It’s spring, the weather is warm, rain has stopped and it’s time to be out driving.
I’ve put a couple hundred miles on the car in the last weeks; by and large, it’s running well. My nemesis, vapor lock, still haunts me though. After a longish drive, at speed, the motor refused to fire up until I shot a few doses of starting fluid into the carb. (I still don’t know why this worked, but now carry a can in the car in case of relapse.)
I tuned up the motor a little more finely after that episode, backing the timing off a few degrees and raising the idle a bit. Since then, hot starts haven’t been an issue (though I haven’t yet tried to recreate the exact conditions of the last episode), but I am still experiencing rough running and stalling after long periods of idle (stop-and-go traffic) and after hot starts—classic vapor lock symptoms.
Researching the topic: EFI, electric pumps and recirculating fuel delivery systems appear to be the only real solution—none of them in the budget in the foreseeable future. Long time readers will know that I already run with a phenolic spacer under the carb to fight heat soak. Other, less costly, remedies to try include an electric fan (which I’m resisting as a matter of Thunderbird purity) and an insulated metal fuel line from the pump to the carb (probably my first step).
A friend following behind me last weekend noted that the right rear brake light cluster is not coming on when I stop. (The highway patrol officer who followed me for a while yesterday did not stop to mention this, thankfully!) I believe the issue is with the turn signal switch. I also believe I have a spare aftermarket switch in a box somewhere.
The current switch is original and was salvaged from another car when I did my dashboard swap. Frankly, I won’t be sad to see it go. The horn brush is stuck in it (so no horn) and recently it stopped canceling right turn signals (always embarrassing). If I get really enthusiastic, I may even tackle the back-up lamps (which have never worked) while I’m replacing the switch.