Sending out an S.O.S.

With my schedule a little more freed up this summer, I’ve been looking forward to jumping back into the project. After having to take a bit of a hiatus to finish up my semester, I’ve been looking forward to making some real progress. Hey, maybe I’ll even be riding Betty to school next semester. So yesterday I sat down with her and reevaluated what needed to get done. After some twisting and pulling and scratching my head, I realized I’m stuck. Maybe this is why it felt pretty easy to take a break. So I’m asking for help. Basically there are 3 tasks that I would like to try to get done, and I have questions on each. I’ll break up the tasks into separate sections and attach photos of each. If anyone out there is reading this who knows how to help, please leave a comment below. Sending out an S.O.S to the internet – Please help!


  1. Replace wiring

If you’ve been following my very slow progress, I mentioned that my first step is I’d like to try to get a spark. Someone suggested I replace the wiring, which sounds good, but I’m really not sure how to do that. In this picture, you can see the wires that I want to replace, with the cap that goes on the spark plug on the right end:



The problem is where the connection points are on either end. How do I remove the existing wires and how do I put in new ones? It doesn’t help that it’s extremely difficult to get to these points. I tried to take pictures but it’s a little hard to see what you’re looking at:

In the top picture, the place where the wire connects is on the bottom left of the picture. This is the left side of the wire (opposite the end where the spark plug is). There is a cap on it that slides off. In the bottom left picture, this is a side view of the same thing from the top picture. I considered taking the whole piece off, but those small circles are either tiny screws or rivets and I’m not sure how to remove them either way. The bottom right picture is on the other side of the wire (same side as the spark plug). Looking for ideas on how to remove and replace all of that wiring.

2. Replace head gasket

Okay, this one I actually do have an idea of what to do, but mostly wanted to complain. So there is a cover over the cylinder that’s held in with a few screws. It’s the black plastic cover seen here:


I took out the screws and went to lift the cover off but it seems like it’s screwed in on the other side. So I felt around back there (very cautiously, as that seems like a very desirable home to a spider) and it seems the cover goes beyond just the cylinder and I think I need to access it from the other side. But in order to do that it seems that I need to take the tire off. Basically a huge pain in the butt just to get this stupid cover off. Maybe I’m missing something, if so let me know. As an engineering student I do think this is a good lesson in, “Don’t make things more difficult than it has to be for people doing maintenance work”.

3. Drain oil

I guess the first question here is, is there any oil to drain? But I figured I’d check since it’s going to have to be replaced anyway and that seemed like an easy enough task. Wrong. Kaitlin, haven’t you learned yet that nothing is an easy task with Betty? Ugh. So basically this is another question where I mostly wanted to complain. I look around for the screw that will let me drain the oil and guess what I find…


That gunky screw is the one that needs to come out. Not the one on the right, oh yeah, the one on the left. Now, admittedly I haven’t even tried to release it yet, but I saw that and was like, “of course.” and walked away.

So in conclusion, I still have close to no idea what I’m doing, everything is more difficult than it seems when it comes to Betty, and I need help. Any suggestions or general moral support would be helpful here. Thanks, folks.


2 thoughts on “Sending out an S.O.S.”

  1. The spark plug wires press on with small internal metal clips supplying retention pressure to the slightly narrowed waist on the coil and spark plug. The exposed end of the spark plugs have sleeves which must be screwed tight so they do not loosen with vibration (in the early days of engine manufacture the ignition wires were eyes on the end of the wires screwed in place by nuts, then insulated boots were designed as now in use). The high voltage spark tends to find the lowest resistance ground while we need that path to go the the center electrode and create the spark across the plug, if there is another path with lower resistance, that’s where the spark will go! Looks like NEW ignition leads are needed.


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