New Fuel Line
Looking back at the new fuel line.

Got a new line fabricated on Monday and installed it the same day. Hardest part of putting it in was getting the inner fender reinstalled. Once in, the fuel pressure didn’t come up (though the gauge fluctuates a little more) and after a short trip, the pressure was back down to zero. With everything new now from the tank to the carb, the only possible culprits could be a clogged filter (either in the tank or the pump) or a bad fuel pump. I have another pump on the bench and will have a chance to install it this weekend.

In the meantime, the brake lights went out on me (again!). I traced the problem to a replica relay I installed earlier this year. Instead of dropping another $100 on a replacement, I found a generic at a local auto parts store that I could wire into place. Problem solved, permanently this time.

Brake Relay
Modern brake light relay installed in place of the old.

As of this moment, though, the ‘Bird is grounded–this time for an undiagnosed scraping noise somewhere in the back of the car. Something–probably something made of sheet metal–is rubbing against a wheel or the driveshaft, especially when the car is turning right. My bet is that part of the exhaust system is loose, but I won’t know until I get it off the ground and crawl underneath.

So . . . it’s been a year. Last December I had a car that wouldn’t run, couldn’t stay in park and couldn’t stop. Sitting in the driveway, water leaked into it and fluids leaked out of it. Twelve months later, the car normally runs and stops reliably and can generally be counted on for around town errands. In twelve months, I drove it about 1,100 miles, and it’s just about to tick over to 190,000.

In the coming year, I have four areas to work on:

  1. Exhaust: the leaks need to get fixed and at the very least the hangers need to be replaced. In all likelihood, the whole system needs to be re-done. It will be nice to drive with the windows up once and a while.
  2. Rear suspension: the original springs are shot, as are the shocks back there. The springs need to be replaced or rebuilt.
  3. Transmission: The current transmission works, but it’s at the end of its service life. I’m searching for a correct replacement that I can rebuild myself.
  4. Differential: Like the transmission, it’s due. Just a matter of time before the whine back there turns into a howl.

There are some aesthetic issues with the car, like carpet and trim, as well as some minor rust issues. Those would be nice to do, but in 2013 I’ll be focused on getting all the mechanicals to reliable running order.


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