It has been a long time coming, in fact I’ve waited for this moment since I acquired Grace in December 1999. Grace is officially back to life…all this hard work is starting to pay off!
I finally finished up the small projects I needed to be ready to see if she would fire up. First I had to put a few gallons of fuel in the gas tank and was happy to see when I turned the key to the ACC position that the fuel gauge works. The sender and tank are brand new but you never know if the new parts are going to work so I was happy to see they did in this instance. The only other small project was adding water to the radiator. Between these two jobs I think I fixed half a dozen leaks! The radiator hose isn’t on the pump far enough here, the fittings need to be tightened there…after remedying all the leaks I was ready for the first fire.
I thought I aligned the rotor to the #1 position when I installed the distributor so it should come to life quickly, that is if I had everything installed and hooked up properly. A few pumps of the gas pedal and then I hit the ignition switch to engage the starter. Good news…the starter works and cranks the engine well. Bad news…the battery is almost dead from sitting for almost a year.
Next step was to get a battery charger to get the battery up to snuff so I could make another attempt at starting Grace from her slumber. This was a good test in patience as I waited a day or so to ensure there was a full charge. I hit the starter again and got her to cough a little. This was a great sign…I have fuel, I have spark. I kept trying to get her to light off to no avail. Must be a timing problem I thought…I’ll fuss with it tomorrow.
The next night I spent only a few minutes fussing with the distributor and “boom, clack” she more than coughed…she fired right up. The valves were not adjusted so the clatter sounded more light a cacophony than the symphony I had hoped for but she was running! I picked up Katie from her girl’s night and took her straight into the garage where I got her to take this video. (Link Below)
As you can tell from the video, the rockers are clattering and the alternator belt needs tightening. Over the past few nights I’ve worked on remedying those issues and am hopeful she’ll be running like a top in a few weeks so I can take her for a spin around the neighborhood.
Excited about the mechanical progress I’ve made I was able to shift focus to the next big project on Grace, bodywork and paint. I had primed the doors in epoxy primer like the rest of the body and then sprayed some white primer surfacer on them last week to prep the jambs for paint.
Today I was finally ready to apply some more of Grace’s gorgeous Flame Red paint and they came out beautifully.
Hopefully tomorrow night I can get the doors hung and she’ll start to look like a car again. Also, if I find some spare time I need to bleed the brakes again now that everything is back together. Grace is really starting to come together…I think I may even get to enjoy some seat time behind the wheel this summer!