Its the little things that get you in the end....
Getting the engine in the car should have been the hardest part, and in truth it probably was, but there have a been a spate of small issues that have cropped up that keep delaying the first startup.
Some of that was my doing though...I decided to use the intake manifold from the 91GT (its using a sheet metal intake currently). Aside from a missing vacuum port I had to add, the plugs for the 91 injectors needed to be wired into the 88s engine harness.....hmm, some of the wiring had gotten brittle with age/underhood heat. So I decided to split the harness and replaced any wiring/connectors that was old or brittle. Ok...thats done.
Theres a leak coming from the transmission drainplug. It had been there for a while and I had thought it to be a worn out crush washer...but that wasnt the case. I couldnt figure out where this tiny leak was coming from (and then the engine blew so I didnt have to worry about that any more
). With the engine back in and a restart imminent, I wanted to get to the bottom of this leak. Well,it turned out to be a small hairline crack at the mouth of the drain hole (huh??). It would only make itself visible when the drainplug was torqued down. With the plug torqued down tight, it would slightly flex the aluminum material around the drain hole, spreading it out ever so slightly....only then would the crack appear. Taking the plug out (and pressure off the hole) and cleaning the area would have the crack seal back on itself and be invisible. Grrr....had to come up with a solution for that. I took the drainplug and drilled a hole down the center and tapped it for a 12x1.5mm screw. With a bit of sealant and a bit of epoxy, the stock drainplug now becomes a threaded sleeve and takes the repeated clamping loads that the transmission case would have seen from the constant screw/unscrewing and torquing of the drainplug.
There had been gas in the car for the two years of inactivity and I figured after all this time, the tank would need to be drained. Good news! Fuel stabilizer treatment works
(I had put some "stabil" in the tank when I put it into cold storage)....bad news...the rheostat that registers the position of the float (and thus sends a signal for the fuel level) was quite dead.
The wiper arm that slides against the coiled wires of the rheostat(varying the resistance in the coil) had cut through the wires themselves. Time to find a functional rheostat.....sigh.
Ok.......rewired the engine harness, transmission leak is sorted, replacement rheostat should mean that the gas gauge should now work.....time for a well charged battery for the first test fire
......and the positive battery connector cracks in half when I clamp it to the battery terminal................really? (no wait, seriously...it cracks in half?
.....are you kidding me? ugh ). Fine then!....whats another delay? Source a new connector (went with a steel/copper type similar to the stock connectors...the one that cracked was an aftermarket lead connector).
ok....FINALLY....all the minor issues are taken care of. Lets (hope) see if it starts.......lots of cranking ensues, but it doesnt fire up. Did I botch the timing? Maybe I got the injector wiring wrong somehow? Maybe the HLAs are so collapsed that the valves are having issues completely sealing the cylinders?......maybe I built the engine wrong
Pull plugs...they are all wet with fuel. Hmm...no spark? Maybe a weak spark? (do the e-coils even go bad?). I have the spare coil and igniter from the 91GT. The igniter is a no-go since it uses a different plug from the 88-89s , so I swap the coil by itself, reassemble and.....
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 @10:35PM PST............."vroom"
(ok..theres still an oil leak at turbo oil feed line and lifter tap to contend with...but whatever. It started)