‘Twas the day before Christmas

12/24/99 ‘Twas the Day Before Christmas…

…and I couldn’t think of a better thing to do than to work on my car! All my familial obligations are on Christmas day and after, so off to the shop I went!

I got the floor pans up to the shop to try and fit them in, and found the right side fit perfectly, but the left one may have to be done again. Upon closer inspection, I noticed the gas pedal assembly is attached to a section of the old floor that was not cut out (see arrow in picture).

My new floor section attaches to this old piece, but the fit isn’t something I’m happy with. The gas pedal assembly should be attached to a solid piece of flooring so with the constant use of the gas pedal, the floor won’t fatigue with use. I could see the old aluminum floor already showing wear, and could not justify attaching my new floor section to this old piece. Having a sticky gas pedal, I decided to remove the whole assembly to make everything work right. I made a new template, and hopefully Kenny will have his shears at work on Monday to cut another floor section!

The hood latch cover plate got really sticky after I tried to clean it. I guess wrinkle paint doesn’t take too well to cleaning, so I ended up stripping the cover for new wrinkle paint. I first tried taking the paint off with a wire wheel, but the paint is too soft to come off easily, so I coated the part with some “Zip Strip” and chemically stripped the part. I’ll order some wrinkle paint from “Eastwood Co.” after the holiday rush.

Since I was working on the driver’s side floor, I needed to address the brake and clutch assembly. The action of the pedals were pretty stiff, and something had to be done to free them up. Pedals are much more important than one would think. Any binding of the pedal assembly can mask sensations coming from the clutch and brakes. I took a driving school class once on vehicle control and racetrack dynamics, and a lot of input from the brakes come through your foot via the brake pedal. When hard on the brakes, one could actually feel when a caliper locks up, but if the pedal cluster isn’t working right, all these feelings can be coming from something else.

I had some experience with pedal clusters recently when I refurbished my Porsche’s, but I had replacement bronze bushings and detailed instructions with my 911. I inspected the Ferrari cluster, and figured if I screwed anything up, I could always bruise my ego and ask François for help. Besides, Francois will be much more receptive to the Ferrari pedels compared to when I asked him for help before and he cursed every design flaw the Germans engineered into the Porsche pedals! I don’t think there was actually anything wrong with the Porsche design, but Francois is definitely partial towards Ferrari.

I carefully began taking the assembly apart, making sure not to do any irreparable damage. The master cylinder will need rebuilding because it’s completely seized, but as I began tapping the other pieces apart, the pedals began loosening. I found three sets of bearings in the pedal cluster. 

Each one was filled with gummed up grease that I was sure was over thirty years old. The grease was actually keeping the bearings from rolling in their cages, so I soaked each bearing and picked out as much of the old grease out as I could. As they soaked, the bearings began to roll smoothy, so I got some new grease to re-pack the bearings. The new bearing grease is blue, and VERY STICKY! As I forced the new lubricant into the bearing cages, the old grease oozed out. I kept packing the grease until only blue grease came out the other side of the bearing. I kept a bunch of clean paper towels handy to wipe up the grease that was getting everywhere, but it was a loosing battle. I wanted to take pictures of the whole process, but would have gotten grease all over the camera as well, but I did manage to take a few pictures for reference when I put the assembly back together.

The reworked pedal assembly now works with absolutely no binding, and will be a joy to use when the car is back together. Having the pedals working this smoothly will be one of those little satisfying things I’ll savour very time I go to shift a gear in my Ferrari!

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