Date registered: Oct 2018
Vehicle: 1981 280E "Rusty"
Location: Orbiting over Bellingham, WA.
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Monday's Update (chronologically), it's been a while:
Engine diagnostics, headliner and sunroof work, moral and psychological dilemmas, and more cleaning of interior areas are following.
It's been two weeks, and I have only had the time to really sit down with Rusty during the last 3 days. The majority of this update's progress was achieved yesterday. I finished removing all interior trim pieces (I didn't break any!), and I cleaned out all my "junk" scattered throughout the car. I have almost been able to completely remove the headliner, in preparation to fix the rotten surround tray, but I am still stumped by how it is attached at the back of the sunroof opening (the headliner is pretty nasty and moldy, and it has more than a few tears in it - should I just cut it out?). Next up was the floor. The rear seat area was fairly dirty, so I spent a few hours cleaning up that whole vicinity (Simple Green, paint brush, and many, many paper towels).
While cleaning around the sunroof, and attempting to remove the brittle baked-on packing tape I had put around the sunroof out of desperation during the wet winter, I noticed that the roof paint had developed very small rust spots across the entire surface. The curiosity was that they didn't seem to penetrate the paint. My only explanation is that I may have, during my grinding, inadvertently thrown metal particles onto the roof, where they sat and rusted. Is there any way I can remove these, as well as the packing tape?
I've also been cleaning up some interior pieces, now that I have the time (little kid on summer vacation). I scrubbed clean the 3 floor carpets the car came with (I thought I would have to throw them away, they were so nasty - a plastic scrub brush and Dawn are THE way to go, before and after is incredible), and I "treated" some of the rubber parts in moderate shape with that ArmourIt stuff. Now, the dashboard doesn't look too bad, as well as that rubber boot that covers the turn signal handle mechanism. I also experimented with cheap Harbor Freight brand rubberized undercoating on the center lower valance panel rock shield thing (mine is pretty deformed to hell, so it's more of a finishing test), and the results were promising.
I decided to finally get to the bottom of my stupid engine problem, and I think I have it identified (here goes). When I try starting the car, it runs fine until it builds fuel pressure. I remove the fuel pump relay, try starting it, and it runs fine until it loses fuel pressure. The engine stalls WITH the relay because it is being forced to run too rich. The engine stalls WITHOUT the relay because it is being forced to run too lean. When I feather the accelerator enough to get it running, it sputters and shakes in protest because it is getting too much fuel. A few months ago, I removed the airflow metering valve to do a super-clean. During this time, I must have screwed something up during the reinstall, allowing too much fuel to the injectors. OR, I have a wiring issue. With the bustle of the removal of the dashboard, I may have pulled something off that is critical to the regulation of fuel pressure. During my realization of this, I had the hood propped open. When I had completed my final report in my mind, and my arms were out of the way, the hood quickly slammed itself shut. I would like to think of that as Rusty saying, in a very firm fashion, "Du hast den Fehler gefunden. Sie sind fertig."
We may or may not have the opportunity to get ourselves a welder during the next few days. I will throw an update on here if we are able to.
That's all for now, feel free to tell me how expensive new headliners are.