Thursday, August 14, 2014
It's been about 4 weeks since I dropped a different distributor into the X.
Holy crap, what an improvement.
It could just be a matter of ignition timing. I was never able to turn the other distributor far enough either way to get better timing. It turns out there was a metal vacuum line in the way in one direction, but I couldn't find an obstruction that would keep it from turning the other way.
Could have just pulled that distributor out, turned the case 60 degrees, adjusted the rotor back the other way--all to make what was the #6 spark tower #1. Just swap the plug wires accordingly.
But then, I wouldn't have been able to use this other one I had, would I? =)
The replacement item came with a box of goodies shipped from a guy down near Orlando, Florida. He had a little Holley 4160 4-barrel carb, an Edelbrock intake manifold to fit the X-11's 2.8L V-6, and some miscellaneous bits to make it almost a drop-in weekend project. I paid him $300 and waited. He had the parts in his barn and needed some time to get them together, box them up, etc.
I didn't sweat it. But it did take nearly 2 years.
I could have gassed up the Tracker and taken another road trip...
Nah. No way. According to the Google, the drive down and back would have been even longer than 10 hours there/ten hours back.
No. Way. I don't think the Tracker could make the run, with its engine so close to overhaul time. The little guy deserves a rest.
Fed-Ex did the work instead. The carb turned out to be from a 1972 or so Ford 302 marine engine. It's a little larger than I'd like; the 2.8L V-6 calls for about 350 cfm of air flow. The smallest Holley 4-barrel flows 390 cfm, which is fine. My Holley pulls 450 cfm. That shouldn't be an issue, really.
The intake is Edelbrock's aluminum 2-piece--the manifold itself plus an adapter casting to match a 4-barrel carb. There's also a 2-barrel adapter which would let me either go back to the existing Rochester 2SE carb I'm running or to a Holley alternative. For that matter, with the 4-barrel adapter in place, I could even install one of the all-in-one fuel injection systems from Holley or elsewhere. All it takes is a thousand bucks or so. (heh)
Both the carb and the intake are just going to stay in the box for the time being. To swap it all in will take some planning and some parts I don't have yet. Because the intake was intended for rear-wheel-drive vehicles like the Camaro and S-10/Blazer, the coolant outlet will end up on the passenger-side end of my front-wheel-drive car, so I'll have to work up a long, long, long top radiator hose. I'll also have to design a different air intake. The Holley is huge compared to the little Rochester 2-barrel. There's not a lot of room between the top of the engine and the underside of the hood, so the existing air cleaner would have to go.
The distributor is a mechanical and vacuum advance version of the 2.8's all-electronic item. The car's existing power and tach connectors plug right in, so I went from this:
The past 4 weeks have been amazing. I've gone from a struggling starter to an enthusiastic one for the first time since I got the car in 2009. I'm still getting a little hard-starting trouble when the engine's hot, but I haven't been stranded so far.
Next project is to dial it all in: get the timing set, get the carb adjusted, and hopefully get a little more power out of the thing.