Ceramic H4 Socket

Ceramic H4 Socket

When I installed relays and Cibie headlamps in my cars, I used 10 gauge wire. That’s probably larger than I need since I’m using only 60/55 watt H4 bulbs and 55 watt H1 bulbs, but it can’t hurt.

I couldn’t find any good sockets locally that use 10 gauge wire. Most of the connectors were phenolic resin that used 16 gauge wire. I’d read about ceramic sockets for headlamps on the Internets but never looked for them in earnest. When I broke a soldered wired off of one my headlamp sockets while troubleshooting a non-working turn signal, I thought I should find a socket compatible with the rest of the robust wiring.

I found these ceramic sockets on eBay and bought four of them.

They’re OK quality. The cover, which has a plastic hinge, snaps closed after inserting the contacts. I had to trim the tabs that hold the cover closed with an X-Acto knife before it would close completely. I soldered the wire to the connectors before inserting them in the sockets. At least they worked with the 10 gauge wire.

Alfa Romeo Exhaust Headers

I re-coated the two-piece cast iron exhaust headers on my Alfa Romeo with Eastwood Silver High Temp Manifold Coating When I first painted them two years ago, the surface preparation consisted of running a wire wheel on the rusty cast iron. The Eastwood coating lasted well, though small rust spots eventually appeared through the coating. Last week, I cleaned the headers with lacquer thinner and applied another coat.

To keep the headers attached to the head, I used brass M8x1.0 hex nuts, new lock washers and new copper gaskets.

A Brighter 74 Lamp

I was having trouble seeing the turn signal indicator in my 1979 Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce. Though I am relatively old if you’re young, I didn’t want to look that way driving down 101 with my turn signals on.

When the original thermal turn signal flasher gave up, I replaced it with an electronic flasher. With the engine off I can hear it clicking very clearly – I can’t hear it while the engine is running unless the fuse box is open and I stick my head next to it – not a good driving position since the fuse box is just above the floor.

Probably 40 years ago, I made a turn signal amplifier using a 555 integrated circuit and a Mallory Sonalert. It was annoying, sort of like the beepers that some vehicles have when they’re backing up.

I started looking for a brighter lamp for the turn signal indicator that is mounted below the tachometer. The OEM lamp is a 74 Miniature Indicator Lamp – 14 Volt – T1-3/4 Sub Mini Wedge Base. In bright sunlight, it’s difficult to see if the OEM lamp is flashing. I found an LED replacement lamp that is essentially a SMT LED stuck on the end of a plastic tube with a diode and resistor to drop the voltage. It had the necessary wedge base. I had to file the sides down a little so it would fit in the lamp holder, but it was worth the $5.50. It’s bright enough to see in direct sunlight, but not so bright that it’s too annoying at night.

Campagnolo Record Brake Arm

Campagnolo Record Brake Arm

When I bought my De Rosa frame in the early 80’s, I built it with Campagnolo Record and Super Record components. When the new C-Record group came out, I upgraded some of the components piecemeal – cranks, Delta brakes and derailleurs. I’ve been riding the same bike all these years and time has transformed it into a “classic,” according to a guy who rode up next to me.

I had the chain off the other day for its paraffin treatment and when I turned the cranks, I heard grinding. I pulled out my Campagnolo bottom bracket wrenches, removed the bottom bracket and saw that the grease had dried out and one of the cup races and one of the axle races had been scored. Deferred maintenance isn’t good.

Rusty De Rosa fork crown

Instead of buying 20 year-old NOS bottom bracket cups and an axle on eBay, I bought a modern, sealed bearing, Chorus bottom bracket. I just want it to work.

I took a close look at my 28 year old De Rosa, which I had been avoiding for years, and saw the corrosion, rust and scratches that have taken their toll. The chrome on the the drop-outs and the fork crown were now rust. The stainless steel hardware on the brakes and derailleurs had rust. The chrome on the quick release skewers sprouted rust. The braze-on top tube cable guides were rusty.

I disassembled the entire bike and cleaned every part with a wire brush and solvent. I even replaced the bearings in the freewheel. I used Mobil 1 Synthetic Grease in all the ball bearings, because that’s what I had but he viscosity might be a little too high for the freewheel.

Campagnolo Record Brake Caliper Parts

I’m not interested in a restoration, so re-chroming wasn’t an option. I just want to do preservation, so I can ride my bike. I used Eastwood Rust Encapsulator on the large areas of rust. It’s not pretty but as on my Alfa Romeo, it has been effective in stopping rust from spreading. It’s also a little easier to use than POR-15. For the small parts, I’ve been using Boeshield T-9 for rust prevention. I don’t know yet how effectively Boeshield stops the rust (on the small steel parts) and the corrosion on the anodized aluminum – I live less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean.

Update July 7, 2019: I’ve recently switched to Pro Gold ProLink Chain Lube since I no longer live so close to the Pacific Ocean. Either way, I don’t use Boeshield or Pro Gold on my chain, only on the pivot points of brakes, derailleurs, etc.