June 2 2004

Ordered a heat shield from Summit Racing. It consists of an aluminum plate with several gaskets and aluminum shims for a height of about 1/2 inch. I was concerned about the clearance with the added height. Put some clay at various locations on the air cleaner and gently closed the hood. Looks like enough room.

Four gaskets and three layers of aluminum later I had a heat shield in place. After running the engine for a while I was surprised to feel the carb was still cool. Guess I shouldn't be surprised as that's what it's supposed to do. Just strange to feel all the heat coming off the engine but the carb is still cool. Hot starts are much improved. Just have to remember to start it like it's not hot. Before I had to press the pedal to the floor to get it to start. Now I can just crank. Nice.

Along with the heat shield, I ordered new plug wires and wire holders. I was tired of looking at the mess of wires I had in place. The wire holders look very nice and do a good job of routing the wires. Took the valve covers off as a matter of course to bold on the new loom. Found all the bolts to be not much more than finger tight. The gaskets were pretty crusty and probably didn't do much to seal anything.

Got the wires and loom installed and looking good. Could have used three hands a couple of times. Getting the nuts on the bottom proved to be tedious.

Figured as long as I had the valve covers off I'd try to clean them up just a bit. Was able to send them off with a friend to be run through an industrial "dish washer" of sorts. It's primarily used for streaming parts clean. Didn't do much to remove the old paint. It did loosen some of it though.

June 19 2004

After getting the valve covers back from the dish washer, I bought some citrus paint stripper to get the rest. Tried to find something as aluminum friendly as possible. Had to let it soak over night. The next morning most of the paint was ready to come off. After some wire brush work I took off to the carwash to use the pressure wand. Looking pretty good now. More wire brush and dental pick work to finish up the cleaning. It was interesting to see the areas under the paint appeared to have some sort of a coating or finish to them. Almost looks like an aluminized paint. Sanding and or wire brushing doesn't change it though.

I wanted to get rid of the factory sanding marks. Picked up some wet/dry sand paper in 320, 400, and 600 grit. Connected the orbital sander and went after it. Letting the sander do the work took the scratches out pretty quickly. Finished with 600 grit and steel wool. Some aluminum polish and voila. Looking much nicer now. I make it sound easy don't I?

So now to put it all back together. Put the valve covers in place and found that the valve covers are molded with a surface or protrusion to bolt up the factory plug wire loom. This caused a clearance problem with the loom which I didn't see earlier. I made some small extension brackets to take care of the problem.

After fighting a bit with the fit, all came together and looked good. Looks can be deceiving though. For the first time in two weeks I cranked the motor. No joy. After some investigation, I found that I had clamped one distributor feed wires under the corner of the right cover and had grounded the whole system. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!

June 20 2004
Doing some misc cleanup and maintenance today. I was going to change one of the heater hoses but found that one of the hoses connected to the heater control valve was about to disintegrate. Not wanting to get into that project today I opted to bypass the heater for now. You don't really need a heater in an interceptor anyway, right?

Jacked up the front end and drained the oil. Punched a nail hole in the filter and didn't have one drip from it when removing until I turned it over and let id drip from the nail hole. Filled it up and cranked it over. It started OK but I had no oil pressure. Checked a few things and tried again. Zilch. Put the old filter back on and ran a screw into the hole to plug it. After starting, oil gushed everywhere from the not so well plugged hole. Hmmmmmm. Glad I bought two oil filters. Put the second new one on and now have oil pressure. Got a bad one right out of the box. Fram.

June 21, 2004 I've been annoyed at the paint work on the Interceptor for some time now. It's not a concourse caliber paint job, but it's not bad either. There seems to be what I'm tempted to call overspray all over the car. Glass included. I could get it off the glass with a light touch of steel wool, but that's not recommended for the paint of course. So I contacted a detailer in the area. He said he could get over spray off the car, but it would cost about $35 per panel. He said he used a special process that was very gentle on the paint. I was trying to justify this expense. You couldn't really see the overspray, only feel it.

Prior to talking with the detailer I had seen something called magic or miracle clay at an on-line automotive specialty site. Autosportcatalog.com (no affiliation) I thought what the heck and ordered some just to see what it was. $15 didn't seem like much. What I got was a bottle of soapy solution and a blob of blue oil based clay a little smaller than a deck of cards. The instructions said to flatten out the clay a bit and to spray the solution on an area no larger than 2' X 3'. Then gently rub the clay over the lubricated area. I did a section of the front fender. Normally I don't believe anything with "magic" or "miracle" in the title as a matter of course. But this stuff was both. The overspray was gone and the paint was nice and smooth. Took me about 20 minutes to do the whole car.

I took my Interceptor down to the detailer to get the paint buffed, some paint touched up, and a shot at cleaning up the wheels. The buffing went pretty much as expected. The paint is now as shiny and swirl free as can be expected. He did tell me that his special process to remove overspray is the same clay I used. Saved a bunch of money there. The touch up went OK except for a poor color match until the second coat was applied. After that and some dry time it looks decent. He did one wheel just to see what he could do. No power equipment was used. It looked OK but not what I wanted. I've seen what these wheels can look like.

Late June 2004

I've finally decided that the performance of my beast is just not quite up to par. When I step on the accelerator, I get decent response but just not crisp and powerful like I expect and seem to remember feeling before. You know, that g-force feeling you get when being pressed back into the seat during acceleration. Any way, it just wasn't there anymore. I did some investigation and found that when the pedal was on the floor, I would only get about 50% travel at the carb. I tried adjusting the cable with minimal success. Played with all kinds of ideas under the hood. Nothing seemed to produce any significant improvement.

I consulted the list and got some great suggestions. After some more playing, and following a suggestion by one of the listers, (thanks Ken) I saw that the accelerator pedal rod is actually two pieces clamped together. I loosened the clamp and raised the pedal to be even with the brake pedal. Took her out for a spin and the difference was amazing. How much horsepower had I been missing for how long?

I purchased some buffing wheels and rouge to polish the wheels. Started on the right front and I'm finding that this is going to be pretty labor intensive. I'm guessing a few hours per wheel and probably a couple of buffing wheels...

Busy month!!!!

July 2004