Kelly and I slept in today, headed up to my parents’ house around noon. We picked up lunch on the way, which gave everyone time to socialize before my dad and I headed outside.
Once we got outside the first thing to get out of the way was adjusting the timing. My Dad had set it “about right” on Tuesday night for the engine test, but this time we got out the timing gun. Attach it to the battery, place the sensor over the spark plug wire for cylinder 1 and test. Set it right around 28 degrees offset from TDC above 3000 RPM.
Next step was the air cleaner. We fitted the tube which ran from the air cleaner to the carburetor, set the air cleaner in place and measured its height. Since the bracket the air cleaner would normally set on had been removed by a previous owner, when they converted Twinkie to dual carburetors, we had to fashion our own.
My Dad had picked up two “L” brackets and a straight length of angle iron. It took us about an hour and a half, but eventually we came up with a solution. The rear “L” bracket was folded to the proper height and bolted to the body as far back as possible on the passenger side of the engine compartment. The forward “L” bracket just happened to fit perfectly on one of the rear engine shroud’s bolts. The straight length was placed diagonally across both “L” brackets, and then we bungee-corded the air cleaner to the angle iron. The air cleaner is level, placed perfectly out of the way, and we still give ourselves room to remove the battery.
Next was adjusting the automatic choke. Driven by the engine thermostat, it alters the idle speed of the engine. While we were adjusting the speed back and forth we didn’t realize there were two pools of oil forming underneath the engine. In the process of cleaning up a few tools we saw the spots and the worrying began a new. What if the engine was a lemon? All this work for nothing! But, we set our minds back to work, resolved to fix our problem, just like had with every other “issue” we encountered during this effort.
Rather quickly the cause of the first oil pool was tracked down to the valve cover over cylinders 1 & 2. After closer inspection we realized it was the valve cover on which we didn’t replace the seal when we were overhauling the engine. It was thought, at the time, that the existing rubber seal would be just fine. No problem - we still had a spare seal - we replaced the seal and replaced the cover.
The second cause was a bit more difficult to track down, since oil seemed to be all over the bottom of the engine and around the dipstick. After cleaning off the oil already on the engine, we restarted the engine and found the oil was spraying out around the dipstick. With the dipstick out it just gushed. After a moment, my dad realized that the problem was actually a capped off crankcase breather vent which we had capped off due to an incompatibility with the Type 2/Bus air cleaner. (Remember, the engine came from a Bug!) We added an item onto our “future” checklist to obtain the necessary adapters in order to connect the air cleaner and crankcase breather and left the cap off for now.
Now back in the game, we finished connecting the rear engine compartment shroud and started the engine up again. Twinkie was alive. All that remained now was to perform the pre-flight checks.
After checking the lights, we called out Kelly and Mom for the launching ceremony. My Dad brought out some champagne, we all had a toast and we christened Twinkie with a pour from the bottle. I hopped in the driver’s seat, turned Twinkie over and got ready to back Twinkie out of the driveway for the first time in 3 years.
I found reverse, let out on the clutch and back I went. After a small correction to avoid giving myself WAY too much distance from the other cars in the driveway (and driving into the yard) I made it down to the street, turned into traffic and sputtered away.
Finally, after three years and an entire summer of work on it, here I was driving Twinkie down the road.
I took Twinkie around a few blocks and then pulled it back into the driveway. Hopping out, I asked my Dad if he wanted to take Twinkie for a ride and he hopped in himself and drove away. (Once again, after a small course correction, this time to avoid the cars in the driveway!)
He got back; we all stood around and admired the accomplishment. Kelly even hopped up in the driver’s seat (although she didn’t want to drive Twinkie around at all) and admired the large, round steering wheel.
We attached the rear bumper, removed the front license plate (it was an old plate) and cleaned up. Mission accomplished!
I’ve posted some photos from the day here.