The Patient Lives

I haven’t had much free time lately, and when I have the weather hasn’t been all that good.  Today was a nice spring-like day with warm weather and a slight breeze.  I was busy all day until around 6:00 PM or so when I had a few free minutes.  I’ve been thinking a lot about starting the old car up and was determined to at least hear it fire up once before the weekend was over.  I had already purchased and installed a new starter solenoid from the Ford dealer so I was ready to continue.  I went out to the garage with the intention of just seeing whether the car would start up or not.  I knew I didn’t have a lot of time for tuning or diagnosing the fuel system.  So my plan was a very simple one.  Fill a squeeze bottle with gas, use it to fill the primary float bowl with gas, and fire the engine up.

I went to retrieve my gas can and saw that there were a few items directly behind the car that might block the exhaust and force any smoke (and I definitely expected some) back into the garage.  So my first step was to clear that stuff out of the way.  Then I filled the squeeze bottle with some of the gas I keep for the lawn mower.  It is only regular octane, but I didn’t see this as a problem since I wasn’t planning to drive the car.  Then I used the squeeze bottle to carefully fill the primary fuel bowl of the carburetor with gas through the overflow vent tube.  I made sure to be careful and not spill any gas this time.

The “moment of truth” had arrived.  I didn’t even bother to sit in the driver’s seat so I could work the pedals.  I’m not sure if this was because I expected the engine to start up so easily I didn’t need to or was so convinced that it wouldn’t start that I didn’t bother to get in.  I think it was more the first reason.  Anyway, I reached in through the driver’s side window, turned the key, and the engine immediately sprang to life.  I was half astonished and half elated.  I would have expected it to stall the first time but it didn’t.  There was plenty of blue smoke and the idle was a bit rough but they both cleared as the engine ran.  I let it idle until it ran out of gas and stalled.

I waited a minute or two for the smoke to clear.  Then I filled the bowl a second time and started it back up.  Again it started immediately.  I stuck my head in the car and all the gauges appeared to be functioning.  I guess that did surprise me a bit as I usually expect the worst for parts and systems that I haven’t gone over yet and that have been sitting for 15 years.  I let the car idle and looked around the engine compartment.  Everything appeared normal.  This time it ran a bit longer and the idle smoothed out fairly well.  After a minute or two it ran out of gas and stalled again.

Even though I had only been working for 15 minutes at the most I had to call it quits.  I wanted to share my triumph with my family so I told one of my two sons.  He gave me the thumbs up sign.  He isn’t all that interested in cars but he knows how much it means to me so he acknowledged my small success.  I even tried to tell my wife but she was only interested in her menu planning for the week.  I know she doesn’t really like me working on my car but I had hoped for at least some small acknowledgement.  At least she mentioned that she noticed a smell before she came into the house.  I should consider that high praise coming from her. 🙂

All in all I’ll consider the day a success.  Hopefully this will motivate me to keep the project moving forward.  Time to plan out my next steps.  Stay tuned for more, hopefully soon.