A Little Gremlin….

Well it’s been a while since I have posted.  I have been driving the car whenever the weather has been good.  I have made a number of adjustments to the carbs, and it is running much better than it was.  It is still a bit of a cold frog (I am guessing that the jets may be a little bit lean), but once it has some heat in it is drives really well.  I am hoping it will all be sorted once I have it dyno tuned.  It really has become a nice car to drive.

I have been a bit short for time lately so I booked it in last week at Bentleigh Garage to have the new rear bearings installed as well as replacing the rear transmission mount.  I also noticed last week that the front transmission cooler lines were weeping so I had them replaced.  Unfortunately the lines are not available off the shelf in Australia so they had them custom made which was a bit expensive, but it is done!

I picked the car up after work and had to pick up my daughter from netball straight away, which gave me a good chance to see if it drove any better.  It seemed a little smoother, but nothing too significant.  We were on our way to pick up a couple of items from the shop when suddenly the headlights went out!  It was dark, so the impact was immediate.  Fortunately I still had brake lights and indicators, so I leant on the brake pedal and tuned off at the first side road.

I had a bit of a fiddle with the headlight switch and found that as soon as I turned off the dash lights the headlights would work again.  In the process of discovering this useful fact the headlight switch let out a spark and a smell of smoke – never good with electrical things.  In order to get home I left the dash lights switched off.

Once I got home I pulled the headlight switch.  it didn’t take long to work out what the spark was…..it was the coil for the dash light dimmer.  Although the dimmer worked, it was a bit hit and miss (which is pretty common on these old timers).  I decided to bypass it which would mean that the dash lights were full brightness all the time which isn’t really a problem as they are not bright by today’s standards.


I consulted the workshop manual to see which connectors I needed to join.  I then cleaned up an area on each contact and made a solder patch.

IMG_3699  IMG_3701

I then soldered a small piece of 10AWG wire to join the two.  This is much larger wire than required, but I wanted to make sure that it didn’t generate any heat.  Beautiful it is not, but it guarantees I will always have nice bright dash lights.

IMG_3702  IMG_3703

Now there had to be a reason why the coil shorted, so I made up a small fused wire to see what happened when I powered up the dash light circuit.  I had my head under the dash when I powered the circuit, and saw a small puff of smoke as well as a tiny spark.  SHORT CIRCUIT.

I had a good look under the dash and found the reason.  When I installed the dash pad last time I managed to get the wiring loom caught up in the metal hook which connects with the spring loaded steel loop to pull down the front edge of the panel.  If you look closely at the pic below you can see the loom caught in between the steel hook and the spring loaded square loop.  The steel hook has sharp edges which is where the short circuit occurred.


Once I removed the loom from the hook I connected the headlight switch and confirmed that everything worked correctly.  🙂


2 thoughts on “A Little Gremlin….

  1. Hi, I stumbled across you TOTALLY EXCELLENT blog today while searching for information on how to repair my gear selector indicator. LOVE YOUR CAR. And, your technical know-how is impressive, I think I can learn something here. I look forward to finding the time soon to sit down and read through all your posts. My ’59 is also a flat top (Pinehurst green with white flattop, have owned it for 17 years), and I live in Flint, MI, USA. In fact I see your photo of oil filter “AC”; I live within walking distance of where that was manufactured (AC Spark Plug Division of General Motors on Dort Highway in Flint). That enormous manufacturing facility is now gone, by the way. Sorry to hear your auto industry in Australia is having hard times too. I’d be happy to send you a pic of my car if you shoot me an email address. Best Regards, David Frownfelter


    1. Hi David,

      I am glad to hear that you like the blog. My daughter suggested I do it so I have a record of what I did. I look back and can’t believe how much I have done.

      I would love to see some pics of your car. My email address is dimadee@pobox.com

      Funny…..we fly out to the US tomorrow morning!



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