Dear WeatherCat fans of one assertive Billy-goat wagon,
I received a not so subtle hint that perhaps I should update the story. A few weeks back I brought my trusty wagon home from a shopping errand only to notice a ticking sound coming from the engine. Given the location, it sure sounded to be something amiss with the valve train. Concerned, I arranged to bring her over to Orinda Motors so that their classic car ace Greg could here the sound and assess how serious it was. By the time I drove to Orinda Motors - the sound was gone!
You can't fix something that isn't visibly broken so I drove home disgruntled. With all the rain, it has been hard to get her out, but I managed to get her out last Friday to take a few photos of her next to Spring flowering trees. Here is one of the photos:
Alas the ticking sound was definitely back so on Monday I dropped her off at Orinda Motors for them to have a look. This time the ticking sound did continue, but since this is a custom built engine, they asked me to get in touch with TA-Performance to get some advice. It took a day and a half to get Mike Tomaszewski on the phone, but finally I did and he suspected the problem was that the car had sat too long because of all the bad weather. He suspected that the long time idle had allowed all the oil to get out of the lifters and allowed air to become introduced. Air in the lifters is a known cause of valve train noise. He recommended that I simply get her on the freeway and really get the engine good and hot, so that the oil would work its way into every corner of the lifters. He hoped that would make the problem go away.
So yesterday afternoon I took Mike's advice and picked up Biquette from Orinda Motors and gave her a brisk but short freeway run. Biquette has had a problem with the engine stalling after getting too hot so I didn't want to take my chances. Still, on my way home I took a few more pictures of Biquette with flowering trees.
Here is one of that all important tailgate:
Photos taken, I went home and stopped on the driveway with the engine idling. I wasn't sure, but I thought I could still here the ticking sound. So I took out my iPhone to take a quick video. This is the video I took:https://youtu.be/EQZx-LznrT4
Instead of catching the ticking sound, I captured the engine stalling from this strange component overheating problem. It is mostly likely something to do with either the electronic fuel injection system of the ignition system that is controlled by the EFI's ECU (Engine Control Unit.)
Okay it was cool to capture the engine stalling, but there was a significant problem. Biquette wasn't able to start. My Dad and I could push her into the garage, but she is heavier with the bigger engine and all by myself - this is more than I can cope with. I tried at 1/2 hour, the engine did start but only ran a few seconds before stalling once more. Only after using a fan to further cool the engine bay and waiting another 45 minutes was I able to get her to run long enough to put her back into the garage.
I sent the video to Orinda Motors and plans are hatching to troubleshoot this problem sometime next week. In the meantime I spent most of the afternoon continuing to remove branches from the broken Acacia tree branch
. In the meantime I'm still
not sure if the ticking sound was solved or not.
Goes to show you that inside every problem is another problem struggling to get out. Worse still, you can never be sure which problem is the bigger one!! Oh well,
. . . . . Edouard