July 18, 2002
I picked up my rebuilt carburetors from Jerry Mong on Tuesday, but had to wait until today to install them because I was waiting for a set of manifold gaskets and heat insulators from CARS, Inc. I had my repainted air cleaner ready to go and refilled it with a pint of motor oil per the service manual. A few drops of blue Lok-Tite on the carburetor studs and I dropped the carburetors in place and tightened them down.
These Strombergs are quite remarkable pieces of engineering. They do most of the things our modern fuel-injection systems do, but mechanically instead of electronically. They have different idle strategies based on engine temperature, a unique lock-out that prevents large throttle openings and heavy loads until the engine is properly warmed up (I think only Lexus currently does this on their cars), and an automatic choke for easy starting in almost any weather. Here's how it works:
I fired it up after the carbs were installed. After some cranking to prime the carburetors, the engine sprang to life and settled into a nice, even idle. Wicking the throttle was smooth, not stumbly as it used to be, and with the open exhaust, it really sounded healthy. Again, there was a lot of smoke from burning crud, as well as some smoke in the exhaust (which I suspect is from an overfilled crankcase--the service manual calls for 10 quarts while the owner's manual calls for 8--which is it, guys?). There's still some fine-tuning to do on the carbs, since it was a little rough and even low idle was a little fast. I also think it's running rich (I could smell fuel in the exhaust). I didn't have time to do it all, however, because I believe the thermostat is sticking--the gauge pegged itself pretty quickly, though the radiator didn't seem very hot. I'll check that next. I also think it'll run better with an exhaust on it--a little backpressure is good for smooth idling. I should probably powerwash the engine as well to get that gunk off that's causing all the smoke. We'll see what happens next week.
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