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John Clow's La Cucaracha refurb


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#1 Pablo

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 12:30 PM

Finished July 2015:

post-91-0-76344200-1430016673.jpg

 

post-91-0-83283800-1430180422.jpg

 

Here's how it all started:

My racing buddy, John Clow, found what looks to be a fairly stock Super Cuc. This won't be a full blown restoration; just going to make it runnable and decent looking.

 

The front rubber is in amazingly great shape for its age, but the rears are already soaking.

 

IMG_3953.JPG
 
IMG_3955.JPG


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#2 Samiam

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 12:36 PM

Nice.

A blue "Super Cuc". UNcut, too!
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#3 Pablo

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 12:38 PM

Do you think this one came with the big "bubble cockpit"?

 

The motor size is 16D and it has the twin flag holes.


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#4 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 12:54 PM

Neat stuff as always, Pablo.

Out of curiosity what are the rear tires soaking in?
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#5 Don Weaver

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 01:11 PM

Original rears with tapered axle?

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#6 Bill from NH

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 02:24 PM

My guess is this Cuc came with one of those chrome bubble cockpits because it has no windshield, driver, roll bar, or chrome velocity stacks.

Also, that white nylon crown gear isn't original. As I recall, Cuc fronts weren't shod with rubber but with plastic wheels. Mine, bought in 1967, still look like new, too.


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My wife says I don't pay enough attention to her, or something like that.  :unknw:


#7 Mattb

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 02:46 PM

Could be exceptions, but I think all the Super Cucs came in blue only and had the chrome top and matching windshield, plus they had the windshield to build the roadster version also.

I think most of them, if not all had the NASCAR 16 motor and not the open can motor. They came in their own white box and not the yellow Cuc box.
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#8 don.siegel

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 05:06 PM

That is the NASCAR motor; most came with the Super NASCAR with a closed can, but some came with the NASCAR with an oval hole like this one. A Super Cuc I found here years ago at the Paris flea market had the NASCAR motor like this.  
 
I believe the fronts were always rubber, knife edge types very similar to what was on the Cuc, not at all plastic. Can't remember on the rears however, if they were tapers or the set-screw types like on the IFC cars... hmm, Pablo's has a blank axle, so... 
 
Good project, Pablo. 
 
I actually traded mine because I didn't like the way it ran! 
 
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#9 Jay Guard

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 05:15 PM

Need to find one of those "guide pin forward" cox guides that all Super Cucs used to make this one "Korrect".  


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#10 Pablo

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 08:21 PM

Thanks for all the tips, guys. :) I have no aspirations of making it "perfectly correct as it left the factory"- just clean and runnable.

 

Matt, the rears were soaked in lacquer thinner to completely remove them.

 

Don W, the axle isn't tapered - not all Cucs came that way - here is a quote from Philippe:

 

"The new car also received the same wheels and tires as the Super Cuc (meaning setscrew rears on conical hubs and black sponge tires), but a standard "Quick-Change" guide and not the trailing guide fitted to the "La Cucaracha GT" RTR."

 

Jay G, regardless of which flag is correct, I think I have a trailing one and John can test it to see if it's an improvement.

 

Thanks, Don S.

 

From what I have read, some cars came from the factory with both the bubble top and the spyder type windshield with intake stacks, driver, and roll bar. I think those look better than the bubble, but it's John's car, let's see what his preference is.


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#11 Pablo

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 10:37 PM

John likes the open cockpit, so the search is on for windshield, driver, roll bar, intake stacks, and decals.

 

Anybody know what the best glue is to attach these?


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#12 Samiam

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 01:44 AM

Paul,

 

I have used E6000 on the Cuc bodies. I think Shoo-Goo is the same.


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#13 Bill from NH

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 07:17 AM

GE Silicone Sealant would be another glue.

Those Cuc stripes weren't decals, but were stickers with an adhesive backing. I've seen red & white stripes reproduced for orange bodies sold on eBay, but don't recall seeing blue & white ones.

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#14 Pablo

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 07:32 PM

The body parts don't seem to be as readily available as I thought.

