With the engine almost complete, I have started moving on to the next phase.

Apart from the idle issue (another update on that below) the engine is pretty much finished for now. My ultimate plan is to rebuild it completely, but that’s going to be much later once the car has been on the road for a while, but in theory the car should be drivable now except for the fact I don’t think the brakes work yet.

I should probably move to the brakes next, but I want to start putting the car back together a little first as I can do the brakes with all the panels and fascias back on. I also want to see some progress as from an aesthetic point of view, nothing has changed on the car in over a year.

When I first purchased the car, I spoke to a panelbeater who says he can panelbeat the stainless. I didn’t realise the engine was going to take me 2 years, but luckily the panelbeater is still interested and came over during the week to give me a quote. I have used this panelbeater before and they did a great job.

He quoted for the following work:

  • Reshape the R/R fender where there is a crumple around the arch
  • Remove 2 dents from the drivers side door
  • Sand and repaint both fascias
  • Rebuild the louvres
  • Fix cracks in the engine cover

The louvres on my DMC are in a hell of a mess, it seems most of the ‘stays’ up the middle that hold the slats up are broken and have been repaired with steel bars. There are also steel bars holding the sides ridged and to allow for these, someone has cut into the fibreglass to allow the bars to sit flush. The weight of all the extra steel has caused the middle of the louvres to sag, so they aren’t sitting flush with the T panel.

The panelbeater is going to repair all the cracks and replace the steel with aluminum as it will be much lighter. It won’t look 100% perfect, but it’s going to be a lot cheaper than importing a new set of louvres. I may still do this later, but for now the focus is just on getting them looking ok, and reduce the risk of them breaking further.

The only caveat is when he takes the dents out, it will also take some of the grain out, I am going to re-grain the whole car when it’s almost complete anyway as there are scuff marks everywhere.

Now I need to fix up the headlights, as once the fascias are painted I want to put them back on the car so they don’t get damaged in my storage area. Today I took the louvres and engine cover off the car so I can deliver them to the panelbeaters shop and also removed 1 headlight cluster so I can start restoring them.

DMC Houston have been in contact around my idle issues, so I have been working with them. I’m starting to think the idle ECU is not working as I have checked everything I can think of. DMC have been beyond helpful though which is a real comfort as no local mechanics will help with the K-jet system.

While I was out in the garage today, I reset the timing using a timing light and twisting the distributor (see a video here for how to adjust timing on most cars with a distributor) and re-adjusted the fuel mix. I also checked the idle microswitch, this is a switch on the throttle spool that turns the idle system on when the throttle is resting at 0%. Everything seems to be set correctly, but she is still idling at about 300rpm when it should be around 700rpm.

While I was trying to look for vacuum leaks, that damn aux air bypass pipe (nicknamed the pipe of agony for very good reasons) came out again, taking the new fitting with it. I really didn’t want to take the fuel mix unit back out of the car to re-fit the fitting, as every time I tighten up the bolts, I find the threads in the manifold are getting loser and loser, so far I’ve managed to resolve the issue by using longer bolts, but if the threads strip, I’ll need to re-tap them and I’m not sure that’ll resolve the issue either as the aluminum is very soft, so they could just strip again.

My solution was to get a long piece of welding rod and poke one end in the aux air bypass hole, then slide the fitting down the rod, into the hole. I could just fit my fingers in behind the manifold to clip it in place. The good thing is I’m getting really good at getting this pipe in with the mix unit in place, so once the fitting was in, the pipe was easy.

As a temporary workaround while I wait for DMC to come back with some more suggestions around the idle speed, I adjusted the throttle spool, so now it rests at about 5% rather than 0. This has brought the RPM up to where it should be, but is only a temporary fix until I get to the root cause. I’ve uploaded a video here of the new idle after adjusting the throttle spool.