Sunday, May 29, 2011

Vintage Fail

After bleeding the coolant system for the fourth time, quickly installing a small amplifier and some speakers and retightening the exhaust, we set out for Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where the Vintage would take place. Around town, the temperature seemed to stay at a steady and comfortable place on the temperature scale. We made one stop and then fought our way through the tourists to leave the city. Once on the highway, the car really showed me what a good idea the M42 was.

It hummed along for about 30 miles before I noticed the temperature slowly increasing in a way that might suggest that it was hotter outside now than it was a few minutes ago and the engine's temperature increased in turn. But it kept rising. Eventually, it was close enough to the red to demand a roadside stop. So, we stopped. After a quick cool down, we were on the road again, only to stop 5 more miles down the road, and again in another few miles. By now, I had posted a message on and made a few calls to Jake, who pioneered the swap and fabricated my mounts. The consensus was that I still just didn't have all of the air out of the system.

So we located an Autozone about 10 miles away in Warrenton, VA (isn't technology grand?) and inched there, a mile or two at a time. In the parking lot, I spent the next few hours attempting to rebleed the system and swapping out the 12" electric fan for a 16" unit. After a test drive, I returned to the Autozone parking lot a broken man. I had no idea what was wrong but I knew that I wasn't going to make it to Vintage.

After a few phonecalls, the Ivy Street Red Car Gang braintrust concluded that the only thing left to do was replace the water pump and thermostat. Steve from Blunt Tech overnighted me a new water pump and thermostat to the Hampton Inn in Warrenton, where Dana and I decided to stay. That night, I tore the engine apart in the parking lot. We also blew a small hose on the way over that was conveniently located under the intake manifold and required its removal. 

Here is the carnage:

Blown hose under the intake:

Working through the grille:

...I was able to remove the water pump:

I bent up the impeller while trying to remove it and I might have broken the casing, but the important thing to note here is the scorched shaft. I imagine that the impeller slipped a little at low speeds, but then began to really slip (and burn) when things warmed up, expanding the metal of the impeller. 

So, after a full day of reinstallation and slow, tedious coolant bleeding, we stayed an extra night in Warrenton to make the best of things and babied the car for the 40 miles home.

Maybe next year.

Since I didn't have them loaded up for the last post, here are some shots of the exhaust manifold:

I had a rusty equal-length 2002 header welded to an M42 flange. It took an extra trip to the muffler shop to get it to fit, since I couldn't ge the car there, but Jay at the Meineke on Richmond Highway in Arlington, VA deserves any business teh locals can give him. The clamped-together section will get welded together soon and I'll probably wrap the whole thing in header wrap.

And say "Hello" to Dudley:

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