Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Speed bump

In our continued efforts to get Miss Bert back on the open road, we decided to work on rebuilding the carburetor last night. I'd already ordered the carb kit, which consisted of needles and pins and gaskets, and Mike was sure he had the carb cleaner from his MC carb-extravaganza leftover (hard to believe he rebuilt his carbs just over a year ago...).

As we set about getting started, we realized we were out of cleaner *and* needed more instruction that what the Bentley manual provided. So, we walked to PepBoys (what else do you do when you don't have a running car or motorcycle?) and then came home and printed out the instructions here, and then got down to business. Things went as according to plan as possible (there were some moments of noodle-scratching) until we came to step 5 (Remove the three screws that hold the automatic choke. Remove the ... Retainer. Spacers. Choke. Plastic cap.). In fact, things in step 5, you might say, had an 85% success rate. Years of grime and possible neglect (I've developed a huge amount of doubt as to how much previous owners have truly cared about this car, but that's an in-person rant) had that plastic cap in place good. With no place to get a good grip, Mike decided to use a flat-head screwdriver to pry it out. He nicked something off of the top of the plastic cap and stopped. I had the brilliant idea that I could perhaps get the screwdriver in the slot and then twist it so that the fatter part of the head would allow me to apply pressure from below. That didn't work, so I tried prying too. And snapped that plastic cap in two.

carb choke plastic cap broken

For reference, this is what it's supposed to look like:

carb choke plastic cap

We soldiered on, broken piece and all, assuming a replacement cap would be easy enough to come by. So, the carburetor was completely disassembled and cleaned up (and, an aside, the rust in the carburetor? I'm pretty sure I'm off pudding for a while... It was sludgy and disgusting and brownish-red.) and I cleaned up my fuel/grease/grime covered hands and consulted the Internet for a new part. And I learned that there is no replacement part.

Site after site, page after page, Google after Google revealed no matches. Mike and I wondered aloud to each other why something as simple a plastic cap, something that could quite possibly snap in a situation similar to the one we'd just earlier participated in, why it was so unique, so irreplaceable, so not available to purchase for the low, low cost of $4.35.

All's not lost, though. A few tips from the forums (thanks Kevin!) and I should be able to get a used cap soon enough. This just means that instead of driving around top-down this long weekend, the adventures have been pushed back at least another weekend. That's okay, though. Because I can keep dreaming.

ETA: BugCity is hooking me up with a used cap--should be here by week's end! We might get her on the road by Sunday!!! The queue for rides start *here*.

1 comment:

purlewe said...

oh crap. but hey.. carbs are clean!! that's good news.