I spent the day running errands in the T-Bird today, and it was like getting back together with an old friend.
An old friend that always seems to need money, that is.
I took the car to the self-serve car wash (still cleans up nice), a longish drive on nearby country roads, then a series of errands around town. I never had trouble starting it, no matter how long—or little—it sat, so I’m ready to declare the starting issue resolved (until proven otherwise).
It’s been some months since I drove the Thunderbird regularly, and I was a little shocked how poorly I remembered driving it.
How could I forget what a blast it is to drive? If I didn’t have one, I’d have to get one. Second: holy crap, this car needs some suspension work.
Earlier this week I anticipated some “Thunderbird time” coming up and put a trickle charger on the battery. In theory, the motor was ready to go—I just needed some fresh amps in case a lot of cranking was necessary.
As it turned out, the motor fired up on the second try. My son, under the hood with the starter fluid when it caught, had me shut it right down though—there was a fast gas leak at the inline fuel filter. While twisting the line to pull it off the carb, it came partly unscrewed. (On a side note, it’s probably time to ditch this stupid thing. I don’t need it as a filter and it’s a potential fire hazard.) It took just a minute or two to tighten it up.
I started the motor again, fiddled with the idle screws a bit, pulled the bird from the garage and parked it at the curb. The power steering fluid had pretty much all leaked out and the windshield was opaque with dust. As I poured in some Type F, it started to rain. That took care of the windshield, so we were off.
Running in the rain, I got to test everything: brakes, steering, wipers, defroster, radio (to drown out the wipers)—the works. I thought I detected a minor hesitation once, but it didn’t recur. So far, though some minor tuning is probably in order, I was happy behind the wheel.
Back in the garage, I shut it off, waited some 15 minutes for a full heat soak, then tried to start it again. No troubles at all. I’ve seen this before, of course; the next few drives (at least one to the car wash!) will be the real test.