Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Dave and I got together on the phone and agreed that we'd get together on Tuesday to finish with the plug wires and try to start 'er up. The first thing on the agenda was to remove the old distributor and rotor and replace them with the new ones. Here's Dave working on getting the old distributor cap off the engine. What's taking so long, Dave?
Removing the distributor cap was easier said than done, as the engine had at some point gotten so hot that the cap was melted and partially fused to the engine block. Off the top of our heads, we can't figure out how that would have happened; would the fumes from hot oil falling on the exhaust manifold be so hot as to melt the distributor cap? There's no evidence that this car was in a fire, as none of the other components under the hood are melted. So this is strange. But that is certainly one melted distributor cap. I put it next to the new one for the photo to make the melted parts stand out more, as I couldn't get a really good shot of the melted parts while they were still on the car:
It wasn't just the cap that was melted, the rotor was melted in place too. Not good:
But Dave got it pulled off and cleaned up the mating surfaces, put on the new rotor and cap, and then we got all the plug wires put in place and connected the ignition coil. The only things left to do were to fill up the gas tank, top off the oil and coolant, attach the battery, and see if she would fire.
All of which we did, in almost that same order. Unfortunately, she would not fire. Fortunately, she did turn over, and Dave said that he saw puffs of black smoke emerge from the exhaust a couple of times, but they were just puffs. He could see, however, the accessory belt turning and, when we pulled back the timing belt cover, he could see the timing belt moving when I cranked the engine. The fuel pump sounded like it was working, and we confirmed that the overall electrics still work, as the car turned over and all the lights (including the headlights) worked.
Our suspicion at this point is that either the fuel filter is clogged (depriving the engine of fuel) or that the engine isn't getting spark. Our plan is to pull the fuel filter and replace that and pull the ignition coil and have that tested to see if it's working right. I think I'll double-check the spark plug leads to make sure that we've got them all plugged into the right places. We're off to the internet to check a couple of other things; despite not starting like we'd hoped, we took it as a positive sign that the engine turned over on the first try and didn't make ugly noises
Regardless, among many Jalopnik posts that should be useful to our race team is this one entitled "What Would Smokey Do? 24 Hours of LeMons Cheating Tips." Check it out.
While on that topic, the real question may be why cheat in the first place? Why do we even care? One entrant who went on to be a BS judge at the LeMons South race this year provides us with a pithy answer:
"You may be asking yourself why they bother. Why put so much time and effort into cheating when even founder Jay Lamm describes the race as a "waste of time." Sure racing is cheating, but LeMons isn't really racing. It's Burning Man gone retarded, a beer-soaked monument to high school shop class. And this is where you're wrong. Obviously, the nickels provide little motivation. But every other puzzle piece is present. Problem solving, driver skill, team work, metal-crunching surprises, wheel-to-wheel action — it's all there, in multicolored spades. To quote Willie Sutton, who, when he was asked why he robbed banks, said, "because that's where the money is." LeMons my friends, is racing in its purest form. And racing is cheating."
Monday, December 1, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Notice the formidible brickwork serving in lieu of non-functioning emergency brakes. There's only so much that you get for your $200. The blue one isn't too bad on the inside, although we will be gutting most of the amenities (such as they are) to run it in the race:
Although we will be leaving this in for the race. Rest assured, it has a mate on the passenger side of the car as well with just as much racing provenance:
So why were the cars so cheap? Well, here's what the engine bay on the blue car looks like:
After talking around on a few different MR2 forums and the Bobistheoilguy.com forum, the consensus opinion is that the oil smoke that trailed the car was probably boil-off from the oil filler that was left off. Opinion is that I should refill the oil, clean out around the plugs and put in new plugs, drop in a little bit of Marvel Mystery Oil and let that soak in for a few hours, then rotate the engine by hand a few turns (taking the distributor line off for that), then put in the battery and fire it up. Consensus opinion is that the engine is likely to be okay and that the mechanic was looking for a paycheck or just wanting the former owner to just go away. Let's keep our fingers crossed that they are right. I'm off to buy oil and a battery.