Monday, April 4, 2011

Carbs and Patches

Saturday afternoon, with the rain falling outside, I sequestered myself in the kerosene warmth of my garage. The grotty carburetor I’d given an overnight soak to last week was at the top of my weekend work list. I really wanted to remove and clean out the jet, but it would not budge from its home at the bottom of the carb bowl. Not wanting to destroy the jet, I stopped short of taking the stubborn assembly to the drill press. Instead, I took the chance that the soaking had cleaned out the jet sufficiently, and put the carb back together with fresh gaskets, needle and seat, and accelerator pump cup. I also segregated a couple carbs that I would send back to Phil (the source of the rusty 4-door who’s been patiently waiting for me to return the carbs that came with the engine I’d borrowed from him). The final carburetor callisthenic I went through was making sure the needle-and-seat in one of Ringo’s carbs had been replaced with a functioning one.

It was then time to don the nitrile gloves and apply POR-15 to the metal surfaces that would soon be covered by passenger side rocker panel and front fender patches. I only had to race into the house twice to remove small black splatters from my face before they cured to irremovable, unexplainable black freckles.

Yesterday, with the weather’s cooperation, I was finally able to get Lucy’s engine running smoothly again. It took three trips to carry tools and carburetors out to the curb where Lucy waited. I first swapped the recently rebuilt carb onto the right-side head. The engine started right up and fast-idled without the previous whooshing sound. Sadly, the right side never heated up which indicated the carb was not functioning properly – probably the jet was indeed clogged. Next up was the Ringo carb I’d put the new needle-and-seat into. It oozed gas all over, so there’s still something wrong with it. Finally, I bolted on the racing carb that had been on the car when she was running right. As expected, everything worked fine again. The reason I'd left that one until the end was I don’t like the slight hesitation I get with that carb when I accelerate. I was really hoping the rebuilt one would perform properly, so I didn’t have that irritation to still deal with. With the carbs re-balanced and the idel set to 700 rpm, I shut Lucy’s engine lid and toted tools and carbs back to the garage.

After playing musical carburetors I closed myself in the garage for more bodywork games. I cut down the front fender patch and was surprised to find it fit perfectly. I then loaded my welder with a fresh spool of .023 wire, and about two hours later, I had welded on four patches – three on the drivers side and one on the passenger side. There is a LOT of grinding in my future.

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