You might recall my mentioning that I was having an odd problem with the gear selector not moving fully into Park; the best I could do was Reverse, so my test runs of the engine were all done in Neutral.

I had changed over the bracket that the shifter cable attaches to from the TBI trans to the turbo trans so it matched the cable connected to the column. In the process, I mistakenly pulled up too hard on the manual valve shaft, disengaging the detent spring and making it impossible to shift anything.

Well this afternoon I finally directed my attention toward this and took the pan off the trans again. (This is the third time. First time was to try to repair the original mistake and also change the trans filter, second time was when I realized I hadn’t put the fibre gasket in place between the filter and the valve body. I’m getting good at R&Ring that pan.)

I dismantled the valve body from the transmission again to try to determine the problem. Trouble was, I could hit the Park detent no trouble at all with the valve body out. I played around with the manual valve itself, poring through the FSM, and from what I could tell I didn’t have it installed backward or anything.

I did a test reassembly, and discovered that the manual valve stem was protruding too far on the engine side of the case and limiting the movement of the selector through the detents.

Obviously, I was assembling something incorrectly, but without the benefit of a complete set of assembly diagrams (the FSM is a little weak on that, IMO), and never having seen it put together correctly, I was just guessing.

Well, I took the manual valve shaft off of the throttle valve shaft again at this point, trying to see if it had somehow gotten twisted or something. I concluded it hadn’t. Then I accidently put the thing back together CORRECTLY!

There is a tang on the stamping that engages the detent spring which actuates the manual valve stem. I had been placing it against the end of that valve stem, thinking that hydraulic pressure must keep it forced against the tang. In retrospect, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s how I had formed my mental image of how it must work.

Surprise, surprise, the tang goes in between two rings at the end of the valve stem!

Screwdriver points at correct location of tang in between “rings”. I had been placing
it “outside” the rings (would be to the left of the valve stem in this picture).

All of a sudden, the range of movement of the valve stem was now almost completely inside the valve body at the other side, and even better, the stem moved with each corresponding movement of the selector lever through the detents! Yep, once I saw it that way, it made perfect sense!

Now that I’ve reassembled the trans, I’ve got the gear selector moving through all of the detents it should, and the cable is magically in the correct adjustment. Amazing the difference once things are put together properly.. :-
Oh, well, one more little problem solved!


I had hooked up the vacuum line to the interior of the car the other night in the hopes of getting the heater control working again. The thing was still stuck on defrost, however.

So tonight I got my vacuum pump out and put some vacuum on that line manually. At first, it looked like it wasn’t holding vacuum, and I thought I was in for some leak detection. But fortunately, I pumped some more before giving up, and whaddya know, it started holding vacuum quite well! I went inside the car, and was able to operate the blend doors using the dashboard control just fine, as long as I kept the vacuum pumped up.

So I teed into the vacuum line from the brake booster and started the engine up. No vacuum whatsoever coming from that line. Hmm. Pulled the hose off the booster and heard a sucking sound. Then I removed the check valve and tried to suck on it with my mouth in the direction it was hooked up.

It was installed backward, of course.

That wasn’t my doing. The previous owner had done a lot of work to the car according to what he told me in an email, and obviously he had tinkered with this check valve and reinstalled it incorrectly.

So, yet another little item fixed!

I also connected the vacuum gauge to the manifold and noted that it was a little bit low. Since my timing light is on the fritz, I haven’t been able to set the timing properly. Tonight I loosened the distributor and futzed with it until the vacuum was at about 17″ and holding fairly steady. I think it’s probably timed pretty close to spec now.

Well, I plunged into the world of working under a hood again this evening. My friend Richard came across the street for a few minutes and helped me hang it back on there; first time since the engine got swapped in several months ago.

I still have lots of work to do, as I mentioned, but a little bit here…a little bit there….

Tonight I tackled figuring out why the brake lights stopped working. Well, as it turns out, it was because I had removed the wiring for them!

I had labeled two plugs (besides the 50-way connector) between the engine harness and the internal harness A and B. Well, “A” looked like it was just cruise control, so I removed it. Unfortunately, it was also the brake lamps as well.

Fortunately, I’ve hung on to every piece of wire and electrical component I’ve removed, so I was able to piece things back together again relatively easily.

This is how I envision a lot of the rest of the electrical/mechanical work going. I’m going to pick something off the list, work it until it’s repaired, and then move on to the next thing. I need to flesh out the list a little more. It occurred to me tonight it’s missing some things, like repairing the wiper linkage, that I didn’t put down in the last blog entry. What I really need to do is sit down and put together a checklist. Maybe I’ll get that done in the next few days.

