Big things with little cars

Gremlin Grinder factory defect repair attempt #1

So I picked up a HWC Neo-Classics Gremlin Grinder loose, cheap because the front wheels were bound up and the car wouldn’t roll.

So I got it in and proceeded to take it apart to see why the front axle was so far up.


So far so good. This was the culprit:


The torsion bar part of the front axles was bent too long, not allowing the axle ends to rest comfortably in their channels.

Unfortunately this is where my attempt has stalled, because while trying to re-bend the axle to the correct dimensions, it broke. So now I get to try and fabricate a new axle out of piano wire and figure out how to peen the ends without melting the wheels (I suspect heat will be required). I’m thinking:

  • heat up and peen one side of straight wire
  • slide wheels onto it
  • clamp up the axle so the opposite side of wire is sticking out, using the clamp as a heat sink to protect the axle side with wheels on it
  • heat opposite side of axle and peen
  • finally, make right angle bends where appropriate

My main fear is that the right angle bends might break the wire, similar to my first attempt. Any suggestions on preventing this? Also I’d love to get a pair of pliers specifically for making precise, right-angle bends in wire. I found this set, which should work great, but at $50 it’s a little pricey. If need be I’ll go for them.

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