So I Re-Wired It

My plug wires arrived this week, so I spent a couple of hours yesterday cutting, stripping and crimping. I did this job once back in 2012 with the same kind of Accel wires, but those only lasted a year. (The muffler shop that sealed up some exhaust leaks said they were burned and replaced them with generics.)

I worked carefully, one wire at a time, trying not to nick up the wire cores in the stripping process (and not always successfully either). At the distributor cap, these wires snap in place with a satisfying click. I wish that was the case at the spark plug end, where there’s always a little guesswork about the connection.

One wire at a time. I even labeled them all.

Some time back, I think while working through a hot start issue, I replaced the coil with one of those big, yellow, performance units that Accel sells. I mounted it where the washer bag would normally live and it’s been sitting the, all ugly-like, for over a year. I came across the old-but-still-good coil while cleaning up after the engine refresh and decided to install it (knowing full well it adds an air of uncertainty to change two things at once).

New wires and the “old” coil. I had to re-run the primary wires for the swap. Also, wow, engines get dirty fast.

I was not surprised that the motor started easily—still loving the new camshaft—and the car didn’t feel all that different as I puttered around the neighborhood. Once I got out of the residential area, I was able to hit the gas . . . and the old ‘Bird took off! Response to the throttle was smooth, silky and strong.

Frankly, I was a little shocked. I was fully prepared to check the wires off my list and move on to a new distributor—possibly even another carb. I’m pretty happy, though, that I can instead move on to driving and perhaps fixing up a few cosmetic things along the way this summer.

Replacing these lenses are first on my list. (Well, right after getting the rear view mirror reinstalled.)

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