opening on an old Buick Riviera wheel that I had lying around. This wheel is the subject of my avatar photo. I'm not really sure where or when I acquired this wheel, or which of my Rivieras it used to fit.
The backspacing is 3 3/4 inches. The hub opening is 3 in. The fitted tire is 225 75 R15. (Remember these numbers, they are going to be important later).
I also decided to take a look at my '96 Mustangs seat mounting brackets. The drivers side, left rear mount was broken and the seat would flex to the right when I folded it forward. This had been going on for awhile, but I kinda chose to ignore it.
I had received the Late Model Restoration catalog and they carried a new replacement. Only 164.00 plus shipping! I had replaced the original non working power mount with one sourced from the local Pick and Pull. I went back to find another.
I arrived and went to scope out the price sheet on the wall. It listed manual seat tracks at 14.95 ea. Now that a price that I can live with.
It's been awhile since I've hit the wrecking yard circuit and I guess that I'm a little rusty. Before I left I found the correct wrench to fit the mounting nuts, 15mm. I put that wrench and a few more fractional inch combo wrenches in my tool bag. For some reason I failed to consider the bolts that would have held the tracks to the seat base. I should have included a series of metric sizes from 10-15 mm.
I arrived at the yard, paid my two bucks and walked to the Ford section. I saw plenty of New Edge Mustangs but no 96's. I took a look at their seat mounting and it had been changed to a stud that went through the floor and was secured from underneath. Wouldn't work.
I proceeded looking through the rows and spied a blue convertible, it was a '96 also. I pulled out my ratcheting, adjustable angle wrench and went to work, After I got the seat loose I flipped it over and saw the small 10 mm bolts securing the track to the seat base. Of course I didn't bring my 10 mm wrenches or sockets (!) and the smaller fractional inch sizes didn't fit. I tried clamping a vice grip on the bolt head and turning that with an adjustable wrench. No luck, it spun off. I even considered buying the entire seat instead of rushing home and returning with the proper tools. I didn't want to spend another hour on the process. So what did I do? I just asked another patron if they had a 10 mm wrench. An older gent that I had seen prowling among the 90's Camaros as I entered told me that he probably had a 10 mm socket that I could use. His ratchet set box was crammed with extra tools and he set it on top of the radiator of a convenient Camaro. As I looked through the sockets, one slipped out of the box and fell into the engine compartment. Drat! Here I was asking for a favor, and I had lost one of his sockets! He said not to worry, just find the socket I needed. I did and unbolted the tracks. When I returned to him I remarked that now I'll start looking for that socket. He said no worries, he had found it while I was working on the seat. I thanked him profusely. I remembered how many times I had loaned tools at the yards. It always counts to pay it forward.
The price for this part was just 14.95 plus tax and fees, a total of 17.00 Now that's more like it.
If I'm going to pull the seat out perhaps I can address the worn area of the driver's seat cushion. The fabric had worn through where the seat width adjustment blade was located. The foam seat padding had eroded and allowed the cloth to contact the metal blade. The rest of the seat has always looked pretty good.
I think I'll save performing this repair for another time. It will provide some more real content for a future blogpost.
|The Craig's List ad read "Lots of wheels and tires!"|
Good things come to those that wait. As well as keep a steady watch on Craig's List.
I haven't heard back from the guy in Hollister so I've been on CL seeing what would turn up. I ran a search for Buick wheels. I found a seller "locally" that was selling a set of steelies with an okay set of rollers for only 100.00. I was jazzed as these were pretty much what the guy in Hollister was offering at over 150.00 less.
|photo source. hot rod.com|
These Buick aluminium brake drums are beautiful, and are often used on hot rod builds,
I know that the '67 Wildcat used 15 in. wheels which fit over those large finned Buick drums. Those finned drums are aluminum in front and cast iron in back. These, along with the eight lug Pontiac brakes are the only really attractive drum brakes incorporated into a 1960's American car.
|These aluminum hub, steel rim wheels were used on early 1960s Pontiacs.|
Like the Grand Prix and performance Bonneville models.
|Here's a photo of the distinctive steel rim.|
Ignore the tiny patio chair stuck to it!
If you are fortunate enough to have one of these cars that sport these special brakes, it is worth preserving the system as it adds a lot of special interest to your vehicle.
