Pony Launch Scrubbed!

I’ve said this before, but whenever I try to predict or schedule anything that involves the Pony, it always backfires.  So I admit it, I should have known better than do something as stupid as schedule a date for engine start-up.  I’m afraid folks, that when that happens, it’s just going to happen.  It’s almost as if I have to sneak-up on the Pony from behind, you know, so he doesn’t see what I’m up to, and then spring it on him.  Anyway, since I had foolishly made such a bold prediction without Pony approval (which I won’t ever get), I wanted you to know that do to unforseen orneriness on the part of the Pony, there will be NO ENGINE START ON DECEMBER 10.

Now here’s the back story.  Tuesday I went out Gene’s with all of the fluids that we’d need to get the engine started.  Well, actually Gene had some gas.  One of the things that I was most worried about was whether the gas tank would leak.  So, it was my idea to first put gas in the tank and see if she held.  We only put about a quart of gas in the 7 gallon tank.  Grinning like an idiot I asked Gene to take a photo while I happily poured gas.  That done, with trepidation I looked under the tank where the sediment bowl attaches, to see what would happen.  That actually went pretty well.  The tank didn’t leak, and although there is some leakage from the sediment bowl shut-off valve, we did get that to a point where it wasn’t dripping.  So, I said, great, lets dump the coolant into the radiator.  So again, Gene with the camera, me smiling and more pouring.

It was as we were looking the engine over for coolant leaks that we first noticed gas leaking from the carburetor, first a little and then quite a bit.  As we went into emergency mode on the gas leak, we noticed the first coolant leaks, first a little seepage and then drops hitting the floor all over the place.  I concentrated first on the gas leakage, first tightening and replacing some screws on the carburetor, but eventually decided to remove it altogether.  As the garage filled with gas fumes I started to worry that we’d blow the place-up, so Gene got a big box fan, opened the garage door and vented the place.  In addition to the carburetor, I eventually removed the fuel line, air pipe (filled with gas), sediment bowl and all the gas from the tank.

What a mess.  With the air beginning to clear, we turned our focus to the coolant which continued to leak into miscellaneous containers we’d placed under the Pony.  Where was it coming from; hell, where wasn’t it coming from?  It was seeping out around the head gasket and head bolts and there was even a small amount around the spark plugs.  The Pony’s engine has a “water jacket,” that routes coolant around inside the block and head.  Somehow coolant was leaking from the water jacket into and out of places it wasn’t supposed to be.

I finally pulled one of the leaking head bolts, and HOLY MACKEREL, coolant came spouting out of there like you wouldn’t believe.  What a horrible, horrible day.  I was thinking cracked engine block, some real Pony Killer problem.  We mopped up a bit, and as it was getting late, I headed home. 

One thing this little episode taught me is that I need to be a bit more like Gene.  From his adventures with his Jaguar work, he is used to set-backs of all kinds, and particularly leaks of anything and everything.  He just shrugs his shoulders and moves on, knowing there’s some “fix” out there that will set things right.  I, on the other hand, went home that night in a gigantic funk, depressed, and ruing the day that damn Pony came into my life.  I scrubbed my hands raw, but still stank of gas, had a big martini, sent the Idiotic Brother an email saying there’d been a Pony Catastrophe, but couldn’t even get myself to call him.

Then over the next 24 hours, between Gene, a mechanic friend of his, and the Idiotic Brother, news began to filter-in that perhaps THIS PONY COULD BE SAVED.  No promises though, as I said, not wise to get out in front of the Pony.  I won’t go into details, but there are explanations for some of the things that we experienced and some suggested fixes too.  Some things will likely always just be part of the Pony’s “mystique.”  I’m learning to shrug my shoulders, be more patient and soldier on, but always with a martini handy just in case.  And, hey, on the plus side, at least we didn’t blow-up the garage.

Sorry there are no photos in this post.  The wart on top of that frog skin of a day was that I forgot to put the memory card in the camera.  Actually I’m kind of glad you don’t have shots of me and that mess.  Let’s forget all that and move on.

Stay tuned, and thanks for  reading.

ps:  Much thanks to avid reader and now official “Friend of the Pony,” George.  Thanks to George’s digging an old tractor battery out of his garage, I was able to get my $12 core charge back on the new battery.  So for the second time in history, the Cost-O-Meter went backwards just a bit.  That was just before it went upward again due to the muffler I ordered.

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