The weekend of March 20th was a fantastic weather weekend. Temperatures hits close to 70 degrees on Sunday and are expected to reach 70 degrees on Monday the 21st too! With the great weather, at least in Toledo, Ohio we just seemed to jump from a cold Winter, right into Summer.
Taking advantage of the great weather, it was time to start fixing some items on the Checker A3 and also makes some corrections to the A4, thanks to the 1952 Checker parts car, great progress was made. The Junk A4 is the gift that keeps on giving.
In July of 2021, the Checker A3 was taken to the Glass Doctor in Maumee, Ohio. This writer was very excited to see the Checker front and rear glass installed, it has taken years to find a rear window. I was so excited that I did not notice a major problem with the Checker, caused by the Glass Doctor. The Doctor has done a nice job of parking the Checker up against the wall ready for delivery, note the header picture, so I did not do a complete walk around because there was little room between the car and the outside wall to allow for a full walk around. When the car was delivered to my home, it became obvious that we had a problem, the two drivers side doors were tied together with a rope and the driver door lock was smashed to bits!
To this day, I can not understand how anyone could smash a door lock to the point the metal latch was total destroyed and more importantly, how could a professional car business hide it’s mistakes? It was clearly not ethical, nor does it demonstrate goodwill. The big problem now was, how do I fix it, it’s the only Checker A3 in the world, parts are scarce.
Once back in my control, the first thing I did was to try to find a similar part on the internet. The closest match I found was the 1941 Dodge truck door latch. The latch mechanism was a perfect match, but the whole door lock assembly would not fit the Checker. The Dodge door handle is set lower in the lock assembly than in the Checker A3, the lock assembly was not compatible.
I searched the internet for the majority of independent auto and truck manufactures door latch mechanisms, hoping to find a compatable latch. No luck, it appears that the Checker latch was not used by any manufacturer.
As a last resort, I pulled the front door lock mechanism off, of the 1952 Checker parts car. As stated in previous blogs, the parts Checker is very rusty, yet it also is a low miles car, with only 40K on the engine, so viable parts can still be found and used for the A3 and A4. The lock mechanism was pulled off the door with a lot of brute force and a butane torch, used to expand the metal and loosen bolts. Once removed, it was determined that the door latch was rusted and unworkable.
Now in possession of a compatible but frozen lock, the latch was placed, in penetrating oil and soaked for three months! After soaking, the mechanism was no longer frozen, and the various levers and movements actually worked fairly well.
Once the latch was freed up by soaking, it still required disassembly as the door latch would not move up or down and the spring action was not working. Once taken apart it was discovered that the latch spring was broken. A new spring was purchased at a local Toledo spring factory, Springtime Manufacturing. Reinstalled the latch would open but would still not release when the door handle was turned. I then discovered that another spring was needed to shut the latch, in order to allow the door handle to releases the latch, back to Springtime Manufacturing to find another spring.
The spring purchased was too big, but all that was required to make workable was to cut down the spring size with a wire cutter. Once cut down and installed the latch actually worked!! This writer is not a master mechanic so any little repair is always celebrated. Total cost for the springs was less that five bucks!
The final step was to install back into the door. Thankfully all that was required was to remove the door panel and window run. Before being bolted back into the door, the challenge was to reattach to the door regulator. Again, thankfully, this task was easy, the simple boltless connection was made. The next step was to bolt the latch back into the door. The final step was simple enough, bolt the exterior door handle back onto the door, making sure the door handle was properly connected to the replaced door lock mechanism.
The final test was performed, open and close the door…..yay! It worked.
The second activity for the weekend was to reassemble the junk A4 drivers seat. Almost two years ago, the junk A4 seat was disassemble and sent to an upholstery shop. For about a year and a half, the seats were in upholstery shop jail. Regular visits indicated the shop own was going to get to them before he retired! About three weeks ago the phone call was received, indicating that the seat was done. Not bad, just shy of two years!
Thankfully the Checker seat is a very simple design. This morning I spend about an hour reassembling, only to discover that the last step, bolting in the back section was impossible. Apparently, I reassembled seat in the wrong order.
In order to fix, I had to totally disassemble and start over again, this time performing in reverse order, starting with the rear seat back first, then the seat bottom. The rails were stripped down, painted and also attached to the seat base.
For the last 5 years, my Checker A4 had an A2 seat source from Finland installed. Now having a complete Checker A4 seat, a full swap was performed on the two Checkers. Today the A4 now has an assembled A4 seat and the A3 now has a A2 seats.
It’s amazing how different these seats are when compared together. The A2 seat is a wooden seat that allows for adjustments on the seat bottom. The A4 seat is a metal seat. More importantly is allows for three adjustments on the seat bottom as well as adjustments on the seat backs.
All in all, I am very happy. Both Checkers the A3 and the A4 now have totally restored Taxicab bucket seats. A great start for the season. Two days work and a lot of progress made on both rare Checkers.