Chloe and Colin showed up in the afternoon and wrenching commenced. Ludwig was soon up-and-running.
We talked about carburetors, timing, the whole deal. Things were going well.
We took him for a spin. With the carbs pretty well dialed in, Ludwig was a joy to drive. In fact, he drove as well or better than he ever has. Very hunky dory.
So why would a couple guys just back from a very pleasant (except for the steering, which Colin had nothing but dark words for) shakedown run next be seen with the engine removed?
Well, a point of minorish annoyance was Ludwig's lack of a working vacuum retard. ("Vacuum? Just get a 009, like John Muir says to." No. Shut up.) It's a simple fix really: remove the distributor, disassemble it, clean it, and replace it. Remove, disassemble, and clean went well. Replace, not so much.
"That hole there?" he asked. Yes that hole there. That hole there, the hole that feeds oil to the distributor shaft, is where the spring I was replacing, the little unassuming spring who gives tension to the bottom of the distributor shaft, f&^*ing slipped down into the f@#$ing crankcase. Into. The f$%^ing. Crankcase. There is literally no worse possible place in the engine for something like that to go.
For the next several hours the garage was enveloped in such dismay and disbelief (coming from me, not Colin who was unbelievably--one wants to say "disturbingly"--upbeat about the whole affair) that few pictures were taken. I mean, we were looking at disassembling the entire engine. A nine-hour work day suddenly had the specter of 38 hours hanging over it. What's worse, during the engine-in attempt to fish out the spring with a $0.89 telescoping magnet, the freaking magnet disattaches and falls into the case.
Amazingly, hours later, Colin was able to reattach the magnet--which we got a look at--to its telescope assembly. No mean feat when it is much happier making friends with all the steel parts in the case. Normally when a tool offends me to this degree I'm inclined to give it the heave-ho, but we glued the magnet back on and went fishing in the engine case again, upside down now, for the spring. "How about we c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y turn the flywheel and see if anything happens?" Okay, careful, careful, careful, aha! Colin spies and retrieves the wayward spring, mere minutes away from preparing ourselves mentally and physically for a complete teardown. Honestly, I nearly cried.
After reinstalling the engine we put in fresh oil (have to drain all the oil if you're gonna flip an engine upside down) and were back to talking about timing and carbs.
Next: Gertrude Butterblume.