Hmm – fuel for thought

Glug suf­fers bub­bling petrol woes

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - LIVING WITH CLASSICS - THEO FORD-SAGERS CON­TRIB­U­TOR

For the last cou­ple of years, the Rover 2.25-litre en­gine in Glug, my beloved old Land Rover, has been spot on – smoke­less, gutsy, and start­ing on the but­ton no mat­ter what. If I let the bat­tery go flat, it’ll usu­ally fire up man­u­ally us­ing its start­ing han­dle.

But driv­ing home from a pub lunch a few weeks ago, some­thing was clearly up­set­ting it. Top end power dropped away un­til 45mph be­came my new ter­mi­nal ve­loc­ity, and the fi­nal hill to the vil­lage – which I can usu­ally at­tack in fourth with a de­cent run up – was a sec­ond gear job.

Once home, lift­ing the bon­net showed a small amount of fuel seep­age around the car­bu­ret­tor. Clearly fuel was es­cap­ing and air was there­fore be­ing sucked in at higher speeds, but be­cause the leak was so tiny, and a thin film of fuel had crept all over the carb, find­ing the ex­act source was im­pos­si­ble. Even with the en­gine run­ning, I couldn’t spot a dis­cernible trickle of fuel. I guessed that the cul­prit was prob­a­bly the thin pa­per gas­ket that sits be­tween the carb and the metal block which sep­a­rates it from the top of the in­let man­i­fold – sim­ple enough to re­place, just by dis­con­nect­ing the throt­tle link­age, and un­do­ing the carb’s two re­tain­ing bolts. Sur­faces cleaned, new gas­ket in place, carb back on, en­gine run­ning… job done!

Con­vinced of my tri­umph, I took Glug for a run to the shops and didn’t feel any­thing amiss un­til I got back home again with my head un­der the bon­net for a fi­nal check. Small bub­bles of hot fuel were some­how es­cap­ing past the thread of one of the ver­ti­cal studs that pass into the in­let man­i­fold. Had this had been the cause of the prob­lem af­ter all? What I should have done was take it straight back out for a hard run to reach a more de­ci­sive ver­dict. In­stead, I put the ket­tle on and or­dered a set of new studs.

Now I’m baf­fled. Even when I run the en­gine hot, that trou­ble­some stud re­fuses to repli­cate its lit­tle per­for­mance, and be­cause it’s well and truly stuck, ex­tract­ing it is go­ing to be risky. Do I bother? To com­pli­cate mat­ters, one of the wheel cylin­ders has now de­cided to seize, so a proper test of the en­gine un­der load will have to wait un­til I’ve fixed the brakes.

I’m not go­ing to lie – this is get­ting a bit an­noy­ing, now…

A pe­cu­liar fu­elling is­sue means Theo’s Landie hasn’t moved much lately. The frus­trat­ingly stub­born stud re­fuses to re­peat its fuel-bub­bling shenani­gans.

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