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Project: Ol' Sparky 620


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5 hours ago, hobospyder said:

and if i had known about the need for a fuel pump insulator/spacer thingie I probably have a spare or 2

Thanks, man. I didn't know I needed it until days after I saw you. There wasn't one when I tore down the engine so it was a total surprise when I saw it in the rebuild book. I have a new one arriving any day now. 

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Entry 28 - Let there be lights! 

 

Ok. Totally figured out the lights. I didn't realize the red and green leads shared a ground with the rest of the list assembly and so I was accidentally creating a ground loop by attaching one of them to the black lead on the front signal. The red lead goes to the green/red  constant wire and the green lead goes to the green/black switched wire. No relays or anythind needed. I was overthinking it. 

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6 hours ago, Negative Ghostrider said:

Thanks, man. I didn't know I needed it until days after I saw you. There wasn't one when I tore down the engine so it was a total surprise when I saw it in the rebuild book. I have a new one arriving any day now. 

No worries. I'm sure if I hadn't read warnings before I had to replace a fuel pump on my l16 and it didn't have one I probably would've just slapped the fuel pump on there. 

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Entry 29 - Buckle up, buttercup! 

 

I got the seat belts sorted out. The folks at Wesco Performance were attentive and sympathetic but in the end not very helpful. I couldn't return or exchange the belts once I installed them, even though I had to install them to discover all the mounting issues. The agent helping me said she had been selling belts for 17 years and had never seen issues like mine. I told her to make a mental note about 73-78 Datsuns for the future. LOL. Anyhow, I ended up using a bunch of longer bolts, spacers, and modifications to make things fit. Everything should still hold as well as if I hadn't modified the process. The threads run as deep or deeper at all the mounting points as before, and use the same grade hardware. The shoulder belt anchors now swivel and adjust properly, the lap belt isn't twisted anymore, and the buckles have the rigidizers on them so they don't fall under the seats when you unfasten. I talked to them about getting the retractable models but it sounds like they probably wouldn't even fit because the retractor mechanisms are very bulky and likely wouldn't be able to bolt up to the lower anchor points. Anyhow, I'm rambling. Belts are done. 

 

I realize I put the LEDs in the outer locations, which are normally the high beams. They seem to work fine there (as long as the inner bulbs are disconnected, and the high beam stalk works backwards, but I digress) and I like the look of them better in that location. I am going to put the halogen high beams on their own relay/switch and reserve them as "fogs" . I already have yellow Lamin-X overlays for them. 

Edited by Negative Ghostrider
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  • 2 weeks later...

Entry 30 - the finish line in the middle of the race. 

 

After 5 maddening hours I finally got the engine reassembly finished. The fuel pump took me all of 5 minutes - gaskets and insulator in, tighten nuts, done. The oil pan, however... 

 

I wrestled with the crossmember again. The bolts just don't want to come out. I messed with the tensioning rods because the crossmember seemed to be a bit twisted. It helped but not enough. I finally got the bolts out using a deadblow hammer and a smaller bolt. I knew reassembly would be nightmarish (and I was right). I have already put a large bull pin in my Amazon cart for next time, so I can get/keep the holes aligned.

 

Anyhow, I finally got it off and I tried to put the pan back on but the cross rod was in the way. Then I remembered when we tore it down it was down to the block before we removed the pan and we unbolted the motor mounts and used a couple 2x6s and a cargo strap to lift the engine enough for clearance. With the engine reassembled it wasn't going to budge so I'd have to take apart some of the suspension. 

 

I tried to remove the cross rod first. I pulled the cotter pins and removed the nuts from the cross rod sockets and tried to knock them out but there was too much tension. I tried to adjust the cross rod but the jam nut on the driver's side was seized so badly that I broke my 22mm flare wrench trying to remove it. I'll have to address that at some point I guess. Next I tried to remove the bracket that holds the idler arm assembly to the frame rail. I didn't realize the rearward nut was captured on the plate at first because of all the caked on grease and dirt. Anyhow, I figured that out eventually and was able to drop the cross rod assembly and get the pan back on. 

 

Everything else went back together as expected until I got back to the cross member. I wrestled with that for about an hour but finally got it back together. That pan better not leak or I'm going to lose it. 😒

 

I replaced the warped passenger side drum while the wheel was off, and the dented driver's side grease cap. I didn't have time to do the drop kit because everything else took too long. Tomorrow or Monday I will try to get the engine started. Fingers crossed. 

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Entry 31 - Shorty got low low low low low low low low. 

 

I wasn't ready to start up the engine. I should be but... If I never start it I can just assume I put it together is right and it will run fine, right? 😉 

 

Anyhow, I dropped the truck instead. Finally. The torsion bars went pretty easily. The drop blocks were a little more involved than I expected but still easy overall. I'm super pleased with the height overall. It's not a scraper but the gap has closed up nicely. The wheel and tire combo looks even better now. I realized how old and worn the shocks are. New ones will go on the short list. Maybe air shocks.

Eventually I should do all the bushings in the front too. They're all worn and cracked. One thing at a time. 

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When I put the wheels back on I added the wheel locks. One less thing to worry about.

