Last Friday, after figuring it made more sense to work on the engine atop my new-to-me engine cart rather than the one sitting on the floor, I removed the oil pan drain plug from the 95 HP engine. Much to my dismay (and chagrin) the fluid that flowed from the hole was mostly water. The stream finally subsided, but not before nearly filling my drain pan. Change of plans. Rather than storing on end on its bellhousing face, I needed to tear it down and stem the rising tide of rusting. About three hours later, I’d removed every fastener holding that engine together, and the floor around the cart was now cluttered with cylinders and heads, rods and pistons, a good-sized cardboard box filled with bolts, bits, and pieces, and a rather large puddle of the aforementioned oily water. In other words, the messy garage is now REALLY messy.
Saturday was a car-free day until I received a phone call from Victoria. She was heading home after a babysitting gig, and Glinda had thrown her fanbelt about ten miles from our house. Victoria nursed her another five miles before the pinging started scaring her (rightfully so). I grabbed a new belt, a 9/16ths wrench, my cordless droplight, and some latex gloves and made the relatively short drive to her location. A few minutes later, with my fingers dancing around the HOT engine surfaces, I had the new belt on and was just about ready to have Victoria fire up the engine, when I noticed the useless, blanket-blank belt guide at the idler was hard up against the pulley wheel. CRAP! Some more finger dancing, loosening, adjusting, and retightening and she was finally ready to go. I wanted to chastise Victoria for missing her weekly check-the-oil-and-fanbelt session, but she told me everything was fine last Monday, so she was in the clear. Just another day in Corvair paradise.
Yesterday’s car events didn’t get going until later in the afternoon when it was time to address some Ringo issues Ariel had related to me before she took to visit a friend in New Jersey. Getting the gas gauge to work meant replacing the current one with a GUP off the shelf. After testing the three spares, I came up with one that read the ¼ tank she thought was Ringo’s current fuel level. It some contortions to remove and replace the gauge since I did it without removing the gauge cluster, but it was finally finished. While still on my back under the dash, I lubed the speedometer cable fitting with WD40 in hopes that would free up the balky speedometer. To answer her complaint that he felt like he was laboring keeping up with highway traffic, I hooked up the dwellmeter and discovered the setting had dropped a few degrees. I tweaked the points to get the reading up to 32 and then checked the timing – 14 degrees BTDC – right where it needed to be. Finally, after a quick drive around the neighborhood (which indicated I hadn’t fixed the speedometer), I checked the ATF level and found it right on the add mark, so I added a pint and pronounced him ready to roll.
Meanwhile, I had given Victoria directions to start up Luna, which she did, and idle her engine for a few minutes to let her fully warm up, which she couldn’t. I pulled the air cleaner and checked the carburetors for fuel – nothing. I cracked open one of the fuel line fittings and had Victoria crank the engine. No shots of gas. This was a brand new fuel pump, and I believe the length of time Luna’s engine was able to run on the fuel in the reservoirs was plenty enough to get the pump primed and doing its pumping thing. Looks like a bad pump – AGAIN. I then had Victoria remove the pump so I could return it to Carquest for a replacement.
After a delicious dinner (does the lovely Loriann know how to prepare a meal that isn’t?), I re-donned grungies and headed out to the garage to tackle the mess I’d made. Before I could get any farther than turn on the music, Victoria walked out of the house carrying the phone. I just knew it was Ariel and that Lucy had a problem. Sure enough, Ariel started our conversation with, ““Daddy, I’m sitting on the side of I-95 near Havre de Grace. All of a sudden Lucy started making nasty, loud noises, and when I stopped, the engine died.” About three hours later, we were all back home with Lucy on the end of the tow bar behind the Suburban. Not sure yet what the issue is, but I’m bracing myself for a dropped valve seat. If that's the case, then I now have an excuse to install the 140HP heads and four-carb setup.