Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Never Time To Do It Right, Always Time To Do It Over.

In the past, when a project that should have been something like A then B then C eventually came to include D then E then F, I'd sort of file that away in my brain somewhere under "that irritating jackass of a thing really got out of hand," or in the "things that are mostly a bunch of hooey" files. The trouble with this, if your brain is as rigidly organized and neatly laid out as my own is that the vagaries of labeling events thusly leads, counterintuitively, to a lack of organization, which in turn makes it harder to remember what went badly and what you might wish to avoid next time around.

For years, I considered these scenarios as 'times that things got out of hand because one small problem unearthed another, larger problem that simply had to be addressed.' Like you need new tires because your old ones are worn, and at the tire store you learn that your control arm bushings are shot and that's not only worn out your tires but has also led to other issues that make the car less than safe.

Another kind of problem for the homeschooled wrencher is making a simple mistake that leads to a much larger problem than you were trying to solve in the first place. (HINT.)

A really simple example of this would be forgetting the drain plug in the middle of an oil change. The first time you do it, you think 'whoa. I'll never do that again,' and the lesson sticks for a while. The second time, you think 'whoa dammit crap! I'll never EVER do that again,' and the lesson sticks a whole lot longer. If you're lucky, you remembered to add oil and you made a mess and you noticed this before you tried to start the car. If you're not, you didn't, and then you learned about replacing main and rod bearings and stuff.

For the record, I've never forgotten the oil drain plug. That's just an example.

My problem (one of them - there's lots) is that for a long time, I collapsed both kinds of issues into one vague description or another and failed to identify them by using accurate and tidy and neat labels that would allow my brain to fetch the appropriate file when a similar threatening opportunity presented itself in the future. Overall, one kind of problem is self caused and generally the result of making a mistake. Stupid mistake or smart mistake, it doesn't matter. Mistake.

The other kind of issue has nothing to do with the perpetrator user but is the result of How Stuff Is. That's the 'fixing one thing uncovers other, important things that must be addressed.' I lamented this phenomenon and it wasn't until I'd been its frequent victim for more than a decade that my good friend Phil shared with me its correct label: Scope Creep.

Having a name for the thing made the thing less scary. But not less aggravating. I don't yet know the proper name for the other kind of problem - the one that arises as a result of my own ignorance or oversight or mistake, so things that happen in this realm are still relegated to either the "irritating jackass" or "bunch of hooey" files.

Few things offer as many rich opportunities to revisit my mental acuity or sanity [or lack of same] as effectively as an old car. My current quandary is twofold: (1) the car is (2) driving me crazy. So I have to address the car thing and then I can address the crazy thing. But the crazy thing calls for identifying which of the car factors are the result of Scope Creep (which I cannot control and ought not be bothered by) and which are caused by My Own Shortcomings.

The most likely approach to these irritants will be the same it's always been. Make the car work right, tell myself I'll remember the lessons this time around (both those related to factors I can and cannot influence), and end up with little more than a vague recollection of how I got there. And really, that's for the best. All this philosphicalness overthinking really does is take up a bunch of what little RAM might still exist in the grey matter. All that really matters can be boiled down into a simple question: Is it fixed, or isn't it?

So let's get on with it already.

The weird thing about this whole project is that all the stuff that I'd never done before is working nicely. And all the stuff that's been done from scratch is working nicely. Converting the cooling system is a cool project on its own, and it's nice that nothing went badly. Ditto adding the oil cooler. And the Crane Ignition. And all the new wiring and the new fusebox and the new warning lights and the new rear facing aux lights. All those things went perfectly. And the brakes, which are exactly like the brakes on the 40 or 50 different cars I've dealt with in the past, continue to give me achy brains.

After the last installment, I took the car out to run a bunch of errands around town only to find that once I was as far away from home as I was going to get, that they were sticking again. Sticking. Again. Very sticking. Very frustrating.

