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Old 07-31-2016, 08:45 PM   #1
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Default My '79 Log Thread

Got my SA running correctly and picture-worthy so I figured it's time to start a thread. Some may recall the for sale thread but I purchased this 1979 from a gentleman in Nebraska and had it shipped to me in Virginia. According to the VIN this is S/N 2944 and it was built in March 1978. It currently has ~26,400 miles on it.







Overall, I'd rank the car an 8/10. There are a couple scratches and dings and there's some discoloration on the hood where it appears something was spilled on it. There's minimal rust underneath. The interior is immaculate aside from some loose carpet in the hatch area. Hopefully with a little work I'll get this back up to a 9/10. The plan is to keep this completely stock and hold onto it for a long time.

I'll update this thread as I work on the car.






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Old 07-31-2016, 08:50 PM   #2
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What I've done so far (7/31/16):
-Fixed the driver's side window (popped out of its channel)
-Titled and registered in VA
-Charged the battery
-Replaced the alternator
-Replaced the steering column top bushing
-Washed the exterior
-Changed the engine oil and oil filter
-Flushed the brake fluid

The last record I have of the brake fluid being changed was from 1988. If that's true it's no surprise the fluid looked like this:



Should be more of a pale, American lager color and not a brown ale, no?

A new fuel filter, Redline MT-90, Redline 75W90, OEM thermostat, and spark plugs have been ordered and I've got 3 gal of 50/50 coolant sitting in the garage. I'm basically completely the car's 25,000 mile maintenance at this point.
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:12 AM   #3
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Nice SA! About time some folks on this site show a little 1st gen love! Those waffles still
look new.

I would replace the master/slave soon. Probably a lot of corrosion in there. Do the hose
too at that time. How does the brake fluid look? You should probably start collecting all
the rubber hoses to replace the stock ones. At this age they are all probably deteriorated.
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Old 08-01-2016, 10:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t_g_farrell View Post
Nice SA! About time some folks on this site show a little 1st gen love! Those waffles still
look new.
They're in pretty good shape, but not perfect. There's some oxidation where wheel weights were installed in the past and one of the center caps has paint peeling. Still, they're not bad for their age and hopefully they'll look better when I get a chance to do more than just a quick wash.

Quote:
Originally Posted by t_g_farrell View Post
I would replace the master/slave soon. Probably a lot of corrosion in there. Do the hose
too at that time. How does the brake fluid look? You should probably start collecting all
the rubber hoses to replace the stock ones. At this age they are all probably deteriorated.
The brake master cylinder was replaced in 1988, which is why I think that was the last time the fluid was changed. I ended up flushing about 32 oz of new fluid through the brakes and clutch. In the end clean, clear-yellow fluid was flowing from all the bleeders. The brake and clutch feel is MUCH better. Right now I just want to get the 25,000 mile maintenance done but I will definitely be keeping an eye on the brakes. I'll probably rebuild the brake and clutch master cylinders, clutch slave cylinder, front calipers, and rear drums and replace all the soft lines, rotors, pads, shoes, and associated hardware at some point in the near future just to be safe.
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Old 08-01-2016, 02:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infernosg View Post
The brake master cylinder was replaced in 1988, which is why I think that was the last time the fluid was changed. I ended up flushing about 32 oz of new fluid through the brakes and clutch. In the end clean, clear-yellow fluid was flowing from all the bleeders. The brake and clutch feel is MUCH better. Right now I just want to get the 25,000 mile maintenance done but I will definitely be keeping an eye on the brakes. I'll probably rebuild the brake and clutch master cylinders, clutch slave cylinder, front calipers, and rear drums and replace all the soft lines, rotors, pads, shoes, and associated hardware at some point in the near future just to be safe.
Hopefully it will stay that clear yellow color for a long time. Two things turn new brake fluid into that crappy dark brown color - (a) Absorbing moisture in the air over lots of time, and (b) Residue from all the deteriorated rubber seals in the MC & wheel cylinders. So in about month, if you notice the fluid color is becoming noticeably darker, you know that you got (b) going on, and you might want to speed up your plan to overhaul the MC & brake hydraulic parts before something breaks.
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:26 PM   #6
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Rebuilding seems like a good idea on the MC/WC/Calipers until you have to redo em 6 months
later. Trust me I know. Right now I have a leaking right front caliper because a) I couldn't
get a rebuild or new one on the right side and b) I went ahead amd rebuilt it. It works ok
until it decides to spew fluid at some point under hard braking which then elicits load
squeeling until it burns off the leaked fluid. I definitely wont track it like that and will have
to either rebuild or replace with a good unit. I must have pinched the piston seal somewhere
during reassembly.
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Old 08-01-2016, 11:45 PM   #7
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Beautiful car man!!
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Old 08-02-2016, 01:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete_89T2 View Post
Hopefully it will stay that clear yellow color for a long time. Two things turn new brake fluid into that crappy dark brown color - (a) Absorbing moisture in the air over lots of time, and (b) Residue from all the deteriorated rubber seals in the MC & wheel cylinders. So in about month, if you notice the fluid color is becoming noticeably darker, you know that you got (b) going on, and you might want to speed up your plan to overhaul the MC & brake hydraulic parts before something breaks.
No pun intended? Yeah, I'll keep an eye on it. A full overhaul is planned but I need to get the general maintenance stuff done first. My funds for "fun stuff" are running a little low with the purchase of the car and I need to give the FC some love so I can't go crazy replacing things right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by t_g_farrell View Post
Rebuilding seems like a good idea on the MC/WC/Calipers until you have to redo em 6 months
later. Trust me I know. Right now I have a leaking right front caliper because a) I couldn't
get a rebuild or new one on the right side and b) I went ahead amd rebuilt it. It works ok
until it decides to spew fluid at some point under hard braking which then elicits load
squeeling until it burns off the leaked fluid. I definitely wont track it like that and will have
to either rebuild or replace with a good unit. I must have pinched the piston seal somewhere
during reassembly.
I'll admit I've never tried a rebuild. Mostly because I'm impatient and reman'd units are fairly cheap. I think a lot of the rebuild failures are due to components being beyond the hope for repair like pitted/scored pistons and bores.
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Old 08-12-2016, 09:36 AM   #9
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Changed the oil in the differential and transmission as well as replaced the fuel filter.

