So on Sunday afternoon, Dave came over to review our mighty steed, the blue MR2. My dad had helped me to clean out the garage enough on Saturday night so that we could roll Blue into the garage to facilitate nighttime work and, since it's getting about as cold as it gets here in Dallas, it's a little warmer inside. We knew that the engine was a mess; our plan was to pull the old spark plugs, put in fresh plugs, top off the oil and coolant, install the new battery, and try to start Blue. I pulled off the trunk lid and engine cover to make some room to work:
We started by removing the old spark plug wires. A couple of them practically disintegrated in our hands. The insulating boot on two of them stayed behind way deep down in the plug wells. Fortunately, not so deep that they couldn't be retrieved by hand once we removed the cover on top of the plug wells:
As you can see, the wells were filthy with oil. We probably went through a hundred q-tips just trying to soak all of that oil out of the wells before removing the plugs. No wonder this car was blowing blue exhaust; something caused oil to be all over the top of that engine. Was it the oil cap getting left off after an oil change (as the previous owner said) or is it bad valve cover gaskets? Who knows. What we do know is that the top end of this engine was filthy with oil. Check out what the spark plugs looked like:
After removing the plugs and putting in new ones (with plenty of anti-seize on the threads), we decided to run to the auto parts store to get a new cap and rotor, since the contacts on the distributor were filled with what looked like copper-patina pixie dust. The two stores nearby that were open late on a Sunday afternoon had the rotor, but not the cap, so that was about it for the day. But we were encouraged by the fact that the car had oil in the crankcase. We decided that I would stop by a different store on Monday to get the distributor cap and to re-convene on Tuesday.