 

I'm thinking about a homemade windshield out of thick Lexan, and a roll bar of round aluminum tubing painted chrome.

 

I'm sure I can find stacks and a driver in my "Box of Vintage Horrors" that will work.


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#15 Bill from NH

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 07:50 PM

You could polish the aluminum tubing to a bright shine, then spray it with a clear paint to prevent corrosion.


Bill Fernald
 

My wife says I don't pay enough attention to her, or something like that.  :unknw:


#16 Pablo

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 08:04 PM

Would it look like a chrome Cuc rollbar?


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#17 Bill from NH

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 09:32 PM

If you shine it enough, it would. Mothers Mag & Aluminum polish is one that will put a mirror finish on metals, even spring steel chassis. :D


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#18 Pablo

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Posted 05 April 2015 - 05:02 AM

I'll try it. Thanks, Bill.


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#19 Pablo

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 10:55 PM

Decals arrived today, John. They look good and the price was reasonable.

 

IMG_3960.JPG


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#20 Pablo

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 12:17 PM

Rough cut cockroach donuts will cure for a couple days:

 

IMG_4117.JPG


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#21 Pablo

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 05:05 PM

Rollbar paint:

 

IMG_4145.JPG

 

I plan to try Bill's suggestion of polishing the aluminum with Mother's Metal Polish first. We shall see...


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#22 Pablo

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Posted 12 April 2015 - 09:48 AM

John, the parts on this car have very little wear on them. :good:

 

I tested the motor, it sounds remarkably healthy. But I dug into it anyway :)

 

Didn't find any problems with the endbell or the arm so I just cleaned 'em up. Checked and polished the shaft and faced the rotating surfaces. Checked the brush holder alignments.

 

IMG_4168.JPG

 

Parts cleaned, rusty Iso hinge pin wire wheeled and polished, all four BBs soaked, flushed, and oiled. This thing has roller bearings! :shok:

 

IMG_4174.JPG

 

Center section out of the tumbler:

 

IMG_4172.JPG

 

Can bushing has lots of play in it so I'm installing a Slick 7 BB.  :sun_bespectacled:


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#23 Pablo

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Posted 12 April 2015 - 04:34 PM

Used my dc-65x 5mm bearing hole drilling fixture tool for perfect BB alignment.

 

As soon as you start drilling on these big press-fit gimbal bushing assemblies, they come loose anyway, so now she is soldered solid to the can. Minitorched in place with silver solder on the gimbal and 63/37 on the BB. Even though BB's don't necessarily have to pass the "alignment shaft drops through on it's own weight" test, mine do anyway. Ain't braggin', just explaining to John why his Cucaracha restoration bill will be astronomical.  :laugh2: Just kidding...

 

IMG_4191.JPG

 

That is the only real mod I performed on the motor other than a clean-up. Polished the mags, comm, brush hoods, and lams a little. Good Lord, I hope it still runs when I button it up.  :dash2: :crazy:


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#24 Pablo

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 08:00 AM

Pan section out of the tumbler, and good news, the motor still runs good! :D  Goodbye, sloppy arm shaft.

 

IMG_4209.JPG


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#25 Pablo

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 07:15 PM

Jay Guard was right when he said these cars used trailing flags. It is now apparent to me the only flag that would work in the forward hole is a trailer.

 

So I bow to his superior Cuc knowledge. Not only did I stick my foot in my mouth by doubting him, I said I had a trailer to try, in case the standard flag didn't work. That turned out to be wrong also.   :laugh2:

 

The standard Cox Quick Change flag will work fine in the rear hole, giving a wheelbase of 3-7/8" and a guide lead of 11/16".

 

I set the center section for 1/16" clearance, level front to rear, then made a very slight correction to the tilt.

 

Opened the "Vintage Box of Horrors"; found a genuine new 31t Cox crown and a new 8t brass press-on pinion:

 

IMG_4217.JPG

 

Also found a pair of genuine new Cox braid and clips:

 

IMG_4226.JPG

 

Body cleaned up OK with mild soap and a soft toothbrush. Found a suitable driver. He ain't pretty, but looks enthusiastic.  :ambivalent:

 

IMG_4225.JPG


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#26 bluecars

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 07:37 PM

Looks great. Don't forget the rubber band. LOL.


