Since it was Saturday I figured it wouldn’t be until Monday until the distributor came. Late in the afternoon a delivery truck pulls up and a guy drops a box at my front door. My new distributor was here! I opened it up and went over the instructions. The general consensus was to bump the engine to a specific point to mark the rotor and make not of that position so I know where to put the new one in at. I called my friend and he wasn’t able to stop over but he offered some good advice and I attempted to take on the task of switching the distributors myself. I took note of where the rotor was pointing, made note of where the plug wires went and then loosened the distributor hold down and lifted the old one out. I put a little lube in the new distributor’s gear and placed it in the hole. It went in no problem. I proceeded to tighten up the distributor hold down. I figured out why it was loose when I took it out. Last time someone switched it out, the hold down wasn’t even on the distributor collar! I made sure it was on the collar this time and locked the cap on. I then plugged all the wires back up and after one last look over everything, I climbed in the driver’s seat and cranked it over. It started on the first try! Since this distributor has a vacuum advance on it, I will set the timing and plug a hose onto the carburetor. From now on it should be getting a little better gas mileage and little more power. Now that it’s running again, it’s time to get back to aligning the body parts.
After calling all the local parts places and finding out how high the prices were for HEI distributors, I did the next best thing and went online. The prices we a bit lower and after some extensive research and calling around, I found the distributor I wanted at a price I was satisfied with. Now the next thing, since it’s so close to Christmas I was wondering how long it will take to get to me. Most place say two days so hopefully I can get it by the weekend.
So my mechanic friend stops by with a known working distributor and we proceed to do some testing. First thing we did was pull the cap and noticed a couple of melted wires going to the coil under the cap. Thats a pretty good indication something is messed up. Still no spark from mine so he hooks up his and I crank it over a couple times and there is spark. It’s seems pretty definite it’s my distributor. So now I have the task of finding a distributor and installing it.
So, since the engine was getting enough gas, I leaned toward the electrical side of things. I pull out a plug and crank it over and no spark. Since this is an HEI distributor I’m not quite sure about diagnosing so I’ll call someone I know who’s more familiar with these kind of things and see what he thinks.
Well, finally after a long stay in the body shop I picked up My 55 Chevy Bel Air and drove it home. After sitting for about an hour in the driveway, I headed out for Cruise Night at the local DQ. I got about 1 mile down the road and the car coasts to a stop. I look at the gas gauge and it was pretty close to empty so I grab the spare gas can (I just happened to have) and poured it in the tank. I saved a little for the carb to prime it and cranked it up. Wouldn’t start. By now it’s getting dark and I can’t see what is going on so I call for a tow truck and after a while I’m on the way home. Guess we’ll find out more in the daylight. Chalk one up for Friday the 13th!
Well, it’s been a while so I figured it was time to get the rest of the car in primer so it looks a bit more uniform. I took it back to the body shop that worked on it the last couple times and got ready for a few weeks wait. Hopefully I’ll see some progress fairly quickly but not too quick. I can wait a little longer as long as it is done properly.
And since I set up a date to take the car back to the body shop, I made it sooner. I’m talking about the driver’s side door. I put the passenger door on last month and wanted to get this door on and have the glass back in before the trip to the shop. Don’t need all the dust and possible rain getting in the car while it sits there. Since I already switched out one door, this one didn’t seem like it would be too tough. I knew exactly how to remove the glass and take out the screws. After we got the door switched out, I proceeded to put the hardware back in and then the glass. Seems to be a bit of an issue with this door though. The other side went in fine and opens and closes like normal. This side is hard to open once it closes. Has to be an alignment issue, but what is out of alignment? Maybe the body shop can help adjust it.
It’s been a few weeks already and I have yet to put the window in the door I replaced. I figured I was pushing my luck and it could be anytime before I may get caught driving and have it start to rain. Off my lazy but and back to work. I pulled out the vent window and slid the door window in where it goes. When I pulled it out before, I cleaned up all the screw holes and made sure everything worked fine. The window went in without trouble and I put it all back together just like it should be. Now after I get the rest of the body work finished, I’ll get new windows to replaced both of these cracked ones.
They’ve been sitting around long enough. The doors I picked up earlier this year have been cleaned and primed and just sitting in the garage so I figured it was time to put them on. I started with the passenger side door. I had a friend stop over and we proceeded to take all the handles off inside, remove the door panel and take the glass out. Considering how old and rusty things were, things came off pretty easily. We unbolted the door, greased up the hinges and slid the new door on. I put all the hardware back in and the door worked just as good as the old one. One down and one to go.
Well, today I finally had the chance to put My 55 Chevy Bel Air on the Dyno and took that challenge. It was exciting as I had never done anything like this with my car and wanted to see how it would compare to others. Below is the video of my Dyno Challenge experience at the Pep Boys Speed Shop grand opening.