Action! Take 2

Yesterday I went to move the RETROvan, put it in gear and it wouldn’t budge. I thought maybe when Brett had done the transmission work in July he forgot to reconnect the gear shift linkage or something. So I texted him and was lucky he was nearby. He checked it out and determined it was simply low on transmission fluid. He didn’t charge me for the diagnosis because I think he enjoyed checking out the project.

I had no idea how a Fluid Coupling works. Apparently there’s a turbine on the engine side and a turbine on the transmission side. There is a chamber between them that is supposed to be full of transmission fluid. When there is, the engine turbine spins the fluid and the fluid spins the transmission turbine. But when there’s no fluid, there’s no hydraulic contact between the two, hence no movement.

Two quarts of Type F automatic transmission fluid from NAPA Auto Parts did the trick. So now I know the capacity is at least four quarts, maybe five. Teach a man to fish…

I turned the RETROvan around in the driveway so the driver’s side faces the sun, and then started applying my other clapboard branding decals. Here’s some more detail on how that works:

I first measured the corners from the passenger side and made matching reference marks. Then taped the eight-foot piece of aluminum angle in place and traced a line with grease pencil. Next I removed the straightedge and carefully applied the panels. I bit the bullet and wrapped the vinyl around the gas cap area, and it worked out great.

This piece of aluminum made me think that if I ever need to replace the vinyl, I’ll mount top and bottom aluminum rails and fill them with painted wooden segments. That would make for an even more intriguing 3D clapboard.

Here I’m working around the rivets with a special plastic tool, which I call a “spooger” for no apparent reason. This leaves a carefully crafted “blister” which I then poked with a razor and hit with my Wagner heat gun and coerced into shape. The trapped air escapes through the poked hole, while the vinyl shrinks to fit and the hot adhesive does its job.

And here’s the result; a mirror-image. I’ll try to cut my fresh water inlet at the “hinge” position, similar to the shore power inlet on the opposite side.

A couple of neighbors walked by and said, “Looks great!” Made my day. My next step is to get my “scenario.com” and QR code elements over to Signs Now, after which the branding will be done for marketing and tax deduction purposes.

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