Robert "Red" Valantine :diablo: 


#27 Pablo

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 07:45 PM

That's a good point, Red. Where did I put those doggone rubber bands?

 

Pretty soon, I'll be hiding my own Easter eggs.  :laugh2:

 

Thanks for reminding me.  :good:


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#28 Pablo

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 02:47 PM

I'm no stranger to Iso chassis design and tuning, but this Cuc has some things I don't understand.

 

Fully assembled, body on, in a non-recessed slot, why do the front wheels prevent the pan section from resting on the center section?

 

As it is, the Cox flag already has 30 thou of spacers (not to mention the raised lip molded into the flag already) and it's still not planted. I'm missing something here, please help if you know the answer.

 

Also, the pan section vertical track clearance in front is about .078" when the fronts touch???

 

IMG_4250.JPG

 

IMG_4254.JPG

 

It takes .905" rear wheels to give .063" rear clearance, but they will rub the wheel wells at that size. What am I doing wrong?

 

Anybody know if the rear axle bearings floated sloppy in the chassis holes like this? Could I align and JB Weld them in place?

 

IMG_4253.JPG

 

Thanks for any help - I owned a 1/32 Cuc back in the day but I don't remember caring about any fine tuning - it handled pretty well stock as I recall.  :D


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#29 Gator Bob

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 04:10 PM

Missing the "foam pad".

 

Yes... the roller bearing floated in the uprights and the axle floated in the roller.  

 

Sorry, IMO that set-up was crap.

 

If the tires rub the wheel lips you might move them inboard. Or cut the **** out of them like most did... :dash2:


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                            Bob Israelite

#30 Pablo

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 05:23 PM

Thanks, Bob, that's exactly the info I needed and it makes perfect sense.  :good:

 

Please give me your opinion on JB Weld-ing the rear axle roller bearings to the uprights.

 

Narrowing the rear wheel assembly is not an option as far as I can tell. I placed three 10 thou spacers per side outboard of the roller bearings just to prevent the hubs from riding on the bearing flanges. That is the only way they will spin free.

 

Maybe this Cuc isn't quite as "stock" as I first thought... :fool:

This is my first Cuc restoration, and I'm enjoying the lessons learned. :thank_you2:


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#31 Gator Bob

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 06:23 PM

As crazy as it sounds on these 'bearings' the spacer does ride on the outer flange... there is no true inner race.

I have NOS and I'm tellin' ya they look cool but are sloppy junk.
 
If not making a 100 point resto-car... use oilite bushings or real BBs... if it's a runner.
 
It's those hubs that are making it too wide. ;)
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#32 Pablo

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 06:03 AM

I gotcha, Bob. :good: I think I know exactly what I need to do now, thanks to you.

No guarantees it will remain 100% stock. :D
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#33 Pablo

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 03:25 PM

Jairus driver, intake stacks, and decals done. Driver needs a steering wheel, but John can fiddle with that later.
 
The decals are extremely delicate, in fact the silver part scratches if you run a finger across it.
Maybe I should have clear-coated them or something. It ain't a concours car anyway. :)

IMG_4266.JPG
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#34 Pablo

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 04:54 PM

It needs more chassis tuning work than I thought, but of course everything does.

A work week, starting tomorrow, will give me time to plan. :to_become_senile:

I did nail down the correct rubber band size today - and it's the right color, too! :dance3:

IMG_4283.JPG
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#35 Pablo

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 07:05 PM

The only windshield I could find was a very nice repro item on eBay from Brad Blohm, price: about $28. If this was a "vintage correct" car, I'd have bought one and not even blinked. 
 
I made this one out of a plastic water bottle and a braid clip. :paint2: price: free.

Amount of time it took me to make: (you don't want to know :dirol: )

IMG_4296.JPG
 
It's not quite finished yet - I still need to make extenders on the sides...
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#36 Pablo

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Posted 16 April 2015 - 06:28 PM

Anybody know the dimensions of the foam pieces that load the center section?

