Monday, February 20, 2012

How Would You Feel If It Was Your Alpha Circuit?

It is always nice to have a mechanic you can trust. It is even better when they are willing to let you use their garage, hoist and tools. I first met Troy a few years ago when I sold the shop he works for a digital message center. I have taken our Freestyle to him ever since. The fact that Troy also happens to own an 1983 Camaro just makes it even better! 

I knew the car was in desperate need of a tune-up and I really wanted a mechanic's professional opinion of the mechanical shape it was in. I intend to do the majority of the work on the car myself, but there are somethings that are just easier to do when you have a hoist and can get the car up in the air to get a better look at it.

I snapped some shots of the under body while it was up in the air. These are more for my reference than for aesthetic value.

We started the tune-up by replacing the distributor cap, rotor, spark plugs, ignition wire set, EGR valve gasket, fuel filter and air filters. The last person to replace or service the ignition wires had improperly routed them over the exhaust manifold and four of the eight wires were burned through to the wires in the middle! This, the radio wiring experience and a few other wiring hack jobs has led me to the decision that I will be rewiring the entire car with a new harness. I am not going to be taking any chances that the rest of the car is wired any better than what I have seen so far. We then checked the compression, vacuum and adjusted the ignition timing and idle speed. Troy is making some final adjustments to the injectors in the picture below.

Removing the old fuel filter presented a little bit of difficulty due to some stubborn rusty fuel line connections. We ended up having to completely remove one of the two injectors from the throttle body in order to free up the stuck line with the attached fuel filter. Removing the injector also meant having to remove the alternator and the smog pumps in order to get at the appropriate connections. Since the smog pump is not currently functional I have decided that I will not be restoring it and its related components to operation as South Dakota does not require vehicle emission tests. The discarded pump and mounting bracket are pictured below.

We also noticed that someone improperly mounted the alternator and as a result bent the mounting bracket forcing the pulley out of alignment. One of the bolts on the alternator stripped off when removing it, but this provided the perfect opportunity to inspect the condition of the alternator. As you can see from the picture below the brush heads are still in decent shape. 

After removing the injector assembly we got the fuel filter off and cut it in half to inspect its wear. As you can see in the pictures below there was years of sediment in the filter.

Installing the new filter was much easier with the injector removed.

While putting everything back together we noticed the battery lead wires were corroded through about six inches or so from the terminals. We had been experiencing intermittent periods where the car did not want to turn over and then after a bit it would start right up. We replaced the leads and it now has a very solid electrical connection.

The next item on the agenda was replacing the front struts and rear springs and shocks. I went with KYB original equipment performance struts on the front and Moog variable rate coil springs with Gabriel premium gas plus ultra shocks on the rear. The front and rear struts and shocks were all but shot and the springs collapsed. Someone had inserted spacers to stiffen up the rear end. Needles to say it was overdue for an overhaul.


I also took the opportunity while the car was up in the air to straighten the driver side fender tab that some Majorly Objectionable Really Obnoxious Neanderthal bent while attempting to jack up the car by this spot. Once this was straightened the fender pulled back in to almost its original position as you can see in the pictures below. This will have to be further adjusted from the top fender mounts. You can see the straightened tab in the under body pictures above.

I also was able to better see the damage to the front passenger ground effect. Although this one is in the worst shape I think I will end up replacing all of them as they are very worn.

As we were inspecting the car we noticed that the same questionable individual who enjoys bending fender tabs thought it would be a good idea to replace the radiator with a smaller one from a 1986 Pontiac 6000. This would bad enough, but to add insult to injury this radiator is setup differently (being from another car...I know who would have thought?) and in order to use it the transmission cooler had to be hacked all to bits and rerouted, thus the excessive leaking as seen below.

I have a radiator and transmission cooler on order to be installed when they arrive.

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