Having put this milestone off long enough, we set about to fire up the truck's V8 engine. Last month we detailed how we created a "dashboard" for engine test running, so we won't repeat that part. However, we thought you'd appreciate a diagram of the simple electrical circuit we created.
As you can see, the circuit is very simple to set up. All that is needed is a solid connection to the battery for the starter, solenoid and engine ground. "Hot" leads are wired from the battery to each of the three switches that will allow several sorts of individual tests as well as enable running of the engine. Contrast the wiring diagram against the "bundle of snakes" photo that shows what we created during the actual wiring. Sure it's messy, but there was no incentive to neatly route the wires. That will come later when we put in the truck's wiring harness.
Guess we could've been a little neater, but we were anxious to see whether this thing would run...
Our first step in testing the engine was to crank the starter until we could establish oil pressure. That, of course, required the presence of oil, so we poured in five quarts of fresh oil and filled the filter canister. Following that we filled the T5 transmission with Type F automatic fluid, as per the manual. We checked for leaks and then proceeded to crank the starter in 5-second increments.
Before we ran our test, we had to cap off the fuel pump stand, since we're using an electric fuel pump. The three bolts that originally held the beehive oil filter bracket tapped into the water jacket so we had to plug those holes.
Before our test, we had to add the oil filler tube. A firm tap on a 2x4 seated it into place easily.
No oil pressure! After about 10 attempts we stopped the cranking exercise. No oil was showing in the clear tubing going to the pressure gauge. We disconnected one of the filter lines and saw no oil there either. Hmmmm.
Okay, no problem...yet. We poured a little oil into the line's fittings and hit the starter. The oil was sucked right down, indicating the oil pump was turning. Cranking more yielded no improvement. The battery wires and starter were getting a bit too warm and it was close to lunch time, so we decided to get away from the engine and think things over. Tip: this has saved us so many times in the past that it's worth mentioning. If you're stalled on a project or diagnosis, leave the area and go have coffee or a sandwich. Sure enough, your brain will come up with the solution.
While dining at the local sandwich shop we got into a discussion of the oil pressure problem. We were noodling over several ideas including: trapped air in the galleries; bad oil pump; sinister forces, etc., when Satch wisecracked, "maybe we're turning the engine backwards," at which the light bulb went off in both our brains...
THE TRUCK UTILIZES A POSITIVE GROUND ELECTRICAL SYSTEM!
We instantly realized we had hooked up the battery in the standard, negative ground, fashion and that meant we were turning the starter backwards (DC being DC, after all.) Lunch was gulped down quickly so we could return to the garage and reverse the battery leads.
We did that very thing and within 10 seconds of cranking had 50 psi of oil pressure. We cranked a little longer to make sure there were no "forgotten" oil outlets that would gush out later, then proceeded to hook up the ignition system.
We had to install a new Mallory dual-point distributor in the block. All that was necessary to do so was to properly locate the drive gear, drill the distributor shaft and pin the gear to it. We took our time doing so and the assembly slid in perfectly, but we had to pull it back out because we weren't at TDC.
That's when we realized we'd long since "lost" Top Dead Center. Because the engine buildup had happened over so long a time and we had removed the flywheel several times and had cranked the engine to get oil pressure, we lost our original setting of TDC (when #1 cylinder is ready to fire.)
We had to find TDC again, on a flathead engine no less. On an overhead valve engine all we'd have to do would be to remove the plug and slowly crank the engine until a screwdriver inserted in the hole rose to its maximum point. You can't see the piston on a flathead engine, but as it turned out we could see the edges of both valves. Careful turning of the crankshaft with a wrench got us to within reasonable proximity of TDC and we then brought the timing mark into position.
All we needed to do at this point was to connect the spark plug wires and pour some gas into the carburetors. There was no need to hook up fuel lines because our first test would be simply to see if the engine fired. There was one little detail, however...
We used an old set of plug wires for our test because we hadn't bothered to purchase a new one. Unfortunately, there was no coil wire. We looked all over and it didn't turn up, so we had to improvise. We found the old battery cable in a box of wires, so we cut off the insulation at both ends, trimmed the wire strands into a bundle small enough to get into the coil and distributor lead caps, and we had ourselves a coil wire. It would do fine until we put the system in useable order.
For our initial test we poured about a teaspoon of gas in each carburetor.
With everything ready we poured about a teaspoon of gas into each of the two carburetors, turned on the ignition and then cranked the starter. There was no coughing, backfiring or lack of response. The engine simply started on the first crank and then died from lack of fuel. We poured in a little more gas, repeated the process and the engine came to life every time. Very satisfying...
The next test required that we hook up a fuel pump and lines to the carburetors. Since the carbs run "straight," (that is, the linkage isn't progressive. Each carburetor runs half the engine) we had to connect the linkage piece onto the fittings. Unfortunately, the linkage component was nearly 3-inches too long so we had to do a little machining.
Before we could continue on with the next phase of our testing, we needed to shorten the carburetor linkage.
Once we cut off the calculated amount of shaft we threaded a sufficient amount of the bare shaft and re-connected the fittings. This took a while because the linkage is stainless steel and difficult to work.
Adding new threads to the linkage.
The fuel pump was "plumbed in" and the lines connected to the carburetors. We ran the engine a couple times again, without filling the cooling system. The reason for this was to make sure there were no catastrophic leaks or mechanical problems that would necessitate disassembly (no sense in having to drain coolant, is there?) That's also why we hadn't connected an exhaust system.
With the engine performing reasonably well, we connected all the hoses and filled the cooling system. We could now run the engine to full operating temperature to do all the timing and mixture adjustments.
So far so good. The engine runs very well and we can now turn our attention to getting the rolling chassis ready for a few "test drives" down the driveway. More later.