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Sterling #130 (aka American V8 ~ Chapter 2)

nbb350

Active member
Well, almost another year has passed without much to show for work on the car. I kinda took this summer off from working on the car after I FINALLY got the thermostat housing to seal thsi spring (fourth time is the charm, right?). I kept trying to add coolant to it, but it wasn't going down. A V8 with 1.5" copper pipe to/from the front-mounted radiator should likely take more than 2.5 gallons of coolant IMHO. So I assume I have air trapped somwhere in the system.

So, while I waited for the air to bubble out, I drove around to auto shops, car shows and neighbors tinkering in their driveways looking for a mechanic who would tune a carb/HEI system. Nope. Nobody wants to touch it except for the shops that work on Classic Cars for Future Prices. I got several "you should upgrade to fuel injection!" Yeah, sure, that's cheap and easy...

And so it sits. I've been able to add about 1 more gallon to the system (yes, the electric pump is hotwired to circulate the coolant to try to void the air bubbles). I've also discovered that the HEI vacuum advance should be connected to the Manifold Vacuum port instead of the Port Vacuum port. I also pulled off the Vacuum resivoir canister (to run HVAC flaps) and charcoal evap canister for now. After starting it 2 years ago and listening to the engine revs climb, I did some research and "vacuum leak" was the main result I found. So non-engine-related vacuum lines will stay off until the engine runs correctly. Someday. Somehow. Or I just unload the whole damn project since I probably can no longer drive it anyways!
 

Brett Proctor

Well-known member
What year, model, and CI is the engine.
Every vacuum diagram I looked at for that distributor, the vacuum line goes to the carb and not direct manifold vacuum.
If the vacuum line went to direct manifold vacuum you would have little vacuum when you gas it and when you let off you would have max vacuum. That would play hell with the vacuum advance. It would never be right.
 

Brett Proctor

Well-known member
Also something to think about, when using straight manifold vacuum there is a high vacuum at idle. So vacuum advance is maxed out always
Do you have a timing light? Check timing at idle and then at around 2000 rpm's. See if the timing changes and is right.
If you have a vacuum pump see if when applying vacuum to the distributer that the advance is working.
If I remember correctly timing is checked with the vacuum advance disconnected and the hose plugged.
 

Brett Proctor

Well-known member
Nobody wants to touch it except for the shops that work on Classic Cars for Future Prices. I got several "you should upgrade to fuel injection!" Yeah, sure, that's cheap and easy..
Been thinking about what you said and this weekend I was watching a repair video on a 1985 motorcycle and he had the same issue you have. Nobody wanted to work on it.(not even the dealer)
I guess if they can't connect a scanner to it and have the scanner tell them whats wrong they're lost and don't know how to fix it.
Just listening to the motorcycle run in the video you could tell the way it was running that it was an ignition issue. The fix wasn't that complicated or hard to fix.(coils and pick-ups were bad) A quick check with a multi meter confirmed that they were bad.
Then the few that still know how to work on vehicles without using a scanner they stick it to you and thats not right.

Don't like the way the industry is taking advantage of the less knowledgeable.
 

nbb350

Active member
I think Mechanics are like Realtors too: Location, Location, Location. I live on the edge of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area (3M+ people) and while MY city isn't very dense, the others surrounding me are very densely built up. My point: people around here don't "tinker" on old cars for fun or need to keep an old farm truck running. I bet I could find more mechanics that know carbs out in the Farm country of Minnesota (where I grew up), but they don't want to travel to me and it's too complicated to haul a project car to them. Sigh...people here in the city have newer cars with FI, so that's what the city mechanics need to know. ("newer" being anything in pretty much the last FORTY YEARS since FI became popular in the late 80s! Yeah, I'm old! lol)
 

Brett Proctor

Well-known member
Interesting how times have changed.

Before, you could go to just about any garage and they would work on your car. Domestic or foreign.
Now the dictate what they will work on.

Yes I think farmers have to know how to do repairs on their equipment or the labor and cost of parts would take a big chunk out of their profits.
 

nbb350

Active member
I never did find a mechanic to work on the car, so I turned to YouTube instead. After watching a handful of videos about setting up Holley carbs, basic carb function, timing, and tuning, I decided to tackle it myself.

