June 11, 2006
A little progress and a little setback.....
I got the DP carb installed and fixed some vacuum leaks. Got the car running a bit better without boost. I cleaned up the engine bay a bit and got rid of some extraneous vacuum lines and wiring. I also found out that a getting a $50.00 Harbor freight buffer for $25.00 and investing in a little rubbing compound can help me stave off the paint requirement for a while.... WOW... What a difference. The first pic is the side that I had not done and the second is after a few minutes of buffer time. The gray on the trunk lid is really dead and is generally gone - in fact you can see the white base coat through it all over the place. The good news is that the white and blue seem to be pretty decent. I think I am just going to mask off the grey area and reshoot it - that will keep the car presentable until I can afford to do good paint work.
Now the setback... I had found a slight coolant leak a couple of weeks ago - I did not pin point it but it looked like it was coming from the water pump. So when I get the carb on and dialed in I decide to take it for a run around the block. Being lazy I did not put the air cleaner on. Well the leak turns out to be out of the top seam on the radiator and it let go further when I was hammering on the car. It let enough water out that I soaked the top of the engine and got enough water in the carb to stall the engine. Luckily it was little enough that when it dried out I was able to fire it up and limp it home. Well - radiator repair is next in line now but it really does feel like it is moving forward.
I bought a core 390 to use for mockup and of the turbo hot-side and a C6 to replace the ailing Curisomatic which is leaking more and more severely. I hope to get this into the car in the next month but want to find a mild performance converter before I do. I also picked up a Holley 650 Double Pumper prepped for blow through
Got a freshly rebuilt Holley 600 vacuum secondary carb. The car now starts and runs great but there is a slight hole if you stab the throttle - I need to troubleshoot this.
Decided to keep the car an FE. I had been planning to swap in a HO 5.0 (or 302 for those that prefer the old units of measure) and a turbo but the more I thought about it the more convinced I am that turboing an FE will make the car just that much more unique. I picked up a set of stock log style manifolds, and
Remember the brake bleeding issue? It turns out the brakes are not really that soft - suddenly they feel much better? I have to assume that there was a bubble somewhere that I was unable to get out of the system but the worked it’s way out as I jostled the car around working on it over the last months! Good News! They feel much better!
In September, I got all of the soft brake lines and the master cylinder replaced. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent bleeding these things and I finally convinced myself that “this is just what four wheel drum brakes feel like.”
I bought good MSD plug wires as most of them had been chewed through and began to troubleshoot other wiring problems. I got power re-established to the solenoid and the coil and got the car fired.
This is where we come to the first interesting problem... The car would fire and run but only with initial timing at something like 45 degrees advanced and then it is only at idle and in a two to three degree window. WHAT? After pulling and reseating the distributor about ten times, pulling the entire timing cover, water pump, etc... to ensure that the timing chain had not slipped a tooth, checking resistance on the coil, and asking everyone I can think of for their opinion, someone tells me to try a different coil. I replace the coil and it’s like a new vehicle. Apparently the coil was weak enough that as cylinder pressures begin to increase I was getting spark blowout.
I picked up the car with the help of a good friend (thanks Jeff). It’s always fun pushing a four thousand pound car on very soft tires up the ramps of a car hauler while standing on gravel in 110 degree weather. The car had been sitting for quite a while - seven or eight years actually, and the pack rats had found the engine bay. Fun. Well, we got it home, washed it off and started the cleanup process. I wanted to see if a good waxing would bring the paint back to life. Well - it did - somewhat. The white base actually polished up nicely but the blue and gray simply soaked up the wax and developed a permanent swirl pattern. I am going to try to strip this wax at some point and have pretty much determined that I will be sanding and painting the car.
I pulled the fuel system and brought it to serviceability as described here. This was a pretty major chore.
I cleaned most of the organic material out of the engine bay and started working on essential wiring.