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.