The Amazing Jikbo!!!
SECTION 3:Phase 1
The final stages of assembly:
SECTION 5:The finished product!
SECTION 6:The Winter beater!!!
SECTION 7:Friends Cars
SECTION 8:A little bit about me.
SECTION 10:Tech Articles.
SECTION 11:Time Slips.
So, you want to know about the Fairmont eh?
start from the beginning.
I was on my way. I fueled it up and checked the oil (full, and clean!)
and hit the highway. I was dismayed with the difficulty the car had
maintaining 70 mph. I was dismayed by the burning smell and screeching
noises coming from the heater motor. I was dismayed by how fast the gas
guage was dropping (turns out it got about 18 mpg on the highway.)
the course of the winter the choke must have been acting up, so I took
it off and bought a manual choke conversion kit. Something went amiss
during the install, so I "installed" the choke linkage in the
trunk, and left the car w/o a choke. It still started every 40 below
morning, as long as I had it hooked to the john deere battery charger on
"high" and had a lot of ether on hand. After that, liberal use
of the accellerator pump ensured good driveability, until the carb iced
open at WOT again. I'll say this much, that 2.3 sure had a tolerance for
revvs. I could throw it in neutral, hop out, pop the hood, and close the
throttle with the engine singing along at whatever rpm it could reach.
Also, I typically shifted the C3 manually, winding the car out as high
as it would go. If I was a little sideways when I shifted to 2nd, It
would spin the one tire pretty good on gravel. Every corner was taken
"rally style," completely sideways, out of shape, turning
right to go left and vice versa. The suspension held up well to the
abuse, in the fact that It didn't fall apart. It was just very loose,
and the dampers at all four corner leaked out all their oil and became
"linkages". The front d/s brake line tore as well, but I
replaced it with one that was just a bit too short and cracked, from my
'86 parts pile. The bleeding screw on the caliper was frozen, so I just
ran fluid thru w/the fitting loose, and then said, "good
enough" when I finally got some braking back. The rear brakes never
Things were uneventful until the car began to
leak water from the water pump. My first indication of a problem was the
engine starting to sieze up 5 minutes from town. I started to add water
every morning, but soon I just couldn't make it in before the car quit
running. I was stopping by sloughs on the way to town and getting my
shoes all muddy filling the rad. I began to carry water in gallon milk
jugs behind the seat. Finally one day I had to coast the last 1/2 mile
into town, and I made it too, steering and stopping in my parking spot
with only a little difficulty. 20 bux later a junkyard unit replaced it.
the j/y unit began to leak as well. Maybe it was the lack of lubrication
from the straight water I ran in the car? The second one began to leak,
and the rad blew out at the top when I was ripping up and down the road
injecting oil/varsol/water/etc into the carb w/the WW pump. I didn't
realize the car was overheating until the low oil pressure light came
on. It seemed my stolen 15w40 in the crankcase had cooked into some low
vis crap. I dropped the oil, plunked in more of the same, and it fired
right up again. I took the rad to a friend to braze up. I never did
replace the second water pump.
Finally I quit my job in town, and the fairmont
was parked behind the shed in the yard, out of sight. The next summer
after school, I began my most ambitious project yet. Out came the angle
grinder, and the exhaust was chopped off. I unbolted the manifold and
was delighted to find round ports. A little time with a die grinder, and
1" round steel pipe nipples fit tightly into the holes. I used a
union, and deformed four of them in, threaded on four 90" elbows,
and then threaded on four pipes, pointing straight upwards. An air
cleaner was no longer an option, as it didn't fit. I routed the spark
plug wires with electrical tape over the heater hose, to keep them from
burning. What a joy it was to fire the car up. After my fear of an
explosion or the pipes loosening subsided, I took the car for a rip up
and down the road. Never did you hear such a cacophony. When I would let
off the gas at twighlight, and manually shift down, the pipes would
shoot flames until I rolled to a stop. Eventually though my pass side
motor mount broke, leading to bad vibes from the oil pan sitting on the
x member. I tried welding it a couple of times, but became frustrated
when the welds kept breaking. It's hard to weld to a cast iron block. I
ended up chaining the engine to the pass side strut tower, with great
Then disaster struck. I
was revving the piss out of the car, pouring water down the carb w/an
ice cream pail to make a lot of steam. The interference fit between the
pipe nipples and the head didn't like that, and a couple of the pipes
came loose. I didn't have the time to get more nipples, and didn't weld
it all up, so the car was parked behind the shed once more.
The next spring when I went to fire it up, it
wouldn't start. The eventual diagnosis was a bad starter. I removed the
radiator, hoping I could fabricate a crank to start it with, but got
frustrated and ended up hooking it up to our minneapolis moline, and
towing it out to the barnyard instead, where it can be seen sitting
Eventually I hope to put a starter on it. Sooner than that I hope to fill the engine up w/diesel, as it sat all winter/spring with open swamp headers and carb. Hopefully it's not siezed or will become unsiezed. The spark plugs are out, I need some of those too as I shattered some while attempting to re insert the pipe nipples.
When I do get it running, I plan on finding a
video camera to tape the mayhem, welding the diff up, and blowing up the
engine in spectacular fashion while doing huge burnouts in a pool of
tranny fluid, jumping piles of dirt (I tried to jump a pile of sand, but
instead I rammed it and came to a sudden stop, breaking the steering
wheel. A lot of sand ended up inside the engine bay and in the engine,
since i have no oil cap since it fell out on the road) and driving the
crap out of the car out in the summerfallow field. I'm going to rig up a
manifold for the swamp headers, one "injector" into each, into
which I can inject propane. I will set up a venturi so I can draw up
oil/water/varsol/insecticide/etc into the propane stream and into the
headers. Should be fun.
Let me know if you have any questions. I hope you enjoyed reading about the fairmont as much as I enjoyed driving it.
James (Stalker) G