The life of a weekend warrior-
I dragged Mike the Mechanic into another long day working on the Dart….
My ’72 Dart had massive carbon buildup in the crossover passages of the intake manifold. This kept the exhaust gas from heating up the intake manifold and the choke so #1- the thing never hit peak efficiency (which isn’t great even then in a 318) and #2- meant that the choke spring never actuated and the choke remained closed. I was having some trouble with it stalling out at traffic lights because it was running so rich and I was spending a fortune on gas. A friend who had converted his stock 2bbl 318 over to a 4bbl said “Here, take this stock intake and get it dipped and then just give me your old one when you pull it off.”
So, I had that intake dipped and then it rode around in the trunk for a few months. I have been super busy- i work two jobs and play in a band. Long story.
Anyway, the thing got some surface rust on it, so when I finally got a couple of days off after Christmas, I took it and pulled off my valve covers and went to Christopher’s house where we spent the day playing with the sandblaster. Everything came out looking very nice and clean. I primed it and the next day it started raining. I don’t have a garage- have to do everything in the yard, so the primed intake and valve covers went into the barn for two weeks.
Then, I finally had a clear day, went out and discovered that the primer hadn’t stopped the rust…
I am a halfwit, I know. Should have predicted that. Back to the sandblaster with the intake, and then I ran out of time AGAIN. But not before I primed and painted it and the valve covers.
Another week and a half goes by, and I finally get a Saturday to myself, so I give everything a sanding to get rust off of the various surfaces that didn’t get primed and painted (it’s rained pretty much nonstop here for two months) and Mike and I set to bolting everything back together. Everything went back together surprisingly well. Even the distributor fell into place without any wrestling.
The last thing I did was bolt the coil back on, only…. there’s one coil bolt missing… and we had left it on the firewall over the engine… Maybe… maybe it fell down into the engine… no, it couldn’t have. What if it did?
I searched all over under the car, but remember that this isn’t a shop. It’s my driveway, which isn’t paved. I am 97% sure that the bolt hasn’t fallen down in the engine, but there was a long hard moment where I thought about tearing everything apart again to make sure it wasn’t sitting in the valves waiting for me to turn the key.
We finally decided to proceed, only to discover that my NEW intake doesn’t have a water pump bypass hose nipple. The old one does, of course, so it’s just a matter of… crushing it with a pipe wrench trying to get it loose.
So, off we went to do the late Saturday afternoon tour of autoparts stores. NAPA closes here at 12:30, so it was AutoZone, O’Reilly’s, etc. You can imagine how that went. Finally found what I needed in the plumbing department at Lowes. Nice brass part, threaded on one end and barbed on the other. AND it was less than $5.00. Don’t mess with me, folks….
So, we got it all put back together and cranked it. Loads of crap burned off when it first started. It settled into a nice idle, but when I ran the RPMs up, it was running really, really rich and it sort of stumbled a little bit.
Unfortunately, it was getting dark and cold really fast, and yesterday it was raining and cold again, so dawn breaks on another Monday with the Dart up on ramps. Still.
I think that I may have sealed a vacuum leak that someone had previously compensated for by enriching the mixture ridiculously. My suspicion for the primary culprit is the old carb gasket that I threw away. It was really shot. I think that the new one may be way more effective at blocking air. I would have started playing with the mixture except for two things-
Mike noticed that the points were pretty much shot when I had the dist. cap off. I don’t have a timing light of my own, so I couldn’t really change the points and start playing with it until I had gotten points, condenser, light, etc.
I am hoping that no one claims next Saturday before I can get to it!
I am also hoping that I do not discover that the carb needs to be replaced or rebuilt, though it wouldn’t be the end of the world.