Well, we're back for another season. I didn't roll the car off a cliff or blow it up or anything over the winter.
The first few steps of this season will be to finish the dash clock/dome light switch shenanigans from last fall. Last I knew, the dome light circuit was popping fuses, but I think I know why. Then we move on to trying to move the engine back so my Mark VIII fan will fit. I really think the engine is sitting unnaturally far forward, so I should be able to shift it back enough just by loosening things and sliding them back. But if not, my QA1 K-member has 1 inch rearward mounting holes I can use.
Other than that, I bought some shiney new things to jump start my motivation!
That's a new console piece sold by LMR that solves the Fox body cupholder problem! SO cool, I had to have one. I also grabbed some locking bolts for my valve covers so those don't back out and leak, a driveshaft safety loop and a 60-pin extension harness so I can finally move my ECM out of the footwell and under the seat.
Should be fun! I think winter's finally had its last gasp here, so maybe I'll even start this weekend! This year I kind of vowed not to start anything new so that I don't spend so much time trying to put the car back together to make shows. I have my few new things, some left-over projects from last year to finish up, and that will hopefully be it. I don't think i'm going to be able to get away with not doing real diagnosis on my fuel leak. I hope I don't need a new fuel rail because those pretty much can't be had unless you risk used parts. And performance rails and new injectors are expensive.
I also may get a pretty major infusion of cash this year. If I do, I will bring the car to a shop and have them sort out the bottom end of my engine. It's the only part of the (parts) car I haven't re-done in some way. We're talking new bearings all around, rings, maybe balance the pistons... and that custom cam I've been talking about. And then a dyno tune with a piggyback chip thingy for my ECM.
Yep, it's coming. Slowly, haha. I remembered installing that spacer needs a supply of copper washers so you can line up the port with the exhaust flow. My google-foo is kind of lacking with stuff like this. I didn't know where I could go to potentially find copper washers the right size. There's a variety pack you can get from Harbor Freight or O'Reilly, but it doesn't have the right size in it. Most of what I found on my initial searches were these companies that cater to industrial customers and expect you to order like a CRATE of custom sized washers or something. Not helpful. But then I found out if you search for "oxygen sensor copper washers", you can find the right ones. Wasted too much time on that, haha.
Got some stuff done in the past week. Intake is painted and in the car. I decided to swap out some of the vacuum line stuff because of a tip from a friend. PCV system hoses can easily cause vacuum leaks, so I got a new hose, grommet, and valve. I got this LMR kit for replacing vacuum lines under the hood. I started with the fuel pressure regulator line, and I had spliced into it for the EGR vacuum switch line. It occurs to me I can have less fitting (to leak) under the hood if I eliminate that splice/Tee fitting, and run one of those lines to the vacuum tree instead. I'll need more 90 degree and straight fittings for the nylon line to make that work, and do everything else, so I decided to go ahead and install the intake and do that later. It sucks working behind the intake because the engine is sitting an inch farther back, so there's even less room back there than normal. I also decided to replace the carbon canister vacuum line too, so I bought a kit for that. It comes with a 90 degree fitting I'm not really sure where it goes. I replaced the stock lines with regular hose years ago. Not that I couldn't do that again, but I like that the kit comes with the correct size hose and stuff, so I'd rather do it the way it's supposed to be. Oh, and aftermarket valve covers + aftermarket throttle body = oil fill vent hose is no longer long enough. So, I have to come up with a solution for that too.
I did buy a vacuum gauge in the past few years, so I assume I checked the vacuum signal at some point. I don't remember what the result was though. Wouldn't be hard to check it again after I get the engine started.
I did do a smoke test on the intake a few times, and didn't find a leak there, but if I'm correct, I believe that if the PCV grommet was leaking, the smoke test wouldn't have been able to determine that because the PCV valve would stop the smoke getting through. I think. The old grommet WAS pretty hard compared to the new one.
Desired vacuum reading would be 17 to 18 inches of Hg. Or much higher unless you have a cam with a lot of overlap.
Stock grind or near stock grind with a smooth engine at idle can produce a vacuum reading over 20 inches.
A lot of diagnosis can be done with a vacuum gauge.
Spent a little car time yesterday. I replaced the giant hose I'd had for a carbon canister vacuum line with the LMR kit I got. Probably didn't NEED to be done, but it makes me feel good it's right. And it turned out the giant hose was the right size for the oil filler vapor line to the throttle body.
Then I decided to remove the clamps and let coolant go into the EGR spacer and see if it leaked or not. It leaked. I checked to make sure I didn't have the gasket on wrong, I didn't, but it was still quite a leak. I guess I need to find out what the torque spec is for those throttle body nuts and crank 'em down some more. :fp: I took that to tell me it was a good time to stop for the day.
How much I'm missing going to car shows is starting to outweigh my utter dread of working on the car and doing something wrong.
So, I got things all put together, and the car didn't want to run without having my foot on the gas. Since the car had been apart for ages with long periods of me not even thinking about it, it could have been almost anything causing it. Fuel pressure was good, and I couldn't find any sensors or plug wires disconnected or vacuum leaks or anything, so I decided it must be the intake plenum gasket. It got mangled a bit while I was doing re-assembly. So, I went in and got the old one out. It didn't seem to look like there was any problem with it, but the train had left the station. I ordered a new one from O'Reilly since they were the only ones who could get it to me in reasonable time, the same day at 6pm. That seems to be true of them a lot. I think they're my go-to now.
Anyway, I got things all re-assembled and the car would start and run by the time I decided I wanted to be done for the day. This was yesterday. Today was one of my favorite car shows. Over night, I decided that I really needed to do more to make sure the car was safe to drive to the show, so I decided not to bring it. I do not do all- or late-nighters anymore, nor do I try to rush or force things to happen with this car. It's proven to me time and again, it will probably let me down anyway, so there is no point. It's been better for my sanity, haha.
So next time I get some time I'll do an idle reset because of the new throttle body, and give things a good once-over before I take it for a drive. I didn't have it running for long yesterday, so I can't really say if things look encouraging quite yet. I'm going on a trip for 2 weeks on Thursday, so it will be a while before I get that time.