Author Topic: Starting the 1948 Sun Motor Tester resto -- (Dial-up warning) - Updated  (Read 5069 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline goodfellow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2063
  • Reputation: 364
Had a day to myself and decided to tackle the old Sun Motor Tester. First thing I saw was a date stamp on all the modules (they all were built between March and Oct. of 1948). So this unit is pretty old.

Here's what i started with



Except for some rodent crap and dead insects, the back of the unit was pretty clean. But the wires were total trash --





The first module out was the emissions unit. Like the cars of the time, All the modules run on 6V DC, so I used a 6V battery charger to power test the unit. It was intermittent -- lights flickered and the wiring was brittle. Time to disassemble the electrics and trouble shoot --







Lights Flicker -- continuously





Pretty rough -- but it can be cleaned up with lacquer thinner and some elbow grease



Here's the cover plate after a good cleaning (I don't want to paint these silk screened parts because the lettering is so delicate)



Time to separate the electronics from the frame, and throw some paint on the frame! 






Turns out that the big problem with the flicker was just a few cracked wires -- they were replaced and all is OK.



The gauges were cleaned and polished with lacquer thinner and WD-40 -- they look great!!



The frame came out nice --



Time to wire wheel the brass acorn nuts -- details are important





Bulbs were desoldered, cleaned and rewired with good quality 14ga wire.



The emission tester used a 6V impeller vac pump to draw exhaust gases into the spec tube. That black hump is the motor for the pump. It was rewired and cleaned up nice



Everything put back in palce and "buttoned up"





Lights, pump and impeller work flawlessly



The emission pump impeller resides in this housing - Knobs are polished with WD-40 and reinstalled (one knob was missing, so I'll have to hunt one up)



This one is done and workin' --   :party:
« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 10:29:37 PM by goodfellow »

Tools and Garages


Offline goodfellow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2063
  • Reputation: 364
Re: Starting the 1948 Sun Motor Tester resto -- (Dial-up warning)
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2009, 06:54:07 PM »
Next comes the frame:


Here are the castings -- rough!! But after an hour with some cleaner and 150 grit sandpaper they were ready for paint. Long  story short, here are the pices after paint.






This is the back cover panel -- it came out very nice, but i did have to hammer and dolly out some dents to make it look decent.



The just completed emissions module installed --



Next module on to fix was the vacuum and capacitor tester unit







The dial face will clean up as well as the other unit -- no large areas of corrosion.



Although it looks ominous, this is basic 1940's technology that handles the capacitor tester. It's amazing, today we can reduce all this electronic mess into the size of a matchbook --  :toothy9:

The electronics simply steps up 6V battery voltage to test circuit capacitance in the distributor condenser (aka capacitor). To do that it uses vacuum tubes as the amplifier circuit. My problem is that this sucker has a bad choke/transformer. That's bad, it's pretty rare -- because it has quite a few taps. So I'm hunting for a choke transformer. Also, the two vacuum tubes were shot -- so I'm going hunting for those as well.



Better view of the tube amp circuit --



When doing a resto on these things -- I replace old wax and paper capacitors as a matter of course. However, since it'll take some time to hunt down the tubes and transformer, I'm going to leave it as is and just replace shoddy wires and clean up the electronics with denatured alcohol and contact cleaner.





Long story short, just as in the previous module I separated the elctronics from the frame and put a nice paint job on the frame before reassemply. For reassembly, the vacuum gauge just needed a new neoprene vacuum line -- everything else looked great. Again, as before, the knobs were polished with WD-40. There was one knob nissing, but the rest turned out great.

So this is how far I got today -- completed two modules and the tester frame. I also painted the top art deco sign and will hand letter the reliefs with red paint when the entire unit is completed





I'm a bit tired from standing all day -- so it's time for an adult beverage and a good cigar!!!!  :Danceparty:


« Last Edit: January 01, 2010, 11:11:05 AM by goodfellow »

Offline rusty

  • Grumpiest Hippie
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6860
  • Reputation: 1743
Re: Starting the 1948 Sun Motor Tester resto -- (Dial-up warning)
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2009, 07:37:21 PM »
That is really looking good! When you get your period garage done it will look great in it.
Tool do job=Good tool

A 'Veteran'is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made
payable to 'The United States of America,' for an amount of 'up to, and
including his life.'

Offline TR

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 309
  • Reputation: 109
Re: Starting the 1948 Sun Motor Tester resto -- (Dial-up warning)
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 10:33:42 PM »
 "Who can take a Sun machine..put it in his hands...cover it with testing leads and paint it out of a spray can"...the GF man can!!! :lol:

Look I got the "cat" dancin' :cat:

Offline goodfellow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2063
  • Reputation: 364
Re: Starting the 1948 Sun Motor Tester resto -- (Dial-up warning) - Updated
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2009, 10:30:30 PM »
Time for " Phase II"

The next module was "a bear" -- the broken coil testing module. This thing was banged up pretty good, and a lot of dirt and corrosion managed to accumulate in the meter housing. To make matters worse, all the wires and leads were shot -- so I'll have to replace and do a heck of a lot of soldering





This was a pleasant surprise. The battery compartments still had batteries in them. They have to be at least 50 years old, because I haven't seen a Ballard battery since that time. What's amazing, is that the darn things didn't leak -- way too cool



I tested the large caps and they still were OK - surprised myself.



The bid "hump" is the coil breaker motor -- (nothing more than a condenser and a set of breaker points that are electrically driven by that motor). This tests the coil output to see if its output is within specs.



Well, the meter is shot and so is the glass.