I did the sensible thing. I bought a pair of new, not rebuilt but brand new, front calipers. And thinking that 'new is better than old,' I got some new braided stainless flex lines to go with them:

... the really cool thing about these is that they're available off the shelf and were instantly available. Calipers came via iRoll Motors, and the lines were in stock at Oil Filter Service here in Portland. Both lines, plus some cool adapters that connect to the hardlines on the car, plus some 45 degree fittings (which I didn't end up needing) set me back about $60. That seemed like a great deal.
Especially cool are the adapters. They secure to the hardlines as normal, but to fully seal them up with the flex line requires 'hand tight plus 1/8th of a turn.' The flex lines will be really easy to remove if I ever the next time I have to.
And because it was apart, this was the obvious time to mount the Terratrip Wheel Probes. A Terratrip is a rally computer that has a really accurate speedometer, a couple stopwatches that can count up or down and are resettable on the fly, tracks average speed, current speed, top speed and distance in either miles or kilometers. Super trick gizmo:
Crappy glare photo courtesy of the author.

The probes are supposed to fit behind the wheel studs, so that as you drive along, they can smell or see each stud as it passes by. The acceptable range is 1-1.75mm (that's small, for those of you not keen on the metric system). The backing plate is too far away to just drill a hole and screw the probe into place, so we needed some kind of bracket. And what could be more fun than putting errant bits of hardware behind your brake rotors?
This is the target distance, roughly:

... and this is how far the probe has to be from the backing plate:

I found some brackets in the Culch Heap and played with a hammer and vise and drill:

Culch Heap: spare parts collection made up partly of actual spare parts and other things that might become spare parts. I learned this from George Downs, who was one of the very best among us.

Odd bracket as found on right, as modified on left.
 The bracket goes onto the backing plate, courtesy of an existing allen head bolt. Then it gets more bent and twisted so the probe will line up with the wheel studs:

Without probe.
A little hole in the backing plate allows the wire to pass through:

Probe in place. For now, anyway.
 ... and then all the brake stuff goes back on. There is no need to discuss this because we've already spent way too much time on it. Presto:

Last time I made the dumb mistake took the honorable path and said something about full disclosure. Now that there's a precedent for that, I probably have to continue though the truth is that I'd like to avoid it, because this next part is embarrassing and has likely cost a lot of money.

There's a circlip in the end of the master cylinder. They all have them. Yours does too. And there's a little groove into which that circlip fits. And I'd removed my circlip when I received my new Wilwood master cylinder so that I could futz with the thing, and when I put it back into the cylinder, up under the dash with bad lighting, I placed the circlip further inside the master cylinder than the groove dictates.

This means that, though the pushrod wasn't preloading the master cylinder (I'd checked this more than once), that the circlip was doing exactly that. I'd think that the pressure that seemed to be building up in the system would have popped it outward (either into the groove, which would be sweet; or onto the floor of the car, which would be horrible) but it didn't.

Bottom line: I think I rebuilt the rear calipers and replaced the front calipers and lines all because I'd incorrectly installed the circlip, which I didn't need to remove in the first place. The very good news (and I really do mean this) is that other than the rotors, the brake system in this car is as new as it can be. That's absolutely the smart thing to do.

I drove the car around a little, and the brakes aren't sticking even a tiny bit. I'm cautious about it, though, because that happened once before and it didn't get really apparent until I'd taken a longer drive. I'll be doing that next. And assuming this attempt is successful, I'm going to drive the car every chance I get.

Next time, we'll see what kind of things I can screw up as I try to install the Terratrip. Sheesh.

Cheers -

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Them's the Brakes. And the Breaks.

