Monday, August 24, 2015

I Love the Smell of Ignition in the Morning

Late last week Glinda became undriveable. The tach needle was jumping around and the engine wouldn’t idle only staying running if I kept the rpms above 2500. I limped her home thinking the issue was with the dying ignition switch. I surmised that the contacts inside the switch were failing and the engine was not getting enough electricity to run properly. The replacement GUP switch from the Corvair Ranch showed up in Saturday’s mail, and I installed it that night. Upon first firing up the engine, it was still running rough – crap, not the switch. I hopped out to look at the engine, but it died before I could get the lid open. I wiggled all the electrical connections that may be causing the issue – nothing appeared amiss. I hopped back behind the wheel and turned the key. A single backfire and the engine was running smoothly again. I took her for a spin around the neighborhood and everything seemed normal.

Yesterday morning I turned my attention to Ringo. I finished sanding the Bondo, blew off all the dust, wiped down the area with cleaner, masked off and shot the entire area with three coats of red sandable primer. I’ll let it cure for a day or so before wet-sanding the primer in preparation for some coats of Black Cherry Pearl.

This morning I grabbed the keys to Glinda, buckled up behind her steering wheel, and turned the key. Her engine reluctantly fired into a stumbling idle – crap. I let the engine warm up a little with my foot finessing the throttle, but to no avail. To determine if it was a carb blockage, I pulled off the air cleaner and peered down the venturis while blipping the throttle – healthy squirts of fuel indicated the issue was ignition. I confirmed that when I fetched the timing light, hooked it up, and cranked the engine – no spark. Off came the distributor cap, rotor, and dust shield exposing the points. Using the remote starter (jumper wire from the purple wire connector to the positive on the battery), I watched the points move, but saw no spark. I was at a fork in the road – either replace the points with an unknown GUP or reinstall the electronic ignition module and coil. I opted for the later. Fifteen minutes or so later, I had everything in place and hooked up. The momentous turn of the key was immediately followed by a smoothly running engine. I let it warm up as I put some of the tools away and then plugged the vacuum line, adjusted the idle speed to around 500 rpm, and checked the timing. It was reading a little above 16 BTDC, so I loosened the distributor’s hold-down nut, bumped it a bit to get to get it to around 15 BTCD, and then tightened the nut. After reconnecting the vacuum advance tube, I set the idle speed to 800 rpm, and shut off the engine. I put away the rest of the tools, washed my hands, and inspected my work clothes to make sure I hadn’t leaned against something untoward (must be why I wear black slacks a lot of the time). When I finally pulled away from the curb, I’d only lost an hour of my day. The drive to work was wonderful with Glinda’s engine pulling strongly in all gears well above 4000 rpm – yes, that’s over 80 mph. Bonus, I can cross an item off the To-Do list.

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