Changed the spark plugs and decided to check the timing and condition of the distributor. I adjusted the points gap but the rotor and cap have seen better days so I decided to order new parts.

Replaced the rear window struts so it'll stay up and not come crashing down on my head at random times.

Still need to flush and fill the coolant at some point and I'll be replacing the thermostat at the same time.

This'll be it for the general maintenance for a bit. I'll enjoy the car for a few more months this year and get it set up for the Winter. Next year I'll probably replace all the suspension and steering bushings and maybe attempt to rebuild the carburetor.
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Old 08-22-2016, 01:19 PM   #10
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Overhauled the distributor: new points, rotor, cap, and 3 of the 4 condensers (I mis-read the Parts List), and replaced the spark plug wires. Got the timing set, which was a bit of a chore. The leading timing was easy but I can't seem to get a good signal for the trailing timing. I set it as best I could then went about adjusting the idle fuel mixture and idle speed per some guidelines I found online. The car seems to be running marginally better. Every now and then the tachometer "bounces" a couple hundred RPM at idle/low engine load. I opened the points gap up closer to .020 in. and that seems to have helped but it still happens. Crappy aftermarket points? Who knows.

Snapped a couple pictures of the dirty interior:





Once I finish the maintenance I'll go back and detail the car. Trying to get it ready for the Fall car show season.
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Old 08-23-2016, 07:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infernosg View Post
Overhauled the distributor: new points, rotor, cap, and 3 of the 4 condensers (I mis-read the Parts List), and replaced the spark plug wires. Got the timing set, which was a bit of a chore. The leading timing was easy but I can't seem to get a good signal for the trailing timing. I set it as best I could then went about adjusting the idle fuel mixture and idle speed per some guidelines I found online. The car seems to be running marginally better. Every now and then the tachometer "bounces" a couple hundred RPM at idle/low engine load. I opened the points gap up closer to .020 in. and that seems to have helped but it still happens. Crappy aftermarket points? Who knows.

Once I finish the maintenance I'll go back and detail the car. Trying to get it ready for the Fall car show season.
Using an inductive clamp-on timing light? I had a similar problem in the '80's when checking/setting trailing timing on my '85 GSL-SE. Figured out that the timing light was sporadically triggering off the leading signal. Given the proximity of all the wires, the radiated EMI off the leading wires can easily trigger a too sensitive timing light, even if the inductive pick up is clamped on to the trailing wire.

