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 July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster

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dmg4

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PostSubject: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:06 pm

LROM has been dormant for long enough. This is going to be a serial, in installments, as the story unfolds.

Back in 2002, a colleague of mine from Norway came to the US to visit family and work with me. We are both plant pathologists. I work at Cornell, and he works for the national agricultural university of Norway. He needed a car that could transport three small children, his wife, and his uncle. And so, we picked out a 1992 burgundy Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser. He drove that car all over the US, and then sold it when he had to return to Norway 6 months later. I travel to Norway twice a year to work with him there. He still regrets selling that car, and wishes he'd taken it back to Norway.

That's Arne and family at our house in Geneva NY, with the USS Minnesota in 2002.






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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:14 pm

Fast forward to 2017:  He's coming back to visit for 10 days with the entire family.  I told him I'd take care of the rental car.  It was not possible to find a maroon OCC on short notice, but I did find a 1996 DGGM Roadmaster WB4 in Cape May NJ.  And so, unbeknownst to my friend, I bought a one-way cheap flight to PHL, and drove the car home, planning to spring it on him at Logan airport when he arrived.

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:22 pm

It needed tires, it needed several pieces of trim replaced, it needed some paint touched up, it needed some water leaks fixed, it needed the rear wing window fixed, it needed an AC compressor, oil pan gasket, and rear main seal.  It was very, very needy.  The former owner was gauge-crazy.  It had a tach, oil temperature, oil pressure, vacuum, coolant temperature, a toggle switch to turn on the fans, another to turn on the electric water pump, and a number of lights to indicate that the toggles were "on".  These were a distraction, and my friend would likely forget to turn something on and would cook the engine.  They had to go.

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:35 pm

If you've followed the threads elsewhere about this car, you know that the former owner made several modifications.  It has 2 1/2 inch exhaust, the resonators were deleted, and there were two off-brand Dronemaster mufflers.  The LCAs were aluminum bars built for about 500 HP.  There was a stout rear swaybar and 4 new HD shocks.  The PCM had been reprogrammed by PCM for less.   The car was fast!  Even though it had 2.56 rear gears, it could walk away from my 1996 Caprice with 3.23 gears.  There was a Bailey box under the hood to allow individual coils to be used for each cylinder.  Under the hood, the wiring was a rats nest.

Neither cooling fan was running.  Lakeffect took pity on me and we spent a lovely afternoon in his driveway getting them wired back to the PCM and working on OEM specs.  The Dronemasters were replaced with new Walkers.  It still rumbles a bit, but you can have a conversation in the car at cruising speed now.

The previous owner had planned to swap a 3.23 posi rear end, and so had the PCM programmed for this gear ratio, but then never got around to making the swap.  This meant that the odometer was reading 26% below the actual mileage traveled.  Interestingly, the speedometer is only reading 7% higher than actual speed.  Of course, when I checked the highway cruising gas mileage it was not so good (17 mpg), but when corrected for actual miles traveled it was 21.4 mpg.  Not bad at all.

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:08 am

Did I mention that this car has zero rust and the interior is in pretty good shape to boot?  There are presently 114,000 miles on the odometer.  The previous owner only drove the car for about 20K miles with the reprogrammed PCM, so the actual mileage is about about 116,000.

The car was originally from South Carolina, and had never seen road salt.  Also, it had apparently never seen a car wash, wax, Armor All, or Windex either when I picked it up.  Underneath the protective covering of grease, grime, snot and bug guts was a pretty nice car.

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:50 am

First of all Dave, thanks. This is the second time Dave has volunteered, unsolicited! I believe he is the only one who has volunteered. It has become very hard to get members to be the LROM. After 3 months of no LROM, I will beat the bushes again, to get it back on track, as it has been going since 2009.

Anyways, nice find Dave and she cleaned up nice, wow. I know the all the switches tested your patience. So reading between the lines, Arne is responsible for you driving wagons?

thanks again

Tom
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lakeffect
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:26 am

Is that the one we changed the fan system back to Factory spec?


... and what happens to the car when he goes back to Norway?
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:33 am

Quote :
So reading between the lines, Arne is responsible for you driving wagons?

I had never considered that fact, but I think you may be right, at least insofar as whales go. I've driven VW and Volvo wagons for years. If you read the LROM of the month for Dec. 2015, you'll learn why I bought my first Caprice: low stress packing of the car for trips to the White Mtns.