Okay, full disclosure. Cars like this old Volvo use a panhard rod, or panhard bar, to ensure that the body remains above the rear axle while driving around corners. But as I mentioned a while ago, the new axle for this old Volvo came with a panhard rod bracket that was located on the passenger side of the axle. The original axle had its bracket on the driver's side.
Of course, this means that we had to move the bracket from where it was over to where it would actually do something other than look funny. And my welder is a cute little 110 mig which, though terrific for all the light duty stuff I've had to do so far, just isn't burly enough to secure the bracket to the axle. Well - it could secure the bracket, but it likely wouldn't hold up to the forces of the .9G corners we'll be navigating every three tenths of a second from now 'til eternity.
Anyway, we got to the point that the car was completely ready to be driven except that it didn't have a panhard rod  and I was just too excited about everything, so (full disclosure is now)I drove it up and down the street a number of times to see what it's like to drive with all that new stuff fitted between the bottom of the car and the surface of the road. Everything I've done thus far has been geared toward making the car do better in corners than it used to, and here I was driving in straight lines, making U turns at .05 mph at either end of the street.
It's not for me to say what others should or shouldn't do. I will say, though, that it isn't likely safe nor smart to drive a car that's absent a critical suspension component. Nor one that's lacking the seatbelt anchor typically found atop the transmission tunnel.
At the first opportunity, I made an appointment with a local fellow who likes Volvos, owns a big macho welder, and happens to also have a truck and trailer suitable for moving things like cars around. When the day finally came, the old Volvo rolled out of the garage, and then my young son saw it sitting there. Something that's the same color as his Radio Flyer ('Drop Your Shorts Red,' I believe it's called). With shiny stuff and handles. He opened the door himself and climbed into the driver seat. Himself. Where there were more shiny things and handles.
Certainly, this interest will turn out well in years to come.
Getting the bambino out of the car was unpleasant for everyone but we managed that, and then drove the car up onto the trailer. I've mentioned the need for ground clearance in this car, and while loading it onto the trailer, I demonstrated that it needs more of that before we go to Mexico. I did this by banging the muffler - HARD - against the edge of the trailer and tearing not one, but two holes in the thing. The muffler, not the trailer. This did not, alas, result in a more race car sounding exhaust.
Apocalypse Cider Secret Volvo Lair, with right hand drive 123GT, a 122 and a 242T in attendance.
I figured it'd take about an hour to weld the bracket onto the axle and that I'd be home in time for lunch. My beloved bride had already told me that she knew I'd be gone most of the day, which I enthusiastically denied, mostly because I like spending my Sundays with her and our son. More of that "if I wish hard enough, maybe reality will surrender to my whim" thing I do.

She was exactly right [again].

Once we had the car on stands and everything lined up the way we wanted, it was obvious that we needed  a spacer between the panhard bracket and the axle. The brackets have to be the right distance apart, and they also have to be aligned so that when the panhard bar itself is in place that nothing is torqued against a bushing or wedged or compressed against anything and you can get things apart and back together again without a lot of fuss. What you want need, basically, is to have Zero Load (in any direction) on the panhard rod while the car is sitting prone on its suspension. Or maybe I should call it Zero Preload. Whatever.

For those of you interested in tuning archaic suspensions, you can change the roll center of the car by moving the ends of the panhard rod up or down (this, in turn, moves the center of the bar up or down, which is what really makes it all happen. Sort of. I'm paraphrasing.) I considered this, and then chose to not modify the panhard arrangement beyond the design limitations of the car as it was and the axle as it was. The original PV panhard bracket locates the axle end of the bar a couple inches higher than the one we're using, so the bar is lower than it used to be - but that's just how it worked out and not a calculated placement. The car, the panhard rod and the roll center are all somewhat lower now than before, and that will be just fine. And if it isn't fine, we can change it later. But for now, the task was 'getting the thing on the car.' And really, I don't tune suspensions to that degree. So far.

We had to move the axle bracket 1/2" aft. That's too much to build up with a gobby bunch of welding slag, and whatever we were to use for a spacer needed (and still needs) to be extremely stout.

Chris brought over his welding cart, and I immediately understood why he'd mentioned that it would be simpler to bring my car to his place than his welder to mine.  The monstrosity berthed in his shop makes my welder look like a toaster. And the cart also carries a plasma cutter, which might be the coolest thing ever. He found a piece of steel pipe that had an ID that matched the axle's OD and was - most excellently - 1/2" thick. After running that through a horizontal band saw and then a chop saw and then some plasma cutting, he'd made exactly the spacer that the car needed. And then with the welder they once used to build the Death Star, he welded the bracket onto that.

Plasma cutting.

