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It was a rainy day before Christmas in 2019 when Andy confessed to me that he wanted to fabricate our 1965 Clark Cortez motorhome’s air intake.
For starters, I did not know what an ‘air intake’ was and so I certainly did not understand how to create a seemingly integral vehicle part on our own. Then he said this — which single-handedly removed any dose of optimism I may have felt: “It will be easy and quick.”
Friends, if there is one lesson you should take away it is the lesson I have learned most: When it comes to any job being “easy,” that word guarantees the opposite and when it comes to any job being “quick,” go ahead and mentally prepare by tripling the estimated time because this is the way with vehicle restorations, which means this is our way, too.
Yet, Andy is in charge of our steel beast and its mechanical needs so all planning endeavors fall solely to him.
“Easy and quick?” I asked.
“Easy and quick,” he promised and so we set off to the farm, consumed in a lesson on air filters and heat shields and air intakes and fabrications and upgrades.
Here’s what I learned: Air filters ensure the air going into engines is debris-free, and intake systems guide that clean air into engines.
Thirty minutes later, my mechanical lesson was complete, along with our journey to the farm, so we hopped into our Cortez to head to the garage . . . only to discover a very substantial amount of water inside our motorhome. Water had pooled on and over our dashboard, leaked down all doors, and soaked into our ceiling’s insulation so that the panels bowed out and leaked out.
“I think we have leaks,” Andy told me and I distinctly remember telling him, “I feel as if the roof will fall in” — which it totally did on a later day when we took our beast on a test drive. Right as we moved into a turn, the ceiling panels gave way, allowing disgusting rusty rainwater to splash on top of my head . . . but that’s a story for another time.
“Let’s add it to the list,” we agreed before rejoicing in small victories — Our windshield wipers that we previously installed worked!
Because our engine was swapped, the air intake was not factory so those original engine covers — well, they apparently required two large holes cut out to allow the intake to run not inside the engine cover but on top of it. (Yep, we’ve added “new engine cover” on our list of repairs, too.)
which we are keeping because we are using the same carburetor (or, um, at least until Andy can convince me to go electronic fuel injection, which would would eliminate the carb and choke — again, another story for another time . . . possibly). Because I have essentially have no idea what I am doing, my role is often boiled down to as “cleaner” so I began cleaning the elbow.
In equally cool news, did you know the little bits of metal that chip off during machining has an actual name? It is called ‘swarf.’ Knowledge is power, my friends, so take that information and do as you will with it.
Job done, we started our Cortez . . . and the result? One engine that was massively quieter than before! I’m not gonna lie: My exhale was probably heard all the way in England because a secret fear I had is that our engine’s roar would never be quieted so knowing that this intake helped, I was hopeful moving forward that we would have an even quieter engine once a new insulated engine cover was fitted.
Yet, as Andy and I stared in awed happiness at our engine, our spirits were quickly — and literally — damped when we became more aware of the rainwater dripping in and onto our heads so there’s a huge clue about what job we bumped up next . . .
More to come on that soon!
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Interested in the parts we used for this job? Seek our Mechanical Restoration page and click on ‘Engine’ in the Mechanical Contents. If you need additional information too, leave a comment and we will do our best to help!