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Saturday, October 29, 2005


Wiring harness - almost done!

Today I completed the engine part of the wiring harness. Even covered it with that black convoluted tubing so that it looks almost like a factory piece. From the wrong decade. Assembled by a worner who was hung over on a Monday morning. But still close to factory looking. Pictures will be up soon.

I also gave the Focus a little attention - just an oil change. I'll have its windows tinted soon, too.



Want Pictures?

I've got a picture gallery at CarReview.com. It has some pictures of all my current cars and a few I used to own. I plan to upload some more pictures of the progress on the Dart later today - after making more progrees on the Dart, of course.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Wideband O2 sensor and surge tank

Tonight I put together yet another part of the wiring harness, splicing an Innovate LC-1 wideband oxygen sensor system in. Wideband sensors are a pretty handy tuning tool, especially on a turbo engine. The LC-1 can work with a factory ECU, but to get the most out of it, you either need an aftermarket ECU that can work with a wideband controller (like Megasquirt) or dyno tuning. You can also get a wideband sensor and controller from Tech Edge and the DIY-WB Project.

I also sat down and drew up a plan for my fuel system so I'll have some idea of what fittings, tubes, and connections it will need. Thanks to "Lamrith" from the Megasquirt forums, I plan to use a fuel filter as a surge tank. I'm using a Goldenrod industrial 10 micron fuel filter for this application. They may already call a slant six "agricultural" given its heavy and brute force design, but this project's getting even more agricultural with this mod. I bought the fuel filter at Tractor Supply, where it cost only $25 for both the filter and the mounting. You can't get more agricultural than hopping up your car with parts from Tractor Supply Co! Well, I suppose I could find a slant six powered combine and swap that engine in. (Seriously, they're out there. Slant sixes turn up in some surprising places.)

The drawback is that running a surge tank requires two fuel pumps. I've already got a Summit Racing electric pump for feeding the carb, so that pump will feed the surge tank. Then I will use a Carter high pressure pump (bought from a local auto parts chain; tell them you need one for a '89 Ford F150) to supply the injectors. This will mean that I'll have the current draw, and the noise, of two electric fuel pumps. But it sure beats adding baffles to my gas tank!


Thursday, October 20, 2005


Selling the Spitfire

Selling a project car isn't easy. Part of it is that, in the case of the Spitfire, I can't get back the money that I put into it. I bought it for $2,500, but with it not running, I'll be lucky to get half of that. But part of it is that you're selling a dream - once it's gone, all that you hoped for it to be will also be gone from your life. I'd hoped to cruise down winding country roads in the old roadster with the top down. Unfortunately, it was not to be. I just don't have the time in my life right now for two projects.

Perhaps the worst thing about selling a project car may be one of those classic Seven Deadly Sins, Pride. It hurts to admit, "No, I can't get this car running in time. Really, I am in over my head." Pride can definitely live up to its position on that list, chaining you to keep pressing on just because you're too pigheaded to admit that it was a bad idea.

At least I won't have the frustration of getting one thing done only to find there's more. I won't have to wonder where I will keep it in a few months. And I won't have to worry about spending any more money on what other problems I may not have discovered.

Still, I can't help but feel a pang of regret when I took out an ad for it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Progress and disappointment

The good news is that I successfully found a complete set of connectors for the Dart's fuel injectors. As it turns out, these connectors were also used on some injected Paseos and Tercels... but, curiously, on only half the connectors.

The bad news is that even after putting a new slave cylinder in the Spitfire, its clutch isn't working. And now the engine won't start. I may just have to cut my losses and sell it, as I don't need two big projects.


Saturday, October 08, 2005


Quite a setback...

So, I went to put the injectors in the Dart, and found out today that I've got the wrong connectors. I'll probably buy a brand new set rather than trying to find the correct ones in a junkyard.


Friday, October 07, 2005


Someone is having a bad day.

Today, I went to Atlanta Chassis Dyno to pick up the injectors. When I arrived, the staff was busy with a supercharged Chevy pickup strapped down to the dyno rollers. It looked like quite a sleeper - it had brush guards and aluminum wheels, but wasn't something you would expect to be all that fast. With the hood up, though, you could see a massive intake pipe from a centrifugal blower. They were just starting the dyno pull when I arrived.

Suddenly, chunks of black rubber came flying out from under the hood, and it promptly started leaking a pale yellow coolant. The operator shut it off. From where I was standing, I could clearly see a gaping hole in the fan shroud where a piece of the serpentine belt had made a rather dramatic exit. Seems the water pump pulley had self-destructed.

On the bright side, if you're going to break your engine, it's better for it to break at a mechanic's.

By the way, the guys who cleaned my injectors (an outside company, not ACD) found that one of them was plugged completely. No wonder the Supra they came out of had been junked. Luckily, they managed to repair that, cleaned all the injectors, and found they all flowed 47.25 lbs/hour. Looks like, all told, these used injectors have cost me $200 or so including the cleaning and overhaul. That's close to what a complete set of eight brand new injectors can cost for some applications. On the other hand, you won't find a set of new injectors that flow this much fuel for the price.

Just goes to show that for some applications, you might not save money with junkyard parts. It seems I have in my case, but sometimes it's worth it to buy new.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Branching Out

My fiancee suggested it would be interesting to also do a blog covering local restaurants. Sounds like fun, so I'm giving it a try. Here it is:


In other news, I've just about finished the central wiring harness section for the Megasquirt installation. It's got everything but that one elusive connector, which I have special-ordered from NAPA. They seem to be the most likely chain store to have oddball, hard to find parts. And even they had to special order that connector. After that's in, all I have to wire up is the main battery power, ignition pick-up, and fuel pump.

Monday, October 03, 2005


It's me again...

You know you're working on a crazy automotive project when they guys at the local parts store get a look of dread on their faces when you walk in the door. It seems I've got a reputation at O'Reilly's for trying to find odd parts. I lived up to that today by trying to track down a connector for an air temperature sensor. Apparently it's listed in their catalogs this time, but for some reason they didn't have it in stock at any of their stores. I've promised to bring the Dart by their place once it's running so they can see what it was I've been bothering them with.

I have since checked and found that NAPA's got a part number for it, so it looks like I won't have to bug the local GM dealer for one.

Other than that, I've made a bit of progress on the wiring harness. I should have all that together this week if I'm lucky.

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