You might think this is not pretty. I might vehemently disagree.
 ... and once those pieces became one, the axle received its new panhard rod bracket:

The gas tank isn't in the car, if that's what you're wondering.
Because I frequently come up short in the sensibility arena had no reason to think the car was anything other than ready for the road, we put the gas tank back in, added some fuel, and I drove away. The roads between Chris' house and my own are deliciously full of twists and turns, and I was beyond eager to see how the car felt. Unfortunately, I immediately found myself behind the Slowest Guy On Earth, who was sleeping behind the wheel while  towing his boat and trailer from somewhere lousy to somewhere even lousier. Cornelius Pass Road is perfect at 40 or 50 mph, and the speed limit is a reasonable 45. We kept our speed between 10 and 25 mph. I'm not kidding. I was downshifting into first for some of the corners, and never got into third until we emerged out of the forest and into the farmland where the road straightens out and becomes less interesting. But the car felt great. Steering and ride quality are, so far, the best they've ever been in this old PV since I've owned it. I ran over all the potholes on purpose just to feel the bumps; and I wiggled the steering wheel back and forth a whole lot just to enjoy the instant changes in trajectory without the slightest hint of body roll. Not that there's a lot of body roll at 13mph. But still.

I'd been using the brakes a lot while not running into this silly boat, and right about the time the road opened up, I could feel something (like brakes) slowing the car down. I'd wanted to give the rears another round of bleeding but hadn't yet done so, and though the pedal felt just a little bit spongy, the brakes - overbuilt for a car 1000lbs heavier - had no trouble putting a stop to things. They were safe, just not perfect.

Eventually, the sticking brakes were stronger than the B18 engine in 4th gear. Then 3rd got laborious. Then we stopped at the side of the road. Stopping was easy - I just took my foot off the gas pedal and watched smoke roiling out of the wheelwells as the car came to a halt. I thought about the fire extinguisher that was back at the house. After a 20 minute cool down, everything freed up again and I drove home like normal, cruising highway 26 at a smooth 4500rpms.

Given that the brakes had been fine until they got some heat (from braking, presumably), I figured that there must still be air in the lines or - more likely - in the calipers. When air gets hot, it expands, which then pressurizes the brake system (which is what makes brakes act like brakes), and the pads push against the rotors, which causes drag, and the drag causes more heat, and the additional heat leads to the air further expanding. This isn't what always happens with ineffectively bled brakes, but it happens often enough that even I know about it.

What didn't match with my brilliant theory was that both the rear AND the front brakes were dragging. The rears were the ones that needed another round of bleeding, while the fronts, I was certain, were fully and effectively and properly bled. But the front brakes were also sticking. Poop.

I called the tech support line at Wilwood. I like to pretend I'm super smart about old Volvos and brakes and stuff, which means none of their PhD engineer braniacs could possibly know more than a slouch grey haired ex punk kid whose automotive professional history includes breaking a lot of things and taking a lot of cars apart.

Justin answered Wilwood's phone, and as soon as I shared my 'not bled right' theory with him, he cut right to the chase. The master cylinder I'd bought contains what are called "Residual Pressure Valves" in both braking circuits, and the ones I have are rated for 10psi. These are very good things for drum brakes - so good that even in the Bone Age when the car was built the first time, the original PV master cylinders all came with valves such as these. If this blog was about converting front drums to disks, I'd have already talked about taking the valve out of the original equipment PV master cylinder. Because if you don't, your front brakes will drag. Disk brakes (like those in this 444) don't need 10psi residual pressure valves. They need no residual pressure valves whatsoever. If you feel the need, you can use a 2psi valve in each circuit. I feel no such need.

It had not occurred to me - nor the person who wrote the instructions - that this fancy new master cylinder might happen to have such things installed. I'd assumed that anyone cool enough to use a master such as this was already cool enough to be using disk brakes all around. Whups.

Those little black things and the springs above them have to come out.
About the time I'd finished putting things back together, Peter showed up to help bleed the brakes for the hundredth time. We did that, then went for a quick drive and I was happy to find that the brakes feel like brakes, and that (at least so far) they aren't sticking.

But the horrible "chuff chuff flutter chuff" leaky exhaust sound coming from directly under the floor was getting worse the more I drove, and I realized it would drive me completely crazy within a few days minutes. Besides which, it was making a car that's supposed to be all kinds of badass sound like a clapped out piece of neglected crap car instead of the requisite all kinds of badass we're after. It also filled the cabin with stinky fumes and made my eyes burn, which probably isn't good.

