WDID – Reenacted the Exxon Valdez

Things rarely go as expected when working on a project in the garage. Inevitably, one will discover a part is missing, something needs to be removed and there is no tool to remove this something, or one discovers that while this is removed, it would be a good idea to replace that.  My most recent stream of events was initiated by installing a fuel line in the Corvette.

I built a Quadrajet carburetor, specifically tuned to work with the 355 in the Corvette. Upon trying to install it, I found that the fuel inlet is slightly offset from the inlet in the Edelbrock 1901 Quadrajet that was already on the car, which necessitated a different fuel line. The fuel line I purchased from Summit Racing was a Russell stainless braided line that goes from the fuel pump to the carburetor. I needed some additional AN fittings, but it seemed a simple solution until I find the time to custom bend a new steel line.

My two-car garage currently houses the Corvette and the BMW 2002 while the other cars are stored off-site. In order to access the line going to the fuel pump, the Corvette needs to be jacked up in the front and set on jack stands. This is made easier by moving the BMW outside to the driveway so the hydraulic jack handle has more room to go up and down. I shuffled the cars around, installed the new fuel line (it leaks at the pump) and then went to put the BMW in the garage.

There are quirky little things about old cars that one discovers through years of ownership and perusing the forums. Since I’ve owned the ’02 for less than the time it takes to receive its title from the state, I have a lot to learn about this little car. We changed the oil a few weeks ago, using a Wix oil filter. I use Wix filters on all of my cars. They have an excellent reputation and have never failed me. Until now. Pulling into the garage, with cold oil, the seal failed, thus dumping an engine’s worth of 20W50 onto my driveway.

The seventeen year old helped my push the BMW into the garage and I surveyed the mess to determine what in the world had happened. Had a rod gone through the engine? It didn’t sound like it at all. About ten minutes of inspection revealed the culprit to be the rubber seal on the oil filter. Further research at www.bmw2002faq.com revealed that this is a known problem with non-factory oil filters. A cold engine and thick oil can result in the seal blowing out. I ordered a Mahle filter, as advised on the forum, on Amazon Prime and installed it two days later.

The day after receiving the filter, I went to my local auto supply store (who doesn’t want to support local business?) to get some new oil for the ’02. I like Valvoline VR1. I put five bottles in my shopping cart and then thought to inquire about fuel fittings for the Corvette.

Me: “Do you have any AN fittings?”

Old parts store guy: “Any ‘what’ fittings?”

Me: “AN fittings. You know, they are usually anodized aluminum, used a lot in racing and aftermarket braided stainless fuel lines?”

Old parts store guy: “I’ve been racing for years and never heard of AN fittings.”

Me: “It stands for Army Navy.” I had my fingers crossed that he wasn’t a pacifist. “They are sized by the sixteenth of an inch, so a -8 fitting is half inch, -6 is three-eighths inch.”

I don’t know why I was talking at this point, as the look on his face clearly indicated that AN is alien technology that should be subverted at all costs. One hears about these auto parts stores interactions from time to time. I once bought a battery from a kid who had never heard of Triumph. I can understand that, since Triumph hasn’t produced a car in his lifetime. If you tell me you have racing experience and you are in your 60s, I would expect you know what AN fittings are, especially if you work in an auto parts store. Maybe his racing experience is limited to soap box derby, where there is no place for fuel fittings. I went home and ordered what I needed on Amazon.

With the BMW oil situation solved, I installed a new turn signal lens that I had ordered. The ’02 appears to have run into something at that corner, and the lens and the reflector below it were both broken. I can’t imagine how a car with bumpers wider than the state of Texas can damage those lenses, but so be it. A new reflector was also installed where none was previously.

DSC_0003
Old lens, new lens.

Next up for the BMW is to address the tire situation. The tires on it now are mismatched and old. I will either move up from 13″ to 15″ wheels and great tires or just get a set of 13″ tires that aren’t on borrowed time but are otherwise unremarkable.

For the Corvette, I will solve the drip coming from the line going into the fuel pump. I believe some fuel appropriate sealant on the NPT threads going into the pump will solve the problem.

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