Late at night before going to the rollers to get your car set up, don’t whip the rocker cover off, spend a few minutes getting the valve clearances pretty much bang on, think how pleased you are with yourself that you remembered to do it, put a brand new gasket on, then get distracted and overtighten the bolts and warp the soft ally rocker cover… You’ll not be surprised to learn that oil pisses out and you spend ages trying to fix it in the morning in a rush to get away Amazingly, Kris “knew a bloke” (to whom I now owe a pint or two) and sourced a genuine early Pinto rocker cover gasket at 8am on a Saturday 

When Kris turned up with one of his bloody big trailers from work, we somehow managed to squeeze it down the drive and I just threw the car on. Apparently I should have been pointing the other way amid mumbled references to nose weights, but hey – late beggars can’t be choosers!

A short drive later we got to a fella named Stef in Manchester who’s been highly recommended. I messed about a bit fixing the oil leak, then they set to work trying to work out why it wasn’t running right.

Never mind the fact that we know the jets are wrong, it just didn’t want to idle without choke, would pop & bang and the mixture screws were all over the place between the two carbs. Once it was warmed up though, and you gave it some welly on the throttle, it’d suddenly come alive and start making proper noises, complete with impressive flames out the back on the overrun. 

Ruling out each of the basics in turn, Stef checked plugs, the dizzy, the timing, the fuel pressure. All were good, but to use a technical term, it was apparently “lean as fuck on the idle”  Then Stef started digging into things, rummaging around with his little mirror on a stick, looked up and said “Aaaahhhhh…..”

When you’re rebuilding a pair of Dellortos and you get to the only bit you didn’t disassemble, because the gasket was gluing it firmly together, pay really close attention to the instructions when reassembling. It turns out I’d put the spring in the accelerator pump mechanism on the wrong side of the diaphragm, meaning that on idle there was pretty much no squirt of fuel as the circuit was being kept shut. The reason it came to life when you hit the throttle was that the venturi effect then takes over and effectively sucks the fuel through at a rate that’s now limited by the operation of the diaphragm, overcoming the resistance of the spring. 

Well, that was a bit of a bloody sickener to hear  – but it was a hell of a lot better than being told I’d really broken something.

This curtailed any roller activity for the day though, as the carbs then needed to come off to get at the pump assembly. I’ve left the car with Stef rather than try and sort it myself. It’s a bugger, but things go that way sometimes. Should be able to pick up the car midweek, all taken care of and ready for the road…