One of THOSE days, or the Value of Doing It Right The First Time

The weather was forecast to be nice today, so I was eager to get the motorcar out for a run on the Cotton Valley rails. Yesterday I installed my foot clutch conversion. The hardest part was drilling the hole in the tunnel for the shaft to pass through.

The hand clutch lever had a return spring which appeared to be aftermarket. I didn’t really need it on the pedal, but I didn’t have a cotter pin handy so I reinstalled the spring in the hole.

Today when I got to Fernald, the battery was low on the car, probably as a result of the excessive turntable usage yesterday while working underneath. I was forced to attempt a push-start; no fun with a cold Onan. (Memo to self: jumper cables, and charge the battery before going out.)

After multiple attempts which served to prime the carburetor, the engine finally caught. As I slammed the clutch pedal down to allow the engine to idle, my foot slipped off. The spring caused the pedal to fly through almost 270 degrees, slapping the battery switch to Off and shearing the key.

No problem. I can quickly rewire the battery to bypass the switch. The second push-start was quick and fairly easy, but now it wasn’t charging. Cutting the battery circuit with the engine running is a bad thing.

In the end, my laziness with the cotter pin cost me a blown alternator and a broken battery switch, not to mention today’s ride.

And therein lies the Value of Doing It Right The First Time. Everything’s back together and seems OK now, and the darn spring has been removed.

(Edit: Another motorcar operator pointed out that the weight of the pedal alone could be detrimental to my clutch throwout bearing. I’ve since replaced the spring with a properly-sized one, and installed a more robust battery switch. A pedal stop will be forthcoming as well.)

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