I also sealed the steering column back up, putting the clamshell pieces that fit over and under the column and around the ignition lock. It’s nice having all the steering-column related issues resolved! The steering wheel was replaced a month or so ago, so it’s all ready to go now.

I’m finding evidence that this car was originally a 1991 model, instead of a 1992. The dashboard frame pieces all appear to be stamped with dates of manufacture that are sometime in November or December 1990. Also, I’ve found a tag under the carpet indicating that the supplier had prepared it for a 1991 model. It will be interesting to find out if removing a fender reveals a VIN number for a 1991 model.



After a million, bazillion little details, I finally had a decent run of the transplanted engine last night! I ran it long enough for it to get warmed up, and verified that the cooling fan operates when I disconnect the sensor on the front of the cylinder head.

It ran pretty crappy at first, lots of oil smoke from all the stuff I put into the cylinders to keep it from seizing again, but once the lifters all pumped up, it settled down into a nice idle, about as smooth as you can expect from a 2.2L turbo, anyway!

I did not hear any turbocharger whistle when I revved it, however I’m not sure that it’s set up to do that when it’s running in Neutral.

Naturally, all the paint burned off the turbocharger and exhaust manifold while it was running, causing a bit of smoke and making me shut it down and restart it a few times just to make sure I wasn’t about to have an actual fire. The engine restarted easily each time after I shut it down, so I think I’ve got a good one!

There’s still a lot of stuff that needs to be sorted out. I have to:

  • Resolve the issue I’m having with the gear selector not moving into Park from Reverse
  • Try to figure out what happened to the heater control valve, and make sure there is vacuum going into the car to operate the blend doors. The heater control valve is called for in the vacuum diagram I have for the New Yorker, but I don’t remember removing one from the car in the first place. It does look like there was a vacuum line teed off of the brake booster for one, however, so it might have been MIA from the very start.
  • Get the transmission filled up once the gear selector issue is resolved.
  • Figure out what to do about axle shafts. The ones that the guy who sold me the powertrain gave me have been damaged by a torch, like several other things that came with the engine. I can get used ones for $17.60 apiece from Parts Galore; I’m leaning toward that solution right now.
  • Get replacement bushings for the anti-sway bar and reinstall it once the axle shafts are back in place.
  • Get the hood reinstalled
  • Put the under-dash area of the interior back together
  • Figure out what became of the brake lamp wiring. Can’t seem to find the plug under the dash that the pedal switch assembly attaches to. I might end up tracing the circuit from the fuse box to see where it went to.
  • Put the steering column cover back together. The replacement ignition switch/tumbler assembly works perfectly, lucky score finding one at the salvage yard with the key in it. Now I’ll have to have copies of the key made.
  • Get the door lock tumblers changed out for the replacements I have. Since the car is now operable, theft becomes a concern.
  • Install the radio I have for the car.
  • Move on to the bodywork portion of the project. At a minimum, get the underbody damage aft of the front wheels repaired, fix the driver’s front fender, fix the rust over the passenger rear wheel lip, various and sundry dent removal, find a solution for the rust in the bottom of the front door seams, fix the rusty quarter panel extensions aft of the rear wheels, and repaint. I’m really not too keen on taking the engine back out to change the color of the engine compartment, so I may just repaint it white. But we’ll see.

Angela has been *very cool* about letting me take up a lot of time working on this lately, so it’s time for some “me and her” time now. Probably won’t have much in the way of progress for the rest of the week, at least.

Winter has come to this neck of the woods, and along with it, the snow has begun to cover the Acclaim.

This hasn’t stopped the work on the wiring, mind you; I’ve actually been doing quite a bit with getting the engine compartment harness grafted together and tucked into yellow wiring looms.

Although this project has taken a *lot* longer than I ever dreamed it would (I originally thought it would be on the road in August), the wiring has turned into the $64,000 issue. It is just not simple to rewire a car for use with a different computer. Along the way, I’ve found some issues with the wiring that needed to be addressed (mostly missing insulation and corrosion), and had to scratch my head a lot while trying to figure out what to keep from each donor harness and what to get rid of.

One thing I can tell you for sure: this car will go to the junkyard, whenever that happens, without air conditioning. Near as I can tell, ALL of the wiring that supports it has been removed from the harness.