Sunday, June 20, 2010

Roger Update

This week a couple of boxes were delivered. One contained a new gas tank for the Morris Minor. The tank was purchased on Ebay. Another box contained a new fuel pump which I purchased from Amazon (lowest price), and the final box contained spark plugs, distributor cap, rotor cap, points, condenser, coil, and plug wires which I purchased from the web site of one of our local parts house chains. I am still expecting a final box containing a new stainless steel gas cap.

Some of the parts go on the car, some will be used to repay the nice guy who loaned me some parts at the recent car show. Hopefully I will get around to delivering/installing all these one evening this week.
Garden Update

The garden is producing nicely. I pulled a couple varieties of tomatoes along with one strawberry, a couple onions and cucumbers to complement dinner tonight. I was hoping for a couple of squash as well but all the squash had been left on the vines too long (I was out of town for the week) and were too tough.

The okra is about knee high now. Several blooms but I did not spot any pods. These plants are mostly from the third planting. Apparently rabbits will even eat okra if they are hungry enough. I decided to put up the chicken wire fence after the rabbits got the okra.

The watermelon and cantaloupe vines are growing like mad. I spotted a couple of small melons on the vines. Looking forward to enjoying more of the results of gardening.
June, Where has it gone?

I spent this near Jacksonville, FL on business. This was my third trip to this location. I spent most of the week out side and I have never felt so hot in my life. I am certainly glad to be back home.

Last weekend on Friday, I went on a one night camping trip with a David M, and Chad E to Savage Gulf in TN. During this trip, which was also hot and humid, I decided I would never again go camping in June, July, August, and at least the first half of September. I definitely prefer cold weather camping – no snakes and no bugs (especially ticks).

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Roger's Day Out

Today we took the Morris to a Euro-Brit car show. Lots of Triumphs, MGs, Austin Healeys and Volkswagens. Quite a few Range Rovers, Minis and Porsches. On Ferrari, one Lotus, and one Morris.

The trip, fewer than 10 miles, to the show was uneventful. That is until I stopped for parking directions. At that point Roger refused to start. That has not happened before (when I had gas in the tank – I have already run out twice because the fuel gauge doesn’t work). Fortunately the car is British so no one was surprised when it wouldn’t start.

I popped the bonnet and a bunch of guys leaned in under the hood. These guys were great. And knowledgeable. And prepared. After checking to make sure there was fuel, they checked for spark. The spark was weak. Eventually they had replaced the distributor cap, the rotor cap, and the spark plugs. And Roger was alive again. The amazing part was that they had all these parts with them. And more.

I got the name of the guy that supplied all the parts so I could replace them. I also learned a lot through the process. Basically the car didn’t want to start because the spark was weak – it basically needed a tune up. The weak spark alone was not the problem. The plugs were also really dirty. The plugs were dirty because the car was running rich. And the car was running rich because the electric fuel pump was the wrong part.

Normally these cars have mechanical fuel pumps but they often get replaced with electronic equivalents. The problem was that this one pushes about 5-7 pounds of pressure where the carburetor only needs about 2 pounds. The increased gas pressure basically forces gas through the carb which is what has been causing the car to run rich. This all made complete sense, after it was explained.

The car has been running rich. I had been studying how to tune the carb in order to correct the problem. Using the instructions from my manual, I had tuned the carb down as lean as possible. I was baffled as to why it was running so rich. Now we know. We also know I need to replace the fuel pump. (One of the guys even offered to loan me one.)

I also found out that as the distributor wears out the car loses power at medium to high RPMs. I would say that based on this knowledge I would say my distributor was well worn. The car definitely felt peppier after the meta-tune-up.

And finally I received lots of good advice I plan to follow:

0. Replace the fuel pump. Soon.

1. Finish the tuneup. Replace the plug wires, the condenser, the coil, etc.

2. Carry some spare parts in the boot. Extra plugs, distributor cap, rotor cap. The parts are cheap and don’t take up much space.

3. Buy some extra tools and leave them in the boot as well. With a Harbor Freight nearby, I think I can accomplish this for about $20.

One of guys in my neighborhood invited me to this car show. I already knew about it and planned to attend. I had talked with him about my carburetor already. He was at the show and had brought me a copy of a tuneup guide for my carburetor. (Did I mention these guys were all really helpful.) Ernie is a very interesting and knowledgeable guy. He is also a Fiat guy. I believe he has 4 Fiats, maybe 5, 3 are convertibles. At least one is a parts car. He also has a couple of 1967 Datsun 1600s which are also convertibles and which I think are pretty awesome cars – I mentioned one in a post several years ago when I first saw one in a salvage yard. Most of his cars are still in the project stage and I suspect he is actually working on all of them. (And he is an accomplished brew master.)

Last night the local Euro-Brit car club went on a drive. I had wanted to attend but I was pretty sure Roger wasn’t up to it. It is a good thing I didn’t attempt the drive. Hopefully we will be up to it next year.

Overall, I had a very enjoyable day, even with the breakdown. The kids went with me and I think they had a pretty good time as well.