Kerry's 1957 Imperial Restoration - part 10

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Well one day is a bummer the next is GOOD! I guess that is the meaning of life!

Monday I went by the auto parts store, picked up the inner rear axle seals and my brake shoe cores. I can return the cores at any future date and get my $24 back. The seals were $6 each. Since the guys know me I get a price break. At my main place, I get about a 50-55% off list but then NOBODY pays list. I figure it saves me 20% or so. All I had to do was set up an cash account during a time when I was going in every week.

Next I stopped by Rays to return his 63 shop manual and talk about transmissions. It turns out he did not have a 63 parts car but a 62. I had hoped to talk him out of a parking brake cable and lever. No such luck. So I'm left with the quandary, do I want Park and no ebrake, or an ebrake and no park. If I want both I have to swap the rear end for a later model and then the bolt patterns would more than likely be different.

Ray had not yet located the torque converter but promised to. He said he felt it was good and he would not be afraid to try it or the transmission. It seems the transmission had only been in his yard a few weeks and covered most of the time. He suggested just turning it up and drain out anything that was in it. I did that tonight and very little water came out with about a pint of transmission fluid.

I was asking Ray about my brakes not fitting, i.e., being too large to get my wheel back on. I asked if he knew anyone who had a brake grinder. His reply stunned me, "Well, I do but I can give you a thousand dollars worth of advice instead." He went on to tell me to simply grind off the little bumps on the inside of the shoes. These keep the brakes from going in far enough. Sure enough, as soon as I did that tonight the wheels just flew on, turned free. I adjusted them tight, to seat the shoes and backed them off and they turn beautiful! Ray told me he discovered this trick after trying everything to get his to fit including grinding the surfaces. A few years (in his case, a lifetime) of experience is a wonderful thing!

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We went out and looked at Rays car since it wasn't raining. Dang it's nice! The only flaw is the rear decklid handle and I'm going to buy one from Bob Hoffmeister's IMPERIAL HEAVEN Salvage Yard and give to him just for all the free advice. Worth his weight in GOLD!

Today I drove up to a junkyard nearby and looked at an Imperial I remembered seeing. It's a 59 with a 413. Unfortunately, it is sitting on the brake drums in the dirt/mud. I'd hate to think what it is going to take to get THOSE wheels off. It's pretty complete. A 4 dr Hardtop, the trim is missing off the drivers side doors but the remainder looks pretty good. No flytesweep deck.

One of my options would be to buy this car, pull the transmission, and use it in my 57. This would give me a Torqueflight that would bolt to my 440 (I think anything that will bolt to a 413 will bolt to my 440...comments anyone???) and a ebrake. I'd probably keep the running gear and part out the rest. No power windows but the blackberry thicket kept me from looking much closer. If anyone is interested in some 59 parts get back to me. If I can come out OK, I'll buy it but can't justify buying it just for the transmission and spare rearend/driveshaft.

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On the way back to Huntsville, I passed an old stone school that has always had a bunch of old cars surrounding it in the weeds. My newly attenuated "Imperial Eye" spotted something. Turning in the driveway, I noticed the building was apparently deserted. What I had seen was a 56 4dr sedan with the hemi, 4 tires etc. Ragged but all there. I've heard that the guy won't sell anything but sooner or later everyone does. I'd like the hemi.

My wife had to move her office and worked late so I came home early and went to the shop. In just a few minutes I had the tabs ground off and the brakes on the front. While I was at it, I rebuilt the front wheel cylinders when I noticed a small seepage. I'm glad I did, one would have failed shortly. They use the same 1 1/8 cup as the rears.

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I also removed the inner seal on the rear axle, installed the new one, greased up the rear wheel bearing and installed it. I put a piece of .060 copper completely around it and nearly again. A bearing has definitely spun in that housing sometime in the past. I think this will hold it but if not, I'll definitely be looking for a rear end. That's when I might swap for a later style with Bendix brakes.

It's about 7:30 and I'm ready for some hot soup. It's chilly tonight.

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