November 11, 2011

Let's get this thing started!

Today, I worked on getting a few things out of the way in order to be able to concentrate on troublehooting the engine prior to starting it up. This included the installation of the firewall pad and front bumper. Of course as it goes in restoration work, everything takes MUCH longer than you think it should!

After deciding which way was up, which took much longer than it should have - owing to the thing being fairly similar top and bottom...I finally gotthe bumper bolted up.

Along the way, I sprayed the Bowtie insert on the hood emblem red, first applying some self-etch primer to ensure adhesion.

When I went to install the firewall pad, I ran into the opposite issue I dealt with on the cowl to hood seal. Recall the cowl seal came with metal clips that where too big and would have scratched the paint causing a possible rust spot - so I opted for plastic clips there instead. The firewall insulator pad however came with the push-in clips you see below. There where slightly too large and very brittle. I pushed and pushed, then used a mallet, which only served to bend and brake them.

When I was going through the various clips and things, I had noted that the original firewall pad clips where very unique. I found them - properly labelled by the owners who did the tear down - and took stock. They where a sciccor clip that wouldn't damage the paint and likely would hold the pad just fine - as it had in the past! As well, there's something about saving items so unique to the year and make that I liked. A quick buff and some Zero Rust and they where ready to be put back into action!

The pad comes with all sorts of pre-cut holes, in order to facilitate the pass-through of various wires, cables and accessories. ...of course none of them matched this particular type of heater, even though it was a GM unit that came from the factor....So I had to fight like hell to make holes through it for the heaters' water pipes and mounting rods. I first used a heated probe (solder gun) to melt a clean hole through the rubber membrane layer, then used a razor to cut the jute padding below it.

After much struggling and fitment issues, I finally got it back through the firewall. Holding it in place with my left hand, I reached around the front and over the fender to thread the nuts on to hold it in place.

The floor mat covers everything you see here - from the front of the seat half way up the insulator pad. I'm going to leave it off until the very last thing, then have the owner roll it out before he drives it away - kind of the "red carpet" treatment for the owner and then he can say he helped finish it!
OK - it's finally, time to troubleshoot the engine  and get some systems ready for start up tomorrrow.

Once the heater, battery tray and battery where all re-installed, I pulled the distributor out and rigged up a long slotted bit to turn the oil pump drive with a drill. This pressurizes the oiling system and brings oil up to the rockers, cam and lifters. Very important. When I do a V8, I plumb a gauge in somewhere and look for 60psi of oil pressure. As it was, I could feel the system pressurize: the drill spun freely, then slowed down as the pressure increased, then sped up again once it was freely flowing through the engine,

First off though, a new oil filter was installed in the remote filter cannsiter.

Once it was pressurized, I re-installed the distributor, bumped the starter until I could feel the number one cylinder come to TDC, then ran all the distributor leads in sequence.

Next, I put a gallon of antifreeze (mixed 50:50 with water) into the rad to check for leaks and all seemed OK at first - until I heard a dribble while I was doing something else in the shop. I checked and it was coming from a bung I had missed - due to it being covered by a circle of black tape! So, I caught the antifreeze in a clean container and wondered why the rad wouldn't have come with a stop-cock....because it came with blocking inserts for the auto-trans cooler, which I installed prior to putting the rad in the truck. Likely it was extra....

Anyways, in the back of my mind I knew I had one - somehwere....

That 'somewhere' was in the bits and bites compartment of my old toolbox. Much of this stuff had been in there since my Dad used the box, back in the 60's.  I checked and sure enough, there was a stop-cock that I'd seen a thousand times, over 30plus years -  another reason NOT to throw anything away!

So, after a quick buff and some sealer, it screwed right in and solved the leak!

While I was under there, I took a minute to admire the part of the truck few others will ever spend time admiring.... but where a LOT of the work went into - the undercarriage.

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