Turnover Fail

It’s a busy season for me, work-wise, so the Thunderbird has been sitting quietly for a while. It’s been damp, so I’ve had some concerns about moisture condensing in the motor, leading potentially to rust.

My plan today was to crank the motor over with the plugs out (i.e. as fast as it would spin) to see if I can get oil flowing. I’m still not convinced that the distributor fully seated on the oil pump drive shaft, so as a test, I figured I’d crank it a while, then pull the oil filter to check that the system is working.

I began by tightening up the coolant lines and adding coolant to the system, just for good measure. I got about 2 gallons in before water started to leak. Swearing, I flowed the flow of water up to the thermostat housing. The stat didn’t seat properly, so coolant was pouring out freely where the surge tank bolts to the block. (This is exactly what happened to me the last time I had this thing off. Ug.)

I'm blaming my multiple failures with this thing on a poor design.
I’m blaming my multiple failures with this thing on a poor design.

Daylight was fading, and I figured I could still give the motor a spin even without coolant. I hooked up the battery (fresh from the trickle charger) and turned the key.

The motor spun freely, but I wanted to be able to see what I was doing. Under the hood, I jumped the contacts on the solenoid, a trick I remembered from my youth.

Memory is strange, though. I must have gotten something wrong. Instead of cranking the motor, I fried the solenoid—killed it, in fact.

At the end of the day, some barfed up coolant and not much closer to running.
At the end of the day, some barfed up coolant and not much closer to running.

So, a bad day with the car. I’ve got a short shopping list: gaskets, solenoid, thermostat (in case the old one is bent), more coolant, and some fuel line. Tomorrow will hopefully be better.

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