Questions for the Chevette Engine Folks

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  edsnova 8 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #236016

    vilardi
    Participant

    @vilardi

    Hey folks,

    Got my BCW TDr mid-January and had a few fun test drives and some tinkering but then “Snowmaggedon” hit.
    A respite from Winter this week let me get the fluids changed out on it (which I’m pretty sure had not been done for a looooong time!) and “dirty” is not the word….
    Prior to this I have been watching the various “idiot lights” on the dash go on and off (I already know my old battery was shot  and replaced it and my Alternator is a problem) but I’ve had the choke light come on and off as well as the oil light.  
    A volt test of the (new) battery is giving me a reading of 12 volts (without the car running) and 11.7 volts when the car is running (which to me indicates the alternator is just barely keeping the engine running and the battery not completely dying).  The BCW only has a battery idiot light which pulses on and off while this happens.  
    More of a concern is the oil light which comes on and off.  I had the oil changed today and hoped that would clear things up – about a half hour after the oil change it came back on for a while and then went off again.
    Also the choke light has begun to come on (I had no idea there even was a choke light until I saw it lit up!).  I pulled the air cleaner top off today to lube up whatever linkages I recognized and was able to get the idle to begin to kick down to around 1000 rpm’s once everything was heated up (I’m thinking because of my liberal oiling/greasing).  
    Has anyone else encounterd similiar issues?
    I’m most worried that the oil pump may be malfunctioning.
    I’m about 99.9% sure the alternator needs to be replaced.
    Anything else to be concerned about?          
    Tom
           

    Tom Vilardi
    BCW Model 52
    South Orange NJ

    #267212

    edsnova
    Participant

    @edsnova

    Before you replace the alternator, check the grounds on it. With these cars–and with most old cars–electrical faults are almost always ground-related. 

    Here’s a junkyard alternator guide that helped me get a little smarter. Please excuse me if this kind of stuff is way beneath your knowledge level. 

    edsnova2016-02-04 21:13:27

    #267213

    vilardi
    Participant

    @vilardi

    Thanks Ed.  

    I welcome any and all suggestions, recommendations, etc.  
    Always wanted a TD but didn’t want the issues my Dad had with his 1950’s English Cars (Hillmans).
    So long ago I decided something more “turn-key” would allow me to have some fun rather than spend every weekend going to the local Lucas Electric distributor (usually a motorcycle shop) to get the various switches, wires, etc. that were always burning out on him. 
    My Dad was driving a 1960 Hillman Husky and actually bought a ’58 Husky for parts which ultimately was in better shape than the ’60, so the “parts car” became the “driver” while the “driver” was cannibalized for the “parts car”….
    Always hated idiot lights but by virtue of getting something built inthe mid-80’s, that is what was used (until I switch it all out).  So really would like to learn other folks experinces.
    Tom     

    Tom Vilardi
    BCW Model 52
    South Orange NJ

    #267214

    vilardi
    Participant

    @vilardi

    And here’s another thing I need to ask the 1.6 liter Chevette folks.

    Looks like the BCW TDr is using the Catalytic Converter as a muffler as well?  
    The Chevette maintenance book shows amuffler right after the Cat, but on my car there’s only a Cat?!?
    Is everyones like that?
    Tom  

    Tom Vilardi
    BCW Model 52
    South Orange NJ

    #267215

    ricrx7
    Participant

    @ricrx7

    What year is your BCW?  I have a 1986.  Many things you mention in your posts are different on my car.  I will check the muffler/cat tomorrow.  I have removed the large air cleaner and the piping for the air pump.

    1986 British Coach Works Type 52 (Sammy)
    1952 MGTD Volvo engine (for sale)

    #267216

    vilardi
    Participant

    @vilardi

    Ric,  


    Title says 1987.  Build number is 365.  I’ve seen photos of yours – someone did a good job installing some original TD parts on yours (especially the dash), although the BCW’s seemed to use some original parts in the build anyway.


    The Cat seems to be doing double duty as a muffler too.  I was thinking about removing it and some of the other pollution control things and that’s how I noticed there was no muffler.

    What I thought was an alternator issue was actually a worn fan belt issue, so I solved that one on my own.

    I’ve ordered a Volt Gauge from Classic Instruments to take the place of the idiot light – The Gauges in mine are all from Classic – eventually I’ll swap out the center dash panel for an original.

    If I’m remembering correctly your key is on the dash – does the Lucas key and light switch set-up work?  

    I find the big empty “trunk” on the front engined BCW’s funny.  Truly set up for the VW engine and no thought put into accessing it or using an original gas tank.  The panel on mine will pull right up and off but I have to re-route the license plate wiring to do so.

    I’ve yet to really get into it behind the dash, but imagine I’ll have all sorts of on-line questions once I start.

    So far it’s been a blast to drive – even in the Winter!

    Tom    

    Tom Vilardi
    BCW Model 52
    South Orange NJ

    #267217

    ricrx7
    Participant

    @ricrx7

    Sorry I’m late in responding.  February was really busy. My trunk is useful.  I put the battery there.  I also carpeted it.  The trunk is easily accessible by swinging the spare tire to the side.  I am pretty sure the factory built my car. My key and light switch work.  Although the high/low switch is a little iffy.  I did have to do some new wiring with them to get proper operation.  I also added a marine fuse panel that made wire tracing a little easier.  In another post, I show how I lowered my floor in front of the pedals to give better leverage on the low pedals.

