On Saturday July 28 at about 4:45 pm – success with the first engine start!!
Video of First Start
A big milestone was passed when we turned the engine over for the first time. It was awesome. Many final things were done to get to this point. I had to get the side exhausts mounted. I did the passenger side first, malady since access was easy without the cockpit sheet metal. There is a side support bracket that mounts on the chassis under the floor, more about so I could work on this from above.
I attached the bracket to the exhaust, then attached the exhaust and gasket to the J pipe. I had Julie holding the pipe in place, then marked and drilled where I needed to mount the side support. Once this was loosely attached I positioned the pipe where I wanted then secure the J pipe firmly to the header then tightened the side support.
The driver side was a bit more difficult, as the drilling had to be done from underneath teh vehicle since I had already fastened the cockpit sheet metal here.
I then put ~2.5 gallons of fuel into the fuel tank. I chose this amount to equal “E” on the fuel gauge. I connected the calibrations line to the gauge and set the “E” level. I will set the full level later after I fill the tank. We then ran the fuel pump and checked all the lines and fittings for leaks. Two leaks were found, at the input and output the the FFR fuel filter. I tightened these fittings multiple times and ultimately got the leaks stopped.
Next I assembled the steering wheel. and installed it.
I then installed the shifter. To make it work with the fasteners that came with the transmission I first had to open up the mounting holes in the shifter. Easy to do and a good solid fit and attachment.
Next we installed the roll bars. I had decided to put one on both the driver and passenger side for safety. This process took a very long time. Part of the time was filling and griding to open up the mated ends on some of the bars.
Next we worked on the front end alignment. First the car was lowered to the ground. We checked ride height and adjusted the shocks to get front, rear and side to side correct. Then we worked on the front wheel alignment. We had to work on the vertical position and the front to back position. Using the upper control arms we fixed the vertical. For the front to back alignment, we used the rear wheels as the reference. Then, using a laser level and a piece of wood against the rear tire we got a straight line reference for the front tires. We adjusted this with the tie rods and steering rack threaded rods and got the tires pretty well aligned. Once the car is completed I will have the whole car aligned by a professional.
We installed the air cleaner and then filled the radiator with anti-freeze/coolant, and were then ready for the first start.
Finally, at about 4:45 pm, I turned the key to start the engine. It coughed once and then died. On the second try, with a little press on the accelerator, it started!!!! It ran a bit rough and smoked quite a bit, including some exhaust leaks at both ends of the J pipes. But, overall it worked, so a very successful day! We couldn’t drive it because it was raining outside – darn.
The next day I tightened the pipe connections. Next, on hopes of getting a short drive in, we installed the seat harnesses. This required a bit of drilling, installing bolts in the seat harness brackets and adjusting the shoulder harness strap lengths.
After this we started the engine again and revved it a bit. There are still some exhaust leaks I will address later. Then we drove forward a bit and tested the brakes. I then reversed and stopped again. So far so good, so we started around the block. After making a turn just a few hundred yards away one of the radiator hoses blew off, so I pulled over and shut down. We replace and re-tightened the hose connections and re-filled the fluid. I then re-started and completed a couple runs around the block with no further hose issues.
Here is a video of the first drive.
Some observations include the tach and speedometer seemed to be reading incorrectly – the tach too high and the speedometer too low. The temperature gauge rose as the engine heated up, and the cooling fan kicked on as it should have. The engine continued to run a bit rough and at times stalled out while coasting up to a stop. So, there is still some follow up to do with the engine builder and the gauges and checking some fitting tightness. But overall this was a great success – we now have a go-kart!!!
More pictures can be seen in the Gallery.