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These are various house, car, and bike projects i've done. And more!

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Pedal box rebuild

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I'm still working down a list of smaller projects while waiting to start the engine rebuild. Since the wiper motor debacle (and subsequent fix), i fixed a non-working speaker in the crappy stereo (disconnected wire), fixed a long-time rattle that only showed up when i would coast or decelerate at speed and was driving me crazy.

The rattle turned out to be loose body mount bolts on the rear shelf that bolt to the rear suspension crossmember. I didn't dig into it too deeply, but i assume some rubber pads in there finally rotted out and opened up just enough of a gap with the body flex of decelerating to rattle the washers under the bolt heads. Not wanting to pull the body up to investigate further right now, i just tightened down the bolts and the noise is gone. It also seems like the body in general is tighter, which totally makes sense.

So next is the pedal box. This is the assembly that holds the clutch and brake pedals, and mounts them to the inner firewall. It's a sturdy steel box held on by 9 bolts, plus 2 bolts that mount the clutch master cylinder, and 4 more that hold on the servo/brake master cylinder assembly. 

I mostly wanted to rebuild mine because the pedals were sloppy, it didn't have any bushings in the pivots. I saw someone in one of the online forums wonder if the early cars had plastic bushings, because they also had none in their early car. I didn't see any evidence of old bushings of any material in mine, or that the box had been removed before, but it's hard to imagine that it would have been built without any kind of bushing in there. The pedals had a lot of side movement and klunked around when getting in and out of the car.

This is what mine looked like out of the car:

pedal box before

They're commonly in bad shape because it's a primary target for brake fluid leaks, and DOT4 fluid eats paint for lunch. You can see where the paint is missing, and a lot of the paint near there just came off in sheets.

An interesting thing i found while cleaning up the pedal assemblies: the welders never cleaned the slag off of the welds while building the pedal assemblies. You can see a chunk of slag still at the top edge of this weld:

Weld slag

They all looked chunky and smooth when i started, now they're trim and more smooth. They're good welds, just never chipped clean.

I didn't take in-process photos, but aside from cleanup and paint the whole point was those new bushings. They're steel, a light press fit in the pedal assemblies. I got a new shaft, assuming a lot of wear, though the old one probably would have been ok. It took a bit of polishing for both bushings and new shaft to get a smooth fit, but now they pivot like butter. 

Final assembly:

pedal box after

Pro tips when doing this job:

  • double-check your before picture, because it's easy to think the pedals should be on the opposite sides
  • check for any trapped electrical wires before tightening any of the 15 bolts that hold the assembly to the firewall
  • double-check for trapped wires, because you probably missed one (i did this twice)
  • If you're adding bushings where there weren't any, check the brake light switch adjustment, it may need to move a bit to trip the switch in the right place now that the pedal isn't so sloppy

I'm very pleased with the difference it makes having bushings in the pedal pivots. Another source of sloppiness and noise removed, and the car feels a little less like a jalopy.