So Close, Yet So Far

With just a few days to go, we try firing up our 2002 after its whirlwind 1-year restoration.
Several fuel leaks helped pinpoint a clogged return line.
We fill the rebuilt engine with Brad Penn's 10w-40.
We came so close to getting the job done in one short year.

We’ve now heard the rebuilt engine run, and that’s an uplifting point in any car’s restoration.

Last year, we had our newly-acquired 2002tii on display at our tent at the 2011 Rolex24 here in Daytona Beach. It drew a crowd, even with all of its dents, rust and scurvy curves. People apparently like to see where our projects start and how far they go.

So we set a goal when this project started that we wanted the finished car on display at the 2012 event. We worked nights and weekends throughout the year and came very close to making that goal. In the end, a plugged fuel return line and a few missing parts conspired to make us miss our artificial deadline.

With the engine back in, we scrambled to hook up wiring, fill the engine with oil from Brad Penn and get the fuel lines hooked back up. Unfortunately, when we powered the car up, we noticed a pretty strong fuel odor coming from the cold start injector and the fittings for the return line. Where we had no leaks before the restoration, we were now getting fuel dripping everywhere. We tested the return line and found that it was plugged, causing excessive fuel pressure.

The fuel issue was compounded with the fact that we were also missing an adapter from Ireland Engineering to connect their step header to their stainless steel exhaust—more on that later. We also had a completely dry brake system, since we had replaced all of the lines with new stainless from Classic Tube.

In the end, we ran out of time. We wound up just a few parts and a few hours short of our goal. Rather than rush at this point, we’re going back through the fuel injection lines and braking system to make sure everything is done properly.

The kicker is, we’ve now heard the rebuilt engine run, and that’s an uplifting point in any car’s restoration.

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