Well, drove the car for a solid two weeks. Went through about two quarts of oil doing it. Not very hard to determine what the problem was.
The oil pan was a pain to install but I figured it would do just fine after I torqued all the pan bolts down. I can honestly suggest to anyone reading this that its worth the $25 to buy a new one. So I bought a new pan and one of those nifty single piece gaskets from Fel-Pro. I can't say enough nice things about this product. Comes with all the installation hardware necessary to put an oil pan on an sbc. Very cool stuff. I will never use anything else. Been driving the car for the past three days straight and have noticed a single droplet that seems to drip once each night. Not sure where its coming from though I suspect it has something to do with the oil pressure connection. Was having too much fun with it this weekend to care though - I'll check it out next weekend.
Also discovered vaccum advance this weekend. In my haste to enjoy the car, I'd forgotten about hooking it up when I first got the car running. I was reminded when it became apparent to me that the car was hard to start after it had been sitting a few hours. Basically it ran rough until all eight cylinders were firing. Which took about 30 - 45 seconds, but still a solid indication that my plugs were crudded up. So I hooked the advance up this morning and holy cow what a world of difference that made. I used a manifold vaccum source if anyone is curious. Off idle response is incredible, grunt from 800 - 2000 rpm seems to have picked up some as well but I'm not sure if thats just an illusion from the idle response improvement or not.
The only drawback I've found is that my lope is gone. You'd think the car was electric if it rolled up next to you purring like it does. Ah well, nothing an upgrade to a solid lifter cam won't fix. I figure a .525" lift or better would do alright but I'll need to tinker with the car some more regarding ignition systems and rear axle ratios before I make that decision.
btw - Jabbing the throttle in any gear makes the passenger tire chirp. Still my favorite feature, though I'm sure the 3.70's and measily 215mm wide tires are helping that.
To be installed sometime in the next two weeks:
255/70 - 15's Goodrich Radial T/As for the rear and
215/60 - 15's Goodrich Radial T/As for the front.
Should offer an immediate correction to the tire chirping. Should improve the looks of the mobile considerably over the 205/50 electrical tape looking things I have slapped up front as well (grin).
Well, I have been driving it around town for the past week. Does really well after its been running for 30 seconds. I have some tweaking to do on the carburetor as well as the timing, but other than that it seems to be a pretty good driver. It could also use an electric cooling fan for drive throughs and what not. The car makes plenty of power and best I can tell I'm currently getting around 8 mpg. I think with some tweaking and such I should be able to get it up to 10. Its scary fast with 3.70's...I think I'm going to go with my 3.36's...though I'll have to try them out before I know for sure. Whichever one I decide on will get a positraction carrier put in it.
As she sits - 406 cubic inches, four speed, 3.70 gears (original six cylinder car), newer driver's side leaf spring (sits up straight now), high/low head lights, turn signals, brake lights, mechanical gauges for oil pressure water temp and voltage, disc brakes and no more random sparks from the dash when I go over bumps, hehe. That last one scared me a bit when I was test driving the other evening. I am missing seats and seat belts. Much of this evening was spent seeking out an electrical gremlin that was harassing my brake lights. There are now two wires under the dash that I have no clue as to their function. I do know that they have nothing to do with the lighting system on the car. Anyhow, the time spent on the wiring kept me from fabbing up some mounts for my driver's seat. No big thing I suppose, I will just be stuck driving a three year old convertible up to the Gap. This weekend was very productive and I am surprised at the amount of work that can be done when you just **** and get in order to get everything working. In seven days I've gone from not being able to run it for more than a few minutes or faster than the parking brake was prepared to stop it in the driveway - to actually driving it around town and harassing people with the nearly straight pipe exhaust. I'm going to take most of it back apart though. First thing to get worked on is the front end repainting. The inner finders need to be cleaned, sanded and resprayed black so that the motor stands out better. When I get that done, I'll look into repainting the roof. I've been wanting an excuse to get a paint gun and learn how to paint for a long time. I suspect the car will have a white roof and the rest of it will be as red as the firewall except for where the chrome and stainless bits are supposed to be. The interior is going to be gray or beige. I haven't decided yet.
Oh and if anyone is curious, the blue car pictured in front of the Two Door is my Mr2. I got it back in 01 and have since swapped the engine and transmission in it for a setup with an extra 50 horses and a sixth gear. Pretty neat motor. Uses two cam profiles (low speed economy profile uses a hydraulic lifter setup, high lift profile uses a solid lifter setup) and continously changes the cam timing depending on engine load and what not. I wish the 406 could do tricks like that.
So now I'm actually caught up to the present and if you're finding an interest in this, you have some clue as to where this car has come from. Last Wednesday, I decided that it would be fun to drive the Two Door up to a local (less than 5 hours) mountain area called Deal's Gap for a car club meet (for the Spyder that I drive). The car was running, but had no brakes, lights, signals, tags, insurance, realistically useable radiator, those kinds of details.
The weekend was hectic, but I managed to get the car to where I could drive it to work Monday morning. I leave tomorrow for the trip, last night I found out that my Dakota Digital gauges don't work (am sending them off to get fixed, I really like them) and I still don't have working brake lights. Everything else is there though. I have two speed wipers (Pacificwesterndesign.com) with park, high/low headlights, turn signals, brakes and I can use a key to crank the car rather than touch a bare wire to a power panel like I did Monday morning. Last night I replaced the driver's side leaf spring (sagging) and ran wires for fuel, tach and speed sending units...which is how I discovered that my gauges no longer work. So it looks like tomorrow I will be picking up a tachometer on my way to Deal's Gap so I will have some clue as to how fast I am going. The car isn't much to look at, but it is running and driving alright and I'm looking forward to the trip tomorrow. Hopefully the weather will be nice to me.
Some time about March/April of 2004 I had finished with the paint and prep on all the clutch linkage and transmission components. That is when I decided to put it all together and get the project to start looking like a real car again. This basically amounted to being very careful about put the motor in so I wouldn't scratch any of the paint. Then cussing because upon installation of the distributor I realized that Autozone sold me a pump shaft for a 400 big block motor and not a small block...so I had to take everything back out and replace the oil pump shaft with the correct one. I wanted everything out because I didn't want to work under the car and end up with a leaky oil pan. So I pulled it and put it back on the engine stand and after it was all done, back in the car it went. Anyhow so I got the engine running properly a little later on. I suspect it was some time in July before I got that sorted because I ended up rebuilding the carb I had twice only to replace it and find out that the truth was that I wasn't getting enough fuel pressure to it to keep the motor running properly. $300 and one pay attention to details a little better lesson later, I was set to go with a running idling engine.
This puts me to around September or so. At that point I hooked up the driveshaft and flipped the transmission selectors to reverse with a pair of pliers. I proceeded to crank the car, back it out of the 1st bay in the shop, around my drive way and back into the middle bay to be parked on the lift. I did this so I would have an easier time of running new brake and fuel lines.