A bad day in the garage, is better than a good day at work!

What started out to being a one hour job, turned into six.

I recently picked up a digital dwell meter and was anxious to tweak my timing rather than only using a timing light.

I decided to go ahead and remove my points and check for pitting and clean everything up a bit. Not that it was that dirty, but never hurts to do some cleaning. I began to reinstall the points and DROPPED the set screw underneath the engine tin. ARGH!!!

Tried my magnet in the hole and could never find it which began my quest of trying to remove the drivers side engine tin. I thought while I’m removing the tin, I’ll go ahead and strip it and repaint it from the unusual candy apple red color obviously painted by a previous owner. Ultimately, I’ll have it stripped and powdercoated, but for the time being a nice coat of semi-gloss black will be just fine.

To remove the engine tin, it was necessary for me to remove the carb and intake runners and also removed the distributor after making sure the engine was at TDC.

In an earlier post, I had written about having to repair one of the intake studs on the cylinder head. When I installed the intake, I was unable to tell if there was a left and right so I went ahead and installed which way I thought was correct. After installation, I noticed that the runners would not insert into the air distributor. So, I got them as close as possible and then used my silicone boots and there wasn’t any leakage.

I took this opportunity to reverse the intake sides to see if the fit was better. The fit is better, however, I noticed that the carb was now not sitting level. Thought at first it was just my eyes playing tricks. More on that later.

Back to the tins … I removed all of the tin screws on the left side and still was unable to remove the #3 and #4 cylinder tin. I was able to remove the two pieces from underneath and then the left outside piece. No matter how much I struggled it just would not come out and in fear of bending something I just gave up for now. I did read several posts about that once the screws are out, it should come out with some extra work. Went forward with stripping, priming and painting the engine tins I was able to remove. Finished those up last night. Not perfect but so much better than before. Pics to come. 😉

The good news is I was able to separate the engine tin far enough away to see the points set screw and was able to retrieve it. Then proceeded to installing the points again, and reinstalling the cylinder tin, carb and intake. I first tried setting my points gap to .016 inches, but that gave me a 39° degree dwell. For used points the dwell should be between 42° and 58°; for new,  42° and 50°. I went to .014 and was able to get the dwell to 52°. I then set the timing and have it set at 28° at 3000 RPM with the vacuum hose plugged.

The acceptable range for the point gap should be .016 to .020 inches.

After setting the dwell and the timing, it’s time to set the carburetor. With a progressive Weber, I used the initial settings provided by Redline. For some reason, the idle at times will vary from 500 rpm to 1100 rpm. I greased the distributor shaft and thought that would have helped that situation as I’ve run into that before. After several attempts and removing the mixture screw and spraying carb cleaner, I finally thought I had got it.

Took it out for a spin and it was actually running very well … except when I turned a tight corner to head home where it actually stalled out. Cranked it and ran fine, until I made another hard turn into the driveway and she died again.

My memory is not as good as it once was but surprisingly remembered about a post I had read on TheSamba website about someone’s carb not sitting level after reversing the intake runners incorrectly. Hmmm … ring a bell?

So, this weekend, I hope to remove it all again, try and remove my #3 and #4 cylinder tin and reverse my intake runners and see if I can pry the runners into the air distributor with some clamps. Then set everything back up again.

The good thing about all this struggle … practice makes perfect and I’ve never removed my distributor before and reinstalled.

What started out as a one hour job, turned into six hours and a hot, humid, sweat filled day. HOWEVER, a bad day in the garage, is better than a good day at work!

I’ll keep you posted.