I also managed to drill out the sheared off bolt for the lower driver's side fender and replace it. 

 

Tomorrow I suck it up and try to fire up the engine. Gotta do it sometime and I'm tired of pushing the thing in and out of the garage. LOL

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Entry 32 - Houston, we have ignition. 

 

Fed it all the fluids, tightened up a couple leaks, primed, turned the key and... 

 

Kicked over on the first crank! 

 

A couple tweaks on timing and the carb and its running smooth, though idling a little high. There was some white and blue smoke but I'm hoping that's just old moisture and crap in the system from before. There was smoke on the manifold side of the engine. Not sure if it's all burnoff or if the studs aren't quite tight. I'll double check them later. 

 

I had an unfortunate pet emergency though so I had to leave it there. I'm just excited that it runs. 

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Entry 33 - ... Aaand liftoff! 

 

Double checked all the manifold studs and they seemed fine. Tightened up the oil pan a bit because there were a couple small leaks. That cork gasket really compressed so I took all the bolts back to torque spec. Jacked up the front end and ran it again to make sure I get the air out of the cooling system. There was a little smoke but it disappeared quickly so it much have just been burn off yesterday. It's done now and the smell is pretty much gone.

 

I took it for a few spins around the block and it seems to be running very well. I'm pleased. Smooth with good power. No issues when I floor it or come to a stop. It was definitely smoking white, with possibly some blue when I first fired it up but that's gone now. Must have been old crap and moisture in the system burning off. No visible exhaust now. 

 

I'm sure I have some fine tuning to do on the timing and carb and I must still have some air in the radiator because the temp gauge started to redline. All the lines are hot and the heater blows hot but the radiator is cool so I guess it needs to burp. I'm working through these issues in a different thread. 

 

I'm pretty happy with the ride quality after the drop. It's not as jarring as I was expecting. The shocks and all the bushings are ancient and best to hell so I'm going to be refreshing those soon. Brakes seem to be working acceptably. I definitely need to work on that dead spot in the steering though. Annoying as hell. 

 

It's going to sit for a week before I can touch it again but I am ecstatic with where it's at. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Entry 34 - Trying to keep my cool

 

The weather finally cooperated with me today so I started trying to resolve my cooling issues. I drained the radiator and flushed the system with some distilled water. There was definitely some grainy rusty crap in the bottom of the catch tray. Then I pulled the thermostat and filled the system with a bottle of Thermocare treatment and distilled water and took her out for a few laps. I did some loops around the block, then ventured progressively further out. In total I probably did about 45 minutes of stop and go driving with no issues. The heater blew warm but the temp gauge never really got past the cold mark. All good signs. Maybe it was the thermostat after all. Tomorrow I'll take it out a while again, then drain and flush the system, put the new thermostat in, refill, and cross my fingers.  I did find a little coolant in the footwells when I first got in it today. It looks like it was dripping from the actual heater core and not any of the hoses to the cock. That's not great. I'm hoping it was just pressure from when I came close to overcooking the system last week. There were no signs of leakage during any of my driving today but I'll keep close tabs on that for sure. 

 

She ran well, for the most part. I may have to tweak my timing a bit more. It flirts with stalling when I come to a stop but holds on for dear life. I opened up the idle screw on the carb a bit and it didn't seem to make a difference. Throttle response is great when I'm moving. Open to suggestions from you all, though. 

 

My last real lingering issue seems to be with the fuel system. When I went to start it after it had sat for a week it wouldn't catch. When I popped the hood I saw the fuel filter was empty again. This happed just before I tore down the engine. No amount of cranking seems to draw enough fuel up into the filter to get to the top line. If I hit the carb with some started fluid and get it to stumble over for a hot second it will have drawn gas about halfway up the filter bowl but as soon as I stop cranking it drains back out within a few seconds.  Removing the valve cover and manually pumping the arm gets it to fill pretty quickly, and it seems to stay put for a while after that - long enough for me to go into the grocery store, or jack the truck up to check the oil pan bolts at least. Could I have a leaky line or a bad check valve somewhere? Could my pump be going out? It was missing the insulator gasket when I got it, which I read could damage the pump because the lobe on the cam end pushes the lever past its intended range. Gracious for any insights. 

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First thing that comes to mind is the eccentric on the cam sprocket must be loose/no longer locked in place to the gear, so the pump isn't being properly driven.

1 hour ago, Negative Ghostrider said:

Removing the valve cover and manually pumping the arm gets it to fill pretty quickly

687128030_fuelpumpcam.jpg.7797dc745a68c291ec312e7c14d7de95.jpg Don't want the cam gear dowel pin to shear off! (I speak from experience there...)

 

That seems the root problem, the inability to retain the fuel likely a leak-down issue.

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Check there are no cracks in the hose of loose hose clamps before the pump. If there is a leak fuel will siphon back down hill in to the tank as air gets in. Also the pump may suck air in rather than pull fuel from the tank efficiently.

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15 hours ago, EDM620 said:

First thing that comes to mind is the eccentric on the cam sprocket must be loose/no longer locked in place to the gear, so the pump isn't being properly driven.

