Kerry's '73 Restoration - Part Thirteen

Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1973 -> Kerry's Restoration -> Part 13

Interesting week so far --  full of stupidity, mainly mine.

Since the paint is nearly finished, I decided to go over the engine and do a good tune-up.  Plugs, filters, oil, set the timing, etc.  I also have to deal with the leak in the transmission.

Monday, I put the car on the lift and decided there was WAY too much gunk and grease to even think about determining where it came from.  Since the lift room was a mess anyway, I decided to get out the steam jenny and try and get some of the gunk off.  I picked up the steam cleaner from an add in the paper a couple of years ago for just a few bucks.  Handy but does make a mess.  

Set the cleaner near the open door and put my big fan blowing through the shop to push the fumes and overspray out.  The cleaner had just started to steam when it stopped due to a blockage.  Quickly shutting off the power and heat, I waited for the unit to cool by leaving the room (steam is scary).  I had to take the "gun" apart and when I had cleaned it and got it working again, I was amazed how well it worked.  I must have been working on about 25% when I did the 57 Imperial.  This time it just ate the gunk off.  I had some dishwashing soap in some water and the cleaner would suck it up and spray it on.  It makes a great degreaser.

I got the car up as high as it would go and started with the back of the tranny and worked forward to keep myself out of the hot water dripping.  Safety glasses and gloves are a MUST!

When I finished, I stopped for lunch while things dried out.  When I got back the oil pan and tranny was nice and clean.  I had already determined that getting the plugs out would be very hard and looked up from below to see if they were easier to pull from below.  Oh shoot, the motor mounts are junk!  This will be interesting, I wonder if they can be had.  While it was up and I was messy, I drained the oil.  I had picked up a filter and oil the previous day but the filter was too long.  

Next day I got the right air filter, new spark plug wires (one end came off when I tried to get the boot off), and to my surprise, two new motor mounts for the amazing sum of $4.25 each!!!  Now all I have to do is get the old ones off.

The first thing about changing motor mounts is that it cannot be done EASILY without pulling the engine.  I've never been accused of taking the easy way and I don't want to pull the engine unless I have to.  The motor mounts isolator is held on by a long bolt through flanges on the frame.  The mount bolts to the motor with 3 bolts and the isolator (Rubber thing) bolts to the mount.  It took me a good 6 hours to remove and replace these things.  It is a bear!  But with patience, and a LARGE assortment of various size wrenches and ratchets, it can be done.  On the right side, the alternator and fuel pump must be removed to get to the bolts.  I suspended the car about 18 inches off the ground and used a floor jack to lift the motor.  Oh, by the way, the power steering hose is pretty short and tears if you lift very much.  You can take it off or wait until you tear it off.  I suggest you take it off, I dumped a ton of fluid all over the floor which made working on a creeper a mess.

Now for the stupid stuff.  The new motor mounts looked to be the right ones (I always eyeball before I get things dirty in case I have to take things back).  When I finally got the first mount off, I noticed the old isolator was bolted to the mount but the new isolator had a stud.

This am, I went back to my parts house and explained the problem.  I brought the old one.  Looking at the old one for a minute, Joel pulled one of the new ones out of the box and took it out of the plastic bag (I never did) grabbed the stud and pulled.  By this time I knew what was coming.  The "stud" was just a black rubber sleeve to protect the threads.  We enjoyed a good laugh at my stupidity.

When I had the mounts almost on, I discovered I could not find on of the 7/16 fine thread nuts.  I looked everywhere and finally used a new coarse thread bolt and nut.  When I let the jack down, the left side slid right in place but the right would not fall in place.  I screwed with this for a couple hours and finally pulled the left side bolt out and lifted the engine again.  Guess where the missing nut was?  Between the isolator and the frame holding it up!  

Now I can finish the oil change.  All day, I kept reminding myself that I needed to put oil in the car and was afraid I would try and start the car before I put the oil in.  I even put a note on the door to remind me. Five cans of Valvoline later, I felt much better.  At least until I checked the oil level.  Hmmm, why is it so high.  Could it have too much oil because I really had put oil in it before???  Now I will have to drain 5 quarts out.  Can you say dumb ass!

By the way, pulling the plugs on this thing is really, really hard.  I expect that the typical Imperial purchaser NEVER did their own.  I do not believe #7 can be done from the top.  It was pretty hard even from the bottom.  Tomorrow, I will do a compression check.  The way things are going, I'll find a dead cylinder and end up having to pull the engine.  Someone remind me why I like to work on old cars.  Please.

Next Chapter...

Kerry's '73 Restoration Saga Main...

This page was last updated on 08/22/2001. Please email me any comments at

and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club