Despite a several month long lul, two other cars that need more attention, and honestly a lot of better shit to do, Project Dumpster Fire is gradually making progress.

When we last left off, I was deep in the middle of checking out the only remaining things that could possibly be causing the problem. Naturally, they weren’t.


The only remaining solution I could think of was to wholesale replace the fuel distributor, even though mine was recently serviced and by all indications seemed to be in good shape. Regardless, I sourced a working one from an 89 NA that someone was parting out. It arrived, filthy, rusted, and with apparently the wrong base.

I scrubbed and cleaned and managed to get the first several layers of grime off. Eventually I decided it was more likely I’d do damage to the thing if I kept cleaning it, so on the car it goe- what what? Yeah, turns out the plastic base differs from the one on my car. Sort of looks like mine was modified at some point in the past, but whatever, I’ll just swap them ove- wait torx… really? Ok I’ll just grab my- of course I don’t have the right size.

At this point I had to take a break to do… anything else. Several weeks later I came back with the right tools, courtesy of Harbor Freight, and almost managed to get the base off. Unfortunately, two of the screws were rusted to their washers and pem nuts, and my eagerness with the impact was rewarded by them freely spinning. After much fussing, looking for and not finding my dremel, I took out the angle grinder and made short work of the plastic. Also did some damage to the distributor but whatever.


Finally. I popped the “new” fuel distributor in, flushed it with fuel from the tank, reconnected the lines, and turned the key.

You’re not going to believe this.

It started. Like… no problem.


WHAT?! Something worked!? Where is that other shoe!? (Don’t worry...

So I set to work addressing some of the other problems keeping this thing off the road. First up I replaced the headlights, stopping to re-spray the surrounds while I was at it, and replace a broken OEM fog lamp. Then I replaced the heater control valve which has to be the most unpleasant thing I’ve done all year, and set about bleeding the cooling system.


Rust-Oleum “Antique Nickle” seemed like a good fit.

But the new heater control valve is leaking.

And the radiator fans are coming on for some reason.

That is more like it!

I tightened up the heater control valve fittings in hopes of fixing the leak.

If you squint really hard I am told you can see the heater control valve in there... somewhere.


The radiator fan was an easy fix, the relay had chosen that moment to crap out. Luckily it is just “an relay” and so I pulled a random one out of my electrical toy box (heyo) and proceeded. While I was in there, I noticed my fuses were gross and a little corroded, so I pulled them all, cleaned the sockets, and threw new fuses in.

What… why is the fuel pump fuse so hot? Why does it look like that? Why does the socket look like that?!


Ugh, ok… I’ll throw my fuse current reader on it and get to the bottom of this!

Wait… why isn’t the car starting?

Did I hook the meter up wrong?



Ok… long story short (too late) the fuse holder for the fuel pump is all jankity. I have some ideas why, but it isn’t important. Shoving in the fuse probe apparently was the final nail in the coffin, and now that thing is toast.

Primary TODO

  1. Remove and repair fuel pump fuse socket
  2. Measure fuel pump current
  3. Re-check heater control valve for leaks
  4. Re-bleed cooling system, as needed
  5. Road test?