Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Can Rebuild A Carburetor

Yesterday evening I donned grunies over long underwear and trudged through the snow to the driveway where I popped open Glinda’s engine lid intent upon swapping in the recently rebuilt carburetor. Within a few minutes the new carb was in place and hooked up. The engine started right up and was running smoothly a few second later. Blips of the throttle only resulted in smooth revs - no backfires, no lags, no stumbles. The hand-over-the-venturi test was successful in that doing so caused the engine to stall. Another positive sign was the choke on both carbs basically opened in synch with each other. Once they were fully opened, I shut off the engine, connected the ends of my clear tubing with some water as an indicator to the vacuum ports, and refired the engine. A couple turns of the left carb’s linkage and the water stopped moving in the tube so the carbs were balanced. The subsequent test drive proved the previous carbs were the cause of the quick-throttle bogging as stomping on the loud pedal from a standstill resulted in nothing but acceleration off the line. Only after a couple tank-fulls of gas will I be able to verify the predicted improved gas mileage.

Monday, December 9, 2013

I Don't Mind Being Wrong

A decade-plus of maintaining old cars as daily-driver has taken its toll on my optimistic nature. When anything goes wrong with a fleet vehicle, I now automatically jump to worst-case scenarios. After last Thursday’s report from Ariel on Ringo’s misbehavior, I got all doomsday on myself. I couldn’t help but assume another engine teardown was in my future – perhaps another ring had broken or a valve had burned. After driving him the short distance that night, my jaded brain still believed the worst.

Given the weather conditions of this weekend past, I really should have dealt with him Saturday when temps were tolerable and the skies weren’t leaking white stuff, but my belief that his issue was beyond a simple fix caused me to put off the inevitable. As it was, Sunday was the day of reckoning. Planning for long-term times under the car, I felt it was mandatory to get him in the garage before commencing any repair. That meant, sadly, I needed to get TwoTone off the jackstands and out into the driveway. For that to happen, though, I had to repack the front wheel bearings, mount the two front hubs followed by wheels at all four corners, and put all the boxes of recently removed parts into the salon. Only then was I able to drop her to the floor. Oh yeah, at this point in the afternoon, there was now three inches or more of snow on the ground and on Ringo, so some quality time with a snow shovel and broom was required before I could roll any car anywhere.

With TwoTone out of the way, I climbed behind the wheel of the supposedly broken car and turned the key. Hmm. Started right up. Hmm. Settled into a smooth idle. This was nothing like I’d encountered a couple night earlier. I was able to drive him into the garage without a hint of a problem. As he calmly idled, I did the pull-a-spark-plug-lead-and-listen-for-a-drop-in-rpms test and all cylinders seemed to be contributing to the engine’s output. A quick-blip of the throttle revealed the problem as a slight banging commenced from the fuel pump area. I discovered the screw retaining the pump was loose. Less than a full turn with the ½ wrench followed by a snugging of the jam nut and all appeared good-to-go. With sleet now coming down and the lovely Loriann’s vehicle blocking my way to the street for a shakedown drive, I decided to quite while I was ahead. In hindsight I decided the loosening of the fuel pump caused a reduction in fuel flow until there wasn't enough left in the carburetor bowls to feed the engine as Ariel was cruising down the interstate to work.

This morning I was greatly relieved when he delivered me to work with nary an indication that only four days earlier I’d been convinced the sky was falling.

Friday, December 6, 2013

It’s Not a Blown Spark Plug

I’m not sure what I was hoping to find when I popped open Ringo’s engine lid last night. Did I really want to see a spark plug lying loose on the engine cover? Well, it wasn’t. I checked to make sure no plug leads had popped off and that the vacuum hose was still connected. And nothing else looked amiss either. It took quite a few turns of the starter to get the engine running, and, once started, it was not running happily. There were, fortunately, no nasty noises coming from the engine compartment – no beating or banging, so I felt comfortable backing it out of its parking spot and slowly motoring the couple hundred feet so that it could assume the position of vehicle-about-to-be-towed behind the truck. Sadly, I’m getting quite proficient at hooking ailing autos up to the truck, so, in no time at all (and just as Ariel was walking out of her place of employment), we were ready for the drive back home.

