Starting the Alpine, and Shopping for Trucks!

Starting the Sunbeam, and Shopping for Trucks!

I spent some of today getting my Sunbeam Alpine ready for the trip to my new house. I really haven’t had much of a chance to drive her last year, so I was prepared for problems. About a year ago, the ignition module burned out, so I had to replace it. Years ago, I installed a “Crane Cams” transistorized ignition to eliminate the points in the ignition system. The system worked great, and gave the engine a much more even idle, but one day it just quit working! The Pertronix system was not available when I installed my ignition system, but I now had a chance to try out this popular set up.

The Pertronix system is supposed to drop right into the distributor without any major adjustments, but since I had already removed my points years ago, I had no real way of knowing if the timing was right with this set up. I left off last year with a car that wouldn’t start with the Pertronix system, probably due to incorrect initial timing. Having about a year to mull things over, I devised a simple plan to figure out the timing. I got François’ timing light, cranked the starter, and looked for where #1 cylinder was firing. I turned the distributor until the correct BTDC mark was achieved, and then tried to start the car with the correct timing. After several coughs and sputters, I got my little Sunbeam to catch.

The next order of business was to figure out why there was no clutch pedal. As usual, the clutch was stuck to the flywheel, but that seems to happen to this car every time she sits for long periods of time. The clutch pedal, however, was a different story. The Alpine has a hydraulic clutch mechanism, so I checked the clutch reservoir. It was empty, which was not a good sign. I filled it with some brake fluid, and tried to bleed the system only to find gurgling noises from above the clutch pedal. Reaching up, I found the brake fluid oozing out of the back of the master cylinder. I ended my day with the knowledge that I would have to rebuild the clutch master cylinder if I was to drive my Sunbeam anywhere!

With a new house and a ton of home improvement projects to do, I got the green light from my wife to buy a pickup truck! I sometimes feel that I’ve bamboozled my wife into adding another automobile to our already large car collection, but I can’t think of a more practical vehicle. The Ferrari will never haul a 4X8 sheet of plywood!

In the old days, you were either a “Chevy Guy,” or a “Ford Guy,” but today there are a lot more choices. Dodge, Toyota, and even Nissan offer full size pickup trucks, but for me, I’m a “Ford Guy.” The first truck I got to know real well was a ’72 F100. She had 351W with a column shift three speed (three on the tree), and pulled hard to the right all the time. My brother-in-law and I used that truck to haul boats, car parts, and ourselves when there was no other car to drive. I think that truck was purchased for about $200 bucks, and we probably spent less than that for the 8 years we had her. The Twin I Beam suspension was so out of wack, no one wanted to work on it, so it was cheaper to replace the tires with ones from the junkyard! The V-8 was pretty worn out, burning oil so fast, we never changed it, we just added more! Looking back, I’m ashamed I abused that truck so badly, but she never let us down!

I asked a friend of mine to show me what he had in inventory at his used car lot, and this picture brought a smile to my face. The color scheme was the same as that old F100 I drove years ago. Trucks have gotten a lot more sporty, and look more like the blue Chevy I have pictured above, but this one sure brings back memories! She’s a F150 4X4 with a 302 V-8 with 107K miles. I may take a ride up to see this truck, and I promise to take better care of whatever I end up with!

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