I removed unnecessary vacuum lines, added an auxilary throttle return spring, and built a new adjustable throttle linkage. Then, after finally hooking up jumper cables to my truck to get the starter to keep spinning, I finally got it to pop off and idle! And it'll restart immediately!

I adjusted the base timing, curb idle screw and then the mixture screws to get it to idle nicely. It still doesn't want to accelerate quickly though and I have no idea why not (see end of video). If I give it gas slowly though, it will accelerate up into higher rpms. Maybe it just needs to "burn the carbon out!" lol

It seemed loud inside the Shop, so that's why I'm yelling at the camera. But in reality, the Shop just echos a lot and it's not all THAT loud for a V8 - especially with the new exhaust system!

Afterwards I thought "I'll put on the tires and get it off the jig!" But first I had to install the front inner fender liners...which of course required new hardware
parts to be ordered. It's not a huge deal since rain is forecast here all week long...


 

farfegnubbin

Site Owner
Staff member
Hey, that’s really nice progress! There are other satisfying points at various moments in a build, but there is something special about actually getting the engine to run. Very cool.

And yeah, it sounds loud…in an expected way. I don’t think you put a V8 in the car to be subtle. 😁. Anyhow, very nice progress.
 

Brett Proctor

Well-known member
I adjusted the base timing, curb idle screw and then the mixture screws to get it to idle nicely. It still doesn't want to accelerate quickly though and I have no idea why not (see end of video). If I give it gas slowly though, it will accelerate up into higher rpms. Maybe it just needs to "burn the carbon out!" lol
Backfire through the carb is usually caused from a lean mixture, ignition timing, or poor ignition components.
Lean mixture (the most common) could be caused by the choke opening up to soon, before the engine has warmed up. Also if the accelerator pump isn't pumping the extra fuel when the throttle opens maybe the cause.
I noticed in your video that the choke was open when you blipped the throttle. Was the engine up to operating temperature?? Maybe a simple adjustment of the choke may solve the issue.
 

nbb350

Active member
Success! Tempered by Failure...



We had a nice, calm, cool (70F) evening here tonight and after dinner decided to see if the car would move on it's own...it did! I drove it up the driveway, and then down our cul-de-sac. Then I picked up my wife for a test ride and we went around the block and back down the cul-de-sac again. Too bad all my neighbors appear to be away for the holiday weekend though... but at least I had one moment that put a smile on my face when I was turning around one corner of the block and a little kid (maybe 4-5 years old) in his front yard stopped what he was doing, dropped his jaw, and pointed at me! LOL I gave him a horn honk as he just stared wide-eyed at this green spaceship passing before his eyes...


But, of course, what would Success be without some humbling failure. Just as I was done driving and backing the car into the Shop (like my temporary side mirrors? hey, they WORK!), one of the solder joints in the 1.5" copper coolant pipes decided to start leaking...leaving a "trial of piss" in my shop - which has now turned into a "puddle of piss" under the car. I'll try a pipe bandage around the tiny leak. Also not sure if it's from one of MY solder joints or if that elbow was already soldered when I got the car...

20240526_194544 Trail.jpg

20240526_194451 Leak.jpg
 

vpogv

Active member
Leaks are part of the car no matter what engine. Love seeing the progress - can't wait for the next update.
 

nbb350

Active member
I fixed the leak with a JB Weld "bandage" which seems to be holding. I've also had to replace the gasket on the jackshaft case which was leaking like crazy - but hopefully a generous application of 'form-a-gasket' sealant will fix that! ;)

1718199683165.png


Last Friday she started earning her keep with a quick run on back roads to Subway to pick up dinner! Less than a mile round trip, but at least nothing new broke! lol

This week I've mounted the hood and headlight covers. And discovered that the hood isn't super-easy to open - in fact it's almost a two-person job, not because it's heavy, but because it's awkward and wants to pinch at the front edge. In light of that, my plan to keep the battery cutout switch under the hood for "easy access" has been revised and the switch relocated. Next week: louvers!

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