by John Phillips
Ben’s car has some challenges. When the car got here the challenge was to get it running so we could get the car to Andy for brake work. The reason it would not run is that when the car started it idled at 3000 RPM with the choke on and would not idle with the choke off.
Upon arrival the first task was to evaluate the whole car to get an idea of what it would take to make the car safe and road worthy. We also listed some things that Ben wanted to get done, some now, some later. The initial look at the brakes was indicated not much was needed except installation of a new master cylinder that was purchased some years ago. It was installed and the brake bleed process was attempted. No fluid could be coaxed through the system at any wheel so it was obvious that the whole system was plugged up.
Ben also opted to update the suspension including new springs so the parts started flowing in for carbs, brakes and suspension. Naturally, we decided to pull the radiator and get it checked out, replace all the hoses and water pump, just for the sake of confidence that the car is safe and reliable.
The first thing we did was rebuild the carbs which was straight forward and went as planned. The idle bypass valves were not touched, yet, but more on that later. The next thing was the suspension teardown, refurbish, and rebuild. Lots of time and labor as this is just plain hard work. The plugged up brake system was next. Ben went with the brake kit from Victoria British for the front which worked well for me. Using kit parts and new pistons the calipers were disassembled, cleaned and rebuilt. Not cleaning the groove for the rubber O’ring has caused big problems in the past so extra time and effort was spent making sure the calipers were as clean as possible.
So now we have a complete new suspension, new brake system on the front with new wheel cylinders at the back so the brakes are in great shape, the cooling system has been checked out and updated and the carbs have been rebuilt. Good to go right? Nope.
While bleeding the brakes the right front would still not bleed. By disconnecting the brake line from the caliper the line bled as desired so the problem was in the caliper itself. Pulled it off to look for blocked passages and found one at the bleed valve. Removed the valve, pushed a pieced of wire in to clear the blockage, reassembled the caliper, reinstalled it and finished bleeding the brakes.
It was time to start the engine so coolant and gasoline were added. We hooked up the battery, turned the key and the engine has the same problem. It started easily but the idle is still as it was when it came to the shop.
The carbs had been rebuilt but the idle bypass valves had not been touched since they had been rebuilt by Thrasher’s some years ago. This was an error in judgment. The valve was removed from the front carb and the two halves separated to find nothing in between. There should have been a diaphragm and two gaskets but there was nothing. The valve from the rear carb had a diaphragm but no gaskets. The front valve had been missing ½ the screws which were replaced during the rebuild.
The original carbs from the Pumkin were still available so the valves were removed from them and placed on Ben’s car. I was able to start the car and get it to behave better but it still would not quite idle and with the choke out the idle was still at 3000 RPM.
The next step is to obtain some more new parts, quiet Ted. Some more stuff for the fuel system and all new ignition system parts. So we will do a complete tune up and fix the remaining issues from the last carb rebuild by Trasher’s, I mean Thrasher’s.
Time has passed: We did the tune up and ended up getting a new idle bypass valve and that finally corrected the problem. Ben has scheduled an alignment and ordered a whole new exhaust system to also correct a bunch of problems caused by another company butchering the original installation. The car was running pretty well when Ben took it home. The next session will probably be on checking out the electrical system.
Unfortunately Ben has been the victim of some very bad maintenance by so called professionals. If you need some work done please take your car to someone who knows what they are doing. No, I don’t mean me. You will never catch me claiming to know what I am doing, but there are still folks around that will work on your car that have a history with them and know what to do to properly maintain them. And yes I will help when called upon. If you need the name of a professional to work on your car just ask.