Saturday, March 3, 2012

LeTigre... Back in Action!

Before we decided to drive Angie's little car to Key West, I had been working on several LeTigre projects to get it ready for the next leg of the trip.  Since we've been back in Austin, I picked up where I left off and got some stuff done...

Replaced the broken fridge.
Figured out a better bike rack.
Mechanical stuff (distributor and fuel filter replacement).

LeTigre, back in action!

The original fridge went kaput about halfway thru the first leg of the trip.  "Absorption" refrigerators can only cool about 40 degrees below ambient temperature so it was never that reliable to begin with and really too big for our purposes anyway.  We got along fine with a cooler after it quit but the ice was a hassle and messy.

Once I removed it I was left with this huge space!  I built a box at the bottom... 

...that's accessible outside from the old fridge's service door and made the space into a storage box for tools, extension cord, etc.

Once again, Craigslist to the rescue.  Found this little chest fridge/freezer to replace the original.  I made a drawer so it slides out with some 100lb drawer slides and scrap lumber.  Crude but effective.

Cleaned it up and painted it black.  This smaller fridge will hopefully work better for us since it's a smaller chest design and features much more insulation.  Unfortunately, there's no option to run it on propane because it's a compressor fridge, but it will run on 12-volt or 110-volt.
We gained a lot of storage too, there's another cubby right under the fridge drawer.

The distributor distributes the spark to each of the engine's six spark plugs and this one was no longer doing that very well.

If I wasn't convinced before, this pretty much proves that LeTigre runs on love and good vibes.  This is the old distributor, which was fried, but the van still ran!  She was a little hick-upy on occasion and it was suggested by a mechanic friend in Canada (Hey Brad!!) that a new distributor would be a good idea.  When I took off the cap, a bunch of metallic dust... and a spring.... fell out.  You can't see it in this photo but the center electrode (for the coil) inside the distributor cap was gone!

In with the new!
It's so pretty, shame to cover it up...

I called all over town and had no problem finding a replacement but they were all re-manufactured (not new) and didn't include the distributor cap and rotor.  I found this brand new one on the webernet for $108, with cap and rotor and no charge for shipping!

Down the hatch!

LeTigre is tuned up and running smoother than ever!

Last project was to re-configure our bike rack.  It also secures the spare tire, which was held on with a cable lock for most of the trip since the original mount broke back in Glacier N.P.
That's another story...

It holds two bikes and there's no longer a need to remove the front wheel to mount them which will save some hassle and hopefully we'll use them more.  I also picked up a couple of cheap 7-speed cruiser bikes off Craigslist.  Nothing fancy since they'll spend all their time in the elements.

A few more minor tweaks and we're ready to go!

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