I can't find a good photo of them anywhere, I guess they are all dust by now. :o
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#37 Gator Bob

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Posted 16 April 2015 - 08:06 PM

.900" x .390" x .185".
 
.185" with the double sided tape.

Open cell, large pore, soft/little compression resistance, gray color.
 
:crazy:  :sarcastic_hand:
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#38 Pablo

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Posted 17 April 2015 - 07:36 AM

Thanks! :)


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#39 Pablo

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 09:49 AM

I sure have learned a lot about Cucs, having read every single thread pertaining to them in Slotblog's Amateur 1/24 Vintage Cars sub-forum.

Gator Bob's advice has helped immensely, along with PdL's old posts and a PM. 
 
The main thing I learned is, there were a million variables of different parts and configurations. The car I'm working on is not nearly as "stock" as I thought.

Which, to me, is a good thing because now I'm not so reluctant to change a rare collector's item. The car still needs some tuning work.


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#40 Gator Bob

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 11:08 AM

Pablo,
 
Thought I remembered the pad to be one piece vs two... but that would work out fine.
 
That is the open cell foam as I was trying to describe.
 
Cuc_Pads_1.jpg
Photo courtesy of - vsrnonline.com
 
I liked Cucs until I got one.
 
Back story: As a 11-year old ^_^  I was 'tricked'  by a :diablo: 16-year old into trading my brand new (that day) store built Champion 285 chassis, 607 motor, hard fronts, foam rears, Cox QC guide and gear... no body RTR. It was a birthday gift from my dad's brother... big bucks, like not in the paper route budget coinage. :shok:  When I saw the kid and the car after the motor broke in and a Can-Am body was installed it was so fast on the King that I was :bad: .

Learn in Jersey... LOL.
 
I have everything on hand to re-create the Champion :D ... and the Cuc. :dash2: 


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#41 Pablo

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 11:24 AM

Bob,

 

Can those Cox needle bearings (bottom photo of post 28) be soldered without ruining them?

 

I was considering JB Welding the sides of a Du-Bro motor bracket to the aluminum uprights, then soldering in the bearings...? As is, they are very sloppy in the holes.


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#42 Gator Bob

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 11:37 AM

Negative, sir.

 

No heat! :heat:

The roller 'cage' is made of plastic.

 

Another trick is to put four small equally- centerpunches around the edge of the bearing hole in the upright. The slight 'distortion' of the hole at four points snugs up the bearing and keeps it centered. :good:


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#43 Pablo

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 11:43 AM

OK, what do you say to "plan B":

 

Du-Bro pieces with tubes soldered in place then JB Welded to uprights, and bearings then Loctited into the tubes  :to_become_senile:.


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#44 Gator Bob

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 11:50 AM

Personally... I don't go for using epoxy for an application like that.

 

The cut-off brass uprights with a soldered axle tube idea is real good.

 

But... 0-80 screws and nuts mounting them would be a strong solution. Jig the bracket with tube... then cut it up.


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                            Bob Israelite

#45 Pablo

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 11:55 AM

Du-Bro sides bolted and nutted, I was thinking of that also...


Paul Wolcott

#46 Pablo

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 05:39 PM

Next question: I know most glues won't work well on this polypropylene body. Does Krazy Glue work?

 

I bought some 1/8" styrene rod for a roll bar - what would be a good glue to allow some flex when the car crashes?


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#47 Don Weaver

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 07:04 PM

ShooGoo?


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#48 Bill from NH

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 07:06 PM

Use something such as Shoe Goo or GE silicone caulk. IC2000 super glue might work too. Ordinary Krazy Glue will just drive you crazy.


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#49 Mbloes

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Posted 21 April 2015 - 03:36 PM

I've always had good luck with red Loctite.


Mike Bloes

#50 Pablo

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Posted 22 April 2015 - 08:32 AM

Bob, I found a pair of genuine tapered hole Cox hubs in my vintage box of horrors.  :dance3:

 

Tonight: donuts on proper 1/2" wide hubs, (body) glue experiments, and foam piece fitting. 


Paul Wolcott





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