The “scraping” I heard “in the back of the car” crystallized in my last drive, turning into a very clear rattling noise that I could reproduce at will. I shot this video where the noise is very clearly audible at about 12 seconds in.

Motor Mount Noise

With more help from the folks at the VTCI forum, I was able to locate the source of the problem: bad motor mounts.

Yep, both of them.

You can see the cracks in this mount, as well as the displaced bolt–beat out of place by the rocking engine.

Broken Motor Mount


New mounts are on the way, along with a few other goodies from the Bird Nest.


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.



A break in the rain gave me the opportunity to jack the car up and pull the fuel line this morning.

Inside the Fender
The view inside the inner fender.

I started at the front of the car, pulling the inner fender behind the driver’s side wheel. The nuts and bolts here were covered in undercoating and fifty years of road grime. Nevertheless, most came out fairly easily, though one twisted off, the victim of time and rust. Getting the inner fender out after it was “loose” was a bit of a puzzle. Inside was a collection of leaves, a collapsed bit of sound insulation and a rotted out drain tube.

The brake and fuel lines both have junctions behind the inner fender. Two metal fuel lines are joined by a short bit of 3/8″ hose. I cut the hose out–it looked original–and tried to siphon fuel from the tank.

No dice.

Crushed Fuel Line
The crushed section of the fuel line.

I jacked up the rear driver’s side and followed the line further back. It’s held on by three clamps and a protective plate in front of the rear wheel. One I pulled that plate, the mystery was solved. The plate had been crushed at some point, crimping the fuel line underneath it. I’m guessing that someone once jacked the car up under this plate, causing the damage.

I tried to blow through the line and couldn’t. It’s a wonder the car ran as well as it did–fuel was probably only dribbling through. Tomorrow I’ll get a replacement made at Royal Brass. Installation should be relatively simple.