687128030_fuelpumpcam.jpg.7797dc745a68c291ec312e7c14d7de95.jpg Don't want the cam gear dowel pin to shear off! (I speak from experience there...)

 

That seems the root problem, the inability to retain the fuel likely a leak-down issue.

That eccentric lobe is just held in place against the retaining washer by pressure from the sprocket bolt, right? There's no key or pin or anything? I don't recall there being one but this engine was already missing multiple parts when I tore it down so it wouldn't surprise me if other things were also gone. None of my books reference anything like that but I thought I should ask. Maybe I should double check the torque on the bolt. 

Edited by Negative Ghostrider
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13 hours ago, datzenmike said:

Check there are no cracks in the hose of loose hose clamps before the pump. If there is a leak fuel will siphon back down hill in to the tank as air gets in. Also the pump may suck air in rather than pull fuel from the tank efficiently.

I replaced all the hoses and clamps at the tank but the ones in the engine bay are original. I should probably replace all of them to be safe. 

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39 minutes ago, Negative Ghostrider said:

That eccentric lobe is just held in place against the retaining washer by pressure from the sprocket bolt, right?

I honestly can't say as I haven't played with the L series in too long, my Z24 uses an electric pump. I had the cam dowel pin shear on a 289 I built years ago and I bent a few valves as a result.

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2 hours ago, Negative Ghostrider said:

That eccentric lobe is just held in place against the retaining washer by pressure from the sprocket bolt, right? There's no key or pin or anything? I don't recall there being one but this engine was already missing multiple parts when I tore it down so it wouldn't surprise me if other things were also gone. None of my books reference anything like that but I thought I should ask. Maybe I should double check the torque on the bolt. 

Just the bolt holding the eccentric on. Just gotta make sure its tight. And maybe replace the fuel pump just in case, but save the old one and possibly rebuild it. 

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Entry 35 - Cucumber town! 

 

It looks like I got the cooling issue fixed. I ran it around the last couple days, then flushed it a couple times and replaced the thermostat. The water never quite ran clear but it wasn't as filthy as I was expecting. A little brownish and murky but not "tap water for 15 years in the rust belt" brown or anything. I would have let it more but I used up all 4 jugs of distilled water I had. I'll do it again next summer. I let it idle for about a half hour, with the heater off the last 10 minutes and the needle never went past halfway. Looks like I'm good to go. 

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I replaced all the soft fuel lines under the hood and made sure the clamps were secure. The filter and all the lines drained out obviously in the process. When I went to start it it pulled fuel and turned over after a couple cranks. Hopefully that's the end of the fueling nonsense. We'll see after it sits for a few days. I checked the torque on the nut for the fuel pump lobe and it's good to go so hopefully there's no issue with the pump and it was just a leak down problem with the old lines. 

 

I put yellow Lamin-X on the low beams and ran a new fog light harness for them. Much brighter now. They will make great fogs. I should upgrade the LED assemblies to modern relays as well. I'm a little surprised the engine notably loads when I turn on the fogs. I was hoping the new alternator would prevent that. Nothing in the rest of the system dims though so that's good. 3ESCQV.md.jpg

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3 things down, 20 to go. 

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  • 1 month later...

The fuel issues continue to plague me. I went to fire it up after it sat for a couple weeks and got the same issue as before. No visible fuel in the separator, and no amount of cranking seems to want to draw enough to fill the separator more than half way. As soon as I stop cranking it drains back. I used to be able to take off the valve cover and if I manually cranked the pump arm quickly I could get fuel to fill the separator and then it would hold and the carb would fill and she would run well. I tried that again and this time I couldn't get the level to fill and hold. I replaced all the hoses and clamps weeks ago, and I made sure everything under the hood was tight the last time this happened. I haven't double checked all the clamps on the soft lines at the tank because it's such a pain to get to most of them.

 

Could it be the pump? The heat spacer was missing when I got it so I'm wondering if maybe the diaphragm got damaged or something from it cycling past its intended limit. I can throw a new aftermarket pump and separator on it for like $40 I guess, but if it could be something else I'd rather not spend that money.

 

Or could it be the lines? I think I used 1/4" hose to replace all the lines. I saw in an old thread something about the OEM lines maybe being 6mm. Could that fraction of a mm difference lead to air leaks? I don't have any signs of fuel leaking on the ground or anything. 

 

Thanks, as usual. 

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I know it was doing that exact thing to me after working fine for at least 20 cold starts, after that the fuel would drain out of the filter and the only way to re prime was to start the truck by pouring fuel down the carb.

 

I would throw a new pump at it as that's the only thing you haven't changed. Hopefully it works and if not you'll have a spare 😉

 

 

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Did you replace the missing plastic spacer????

 

On 10/20/2020 at 7:41 PM, Negative Ghostrider said:

 I'm a little surprised the engine notably loads when I turn on the fogs. I was hoping the new alternator would prevent that. Nothing in the rest of the system dims though so that's good.

 

The engine idles down because it is doing work making electricity powering the high beams. If you add a higher output alternator it will have to work harder still. Try high beams heater fan on high and the wipers on. Turn the turn signal on and you may hear the fan slow and speed up and the lights dim and brighten.

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