Thursday, March 14, 2013

I've Got a Word for You - It's ARGH

Last night I finally got Ringo running and out of the garage – but not without him making it far more difficult than it needed to be. After installing the rest of the stuff to the top of the engine, I hooked up the battery, slid behind the steering wheel, and turned the key. Two weeks of evaporation had emptied the carburetor bowls, so starting the car took a few tries of pouring some gas down a carburetor and cranking the engine. Just as I thought the battery had no more to give, the engine started and settled into a decent idle. I figured I was home free. NOT.

As I was checking the belt travel on the running engine, I was blipping the throttle. During one of the blips, the throttle stuck at a higher rpm. It took some searching, but I found the cause – a broken linkage on the right carb was allowing the hi-idle cam to intermittently hang up in the ON position. After replacing the broken part with a GUP from my stash of spare carb parts, I thought I was home-free. NOT.

As I was re-checking the belt travel on the running engine, I discovered gas leaking from the fuel pump. It took a few turns of each screw, but I was able to stanch the flow of fuel. I then thought I was home-free. NOT.

As I was backing the car out of the garage I pulled the headlight switch, but the void in front of Ringo stayed unilluminated. I jumped out of the car and verified I had taillights, so I knew it wasn’t the headlight switch. It had to be the ever-troublesome hi-beam floor switch. I pulled back the carpet and jiggled the connector and, sure enough, the lights came on. After a few pull offs and push ons the contacts were clean enough and the lights stayed on and the floor switch functioned properly. I then thought I was home-free. Only time (and Ariel’s driving) would tell. NOT.

Ariel’s report to me this morning said the car runs fine, but after filling the gas tank, the needle only indicates 3/8ths tank. So the problem wasn’t the sender (even though I thought I’d verified it was using four different gauges). Irrrrr. I’ll go back to trying different gauges. I may have to break down and connect Ringo’s circuit up to Lucy to checkpull a known good gauge out of Lucy to check. Could all my supposed GUP fuel gauges be bad?

Speaking of Lucy, it broke down last night on Ariel’s late drive home from work. According to her, after cruising fine for about thirty minutes at highway speeds, the car had the simultaneous symptoms of engine down on power, headlights dimming, and GEN-FAN light illuminating brightly. After about a second everything went normal again, but the problem came back about ten seconds later only to disappear again almost immediately. This went on a couple more times until the engine died, the headlights stayed off, and the GEN-FAN stayed on. She coasted to the shoulder, tried getting the engine to refire, before giving up and calling Victoria to bring her a ride. This morning I drove the truck to Lucy’s location expecting to have to flat-tow her home, but (of course) she started right up and I was able to drive her to a safe parking spot about a half-mile away. I’ll go get her after work.

I posted the issue online and the consensus seems to be a bad connector between the battery/generator and the fuse block. There’s one in the engine compartment that’s notorious for corroding, so that’s where I’ll start. If that’s the fix, then I got off lucky this time.

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