Because I didn't want to spend a lot for an exhaust that's essentially a temporary piece, I went to the local Baxter's (FLAPS - Friendly Local Auto Parts Store) and picked out a 45 degree bend and a cheap copy of the old school Cherry Bomb Glasspack muffler. The exhaust now exits in front of the right rear tire, and does exactly what it's supposed to: barely quiets the engine. I won't recommend this for a daily driver passenger car kind of thing but it suits this old Volvo's purposes nicely. And if I break it like I did the last one, I'll only be out $30 instead of the $225 I paid for the custom fab piece that's now destined for the recycle bin.

Now that the car is, other than these frequent teething pains, roadworthy, I'll be driving it whenever I have somewhere to go (unless the kiddo is coming along). I know that there'll be more adjusting and tuning and tweaking along the way - that's how it always is with something like this - but mostly, I'm really looking forward to Phase Two. That'll be the part where the interior (which is perfect and oem and for sale) gets removed and we go about installing things like a roll cage, proper seats and belts, a fire system and fuel cell. Unless something goes really sideways, I think this is just going to keep getting more fun.

'til then.

Thanks --

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Belay My Last.

... or maybe not. The last thing I was crowing about was that the old Volvo now runs and drives; and yesterday I dared to find out if it would run and drive further than 100 yards from the relative safety of the garage. Which it most certainly did do, and I had a fine time zipping down to the post office, then stopping on the way home for a tasty celebratory hop soda.
The part that wasn't awesome was that I could feel the brakes dragging a bit. Not a whole lot, but a bit. Our driveway has a mild incline to it, and the car would roll down that, so I convinced myself that the brakes were just bedding in and that once the new pads became familiar with the old rotors and calipers that all would be well.
Trouble is that I usually know better than that. This was the kind of hoping one does when one does not wish to undo a fair amount of already accomplished labor. Like maybe if I'm nice to strangers and I really really hope that this one time I have a car with dragging brakes things will turn out completely different than the several other times I've had cars with dragging brakes. I was in denial.
To support my denial, I thought about what else might cause both rear brakes to stick while the front brakes were working exactly the way I wanted. I thought about the dual master cylinder and what might make one circuit not work properly; I thought about the proportioning valve and whether it might have some internal flaw, and I thought about some errant piece of debris that may have found its way into the brakeline - somewhere upstream of the T fitting - and was now acting as something of a valve and was preventing the release of brake fluid away from the calipers.
Then I did the thing you should never do when you have a symptom of any kind. I looked at google.
First thing was to remove the brake pedal actuating rod from the master cylinder to ensure that nothing was possibly activating the master. Wheels were still stuck. Next, I removed the flex line that connects the hardline on the belly of the car to the T on the rear axle. No change. Then off came the T fitting itself:
These look better on the car than on the floor.
Of course, because I've got racecar on the brain, I'd used the fancy (that is, not particularly affordable) ATE Blue Racing Brake Fluid Suitable For Rockets in the brake system. It's a very nice color and if it didn't feel like watching money burn I might not have minded seeing it drain into a pan under the car. I don't believe it's wise to reuse brake fluid. Even if it came out of a new container and went into a new system and then drained into a clean glass pan. Phooey.
I still couldn't turn the rear wheels by hand. Just to be absolutely certain that there wasn't a clog in the line, I applied pressure to the brake pedal. A LOT of fancy expensive even-stops-the-space-shuttle brake fluid squirted out. It isn't blocked. The good news is that I don't have to replace a brakeline nor the proportioning valve.
The crappy news is that I get to rebuild the rear calipers. I really don't like doing this. Mostly because it means dealing with gross old brake fluid and rusty crap that's hard to take apart. I'd be happy to bolt on some freshly rebuilt calipers, though, so I called Mike Dudek at iRoll Motors to see what he had on hand. The supply seems to be flush with right hand calipers, yet void of lefts. Or maybe I've got it backward. But the point is that one side is easy to find and the other is not. iRoll will rebuild your calipers for you if you like, or they can sell you rebuild kits and you can deal with the mess yourself.
I chose the latter, as that way I have to wait only for the kits to be delivered before I can get busy putting the stuff back together instead of waiting while parts are shipped from here to there and back. I made this decision before I relearned how yucky old calipers are. If you have to get this done, send 'em in.
These came off:

