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August 21, 2001 - I've been having an intermittent problem where the engine will cut out, sputter, and then die. Sometimes it will start right up, and other times it takes several minutes before it will start. I originally suspected a fuel problem, so I blew compressed air through the line to the tank and put in a second fuel filter before the fuel pump. This still hadn't solved the problem, and the car died on the way back from a car show on the 18th. It only acted this way after about an hour of driving, so I began to think that it was a coil problem that showed up after it got hot.
I decided to pull the MSD box and coil off of my racing Matador (since it won't race until next season) and put them in this car. Finding a place to mount the box was a challenge, but I finally found a great spot behind the right headlight. I also had a new MSD Pro Billet distributor for my racer, but I decided to put it in this car, too, along with the MSD 8.5mm plug wires.
I had never installed a distributor before, but after careful note-taking, and numerous attempts to get it to line up right, I finally got the oil pump shaft in just the right location. The car started up on the first try, and the timing was only 5 degrees off. I fixed that and took it out for a drive. It seems to be more responsive, and starts much more quickly. Time will tell if that will sove the problem. I am also going to install the Edelbrock Performer carb and manifold from Dolly, along with a Carter high flow fuel pump.
August 14, 2001 - My wife and I attended the AMC Nationals in Cordova, IL this past weekend. This annual NAMDRA meet is a combination of car show and drag race. Not all racers show their cars, and not all show cars race. The plan was to take my wife's newly bought 78 Matador 4 door and my brown 76 Matador Coupe. However, less than 10 miles from home, my Matador stalled and died. We got it restarted, and thinking that it might be a fuel problem, I stopped at a parts store and put in a filter in front of the fuel pump, and sprayed out the carb. However, it stalled twice more, so we drove it home. Needless to say, I was in a foul mood, but the 78 Matador drove so well that I eventually perked up. After all, I was the one who worked on it.
The car drove flawlessly all the way across Iowa, and we had a great time at the swap meet on Friday, and at the drag races and car show Saturday. Our 78 was the only later model Matador sedan there, although there was a 76 Matador wagon racing. Bought some parts I needed, some great AMC literature, some odds and ends, and pigged out at the picnic. There was some really great AMC racing action this year, and the weather was great!
We drove back home, and again, the car was perfect. AC worked fine, and all the mechanicals were fine, although I had forgotten to replace some dash bulbs, so we had to guess at the speed when driving at night. This is a really fun meet, and we'll be back next year, maybe with all three Matadors.
August 2, 2001 - The detailing I did under the car looks really good. I installed the sway bar last night with brand new bolts, and the black against the red of the new lower control arms looks awesome. I also did a visual inspection of the entire underside of the car, and everything looks fine. A week from today we'll be on our way to Cordova. Tonight I'll begin a bit of detailing under the hood.