Sunday, December 30, 2012

Project Update - Shelby CSX-T Fuel System Dramas

After getting the car running and gloating to my neighbors by doing WOT pulls, I ran into the brick wall of fuel starvation at around 4,000RPM. Karma's a bitch.

After initial investigations, there were found to be so many problems with the fuel system that I didn't know where to start. A few things were obvious; for one, the filter would end up with crud in it every time there was a misfire issue. Secondly, I could easily replicate the problem. Thirdly, the pump would scream like a young child all the time, problem or not. Therefore, I decided to use my handy HF fuel pressure gauge to see what the deal was.

I started by putting the fuel pressure gauge on the line right before the rail, positioned perfectly to mist fuel all over the hot turbine housing should a rupture occur. Sure enough, after two WOT pulls, I broke down. While the car was chugging on the side of the road, I popped the hood and look at the fuel pressure gauge which was hovering around 10psi, down from 55psi. I limped it home and swapped the gauge for the fuel filter and tried it again. This showed me a that there was indeed a fuel pressure problem before the filter but the pump was still running.

In my cockiness optimism, I had just filled the tank about 5 hours prior, I was not thrilled to think about the next steps...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Project Acquisition - Shelby CSX-T

Cruising craigslist has gotten me in trouble again. This time I was searching for any ol' busted Dodge 2.2 Turbo, motor or whole car, for a swap into the blue Simca 1204. I stumbled upon a Shelby CSX-T that looked like a perfect parts car, advertised as a running and moving for $750. The Shelby CSX-T was essentially a turbo Dodge Shadow built exclusively for Thrifty rental cars, a similar concept to the Shelby GT350-H Hertz Rent-a-Racer car but a bit gaudier. I went to look at it and found it far too nice to part out, even though it had the Turbo I motor and 5-speed that I was looking for. Since the car could not be started upon arrival even after an hour of fiddling, my interest was waning quickly. Sensing this, the exasperated owner offered it to me for $200 on the condition that it still couldn't be started the next day. The offer was accepted and I returned the next morning with my Dad to take another stab at driving it home but ended up dragging it on the trailer. Talk about mission creep from the original Simca plot.

Upon getting the car home, some fiddling with the Hall sensor on the distributor, cleaning out some of the corrosion on the wiring loom connectors, reading and resetting the fault codes all helped to bring it back to life in a few hours. In addition the car had no brakes but this was remedied with a new master cylinder and a quick bleed. The auto parts store also hooked me up with some hatch struts and other bits for a grand total of about $84. A trip to the junkyard got me a sweet cassette deck (with mini-joystick balance and fade) from a New Yorker and some interior pieces for around $18. Mysteriously, the car was advertised as not being driveable due to a failed clutch but I have yet to experience any trouble with it, even when doing burnouts in my hood.

Friday, December 14, 2012

How to pump an engine full of oil with a bike pump

The engine in the Turbo Van is a fresh assembly that's never seen oil. After repeated cranking on the starter left the oil pressure sensor dry I decided to force oil into it. I emptied a quart of quaker state and installed a valve stem in the cap. In the bottom of the (empty) bottle I threaded a brake line and secured it with a tube nut. An ample coating of JB Weld sealed the fitting. On the other end, the brake line threaded into the oil pressure switch boss. With everything connected I filled the bottle with oil and connected the bike pump.

At 20psi the bottle puffed out enough that I feared a Deep Water Horizon like oil explosion and I stopped pumping. It took nearly 20 minutes to transfer a quart of 10W30, not the fastest way to change your oil. After a quart and a half, I figured the oil pump should be well primed and I poured the rest in the top of the motor.

Now that the oil system is primed, I just need to figure out why it won't start.