Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Productive Evening on the Driveway and in the Garage

Heidi’s engine has developed a bit of a stumble at high-speed acceleration. If, when going 65 or so, I floor the pedal, the engine starts skipping. If I sneak up on the increased speed, all’s smooth. Thinking it was a fuel issue, I decided to do an electrical tune-up. This is due to something I’ve been seeing more frequently on Virtual Vair posts – something along the lines of, “90% of fuel problems are electrical.”

I started by cleaning the points and setting the dwell. Knowing this would affect timing; I hooked up my timing light, plugged the vacuum advance hose, blocked the front wheels, snicked the shifter into Drive, and, after making sure the idle was at 500, found the timing mark at 8 degrees BTDC – not the manual-prescribed 12. I noticed the mark was tough to read, so I tried a trick I also saw on my web wanderings and used some white paint to highlight the mark on the harmonic balancer. I also cleaned the degree marks on the block. With the engine running again, I rotated the distributor CCW until the mark was where I wanted it and tightened the clamp nut. When I attempted to reinstall the advance hose, I discovered the tube was right up against the coil. A few minutes later, I’d pulled the distributor, rotated it a tooth on the gear and dropped it back into the hole. A little turn of the crank got the pump drive engaged and distributor seated. I statically set the timing, and cranked the engine. It started right up and the light showed I was only 4 degrees off. I gave the distributor a slight twist to get the mark at 12 degrees and then tightened the clamp nut.

With my work under the hood complete, I took her for spin around the neighborhood. My test run includes a long pull up a hill – great for checking if the miss is gone. It passed the test.

It was then time to give Heidi some attention in other places. I cleared out the leaves from behind the front fenders, cleaned the windows, and vacuumed the carpet. This was followed with an attempt to improve the defrosting capability which was quite lacking during the last wet days. Thinking the foam pad had fallen off of the diverter door, I removed the metal grill, but found that wasn’t the cause. The pad was on, just not properly placed to block the floor opening. I taped off the portion of the grill that was unblocked and reinstalled.

While under the dash, I took a look at the squeaky brake pivot and found the cause to be a bent lever. In fact the end of the brake switch button was barely engaged. I bent it back straight and lo-and-behold the squeak went away.

With some garage time still left to me, I moved on to Ringo’s engine. After pulling the top assemblies off each carburetor, I installed the new needle-and-seats in both, but left the tops off so I can fill the bowls with gas next time I go and start him up. The last task of the evening was installing the short length of 5/16ths fuel hose behind the left rear wheel.

The latest check of UPS’s website shows the Black Cherry Pearl paint and activator will arrive tomorrow before 5 PM. Yay!

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