Side Trip: Sparky Goes to Rehab.
Sparky Goes to Rehab.
I’ve been driving Sparky for the better part of 4 years, and he had been getting a little long in the tooth. Specifically, the operation of his turn signals and horn had been sporadic and undependable. Also, his 25 year old leaf springs were sprung and his shocks were tired – he had taken to “slumping” on the driver’s side as if a 300 pound passenger were sitting in him when empty.
All of these things had been given me an excuse to visit my friend Glen Stevens of EV Performance in Rogersville, Alabama. I called Glen and arranged for a two day visit to give Sparky a much needed rehab.
My wife readily agreed to the road trip, and we set out from St. Petersburg for Rogersville on a Sunday morning. We arrived in Rogersville at about noon the next day and after a quick lunch went right to work on Sparky.
Glen got under the dash, and in about thirty minutes located and fixed the horn and signal lights. The problem turned out to be a bad ground connection, which was fixed by replacing the old ground wire and mounting an auxiliary ground wire from the relay mounting plate to the emergency brake mounting bracket. I was thrilled.
Glen had obtained four 231/2 inch trailer springs for me, and our first major job was to remove three of the four leaves from the trailer spring, leaving only the main leaf. This was done to give the car suspension maximum flexibility and allow the shocks to do their job. Next we jacked the car up and removed the wheels, springs, and worn out shocks.
Glen has and inventory of neoprene bushings to be used with leaf springs, and when we tried to insert the new bushings we ran into our first problem. The spring eyes were oval shaped and the bushings didn’t fit. This problem was quickly solved by having Michael turn all eight bushings until they were sized correctly for the leaf springs. Next we installed the new front leaf springs and called it a day.
Alice and I drove back to Athens where we had reserved a room in the Best Western Motel. This motel offers basic accommodations, but is in an excellent location. Directly adjacent to the motel are an Applebys Restaurant and a Ruby Tuesdays. Glen and wife, Kendra, and their children met us for dinner and a grand time was had by all.
The next day we mounted the new front shocks. The shocks come with metal inserts inside the bushings, and these inserts had to be removed before the shocks could be bolted to the shock mounts. We tried with great difficulty to drive the inserts out of the shock bushing using a hammer and a large punch. After struggling for about a half hour we used Glen’s hydraulic press, which did the job in seconds.
With the front end done we moved to the back end and repeated the process. The back end has a much simpler configuration and the whole process was done in a couple of hours. A test drive in the neighborhood with the new suspension revealed that Sparky had a much improved ride.
I had brought along a new Levitron power receptacle, and since we had a few hours to spare, we replaced the old receptacle. The old receptacle was corroded and slightly burnt, and the new receptacle gives the vehicle a real cosmetic (and functional) boost.
At the end of the second day it was with heavy heart that I left EV Performance. I can’t say enough about the service rendered by Glen and Michael. They know these cars inside and out and going when they work on a car they go through the entire vehicle bring all systems up to complete functionality. I highly recommend EV Performance to the serious Comutacar collector. If you give them a call and describe your problems Glen can ship you the parts or give you an estimate of doing a “factory” repair.