The good news is the car is pretty much put back together. I got the interior put together and the wiring under the dash cleaned up. The front bumper is bolted on and the lights and turn signals are all working and that’s all good. I spent a long hot Sunday afternoon fitting the trunk lid and trimming the new weatherstripping to fit. Not sure yet if it will keep the water out but it finally closes correctly.
Now for the bad. Caroline and I took it out for a short drive around the block and it ran horrible. The engine was missing pretty bad and it over heated before we could get around the block. Now that I finally have gauges in it I can see how hot it’s getting. So based on what I now see on my temperature gauge I know that the car was overheating a few weeks ago when I had it idling out in the driveway. Ever since then it hasn’t been running well at all.
So the first thing I did was try to figure out the overheating problem. I removed the old thermostat and it was really crusty. After testing it I discovered it wasn’t opening until the water temp was over 200. I got a new thermostat and put it in and the engine lasted a little longer before overheating. There was a little noise coming from the water pump so I figured it was most likely finished as well. I removed the water pump and found the impeller spinning independently of the shaft and then it fell off completely. I wasn’t surprised. I picked up a new water pump so that problem will be solved soon.
Next I thought I’d look into the engine miss. First I opened up the distributor and checked out the vacuum advance. It was toast. I put a new one on and cleaned up everything in the distributor and gapped the points but I didn’t really think that was going to solve the problem. It didn’t. My suspicion is that when it was out in the driveway a few weeks ago overheating that it blew a head gasket between a couple of cylinders. Before I go get a compression test kit I’ll check for vacuum leaks around the intake and the carb but I really think it’s a head gasket. So that’s where we are right now.