Kerry's '73 Restoration - Part Fourteen

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8/3 to 8/4/2000

No photos in these last couple chapters, not much to see.

First thing was to drain some oil.  Since the oil was all new, I just refilled the empty oil containers I had just put in and I will reuse it at the next oil change.

I decided to leave the fuel pump and alternator off to make it easier to reach the plugs.  

I wanted to do a compression check.  The old girl smokes on startup but ran pretty well on the old tune-up.  The oil change was to straight 30W which should raise oil pressure and cut down on the smoke.  I was pretty apprehensive about the compression, I could just imagine having to do a rebuild.

Most of the spark plugs are easier reached from below so I used the lift A LOT.  Removing the rubber mats on the inner fenders allow you to reach the first 3 on both sides but the rearmost plugs can't easily be done from above.   I could not figure out how to connect my remote starting switch so most of the cylinders I had to put the checker in the spark plug hole, lower the car.  I was very pleasantly surprised to find my compression was 125-140, well within spec according to the shop manual.  

Next I gapped the new plugs and put anti-seize on the threads.  I had a time getting them in but about 45 minutes had the job done.  Now for the new plug wires and dist cap.  I found some neat little spark plug numbering clips that I thought I'd use.  I had applied them to the old wires BEFORE I pulled them off the car.  All I had to do was start with the #1 wire, pull it off, find the appropriate new wire, transfer the number clip, and put it in the new cap.  Piece of cake.  Except the caps were different.  There is a little knob of some type on both caps,  I ASSUMED I could use that as a reference point.  WRONG! (You know what happens when you assume don't you?  You make an ASS out of U or ME!)  The new cap was 180 degrees off so I had to adjust the wires to fit.  Pain!

The plug wires are "custom fit" for the car but most are a little too long.  The good thing is that they are hidden by the engine.  I still have all the original wire looms so it looks pretty decent.  I had replaced the both valve cover gaskets but did not repaint the valve covers.  I will regret that.

I'm pretty disappointed in how Mother Mopar designed the fuel pump.  It is VERY tight and difficult to reach because it is so close to the head.  I have about nine different 9/16 sockets but only 1 would fit.  Of course the rod had fallen and I had to take out the plug and push it back up.  A trick I read about somewhere is to put some grease on the top, the suction of the heavier grease will hold the rod up.  Works!  Took about 1/2 hour to put the pump on and that did not include the 15 minutes it took me to put the allen plug back in because I forgot to do it before I reinserted the pump.  DuH!

While the alternator was off, it seemed a good idea to change the belts.  Taking the tension off the power steering pump was pretty straight forward but the front belt for the water pump was a bear.  I ended up loosening 3 greasy bolts and it got free but I never did see which one let it slide.  This is another under the car thing!

The battery cables were in pretty sad shape so new ones were in order.  Went to AutoZone first because some things are cheaper there than my good ole parts house with the paper inventory and old parts in stock.  Of course, they did not have half of what I needed.  Two of the four belts, half the heater hose to be exact.  I wanted heavy battery cables with the extra wires for connecting to the the harness.  The positive wire is 60" and the ground is 36".  There are lots of choices from 6, 4, or 2 gauge.  I chose 2 but had to make the extra accessories wires.  No problem to crimp up some connectors and attach them to the battery lugs.

When I got everything put on, the old girl fired right up.  She used to crank for quite a while and a spray of ether was not unusual.  Now I just turn the key, don't even have to push the gas.  

Vacuum hoses are a mess.  Picked up a roll of vacuum hose a week or so ago because it was obvious the old hose was brittle.  Unfortunately, the routing of the hoses is a big question mark.  I've posted an email to the list with some questions but the long and short of it is that I am going to have to go through the hoses and ports one by one with someone's car that is plumbed correctly.

No vacuum on the advance and the timing was off just a little.  As the motor warmed up I watched the choke come off and it finally did.  I wonder how long it takes other cars cold start on an 85 degree day?  Someone want to pull their breather and time it?  

A vacuum gauge connected to a manifold port showed a pretty weak engine.  I adjusted the carb for max vacuum but it was still low.  Then I got the bright idea to hook vacuum to the advance.  Voila!  Great readings on the vacuum gauge and an improved idle.  Obviously a problem with the plumbing.

I want to take the car out in the driveway and pull the front wheels and get after it with the steam cleaner some more.  While I was looking around I noticed the power antenna and spent about 1/2 hour trying to get it to work.  Finally noticed the toggle switch on the overhang of the dash....duh.  I ASSUMED it worked automatically when you turned the radio on like new cars do.

The guy I bought her from told me the buzzer for the doors and such was on the floor.  I plugged it back in the fuse holder and it buzzed away.  However, the rim blow horn now works but the buzzer is very irritating.  Most things work on the dash except the temp gauge but after figuring out which sensor was the temp sensor (up front on the water pump housing by the distributor) and reseating the connector a couple times it started to work.  One less problem to solve!

Getting close to road ready.    Taillights went in quick, new bulbs and the lit up.  Brake lights?  Humm, only the left side.  I'll have to look into that.

Remember my transmission leaks on the floor after a few days?  I called Jimmy Calloway, my trans guy and talked to him.  He said it MIGHT be the linkage seal.  Now that things are clean and dry from the steam cleaner, new leaks should be easy to see.  I put a gallon of fluid in the trans.  Hopefully I can spot the leak.  More hopefully it will be an easy fix and I won't have to pull the trans.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.  I did notice the rear trans mount is pretty deteriorated.  Compared to the front motor mounts, it looks like a snap!

My goal is to drive by tomorrow night.  No hood, or front bumpers because they will be in the way for a while yet but I can hang the rear bumpers and put the tag on.  Brake lights, turn signals, tag...that should do it.

Next Chapter...

Kerry's '73 Restoration Saga Main...

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