Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Holidays are made for Car Work

Yesterday, Mikhaila finally had a day off from work, so we went out to work on Scarlett. I told her the primary goal was to get her engine running, and that we needed to borrow some stuff from Ringo in order to make that happen. With me directing and her turning the wrenches, we removed the carburetors and linkage as an assembly and bolted them onto Scarlett’s engine. After transplanting the battery and rigging up a gravity feed for filling the carbs with fuel, we were ready to go. First check was dwell. I hooked up the meter and had Mikhaila turn the key to on and energize the purple wire to get the engine to turn. It took a few tweaks of the points, but I was finally able to get the meter to point at 32 degrees. Next, we rotated the crank until the groove on the balancer was lined up with 8 degrees on the engine block scale. With the timing light now connected, we twisted the distributor trying to get a spark, but were unsuccessful, so I had Mikhaila aim the timing light with the engine spinning by the starter and we turned the distributor until we could get the groove to show anywhere on the scale. With the timing somewhere within reason, I poured a little gas down each carb’s throat and had Mikhaila start the starter cranking. It took a few tries, but we finally got the engine to fire and run. The strange thing was, that even after twenty-plus years of sitting, there was no lifter clatter and not a whole lot of smoke. We went through a few refills of fuel before calling the exercise a success and I Mikhaila out to the driveway to clean engine shroud pieces while I did a compression check on each of the six cylinders.

Last October we did the same test on the engine and came up with the following results: one @ 160 psi, three @ 150 psi, one @ 120 psi, and one @ 60 psi. This time, with engine warmed up, testing showed two @ 140, one @ 135, two @ 130 and cylinder number two at 45. I squirted some oil down in the spark plug hole and did another check. It went up to 60, so there are still issues. All-in-all, though, the test run was a success since nothing banged, clattered, or untowardly spewed fire. My next move on this will be pulling the left valve cover and checking the rocker arm adjustment on the two valves to that cylinder.

#1 #3 #5
#2 #4 #6

The testing complete, I returned the carburetors and battery to Ringo’s engine compartment. By this point, Mikhaila had finished separating the engine seal retainers from the shrouds, so I released her from working. I, however, still had another project to attend to – this one on Ringo’s distributor. When I’d previously checked the dwell, I’d noticed that it would change with the revving of the engine. In my experience, this indicates a loose pivot pin on the points’ plate. At that time, I’d just plugged the vacuum hose, verified the dwell was holding steady at 32 degrees and moved on. Yesterday, I decided to replace the points’ plate with one that I had removed from Glinda when I’d installed the Ignitor II ignition system a few months back. After the swap, I hooked up the dwell meter, set the dwell to 32 degrees, hooked up the vacuum line, and fired the engine. It would start, but barely and wouldn’t idle. It took me a few minutes to discover my error – I’d neglected to tighten the fitting where the fuel line enters the fuel pump. Sucking air was never going to re-fill the carburetor bowls. With the fitting tight, it only took a few cranks of the engine to get gas in the carbs and the engine running smoothly. Sadly, the dwell still wouldn’t sit still as I revved the engine, so it looks like the distributor shaft bushing gets put on the list for replacement. With a golf tee securely plugging the vacuum hose, I checked the timing – still sitting at 12 degrees BTDC.

At that point I called it a day, put away the tools, and locked up the garage.

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