Monday, December 22, 2008

Desert Valley Auto Parts

I'd love to visit this place some day! Looking through their cars for sale, reminds me that some day I'd love to restore a car that has been wrote off as dead, left and abandoned in a salvage yard. Check out their site, as they have lots to offer for auto restorationists.

Desert Valley Auto Parts

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ignition Troubleshooting: Part II

My car is back on the road, running fine, and most importantly, no longer stalling out at freeway speeds. The problem? Ended up being the MSD ignition coil. I had the ignition control module checked at Autozone, it passed 10 consecutive tests, though I was still skeptical. Fortunately, the problem was frequent enough that I could begin to troubleshoot while the problem was occuring. I hooked up my fuel pressure gauge and the pressure never dropped below the 45-50 psi range, so I knew it wasn't a fuel problem. I swapped out the ignition module with the factory one I had lying around, that I had replaced at some point. Engine wouldn't even fire, so that told me at least at some point when I replaced the module, it was the problem then...though didn't fully answer whether or not the replacement module was having intermittant problems.

I removed the coil wire from the coil and grounded it out on the intake, and my early presumption was correct, I wasn't getting spark when the problem showed it's ugly head. I proceeded ahead and replaced the MSD coil with the stock one, which I also had lying around in a cabinet. As you can see, holding on to those stock components proves beneficial! Low and behold, it was the problem. With the stock coil in place, everything is back to normal and running fine. When I find some time, I plan on shipping the coil out to MSD. Who knows, maybe I'll get a free coil out of the deal, but what I really would like to know is why the coil failed in the first place. MSD components are made in the USA. I've ran them on my Camaro for years and never had a problem. I prefer to buy American products whenever possible, and will continue to do so. When a problem like this accurs with a product, I don't wish to write it off as junk, but instead contact the maker and perhaps help them find out why it failed, and correct the problem. Below are some pictures of the repair process.

Cage fighters. LOL Little one holds her own and stands her ground. For anybody wondering where the term Bitch - female dog came from, well, here is your answer.

The ignition module from the distributor.

Where the module resides.

Stock parts...worth holding onto!

The threads on one of the attaching bolts to the battery were also in poor shape. I thought that perhaps that was the root of the problem, as most ignition systems need a constant 12 volts to operate, though it wasn't the source of my headaches.

Stripped bolt on the positive side.

Replacement bolt.

Plug wires all back in place. 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2, how could any gearhead not know?

Fuel nipple on the fuel rail to attach a pressure tester to. One of these days I'm going to install a fixed gauge, so it'll take the guess work out.

Fuel pressure gauge.

Back together and running.

My new gauge lens also came, so I installed that as well.

Pre-lens install.

Lens and surrounding cluster back in place.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ignition Troubleshooting

Once again, my ride is giving me headaches. This time, it appears to be an ignition problem, as the engine has cut out at speed on the freeway a few times over the past few weeks. The cut out has been perhaps a 1/2 second, almost unnoticable, then the engine performs as normal. Today however, it cut out twice, and both times it looked like I was gonna be stranded. Thankfully, it was less than a mile from home both times, so all I would have needed to do was find a way to get pulled home. As luck would have it, it did start, and I was able to get the car back to my garage.

Having replaced the fuel pump twice over the last few years, the last time being with genuine GM parts after the crap from Murray's the first time around failed me about a year/10,000 miles later. Sure, it had a lifetime warranty, but damned if I'm gonna drop the rear end outta my car every 10,000 miles to swap it out. I highly doubt that the fuel supply is the problem, though will likely check the pressure just the same. Plus, while turning the engine over, it seemed as though I wasn't getting spark, so begins the adventure.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jay Leno's Garage

You could spend hours, or even days on this site. Jay Leno has one of the best automotive collections in the world! I added a link on the side bar as well.

Jay Leno's Garage

Friday, December 05, 2008

Pop-ups are back!

Finally! My pop-up headlights are back in working order, though not without creating more work. I received another headlight control module a few days ago, as well as a used headlight switch (as new switches are no longer made). I installed the module, tried the lights, and both popped up! I still had issues with the switch however, as you still had to push it to the side in order for it to function properly. I suspect that whatever malfunction was happening inside the switch is what probably led to the short in my headlight control module.

Next, I began removing the trim around the gauge cluster to replace the switch. While doing so, I heard a "CRACK!" as I was removing the trim. Just my luck, the plastic lens covering the gauges cracked. I gave Hawk's another call and $40 later I had one of the way.

I can't say enough about Hawk's Third Gen Parts! Not only were they extremely helpful, but they also always have the part I'm looking for. In addition to stocking 3rd gen Firebird/Camaro new parts, they have a salvage yard full of these F-bodies in which they can pull parts no longer available. I guess I am still somewhat shocked when I call the dealership and learn that a part is no longer in stock, yet when I stop and think about it, I can understand why. My Formula was built in 1989, 20 years after my 1969 Camaro. Here we are nearly 20 years later from the date my Formula was built, so understandably some things aren't available. Perhaps what surprised me most was when I inquired with the dealership "So, what do you guys do with the parts you no longer stock? Do you sell them to another company?" He informed me that while some get bought my outside suppliers, most are simply tossed out! Damn, all those thousands upon thousands of parts simply tossed in the trash! You'd think restoration companies for popular cars such as the Camaro, Firebird, and Mustang would buy up any and all parts available in order to keep a healthy stock for the future. Though maybe that would make auto restoration too easy, and lack the hunt that perhaps some enthusiasts desire.