While the tail lights are out of the way I can do a little rust mitigation. I cleaned up inside the rear corners then I masked off the holes and sprayed rust converter inside wherever I could. But it was hard to get all the nooks and crannies. I gave it a day to cure then painted with rust encapsulating paint.
My daughter Rachael came out to help and we got the engine started again. I took a video but the phone decided to crap out and it was lost. But the engine fired right up. There was a very loud tapping from the #3 or #5 cylinder. I hope it was a lifter sticking but I am afraid it was yet another pushrod getting mangled. After a few minutes it quieted down. So we will see. I adjusted the timing and dinked with the idle a bit but could not really get a stable idle. It will take some work. However nothing leaked, the cooling system holds pressure, and the gauges all look good.
But a bigger problem are the ongoing electrical gremlins. About every other time we turned key the engine would not crank and the ammeter would show -30A. I suspect (but have not yet proven) that there is an intermittent short somewhere that is tripping the main circuit breaker. It should not be too hard to track down since there is not all that many circuits that tie into the engine crank circuit.
But screw that. Time to go for a ride. We cleared tools off the car, filled the very tiny gas tank, bolted the passenger seat in, and mounted up. For some reason Rachael seemed to think she needed a fire extinguisher.
Actually that was a really good idea. Here is our short trip on video!
That could have been worse. We still have a lot of work to do. Power brakes are dead. So are the brake lights. And I have to figure that engine out. But at least the car moved.
We have plans for this afternoon so we pushed the car back into the garage. Which reeks of burning oil now. The Jeep lives!