Jim’s Blog: When it Rains it Pours

Now that I’ve completed the Holley Terminator Stealth fuel injection install on my car, the little issues I’ve been living with for years finally required solutions. After all, with the car now running better than ever, those small issues just needed to go away. Turn-key or bust, right?

First up was a broken console lens and a replacement neutral safety switch. The console lens just up and broke on me one day. The neutral safety switch had been giving me issues here and there, sometimes not acting the reverse lights, and sometimes not allowing the car to start without jiggling the shifter. I’d wired around it, but now that the car fires up and runs instantly with that new injection system (rather than being cold blooded with the old carb), it seemed like a bad idea to keep the system wired that way. So I ordered one of each from Lutty’s Chevy Warehouse and installed them.

Second was the starting issue the car has had since I bought it back in the ’90s. So I tore into the system and found a couple of things I needed to fix. First was a bad crimp connection on the wire between the horn relay and the alternator, which was hidden inside a loom that looked stock. It was a good reminder that these old cars have lived long lives and didn’t always have the most skilled caretakers. Fixing that boosted the car’s charging voltage at idle, but it didn’t solve the problem. So I went after the harness with my multimeter, looking for any high resistance readings in the circuit that could cause a click instead of a crank.

The rest of the circuit checked out OK, so I ended up replacing the ignition switch (from NAPA, still in stock!) and installed a high-torque mini starter I sourced from Summit Racing.

After all that, the click is finally gone — the car now cranks over every time. It seemed like everything wrong with the car, at least mechanically, was fixed there for about a minute. It was a great feeling.

Then I slid under the car to double-check all my connections, looked up, and found coolant seeping from one of the cylinder heads, right at the head gasket.

Did I retorque those heads back when I built the motor? I don’t remember. But it looks like I’ll get to tear into them again soon. But hey, this is all part of the fun, right?