If this is what is going on, you can try moving the pickup/wires around to try to increase the distance between the pick-up and any leading wires. This helped me, but I didn't have consistent luck with it on my GSL-SE, so being an EE, I modified my cheapo timing light to adjust the pickup's sensitivity.

What I did was put a 5K ohm variable resistor (linear taper) in series with the pick up lead. To use it on the trailing wire, start with the variable resistor set at 0 resistance (max sensitivity), and dial it back until the timing light stops flashing completely. Then SLOWLY dial it back up (add resistance) until the light just begins to flash again. If you didn't overshoot, you should now be seeing consistent flashes only on the trailing signal.
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete_89T2 View Post
Using an inductive clamp-on timing light? I had a similar problem in the '80's when checking/setting trailing timing on my '85 GSL-SE. Figured out that the timing light was sporadically triggering off the leading signal. Given the proximity of all the wires, the radiated EMI off the leading wires can easily trigger a too sensitive timing light, even if the inductive pick up is clamped on to the trailing wire.

If this is what is going on, you can try moving the pickup/wires around to try to increase the distance between the pick-up and any leading wires. This helped me, but I didn't have consistent luck with it on my GSL-SE, so being an EE, I modified my cheapo timing light to adjust the pickup's sensitivity.

What I did was put a 5K ohm variable resistor (linear taper) in series with the pick up lead. To use it on the trailing wire, start with the variable resistor set at 0 resistance (max sensitivity), and dial it back until the timing light stops flashing completely. Then SLOWLY dial it back up (add resistance) until the light just begins to flash again. If you didn't overshoot, you should now be seeing consistent flashes only on the trailing signal.
Yeah, I'm using a cheap Actron inductive timing light. I figured I was likely picking up a signal off the leading spark plug. I'm also near the end of the adjust-ability to advance the trailing timing. When I get a chance to work on the car again I'll move the pick-up around some more and try again. Regardless, the car seems to be running well-enough. Better than it was when I first got it.
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Old 12-01-2016, 10:31 AM   #13
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So just to bump this after a while. I drive the car 10 miles or so a week. I think I've put like 150 miles on it since I got it. Since the last update I've completed all the basic tune-up maintenance. Back in late August I swapped in a new-ish OEM midpipe (the one between the thermal reactor and heat exchanger) since the old one had rusted through in a couple places.

The tachometer bouncing at idle is getting slowly worse. I've since swapped the original OEM distributor parts except the points back in with no noticeable impact. I'll try them next. I noticed the bouncing will stop with even the slightest throttle input. For example, the throttle up response from turning on the A/C will cause the bouncing to stop. I've read claims ranging from bad connections/grounds, to bad alternators and igniters being the cause. It doesn't sound like the car is missing at idle so I'm thinking it's more of a signal issue.

Another question: does everyone's SA smell bad? Like excess exhaust emissions bad? I've adjusted the idle mixture and speed per recommendations I found online and while the idle itself has improved the car still smells like it's running with zero emissions equipment.

I also noticed the throw out bearing is kind of noisy. It's not squealing but I have a decent, low-pitched whirling noise when the clutch is engaged (pedal out). 5th gear also has a pretty good whine to it that's load/speed dependent. I'll probably do a clutch job next year and when the transmission's out I may pull the tail housing to look at the 5th/reverse assembly.
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Old 12-01-2016, 04:01 PM   #14
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You don't like that smell? My wife hates it but shes a girl. I suspect the TR is
not doing anything for emissions anymore because I bet a number of issues with
the carb plumbing may be causing it. Also the SAs do weird things with the
trailing firing (or not firing depending on gear you are in and a couple of other
factors). This is all controlled by that little box the ignitors live in on the fender
well (its a 79 so maybe no ignitors). Anyway, the idle being lumpy like that
may be a timing issue or a mixture issue when no advance is being applied.
At idle the vacuum should be zero and no advance happens. As soon as you
give it gas it will advance pretty quickly.

Go through the ignition section of the FSM and make sure its all set to spec if
you haven't already.
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Old 12-02-2016, 01:59 AM   #15
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Posting simply to get the updates of this car. Beautiful and it seems to be in good hands.
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