An Obsessive Compulsive quest to enter and finish the greatest screwball racing series in motorsports, The 24 Hours of LeMons! And some other boring stuff...
Sunday, May 3, 2009
It lives... IT LIVES, BWAA-HAA-HAA!!
Igor, throw the switch!! NOW IGOR!! NOW!!
Our engine transplant and carb conversion on the Killer Bee racecar was a screaming success, and the patient is recouperating outside my neighbor's bedroom window. And by recuperating I mean the smoke is still clearing after it finally fired up this afternoon.
And it sounds gooooooood.
We have good oil pressure, and minimal leakage (it's an MGB, and just like an F14 Tomcat, if it's not leaking it's out of fluid!).
Earlier this weekend I finally removed what was left of the old rusty exhaust system, still hanging in the rear by a very rusted out U-bolt clamp and heavy duty hanger. The U-bolt was rusted beyond being able to break the nuts loose, even after 3 months of soaking in penetrating fluid. The positioning of the hanger prevented me from just cutting it off with a sawzall as well. The whole thing only vibrated and created a plume of rust dust that screwed up my sinuses for a week. Not a good time to be sneezing with the world afraid of sick pigs.
The answer came in the form of a Dremel tool with a cutoff disc. One surgical cut and the whole thing came crashing down and went into the scrap metal bin. Yahoo!
While installing the $20 swapmeet header and EvilBay intake, I realized my header was intended for a 72 and later S.U. HIF4, and/or or Webber DGV equipped car, which both have a thicker flange than my early S.U. HS4s. This results in bent studs and vacuum leaks if you try to use them anyways. (Allegedly - No comment).
I had measured the flange thickness before, but failed to notice there were spacers made out of what appeared to be flat washers cut in half, and welded to the mounting flange. "Huh. Interesting"
Once again the Dremel came to the rescue, making short work of the raised mounting surface. After they were removed and smoothed out the manifolds fit perfect.
Next onto the car went a nice new cherrybomb glasspack I had been saving for a special occasion. It has resided on display in my "muffler rack of shame" for about 3 years now. I have a whole wall section of the garage dedicated to exhaust parts and systems that have fallen off MGBs, and of course emergency replacement parts you need in order to get to work the next day.
When I went to put the Cherrybomb on, I realized that the glasspack slightly interfered with the transmission cross member. "WHY YOU SONOFA..." That's the last thing I needed to see, after the same cross member kicked my ass last week. Putting in a small section of pipe to clear it would place the muffler too far back to get a graceful exit out in front of the rear tire like I envision.
Not to be deterred, I set about formfitting the muffler to sit nicely in the stock exhaust route by sticking a jack under the muffler and raising the car off the ground with it. The result was a mirror image dent of the cross member on top of the muffler. Then I removed it and a few whacks with a half-jack later (2 1/2 lb mallet) it fits like OJ's glove.
The rest of the conversion from Zenith Stromberg "Firepot" to dual S.U.s went slowly and tediously, but luckily I had done this once before and still had the previous car sitting around as an example. What took months of scrounging and fabricating last time only took me a few days for this one. As a bonus, I was able to use up a lot of discard-bucket-parts in the process.
The gearshift lever went in, the wires got hooked up, and the hoses got hooked back up. The fuel lines were connected, and I turned the key on to test for leaks - amazingly there were none!
By this time the mosquitoes were sucking the life fluids out of me so I quit for the night and got an early start the next morning. And by early start I mean sitting in front of the computer eating granola till 10am, while my "Why-you-still-sitting-there" spouse kept asking me "why you still sitting there?"
Back out I went armed with unwarranted optimism. I figured that after double checking all my work I might actually get it started before lunch.
As usual I was wrong.
To make a long story a little shorter, a few weeks ago while having the rollcage installed, John Condren noticed the remaining headlight was on which was weird because the switch was removed and sitting in the back of the car. Figuring I would troubleshoot it later, I removed wires at random until I got to the offending circuit and the light went off, and I forgot all about it. Turns out the light was on because the "flash-to-pass" switch on the turn signal stalk is shorted out. Disconnecting that wire also disconnects the ignition relay, which is not shown in the schematics for this year car.
Freakin Lucas Leyland Limeys!!! This took entirely too long to figure out.
The big clue was that I had an ignition relay, and the schematics didn't. I ended up using a combination of 2 different schematics in order to get things going again. I then jammed something I picked up off the driveway concrete into the switch to disable it, hooked the wire back up, and I finally had juice to the ignition.
Lunch came at 2pm.
After lunch I tried to fire the engine, found Top Dead Center, adjusted the distributor, swapped distributor leads, tried to fire, swapped distributor and ignition module back to the one that came with the car, found TDC again, adjusted the distributor, swapped leads again, and "Rumble-rumble-bleh". (Giggle) I tried it again: "Rumble-rumble-bleh".
We had a running engine for about 3 seconds at a time. This went on forever as I monkeyed with various bits until I had it narrowed down to the carbs. The front float needle was varnished shut, starving the front carb, and the rear float was worn to the point it could not meter the fuel, flooding the rear.
Ah! Just like an MG! Now I was REALLY in my element. I have 4 cars and one motorcycle that run S.U. carbs, and by run I mean catch fire at random or sit on the side of the road with the hood up.
After a soak in solvent the front float was freed up and flooding as well. They are both in bad shape, so it looks like another trip to see Brian at the local MG supplier O'Connor Classics is in order, expecting it to cost another 25 bucks.
But the car does run really well above 2000rpm! And it sounds freaking awesome! So good in fact that I got another angry-neighbor-face peek from behind the window next door. So I ran back to my "muffler-rack-of-shame" and grabbed a few lengths of pipe and another muffler to quiet it down while testing outside their bedroom window. I even grabbed a fan to blow the smoke away into our back yards.