Monday, February 17, 2014

Spinning Wheel

It’s always a unique experience waking an engine after decades of dormancy. The last time I’ve done this was when Ariel and I were working on Redvair ( This time TwoTone’s powerplant joined the land of the living after at least twenty years of inactivity. It all happened as follows:

Yesterday afternoon it only took about fifteen minutes for the heaters to get the garage warm enough that I could comfortably remove the stocking cap from my hair-challenged noggin. First task of the afternoon was to install the borrowed starter/solenoid which went in easily including attaching the battery cable and the Start and Run wires. After turning off the heaters, I touched the purple Start wire to the battery’s positive terminal, but got nothing but sparks. I swapped in another battery cable and was rewarded with a spinning engine once the starter wire was energized. I let the engine spin a little before it was apparent it wasn’t going to start. I’d forgotten to set the point gap, but once that was set, and the static timing checked, I gave the starter the juice again and the engine caught and smoke filled the garage. Success! I let the engine run just above idle for the few second it took to burn all the gas from the carburetor bowls. Doors and windows were then opened to dissipate the fog that had enveloped the rear of the garage. I escaped to the backyard catch some fresh air and snagged the gas can from the garden shed – yay, it contained some fuel. Back into the garage to remove the other rear wheel so I could test the tranny. With TwoTone’s rear securely raised on jackstands, I then refilled the carbs and refired the engine. The smoke was less, but the valve clattering didn’t seem to be any quieter. After it ran out of gas, I put the shifter in Drive, refilled the carbs, and energized the starter. This time, instead of staring at the engine, I gave a quick glance at the rear wheels. The right rear hub was happily spinning clockwise – the correct direction. I repeated the fill-shift-start procedure this time testing Reverse, and the right rear’s rotation had reversed. Success.

After escaping the exhaust-filled garage to let it air out for a few minutes, I returned and pulled all the spark plugs and then proceeded to do a compression check on all six cylinders. All but #2 came in at 160 to 180 psi. #2 could only move the gauge up to 92. I think that it would improve with some more running. I’m going to call the drivetrain a runner.

With that experiment complete, I pulled the borrowed the starter and reinstalled a placeholder. Off the jackstands and then off with the loaner carbs. Other than pushing her out of the garage once the snow melts, I think we’re done with TwoTone.

However (and it’s a huge however), I’m toying with the idea of trying to push out the front dent. The metal seems to all be there and it’s un-torn, so who knows what kind of result I could get. I figure it’s worth a try and then the car would be more saleable.

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