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before i turn the key...


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greetings all,

as it is that i know only just enough to be dangerous, i thought i'd seek the input of all you knowledge holders before i try to start my car...

i've spent the last week and a half dismantling things to

a) replace the water pump

B) replace the intake manifold with one properly mated to a weber 38/38

d) sort some wires that didn't go anywhere

c) clean and scrub the engine compartment revealing surfaces that probably hadn't seen the light of day since i was in diapers.

the week before this bout of obsessive compulsive disorder, i installed a pertronix. the car ran pretty well, but i could tell some minor timing adjustments were in order.

so, i'm confident that i've reconnected things as they were before i got started, but i haven't yet finished re-installing all the (new) hoses and refilling the cooling system (which i drained from both the radiator and the engine block). my question is, what should i triple check before i try to turn the engine over? what could i possibly break tragically in my sophomoric elation at having successfully undertaken such endeavors?

AND- is there anyone in the bay area with a timing light and some know how who would love to come by my place in oakland over the weekend to help me set the timing in exchange for a 6 pack of the beer of your choice?

a thousand thanks in advance!



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You could have a water leak or it might not start if you removed a necessary wire or got water somewhere where it should not go but I don't think you can hurt anything with what you did.

The car should run better with the Pertronix. If it ran well before, it should run well now. If it doesn't make sure the parts inside the dizzy are tight and the magnet is on straight.

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Hmm... have you a Haynes manual or the factory books?

I'd suggest starting it with the radiator cap removed (after filling the cooling system of course). You can watch the water circulate after the thermostat opens while your other eye is on the temp gauge, and top it off.

I think CD will tell you to fill the system while the front of the car is elevated.

Anyway I think you will be fine as long as you watch the temp gauge and keep an eye out for leaks.



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if you completely drain an 02's cooling system (didja open the heater valve to "hot" to allow the heater core to drain?) you'll generally get an air bubble when you refill. Running the engine normally burps the system to clear the bubble, but then you coolant level will be a bit low--thus Ray's suggestion.

Presume you did check the oil level in the engine, and make sure all your fuel line fittings were nicely clamped in place. If so, go for it. And have fun.


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if your running a pertronix, you wouldnt need a timming light

err, yes, you will. At least once, to get it set initially. It's just electronic points.

Here's my ritual when I start to doubt:

crank engine and get it to start.

climb out and stick head under.

if it's dry, switch off and check oil, water, etc. (don't let it idle for long, or you won't be able to check water, and if there's no oil, motor will die painful death)

restart, and check other things like is fan turning, garage filling with fumes, etc.

operate heater valve while raising revs to 3000 rpm or so.

watch temp gauge carefully, and be elated when it rises to normal level

and doesn't keep going.

if it goes much over, switch off and start trying to figure out why (like, did I put the fan back on, etc)

that usually does it.


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  • 2 weeks later...

thanks everyone for the input, helped boost my confidence considerably.

got the car running! (after a minor setback involving over-tightening a nut on the ignition coil, necessitatinga NEW coil, which i wanted anyway...)

i can tell she needs a little more attention to tuning and timing, and i haven't quite yet sorted out the water/white steam i'm getting in the exhaust. i'm reluctant to suspect a head gasket given that i replaced the intake manifold gaskets and those 2 left most nuts (hovering above the gasket shared by the manifold and the water "divider") are stupid hard to get nice and tight.

anyhow- i didn't have white steam in the exhaust before this undertaking, and its been a little complicated by the fact that it started raining in the bay area last weekend.

but a million thanks again!



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