Operation Mighty Mite Miracle

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ODFever

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Front cap installed. More than a dozen fasteners aligned and tightened. Skid plate on. Front end wired and headlights working. Well, one bulb was bad and had to be replaced. The horn works. :clinto:
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ODFever

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She is THRILLED!!!! Jeannie might be home in time for her to be in the July 4th Parade. If not, we will definitely have her home in time for the Veterans Parade. :)
 

ODFever

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The latest update from Doc:

This has been a VERY HOT HUMID summer with A LOT of rain, which makes any progress on the Mite exponentially harder. The average temperature is 95, and the heat index hovers around 110. Doc spent hours fighting with the master cylinder. He bled the brakes out 8 times. The MC still kept intermittently losing pressure. I suggested he pull it and ship it back to Bensinger. He's waiting for it to get rebuilt. Again.
auaauaaua
Doc still has to rebuild and install the NOS HMMWV seat belts I bought for him. Brand new never opened lap belts. Broken return springs. aua
Fortunately, he has the parts to fix it but the repair required gutting the tensioner. Ugh. Seems like no repair to this vehicle goes unpunished (to paraphrase a common Murphy's Law principle).

The good news? The engine starts FAST, even when cold! He has the carburetor functioning flawlessly. :)
 

Tracer

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The latest update from Doc:

This has been a VERY HOT HUMID summer with A LOT of rain, which makes any progress on the Mite exponentially harder. The average temperature is 95, and the heat index hovers around 110. Doc spent hours fighting with the master cylinder. He bled the brakes out 8 times. The MC still kept intermittently losing pressure. I suggested he pull it and ship it back to Bensinger. He's waiting for it to get rebuilt. Again.
auaauaaua
Doc still has to rebuild and install the NOS HMMWV seat belts I bought for him. Brand new never opened lap belts. Broken return springs. aua
Fortunately, he has the parts to fix it but the repair required gutting the tensioner. Ugh. Seems like no repair to this vehicle goes unpunished (to paraphrase a common Murphy's Law principle).

The good news? The engine starts FAST, even when cold! He has the carburetor functioning flawlessly. :)
Look back at what you had at the beginning of this thread. Your Mighty Mite has gone from a sows ear to a silk purse! :goodjob:
 

ODFever

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Thanks, Tracer. It's all for my wife. She chose to love me, for better or for worse. She puts up with A LOT. OD Fever is a SERIOUS illness, and the ramifications stretch far beyond the vehicles and parts in the garage. :cookoo: Having her precious Mite rebuilt is the least I can do to show her how much I love her, and how grateful I am to be married to an angel that loves OD Iron!!
 

ODFever

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I talked to Doc last week. Bensinger sent the master cylinder back to him. He installed it and used a power bleeder. The pedal was still a bit low and spongy, so he had a friend come by and manually bleed it out.
The punch list:
- Doc discovered a hesitation on acceleration. He wants to determine the cause and find a solution.
- Front end alignment.
- Install the seat belts.
- Install a Battery Tender 022-0158-1 Waterproof 24 Volt Power Tender Plus Battery Charger.
- Confirm proper functionality and reliability of all systems.

That's about all I can remember from our conversation. :)
 

ODFever

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I like the way you think, Ahab! :) She really wants the Mite completed for the Orlando Veterans Day Parade. My concern is Doc's health. I really don't want to push him too hard. He is still recovering from Hurricane Irma, as am I.

The hurricane knocked over 6 HUGE trees on his property. He burned through 3 chainsaw blades, a boatload of fuel, and a bunch of bar chain oil. He started working on the Mite last week because he needed a break from cutting trees, raking debris, and hauling stuff to the street for pickup.
 

TNriverjet

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OD, I just found this thread and skimmed over (meaning looked at all photos). What a labor of love. Both for your wife and the 'mite! Thanks for detailing this restoration. I'm sure you and Doc will get it handled. Even if not in time for Veteran's Day, it will be done right! That is a lasting gift that will be available on many Independence Days and Veteran's Days to come.
 

ODFever

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Thanks TNriverjet. Unfortunately, Jeannie won't be ready for Memorial Day. :-( My wife is sad but she understands.

I talked to Doc on Saturday night and got another update. He took the carburetor off of his Mite and installed it on Jeannie. She ran perfectly. He plans on tearing the carb apart one last time to find the issue. If the problem persists he will either use the NOS carb I gave him, or I'll order a replacement. A 1960 Falcon Holley downdraft will work, with a few modifications.

The good:
She starts FAST. The engine rolls over twice and she fires right up!!! :clinto: :jumpin:
There are zero problems with fuel delivery. All of the new fuel lines are holding. Doc's fuel pump rebuild works flawlessly!!! :)
He installed the seat belts. :)
Every shift is clean and crisp.

The not-so-good:
The brake pedal is still low. He has to figure out that issue.
She might need a new clutch, pressure plate, and throwout bearing. If she does, we will have to remove the front clip, disconnect and remove the entire power pack (engine, transmission, transfer case), and replace the worn out components. At that point we will start another 'might as well' list. Might as well check everything else while we have the power pack out. auaauaauaaua
There's a part of me that wants to bite the bullet and :grd:. There's another part of me that hopes the clutch is OK. It could be a HUGE can of worms.
 

