May 262014

The weekend had been chosen for attempting to start the engine and the usual additional help was sought, although this time only John from the E-Type International Rescue team managed to secure the necessary leave of absence.

However, before any attempt could be made, there were quite a number of tasks that still needed to be completed; seal and fit the fuel tank, finish off and test the wiring, connect up the battery, connect up the EDIS Megajolt electronic ignition and complete the Mangoletsi throttle linkage to name but a few. Retrospective posts covering these will be added shortly.

The pressure was on! The sealing and painting of the fuel tank was only just completed in time to enable the tank to be fitted the day before. Although I hit a major snag …. it didn’t fit! The mounting points didn’t align with those on the body! The solution was to leave it in place and just connect up the fuel lines for now. It will have to be sorted at a later stage.

The time lost in trying to fit the tank resulted in the wiring and battery tasks not even being started by the morning of the starting attempt. Therefore the fuses for all the non-essential circuits were removed to limit the amount of testing/checking required before starting the engine.

I had permanently wired in a connection for my CTEK battery charger, which has a ‘supply’ mode delivering 13.7v. In this mode the maximum current that can be drawn is limited, enabling the circuits to be tested more safely.

The charger was connected, the ignition switch on and, much to my relief, the fuel pump ticked into action. Rapidly at first and then settling into a slower rhythm.

Moments later, fuel started leaking in numerous places in the engine bay! Power was swiftly cut and the leaks addressed in turn. The first was the fuel line connector which had gone in cockeyed into the filter housing. The fuel inlet pipe was slightly too short which had resulted in the misalignment and cross threading. The only remedy was to re-tap the thread.

The only taps I had were of a dubious Chinese origin that I had been advised were best stored in a bin! Where they now reside. Fortunately we were able to make an emergency trip over to the rather well equipped McLaren factory to re-tap it and allow progress to continue.

Even with re-tapping the thread, fuel was still leaking. The culprit was narrowed down to the new brass connector which had a collar before the thread started. This limited the amount of the thread that was engaging before collar came into contact with the olive. Therefore making it more prone to cross-threading again and the ability to obtain a quality seal against the olive.

At this point I would have given up but John suggested a cunning plan of reversing the fuel filter so the brass fitting would use the undamaged thread. PTFE tape was also applied to the threads to help avoid leaking until a new pipe is made.

The plan worked. The other leaks were due to using aluminium crush washers on the carburettor banjo bolts rather than fibre washers. I suspect this might be a result of the zinc plating not providing a sufficiently smooth surface on the joint fuel pipe and banjo bolts. Some of John’s replacement handcrafted washers worked a treat.

Once the fuel issues were resolved, we needed to make sure oil had been circulated around the engine and sufficient oil pressure had been achieved. The battery was connected to allow the engine to be turned over on the starter motor to operate the oil pump. However the plugs and coil pack leads were removed to stop the engine starting.

There was no reading on the oil pressure gauge so we started to suspect the oil sender might be a fault. It was removed from the engine and the Mityvac vacuum/pressure pump (normally used for bleeding the brakes) jury rigged to check whether it was working correctly. It was and was measuring accurately, although with a fair amount of lag.

An oil pressure of about 18-20 lbf was finally achieved after running the starter motor in spurts for a while. A few from the E-Type forum confirmed that this should be sufficient to start the engine. The carburettors were adjusted to their default starting position: the damper oil levels checked, the slow running screw fully screwed down and then backed off two full turns and the mixture adjusting screws unscrewed to set the jet flush with the bridge before turning them each down by 2 1/2 turns.

So, for the first time in 18 years, the key was turned to start the engine …. it started on the first turn of the key!!

The only remaining problem is some airlocks in the coolant system which caused the coolant to be expelled from the expansion tank once the engine was stopped. Although I’ve found this is not uncommon.

 Posted by at 10:46 pm