The Wildcat wheels where included in the "nearby area" search of the CL listing. I guess Cotati, which is just south of Santa Rosa, could be considered nearby. The seller was a business named "American Classics and Performance." I contacted the seller by E-mail and I was advised that the business was closed on the weekends. That surprised me as I figured that they would be open on Saturday, at least. I phoned them and asked if there would be anybody in the shop after the office was closed for the day. I told them that I could drive up right after work but there was no way that I could make it before 5:00. If I left San Jose just a little after 3:00, I could probably make it before 6:00, maybe just a bit after 5:30. I was told that the owner would be able to stay to 6:00 but to call and let him know where I was at by 5:30. "When did I want to come up?" Today of course! Jeez, I wasn't going to make the trip tomorrow, on Friday!
|A very nice clean and orderly shop. |
One that I probably couldn't afford to have work on my cars!
I had Googled directions the night before, gassed up the truck, and was ready to go right after work. I decided to make a tactical bathroom break before hitting the road. I knew where the bathroom was at the office. I didn't want to burn up a lot of time once on the road, trying to find one in a panic! (Preparation is always the key!)
Rush hour traffic in the Bay Area is clearly soul crushing and the potential to be tied up behind a collision or to be the victim of a collision is extremely high. Luckily, I was leaving a bit early and I hoped to avoid the main crush.
The shop was approximately 90 miles away. I would leave San Jose at 3:15 pm. to drive through Fremont, Hayward, Oakland, and the dreaded Emeryville interchange of I 880, and I 580, a well known and feared bottleneck. Then over the San Rafael bridge, through Marin, Novato and through the constricted two lane back up to reach Petaluma. Once past the Petaluma harbor I'd be home free and there in about 15 minutes.
Just for fun (?) I decided to measure my progress in fifteen minute increments.
The first 15 minutes were not too inspiring, I had only gone about six and a half miles when I encountered the back up of a six car collision that was still blocking the middle lane. After I crept past that, at the thirty minute point, I had only covered 17 miles.
Once past Hayward and the exit to the San Mateo bridge the pace really picked up. I flew through Oakland at 65-70 mph. until I reached the Emeryville interchange. It was a quarter to five.
After I took the cut off to the San Rafael bridge traffic picked up and I sailed across the bridge and through Marin. Once past Novato The road, US101, chokes down to two lanes. Creep creep,creep. Breathe deep and slow and try to find your happy place! There is no happy place in Bay Area rush hour traffic.
At 5:30 I had almost reached Petaluma Blvd. I waited a few more minutes before I called the office and spoke with Greg, the owner. When I told him that I was passing the harbor he told me that I was almost there! Greg gave me specific directions and I was there by 6:00. I had made it!
|These photos are from the website.|
I even saw one of those new replacement muscle car frames in a crate against the wall!
|Like I said, a nice shop, with obviously nice customer's cars.|
Check out their website for more info.
Fifteen Grand! That's what I plan on paying for the used Jaguar XK I might buy in a year or two. Well this is all out of my league, but I was only there to look at those old wheels. We talked about how current prices have outstripped the purchasing power of most everyday enthusiasts but that we, (meaning me) low buck guys have to find our niche in the hobby. Greg appears to be quite a nice guy who remembers the old days, but knows the reality of having to run a business that can provide a living for himself and his employees. It's a good thing that there are customers that can afford to pay for quality work, but it sure isn't me.
I checked out the wheels which looked pretty good, I even measured the back spacing. ( More on this later.) The price was fair, so I paid it. Besides what was I going to do? Turn around and drive home empty handed because he wouldn't lower the price twenty bucks? I've been a seller for a lot of years and I appreciate when a buyer realizes that the price was set fairly.
Of course if the seller knows that you came a long way for an item he doesn't have much incentive to deal.
I loaded up the wheels and drove to Petaluma where I stopped for dinner. I figured that traffic would die down while I ate. For the most part the trip home was easy, except that I encountered a couple of long stops due to a couple of collisions on I 880 in Hayward. I managed to skirt around the right of one scene. There was another worse event near the San Mateo bridge exit that had traffic in all lanes at a complete stop. I had been warned by a radio newscast and I exited the freeway just before it came to a stop. I used surface streets to make my way through Fremont until I could pick up I 680, and take the freeway the rest of the way home.
I arrived home at 9:15 and had covered a distance of 193 miles. I had invested six hours in the journey and I arrived home feeling a little bit like a hero.
How did the wheels work out? More on that next week.