Zach Zupancic

Zach Zupancic

Senior Designer, SolidWorks addict, AutoCAD zealot, Cyclist, Shade Tree Mechanic, & moderately tall. 

Fuel, Spark, and Leather Jackets

These last few days working on the car have been pretty problematic. After we got the engine installed I got to work on getting all of the connections made, and attempt to get the car to start. I stole the battery out of my Fit and put it into the 240z, turned the key, and all that was hear was a loud CLICK from the glove box area. Ehh no big deal, the starter might be dead, and I had a spare one on the engine that we pulled. So I replaced the starter and tried again, same deal. Lame. This time I jumpered the starter to force it to turn; it did. So now with the engine turning I checked to see if I was getting any fuel. Nope, double lame. I popped off the valve cover and manually moved the lever that pumps fuel (mechanical fuel pump) to see if it was working; nope… so I took the pump off of the other engine and checked to see if that one was working, and just like everything else it was not.

I started to search for a new pump and I found a used one on craigslist for $35 in La Mesa. I wanted to compare the prices of a brand new one so I looked on the Kragen site. Brand new one is $33, yep doin’ that. So I went over to Kragen to order the part. When I arrived they told me that the part I was looking at is no longer available, but they did have a more expensive alternative though. It was twice the price of the one I was hoping to get. And then for the first time in my life I got a discount at a Kragen. They gave me the more expensive mechanical fuel pump for the price of the one that I was looking at! After I ordered the pump I went back to the house, dismantled the broken fuel pump to see how it worked, and cleaned and oiled up my carburetors.

The fuel pump came in, and I installed the fuel pump, new valve cover gasket, and the shinier valve cover. I forgot to manually prime the system, but since I was unaware of whether or not I was getting spark I figured that once I got spark I would worry about where the fuel is in the system. After all, now that I have a pump that works the worst that it could be is a blocked line. Now it was time to check to see if I had spark. And yep you guessed it, no spark either. While I am extremely familiar with 2nd Gen Rx7s and how they get fuel and spark; this whole ignition coil, point gap, distributor cap, carb thing is completely foreign. While there are options to change over to an electronic fuel pump and distributor, I feel that you kill the essence of a purely mechanical beast. Its passion, and heart have changed into a bionic Frankenstein of modern and classic parts; aka Eels.

After a few basic tests to make sure the coil and/or distributor were bad, I went back to Kragen and ordered their replacements. Whenever I have ordered parts they usually arrive within a few hours. Since all of the parts that I just ordered, minus the coil, are things that you should replace just about every oil change; I was quite surprised when they told me that they would be in on the 28th. I was saddened, but if anything it would give me a chance to gut the car, and check to see if the fuel lines were blocked.

Out of nowhere I get a call a few hours later saying that the parts were in; victory! But since it was Christmas Eve, I figured I could wait until the 26th to start installing and working on the car again. The bad news is that with the recent need of parts, my total to get the engine running has passed my mark of $1000. As of today the total is $1060. I still have 2 engines, a transmission, real valence, wheels, and some random bits to sell; but I was hoping that I wouldn’t exceed my original price point. Then again, to get the engine running there is nothing left to buy; I have the pump to deliver fuel, and the parts to make spark.

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I didn’t discuss leather jackets, but I figure better late than not at all. A few days ago it rained in the morning and I was just in time to cover the car even more so before the rain really came down. Due to the location of where I work on the car, there is a puddle that forms underneath it after a rain. So the day that I wanted to flush the transmission, I was going to get soaked. I put on my usual go to oversized Dickies jacket, and I didn’t care if I did get wet. I did indeed get wet. Since it was cold, I really needed a replacement so that I didn’t freeze, or lose interest in working on the car. So I muddled through my closet and found the first leather jacket that I bought. I really don’t care for the aesthetic or the over-sized bomber jacket, but ghad damn does it work.

I mean really, what better way to work on a 1970s race car than wearing a leather jacket?

-till next time