Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Revenge of the Son of Crapmobile

I went to move the Crapmobile (PT Cruiser) out of the way and, sure enough it barely ran. I punched up the codes and got five of them. I do know enough about late stuff to realize that some codes will flash because of the root issue and not because the problem really exists. Two of the codes pointed at the camshaft sensor so, after consulting my cousin, the mechanic, I went to the parts store and dropped another fiddy bucks on someone elses car. Bingo, it fired up and runs fine. Cheryl La Fong will come tomorrow to take it home and drop off her Yukon for brakes. Brakes are easy and present no problems for me. Should be a walk in the park, just like my Ranger conversion

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Attempt To Repeal Ohm's Law Was Met With Too Much Resistance

OK, so yesterday I pull all the plugs, They seem pretty good, A bit sooty, but I attribute that to the lousy carb settings that I, previously dealt with. I grab my trusty multi meter, a must have tool, and begin to check my plug wires. The very first one showed 0.0 Ohms. No good. No point in checking the rest, so it's off to the parts store for plugs and wires. I had a set of Accel plugs in it from the previous owner (Hey. it always ran well, so why replace them??) When I return, I pull out one of the new plugs to check the gap and begin putting them in. That's when I see that the correct plugs are 3/4" reach with a washer seat. The old Accels were 1/2" reach with a tapered seat. This, absolutely, has to be the last, less than stellar, bit of home tuneup and repairs that I will find. So, in go the correct plugs, all gapped, a dab of anti seize on each one. I have used anti seize on aluminum heads for 30 years. I still have my OG bottle of the stuff. One bottle, one lifetime. I then instal the plug wires. It was a universal set, so all the ends had to be terminated. No sweat, done it a hundred times. Finally, it's time for a test ride. The idle seems off, but I figure it may be timing. Down the road I go. The miss is still there. Crap!!! Back at the house, I get a nice glass of ice water, watch a bit of TV and wait for the bike and me to cool off. After a bit, I go out and survey the situation. I trace all the plug wires and find two of them are switched. Hmmmmm, sez I, this could cause a, slightly, imperfect running environment. A quick switcharoo and she fires up, instantly, and settles down into that 385 horse lope. The timing light tells me it's out a few degrees, so that's reset and it's time, once again for a hot lap around the neighborhood. What a difference. Runs like it should, shifts, stops (Well, sorta. Still have a bit more brake bleeding to do) and makes all the requisite, cool, sounds. With the 2:1 first gear, acceleration is ferocious and immediate. There is a little belt whine, but with the adjuster that I built, to move the rear of the engine from side to side, I should be able to eliminate that. It isn't very loud, but I still would rather it not be there. I just need to check everything one last time, slap the tank back on (I like the early bikes with the reserve tank. You can ride them with the main tank off when you're working on it) and give it a good wash, wax, polish the aluminum and so forth. One other, small, change that I made was, a timing pointer. When I made the new water manifold, I found that after everything was together, it blocked the view of the stock mark on the timing cover. So I grabbed a piece of sheet metal and snipped out this pointer that I clamped onto the water manifold. Now I can set or check the timing without pulling the radiator.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Always a Father

The bike has been giving me fits. Everything now works, just as I had hoped. The swing arm bearings stay straight in their housings, the electrics all function as they should, the clutch and trans is a dream.........what else could a guy ask for? I guess it would be nice if it ran well. I had the carb gone through by a, well known, old timer here in SoCal, Bob Jennings Dyno Service. I still have a miss. I replaced the ignition module. No dice, still there. Tomorrow I'll stick in a new set of plugs and see what happens. New wires will be next if that doesn't solve the problem. All of this would have, likely, been solved by now if my wife and I had not decided to procreate. Our daughter's BF has a PT Cruiser. Last month, it conked out. He had it towed to a mechanic who diagnosed it as a busted timing belt, bent valves and, possible, piston damage. Cost: $3500. Good ol' Dad sez, "Lemme have a look at it." I rent a tow dolly and take it back to the Fongderosa. Upon disassembly, I find no engine damage. 2.4 MoPar engines are not "interference engines". Still, a head gasket set, new head bolts, oil, coolant, etc. sets ol' Dad back another 350 bucks. Sigh, you have to help your own. She was laid off from her job and has limited funds. Another thing that would have made it nice would have been for this car not to be a complete PITA to work on. Changing a timing belt shouldn't take 2 days. Admittedly, I don't work as well or as fast as I once did, and these late model crapmobiles are my nemeses anyway. Anyway, after a few setbacks and do overs. the crapmobile runs again. Woo Hoo. Hopefully, I can devote my time and the five bucks that I have left to getting the bike straightened out. Oh yeah, she says her Yukon needs brakes.