Quote :
Is that the one we changed the fan system back to Factory spec?

Yes, one and the same. And I found a screwdriver that belongs to you under the hood this morning. I'll bring it to Wagonfest.
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:52 am

Great write up. It was nice to hear/read,"the rest of the story."
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:04 am

nice story thanks for sharing!
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:31 am

Quote :
I know the all the switches tested your patience.

My questions about the rats-nest wiring tested everyone's patience.

Further installments in this story are forthcoming as we get closer to the arrival of the invasion force from Norway on 25 July.

It will be a hoot when Arne sees his "rental" car at Logan Airport. Plans are to tour as a mini convoy (1 Roadmaster wagon, 1 Caprice Wagon) through southern NH, White Mtns, and coastal Maine.
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:57 am

Great write-up and car looks wonderful! Very good work! Love that color and that you took it back to a more stock-ish condition. Great Job and Great Friend for doing this.
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:47 pm

After replacing the Dronemaster mufflers, the car was still a bit to noisy at cruising speed. The underhood insulation is also missing.  Arne's hearing is not what it once was, and his wife is soft spoken.  This is not a recipe for peace and harmony on long drives.  Partially restoring the original air intake configuration by returning the home plate helped substantially.  It no longer sounds like there is a shop vac running under the hood.  

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:58 pm

Having mixed tire sizes (225/75/15 and 235/75/15) and tread patterns made handling seem a little squirrely.  In for a penny, in for a pound: add four 235/70/15 General Altimax.  Ride is better, handling is better, and now there is less tire noise to boot.

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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:06 pm

I mentioned earlier that the lower control arms on this car are overbuilt aluminum bars.  They do provide a nice flat surface to mount the rear sway bar.

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:14 pm

As this car will be traveling about 1500 miles with three backseat passengers, I added three headrests. If you want to see how this is done, see the Dec 2015 LROM.  I did the same thing on my Caprice.  I know too many people that have been severely injured; some partially paralyzed, in low speed rear end collisions (idiots texting while driving, etc.).  In my opinion, this is a weak point in the safety of these wagons, and one that is easily remedied.  The headrests do not interfere with lowering the rear seatback.

If anyone wants to trade two tan headrests for two gray, I'll pay shipping both ways.

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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:26 pm

Gauge craziness has been reduced, although I did retain the oil temperature and voltmeter gauges on the A-pillar.




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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:23 am

Quote :
... and what happens to the car when he goes back to Norway?

That depends upon Arne, and to some degree our respective CFOs.  He has first dibs on the car, but this one has enough mods that it might be difficult to import to Norway.  I think he'd be better served by a purely stock version; perhaps even an OCC if I can find a decent one for sale someday.

It's unlikely that most people would want to pay what I have invested in the car to date, but if someone at Wagonfest pulls out $5K in cash, I might be persuaded to part with it.  Otherwise, it is a lot of fun to drive.  It gets better gas mileage than my Caprice by about 0.5 mpg, so perhaps I can pitch keeping this as a cost-cutting measure to my CFO.
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:49 am

looks good
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:22 pm

Beautiful wagon, great write-up. I've always been confused by the gauge clusters in these cars. Why no tach or volt gauge?
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:07 pm

Very nice wagon, thanks for sharing! I really like what you did with the three headrests in the back seat, both for function and looks (colors notwithstanding).
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:17 pm

Just picked up two tan headrest covers from Fred, so now they all match. If anybody wants the gray covers for their car, they can have them for the cost of shipping, or pick them up for free at Wagonfest (first PM gets them either way).
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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:00 pm

Details, details...
New underhood insulating pad from Trout's... our local pick and pull.  A little more quiet now.



And the missing recessed control knobs for the radio/cassette (Thank you rhino!)

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:30 pm

Is the insulation from a TBI car Dave?

Tom
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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:07 pm

Quote :
Is the insulation from a TBI

Good eye. Yes, it is. All of the fastner holes line up fine, although the port for the underhood light is in a different location. There were no intact liners available for LT1 cars at the yard.
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:58 pm

dmg4 wrote:
Quote :
Is the insulation from a TBI

Good eye.  Yes, it is.  All of the fastner holes line up fine, although the port for the underhood light is in a different location.  There were no intact liners available for LT1 cars at the yard.