    1986 British Coach Works Type 52 (Sammy)
    1952 MGTD Volvo engine (for sale)

    #267218

    court-wizard
    Participant

    @court-wizard

    I also felt the space in the rear was a waste so I created a boot. I used the existing hinge and added an electric latch.

    No trees were injured in the making of this message, but some electrons were inconvenienced.

    #267219

    vilardi
    Participant

    @vilardi

    Thanks Ric and Court,

    Eventually I’ll figure something out about the “trunk”.  I guess another option would be to put out a portion of the panel that makes the behind the seat boot for access too.
    So does your catalytic converter double as a muffler too?  That’s what it looks like on mine.  Just the cat (with the air line going into it) and nothing else.
    Tom

    Tom Vilardi
    BCW Model 52
    South Orange NJ

    #267220

    vilardi
    Participant

    @vilardi

    “cut out a portion” of the back of the existing boot, NOT “put out a portion”

    Tom Vilardi
    BCW Model 52
    South Orange NJ

    #267221

    court-wizard
    Participant

    @court-wizard

    Mine has always had a muffler and no cat. Now that I’ve converted to a 2.2L Chevy flex-fuel I’ve got a muffler & pipe.

    No trees were injured in the making of this message, but some electrons were inconvenienced.

    #267222

    vilardi
    Participant

    @vilardi

    My BCW seems to still have ALL the HP sapping EPA crap on it from the 1980’s.  Odometer only reads 16K miles – so if that number is correct and BCW was really installing brand new GM engines, the darn thing is barely broken in after almost 30 years!

    Eventually I’ll hit a big pot-hole and the cat and air pipe will be gone!  

    Tom Vilardi
    BCW Model 52
    South Orange NJ

    #302789

    vilardi
    Participant

    @vilardi

    Been exactly a year  since I picked up the BCW-TD and still loving it!  Glass is still absolutely still half full, but I’ll use this as an opportunity to go list the “half empty” things and compare with others who have the same factory built car.

    • Oil light goes on and off but the level seems good and nothing else seems out of the ordinary, so I run as is and eventually will put in a gauge.
    • Gas gauge stopped working (not sure if it’s as simple as a loose wire or more involved…eventually I’ll get to that too).
    • Catalytic converter air line (I left all the original pollution control stuff in place) scrapes if I go over speed bumps – would like opinions about removing all that stuff – including the crazy air filter cover with hose that snakes all the way up to the grill and has a butterfly valve in it which presumably opens up larger once the engine warms.
    • Idle starts very high and then goes so low the choke light comes on… was wondering if that has anything to do with the pollution control stuff mentioned above.
    • 14 inch wheels work fine and appear to have come with the car – would 15 inchers look better? (extra ground clearance?)  Current tires are 185 75 (185mm/7 1/4″ wide with the height being 75% of the width) – would be 24.93 ” tall.  Continental makes a 185 80 “Vanco” which would be 25.65″ tall.  Many of the tin TD’s I see are wearing Vredestein Sprint Classics which at 15″ rims seem to be 185 70 R15 and are only 25.2″ tall (shorter than the 14 inch wheel Continental Vanco!)…. thoughts?
    • I pulled the front fender mirrors off and now use a mirror attached to the winshield frame – works much better and makes the fenders cleaner looking (filled the holes in with small black carriage bolts)
    • I recessed the heater controls/radio and put in a surface mounted glove-box door made up of 3/8 ” plywood which covers them.
    • Still don’t like steering column, but feeling better after hearing some some MG A-B-C people speculating that the “Mystery TD” in the parking lot looked like it had a column swapped out of an MGB.

    Tom Vilardi
    BCW Model 52
    South Orange NJ

    #302790

    edsnova
    Participant

    @edsnova

    Nice, Tom. Driving!

    I like an oil pressure gauge & currently use a Smiths dual oil pressure/coolant temp gauge like this. The correct TD version is more money and only reads to 220F (100C). Eventually I’ll get round to printing a white face to make mine match the other gauges on my dash…

    Gas gauge could be a simple ground or broken wire but you’ll have to put some time in to find out.

    My opinion is to remove as much of the crappy 1980s EPA stuff as possible, since most of it was ineffective and all of it was failure-prone. That said, I can’t guide you on what to take off and how to tune the engine so it actually works. I’d begin by taking the belt off the AIR pump. See what happens. If nothing bad, maybe work towards removing that 40 pounds of nonsense & plugging vacuums & such. Try an open element air cleaner; see if you can get a good choke/idle without that 15 lbs of ducting and hoses the engine came with. And so on. Keep everything whole and labeled, and go slow, and do mileage tests as you make changes. Pull plugs and look for lean or rich conditions. etc. That is how I might “feel my way” toward victory if I had your engine….

    That said, she won’t make much (if any) more power without that stuff. Maybe a little. A header would probably boost it. I’d do it to “simplify and add lightness.” Or not. Since an engine that runs OK is always better than one you just took apart and can’t get back together.

     

    14 inch wheels work fine for a lot of club members. Roy’s running 14-inch MGB/C wheels, Bills got a set of 14-inch spokers he runs on the street. They both look great and the wider meats have got to help with handling. I’d leave them alone at least until the tires age out.

    Mirror placement is personal choice. I have the fender mirrors on my car and they work OK, but I also have a set of cycle mirrors that fit into the windshield posts. They are better for seeing what’s coming up next to you, for sure.

     

     

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