What happened next is amazing. The meter bezel was exposed to the elements for so long, when I tried to clean it with some Windex, the oxidized paint just flaked off. This is the first time that's happened while cleaning a bezel. It's a shame, but I know a guy that has some spares -- so it's not a lost cause.



The meter "zero" adjuster was broken, so I scavanged another from an old Simpson gauge in the junk drawer. I was also able to readjust the movemnt and bend the needle straight so that the meter is working again -- that was a chore.







Done!!

Next I turnned my attention to new leads. Just a whole lot of de-soldering and re-soldering -- for over two hours (boring!!!)



I try to use shrink tubing when ever possible on these projects since the solder joints are so close together and could short.







Next, I gutted the frame and checked the rest of the electronics --



The cover plate was pretty bad, but it came out nice with some cleaning and elbow grease (before/after)





When she's all gutted, it's easier to check for bad capacitors -- this one was shot!!!

I didn't post any pics from painting the frame -- it's pretty much the same porcedure as all the previous modules



This old wax capacitor is a "monster" -- it's totally toast!!!



Sun used the best components of the time -- all caps are Cornell-Dubilier
It helps to have a good stash of capacitors and resistors on hand -- LOL



A more modern replacement -- about the 1/3 the size of that 1940's monster and also Cornell-Dubilier



Here's a tip when installing grommets in tight openings. Take the heat gun to it (or immerse in hot water for a minute) and the stiff grommet will become nice and pliable for about 30 seconds -- this makes installation of tight grommets a breeze



All new leads, wires, grommets, test clips and boots installed --





Here is the completed module back in the frame





It looks good, but hopefully I can replace the faded bezel soon.


Offline goodfellow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2063
  • Reputation: 364
Re: Starting the 1948 Sun Motor Tester resto -- (Dial-up warning) - Updated
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2009, 10:31:02 PM »
Phase II Continued --

One more module to go!



This is the dwell tach and as before - it was filled with Ballard batteries -- those must be the best batteries ever!!





This one is a a bit more "ratty" -- but the meters are in great shape



Time to test capacitors and repalce wires -- BORING!!!!



Found a bad battery connection that was "Jury rigged" with big nut on the bottom to take up the slack -- the small battery tension spring had been lost and I guess they needed to make a "field repair"



This is why I save old toner cartridge parts -- plenty of good bearings, gears and "SPRINGS". I cut a spare spring and replaced the the tension in the battery holder.





Testing caps and resistors you need a Tester -- like this old Heathkit





Long story short, after gutting and painting the frame, I replaced some wires, put on new test leads and clips, and most of the capacitors (except for two) --



The thing works -- here it's being adjusted on its "set line" -- Good to go!!! Yipeee!! Most of the big stuff is now "DONE"



It still needs some main 6V battey leads, two switches, two tubes, one transformer, and a few knobs, but the hard part is over. Here are the results from two full days of work!!

BEFORE:



AFTER:







Man, I'm tired --

« Last Edit: December 11, 2009, 08:30:03 AM by goodfellow »

Offline rusty

  • Grumpiest Hippie
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6860
  • Reputation: 1743
Re: Starting the 1948 Sun Motor Tester resto -- (Dial-up warning) - Updated
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2009, 04:16:35 PM »
Goodfellow I was looking at the Gus stories when I noticed the picture at the top of this one.

http://www.gus-stories.org/april18.htm

Looks real familiar for some reason. :happie:  :cat:
« Last Edit: December 11, 2009, 04:51:55 PM by rusty »
Tool do job=Good tool

A 'Veteran'is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made
payable to 'The United States of America,' for an amount of 'up to, and
including his life.'

Offline goodfellow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2063
  • Reputation: 364
Re: Starting the 1948 Sun Motor Tester resto -- (Dial-up warning) - Updated
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2009, 05:01:10 PM »
Great stuff -- I love those "Gus' Garage" stories.

Look at this -- someone sent me this pic of a young mechanic using a Sun Motor Tester  -- he thinks it's ca. 1959


Offline rusty

  • Grumpiest Hippie
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6860
  • Reputation: 1743
Re: Starting the 1948 Sun Motor Tester resto -- (Dial-up warning) - Updated
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2009, 07:50:39 PM »
That picture is neat! I love the old garage pictures.
I like that toolbox in the background as well.
Tool do job=Good tool

A 'Veteran'is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made
payable to 'The United States of America,' for an amount of 'up to, and
including his life.'

Offline goodfellow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2063
  • Reputation: 364
Re: Starting the 1948 Sun Motor Tester resto -- (Dial-up warning) - Updated
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2009, 02:41:51 PM »
I spent a few warm hours around the kitchen table re-lettering the cast "Sun Motor Tester" sign. I was looking for an antique look, not brand new paint. I finally managed to get my formula right -- Krylon Apple Red paint sprayed on a paper plate and then mixed with a few drops of reducer. 

The darn thing is finished -- paint wise! Still need a choke transformer, but that will come.





« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 03:38:18 PM by goodfellow »

Offline goodfellow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2063
  • Reputation: 364
Re: Starting the 1948 Sun Motor Tester resto -- (Dial-up warning) - Updated
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2009, 03:40:21 PM »
Some more vintage Sun Tester pics that were sent by my e-mail friend. Looks like 1940's, 50's, and 60's era pics.
 
I love this stuff! I know, I know -- I'm weird  :beerdrnk:
« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 03:42:45 PM by goodfellow »

Offline nicksny

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Reputation: 0
Nice job! What color/brand of paint did you use? It looks really close to the original.  :goodpost:

Offline goodfellow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2063
  • Reputation: 364
Rustoleum Hammered "Verde Green" --