|Location: ||San Diego, USA|
|OK, I'm going to give you a quick synopsis. I just picked my car up from Viking MotorSports yesterday. I've been really happy with them (no affiliation, unless you consider what I've paid them to be an equity investment. . . .). They're not cheap but Harry knows his stuff about these cars.
I took it in with the intake manifold and distributor off the car and the oil pump apart. I wanted to put on the rebuilt Dell 40's I have. I had an over heating problem and wanted to investigate the oil pump clearance, etc, etc. Anyway, I've been way too damn busy with work travel and have not had time to put everything back together. So, my buddy has a car trailer and off to Viking goes my baby. If I did all this myself I might be able to drive it next summer. . .
I get the car to Viking. Harry puts everything together for me and changes the timing belt. The car idles like a champ and runs smoooth as silk. First time ever since I bought the car about a year ago! The only real problem he ran into was a frozen adjustment screw that they had to have made at a machine shop. No big deal.
The front Carb (stromberg) was just dumping gas into the engine and it wasn't firing. So, I had gas in the oil. I was told I was lucky that I didn't burn it up. Fortunately, when I noticed a problem (overheating and then a big drop in oil pressure) I shut her down and started to investigate.
On the way home from Viking it overheats! Shit! I limp back to Viking after only going about 10 miles. It was a hot day and it was a big hill. Anyway, I limp back to Viking. It turns out the radiator is all crudded (technical term) up. It's Friday and no one can recore the radiator until the following week. I'm leaving on a business trip - yet again - the following week and will be out of town for a while. So, I tell Harry to put in the new Radiator, do front and rear sway bars, front bushings, shocks and brakes. Harry also installed a REAL temp guage. Now I can see exactly how she's running. Ouch! This is gonna hurt but I planned to do this stuff in the next year or so anyway. . .
And when Viking took the car for a drive - the brakes failed. So, I got a new master cylinder too.
Also, despite the new radiator, the car was running hot. With the thermostat it ran too hot - and without the thermostat it ran too hot. So, they ended up taking the middle out of the thermostat and using the 'housing' as a restrictor. Now she runs ok. Apparently, the H2O pump pushed the H2O thru the radiator too fast and doesn't allow it to cool down.
Yesterday I picked up the car. The front end doesn't bounce around at all. 90 mph and it's smooth as silk (ok, ok, I did hit a 'leetle' above 90. . . .). Those Dells have a bark - a very very nice bark. Anything below 3,000-3,500 rpm is just lugging the engine. She begs for 5 grand. I have an overdrive installed and at around 80mph I can get a little over 3K - but, it sounds like crap. She wants 4K. I love the whine.
After hard acceleration, cruising at a steady highway speed, there's an occassional pop from the carbs. I understand this is normal. The sway bars and and front shocks (and wheel bearings) make a HUGE difference. No discernable body roll. I took a 90 degree corner at about 30+ mph and that's what it took to get the ass-end to feel a little unstuck. Around town she runs about 185 deg. On the freeway about 200. Going up one big hill she hit 210-220 deg. I might replace the electric fan with a more efficient one - as I'm not convinced the one on the car is up to snuff.
I just hope she keeps running well for a while. I've put more $$ into her than anticipated but it was really worth it when I downshifted and roared by the Miata with the shiney wheels who thought he was 'oh so cool'. I know it wasn't a fair fight but you've got to start somewhere. . . .
Thanks to everyone for the good advice (including info on mechanics). Of course there's still plenty to muck around with on a 35 year old car but in general she seems to be running pretty well. The comments I got from you guys regarding what my problems were were spot on. I'm sure I'll be asking more questions soon. I just hope I can keep her running for a bit - and keep out of trouble - I'm afraid the latter may be the most difficult.