Tips on How to Maintain Your Muscle Car
If you are reading this, you probably are not a multi-millionaire. How did I know? Well, the filthy rich have someone to take care of their cars. But that is beside the point. In addition to sentimental value, supercars represent a sizeable investment for most people. So if not for the love of the ride, taking care of your muscle car is showing some love for the dollar. And while the Internet is a goldmine of information, separating diamonds from heaps of broken glass is taxing. I had a chat with Mark Silvestri, the owner of LightningForcePerformance and he gave some useful tips on how to maintain your muscle car that I want to share with you:
- Too much of a good thing is bad
When using RTV sealant, use the minimum amount possible for the job. Over-generous applications do not do a better job. Instead, the excess could squish into the transmission or engine when revving up your ride. Later, the sealant will harden and probably block passages, leading to malfunction.
- Nylon instead of steel
Well, that seems counter-intuitive but nylon locking nuts are not subject to rust or corrosion. They’ll perform better than lock washers in the long run. However, they should be used where high temperatures are not likely.
- Check vacuum leak in your cab
When working on a carburetor, the extra minute or two it will take to check air and fuel hoses for cracks is worth your while. Doing vacuum advance and choke pull checks will ensure they don’t leak vacuum. What happens when vacuum leaks? It could destroy spark plugs and ruin performance. Did I mention fuel economy? While muscle cars are not exactly fuel savers, increased consumption converts acceptable to intolerable.
- Prepare for the worst
This guide is for gas heads, those of us who actually enjoy the mechanical aspects of car fixing. When fixing and tweaking, there is certainly going to be gas fumes in the air, and a spark could set it off. Having a handy fire extinguisher in the garage will make the difference between a few burn marks and buying a new house plus car.
- Running low and idling OK?
When your muscle ride runs poorly but idles good, what do you check for? Check the carburetor, dwell, vacuum leaks, points and timing. However, if it runs ok up to some point before the problem starts, take a long hard look at the coil. A coil works even if the terminals are reversed but will give issues during startup or at high RPMs. If the distributor is wired to the positive or hot terminal and the power lead is connected to the negative terminal, then stop. You’ve found the culprit.
- Grease the pan bolts before screwing
Installing the pan on a transmission is tricky when it’s mounted in the car. However, pushing three or so bolts through the pan rail, having smeared them with grease or gasket sealer beforehand, will hold them in place. That will save you many minutes of a drop, search and retry cycles.
- Loctite is essential
Muscle car toolboxes must contain a few bottles of Loctite thread locking compound. When shopping, get different strengths and use them appropriately. The strongest should be used on components that are not going to be dismantled anytime soon.
- Sorting a short battery life
If your battery dies every few days, then it highly probable there is a short circuit. A simple test is using a test light. If the bulb lights up, then the battery is not dead. In such a case, you don’t have a short circuit problem. Something else is probably wrong with your wiring.