I wrote a couple stories this morning then hit the garage to address a couple big problem areas with the Chief. I've been daily-driving it since I fixed the brakes on Friday only the whole time I've been afraid I was gonna blow up.
The Chief's biggest issue (well, aside from when the brakes totally failed) reared its ugly head Friday night as I tried to fill up the tank. After adding about 12-15 gallons the fuel started coming out literally as fast as it was going in. There was a big hole somewhere, but I didn't really feel like dropping the tank to see. So, today I crawled around under it with a mirror and flashlight. Turns out the nut tab holding the driver's inside-rear seat mount to the floor had failed, sending the 3/8-inch seat mounting bolt right through the top of the tank. No telling how long it'd been like that. But thankfully I could just get my hands to the spot.
I used a pair of Vise Grip pliers to hold the nutsert and backed out the bolt. Then I grabbed a brass wire brush (don't want to make sparks!) and cleaned up the top of the tank around the hole. I cut out a 2-inch sheetmetal disc and used some metal epoxy to seal up the hole.
While the repair was curing I messed around recurving the MSD distributor and welded up a bunch of cracks in the stock muffler and catalytic converter. The exhaust still leaks, but it's not as bad as it was.
I took it for a test drive, but found I had gone a bit too aggressive with the centrifugal advance and it was knocking and pinging badly under load. I tossed in some different springs to slow the advance curve a bit and it pulls much stronger than it ever has with no knocking at any rpm or load.
Best of all, the fuel leak seems to be gone! I'll know for sure after I top off the tank again, but right now I'm beyond stoked. Now that the engine is working and the fuel is staying where it needs to I can focus my efforts on the horrendously worn Quadra-Trac. Once I get its replacement installed I'll replace the cracked cat and muffler and drive the tires off it...until it's time for the new engine to go in. But that's fodder for another blog.