Engine Checkup - Part 2 - 11/03/2013
The quest for checking out the engine continues. This time the AC blower hardware has to be tackled since it doesn't work and having working ventilation is a good thing. Also checking more basic engine health statuses as well.
Trim tag. 2200th car off the line at Southgate in Los Angeles on the 2nd week of September, 1973 (09B date) which is a pretty early build.
The driver's side duct work is all intact fortunately.
The AC head unit and duct work. Interestingly the duct bolts were loose over here.
This plate needs to be stripped, cleaned, and painted. Moisture gets in the car, collects on the windshield, then drops down into the dash. This is why the dash looks like it's been underwater for 20 years. If a car gets driven semi-regularly this isn't an issue. A car that sits for 10 years not being driven regularly? This!
Head unit fan switch, pretty crusty looking.
It's broken and came out unwillingly...
New blower switch and resistor pack! Usually the power diode goes bad on this era of resistor block.
On a side note, I replaced the fuel gauge with a known working on. It read extremely high for a while, then I drove the car a few hundred miles to drop the fuel level in the tank to around 1/4 measured and then ended up putting in 17 gallons (26 gallon tank). That data point was close, so after fillup the needle was pointing a bit above the F mark but still visible. This means that the fuel sender in the tank has started working close to proper again. Yay!
All put back together. I took the liberty of replacing 4 missing screws here so the dash plates all stay in place much better now.
Since the fan switch alone didn't fix the problem (I managed to get low and high speed back) it was on to the only other potential thing it could be: the resistor block.
New resistor block in place. No rust on this one vs. some rust on the old one. I'll bet the power diode is bad since the coils still look good. This fixed the problem! All 4 speeds work just as intended.
On to engine diagnostics! The car was running a bit rough, so I took the liberty of checking out the idle speed and ignition settings. Dwell is sitting around 32 degrees, which isn't bad and is pretty close to the factory setting of 36. I might do an HEI or Pertronix conversion just to avoid dealing with points...
500rpm in park. Ouch. Turns out the air cleaner vacuum line popped off. It is barbed for a reason...
Line back on brings the idle speed in park to 700RPM. Yay!
Pretty simple day of victory. I prefer victory. After almost 2200 miles, most of them highway, the car oil level is down around 1 quart. Not too awful. I need to fix the front cover timing seal, which jumps me down the path of "might as well" of timing chain and block alignment dowels. The water pump has started wobbling too I noticed, which means it probably isn't long for the world either. So new water pump, new inlet tubes, new divider plate, and new thermostat. "Midas well" just buy a whole new timing cover and put all the parts together and then have a new front part of the engine!
Return to 1974 Catalina Wagon
Last updated November 3rd, 2013