Natural Recovery

The morning started off like many of the others, hop in the car and get towed out of the meadow into the driveway. Here are a couple shots before the tools and car parts were strewn about like Christmas morning.

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I had a feeling the alternator was not going to be an easy install so I decided to dive into that part of the project first – full of energy. I had to remove the mangled mounting solution from the old alternator first in hopes of mounting the new one the same way. A shot of the two alternators next to each other.

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While attempting to install the hacked plate, I noticed the top hole on the old Alternator was a through hole but the one on the new alternator was threaded – my first indication that this was not going to be straight forward.

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That rusty hacked bracket mounted to the alternator is then bolted to the car via this bolt Assembly thing. The Big bolt holds it there (sort of) then there is a nut attached to the 3 hole plate. I have no idea why this was the chosen method, it seems like a lot of effort for a terrible solution. This was also confusing because this is my first coupe and I’ve never seen what the proper mounting solution for this car is supposed to look like.

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I turned away from this because I didn’t have the right metric hardware to attempt mounting. That would require a trip to town later and I knew I’d find other things needed through the day.

I decided to turn my attention to cleaning the fuse box and checking the fuses. I didn’t take a “before” picture but below is a couple after MUCH vacuuming. Evidence of mice is everywhere and the “smell” this car has taken on got much stronger when pulling out much of the built up material around the fuse box. This is not the first – or the last – indication that nature had begun to reclaim this piece of man-made machinery.

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With the vacuum in-hand, I continued around the other side of the car. I dug into the passenger-side area of the hood hinge and cabin air filter inlet. I really wasn’t sure what I was vacuuming up, dirt, leaves, top-soil, bugs… etc. I certainly uncovered an ant colony at one point and spent some time ensuring they got the message this was not their home anymore. The only fuse that was blown was the Fog Lights one, which, was definitely not surprising considering there were bare wires in that area.

Turning my attention to the cooling system, I wanted to flush the remaining anti-freeze with the hose and fill with water. I should have done this before when the thermostat and housing was out. I’m not sure if I had to, or if I fully understood the coolant routing, but I struggled to get this tiny coolant pipe off as instructed by the Bentley. Even with it off, and pumping water through the system, I’m not sure I actually was able to get the anti-freeze out of the engine block.

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I topped off the system as best I could. I noticed the plastic bleeder screw on the heater core return wasn’t going to budge and  decided not to continue to mess with it unless the car was actually going to run. I’ll probably pick up a replacement for when I do need to bleed the system. I also filled the power steering system, as it had to be at least partially drained removing a plastic shroud during the timing belt job.

Also, thanks to some advice from Motorgeek.com, I found a good solution to plug the hoses that go to and from the Auxiliary radiator.

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Reviewing the car some more, I noticed why the alternator had to be so hacked together to begin with:

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A sheared off bolt in the above housing was the culprit. When trying to line everything up as it was previously, I noticed the new belt was not going to allow me to remount in the old fashion – simply not enough space. So, I decided to try put things back together as they were supposed to be. This meant removing that bolt and grinding off the bracket to the shape its supposed to be. (I think)

After many hours and much labor, the install did not go as planned but it did at least go back together.

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At this point, the day was going by and it certainly hadn’t felt like a lot of progress had been made. So I popped in the new battery and hooked it up. I guess I had left the key “on” to avoid the steering lock when getting towed, because when the positive terminal went on… so did the wipers and the radiator fan. It was exciting and certainly a bit frightening to hear things coming alive in a car that had been “dead” for so long.

I wish I took a picture of the dash, but there was a half legible “OK”, and a tachometer pegged at red line – which is a bit curious. Any know/suspect anything causing that?

With the plugs pulled, oil in the case and the fuel relay pulled. I decided to see if I could get the oil pressure up. Sadly, turning the key over resulted in nothing more than a ‘click’ under the steering column (I’m guessing this is a starter relay of some sort?). At this point, I didn’t have much time to debug, there were a couple other things to look into before the day ended.

I decided to test the fuel system while I still had some time. I pulled the feeding line off the engine block and stuffed it into a bottle. Shot some fresh gas in the tank, then I shorted the relay and could hear the pump working. It took a bit of time but fuel eventually got up to the engine bay. This was the result – not exaclty “…the best stuff on earth” :

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I was going to pump more but a quick check underneath the car showed that my fuel lines/fuel filter work was insufficient and was leaking. So I stuffed a catch can underneath there and decided it was definitely time to pack it all up and call it a night.

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