After a stop for dinner, we didn’t pull up in front of the house until nearly 8. I had high hopes of dealing with Glinda’s new carburetor (finish cleaning, rebuild, install, and adjust), but at that point it was too late to get involved in that project – plus I now needed to keep Glinda roadworthy for Ariel.

This evening I’ll prep the new carburetor and then back Glinda’s engine bay under the open garage door to hopefully keep out of the rain while swapping the new carb in for the passenger side’s racing carb. I’m sure it’ll be fun – NOT.

At some point this weekend the rain will stop and I’ll start diagnosing Ringo’s issue. Just like last time, a compression check of each cylinder will be my starting point, and where we go from there who knows.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Here We Go Again

I love all my daughters, I truly do, but I do not like getting phone calls from the one driving a Corvair. It’s NEVER good news. Just a couple days ago I made the HUGE mistake of mentioning that Ringo was behaving himself. This morning he made me pay for that mistake by crapping out on Ariel during her drive to work. The ensuing phone conversation included the words, “chugging, backfire, sounds bad, gas smells.” This after she tried to clear out carburetors. I told her I’d be there with the tow vehicle when she gets off work this evening. Not sure what it could be, but I’m dreading the worst – another cylinder down the drain. It just occurred to me it could be a blown sparkplug. Hmm. That wouldn’t be too difficult to repair. Not really worth diagnosing a problem with only six words to go by though.

I guess it’s a good thing I picked up a rebuildable carburetor from Rich’s son, Vince, last night. After getting home I tore it down and it’s now soaking in carb cleaner. Once I determine the extent of Ringo’s issue(s), I’ll decide whether to fix him or work to try and get the new carb working on Glinda for Ariel to drive.

Never a dull moment.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

We Have a Color Scheme

While Mikhaila is still pondering what her car’s final name will be, she has decided upon a color scheme:
  • Exterior (except for roof): Fathom Green
  • Roof: Ermine White
  • Interior upholstery: White
  • Carpet: Gray
  • Interior Painted surfaces: Fathom Green (flattened to a semi-gloss)

By the way, Glinda is still leaving a puddle of ATF at each parking spot I place her in. This is quite disappointing, and maybe the magic elixir from Lucas takes a few days or so to effect a change. Regarding her gas mileage – it doesn’t look too promising.

Ringo has been out of the news lately – and that’s a VERY, VERY good thing. TYL!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Long Weekends are Wonderful

Two solid outings in the garage over the past four days and Mikhaila and I have got TwoTone nearly stripped down to the state where we can start bodywork. All that work and I can count on one hand the number of broken fasteners (one bumper bolt, one seat stud, one gas door screw, and one heater vent screw). At this point: the interior is empty except for the gauge set and the headliner; the trunk is empty except for the wiper motor, and the exterior is bare except for the door handles. Sadly, rusted-out areas were revealed as the trim came off – especially the rocker panel area at the front of the rear wheel opening. The floor has a couple holes about an inch-and-a-half in diameter. Both these areas will need to be cut out and new metal welded in. This, in addition to replacing the bashed-in left front corner, appears to be all the welding required.

Another sad discovery we made while clearing out the interior was that the brake lines had all been cut. I’m not sure why someone thought it a necessary act, but it will cost me some time and money to replace what looked to be solid, rust-free tubes.

On the Glinda front, I re-reassembled the “bad” carburetor from TwoTone and installed it in place of the left carburetor (let’s call this one an original). The engine would not run right, so I’m writing that carburetor off completely and will obtain a rebuildable replacement from Vince (Rich’s unsold stash). The original went back on and a test drive around the neighborhood proved to me she’d probably get me to and from work. So, today I pressed her back into daily-driving duty. My first stop of the morning was the gas station where I put in about $40 of 93 octane. I texted the mileage and amount it took to fill the tank and immediately received a text back telling me that the last tank-full elicited a whopping 11 miles per gallon. My hope is putting the new carbs on will return the mileage back to the 18-19 range I was seeing before I put on the carbs with the relocated jets. To add insult to injury the leak from the rear of the transmission is getting worse. I happened to have some Lucas transmission treatment on the shelf, so I poured a pint down the fill tube and we’ll see what happens.