Chapter 30: Inspecting the ravages of time….

My objectives for now are to get the car mobile enough that I don’t have to tow it around the yard when I want to tinker on it.  My home shop is busy, and I can’t just leave it in.  More importantly I want to figure out my priorities for working on it this winter.  I need to know what must be done, and what can be left.  I would really like it to be usable by spring.

There were no shortcuts to be taken with the fuel tank.  A hard wire could not be shoved through the pick-up tube.  I took the sending unit out, pried the floats out of the gunk and stuck a screwdriver into the hole.   There was so much goo that the screwdriver stood up without support.  A few days of soaking, flushing, scooping and shaking got the inside cleaner than I had dared to hope.  Very little rust pitting is all that remains.  The pickup had to be unsoldered and removed to be cleaned.  Made a mental note that the exit hole is only about 3/16 of an inch.  Is that enough for a boosted engine?  

With the gas supply fixed, the car runs.  Idles fairly well, though a bit fast, has oil pressure.  And smokes, bad.  Mr Meyers had warned me that the turbo was probably bad, and I’m pretty sure that he’s correct.  Oil seems to be just pouring into the hot side of the turbo, even seeping out of the gaskets, but none is visible on the fresh air side.  It also seems like the turbo isn’t spinning.  Probably frozen right up.  I consider it good news because it’s a problem that I already was planning to fix.

Filled the radiator and looked for leaks.  Since none were visible I couldn’t see a reason not to drive it!  There was one, I just couldn’t see it.  

Loaded up my wife for the maiden voyage, a mile or so down the road and back.  The car drives awful.  Not that I didn’t expect that, I knew the steering was pretty loose.  A sticking front brake added to the excitement, but again, par for the course when you’re resurrecting old stuff.

The first unexpected problem has showed itself.  The car overheated on our short jaunt, and a diagnosis of that problem is that the radiator is junk.  I had hoped that that was a problem I wouldn’t have, since it had been recored during it’s stay with Mr Meyers.  The problem is that the solder joints had failed on the bottom tank, and rodents and wasps had plugged the void so solidly that water couldn’t run out when I added it.  I cleaned it out, soaked in acid and got out my coppers to resolder it.  I’ve plugged it up for now, but doubt that I can ever trust it, unless I disassemble it and redo it all myself.  Kids, there are two rules to soldering.  One, it has to be clean.  Two, pieces have to fit.  That’s where this wasn’t done correctly.  Huge gobs of solder bridge big gaps.  A recipe for failure.

Lets find the silver lining, though.  Maybe this is the excuse to get a new radiator.  A more modern aluminum radiator with good shrouding could perhaps be a little smaller, which might make room for an intercooler!  Do I want an intercooler?  I don’t know, but friends who do have experience tuning turbos are encouraging me to consider it.  Their point is that it would provide a safety margin to protect against detonation.  More stuff to think about!

(Editor: Great start! Look carefully at the turbo, before and after you remove it to see where oil is…and isn’t. Loosen the oil feed at the turbo while engine is running a bit and see if oil is supplied. There may be a restrictor there to prevent overhauling. Get a Champion or equivalent radiator (you have to specify which side inlet and exits are on) off the internet. Have had good luck with these, paying about $100. When it arrives, check it over carefully for incorrect welds, dings and dimensions. Pressure test it for leaks before throwing away packing material etc. When it is installed, fill the system with water, check oil level, and run it a while. Then check the radiator and dipstick for “chocolate milk” which might mean a blown head gasket. You don’t really gain anything by adding an intercooler in this configuration unless you anticipate continual use with greater than 15 psi…just complexity. There are sites on the internet where you can plug in the numbers for various engines to see what you can expect. I spent a lot of time on this with the race engine. Use a Volumetric Efficiency number of 75%. Look back in Chapter 11 on the Water/Methanol injection stuff which would be an easier way to cool the intake charge in the blow-thru configuration with Turbostude. It is mostly done to the car already with a plate under the carb. Add a 12v pump, a pressure switch and a windshield washer reservoir.)

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