ODFever

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It’s been about 1.5 years since I’ve seen the Mite. Life has thrown countless curve balls, which have gotten in the way of my journey to turn wrenches. This past Friday I headed to Doc’s vehicular hospital to work on the her. We spent all day Friday and Saturday in surgery.

The first step was a quick test drive. My first impression – W O W! Doc has busted his buns to get her in this shape! I’ve posted pictures of his progress. I regret to say that pictures do not do it justice, and do not tell the whole story. You must see it to believe it. Doc is a master craftsman, artist, and mechanic. He has worked miracles. He works wonders with his hands. I am in awe of his skills.

The engine sounds like a cross between a Singer sewing machine and an air-cooled VW flat four. Music to my ears!!!! The rear brakes are AWESOME. The fronts don’t work – more on that later. Shifting is crisp, clean, smooth, and flawless. The clutch is in very bad shape; it kept slipping.

After the test drive I was speechless. Words completely escaped me. I could not believe what I had just experienced. I was on the verge of tears when we parked her in the operating room and prepped her for surgery. I dropped off a basket case in July of 2016. He has fixed so many problems and brought her to the point where she is now. Flawless in so many ways. He is righting the wrongs from other hands, and creating a masterpiece one bolt at a time.
 

ODFever

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Prepping her for surgery involved dealing with Mother Nature. A cold front swept through, bringing LOTS of rain. That left us limited room in the OR, and unable to work in the driveway. We pulled the front clip. I took pictures before we started, and after we pulled it loose.

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ODFever

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We removed the transmission and transfer case covers to access the bell housing bolts and motor mounts.

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ODFever

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We removed the starter, generator, cables, fuel line, electrical and sensor connections. We removed the bolts from the bell housing and the front motor mount. We successfully removed the engine from the bell housing, transmission, and transfer case!!!
:) [thumbzup] :jumpin: :clinto: 8)

Daryl Bensinger was unsure if this was possible. We proved that it is! I took lots of pictures, some of which may appear to be duplicates. I'm VERY proud of our accomplishment!!
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ODFever

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The clutch is completely shot. It's worn down to the rivets. The flywheel has streaks of copper embedded in it from the rubbing rivets. The back of the engine was covered in oil. We think it's from a pinched fitting on the top of the engine, just below the distributor. The bell housing, inside and outside, was bathed in oil and filth. The front differential is gross. We checked the clutch arm and discovered that it was loose. Time to remove it and check it out.

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ODFever

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We removed the pressure plate, clutch plate, and flywheel. Thankfully the flywheel is is good shape. It needs to be cut, but there are no cracks or broken teeth. It quickly became apparent to us that this is the factory clutch, and has not seen the light of day since late 1960!
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It took Doc a while to scrub the crap off of the flywheel, bell housing, and the back of the engine.
The bell housing is shot. We didn’t see a sleeve bearing. The hole is oval shaped. The rod is worn down. I suspect that the factory didn’t install a sleeve bearing, which led to the problems. UGH!!!
auaauaauaauaaua
I called Daryl and asked him if he had a replacement bell housing. He will start hunting for one.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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ODFever

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We pulled the oil pan. Doc cleaned it. Thankfully it's in good shape. Doc repaired a hole in the pan a while ago and painted over it. I think there's a picture of that repair earlier in this thread, but can't remember. We replaced the oil pan gasket and reinstalled. I didn't take any pictures of the oil pan. There's a welded baffle in the top of it. The bottom is contour shaped to match the top of the differential.
 

ODFever

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This data plate is on the side of the engine. The only way to access it is to pull the engine out.
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Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

ODFever

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My wife wants safety straps installed on the driver and passenger side. I spent some time staring at the Mite, trying to figure out how to install straps that would be functional but not require drilling any holes. I wanted a solution that would be easy to use, easy to adjust, and military.

A few months ago I found a bunch of straps in a dumpster at work. They came off of some military device, not sure what. A coworker volunteered to dumpster dive for me. He pulled out as many of the straps as he could grab without sliding deep into the dumpster!!! I brought the straps and buckles with me, and I'm glad I did! There are two sizes - a large and a small. The large one was too big to fit behind the seats. The small one was perfect and already had a hook on the end. I measured the opening from the windshield to behind the seats - about 36". the strap is about 4 feet. Doc suggested we cut the straps off of the buckle, melt them, feed them through the teeth, and mount the buckles to the body behind the seats. I test fit his idea using a vise grip. It worked perfectly!! The teeth grip on one direction, and allow the strap to be pulled through on the other direction. We cut the straps off of two buckles. Doc drilled a 1/4" hole through the buckles and painted them. We mounted the passenger side buckle to the Mite. We ran out of time to install the driver side.

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I plan on installing a 3.5” eye bolt in place of one of the bolts that holds the windshield. The windshield bolt is fine thread. Most eye bolts are coarse thread. I have to find eye bolts that have the same thread. The installation will be clean.

Usage is easy. Push down on the strap release to loosen, pull it through just enough to unhook it. To tighten, simply pull the strap towards the rear of the vehicle. It stays tight because the teeth are nice and sharp!
 
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