It’s that time of year when I have an assortment of things going on, most of which are important in their own right but none of which are going to stop the world from turning either. I have been working on a spare Powerglide, three different things on the house, the GT350 and Elvira. In between, it’s been changing oil, fixing flats and doing mostly electrical or plumbing work for some clients.
The GT350 came back to life the other day. Of course most of you that read here on a normal basis would not know that for close to 3 years, it has not fired up. Initially and primarily it was a fuel issue. It appears that our fuel is simply getting more expensive and at the same time getting worse. If you intend to keep an automobile or truck for any length of time, first I would squirrel away a few dollars for a new fuel pump in the future and second I would become a regular user of dry gas additives. Today’s fuel contains a lot of bad stuff, including too much water. I had really started noticing this a few years back working on small equipment engines such as lawn mowers and chainsaws. The fuel tanks on these are typically equipped with a small debris screen to filter the fuel before getting to the carburetor. What I normally saw was a lot of debris that clogged the screen and rust. Adding dry gas to the fuel tank on a regular basis can help with removing the water and the inherent rust issue but it will not do anything for the debris that is entering the tank. In the past, vehicles were manufactured with a replaceable filter of some type, even the early fuel injection systems had them. Today, the only filter between your engine and that lousy fuel is a “filter sock” attached to the pickup or inlet tube of the fuel pump. And these are generally located inside the fuel tank.
The GT350 is a 2003 vintage so this method of filtering the fuel has been with us for quite some time already.
As I was investigating the fuel issue, I of course removed the fuel pump only to find that the assembly itself was damaged, rusted and basically completely shot. The fuel pump motor had died at some point but the fact that the fuel had literally eaten away at the wiring connections, the wire’s plastic insulation and other soft parts was a bit shocking. I also found out that searching for a new pump and including the word “Infiniti” raised the price of the fuel pump replacement part to more than double. The GT350 and the Nissan 350Z of the same year are sister cars of a sort. There are a lot of parts that work on both, including the fuel pump assemblies. One for an Infiniti is listed between $175 – $250, but the same exact part listed for a Nissan 350Z is less than $100. Just something to consider when ordering or purchasing parts for your vehicle. After cleaning the inside of the fuel tank out which meant removing all of the old gas, wiping it out with clean clothes multiple times and finally vacuuming the remaining collection of debris from the tank, I installed a new fuel pump seal (big o-ring), a new fuel line connector and installed the fuel pump. I then added 5 gallons of fresh 93 octane fuel which I ran through a double paint strainer and yes there was a small amount of dirt debris in it. Having kept the battery on a charger, I was ready to fire up the engine. Well maybe not so fast. Having not been running for years, everything had drained down, the lifters, injectors, oil pump and so on. So, it was spin the engine a bit but not let it actually start for roughly 10-12 times. At that point I hoped that I had enough oil on the bearings and the lifters filled with oil to start it. It took another 10 or so tries to actually get it to start and after 30-45 seconds, she sat there and idled just as smooth as the last time it ran. I let it run for about 30-35 minutes until I could feel some good temperature in the oil filter and while it ran I blew the exhaust out the garage door with a window fan. I also checked out the systems in the car and besides the built-in navigation system everything is working as it should. Next is cleaning up the underside and getting back to the bodywork.
So while I am in the middle of all of this fun stuff, we decide to make the trip back to Cincinnati to pick up the Corvette roadster. So far I do not have any name for this car so I am waiting on Phil to toss one out. The ride up to Ohio went quicker than we anticipated and after a meal, a couple of beers and another night in the same hotel we went to pick up the car. Storm clouds were threatening and we actually figured we would get soaked getting the car loaded but as it turned out, there was only one very short period of rain. We had to do a little work to get the car on the open trailer, deciding that it was best to load it rear first, then put the front-end on the car after it was cinched down. Overall, we ended up spending about 90 minutes getting everything loaded and taken care of, then headed back on the road for the trip home. Once again, save for a few rain showers here and there, the trip home was uneventful except for some thumbs-up and nice compliments we received about the car itself.
Phil has started the work of ordering the various bits and pieces that we need to get the car setup the way we want to race it. Overall this involves a complete re-wiring of the electrical system, a couple of changes to the fuel system, fixing the seat issue, putting in a vacuum gauge, putting the scoop back on the hood and doing something about the awkward radiator issue. Other than the normal cleaning and replacing lubricants on everything, we should be good to go.