Variations On A Clunk

Octagon Newsletter April 1994

By Jack Baker

While driving the 'B' on a trip to Portland, two years ago, I noted a clunk from the rear, as if bottom was being hit. This only occurred on sharp bumps. I queried the Wizard (Mike Owen), "Its bad shocks". Filled with wonder and disbelief I put on my Doug suit (used coveralls from a laundry sale), and crawled under. Ah ha, the lower shock mounting bolt was leaving a mark on the exhaust line. I rearranged the rear exhaust mount and the problem was reduced. The next time I was near Budget Brake and muffler, I asked them to turn the tail pipe so a bend in it would give better clearance. Now the problem is solved? Well actually, no it is not.

On with the Doug suit and under once more, ah ha, there is a worn area on the corner of the anti‑sway bar, it is hitting the rubber bump stop. So I centered the bar and installed locater clamps to keep it in place. Problem solved? Well no.

I write to England (Dive) where the shocks came from and complain about the clunk. They advise of troubles with the early tube shock conversions and send replacement upper mounting plites, (spelled plates). Doug suit on, I replace the plites that Dive sent. At the final end to this two year old problem I leap into the car and head for the nearest sharp bump. Clunk.

I have England ship me a new pair of shockers and the problem ones are returned to them. I am advised that "Koni" will check for possible faults. The new shocks appear to solve the problem, but partway through the summer, the clunk, like the cat, came back.

By this time my Doug suit is in tatters, my patience is thinner than my hair and I have developed the hearing trick, normally reserved for women's voices, to include clunks - ah, learned silence.

Well now my problems shift to fuel pumps. I had replaced my 17 year old S.U. with a rather large Bendix fuel pump. This worked really well all summer, but failed in the middle of a two lap run at Western Speedway. Rob Richter, who has much experience with fuel sprays, wacked her with a rock and I was off. I thought the momentary failure was due to a lost ground. I had suspended the pump on rubber mounts to tone down its imitation of an old Easthope powered fish boat, (you remember ca-chug ca-chug). Or perhaps it was a bit of dirt - the gas tank had been repaired that year. I replace the Bendix with the trusty S.U.!!

That August, on the way to Nelson, the clunk came back. After filling up in Nelson, I was driving the 17 miles to the cabin when I observed a tremendous smell of petrol. I stopped and noted fuel pouring from above the rear axle. Oh I do declare, I exclaimed with a wry grin, I will press on and hope that the damned thing burns to the water line. I had always wanted a V i k i n g   F u n e r a l !?!

Well we got there, with an average of seven mpg on that run. The trouble was a tired 'O' ring behind that little cap on the pump. The local garage, managed by Larry, Daryl and Daryl, supplied a representative 'O' ring and I made a repair. I drove to Grand Forks, picked up my brother and we set of for Portland. Brother Gaile was able to hear the clunk, but my trained ears refused the concept. About halfway to Pasco Washington, in the middle of endless wheat fields, the smell of petrol was upon us. I stopped for gas and looked under the car, yep "there she blows". The garage guy let me lie on his blacktop while I removed the gushing pump and replaced it with an El Cheapo purchased across the street at Amco. Off we went, no gas smell and oddly no clunk.

When, back in Victoria I got a repair kit for the S.U. and put it back in the car, it refused to pump. I took it out again and tried it on the bench. Now it worked intermittently. A lovely blue flame was dancing around the pin that the points pivot on. With the aid of my reading glasses, I saw that a braided wire was broken. With the wire re-soldered, joy abounded. Back in the car the pump worked but the clunk came back.

I removed the S.U. and replaced it with the Bendix, clunked worse than ever. Ah ha, looking at the S.U., I saw that there was a hammered look on one side and scratches on the other.

I rushed into the last scraps of my Doug suit. With the wheels on the ground I pulled the car down and then pushed it up. The anti-sway bar hit the pump and drove it into the floor of the car. Ho, ho, ho, I said, all this for nothing, shock plites, shockers, fuel pumps, and destroyed Doug, suit all for naught. Perhaps in the clunk triangle all perils were equal. I would like to think so.

Al Fraser laughs at my new fix. Unable to decide between the Bendix and the El Cheapo, I installed them both (away from the sway bar). Concerned about the lack of filtration for the El Cheapo, I mounted a filter in line ahead of it. So now the fuel leaves the tank, runs a couple of inches, passes through the filter, goes a couple of inches before it is sucked through the El Cheapo by the Bendix, proceeds to the in line filter under the bonnet in preparation for its run past the pressure regulator on its way to the filter in the carburetor. The mess works, the El Cheapo only needs a quick power connection to take over from the Bendix. Although my head seems to rattle at times, the clunk is at long last gone.

P.S. - Anyone interested in buying a S.U. fuel pump?

P.P.S. - Koni found the returned shocks were defective and gave a refund.

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