... after removing one of the dust covers, I found it to be full of little rust crumblies. Hard to tell on a wood bench, but that dusty stuff in the middle of the pic is a sample of the offensive material:

Recurrent theme: there's a smart way to remove the pistons, and there's the way I went about it. The smart way is to leave the calipers on the car and use the force of the brakes to push the pistons partway out of their bores within the caliper. But I was so busy wishing reality would bend to my whim (I do that a lot. It never works.) that I'd disabled the brake system and it didn't seem worth the trouble to put it all back together just so I could take it apart again.
Three of the four pistons came out pretty easily. The last one, though, did not. A self tapping screw into the center of the piston provided something to pry against, and a torch helped loosen things up. Good news: neither the old brake fluid nor the penetrating oil appears to be particularly flammable [Do NOT attempt to verify my findings! No no no!]. This one took twice as long as the other three combined:

There's that self tapping screw. DON'T try this at home. Do not.

After the pistons come out, the O-rings can come out. That part's easy. The thing that annoyed me is that they all look pretty good. And the pistons, which I expected to be covered in rust, also really look pretty good (not counting the ends that I abused with vise grips and similar horrible stuff).
Those are the 0-rings on the left. Inside the silver cylinder, there's a little groove into which one fits.

 ... and they're apart:

... and though they don't look much different, the bores are now nice and clean and the passages are clear and the grooves are without rust or debris:

For posterity, I guess, I'm including a pic of one of the hardlines from the rear axle. It's just a dang brakeline. But to see it lying on the floor, unloved, and draining $16 a quart fluid onto the ground makes a statement about where we are in the overall process of Pretending To Build A Racecar.

The rebuild kits are en route, and most of the rest of the car is where it needs to be for initial road testing; so once I can get the calipers back together and on the car, we should be back in business.

Parts sourced for this installment were ordered from iRoll Motors. An excellent resource for the vintage Volvo owner: http://www.irollmotors.com/

Next week: calipers go together so beautifully that we all weep a little and the car assembles itself like that super badass liquid metal dude in Terminator 2.

'til then --

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Milestone. At last.

It's funny, how a project like this progresses [or doesn't].
Wait a second. I think that's been my opening line just about every time I post anything. My creativity seems to have wandered off...
When the task is something like "cut all the little metal things off the big metal thing" or "take all of that stuff out/off/away by any means necessary," things move along really quickly. When it gets down to the "make sure this is exactly the way it has to be given a broad range of criteria," the whole thing slows down. A bunch.
There's no obvious reason for this It's really my own fault. The whole wiring thing I talked about earlier is a good example. There are really smart people who go about wiring a car in a really smart way. Make a template with clothesline, hang it up on pegboard or lay it on the ground, then go about placing all the wires the car will need on the template until there aren't any more wires, and presto! Wiring harness ready to install.
I don't do it like that. My approach is better described as 'Add each individual wire to the car one at a time until everything is connected up.' This ensures that I get maximum Upside Down Under the Dashboard time, accompanied by the requisite Dropping Crap In Your Eyeballs ritual. It doesn't matter how clean you make the inside of an almost 60 year old car. Crap falls into your eyeballs pretty much the whole time. It's also a good way to exercise your back muscles, as whenever you're not bent in half the wrong way with eyes full of debris, you're leaning waaaaay over the other way. Automotive Yoga.
The good thing about wiring my way instead of the smart way is that you can ensure that wires don't twist around one another and that they all lay nice and parallel. Wires that twist around one another look untidy and really bug me. Though I can't see them, wires that twist around one another inside a piece of sleeve also really bug me.
I finally managed to get the front brakes bled with the help of my good friend Peter. I'd managed to use a vacuum pump to get fluid to the rear calipers (much to my surprise) but this method plain Did Not Work for the fronts. The fronts and rears are on separate circuits, and given that the original format for the 140 series brakes that we're using made use of proportioning valves, we put one of those into the car, aside the transmission tunnel and in easy reach of the pilot:
If you do this, you might drill the holes a little further from the valve. It'll be a lot easier to bend the lines and get the fittings connected up than the it is with the sharp-ish bends demonstrated here.

