Investigation Day - 07/14/2013

Time to investigate what we have today. Clean out the car, check tuning of the engine and get it ready for whatever awaits.

Arrived into the garage with drama - apparently the transmission started slipping SUPER horribly when I was merely trying to cross the street in traffic. I floored it to avoid a collision and it took off, but left a horrid smell behind. The same smell I got yesterday... turns out the transmission is almost 3 quarts low! And it smells burnt. Not great, but with a fluid addition or change we shall hope it lasts without too many issues until it can be replaced with the new one (and new 400 engine).

The bald 14" wheel...

Poor old Lemans. At least it gets covered in the driveway.

First things first, clean this nasty steering wheel off.

A little elbow grease with Simple Green and the black goo is almost entirely gone. Following it up with acetone should get rid of the sticky feeling. This is caused by outgassing of the plastics used to make the steering wheel. They absorb grease from hands and the environment over the years, then release them when the temperatures fluctuate. If you don't clean them off or drive regularly, you get this nasty buildup.

The beginning of the parts collection from inside the car.

Fender skirts are still here!

Driver's door panel is not in bad shape at all. Sure, there's some mildew. I think I might be able to get it clean though...

Back seats. Some minor mildew spots and a rip, but nothing earth shattering.

Back seat area has some evidence of water getting in, probably when the window got left down. Nothing is rotten or damaged, just surface rust.

Floors in this car are almost as nice as when it rolled off the line. Note the '72 seat belt warning light system wiring. Yes it still works...

Parts in the trunk! That piston is insanely huge, no idea what it comes from. Extra small 14" tire is a bonus.

Surface rust from the cardboard trapping water. Easy fix.

Trunk drain channels in good shape.

Driver's side too. Cleaned out the dirt and gunk here.

Back seat area in good shape. Someone blew out the factory 6x9 speaker holes, but fortunately left the metal behind.

Engine check-out time. As stated, transmission was 3 quarts low. It is a miracle it even made it the drive home...

20" of vacuum at idle? Pretty healthy!

The transmission, AC ductwork, and distributor vacuum were connected to ported vacuum (WRONG) while the gas tank vent system was hodge-podged on to the manifold vacuum. No more wanting to die after replacing the power brake booster line and the PCV lines (both cracked and hard as a rock).

All done! Transmission topped off and all gears engage as intended. Manifold vacuum to the vacuum advance, AC controls, and transmission modulator. Initial timing was set at 8 degrees vs. factory setting of 10, I left it there just since it runs fine that way. More tuning and testing will reveal this one out.

All of the mildew, dirt, and mold wipes right off of the door panels with a little Simple Green and a sponge\paper towel combo. Cleans everything nicely and won't damage the fabric or plastic. Since the panels are turning out so nice, I foresee a lot of cleaning and putting the interior back together.

Not a bad day. Got the idle set up right, cleaned up all of the nasty squirrel nest mess under the hood, and took inventory of most of the parts (some are missing). Now to clean everything up, put it all back together, and do some regular driving around with it to get an idea of how well it performs before making changes!

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Last updated July 14th, 2013