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Project Marina, IT’S ALIVE

What more is there to say? It’s not even the weekend yet and already the achievement is unlocked.

I popped down to the garage this morning not so much to work on the car, but to test the theory that adding a ground to the starter might help. It didn’t, but having the battery in the car again also allowed me to check clearance for the battery and order the Marina its own one. NS60SMF, the same as the TVR but with the terminals swapped.

After cranking a few times the poor jump pack just couldn’t keep up, so I resorted to hooking the Corolla up with jump leads and giving it a boost.

This did help it crank a bit faster, but it didn’t matter, it still wouldn’t kick into life.

I had the genius idea of checking the points in the distributor using a method I saw on Youtube at one point. Turn the ignition to ON, and then use a screwdriver to open and close the points. If they spark, it’s good. If they don’t, no good. Mine didn’t spark.

A small file was used to clean both sides of the points and sure enough, now I had a big healthy spark between the points. That might do it.

The very first time I cranked it after cleaning the points, this happened.

It coughed. It didn’t start, but it coughed. You can tell because the start disengaged (as it does when these old engines cough or start). It was close.

Some more Start Ya Bastard down its throat, and magic happened. It started.

Off the road for 25 years, last started about 10 years ago. After a few more coughs and splutters, it finally started and ran. Not very well, but it idled. The throttle is zip-tied half open and the choke was wide open. I think it was running off fresh fuel as there is fuel in the float bowl now, so the fuel pump is working (despite the fuel filter looking empty). I drained the tank yesterday of its 8L or so of super old varnish smelling dinosaur juice and topped up with some fresh new 98 octane.

It blew a whole bunch of junk out of the exhaust when it started. Big chunks of rust.

I’m happy with that. It needs new leads, and probably a whole carb rebuild, but I know it runs and the oil pressure light even went out. It’s a win.

After picking up the new battery, I couldn’t help myself. It still cranks the engine fairly slowly, but after starting it a couple of times with Start Ya Bastard, it started to run on its own fuel. Not only that, but after a cough and splutter, it now runs as smooth as a modern engine. It’s amazing.

It even starts easily and runs with no choke. The oil pressure and charge lights are off, indicating good oil pressure and the alternator is even charging.

I’m well chuffed. So much more work to be done, but knowing the engine seems to be in good shape is a huge boost to morale.

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