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In-Situ Project Planning

In-Situ project planning is the easier process, at least in the beginning stages. Because the In-Situ process specifies that the vehicle must retain it's ability to drive, we know that the focal areas are driveability, saftey, and function. The other restoration aspects are secondary.

So how do we plan the In-Situ restoration? There's many moving parts involved with the successful driving of a car. How do you know what to work on first? Go find your questionnaire from the vehicle purchase. That's going to be one of our starting points.

The first step in an In-Situ restoration (after the cleaning and inventorying phase) is to do a detailed photographing and commenting session. Go around the car, photograph everything. If there is something you know is wrong, grab your notebook and start taking notes. Your focus should be on driveability, but any other items (e.g. it's got a crappy 8-track stereo) are also worth noting.

Now that you know what's right and what's wrong with out car, it's a matter of sequencing the work. The goal of this is to enable the restoration of the car in small containable units of work.

In-Situ Project Steps

Below is the basic methodology that I use on In-Situ restorations. This allows me to continuously drive the car while doing the restoration work when I can.

Vehicle Maintenance Catchup
This is the most fundamental work. It allows you to baseline the car as is, make sure that the frequently replaced parts are accounted for, and provides the base step by which you'll measure future work.
Fuel System Restoration
Your fuel system is the simplest critical system. Because of this, it's a relatively simple place to start. Additionally, once it's been taken care of you'll know that nothing but good clean gasoline is reaching your motor.
Carburetor/Fuel Injector Restortaion
With the fuel system accounted for, it's time to make sure that the fuel is correctly being put into the engine. A thorough going through and rebuilding of the Cabruretor/Fuel Injectors will ensure that the engine's getting the appropriate amount of fuel, that fuel is being mixed with the air correctly, and that you'll be getting the appropriate performance from the car.
Braking System
So, your car is operating correctly from a fuel management perspective. You've got some get up and go in the car. Rebuilding the brakes will make sure that you don't go driving off into the sunset because you can't stop the car.

Charging System
Now you can go and you can stop, but will the car reliably start? A thorough going through of the charging system will allow you to have faith that the car will start. It'll also be an opportunity to start working with the electrical systems.
Electrical System - Engine
Aside from the charging system there are a number of different electrical components, wiring and such in the engine compartment. All of this needs to be validated, cleaned, and refreshed.
Electrical System - Lighting
In most older cars the lighting circuits will compromise the greatest amount of wiring and run the full length of the body. Isolating, identifying and repairing this segment of wiring will ensure that all of the lighting works for legal purposes. In addition, it'll minimize the final Electrical system phase by having identified and repaired a significant amount of the wiring harness.
Front Suspension
Taking care of the springs, bushings, shock absorbers and the like as they relate to the front end of the vehicle.
Rear Suspension
Taking care of the springs, bushings, shock absorbers and the like as they relate to the rear end of the vehicle.
Electrical System - Finalization
Tracing, checking, and refreshing the remaining segments of the wiring on the interior of the car.
Body & Paint
Dealing with the body and paint segment of the project.
Finishing the interior to ensure that it's completely refreshed.

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Contents copyright 2008, 2009 - Jody F. Kerr

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