It was with a certain sense of confidence that I went out to run errands with the ‘Bird last week. With the new spacer under the carb, I figured I was good for any distance and all the stops I wanted. Unfortunately, my confidence was misplaced. After the third stop on a 15 mile round trip, the engine died in traffic, just as it had in the past. I was able to re-start it and by holding it to a higher idle, find my way back home.
The question is, now what?
I put my fuel pressure gauge back on and took a couple of readings. At idle, with the car cold, I had a good flow of fuel: 4 pounds with the regulator in place, and a little over 5 with the regulator removed. (I took the regulator off, suspecting it to be part of the problem. It wasn’t, but the car is running fine without it, despite the issues I had before.) After a few miles and the engine warmed up, the pressure always dropped to zero (or close–the engine was still running).
After a lengthy discussion on the VTCI forum, suspicion has come to rest on the fuel pump, a restriction somewhere in the line or potentially a bad gas cap. The gas cap is an easy check; something I can do next time I run out with the car. Nonetheless, like the starting and charging system–which had to be replace in total–it looks like the road to reliability is all new parts from the tank to the carb.