August 2004

 

Finally gathered the parts to get the front end rebuilt. Or at least I thought I had. Took it to a local shop, Colorado Collision. I took it there because I know the owner and I know his work is quality. He was working on it as time allowed in his busy schedule. So needless to say I was without my toy for about three weeks. In my experience, I havenít ever had a hard time turning any bolts or nuts on this thing so I wasnít worried about tons of rust and frozen parts. After getting into this, one of the lower bushings was becoming part of the shaft. Other than that, everything seems to turn with out too much trouble.† Looking at the parts that came out, it was pretty clear that this job was necessary. It is a bit surprising how well the car drove with the poor condition of all the bushings and missing washers.

 

One of the lower ball joint nuts was only finger tight, and they were showing definite signs of wear on the ball portion. Ended up ordering a ball joint kit from Delta Motor Sports in Phoenix. K&D was out to the Western Nationals at the time. People on the Jensen mailing list had told of the lower fiber cup looking like it wasnít there. This cup is what the lower ball joint seats into. What tends to happen is that the cup starts to take on a metallic look so it blends in with the lower housing. Some chiseling got them out.

 

The pieces were all cleaned up and reinstalled. New shocks, new bushings, new washers. Repacked the bearings. The alignment process took some time as well. Well within specs when done. Feels good to drive it again. Nice and tight. Not a huge difference but definitely better. Still surprised it drove as well as it did with no tire wear and no serious pulling to one side or another.

 

Driving around the next weekend, I notice a bit of a lack of power. Not feeling a miss but definitely stumbling, well not even that. Just wasnít smooth. At idle it was pretty rough. As noted before Iím getting some semi serious backfiring on deceleration. I tried adjusting the idle mixture and found I could turn in the screws about 1.5 turns before the idle would dip. Still no change in the backfire. I re-jetted and put different metering rods in. The adjustment put it at 8% leaner than stock, the recommended mixture at my altitude. †Put in a can of BG 44K to help clean out any crap that might be holding a valve open or something like that. Drove around all day Saturday. Still not right. Inspected the cap and rotor. The cap had some light garbage on the contacts. Not enough to cause the lack of power though. Changed them out anyway. Removed the plugs to inspect them and figured I might as well replace as long as I had them out. All the plugs were looking normal until I got to the two front on the drivers side. One appeared to be wet or oil soaked. The other had some strange discoloring on the base where the wrench makes contact. Iím guessing they were misfiring at least some of the time.

 

I also removed the ballast resistor from the intake manifold and mounted it to the fender well near the overflow bottle. Cleaned up a bunch of other wiring going from the fender well to the engine. Some wires were wrapped up in a taped harness and didnít seem to go to anything. Removed the orphans. Quite a bit cleaner now. I was afraid I was going to get a short because the wires ran right between the valve cover and the distributor. At one time I did get a short when tightening down the valve cover and pinched a wire.

 

Fired her up after all that and took off for a test drive. Idling was much smoother. After a good warm up I put my foot into it. I think I found 50 or more horses after the tune up. I think Iíve really found the sweet spot. It really puts a grin on my face to drive it now. Not sure what might have happened. The plugs only lasted about 3000 miles or a little over a year. Hope I donít have a bad valve seal or something like that. We shall see. Itís nice to have a vehicle that actually shows a difference after a tune up. My Honda feels the same after coming back from the shop.

 

Still have to finish polishing the last wheel. Was able to get a decent shine on the others. Put about 5 hours into each wheel with three grades of sand paper and three grades of rouge on buffing wheels. The aluminum is pretty porous so I canít get a mirror finish. The porosity can also cause the tires to leak down. Some Interceptors require tubes. Not sure if mine is tubed, although I doubt it because I was able to plug a leak from the outside. Either that or I got really lucky and itíll come back to haunt me.

 

Took the spare down to see the condition of the wheel. It was pretty rough. Scrubbed it with a soft wire brush and some soap. Can see that itís the original silver between the spokes. The others are black. Will have to refinish the main road wheels back to stock colors sometime.

 

Getting ready for the Colorado British Car Conclave now. Iíll be installing the bumper pads soon. Thatíll be an effort. The bumpers need to come off for that. The front bumper was an afternoon project a while back. †

 

I think the Interceptor is way better shape than last year at this time. Some of the improvements have been... a new exhaust system, polished wheels, door and window seals, polished valve covers, front suspension bushings, shocks and bearings redone, the sunroof is sealed, heat shield under the carb, center console rebuilt, new radio/CD player, Mopar performance distributor and MSD coil, cleaned and reconditioned radiator, Edelbrock 1406 carburetor, oil and trans pan gaskets, paint cleaned and buffed, oil hoses, train cooler hoses. Is that all? Wow, now that Iím listing this it seems like a lot. Now I know why I feel broke.†

 

Still some work to be done before the conclave, but thatís in September.