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Author Topic: 81 SX/4 (help me)  (Read 630 times)

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Offline jdowney3

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81 SX/4 (help me)
« on: November 06, 2016, 04:29:49 PM »
I've been working slowly on an 81 SX/4 for the last 3 years in PIttsburgh. I replaced a quarter panel, painted the car (with plasti-dip), rebuilt the carburetor,  restored the trim, etc. It was mostly easy stuff, but that's good because it's my first project car.

I finally got it ready to go, complete with antique plate 2 weekends ago. I drove it 1.5 miles to my house from the garage I'd been working on it in without any issues, other than some squeeling when turning that is silenced by applying the accelerator. 3 days later I drove it to get some gas and fill the tires and again no issue, other than squeeling steering.  Yesterday I went to drive it back to the garage and it had to be jumped, it hadn't been started many times in the last couple years so that wasn't surprising, but at the first stop sign it stalled (it's an automatic) but restarted without any drama. 2 stop signs later it stalled again but wouldn't restart, not even with a jump. It would sound like it was catching, but as soon as the ignition was released it would die. I had to be somewhere so I pushed it to a parking spot and left it for the night.

Today I jumped it and it started fine, I let it idle for about 3 minutes at which point it stalled. It restarted without a jump, I gave it a little gas and it continued without issue for 5 more minutes. Then I drove it around a bit without problem, including a couple accelerations under full power and a brake check.  I pulled it in to the parking spot and went to pop the hood. The pull stuck, and then the plastic handle broke. I could use pliers to pull it again but still couldn't get it to release the hood. Then I got out of the car and noticed a significant (maybe 1-2 quarts) amount of green fluid on the ground, starting where I last turned the wheel to parallel park. Coolant seemed most likely so I shut the engine (which still sounded fine) down immediately. I still can't get the hood open. The fluid was dripping off the tie rod to the left wheel, but I couldn't trace it any higher.

So I was hoping for some help.

1. How do I get the hood open?

2. Any thoughts on why the engine bogged down at the stop signs? It seems that once the engine has idled for a few minutes this doesn't happen  any more.

3.  Any guesses on why the engine bay soiled itself from the tiny amount of information I've conveyed?

1981 SX/4 - Name TBD

Offline vangremlin

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Re: 81 SX/4 (help me)
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2016, 01:25:07 PM »
1.  You may need two people to get the hood open, someone to pull on the broken handle inside, while somebody pulls up on the hood.  If you don't have another person handy, maybe you can rig up something inside by using string, etc, to keep the release handle pulled, while you go out to the front of the car and pull up on the hood.  Once you get it open, lubricate the heck out of the hood latch mechanism.

3.  Once you have the hood open, start the car and get it up to operating temp to look for potential leaks.  Could just be a loose hose somewhere.

Good luck!
1981 Kammback 258 - "Pepe"
1980 Coupe 258 - "Ginger
1972 Gremlin X 304
1978 Gremlin 4 cyl 121 - sold
1964 TBird 390 - sold

Offline amcfool1

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Re: 81 SX/4 (help me)
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2016, 02:08:33 PM »
hi, the squealing is loose or worn out belts. coolant leak sounds like a bad hose. good luck, gz

Offline jdowney3

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Re: 81 SX/4 (help me)
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2016, 09:09:38 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions. Hopefully I'll get to try them out in the next couple days, weather permitting.
1981 SX/4 - Name TBD


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