Something I'd completely forgotten sensibly postponed was a method of keeping the hood closed. In its original form (with hinges up front), you could forget to latch it and drive all over town and not realize that the hood wasn't secured for days. With the hinges aft, though, this seems less likely. And though I have a couple spare hoods, none of them is the right color. So I don't want this one to fly open and bang into the forward end of the roof.

For LCP (and just about every other sanctioned race type event), hood pins are required. Even if you have the stock latch in place (which of course, I do not). Many cars have pretty flat hoods that rest on top of pretty flat other things, so it's pretty simple to drill some holes and thread nuts onto the pins. The pins are pretty much headless bolts with a little hole through one end. Dead simple.

Originally, I'd planned to weld the pins to the forward structure of the roll cage, which would put the pins right up through the hood (which is the idea). But the cage is a few weeks out yet, and I want absolutely must drive the car before then. So the plan changed.

The "X" is where I thought I'd drill. The hole above it is probably where I really did drill.
Normally, you'd have a hole with the pin through it; and nuts both on top and below the hole to keep the pin in place. The new approach didn't allow for the nut that goes on the top side of the freshly drilled hole - in this case, the pins have to be recessed, mounted below the surface of the car's skin such that the clips that fit into the pins themselves are less than 1/4" above the deck, so to speak.
Angle aluminum to the rescue (is there anything it can't do?). The pins are secured to these bits, which are then secured to the inner fender, inside the engine compartment:

 The fender welting was in the way of the scratch plate but I'm the proud owner of a utility knife.
There's another misplaced "X" on this side, too.
... and the pin is mounted below the hole, with just the end protruding:

The driver's side plate looks a little bent. Because it is. Because the fender came off a wrecked car and the center section was thoroughly reworked after some firefighters tried to pry the hood open with a big crowbar (they failed to do so but did manage to extinguish the engine fire nonetheless, thank you very much). The point is: this car has been bent many times and has been assembled using bent parts from other bent cars. Not everything lines up perfectly. It's all about the illusion.

You wouldn't have noticed this if I hadn't pointed it out.
Last step was to secure the hood such that it would then interface with the pins. These are made from a piece of a street sign:

See? Nicely hides the bent piece underneath.
... and the right hand side:

This isn't the way it's normally done. Normally, the pins would protrude up through the hood, and the scratch plates would be on the hood to protect the paint. On this car, the plates are below the metal they're supposed to secure. They might still protect the paint a little but after I'd put them onto the car I realized that they're probably not necessary at all. Wish I'd figured that out before drilling the holes to mount them and cutting the welting away. Oops.
Next thing preventing the car from being driven was its lack of clutch hydraulics. The 122 that had surrendered its pedal box also gave up its clutch line bracket, which is now welded into place on the 444. Thankfully, bleeding a clutch is a whole bunch easier than the brakes were.
Crappy picture makes it hard to see the super sweet stainless flexible clutch line. But it does highlight the used hardline complete with surface rust.
Then the oil vapor catch can found a home (but isn't yet plumbed):

The siren (you thought I was kidding) fits into the hole that used to be the fresh air intake for the now absent heater:

Testing these inside a closed garage is not recommended. Trust me.
And finally, the grille and foglight (we'll be using only one foglight) are mounted.

With the relays and switches already in place, getting these last couple bits functional was just a matter of adding a couple more wires and ending the day enjoying a few minutes of Automotive Yoga.

All that's left as far as electrical stuff goes is to install and wire up the horns (and the TerraTrip and a map light). Still have to get the panhard bracket welded onto the axle - but now the car is in a state that will allow us to trailer it to the welder's place and then drive it back home. Probably a couple weeks away.

And the milestone part: it runs and drives.

'til then. Thanks --