Sunday, April 25, 2021

Give My Creation.... LIFE!

Oh, what a glorious day!  Alice lives! 

In the immortal words of Doctor Fredrick Frankenstein (that's Fraaankenstein):

"Life!  Life, do you hear me!  Give my creation... LIIIIIIFE!"

I decided to go for broke and see if I could fire her up.  I knew it would be temporary and short lived, but after seeing how easily the engine turned by hand I thought there was a chance.

First things first: I bought a battery, plugs and plug wires.  I installed the battery and heard a good sound: the sound of a ticking fuel pump.  Then I realized I had just pumped 11 year old gas into the float bowl.  Crap.  I decided that mixing with fresh fuel would dilute it after a couple of seconds and it would be okay.

The next and stinkiest job (literally) was to drain the fuel tank.  I had thought of draining the tank and pulling it, but I changed my mind after finding some rust around the filler neck.  As in, the floor where the seal between the tank and the trunk had half-rotted away.  It's just the ring around the filler neck, but it will have to be repaired.  The PO had caulked it up long ago to try to stop fuel fumes from entering the trunk, but he missed the part where there was actually a hole in the filler neck.  The tank doesn't look all that great inside either, so it means a new tank will be in my future.

But ohmygod, if you've ever smelled old gas...  I found a siphon pump and pulled about 2.5 gallons out, and it looked like old pee.  It smelled worse, at least in my imagination.  But I did get it all out.  I added a couple of gallons of fresh premium in its place.

At the other end, I pulled the old fuel line and filter (hard with age) and installed new ones.  I pulled the cap and rotor and cleaned them up enough to give them a chance to function.  I reinstalled them with new plug wires and the plugs (NGK BPR6ES, only the best for my girl!).  I then turned the key to ON and pumped the rest of that crappy fuel out of the line.

Finally, I hooked the line up to the carb, got in the car, turned the key to START, and after about 2-3 seconds Alice came to life like the last 11 years never happened.  She settled into a fast idle (water choke is working!) and showed 60psi at the gauge.  The tach lit up along with the fuel gauge.  The alternator light didn't come on, so I've got juice (but a tester will confirm).  Eventually, I saw a budge of the temp needle too, so there's enough coolant in the system (leaky as it is) to circulate something.

Here she is, immortalized on YouTube.  This is the second start; the first just idled for a little while, then I shut her down so I could get my daughter to come take a video.

She doesn't sound bad at all.  Not great - there is an intermittent knocking sound at low idle that sounds like valve train - but wow!  I cycled on and off a few times, and she starts right up.  There's no smoke, and the exhaust smells 'clean'!

Things I noted:

  • There is an exhaust leak (probably at the manifold).  I'll end up pulling the carb and manifolds and replacing the gaskets.
  • I need to adjust the valves next time I get cheeky and fire her up.
  • I have less of a carb rebuild than I expected - needle/seat, float, gaskets.
  • The check valve on the air manifold is toast (but I found a used one).
  • All the hoses and filters need replacing, coolant and fuel, along with the water pump for safety.
  • The fuel tank needs replacement and the trunk floor needs repair around the filler neck.
  • The fuel pump is an aftermarket, but it works and is in the right spot.
  • The fasten seat belts light and buzzer work.  (Boy is that buzzer annoying!)
  • Hazards and turn signals (mostly) work, lights work, and wipers work (but not the washer).
  • The fan doesn't work, and I don't know if it's the switch or the motor.  The fuses are all intact.
  • The radiator probably needs going over as I see signs of old leaks around the cap.

    Did I mention old gas stinks? I can still smell it on my hands after washing three times.

    After all that fun, I did a compression test to see how the piston rings fared.  I pulled all the plugs and the coil wire, and hooked up my tester to each cylinder in turn.  I got:
    • 1: 125
    • 2: 125
    • 3: 128
    • 4: 130
    Whoo boy!  That's awesome.  And though I didn't run her that long, the plugs looked clean when I removed them for the test.

    I need to place a big order before I do anything else.  I want to replace all that ignition, fuel and cooling stuff I noted earlier.  I'll also change all fluids front-to-back (I didn't even change the oil for this test - it was still enough like oil to do the job).  I want to run her enough to let things fully heat up and the cooling system cycle.  I also want to do enough to get the brakes and clutch to function (even if I don't replace the drums/shoes and pads/rotors) so I can crawl her around the block.  From there, I'll work on making her roadworthy, including brakes and suspension, and wheels and tires.  Speaking of wheels, I'm looking at VTO's 15" Silverstone rims.  Pretty.

    She might make it to the green by November after all...

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