Well let's put it this way, I know from experience (doing the same thing)!

Tom
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 14, 2017 6:11 am

Futzed around in the interior of the car for a few hours to spruce things up, interior lights, radio, and blower motor on and then tried to start it up.  Rrr rrr rrr r-r-r...... click click cl...bzzzt.  

Improvements to Arne's vacation car continue. Two dead cells in the battery.  So, now it has a new one.

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:27 am

Nice write up! I like the back seat headrests, I think I will need to put that one on my to do list...
I'm sure he's going to love his LT1-V8 powered viking longboat! king
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:39 pm

And now, the real "rest of the story".  

On June 13th, Arne was in a multiple car accident in Norway that sent 10 people to a hospital, three by Mercy Flight, two of whom were in Arne's van, one of whom was Arne, who was the driver.  His van had three passengers, plus Arne.  He pulled up behind a disabled car and stopped.  So did the car behind him.  The drunken, texting driver of the semi did not stop, and pancaked all three cars.  The rear seat passenger in Arne's car had a broken neck, three fractured vertebrae, four broken ribs, and a ruptured spleen.  It's a miracle that she was not paralyzed and has now largely recovered, minus a spleen.  Arne was thrown to the windshield, and then blown back when the airbag detonated.  He suffered a severe concussion, bruised ribs, and was unconscious for 2 days.  He was hospitalized for 8 days.  He's walking now with a crutch, and hopes to transition to a cane this week.  His wife described him as "all the colors of the rainbow, from head to toe".

No one died, and despite the violence of the crash, and the fact that several of the cars were cut apart to remove the passengers, all are expected to recover.  The truck driver is in jail, awaiting trial.

And so, this needy Roadmaster wagon that was purchased as a vacation driver has faced an uncertain future as Arne's recovery and visit to the US was dependent upon a miraculous recovery.

And today that happened.  He called and is coming with his family as planned to Boston on the 25th, and the car will be waiting at the MBTA lot.  This should be fun!  More pics of the coming road trip after he arrives.
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:08 am

AMAZING! Wishing him a speedy recovery, and a great adventure.
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:27 am

Wow...Glad to hear all we be okay. Distracted drivers are deadly drivers... Evil or Very Mad
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:17 pm

For 32 years, I have walked to work, so I don't drive a lot.  Despite that, I have been rear-ended on 3 occasions by texting drivers within 1 mile of my house (I also live about 1 mile from the high school, so it's a high-risk zone, but still!).  Proper headrests are needed, if not a HANS device.
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:35 pm

I love the story here, minus the recent injuries. Part of me wonders if that same maroon '92 OCC is owned by a member here.
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:44 pm

Which part wants to know? Razz
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:49 pm

Update:  Arne and his family had a blast with the car.  We drove it to Boston,  Crane Beach in Massachusetts, drove it up and down Mt Washington in NH, kayaked on the Pemi River, and in general hooned around for 10 days before it was time for them to go home.  Here are some pics of the trip.  The car will now be put up for sale, as it has served it's purpose well.  Details in the For Sale section.  Folks who were at Wagonfest can describe the condition of the car if you are interested or know of someone who might want to buy it.








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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:01 pm

Very nice gesture on your part Dave. You can tell they had a great time. The RMW may very well be the first wagon to climb Mt. Washington in recorded history.

Having seen Dave's car, I can attest it is definitely worth the $1000 Dave is asking!! It is in great shape. It is $1000, right Dave?



Only kidding, Dave did a very nice job getting her up to snuff.


Tom

Tom

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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:06 pm

Quote :
It is $1000, right Dave

If someone were to drop off a small bag of $20 gold double eagles from the Littleton Coin Company, I'd let it go for their face value.
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:26 pm

I'll head up there in the morning
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:54 pm

Quote :
The RMW may very well be the first wagon to climb Mt. Washington

Arne's car might have been narrowly bested by a 1938 Ford Woodie, according to the museum at the base of the auto road.  They did drive Pierce Arrows up the Mt. Washington Auto Road in the 1920s, but they were ragtops, not wagons.






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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:58 pm

Great conclusion to a wonderful story. Nice work Dave!!
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PostSubject: Re: July 2017 LROM: The Viking Roadmaster   Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:05 am

Nice write up. Love the wagon.
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